Ask Wendy

My Husband Won’t Leave the House

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
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husband won't leave the house
Hey Wendy,

How do I politely ask my husband to leave the house for one night? I belong to a book club with eight people and every month we rotate who hosts. That person chooses the book, hosts the discussion and cooks dinner for everyone. My husband is not a part of my book club (nor does he want to be).

He doesn’t mind me being in the club, but he gets his back up when it’s my turn to host because he says he’s made to feel unwelcome in his own home. I say it’s not that, but rather we live in a 600-square-foot condo with nowhere for him to go when I host. He could sit in the bedroom and watch TV, but even that makes him bristle. But there’s literally nowhere else for him to be.

How can I convince him to go see a movie or have dinner with friends when my book club is happening? It happens twice a year, but it always causes an argument as he says it’s his house and he would never do anything to make me feel unwelcome. I told him if he has something like this, I’d be happy to step out of his way. What can I do or say? He won’t budge, literally.

DT – New York, NY

Hey DT,

Your husband won’t leave and he wants to be stubborn? Then let him come up with a new solution. Let him fix the problem.

Learn what your two days are for 2018 and sit down with him and ask for help. The process I offer is long. There are seven parts to this sucker, in case you want to come up with your own words:

#1. Ask for help.

#2. Acknowledge his annoyance.

#3. Acknowledge it’s important to you.

#4. Acknowledge the structure of the book club isn’t changing.

#5. Tell him what it provides for you (so he knows why it’s worth it).

#6. Ask how do we fix it and/or what do you need?

#7. Listen – and if he comes up with a workable solution, appreciate and thank him for it.

Here it is, a mock conversation with all seven parts all wrapped up neat with a red bow just for you:

“Love, I need your help with something. Will you help me?”

“Sure, what?”

“Hey, so you know I’m in this book club, right?”

“Yep.”

“I don’t want to annoy you with it, and I don’t want to quit. The book discussion with the group keeps me in good shape, stimulated and interested in new things. It’s important to me. Here’s the thing: the structure isn’t changing. Can you think of a way that we can fix this because I need to host and cook for them on February 20th and again on August 20th, 2018, and I don’t want to frustrate you or have this be the cause of arguments. Do you see a solution?”

Then employ part #7. You may need to ask, “Is there anything you need from me in order to give me what I’m asking for?” Again, listen.

When you sit on the same side of the table together to sort the problem, you can point at the sticking points and the annoyances of the situation instead of pointing fingers at each other.

Good luck!

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