The other day my husband told me that he would like to go out alone sometimes. We’ve been married for about a year. My husband and I have a very good relationship. I was used to hanging out with friends when I was single. But now that I am married, the idea of doing so never crosses my mind. I was very disappointed to hear that he wanted to go out alone. But I was scared that if I didn’t say it was okay he might go anyway and just not tell me. He told me that I can go out with my friends once in while if I like — that he trusts me.
I am very confused. I don’t know if this is normal or not. Is it okay for a spouse to go out alone or should I watch his steps closely? I am a very jealous person and I don’t know if I can accept his request for space so easily. He tells me that sometimes couples need their own space to appreciate each other more. Is it dangerous for him to go out alone? Will it hurt our marriage if I ask him not to?
It sounds like you are very insecure in your relationship with your husband, since you are experiencing jealousy and fear about his request. Every couple needs to establish boundaries to protect their relationship, but they also need a certain level of personal freedom; this allows trust to grow and personal development to occur.
Establish healthy boundaries together
I would suggest that you read Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It by Jerry Jenkins. This book will help you and your husband discuss reasonable boundaries you can agree to put into practice whenever either of you is in contact with others, and especially with people of the opposite sex.
Then, I would suggest that you both come up with a list of requests that will make you feel more secure in your marriage. These requests must not make either of you feel inadequate to meet one another's needs or guilty when either of you want time to yourselves. Personally, my husband and I have agreed to always tell each other where we are going, with whom, and what time we will be home. I think this is a good general principle to follow.
Spend alone time together
You can also come up with some suggestions about activities you can do together without actually being together. Working out at a health club or going to the library to read are two good examples. You could go to a museum and spend part of the time together and part of it viewing different exhibits you personally enjoy, then, meet for coffee or lunch. Or go to a shopping mall and shop in different stores, meeting later on.
Explore with your husband what makes him feel like he needs time alone. Let him tell you if anything is bothering him about your relationship. He may be feeling trapped for some reason. Evaluate the last three to six months. What happens when he is off work? Do the two of you constantly do everything together? When you do things together, are they always responsibilities around the house or only things which you like to do? Does he ever have time for his own personal hobbies or to go fishing or be outdoors?
You may have different personalities. If he is an introvert, he will need more time alone and when you are in the house together, he may feel that he can't concentrate on the things that interest him. It might be wise to let him have a place at home where he can do those things best done alone, such as reading or working on the computer.
Develop a common social network
Maybe you need to build some friendships together as well. Getting together with other couples is a very enjoyable and healthy thing to do.
Where he goes matters
Your reaction probably varies depending on where your husband says he is going. For instance, if my husband told me he was going to a bar, I would be very concerned about that. Why? Because if he was sitting in a bar, he might meet other women, and because he would be drinking alcohol, he would be tempted to do things he might not otherwise do.
If your spouse does not want to talk about where he is going and where he can be found in case of emergency, then you do have something to worry about. Anytime a spouse begins to hide his/her whereabouts and activities, there is reason to be suspicious. Openness and honesty are highlights of a healthy relationship and the foundation of trust necessary for any growing marriage.
If you have a good relationship with your husband then I don’t think you have to worry about anything. Actually, worrying never accomplishes anything good anyway. Build your own self-esteem so that you are not overly dependent on your husband’s attention. Explore with someone — a confidante, mentor or counselor what has happened in the past to cause you to be so jealous and feel so insecure. I hope this is helpful for you.
This article was written by: Lynette Hoy, NCC, LCPCPhoto Credit: Juan Di Nella