We might be celebrating (P”G) our four year wedding anniversary this summer, but I still feel like a newlywed sometimes. Especially compared to some of my friends who are already making Bar and Bat Mitzvah’s for their children! So, when I got my weekly email from The Jewish Star (Jewish weekly in the Five Towns), I had to stop and read last week’s Ask Aviva column. The headline writer did a great job, who wouldn’t click on a link that says “strangled by marriage”?
Follows is the question submitted by “Unleash Me” to Aviva. (Disclaimer: I do not know Aviva and have never written for this newspaper. I only read this paper when my friend, who is a contributing columnist, has a piece in it – or if the topic really catches my eye.)
I am a devoted and supportive husband. However, there are times when I feel like my wife makes too many demands on my life. In one recent instance, I had gone to hear a speaker on a Motzei Shabbos and from there had stopped off at a friend’s birthday party. About four hours after I left the house, my wife called me frantically wondering where I was and telling me to come home, since she was anxious as there was police activity going on near our house and she was alone with our baby. I mumbled something about being on a tight leash and she blew up. I later apologized, but sometimes I do feel this way. Is it so wrong to admit that to her? And how to cope with feeling like I really am on a tight leash when my wife thinks otherwise?
— Unleash Me
OK, so I’ll let you follow the link to read what Aviva wrote in response to Unleash Me. But, based on this scenario, here’s my two cents. This guy is either extremely young and immature, or a total douche. Perhaps that’s very strong of me to say, but I don’t think it’s that far off given the nature of the above circumstance.
- He was already gone for FOUR hours, not 40 minutes.
- He was able to hear a speaker AND hit up a friends birthday party before she called frantic about his whereabouts. What he neglected to say was whether or not he told her in advance what he was going to be doing and how long he was going to be gone for. I don’t think it’s too much to ask of a spouse to estimate the time he would be gone from the home; it’s common courtesy – not being placed on a tight leash!
- She was frantic because she was frightened! I would be too, if there was police activity on my block and I was home alone with a new baby! Is it that shocking that she would react that way? I don’t think so.
I was pretty annoyed with this guy when I read his “dilemma” and decided to ask DH if he felt like he was on a tight leash. The conversation went as follows (I, of course, waited until he JUST came home from work, knapsack still on his back, coat still on, before I asked the question)
ME: Babe, do you think I have you on a tight leash?
DH: Umm, what do you mean by tight leash?
ME: (curious by lack of initial response): Just what I said, do you sometimes feel like I have you on a tight leash? Like I’m annoying about your whereabouts and stuff..
DH hesitates, ever so slightly
ME: It’s okay, you can tell me, I promise not to get mad (I actually did mean it this time, hehe)
What followed was a very interesting and frank conversation about some of my phone habits. In particular, I like to call him when he is driving home from work, and ask him where EXACTLY he is on his route. I do NOT do this to keep him on a tight leash, but rather because I then try to calculate how long it would take for him to get home.
What can I say? I still really love seeing him walk through that door after not seeing him all day. Sue me, I’m still excited about seeing my husband.
BUT, he did have a point and I’m happy he raised it with me. That can be pretty annoying, I guess. So now, when he calls to let me know he is leaving the office, I purposely keep the conversation brief (unless Baby J. grabs the phone, cause she can gab his ear off and would keep talking until he walked through the door!), tell him to drive safe, and then just wait until he walks through the door. Fortunately, reversing my behavior wasn’t that difficult, but now I’m cognizant of anything I might say or do that would make him think I have him tightly bound to me.
I think it might be time for me to suggest another boys night out, perhaps that would really let him know that I want him to feel like he has his freedom. I’m honestly okay with being alone in the house, I spent my entire twenties single and the better part of that decade living alone in both Manhattan and Tel Aviv.
I consider myself a pretty independent person, although the move to Jerusalem did strip some of that away but that’s fodder for another blog post. Regardless, I’m good just chilling at home with my toddler while my husband enjoys a night out with his buddies, at the gym, or catching a movie with his brothers (especially if it’s a movie I have zero interest in seeing).
Maybe it’s time to reinforce that message to my spouse!
Does your spouse or significant other think you have him/her on a tight leash, or vice versa? How would you respond to “Unleash Me”? Comment below!