Ahh there we are.
Another social event without the spouse and you brace yourself for the inevitable question…
“Where’s your Significant Other who is supposed to be with you all the time?”
Well, maybe not like that, though that’s how it feels!
If your spouse is anything like mine, you get this a fair bit.
My husband is just an introvert who has two part-time jobs which are very people oriented.
Fair enough he wants some down-time.
Though what if you thrive in social situations? It can really put a dampener on things when you see all these other couples socialising though you’re there making small talk on your own, answering questions about your family… you know, the ones who aren’t there to answer the questions by themselves…
While you understand where your partner is coming from, it can still make it anxiety-provoking to get through those initial questions without sounding resentful that they aren’t there with you.
How do you respect your spouse’s autonomy without giving the impression that there is something wrong with your relationship?
Here are three key guidelines I stick to in these situations:
1. Speak highly of him
2. Keep a smile on your face and maintain eye contact
3. Keep details to a minimum and make a segue to another topic
Speak highly of him
I choose to use words that will build him up in the eyes of others.
They need to be honest words mind you, don’t be deceptive – people will see through it.
If my husband isn’t there to defend himself, then I’m not exactly the loving wife to stab the knife in his back.
It also helps me to keep a realistic impression of him.
If I’m feeling resentful about him not being there, and I reinforce that with my words, then I’m reinforcing the resentment in my head – which isn’t fair to him and will only end in a tearful argument when I get home because I’ve had all that time to seethe in anger blowing things way out of proportion!
I married him – I love him. Why would I want others to think any less of him when really, they are only getting a snapshot of our family life together?
Keep a smile on your face and maintain eye contact
Keeping our words under control is only one part of communication.
If my body language isn’t matching what I’m saying, then people will know that all is not well in paradise and loose lips sink ships. I don’t need to give anyone ammunition to spread rumours that there is something wrong – because it will always blow out of proportion.
This is why our words need to be genuine. We can’t keep our body language consistent with our words if they just aren’t, well, consistent.
Besides, he will eventually come along to some events and I want him to enjoy them, so he comes to more of them in the future. If others are thinking poorly of him, then chances are he’s going to catch wind of that not feel comfortable coming to anything else.
Keep details to a minimum and make a segue to another topic
Keeping things short and sweet is the best way to honour your absent spouse.
The less we say, the less chance we have of saying something we will regret.
Besides, I’m there because I want to be social, not allow my husband to be social vicariously through me!
If I go away from those events feeling like people know more about what my husband is up to than what’s happening in my life, then I’m going to feel invisible and unheard.
My tank won’t be filled in the way I needed it to, so on my way back home feeling resentful again at hubby for not being there with me…
So, I need to change the topic to something that is happening for me, so I can feel connected and present with whoever is there and fill my tank so I can go home – resentment-free to enjoy a quiet cuppa with hubby while watching the next episode of our Netflix binge-series.