I'm really bothered by the fact that my husband enjoys spending quality time with his single guy friends unannounced while he leaves me at home with the kids as if he's single. We've tried to compromise and organize a schedule where he can plan ahead to spend time with them, but for some reason we're not getting anywhere. When I want to do things as a family, he always invites his friends to tag along and expects me to tell him every time we do something as a family that I just want it to be us.
I end up getting upset when they tag along, and then when I try to let him know how I feel, he blows up in my face and gets defensive. I just wish he would make an effort to make plans for us instead of having me do all the work while he just goes with the flow. What's worse is that he sometimes acts like it's a chore to do something together. What do I do? Please point me in the right direction. What could I be doing wrong?
— Aggravated Ann
To see DearSugar's answer, read more.
Dear Aggravated Ann,
There are multiple issues here, so I think trying to work on just one of them — you mention a schedule so he can spend time with his friends — isn't going to solve the overall problem, which seems to be his dependence on his friends. I completely agree that having some real family time is important, but obviously your husband is having a difficult time letting go of his bachelor ways.
Instead of getting frustrated when he asks if his friends can come along every time you plan something, head him off at the pass. Let him know that going forward he should assume that a family outing is just that: a family outing. However, compromise is key, so every once in a while, work together to come up with plans that involve his friends too: a BBQ, a volleyball game at the park, etc. Perhaps being so reliant on a schedule is actually deterring your husband from sticking to the "rules." Let him have his spontaneity. That doesn't mean he should just decide to leave without letting you know, but giving him a little more leg room might make him feel less trapped.
If you continue to run into these issues, I recommend speaking with a family counselor. Your husband's attachment to his friends over his family is definitely something that needs to change. Perhaps he's dealing with some fears of commitment that are showing themselves in this way. Either way it's important to handle it before your resentment becomes too much to bear for either of you.