How to deal with a husband in ‘me mode’


Ugh! I am so frustrated with Doo right now. Somehow he’s sunken into “Me Mode” on a weekend that’s supposed to be about, well, me. I have my office Christmas party tonight and “A Christmas Carol” with my parents in two days down in Louisville.

But he just called to say his day’s been too hard, and he’s exhausted. He doesn’t want to go to the party. “And I really don’t want to drive four hours on a Sunday just to see a play!”

My initial reaction is of course the wrong one. Why don’t you like my family? Why won’t you think about someone other than yourself? Don’t you care that those tickets are expensive and that this is the only opportunity you will have to see my family for the holidays? And can’t you man up for two hours and swing by my damn Christmas party? I’ve already told everyone you were coming!

Whoa, Mrs. Fezziwig! Slow down and take a deep breath. Look at the situation from his perspective. He has had a long day at the office. Meetings, presentations, preparing for employee vacations over the next two weeks. And he won’t know anyone at the party. There’s some anxiety in that too.

As for Louisville, would I want to spend all that time in a car just for a production of Scrooge? I get to stay for a few days with the kids, but he can’t. Is it his fault he can’t take a day off from work? 

Yes! He should have asked a month ago for time off! And so what if he’s tired? Everyone’s tired this time of year, but we do what we need to do when it means a lot to our spouse. That’s marriage. Deal with it.

All of this goes through my mind in the minute or so that Doo is whining. Somehow I keep from combusting and calmly suggest he do a flyby to the party, as the house is less than a mile from his office, and then head home to be with kids. No dice. “Screw it!” he exclaims. “I’m coming home.”

“Fine!” I return, and disconnect without saying goodbye. I want to call Doo back so badly it burns because I’ve just come up with some brilliant counterarguments, cruel though they might be. But then I look like the selfish nagging wife, and he’ll never let me live it down. I’m stuck between a Doo and a humbug, that’s for sure.

So I go to the party alone, bitter and angry, and wait for my husband to pull his head out of his butt. It takes about 12 hours. The following morning he says, “Thanks again for letting me bail last night. I really just needed a night off.  And now I’m excited about seeing your family and the play! If I stay until after dinner, that still gives me plenty of time to get home.”

Thank you, Tiny Tim! I’m not married to an A-hole. Selfish on occasion, maybe, but when it comes to the important things, he eventually gets it. This weekend helped me remember that men are really just tall children with facial hair. Petulance is part of the package. It’s our job as women to let their tantrums run their course, refrain from hurtful retaliation, then shower them with love when it’s all over. So if you’ll excuse me, I have to go give Doo some “there- there’s.” I can’t have him going all Jacob Marley on me. Peace out.


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