Men Need Friends Too

There is an interesting debate going on at the Good Men Project about whether dads-to-be should be allowed a bachelor party level night of fun with the guys before his baby is born. But in thinking about it, I believe we all missed a deeper issue.

A lot changes when you have a kid. Many of those changes are absolutely wonderful and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. But others are sad. Namely, as a guy, there’s a stark realization that when one of your friends has a kid, there’s a definite chance you’ll essentially lose him as a friend.

There are several factors at work. First of all, having a kid is the ultimate time-suck (and I mean that in the best way possible). Getting into a routine, diaper changes, midnight feedings…it’s exhausting and takes maximum effort. Then they become mobile and require even more looking after, then toddlerhood and finally onto youth sports, drama club, music lessons, etc. It is truly all-consuming. But there are other reasons too.

Some wives use a baby’s arrival as an opportunity to cut “undesirable” friends out of her husband’s life.

Protest all you want, but it’s true. I’ve seen it happen. She makes him feel guilty the minute he says he wants a night out with his friends. She tells him he’s a father now, he shouldn’t be going out, he’s irresponsible, etc. All of his friends call him and invite him out at every turn, but he never comes. Then he stops returning calls. Then the friends stop bothering to invite him. In the blink of an eye everyone has lost a good buddy, and that’s not right.

Much is being made of “dadchelor parties” for men but it’s much more than that douchey name implies. I probably shouldn’t let you behind the Man Curtain, but I’m going to because I think this is important.

I love my friends. They’re extremely important to me. Before I got married and had kids I spent every single weekend with them. We’d gather at someone’s house, drink, eat, talk and have fun. Sometimes we got a little nuts and it turned into a mini bachelor party (no strippers, just booze and girls and fun), but for the most part we just hung out.

And despite what all the sitcoms would have you think, we didn’t just have farting and belching contests. We talked. A lot. We talked about our girlfriends, our jobs, our successes, our failures and where we were headed. I’ve had more meaningful drunk 3 a.m. front porch conversations with my friends than I can count. And sure, while we might spend the majority of our time hurling finely crafted insults at one another, there was some important stuff mixed in there too.

It was so important to me that when MJ and I started talking about marriage, I told her I’d still need a decent amount of time with the guys. Thankfully she understands completely and has no problem with me going out from time to time. Not a lot, but enough. But some guys have far less understanding wives and aren’t so lucky. And that’s too bad.

Men won’t often admit they need their friends. That sounds weak, or even “gay.” And when we get married or have a kid, there is a genuine fear we’ll lose our friends. And therefore a little bit of ourselves. And that’s a valid worry because it happens all the time, made worse when a wife decides it’s irresponsible or disrespectful for him to spend any time at all away from his family.

But for guys like me, there’s no line between good friends and family. And there’s no doubt I’m a happier man—a better father and husband even—when I can carve out a little time with the people I love without being made to feel guilty about it. And yes, sometimes that time could include going on a bender and getting juvenile and stupid. But so what? As long as I’m giving my wife the opportunity to do whatever makes her happy on her own, and as long as I’m not consistently shirking my duties as husband and father, the occasional party binge with friends is just fine.

But ladies, rest assured that what appears to be a regression back to our college frat days has deeper meaning. Sure we’re drinking and carrying on, but we’re also reconnecting and renewing our male friendships. Like any relationship, it takes effort to maintain them. We wouldn’t deny you “Girls Night Out,” so stop getting all bent out of shape about our guy excursions.

Men need friends too.

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31 thoughts on “Men Need Friends Too

  1. I would find it weird and a bit suffocating if my partner didn’t have their own friends and interests. Especially before we have kids. Once kid(s) come(s) along, so long as I get some “me” time too, then definitely, still go out and blow off steam, with male friends, female friends, whatever… Just so long as “blowing off steam” is done safely eg no drink driving, and doesn’t involve infidelity… I think I’d go nuts if I didn’t get that chance myself some time, so I couldn’t realistically or reasonably expect my partner to!

    I would think If you’re both home with the kid(s) literally ALL the time other than work time, it would get old FAST.

    Of course this is all academic for me ‘cos right now, it’s just me + my cat in my life ;D

  2. I encourage My hubby to go out with his boys. It doesn’t happen often, but he needs time off to just as I do. My only stipulation leading up to our son’s inpending birth was that he was’t allowed to go out and get sauced in case I went into labor and he would be useless to me. One of his good friend’s has a baby on the way and he feels a certain sadness that is haven away from home will become babified. He isn’t a huge partier to begin with but I don’t mind him needing his man time. I count on my girls night out. It’s a give and take.

  3. Th purpose and excuses used to justify a “Dadchelor” party are asinine and insulting.

    Only mature adults realize they don’t actually need to justify shit they do. If hanging out with friends requires an elaborate ruse or poorly formed excuses, you may need to consider a more alarming possibility…you knocked a shrew-bitch and you are now tied to her for the next 18 years. Now THAT is a good reason for an all night bender.

  4. JEE: At this point the “Dadchelor” party is kind of a moot point. I still think there’s nothing wrong with guys going for a crazy night out on the town before the baby is born, but my main gripe is with the women who feel threatened/insulted by this.

    But you’re right, some people you love marry/knock up people you hate. And so you desperately try to extract your friend’s old personality—the fun person he was before shacking up with shrew-bitch—but she blocks you at every turn and wears him down until he’s a beaten man who doesn’t even try to stick up for himself anymore. Finally it gets to the point he’d rather stay miserable and not rock the boat than speak up for himself and do something that’d really make him happy.

    At that point it’s both of their faults. She needs to stop being such a controlling, sour-pussed bitch and he needs to grow a pair and advocate for himself.

    I guess the moral is be careful who you marry and wear a condom!

  5. Aaron, you keep saying you’re main gripe is women who don’t like their guys having a crazy night with their friends, but you keep changing your mind what that could mean. First it’s just hanging out at home with them or going to something innocent like a baseball game (no strippers or clubs), then it’s a crazy night out on the town getting drinks, then it’s a party with no strippers but “booze and girls and fun,” then it’s going on a bender with your friends and being stupid. And then you imply whatever you want goes, as long as you give your wife the same opportunity to be just as stupid. So if she goes to a club and gets drunk and makes out with a strange guy, that’s okay as long as you get to do the same? Quid pro quo is all that matters? That may be fine for you, but different couples have different limits, and I think you’re being pretty judgmental for calling a woman a controlling, sour-pussed bitch for having an opinion what a married man, soon-to-be father should be acting like. What’s good for you (and your wife) is not good for everyone.

  6. Shelby not everyone who gets drunk makes out with strangers, the booze and girls line referred to college days. And the whatever he wants goes … usually involves him getting drunk and talking about his beautiful wife and incredible son. He is not condoning orgies and neglecting responsibilties. He is talking about taking some “me time” with friends he cares about.

  7. For clarification purposes: I was absolutely not referring to MJ in my phrasing. She is way too kick-ass to be a shrew-bitch.

    I will say, I think you’ll feel differently about this issue in a few years. At least, I sincerely hope you do. Right now, your insight into the issue is age/personality/experience based. As those change, so does your insight. If your insight doesn’t evolve you’ll be stuck in frat mode into your 40’s. I’ve seen those guys. Not a good look. Standards for social interactions should not peak in the college years, lol. People grow and change. It’s inevitable. If we didn’t you’d be arguing about wives who want you in when the streetlights come on and don’t want you hanging out in your friends tree fort. But you’re not saying that. Because you’re a grown ass man who traded in the huffy for a car. Eventually your chosen method of decompression will change. Most of my friends have kids so we hang-out together a lot. We have family cook-outs and a handful of nights a year that we go out without the kids for a few drinks and some darts. I don’t see much of my single friends because I’m not into getting shot at Pufferbellies or stumbling drunk at Sam Diegos. I barely ever go out with a couple we’re very good friends with. He’s a dj and they’re both into that type of scene. I’ve outgrown that.

    Hanging out with friends, talking about life over a few drinks is perfectly acceptable at any age. The chosen way to carry that out varies from person to person. In my relationship it is very rare for us to go out without each other. The idea of a ladies night holds zero appeal. Its been my experience that it’s just an excuse to bitch about their husbands/boyfriends/latest lapse in judgement or act with a “freedom” they wouldn’t if that person were there. Everyone cannot be measured with the same stick.

    It’s possible that these women you’re giving the generalization treatment to are in relationships with serious communication problems. It may, in fact, be you who is missing the deeper issues. You’ve “seen” friends drop into obscurity but you cannot truly determine the reasons because you are outside the relationship. It’s natural to be upset when you lose contact with a friend but blaming it on a bitchy wife or a husbands lack of testicular fortitude glosses over the deeper problems in their relationship.

  8. I know it may seem inconceivable (yes, it means what I think it means) right now, but someday your description of a great night out won’t even contain the words binge, bender or juvenile, lol. True story.

  9. Shelby: I gave different examples because a guy’s ideal night out will vary depending on the guy. Sometimes it’s a night in playing video games. Other times it’s a night at the clubs/bars. But whatever it is, it should never involve cheating. Your example is completely moot because I never advocated infidelity or cheating. Ever. I don’t condone that.

    But you’re right in that I do condemn any woman who tries to mandate how their husband should act. Take, for example, a guy who works hard, takes care of his responsibilities at home and is a solid husband and father. Then he tells his wife he’d like one day a month (or hell, even once every two months) to be with his friends for a night of juvenile drinking, partying (with no cheating). And the wife gets all bent out of shape about it and makes him feel bad. Hell yes I shit on that wife. She sucks, she’s selfish and she’s being a bitch. I stand by that.

    JEE: I’m not in “frat mode” now. I want a night every once in a while to get stupid with my friends. I won’t skip my kid’s games, plays, parent-teacher conferences to do that, but I’ll always need that “me time.” Always. A great night out isn’t limited to those nights either, they’re just one of many. A great night is also a night spent with my wife and son.

    As for blaming the bitchy wives, I’ve seen it with own eyes. I know guys who say they want to come out occasionally but can’t because they don’t want to deal with the fallout at home when they even suggest it. It’s straight from the horse’s mouth. Now they very well may (and most likely do) have deeper issues in the relationship, but that doesn’t change the fact that what I’m describing happens. A lot.

  10. i see both sides of this… on the one hand, after having my 3 year old for the week, the last thing i want to hear is that my husband wants a saturday night out with his friends. it makes me roll my eyes. (just being honest.)

    on the other hand, my husband is happier, in the same way that i am happier, after getting some space and having a night off.

    i don’t think the “dadchelor party” or any other circumstances surrounding the night off even matter. if he wants to spend an evening at a movie with friends, then fine. if he wants to spend an evening in a bar with friends, then fine, but it’ll probably hurt a little more the next morning.

    i do remember going out with my husband to a work party for him, the friday before i was due to give birth (that monday morning). i was uncomfortable, HUGE, and sober but went for a while and then peaced out to go to bed. i told him to stay and enjoy the rest of the night and i made sure he had a ride home. a friend of mine walked me to my car and said how she could never imagine doing that with her husband. she said, “BUT YOU’RE LIKE 3 DAYS AWAY FROM HAVING A BABY!!!” and i said, “yeah, well, so is he and i can’t exactly party at the moment… so…”

    also, to say someone is in (or could be in) “frat mode” is a bit insulting.

  11. I was trying to agree with this post. But there are some inherent flaws in your logic. A “dadchelor party” is great, except it’s not fair. While your pregnant wife/fiance/girlfriend/partner sits at home feeling fat, bored, and out of sorts with herself. Sure she could go out with friends…but it’d be different, much different. If you want these last hurrah parties, they should happen for BOTH of you before you start trying for a baby…but that’s not really an option a lot of times.

    You said it yourself, life changes when you have a kid. For better, for worse, and for BOTH. Yes, BOTH parties need breaks and time to chose what they feel would be most refreshing for them. However, I find it hard to believe that a woman who would ask for a ladies’ night would deny a guys’ night…unless there were questionable activities going on. If there are women who demand ladies’ nights but don’t allow guys’ nights…let’s take a closer look at the dynamic before we start throwing punches. Is she home all day with the kids and rarely to never gets any kind of break? Is her ladies’ night really schmoozing with the PTA moms? Does he come home from guys’ night useless for the rest of the weekend? Does his work schedule make it difficult to do things as a family? Is he trying to get out of doing certain things by wanting a guys’ night? What is going on that is making her not want him to have a guys’ night? I would bet there’s a larger issue going on than her just being a bitch.

    That said, I think your language and judgmental comments have negated your argument. You’ve done a whole lot of jumping to conclusions. You made a half way respectful post then went for the gut at the very end. Some of the comments you’ve made to others here and to me on twitter indicate that you see this as black and white. Either a father is father of the year or a deadbeat. Either a wife is completely understanding/allowing or a nagging bitch. Rest assured, I know very few men who would qualify for either of those descriptions, as well as very few women who fit either of those descriptions.

    You started a debate, asked for people to weigh in, then got rude and nasty with respectful responses. But it’s cool, attack me and call me rude.

    FWIW–neither my husband nor I continue to have guys’/girls’ nights. For OUR family and dynamic, we find it disrespectful to exclude the other and we find little joy in engaging in activities without the other with us. That’s just how we see it and my husband would tell you the same. It’s been that way for years and certainly didn’t change when our son was born. I’m not saying that works for every family or that’s how every family should operate. Every family is different and has different dynamics and should be treated as such.

  12. Tina: Oh please. This was hardly disrespectful. If you can’t handle this discussion it’s best not to come back here, because this is tame.

    Of course every instance will vary depending on the people involved. I’ve admitted as much. But I am talking specifically about wives who do not want their husbands going out alone with his friends. That’s it. That’s my narrow focus. And I find any woman (or man) who actively seeks to disallow the other person time with friends to be pretty friggin horrible.

    The situation with you and your husband is different. You both willingly and mutually agreed to that arrangement. Therefore there’s (apparently) no resentment or desire for time alone. If that’s how you guys want it, more power to you. I personally don’t think it’s healthy to NEVER have time without the other person. Should there be dates and family time? Hell yes. More often than that. But it is only human to want some time for yourself every once in a while. When I got married I didn’t sign my life over to my wife or cut all ties with my friends. Hell, half the time MJ comes out with me and I don’t mind having her there at all. But other times I need time with my buddies. A lot of guys are the same way, and it’s not a negative or disrespectful thing.

  13. I’m laughing at the whole debate. Stay married for about 20 years, and either of you will be happy if anyone just asks you to go anywhere. And if you “find little joy in engaging in activities without the other” – good for you. I just hope some day you don’t have to send out a search party to look for yourself. It’s not about “excluding” the other person. It is about friendship and relaxing and having fun. I guess I just don’t get the whole “we only have fun with each other” thing. After 34 years of marriage, my wife looks for places to send me.

  14. I think it depends all the way around. Flat out denying going out? No that’s not right. But a bachelor party debauchary? I’m sorry but that’s childish and unnecessary. This is why women protest the night out. Seriously, does a man need to get wasted and have strippers before a baby is born? It sends the message that 1) only he can have fun because his life is going to be hell afterwards. Really? You mean the 9 month pregnant wife who can’t drink, party, dance, let alone get off the couch because she’s physically miserable then going into pain/labor, after birth pain, staying up at night feedings, etc–SHE doesn’t deserve a night out?

    And 2) I think the whole “party until you drop because my life will be over” is the wrong message to give to your wife, your baby, and yourself. You’re life isn’t over. It’s different. Sure it sucks at times but it’s also going to be beautiful, fun, amazing, and lots of memories. Why put the label of negativity around something beautiful?

    I say go out with friends before and after the baby. You need it. But so does she. And you two need to party together as a married couple.

    Just remember its’ not you who is “suffering”. You both will at some points.

    And in the beginning, I’m sorry, the first 3 mo, espec with your first one suck the most. It’s really not the time to say I’m outta here, have fun by yourself. My DH tried pulling that shit after 4 days of being home. Hell our first day home he was all “I have to watch football”. I’m sorry that was bullshit. It hasn’t changed. And now with most of my women friends, they’re on the same path. They NEVER want to go anywhere, but especially just the girls. Pisses me off and I’m bored as shit.

    Women just get in their minds that it’s non stop responsibility and parenting. I want to hit my best friend over the head, hand our 2 year old over to my DH on a Sat. night, and force her to go to a club. She won’t. And if she does, her DH has to come with.

    Love him and all but….

  15. And by the way, my DH goes golfing, after work bar talk with the guys, and this weekend is going all day/all night out with his best friend—biking, lunch, dinner, drinking, more drinking, toaking, and then a concert. Yes I’m jealous as all shit. I asked my friend to come over with her DH AND KID. And even then she’s all “we have to pack for our vacation” Which is TWO WEEKS FROM NOW. She just can’t get enough family/baby time. Ugh.

    And when I did go out with her (it’s been 8 months since I’ve had girl time), kid, DH and a group of friends, I was having a great time gaming. Then my dad winds up with his heart stopping and I had to leave.

    That’s how it goes. DH has fun. I get to spend 8 hours in an ER with two bitchy parents.

    Yes. My life sucks.

  16. So, I never comment on these things but, as a stay at home Mom to three kids, I can offer a little perspective on this. I got married in my early 20’s. 2 kids and a divorce later. 3 yrs single. Recently remarried and have a 1yr old baby. Let me say this…I have lost so many of my girlfriends because their husbands no longer want them to go out. My first husband worked at night, and I have always been ok with evenings out with friends. My girlfriends spouses thought that was weird and I lost a small handful during those yrs, with the majority being lost after I got divorced. I actually had friends (and sometimes their husbands) tell me that they didn’t want their wives “influenced” by my suddenly single status! Women get the “you’re a wife and a mom now” lecture FAR more than men do. This is because men/husbands don’t/wouldn’t want their wives doing on a girls night what they would do on a boys night….whatever that may be. It’s all fine and
    good to meet a girlfriend in the daylight hours for a playdate at the park or the starbucks (make
    sure its one located in/near your local supermarket or that could be a debate) but not during the
    “witching” hrs! They get the “honey, I worked all day and your going to go out while I babysit?”
    lecture (FYI guys..it’s not called babysitting when it’s your own kids!) or the “all you do all day is
    play with the kids and see friends” lecture. Trust me guys, going to Gymboree and seeing other
    moms there is NOT relaxing or considered “girl time”. I know women who are weary of even going
    to lunch with another mom & kids for fear that this would be considered “girl time”. I
    have never had ANY issue with men having boys nights, but I’m telling you (and you guys could
    be part of the very small percentage) men…single, divorced, married… don’t reciprocate this with
    their women. If they do (or try) it comes with the lecture (pre and post night out) 20 questions
    before walking out the door and the 20 phone calls/text messages while out. God forbid we do
    the same for fear if being accused of being a shrewd bitch! Moral of the story…be consistent. If
    you find going out with your friends makes for a better relationship..do it, but be fair. More often
    than not, a spouses declaration of needing time to go out WITHOUT each other after years of
    being together, babies etc. is a red flag. Btw, going out CAN be fun with your spouse and couple friends. They do not need to be reserved for the weekly one hr dinner at the CPK down the street
    guys! They will actually let you into clubs bars, resorts etc with the wife AND friends in tow. Hell…they will even serve you a drink or two LOL!

  17. LK: First of all, can we just stop with the strippers? No one has advocated for or is advocating for strippers. They are not part of the equation. Second, you’re right that women need the same opportunity. I agree 100%. It’s too bad your friends feel they can’t go out, that sucks.

    Nicole: Couldn’t agree more. Well said on all accounts. That’s why I stressed that anyone—man or woman—telling their spouse not to go out with their friends is absolutely shitty. It’s all about equal opportunity.

  18. You just commented that both men and women should have the same opportunity yet the post is all about “shrewd bitch”. It’s very disrespectful to assume you know what’s going on in others relationships … its so not black and white and this coming from a woman that does not police her husband’s time at all (no comments no calls no guilt). Your post comes off very woman haterish.

  19. Kate: That’s because I was talking specifically about women not liking their guys going out. Since this is a personal blog and I’m a guy, I write from the perspective I know. Plus, the original article about “Dadchelor” parties was about women being upset about their husbands having a night out with the guys.

    Every relationship is complex and I’m not pretending to know every intricate detail of what’s going on. But that doesn’t change the FACT that I’ve seen wives who never want their husband to have a night out. And these are good guys who work hard in and outside of the home. So I’ll agree with you that when I’m talking about these specific women, my tone is woman haterish. Because I truly hate that kind of behavior and mindset.

  20. Well here’s a scenario you didn’t think of: My husband and I happened to know (years ago; they got divorced) a couple where the guy who would blame his wife whenever HE didn’t feel like going out with his friends for one reason or another, and was too chicken-shit to say so. He’d say “my wife wants me home” or “my wife needs me to watch the kids tonight” when really he didn’t even call her to let her know he’d been invited anywhere, he’d just make her look like a shrew so he’d have a quick excuse. Cause I guess “I don’t feel like it tonight” or “I don’t want to come to your house” doesn’t always work? When the wife found out what the husband was doing, she wasn’t too happy. This was years ago, and like I said, they got divorced. The man was a spineless fish, but not because he didn’t “stand up to” his wife. Because he couldn’t be honest with his friends.

  21. Shelby: That guy is spineless. I can’t stand that behavior either.

    But the examples in my own personal life have come from first-hand observation. I wasn’t just getting the guy’s side of things, I actually saw and heard their arguments with my own eyes and ears. These women were not shy about how they felt and had no problem expressing it outright.

  22. I used to be the “schrewed bitch” but my husband understood completely. I was insecure…had little self worth and a lot of bad drama in my life. I needed consistency to stay balanced. I regained my confidence and now I think it’s hot that he wants man time…but he undestands why I felt that way. That’s a different story than just wanting to get away for a little while which we all do. Regardless of my insecurities, my husband did what I wished because he knew it was what I needed at the time-even though it sucked for him…he respected my feelings and would rather make me happy than to deal with my anxiety and fears after…

    Its really different now. I have had a series of great things happen to me including some self confidence and a little more money to do extra activities with.

    I am not saying it doesn’t suck for the “spineless guy” or for his friend. But I think it sucks for the woman who feels so bad about herself she doesn’t want her man to go out. There’s probably mroe behind the whole story of that guy. Some times there is the occasional woman who just doesn’t want the guy to have fun, but my guess is, there’s probably more reason to it.

  23. Hi,

    Thank you for posting this. I have a friend who is forbidden from seeing any of his friends (male or female) at any time unless it’s at the girlfriend’s instigation, in her company (which is basically never). I’m talking about yelling at him when he talked to a friend in the hallway on the way to a class. They’re not even married (we’re all still in college), but she is completely in control at all times. I just found out today that they got engaged, which is a major bummer, as he has basically signed the rest of his life over to her, and it’s the end for his friends, and even as much of his family as she can get away with. This post reminds me that, although your primary responsibility should of course be your family, there has to be a balance, with friends or hobbies or what have you. You need it, and your family needs it. Otherwise it’s unhealthy. You have a wonderful blog about parenting, but it’s good that you appreciate the importance of outside fun too!

  24. Honestly, this whole thing annoys me a bit. Both sides.

    Kate- I agree. I wanted to agree with the whole post but I felt offended by the idea that I might ask (not command) my husband not to go out (because I’m sick or pregnant and need him home) and get called a shrewd bitch. That said, I would not do it for every instance, but I might make a request if I am especially tired/in pain/etc.

    Shelby-I agree that this can happen and does happen more than you men would like to think. In two ways. Some men blame their wives because it is more acceptable socially for a woman to not want her man to go out than for the man to not want to. Also likely- a man blowing something out of proportion because he is shooting shit with his friends. “Yeah the she-bitch didn’t want me to come out, but FUCK HER” when really it was “Heyyy we have an appointment at 7 am tomorrow morning, could you maybe not go out tonight, or at least come home early?” Who the hell knows. You weren’t there when they talked about it.

    These problems always come down to poor communication between husband and wife. I don’t give a shit what other couples decide, as long as they decide together. If my friends’ husband won’t let her go out I’d be livid. If they have a kid under 1 and they decided for the first year they need to stay in, fine. I don’t care.

    As for going out when your wife is pregnant, WOMEN STFU. I am 4.5 months pregnant and I would kill for a beer right now. So making my husband stay home and suffer with me when he is physically able to go out and have a good time is a little evil. If he is completely ignoring his duties as a husband and father, going out every night, not talking to me, I think thats a different issue. But none of this actually comes down to one specific way to handle something.

    Just freaking talk to each other. If my husband wants to go out for a Dadchelor party, go for it. As long as I can get a night out sans kids a couple months after I pop one out. Parenting and marriage are tradeoffs and partnerships.

  25. I agree with what Teresa said- I think unfortunately a lot of it comes down to perspective and the difference between how men and women think about things. I wish my husband had the opportunity for a “guy’s night” more often, but since he stinks at planning ahead and his friends do as well, they don’t happen very often. When I get a girl’s night out- it’s planned weeks in advance, arrangements are made, schedules are cleared, etc. and my husband is given the info as soon as the date is nailed down so he can put it in his calendar. My husband normally calls at 5 pm to say “the guys are going out for a beer after work” meanwhile forgetting that our son was just at the docs getting his booster shots and is going to be extra cranky, we have a busy weekend ahead of us, i had errands i need to run and he has the car, and his beer or 2 means my 12 hour day just turned into a 16+ hour day, oh and i have to worry about his long-ass commute made more complicated by the fact that he’s had a few drinks. So, saying, no boys night tonight babe doesn’t make me, or any other wife,a shrew bitch. It seems to me that those details are often left out in the re-telling of these tales of “nagging wives”. My husband usually gripes but then will ‘fess up that he realizes it wasn’t fair of him to spring that on me last minute. The guys, OTOH probably think I’m a major PITA but whatever I’m not their wife, and my husband is my husband/father first, their friend second.

    When I was pregnant I encouraged my husband to go out often, I figured what the hell I’m crashing at 8 pm anyway what do I care what he’s doing, if I’m asleep anyway. So I have no beef with a dadchelor party concept (pre 36 weeks, at least). But once the kid is there- as a dad your first responsibility is being home with your kid, and finding ways to refresh yourself around what works best for your family.

    So- for all the guys out there who are upset they don’t get more “man time” think about what you can do to make it happen in a way that doesn’t upset your family’s schedule. Work with your wife. Don’t be afraid to use a calendar. Spontaneity is great, but unrealistic once you have a kid.

  26. Sara: I agree with you. Mostly.

    Common courtesy and common sense when it comes to going out are mandatory. We both agree here. But you lose me when you say “Spontaneity is great, but unrealistic once you have a kid.” That’s just not true, or at least it shouldn’t be true.

    Yes you need to plan more, but having a kid doesn’t mean spontaneity is erased from your life completely. I surprise my wife and son with little trips all the time. From things as small as going for ice cream to as big as a weekend away. And from a personal standpoint, there are absolutely times when work or personal friends are going out for a drink or two and I go with them. Even if Will was crabby my wife NEVER tells me not to go unless she absolutely needs me home. Because she knows I’ll make it up to her in short order. Obviously if I’m doing that 2-3 times a week it’s unacceptable, but every once in awhile is no big deal at all.

    So I agree that saying “no, not tonight” to that doesn’t make someone a shrew bitch. But never allowing for any spontaneity whatsoever simply because you have a family? At the very least it makes one uptight and fairly unreasonable, in my opinion.
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  27. heh. i’m a pretty… scheduled… person. something my husband knew about when he married me (and something he often tells me he appreciates, btw). spontaneous family ice cream dates- great. spontaneous bar nights? not so great. to each their own, i guess. if your wife isn’t upset/thrown-off by spontaneous guy nights then that’s cool and nice for you, but you’ve come down really hard on wives who aren’t as laid back. I s’pose that you can be open to those nights out if it would really work for your family that evening, as long as you can respect that every marriage is different and every couple negotiates things differently, rather than knee-jerking that if a wife says “no dice” for certain outings she’s doing it for the joy of busting his balls and he must be miserable.

    Obviously, I shouldn’t have said you can’t be spontaneous EVERAGAIN if you have kids, but I will say parents should accept that the odds are significantly decreased- and you need to be ok with that (or negotiate how this kinds of things willl be handled) before you make the decision to become a parent. I think the biggest problem is when couples DON’T talk about how they expect their relationship with friends/family/partners to change after kids.

  28. Sara: My wife is a scheduler (is that a word?) too. And a list-maker. I get what you’re saying. But just out of curiosity, was your husband a very spontaneous person when you guys were married? If not, then yes he knew he was marrying someone who loved to schedule. But if he’s always been spontaneous, then you knew that about him too. I only point this out because far too often (and I’m not saying this is the case in your marriage) wives say “Well I was like this when we got married” without realizing the reverse is true.

    Lastly, I just want to be clear I was only coming down hard on wives who NEVER let their husbands hang out alone with friends. Not those on the middle ground like yourself, but the extremes. As well as lamenting the fact that the extreme examples (among couples strictly in my own life) are creeping further and further into the mainstream.

    But yes, I agree totally that problems arise when communication doesn’t take place.

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