'Guy Time'... What Are the 'Rules' in Your House?

Updated on June 07, 2010
R.D. asks from Richmond, VA
22 answers

My BF enjoys fishing... no big deal. He works extremely hard and deserves a little self time, even guy time. I have been trying to be more lenient about this, but it is beginning to get out of hand. He doesn't understand that he is prioritizing fishing and time with his buddies over spending time with ME and our family. In the past 7 days, he has been fishing after work (or for 6+ hours on his days off) 5 out of the 7 days. Am I making a big deal out of nothing? How do you manage self time in YOUR house? Meaning, what is a fair compromise? When I have spare time, I'd prefer to spend it with my BF and family because I feel like we never get to do anything together anymore. Like I said, he definately deserves to do something he enjoys, but I feel like this is becoming more important to him than spending any time with me, and it hurts (after all, who works harder than a mother with a full time job and 3 kids?!) Any advise or suggestions are welcome :) Thanks ladies!

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answers from Dallas on

Yes, his priorities are off.

But, have you thought/asked to go fishing with him (bringing the kids too)? If you were to begin enjoying his hobby, he may include you from time-to-time.

I agree that one day a week is fair. Family first, after all.

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answers from New York on

Ok R. I just read your profile and various other questions you had asked. Your two older kids are from your ex and the new baby is your boyfriends. So he does have a vested interest in this family and is all about himself. But in one of your past posts you also said you and he were going to couples counseling and having a difficult time, that was in May. Are you still going? If so you can talk to the counselor to plan out a fair compromise so you both get "time off" and time together. I think trouble is still brewing and your BF is going off on his own to avoid you and your problems with him. Since you are 26 I am assuming he is in that age range or younger and is immature. If you are no longer in counseling it is time for a sit down. Tell him your concerns (without emotions), ask him why he is not being a proper dad to his son, the baby, and I think you need to find out if he feels any responsibility towards your daughters. Maybe he thinks they are not his so he doesn't have to put in the time. Also find out how committed he is. I am not saying get married, as people have committed relationships for years and unwed, but find out where he stands with you and your future. Fishing 5 days out of 7??? Yea he is avoiding you BIG time, find out what is going on.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

No way! My husband and I each get a "night off" every week to go out with friends or do whatever. Usually on the weekends we'll each get an hour or two to go off on our own for errands or my pedicures or whatnot. Everything else is negotiable depending on special occasions. For instance -every week my husband plays darts on Tuesday nights. I go out with friends one other night of the week, Next week, however, he will play darts on Tuesday and I told him I didn't mind if he went to dinner with a friend on Thursday because I'm going to be gone all day and night Saturday night for some friend's birthdays and a girl's night. We each get to sleep in one weekend day while the other gets up and deals with the kids. We also either go out together once a week or at least have some quality time together on the deck with some wine and Scrabble or just talking once a week.

Your BF should NOT be spending that amount of time doing anything extracurricular! He should go fishing once -MAYBE TWICE per week. I grew up with a father and both sides of my parent's families who are all avid fisherman. No one fished that much. My dad is retired and my mother is dead and he STILL rarely fishes ever day! What's the point in being in a relationship if one of you spends all of the spare time fishing (or anything else)?

I have to ask this -although if he's living with you and the children he needs to fulfill that commitment -but are the kids his? Are you two engaged or just seeing how things go? He may not feel the obligation and want/need to spend as much time with the family if the kids don't belong to him. It's possible he just sees you as his girlfriend -not his wife. He should be spending more time with you though!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

my husband used to enjoy fishing. i was ok with it, but soon his work took over most of his time, and whatever is left he spends with us. he likes yard work, so when he's outside kids go with him. i have my own friends and do stuff with them and our kids. there is no guy time or me time or separate time otherwise.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i think you have to look at the bigger picture. if fishing is good right now, he may be taking more than his 'fair share' but if he is with you most of the winter, then it probably balances out. i hear your hurt, though.
tackling this can be sticky. you don't want to be needy and naggy, but you do have a right to make your feelings known.
i suggest you take some time to be very introspective and see how your 'friend' time (or 'alone' time as the case may be, some of us need a lot of solitude to recharge our batteries) looks in the overall scheme of things. if he is staying home out of duty and resentment and feels a welcome respite when he's with friends, there needs to be a sea-change in order for him to REALLY change his priorities, not just go along with your desires. if he is truly happy at home and just reveling in this brief fun time with the guys, i'd back off and let him have a blast, with love and humor. and make sure to take your girl time too when the schedule permits.
my dh generally socializes mostly with us, so i love it and encourage it when he makes plans with friends.
i hope you can find a happy balance. i'm betting that you can.
:) khairete

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My husband has a 'scheduled' guys night twice a month. Other than that, if things pop up, its not a big deal, since it's only about once a week or so. I feel that its not the amount of time, but whether or not it interfears with your family time, and with you, it clearly is. You should say something! Good Luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Sounds to me like he IS showing you his priorities. Perhaps, that is why he has not married you also. Actions speak louder than words. My husband and I don't make rules for each other, but we also don't feel the need to have "guy and gal time" either. Yes, I know mothers work hard, but we are not the only ones who work hard too. Maybe you are being over bearing and he truly needs a break from you and that is why he is gone so much. Maybe think about how you are treating him and change what you are doing and he may see you changing and will change himself.

P.S. My husband just sent this link to me with a message saying..." One of the reasons we have a great marriage. Sad others don't realize this".


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

In my opinion, he does need guy time, but 5 out of 7 days wouldn't be allowed in my house. 6+ hours for fishing? Thats something that can be enjoyed for less than that. I would discuss it with him and let him know that although you don't mind his time away, it has gotten to be accessive. Ask him to pick 2 days a week, the same 2 days every week that he goes fishing. You'll always know what days to expect it. Another option, ask to take you and the kids fishing too. You may all enjoy it together.

Also, don't forget to get your own time. I have a girls night 1 time per month to have dinner and see a movie. We have a great time, and it helps to get away and have adult time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

My husband has enjoyed golfing way before he met me. He golfs 6 times a month and goes out with the men 2 times a month and that is just fine with me. We have plenty of family time.

Now when he was my BF he used to take week long trips a few times a year, golf a lot more than he does now. He used to go with buddies all the time. I think maybe because he is your BF and not your husband he has more freedom. I don't know if your children are his also. But if so I feel fishing a couple of times a week is ok, as long as you get some time to do what you like. Family time is a priority when children are involved.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Though our schedules change based on needs, I would say generally, we each have the opportunity (whether we exercise it or not) to:

*Have a 2-4 hour time away from home & family once a week (golf or shopping, etc.
*Trade off evenings where we get an hour of "downtime" but at home (meaning, I might choose to read on the patio while he gets bath time taken care of)
*Have 1 evening a month for a girls/guys-nite out type of activity (i.e. poker nite or celebrating a girlfriends post grad grad).

BTW -- We also balance this out with couple time. We make sure to find an evening for a movie or a game of cribbage once a week and then a date night once a month.

But that's what right for us. We've been together for 15 years (married 11) and our kids are getting older/easier (9 & almost 5) and so we have had the time to find a routine that works. It wasn't always so easy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

My husband and I have an agreement that he is home for dinner every night because we have young children, and eating together is important. Right now, our kids are infants, and so I need him home a little more often than I used to. I suspect when the kids are a little older, we'll go back to the routine we had before the kids came along, which was that my husband had a guy's night out about once a week.

I do think it makes a difference whether or not your kids are also your boyfriend's kids, or whether you are long-term cohabiting with the intention of marriage, things like this. If the answer to both is no, then I'm not sure what influence you have to insist your boyfriend come home. You could tell him how important it is to you, but if he doesn't care, you'll have to decide if it is a deal breaker. However, if the answer to those questions is yes, you need to sit down and have a long talk with him about the importance of family time, of being together in the evenings after work so that the kids get to see him and continue to build bonds together, etc. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

We don't have any rules in our house. We just try to be courteous of each other's feelings. Our standard weekly events consist of his hockey games (between 1-3 a week which are an hour long plus commute, changing time etc... & sometimes going out with the team afterward) and he goes to happy hour with a friend every week for about 2-3 hours. I have girls' night every week for 3-4 hours which is a standard. Other than that we just talk to each other. Many of our activities, including most hockey games, are after our child is in bed. This schedule allows for the other to get some quiet time home too which is important to us. Sometimes I want to go see a movie or he wants to go play golf so we talk about it and see if it fits. 95% of the time it does so we go do it. I can't recall a time in which one of us has ever said no to each other. We know what needs to be done at home and what our child needs and that always comes first. We spend several days a week home together watching our favorite shows on DVR or just hanging out together. We spend lots of family time together before our daughter goes to bed and typically we have at least one family activity per weekend. We both need time to ourselves or out with our friends to get away and recharge. I don't feel that's unreasonable.

I feel that your boyfriend should be more considerate of you and want to spend more time with your family. You should also have some time out with friends or doing something you enjoy. It's important to have time away from each other and away from family. It really allows you to enjoy and appreciate your family so much more!!

Maybe you guys should have a heart to heart and see what's going on and why he wants to spend so much time away from the family. Most husbands I know can't wait to get home to their families at the end of the day. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fort Wayne on

I think you've posted about this before, right? I remember you saying that he wanted to go all the time and you didn't want him to go at all, but you had reached a compromise of every weekend? or every other weekend? I can't remember. Anyway..that's really excessive in my opinion. I totally disagree with the person that said you are being clingy. I don't think it's too much to ask that your BF spend some time with his family. In fact, if my husband were out fishing that much, I would probably EXPLODE! Our rule is one day a month for each of us. So, if he golfs on a Saturday afternoon, then the next weekend I get to go do something alone. That leaves us two entire weekends to spend with our kids. We both agreed on that set up a long time ago. Honestly, we hardly ever do anything unless we do it as a family.
If he's gone every single night, he's not being fair to you or the kids. I know he loves fishing, but there has to be limits. Good luck to you., R.! I really hope you guys can work things out!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

in my fantasy world it's once a week for each of us, mom and dad.



answers from Seattle on

I'm sure they exist somewhere... but I have never met a fisherman who didn't spend every spare moment on the river or in the boat.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Te way things work in our house is my husband and I are both adults and we kind o monitor our OWN activities. We don't have "rules" and I would be leery of anyone who needs their hubby to abide by "rules"! If this is an issue, it is not going to change. The more you harp, the less time he will want to be home spending time with you.



answers from New York on

All guys need guy time and all woman need women time. I've read several articals that suggest each partner get one evening or afternoon a week to do guy time or woman time, and each get a few hours of me time which may need to be broken up, like an hour every other evening.

You didn't mention if this is a live in BF and if he is the father of your children. There's a huge difference between a husband, a boyfriend in a committed relationship, and just a boyfriend. It sounds like this is just a boyfriend, in that case, what he's doing is perfectly normal and reasonable. However, if this is the father of the children, then he needs to spend more time with them and the 2 of you need to have a long conversation and set up a schedule that meets both your needs.



answers from Richmond on

I'm sorry.....but there's a definitely "theme" here. I mean.....how many times are you going to post questions about your BF not being a part of the "family unit"? I'm not trying to be mean or anything but does it need to hit you head on to see it? I've worked long and hard to get my husband to become my "partner" and not just someone who co-exists in the house. It's still a struggle but he definitely is my partner and does his fair share in the house and with the kids. He is conscious of "what needs to be done", "when do I need to be home to do this/that" etc. He definitely gets more time out of the house/to himself and with friends than I do but it all works out. Good luck!



answers from Des Moines on

My husband has decided to take his guy time when it doesn't take away from family time. He'll go out after the kids are in bed or before they get up in the morning or when they are napping. We also take turns with having one on one time with the kids and. I'll admit our relationship has taken a backseat to the kids... as much as we swore that would never happen. But really this is about his priorities - wherever he spends his time, that's his priority. But you are going to have to talk to him about this respectfully - if you start nagging and yelling it's going to make those quiet fish all the more appealing.


answers from Kansas City on

He's not a child or a dog. The very fact that you said you try to be "lenient" means you are looking at your power in this relationship all wrong. If fishing is what is making him happy for the moment, find something else to make you happy (reasonable, I'm not saying an affair)! Be a grown up about it. Relationships and marriage are not prisons.

I've been married for 25 years and I shouldn't give a lot of relationship advice. Our years together have been rocky for various reasons. But I've never been clingy and I couldn't abide by being married to a clingy man. Thank GOD that we can't add that to our list of problems. We have overcame many of our problems, most even. Most of the problems have disappeared through the years because we have both matured.

You need to watch Joyce Meyers. She tells of stories where she used to cry and try to manipulate her husband into doing what she wanted. You will hear her talk about the "What about me?" problem so many people have.

You'll never stay in a relationship or marriage unless you realize that you two are individuals as well as a couple. Why would any man want to hang around a self-absorbed, clingy woman that wants to boss him and mother him?


answers from Norfolk on

My husband enjoys spending time with me and our son. He especially likes getting the boat out and us all going tubing together. We spent a long time courting and by the time we were married, we pretty much wanted to be together and we were so over wanting lots of time with our respective buddies. We have our hobbies. He likes to teach basic pistol safety at the range once a month and he works out at the gym for an hour or two after work every day. I like puttering about in the garden. Your boyfriend is not ready to settle down and be happy with family life and you can't force him to.



answers from Richmond on

honey, look. it sounds to me like fishing is not the only thing he is doing.
i really doubt that the guy is honestly just fishing. i could be wrong, but i doubt it. rather that wait for him to get home from his "fishing trip", drop the kids off at a friends house, and ask to go with him, if he starts making excuses, then you have a good clue that he is not really just fishing. dont bother to ask about counseling, just the next time he says he is going fishing, dont sit there and wait for him to come back, drop the kids off at a friends house and go do something for yourself. hes a big boy, he can deal.
K. h.

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