My wife is frequently “the life of the party.” She tells stories about our courtship, our engagement, our life together, etc. and holds everyone’s attention.
She almost can’t help it, because she’s very funny, and everyone around starts laughing and enjoying themselves.
So, what’s the problem? I’m often the butt of her anecdotes - like, when she relates how I said after our first date, “I’m going to marry you” ... and then tells what her response was:
“Don’t be silly. Why would I marry you? I love my life right now.”
Her next line is always, “When he properly proposed to me, I did say “Yes...But...” More laughter.
We’ve been married 25-plus years and have two adult children and she still can hold a group’s attention throughout a gathering.
Her new line, which she “stole” from me is, “He wakes up and says, “Good morning. I’m sorry....” (leaving it open to guess about what). More laughter.
We love each other or we’d never have made it together this long. I’ve sometimes felt hurt by the way her stories always have me as the fool. But I also see that people love her for entertaining them, and they leave us feeling upbeat.
Still, I wonder if I appear weak to my children or other men when everyone’s laughing at me.
Our marriage relationship remains pretty good - I could say, as many male comics have done, that “we’re a well-balanced team - I spend most of my life working and she spends most of our money...”
But I wouldn’t do it, because she might be more deeply hurt than I’ve been. She can be very sensitive.
Should I just keep laughing with everyone else? Or is it time I spoke up about the effect of her party humour on me?
Twenty-five years together is a wonderful milestone, especially as you not only mention the love between you but also appreciate that your wife’s humour is intended to keep friends/family happy and feeling good.
Removing her social spotlight could change an aspect of her personality which she obviously needs.
Still, your feelings/needs must be considered. Initiate a discussion about this, gently. Say how proud you feel that she brings so much laughter into others’ lives. But say that you wonder if others only see you as the fool. That phrase alone should make her aware of your feelings.
Immediately suggest that, after so many years, there are new stories that are very humorous...e.g., how technology befuddles her (only if it’s true), or how your dogs (or cats/children/ whatever) “rule” your household, etc.
While trying to interest her in new material, casually remark that most people you know have already heard the old stories.
By encouraging her entertaining ability, she may appreciate your coming on board to help and promote her, especially in light of your revealing the effect on your self-image.
Reader’s Commentary More regarding the woman Sexually Rejected (March 11):
“My marriage ended as a result of sexual rejection spanning several years. His answer for a reason was identical to that of your previous letter-writer "You take too long to climax."
“This passive-aggressive response blaming the other partner, messages: "It’s not worth it to make an effort for you," or "You’re no longer attractive to me."
“The couple must discover the underlying sexual/non-sexual issues causing that hurtful response. Is the husband getting gratification elsewhere? Or harbouring resentments towards his wife?
“Unless they have more honest and open communication, the marriage will end.”
My adult children don’t have kids yet but reject my chosen future moniker. I love Italy and hope to become "Nonna" to differentiate from the other Canadian/UK grandparents.
All my children have partners with similar genealogy, mostly 3rd/4th generation Canadian.
My kids think my ask is "cultural appropriation." My best friend (second-generation Italian) and her mom disagree. I relish my future as a grandmother but must I succumb to my kids’ preference?
I was blessed with long-living grandparents, so always had to ask "Grandma Who?" or "Which one?"
How can we achieve consensus on this extremely minor disagreement compared to current world events?
Stay with your wise, world-events’ awareness and perspective last mentioned. You can always tell future grandkids to “secretly” call you “Nonna” and face the backlash.
Meanwhile, enjoy your ongoing relationship with your adult children without pressing this wish for grandchildren yet-to-come.
Tip of the day:
Humour is a gift to yourself and others, but not to those it also mocks/hurts.