When we first meet Mr. Right, he sweeps us off our feet, he is attentive 24/7, and replies to messages instantly. Then, as complacency creeps in, we realize our fiercest rival is not his ex-girlfriend, but an innocuous-looking PSP, basketball games on that wide-screen TV, Facebook, or playing with dolls, er, action figures. When the time and money he spends on his black hole hobby becomes a source of friction, perhaps an intervention is in order.
Here are some tips on how to support your guy’s interests, while helping keep them from getting out of hand.
Make room for the other love of his life
Does your guy completely lose track of time when he’s with his (other) love? The way we see it, it gives us more time to spend with hobbies of our own, or Downton Abbey marathons.
Instead of getting annoyed or insecure, makeup artist Cathy Cantada-Dizon chooses to be supportive of her hubby’s wild passion for motorbikes. “Dante (a creative director at Leo Burnett) really enjoys finding vintage bikes and fixing them up. It's not just a hobby, but pretty much part of his life. I just keep telling him to be very careful when he rides. If there are days when he just wants to ride his bike alone or with friends, I let him. It's who he is, and if pinagbawalan ko siya, it's like telling him to be someone that he's not.”
Meanwhile, graphic designer Cynthia Bauzon Arre, who is married to comic book writer-artist/animator Arnold Arre, says, “One thing that causes a little friction is his habit of buying expensive action figures. He says he sees them as art since they're technically ‘sculptures’ so him buying these toys can be likened to people collecting art and paintings. Daw.” But Cynthia is learning to accept this habit, because toys give him such joy. “You should see him—he acts like a kid when he spots a ‘rare’ item! I love seeing him happy like that.
Cathy shares, “[Dante’s hobby] can get expensive sometimes, but I'm lucky he doesn't put his bikes ahead of his ‘responsibilities.’ And if he needs something for his bike, he really saves up for it.” Unfortunately, not all guys have Dante’s sense of responsibility or budgeting skills, so that’s when you have to step in.
It’s best to discuss and agree on a reasonable amount he can spend for his interests every month so that your basic needs aren’t compromised. Early on, determine who will hold the purse strings in the family, but also agree to keep each other in check when spending gets out of hand.
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When opposites attract (for example, a morning person marrying a night owl), something’s gotta give. Shares Cynthia, “When we first started dating, Arn’s schedule went like this: wake up at 4 PM, pick me up from the office by 7 PM, go home by 12 MN, work on his comics 'til 9 AM. That used to drive me bananas but after getting married we reached a happy compromise. Now I've learned to work at night, and he's learned to wake up ‘early’—meaning, 9 AM. It took a couple of years for us to reach this middle ground.” Advises Cynthia, “Be willing to compromise and make adjustments that suit the two of you. That way, both of you will be happy.”
Understanding occupational hazards
Your hubby’s job can also pose its own set of problems, especially if your partner is obsessive about his work. It helps when you are in the same industry, like theatre actors Gold Soon and Jamie Wilson (most recently seen in the local stage productions of The Full Monty and Rock of Ages). “I have a unique understanding of what our line of work requires. The weirdest thing I've had to put up with is people asking for autographs or asking to take pictures with Jamie. It's a little uncomfortable especially when a girl comes up and asks to take a picture with him and asks me to step aside. I deal with it by remembering that it's part and parcel of our line of work. At the end of the day, we do what we do because we love to entertain and educate people through theatre.”
Also read: Work Disasters to Avoid
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em
Polly Fong, birth photographer at Oh Happy Day Birth Photography, shares that her freelance copywriter hubby Marc geeks out on everything from comics, graphic novels, video games, and science (“yes, SCIENCE”), to NBA and NBA Fantasy League (“it’s the closest he’ll ever come to actually playing the sport”). Polly adds, “He is on practically every social media platform there is, and he has to be, since he's also a daddy blogger (thefatherland.blogspot.com).” When you genuinely enjoy your guy’s interests, it can be the best way to bond. Says Polly, “I find it fascinating. Because of him, my own inner geek has come out as well. So as long as I'm in the ‘inner circle,’ there is no problem.”
The time bandit
Here comes the but. “Marc's as hands-on as hands-on daddies can get—he's a daddy blogger after all, let’s maintain some integrity—but there still are times when the kids really want to be with him and he'd rather play with his own ‘toys.’” As long as he puts in his fair share of parenting, Polly lets it slide. “When you become a parent and you're given the simple task of, let's see, molding a decent human being, you need to have your thing. Because parenthood will drive you off the deep end. And so—and here are the ground rules—for as long as he's not cheating on me, not neglecting us, not disconnected from us, and not a bum, I let him have his thing.”
At the end of the day, supporting your man’s interests is all about love, mutual respect, patience, understanding, and compromise. Says Polly: “He's very supportive of my interests and lets me do my thing. [So I] Play fair.”
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