QUESTION: My husband and I have been married for two years. Just over a year ago he started having 2 "Guy Nights" each month. Him and about 6 of his friends will get together of these nights and either shoot pool, play poker or go to sporting events (Yankees, Knicks, Nets, Islanders, Jets, Giants). I think he's trying to get away from me. I've asked him if I can go once in while and he usually finds a way not to answer me until he's on his way out the door. Tell me Chuck and Garland, what is he thinking? Is there a problem between us that he's not telling me?
GARLAND: OH! Let me get this one first - Chuck!!!
Thanks for the E-Mail!!! This is a great question for Chuck and I, because we are in a small group of friends that have a once a month "Men's Night!" It's a Poker Night to be exact!!!
I'm 99% sure that there is nothing wrong with your marriage and I'm 99% he's not trying to get away from you... Okay - he IS trying to get away from you, but not for BAD reasons!
I'm going to assume that your husband is a normal, hard working, red-blooded, family loving, faithful, heterosexual male like Chuck and I. If this is mostly true, then all he is doing is hanging out with the guys, telling GUY stories, cracking GUY jokes, doing GUY stuff and acting like an ass in front of who? The GUYS!
All he's doing is letting off some steam and probably having a few beers and a couple of slices of pizza. He still loves you very much I'm sure, but it's in a man's nature to be around other men sometimes... hunting stuff, killing stuff, helping others kill stuff and showing he's just as manly as the next man! This is everything you said he does:
HUNTING STUFF: Shooting pool - the stick is a metaphor for a spear, the ball is a rock or projectile, and the pocket is the quarry!
KILLING STUFF: Knocking off beer after beer and pizza after pizza!
HELPING OTHERS KILL STUFF: Rooting for his favorite sports team!
BEING A MANLY MAN: Winning big at the Poker table!
Things are fine, I'm sure. Two days out of thirty isn't bad at all to me. And, as far as asking to go to Men's Night... DON'T DO IT! PLEASE! He doesn't want to hurt your feelings by yelling "Hell, no! Woman!" Give him his time to get in touch with his inner caveman - he'll love you all the more for it! And, if you still really want to be a part of what he does - recommend a 'family night' event, with a Men's Night feel to it. Have his friends bring their wives or girlfriends over and play some cards or shoot some pool - but make sure he still gets his 2 Men's Nights that month!!!
CHUCK: While I'm not going as far out with the hunting/killing metaphors as Garland is, I'm in full agreement. Most married couples need some time apart to enjoy separate interests. Does it mean that he loves you less? Hardly. I know a couple who used to ride in to work together, eat lunch together nearly every day, and ride home together in the evening. What the hell did they ever talk about? Beats me.
Her: Did you see... Oh, wait. You were there.
Her: You remember that guy who cut us off this morning? The nerve!
The only problems I can see with occasional nights out with friends are: A) If he is neglecting to spend time with you or your children; and B) If you don't feel you can trust the guys he's hanging out with. You don't state that either of these is an issue with you. Therefore, your main issue seems to be the feeling that he is enjoying himself away from you. Unless he's done something specifically to make you feel that way, don't take this personally. The fact that he's been stalling telling you that you "can't" go proves to me that he's trying to spare your feelings.
What you need to do is initiate your own night out with your friends. Set up a regular night or two with your friends to go to dinner, or the movies, or even play poker yourselves. Whatever you want to do. Schedule your girls' night out for the same night as your husband's, or another night, if necessary. Let your husband know what you're planning. But if he's got a problem with YOUR going out and spending time with your friends, you probably need to have a serious talk. About double standards.