I have a wonderful husband who adores me. But recently I’ve started to feel that he’s into spending time with me a little too much. I used to work a high-powered job that kept me in the office for long hours, but quit shortly before getting married. The first year of post-corporate married life was bliss. I constantly hung out with the Mister and enjoyed every minute of it. This year, I’m applying to graduate school and am buried under piles of work again. Being busy suits me fine but my husband hasn’t clued into my new schedule. It’s slightly annoying that while I’m trying to beef up my test scores and brainstorm personal statements, he just wants to play. I feel horrible for complaining “my husband loves me too much.” How can I make more time for myself without hurting his feelings?
Sister, I feel ya. As a fellow ex-corporate slave and current freelancer, I also struggle with setting limits in my loosely organized days. Your poor husband just hasn’t worked out the change in your needs from last year to this year. Who can blame him? On the outside, nothing’s different. When he gets off work, you’re still at home instead of at a meeting in your power suit. Sure, you talk about grad school and spend more time hitting the books, but these small changes may escape his notice (he is a man after all). He can’t see the changes that go on in your head, so when you’re “in the work zone” it might look like “she could use a cuddle” to him. Help him figure out your needs and help yourself fight the temptation to procrastinate by creating a symbolic “home office.” You don’t have to knock down walls or move to a bigger flat. Just set aside a dedicated work corner in your home, whether it’s a private room (if you have the space) or just a fixed seat at the dining table. In addition to the physical limits, it also helps to agree on some “soft signals” to let him know when you don’t want to be bothered. Something as simple as a green Post-It on the desk can do the trick. If you’re handy, make a mock “The Doctor Is Out” sign. With these whimsical touches, it’ll be easy to have a casual chat with him and get his agreement to respect these limits.