My husband is being difficult. He’s changed his mind at the last minute about going to a party we planned to attend on New Year’s Eve. I want to celebrate and bring in the New Year as a couple, surrounded by friends. Now he wants to stay home. Am I wrong if I want to celebrate without him? —Anonymous
I’m not one of those people who think that couples, even married couples, have to be attached at the hip and do every single thing together all the time. But I also think of New Year’s Eve as a night for couples when you’re in a relationship. That could just be me, however. Whether you’re wrong to go out on New Year’s Eve without your husband really boils down to whether he has an issue with it. If he doesn’t care, then there’s no problem with you going out alone.
What I do see an issue with is the inconsistency in your priorities, or maybe a lack of recognition of what they are. Despite what you wrote about wanting to bring in the New Year as a couple, it seems that what you want is to be out somewhere with your friends. When your husband said that he didn’t want to go out to celebrate New Year’s, your immediate reaction was to consider spending the night out with your friends. The couple aspect that you said you wanted was immediately dismissed. Maybe it’s because you’re upset, but it’s clear that your husband isn’t so high on the list of priorities for this occasion.
I do understand why you would want to go out. New Year’s Eve parties can be sexy if done well. Anticipating the countdown to midnight can be fun, and the champagne toasts when the clock changes to midnight, as well as the revelry with festive hats and noisemakers, are an experience most adults have only once a year. I get it.
But there’s also another way to view that occasion. Some people find the countdown contrived. (I mean, it is.) Unless you’re at an intimate gathering, you’re surrounded by noisy strangers, many of whom have started drinking way too early in the evening and are wasted by the stroke of midnight. And it’s often an expensive night. I don’t know where you’re from, but here in New York City, every decent party at a moderately decent venue is at least $100 per person to get in. And then there’s the expense of a new outfit and accessories, as well as getting your hair done at (crowded) salons and barbershops. If your husband sees going out this way, I can understand why he would be reluctant.
Also, consider that maybe he maxed out the budget or overspent for Christmas. Maybe he has financial goals for the new year and he doesn’t want to spend frivolously on a night of partying. Did you ask him why he changed his mind before you dismissed him as being “difficult”? Talk to your husband about why he doesn’t want to go. If you can address his concerns, he may change his mind again and agree to keep the plans in place.
But even if he doesn’t, you still have options other than spending the whole evening without him. According to your letter, he didn’t say that he didn’t want to celebrate at all or that he didn’t want any of your friends around. If what you really want is to bring in the New Year as a couple surrounded by friends, you can still do that at home. Buy some champagne, invite some people over and turn up the music. Voilà! You have a party.
Another option is to stay home and bring in the New Year with just your husband, then head out to meet your friends at the planned party afterward. (Though, if you and your husband celebrate the right way, you may be too tired.) Staying in at midnight and then heading out alone might not be the ideal night that you pictured, but it does get you the night you said you wanted, as a couple first, and then later surrounded by friends.
I hope it works out in your favor. Oh, and happy New Year!
Demetria Lucas D’Oyley is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love as well as A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously in Ask Demetria: “If the Holidays Are Your Most Depressing Time of Year, This One’s for You”