Reader’s Question: How much is enough?


Ree asked: How do we measure how much time a person should spend with their spouse? I hear women say he doesn’t spend enough time with me. What is enough time? Differentiate between quality vs quantity.

Lee says: I use a kitchen timer and atomic digital clock. Just kidding. This is a wonderful question that is individual to each relationship. Even though my husband and I prefer being together, we know some couples would be at each others throats if they spent this much time together. Does that make our relationship better than theirs? I tend to think so. You think I’m being funny but I’m not.  

          When we commit to a partner, regardless of the set up, hetero, homo, domestic partnership, significant other or marriage, you are declaring in some way that you choose that person. You are saying that this is the person you want around you all the time. In today’s society, we have made it almost a punch line that a man wants to spend time with his guy friends while a girl complains to her friends about how he chooses them over her. This is why that schlock book ‘Men are from Mars…’ sold as many copies as it did. It was vindication for these men!  ‘We need a cave because we’re like bears and blah blah…’ Total shit. The truth is we all need some time apart. We grow from different experiences and if one of you is more social than the other, then the wallflower needs to go out in order to bring something back to the nest.

          The reality is that this is an issue of needs communication. As a couple, you need to tell one another your needs and what you need from your partner.  If you had a bad day and your partner has plans that evening, how do you communicate your needs without falling into passive aggressive, guilt tripping along the order of a good Jewish mother? You need to have the ease to communicate those needs when you have them and be healthy enough to encourage your partner to have fun without you on occasion. 

          In my case, Paul is great about sending me away. He encourages my Bitch Weekends (this is where a group of us bitches get together and smoke, drink and talk shit for two days). Where if I tell him to do something on his own, he balks and says no. This is his issue. I will be putting him on a train next month just so he can have a pleasant trip up to Orlando without the kids whining. 

          So Ree, my suggestion is a long conversation. Set the boundaries when it comes to time. The quantity and quality debate is really mental masturbation.  The real question is: are your needs being met? Are his? 

          Paul says: I generally run hot or cold. I either want to be alone or with Lee. That’s probably a function of not liking anyone else.

          Lee responds: Ditto


Remember: Change your clocks on Sunday. It’s daylight savings. (You’re welcome)




  • Stephen Simone

    My partner and I are lucky that our work schedules allow each of us one day a week with the house to ourselves. I think these “mental health mornings” help keep us from being bored with each other. By the afternoon, I’m really looking forward to my hubby coming home. I’m not all shagged out from work, I’ve gotten my various chores done, and I’m refreshed enough to attend to whatever my hunny might need of me. We then still have one whole day we can spend together.

  • Right, communicate with your partner about the time you needed from him. Sometimes, partners need to be alone so they can find themselves. Don’t worry they will eventually come back when they are satisfied with their friends.

    • Ah, finding themselves…another euphemism created by people who don’t know how to communicate. We created this whole mysticism to “finding oneself” as a catch all excuse for messing up relationships. Be honest! You aren’t happy, move on! Secondly, I must comment on the cynicism of the comment “Don’t worry they will eventually come back when they are satisfied with their friends”. Are you saying that that person can’t receive satisfaction from their partner? I would suggest a quick breakup ASAP. The idea of the post was for couples to communicate their needs and boundaries. When one of you is feeling smothered then that is your issue and guess what, your friends will probably only help to confuse you not help you “find yourself”. What you need is a mental health professional or a guru if you are looking to find yourself.

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