by Jack Waggon
My husband and I like different types of music. He’s a jazz and blues guy, while I like jazz, rock, classical, metal, just about anything. We used to always have music on in the house, a mix of whatever we felt like. However, lately he’s been getting heavy into jazz. He listens to it all the time. He’s also somewhat musically gifted on the piano, and he’s been spending a lot of time learning to play the jazz he loves. But that’s not my problem.
My problem is he won’t let me listen to my music. If he’s home, it’s got to be jazz or nothing. If I try to listen to something different, he complains that he has a headache or can’t concentrate (or whatever) until I turn it off, then a few minutes later he’s playing his jazz.
It gets worse. Now if I’m listening to my music on my headphones while he’s listening to something else, he sulks. He tells me I need to stop listening to that crap, whatever it is. He wants me to listen to his music, wants to talk about his music, and if I’m not interested he gets all pissy about it. If he isn’t losing his mind, I know I am. However, I hate confrontation. All my girlfriends say I need to stand up for myself. That’s fine for them to say, but they don’t have to live with him. What do you think I should do?
Some guys have a mid-life crisis, go out and buy a sports car and trade in the wife. Some guys develop weird obsessions with things that used to be hobbies. Maybe he’s yearning for the life of the jazz musician he felt he missed out on. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. My guess is, he doesn’t know himself.
You should do what sensible women have been doing since the cave man era -- learn to ignore his tantrums. Men are like children. As long as you give his freaky little obsessions the attention he craves, he’s going to keep bothering you with them.
If he gets mad at you for listening to different music, let him be mad. He’ll get over it. The only reason he hasn’t got over it already is because you keep trying to make peace. Listen to your girlfriends and stand up for yourself. I’m not saying you need to confront him. You just need to nod your head, put on your headphones and go back to your tunes. He’ll be mad for a while and stomp around the house. But the next time, he won’t get as mad about it and pretty soon it’s not even an issue anymore. Not because he’s not mad about it, but because he will have changed again. Either the jazz will no longer consume him, or he’ll have realized what a stupid, selfish twit he was being. Time is your friend.
Alas, those years when you used to share music are probably gone. Be happy that’s all it is. We have to choose our battles. Some people would end a marriage over such matters, but you don’t have to let it go that far.
Got a problem? Let Jack Waggon set you straight: firstname.lastname@example.org