Husband and I started into counseling because we were having the same fights over and over again. One of the bigger topics of discussion was hunting. So I thought it productive to think back upon what was discussed and learned then.
What I remember learning is that I see Husband as choosing hunting over me, which goes back to the "never been good enough or important enough to be chosen" theme of my life. Husband sees hunting as the way to gain his father's approval, and a way to be "manly."
In an attempt to compromise, we talked about each of us needing time to do our own thing. Also, about the fact that I needed Husband to prepare for hunting by making sure the cleaning, errands, etc were done in advance of his leaving. We agreed that one "me time" event a month was good. So when the calendar flips, we take our colored marker and block off our event. Mine is typically a Friday night from after work until 11 pm or so. I go scrapbooking. Husband wants a whole Saturday. But since he took our Daughter with him some, I didn't mind. Of course, he had to leave Friday so he could be there to hunt early Saturday. That was okay too. Only then it turned into leaving early on work Friday (unpaid time off) so he could hunt Friday night. Of course if he kills a deer on Saturday evening, he has to stay until Sunday. Then on Sunday, he requires several hours to clean his guns and re-organize his stuff.
I've commented to Husband that "it's never good enough." No matter how much I give in, he wants more. So I find myself saying things like, "you'll not get to hunt at all this year because of our new baby." My hope is that then when he does get to hunt a little, he'll be satisfied. It doesn't work that way. though.
I tried to find him a place to hunt locally, rather than having to drive 1 1/2 hours to hunt. That helped. He's hunted two evenings here locally. And I found a colleague with some hunting land who offered to take Husband hunting turkey. I am hoping that if Husband becomes interested in hunting more than deer, then he can spread out the hunting instead of trying to do it all in two short months. Part of the problem is that deer hunting season and the Tgiv/Christmas holidays overlap and it just becomes crazy. However, Husband doesn't appreciate my efforts except to think it means MORE hunting for him.
I've been hunting with Husband. I used to go quite often. After our daughter was born it became difficult for me to go. Then when it became an obsession with him and he began to do more regarding hunting than me, well I lost any desire to share in his interest.
I've told Husband that I would like him to spend as much time, energy and effort planning something for us and our family, as he does with hunting. I'd like him to spend as much time shopping for Christmas gifts for our family as he does finding gifts for himself (which he then has his parents send him $$ for). I'd like him to spend as much time overseeing our finances as he does browsing for deals on firearms. I'd like him to spend as much time organizing our documents and making sure they are secure as he does recording gun serial numbers and locking them in the safety deposit box.
When I first told him all of this about two years ago, he planned a very nice date night. We left our daughter with his parents, had a very nice dinner and stayed in a hotel that evening. Nothing like that has happened since.
Over the weekend, he asked if I minded if he went out to finish his Christmas shopping. Of course I didn't mind. He even took our Daughter with him. He came home several hours later. He went to.....Dick's sporting good and Walmart. Where he bought a hunting blind for himself (insisting he used money left over from his summer birthday) and a scope and mounts for his gun. Oh, and he needed to run back out and finish up shopping for me. He didn't quite get around to that.
Right now my emotions are running high. With starting back to work, I recognize that I'm not calm enough to discuss much. But after the holidays (and hunting season is over) we are definitely going to have a talk. If it requires returning to counseling for a session or two, so be it.
However, there is one thing I will address now. He is not invited to my sister's house for New Years unless he promises that he will never ever complain about having to use his vacation time to see my family. If he doesn't want to use his time off to visit, then I don't need him too.
So - if your significant other has an obsession, are you involved in it? Do you participate or attend? Do you find your involvement varies depending on your relationship? I find that I'm much more inclined to suggest he go hunting, accommodate hunting, and even go out in the woods with him, when he has made an effort and put time into our relationship.
(my idea of hunting these days :) )