A little while ago on Twitter, I was asked by my friend Cari (whose non-book blog you should totally check out):
Cari Renn (@CariRenn)
@TheWRRedhead could you do a post on your thoughts on diving into books without isolating the hubby all night/week long?
And I replied with:
Well-Read Redhead (@TheWRRedhead)
@CariRenn Hmmm yes I will think about that one! Going to be a tough post because I have not perfected that art yet...LOL.
True story though, right? If you have a significant other, AND you love reading, life gets hard sometimes.
My husband doesn't dislike reading. In fact, when we go on vacations, he often gets lost in some book or other. But during a normal work week, reading is not his idea of relaxation--mostly because he is in a PhD program while working full time, so he gets his fair share of reading in already. It's okay, I get it--I didn't read much for fun when I was in school either. But it's hard to be always reading when your significant other isn't--and even if they are, not much chit-chat happens when you're both buried in different books.
The main issue is that reading, while AWESOME, is a very solitary activity. After our son goes to bed, Hubs and I love to relax together in our family room downstairs. His idea of relaxing is vegging in front of the TV, flipping through all the channels, and eventually landing on DIY Network, or a repeat of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. (Seriously, is that show ever NOT on?) While I stretch out on the other end of the couch, buried in a book.
So, what to do? How to spend good time together, but also Read All The Things? Well, I thought about it a bit, and I've put together a few suggestions from my own experience.
1. Share the room.
You may have noticed above that Hubs and I sit on the couch together most nights--him watching TV, me reading. As a reader, this is not easy to do, because I prefer to read in silence. However, rather than retreating to the bedroom with my book, I always stay in the family room, because at least we are together. The only real concession is that I end up reading a little more slowly, which I can live with.
2. Keep in "touch".
Just because you're both involved in different activities, doesn't mean you can't relax together at the same time! Sometimes Hubs and I sit head-to-foot on the couch and give each other foot massages while I read and he watches TV. Yes, we are both doing different things, but we are also both giving out awesome foot massages, so everybody wins.
(Note: in these cases, an e-reader comes in handy for one-touch page flipping.)
3. Pick one solitary activity per night.
One thing I struggle with is that many of my other hobbies are also anti-social. Reading, scrapbooking, blogging, schooling people at Hanging With Friends on my phone...none of these are things I can do in collaboration with my husband. And it's easy to start the night reading, then want to do a little scrapping, and then maybe work on the blog...but no. Each night, I try to limit myself to one of these activities. That way, my husband doesn't feel like I'm moving from one thing to the other, and never including him. Try not to overbook yourself during your downtime if you want to also be present with your sig other. (Of all my suggestions, I think I find this one the hardest to follow!)
4. Schedule breaks.
Sometimes it's fun to schedule in a break for you and your SO to drop your activities and hang out together. For example, Hubs and I will agree that at the end of his Sons of Anarchy episode, I'll pause reading and we'll have an ice cream break together. The advantage is that you know exactly how much interrupted reading time you're going to get, and you can plan accordingly.
5. Make up the time elsewhere.
Torn between spending the evening with your SO, and finishing the last part of Gone Girl? Wake up a half hour earlier the next day to finish it up. Plan to do the elliptical machine instead of the treadmill at the gym for your next workout, so you can read on the machine. Think through your day, and find other times where you can squeeze in that reading!
6. Take a night off.
The most obvious (and important!) suggestion: take a night away from reading every once in a while. I know, blasphemy! But the best together time that the Hubs and I have happens when there's not a book (or a computer, or a phone...) between us. We have movie nights, DIY project nights, fancy dinner nights, etc. where our other hobbies don't come into play. Plan ahead or do it impromptu--either way, it's nice to switch gears every once in a while.
How do you balance reading with your romantic/social life? What suggestions do you have for other voracious readers?