He wants to go boating, she gets seasick and wants to sit on the beach, a classic struggle of Land vs. Sea.
Sea sickness or sand flies- can this relationship be saved? Is there a Third Option?
Joan from Seattle writes: My husband loves boating and insists I join him on his boat. But I get seasick and I’d rather sit on the beach and read a good book. He thinks our marriage isn’t a good one if we don’t do everything together. He’s upset with me because all the other guys wives go boating but I don’t. I wish I could enjoy it as much as he does because it means so much to him. Am I being unreasonable? Is he right that in a good marriage couples do everything together? Should I be willing to take medication and risk seasickness for the sake of the marriage? Please help because I do love my husband very much and this is becoming a big issue for us.
Well, I love boating too. I can relate to him. I mean, I would definitely would want to share that with my wife and it’s my dream to live on a boat, but that’s not going to happen with this relationship because you get seasick too. Yes, I get seasick, so Joan I totally understand.
It seems like he has a very strong position that the way to have a good marriage is you do everything together and he loves boating so the way to have a good marriage is you’ll be boating together all the time.
Let’s get real about this situation. This relationship really needs a third option. It can’t be his way. She gets seasick. That’s not the lifestyle that she wants. And it can’t be all about what he wants because I’m hopeful that what he also wants is for his wife to be happy as well.
So Joan, what do you really want? I mean, I think that what Joan wants is for her husband to really fully enjoy boating, but without her. And I also think that she wants her husband to feel that their relationship is good even without her going boating with him. It sounds like she’d be willing to go boating on occasion, for him. And that would be okay as long as she wasn’t giving herself up to do that. Sure. And so some of the ways that they might be able to do that, I know for me, being somebody who gets seasick, if we’re going to go on a short trip,
you know, I can’t go on those day-long trips, but a short trip can work for me, and especially when the water’s really calm, anytime it gets rocky I’m in trouble.
And also, as a boater, I happen to know that you spend an awful lot of time on your boat tied up at the dock and actually that’s a lot of fun. You can cook on the boat. You can sleep on the boat. You can make love on the boat. So chances are they can enjoy boating lifestyle together that doesn’t involve her going out all the time with him. But it does require that they explore the third option rather than exactly the way she would like it to be, which is no boating at all, or the way he wants to be, which is boating all the time, you know, they do need a third option.
So, what could Joan say to her husband? What would be her truth? “Honey, I know you want me to go on the boat with you and I know that would make you really happy, but when I get on the boat and I get seasick, I’m just miserable. I also love that you wanted to have these shared experiences with me, but I just don’t think that I can go on the boat with you as many times as you want. So, I’d really appreciate if we could explore a third option so that both of us can be happy.”
So there are probably some risks if Joan were to tell her truth. And if her husband is rigid about it and must have his way, then it’s going to create a lot of conflict that could even break up the relationship. Because these kinds of things tend to be a pattern and it’s generally not just about one thing, it’s generally about how you generally operate in the relationship.
There’s a very real risk that her husband will not like her truth and will react badly to the truth. But also, as a husband, I would like to think that her husband wants her to be happy and wants to explore a way that they can both be happy, to have boating as a lifestyle and share that in a way that works for her.
A relationship doesn’t work unless both partners needs are met. So the third option is about finding and negotiating a win-win that meets both partners needs. It’s not compromise. Compromise is when you’re sacrificing some of what you want in order to make the relationship work. And sometimes you got to do that and this might be one of those times. But, you can definitely have a conversation about what you both need in the situation and find a third option that will work very, very well for both of you. If your husband is absolutely attached to having his way, one-way, the only way, and there’s no room for you and your needs and your happiness then you have a big problem.
And chances are, this conversation will help that problem come up, and that’s probably what you might want to avoid. However, please do get the support you need. Don’t have this conversation alone if it’s too risky or if your husband gets too upset. Find a neutral third party, a counselor, a coach, a therapist, that can help you have this conversation, help you find a third option, help you converse around these situations so that you can both have your needs met because really that’s what your relationship needs in the long term for you both to be happy. And I would like to think as a husband, that your husband does want you to be happy and doesn’t expect you to give up your happiness so that he can have everything he wants that it would be a real relationship.
So, good luck with that Joan. Please do get the support you need if you need it. Take that risk. Tell your truth, or not. We wish you very, very well.
If you’re watching this and you have an idea, some feedback for Joan that might be helpful, please do put it in the comment box below. Let’s all support Joan to have a great boating lifestyle with her husband in a way that works for her. So bye for now.