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The Magic "After-Work Conversation"

August 21, 2019

When he first comes home from work, your partner is at his most vulnerable. How you handle this small window of time can have an enormous impact on your relationship. But it is often mishandled, making men feel drained and taken for granted.

When we are waiting for our partners, our instinct is often to treat them as we would like to be treated. We make them the center of attention as soon as they walk in. In return, some men retreat or even get angry! "I just need a few minutes." "Can't I have five minutes to myself?" Whaaaat's going on? Why doesn't he appreciate coming home to a loving partner?!

The reason for this is simple: he needs to decompress. He needs to switch from "work mode" to "home mode". In order to do this, he needs to be able to stop thinking about work.

We often think about several things at the same time. However, most men prefer to work through one idea at a time. When he comes home from work, he may not be done thinking about all his "work thoughts". Until he sees those thoughts through to a logical conclusion or ending-point, they will nag at him. It's like trying to read a website with a big, neon popup flashing in the corner. He won't be able to be fully present, and he will find your bid for attention to be tiring rather than flattering.

Instead of overwhelming him, allow him to come to you. Greet him warmly, then busy yourself with something while he decompresses. I find making my partner a warm drink and then reading is a great thing to busy myself with. Each man is different in his decompression activity and how long it takes - if you don't know what your partner's is, try to figure it out. My fiance likes to read the news on his phone. Maybe yours likes to go to the garage to tinker, or play with the dog.

When he's decompressed, he'll approach you warmly. Only then should you initiate the "after work conversation" about how his day was.

During this conversation, he may tumble out any last 'work thoughts' he can't resolve easily. Your job here is not to try to solve them (unless he explicitly asks for advice) but provide two gifts he cherishes. Fist, validate his concerns. Then, offer a small piece of admiration. Is he tired of the long hours needed to meet a deadline? Acknowledge that it must be exhausting and thank him for working so hard for your family. Or maybe he has an annoying coworker; it must be hard to get anything done with someone like that around but you're impressed by how well he handles that shit-slinging baboon of an accountant. This show of support is often the last thing he needs to get into "home mode". It flips the switch.

He's in his haven now.

SO... What's your partner's after-work decompression ritual? What do you do to make this time a "soft landing" for him?

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Post Information
Title The Magic "After-Work Conversation"
Author HB3234
Upvotes 269
Comments 47
Date August 21, 2019 1:53 AM UTC (4 years ago)
Subreddit /r/RedPillWomen
Archive Link
Original Link

[–]RubyWooToo3 Stars70 points71 points  (8 children) | Copy Link

This is SO important and I’m glad to see a post on this subject.

We used to commute home together, but once I became at SAHM/freelancer from home, I found myself running to the door and yapping like an excited dog the moment I heard his keys in the lock or his footsteps on the porch. It was really overwhelming for him.

I still greet him with a hug and kiss, of course, but I give him the breathing room to put his stuff down, change out of work clothes, and chill out in the man cave for a bit. This whole process used to take an hour, but in recent months, he only needs about 20 minutes (mostly because he looks forward to hanging out with me and the kids).

As a Sicilian, I know better than to ask my husband about his business.😉 If he wants to tell me about his day, great, I’ll listen. If he doesn’t feel up to it, I don’t push it... more often than not, he wants to leave it at the office and I understand and appreciate that.

[–]Ser-sify7 points8 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

The Sicilian part made me smile hh

[–]Solanthas 1 points [recovered]  (5 children) | Copy Link

One of the turning points for me when I shut down in my marriage was sitting on the bathroom floor, still in my dirty, sweaty work clothes, after working a 12hr shift so my exwife could stay home and raise our daughter, while she soaked in the tub and told me all about how exhausting her day was.

Then she went to bed, and I went downstairs to change out of my work clothes, put them in the wash, make my lunch for the next day, shower, then sit on the sofa and try not to pass out while I ate my reheated supper. Generally got to bed between 1-2am and got up at 6am to do it all again the next day, 5 days a week.

[–]Sobinia 1 points [recovered]  (4 children) | Copy Link

Poor you! Didn't your wife do anything at home, since she wasn't working?!

[–]Solanthas 1 points [recovered]  (3 children) | Copy Link

Raised our daughter, did some housework and cooking, managed our finances

[–]bluemoonicecream22 1 points [recovered]  (2 children) | Copy Link

I think she’s allowed to be exhausted, children are difficult.

[–]Solanthas 1 points [recovered]  (1 child) | Copy Link

Yes but so am I after breaking my back for 12 hours to keep a roof over our head and food on our plates

[–]pearlsandstilettosModerator | Pearl[M] 7 points8 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

This is not the place for men to complain about their wives or seek validation.

[–]durtykneesEndorsed Contributor17 points18 points  (3 children) | Copy Link

Any mods reading this (u/pearlsandstilettos or u/LuckyLittleStar ?) : I'd like to give a star to the OP, please? For good advice that also generates good discussion <3

What's your partner's after-work decompression ritual?

My husband's very particular about his meals being freshly cooked, so I don't make dinner until after he's already settled in to do his own thing while I leave him alone to make dinner.

We both work, but I try to get home before he does, to greet him at the door. On days where he gets home first, we just yell our greetings through walls like savages because we like variety like that. We mostly talk about total nonsense and/or flirt over dinner, because we've already talked about work during work hours (we leave messages for each other to read/reply whenever). Neither of us want to talk about work on our personal time, unless we need help/feedback.

We have a big whiteboard in our bedroom (aka: "the war room") where errands, plans, and any reminders are listed, so I don't need to remind/"nag" him about anything. We only discuss the stuff on the whiteboard after sex, so approximately twice a day. We rarely have long verbal conversations, in general. After more than a decade, you kind of develop your own verbal "shorthand language" together, because you can make all types of obscure references, and your partner would get it, because of your shared history.

[–]MrsOtsego4 points5 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

The war room! Love it.

[–]HB32343 Stars[S] 2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Thank you for the stars!! :)

[–]durtykneesEndorsed Contributor1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

You deserve more, imo. Alas, I can only give stars, and only one at a time :p

I've always been a fan of your thoughtful and actionable advice in this sub, and how you always handle all kinds of replies with grace <3

[–]pigghenuette1239 points40 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

My SO and I are both in the middle of job changes, but his last job was hell on earth, and he put up with it for our future (extra work meant extra savings). He often came home only to continue working on call. So my ritual was: dinner ready the second he stepped in the door. His favorite candy or drink or something similar set out, so he knew he had that to look forward to after dinner. I set up the coffee table with his work laptop, all plugged in and booted up. I would great him at the door with big smiles and hugs and kisses, but then back off and let him settle on the couch with his work, and bring him his dinner, and leave him alone until he started talking to me. It seemed to work like magic- usually his first words to me were through a full mouth “this food is amazing” “thank you for taking care of all this” and it would still be another good half hour before we were chatting and hanging out properly.

I absolutely have this sub to thank for helping me to learn to behave that way, as it really strengthened our relationship and made life better for both of us.

[–]Hammocknapping11 points12 points  (4 children) | Copy Link

My husband is retired, so he’s the one that greets me when I get home from work. I work in a high stress, male dominated field, so I appreciate the need to decompress.

Personally, my commute home is enough time to “forget” (technically I’m at work 24/7/365) about work for the night. Listening to some music during the commute is a great way to get into a different frame of mind.

This allows me to always be in a good mood when I get home and greet my husband with a smile. Then, I change out of my suit and start with dinner prep and ask about his day at home.

If you struggle with stress or being present, I would highly recommend doing yoga or meditating when you get home.

[–]HB32343 Stars[S] 9 points10 points  (3 children) | Copy Link

Our "coming home" needs are different than men's. We all need to decompress but I find the process of decompressing looks different for the sexes. It sounds like your husband knows well how to meet that need for you!

I can't agree enough about the yoga and meditation. I think all people who have bodies should be doing yoga, and all people with minds ought meditate.

[–]Hammocknapping8 points9 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

I agree that most men and women decompress in different ways, but my partner doesn’t have an after work ritual, so I contributed mine.

Many women on this sub work, and either aren’t there to greet their husband or they get home at the same time. Personally, while I may have to work at home some nights, I don’t bring the stress of work home and allow it to impact my marriage. I don’t complain about work to my husband and I don’t give him a play by play of my day. Generally once I get home, I don’t talk about work and instead focus on mutual topics of interest.

I think that’s a huge benefit to my marriage, because when I’m home my husband gets the fun, happy, energetic me. I am 100% present, and I know it makes him feel loved.

[–]HB32343 Stars[S] 3 points4 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

I really love reading your comments - you have such a high powered type job but still manage to be present at home and not bring it back with you. Would you ever consider a post on how you manage this so well?

[–]Hammocknapping4 points5 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I would definitely be willing to do a post! It would be helpful if I had specific questions to answer, so if anyone wants to suggest some I can work on a post this weekend.

[–]DenimRaptNightmare12 points13 points  (5 children) | Copy Link

I'm curious. I saw something very similar to this once, a few years ago. It was from a journal, or a newspaper article or something from maybe the 50s? I don't remember exactly.

Just wondering if you got these ideas from that. Because it's truly excellent advice.

My mother lives with me, and I am single, but she immediately innundates me with stuff right when I walk through the door. I bite my tongue, but it always rubs me wrong. Just give me a few minutes to decompress, and then I'm fine.

It's almost like hearing of issues, complaints, hell, even just random benign occurances right off the bat just triggers an "oh God, now what?" thought process after work.

[–]HB32343 Stars[S] 6 points7 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

I'm not familiar with that clipping, though I'd love to read it.

This post is a mix of what I've gleaned from some of my favorite RPW books: "For Women Only" and "Fascinating Womanhood" ... as well as my own personal blunders. I was guilty of doing what your mom does, to the tee.

[–]DenimRaptNightmare5 points6 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

It's uncanny how much it relates to your post. It's dated, of course, but the wisdom is rooted in the same idea.

[–]bro_before_ho3 points4 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Just give me a few minutes to decompress, and then I'm fine.

It's almost like hearing of issues, complaints, hell, even just random benign occurances right off the bat just triggers an "oh God, now what?" thought process after work.

Yes! And sometimes you're physically and mentally exhausted and then you just get hit with a wave of stuff you suddenly have to process. It feels like they're yelling at you or something. Decompress for a bit and suddenly it's easy to deal with.

[–]RPCait1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

This stuff is right out of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus

[–]Donuts_Or_Bust8 points9 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

This is so great and so true. My boyfriend calls me most days after work as he’s going to the gym, and we just have a brief chat, but then he’ll usually call me after the gym to really talk about his day and my day. While I definitely validate his feelings, and I don’t try to solve problems unless asked, I see an opportunity for myself to improve by showing more gratitude and appreciation for him.

He often will tell me about coworkers who aren’t pulling their weight, and I will validate his frustration, but I like how you praise and appreciate your SO’s ability to deal with that at work. I’m definitely going to work to be more cognizant of what he tells me and show my appreciation more. Sometimes I don’t feel as appreciated, but I also know that I have the ability to set the tone for that kind of communication if I want it, so I’m definitely going to work harder on that!

[–]HB32343 Stars[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

It sounds like you're really thoughtful about your relationship, so I bet it won't be hard for you to come up with great compliments that will build him up. You can start a wonderful positive-feedback loop in your relationship by expressing more admiration and appreciation. Maybe write us a field report after you've tried it out for a bit!

[–]OccultFaeBae7 points8 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

This is a great read!

It's so true. He needs to decompress in his own way. My brain becomes a bit of mess when I first get home and I know I rant a bit. I've never considered that he would need his own space.

I'm going to make very careful note about this.

[–]XJR5557 points8 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Op deserves a medal.

[–]saintofbacchus5 points6 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

This is so helpful! Thank you, they don’t teach you this stuff anymore. If you have anymore advice please please god share it. I’m in a new relationship and really want to be the ideal partner for him.

[–]HB32343 Stars[S] 5 points6 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

This particular advice probably won't apply for a brand new relationship, but you should read our RPW reccomended books! I have a list of my personal recs compiled on my profile, and the official RPW reading list is on our sidebar/community info tab. They'll get you off to a great start.

[–]FluffyLlamaPants1 Star4 points5 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

A friend of mine, a long time ago, told me that coming home meant his wife's "first act of greeting him" was to update him on:

  • what broke

  • which bill was due

  • how crappy the kids were at school and how he should punish them

  • and...nope. that was the one and only "act of greeting" he was given. Every day. He stopped coming home on time, and kept staying out later and later everyday. Last I heard, he switched carreers to make sure he doesn't come home for weeks at a time.

That's no way to be. As someone said "home is a feeling, not a place."

[–]billytheid0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Maybe your buddy needs to grow the fuck up and communicate like an adult.

This thread reads like an infants guide to playing house

[–]mintyfreshbtw2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Very insightful!

[–]that_other_person12 points3 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

Ha this is so far off from reality with my husband. He works from home so I'm the one that comes home after my work day. I will shout out hello to him and he usually comes down after a few minutes to greet me, we exchange a few words, then he goes back upstairs to continue working.

My version of being understanding of his work is by telling him/asking him if I need him in advance (dinner is ready or I am ready for a walk or something). I will also tap on his shoulder and give him a few moments if I need to say something.I

We are also very straightforward with each other and will say what we need or desire. It seems that some people won't explain exactly what they need or want after work or how exactly their mind is processing things as they come home, or other tasks.

[–]HB32343 Stars[S] 3 points4 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Since you're the one coming home, we can flip the Qs - do you feel your "coming home needs" are met? What are they? Does your partner do anything to switch from work mode to home mode, since they both happen in the same location?

I agree that many people fail to communicate all their needs. I'd also argue that the vast majority of people don't have a full picture of all their needs at all times, so it can be hard to articulate needs we don't fully understand. Having a partner who proactively tries to understand you is one of the greatest assets in the world, I think.

[–]that_other_person12 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

That is a good point. My husband works sporadically throughout the day and does many non-work things in the morning, so he will take a long break with me in the evenings, but otherwise he is doing some kind of work. He owns his own online business, so there are a lot of things he has to do. I don't think it would be reasonable of me to ask for more when I come home since it is still his working time. Anyway, I come home and make a snack and that's perfectly fine. I tend to craft in our shared craft room/office space while he works, and that works well for us. If I need him he is perfectly willing to leave for a few minutes, and I'm okay with that. I knew what I was getting into when we got together.

My husband and I understand each other quite well, and the psychology of both sexes, and I would say we both take pride in our calm communication and general understanding of others.

[–]pearlsandstilettosModerator | Pearl[M] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

One more star from /u/durtyknees. Keep being awesome!!

[–]Nazrath21121 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Great post, thanks for taking the time to write this up.

[–]Mrswizardwizard1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

My boyfriend and I share a car and I go to pick him up (it works out better for us with our schedules) so I have to be with him from the moment he walks out of the door from work. Any advice for my situation?

[–]HB32343 Stars[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

What do you do during your ride home at present, and how does he seem to react to it?

[–]EarInlove1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Why does this not come about naturally?

Example, I made it my habit to use the hour after FDH comes home to take 45 minutes or so for myself. I take a bath/shower, brush the cat, set the table etc. Mealtime is the time we discuss our day - and the time when I know he actually listens to what I say.

Adjust your schedule, allow yourself some quiet time for yourself as well! Self care can be so so simple and mutually beneficial!

[–]HB32343 Stars[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Some folks are naturally wise... but most of us swim upstream to learn a better nature! It sounds like you've found a rhythm that works well for you both.

[–]ahillbilly971 point2 points  (4 children) | Copy Link

Damn. As a dude, I definitely think OP has a point here. I’m starting to think RPT for men might work too.

Great post OP!

[–]HB32343 Stars[S] 1 point2 points  (3 children) | Copy Link

Why not give it a try? If you try and find it isn't for you, you'll still have developed good fitness habits and practiced self improvement skills.

[–]ahillbilly971 point2 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

I naturally have good fitness and self improvement habits, I was more so talking about some of the “manipulative tactics” (the shit that RPL gets hated on for)

[–][deleted] 1 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

[permanently deleted]

[–]ahillbilly971 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I will, thanks for your post, seems like great advice for women 😊

[–]elf_lavellan0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

When he comes home true the door from work he should leave "work mode" immediately so chop chop. Also fist his validation? In what way fist his validation do I fist his validation in a sexual way (I think we all know what I mean by fisting his validation in a sexual way) or straight up fist him in the face?I'm very confused your advice does not compute.

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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