Author Topic: Advice for reducing a spouse's tv consumption  (Read 1409 times)

MinimalistMD

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Advice for reducing a spouse's tv consumption
« on: July 14, 2018, 02:10:17 AM »
Fellow Mustachians, I am in need of your advice in regards to how to get my husband to reduce his tv consumption (currently against his will).

Background:

My husband was raised by parents who mainly worked night shift and so he relied on an old tv in his bedroom throughout his childhood to keep him company and help him fall asleep every night. I had the opposite upbringing where tv wasn't really an option in my house and instead reading was our main source of indoor entertainment growing up.

My husband's current tv consumption habits are as follows:
As soon as he wakes up in the morning, he goes into the kitchen/lounge and switches on the tv, which he happily watches until he leaves for work. When he arrives home from work, the first thing he does is switch on the tv for 'background noise' as he hates the quietness of the house without it. We also have a tv in our bedroom which he watches while he falls asleep (he puts a sleep timer on, so that it will turn off after he has fallen asleep) and if for some reason he wakes up during the night, he puts in earphones and watches netflix on his ipad until he falls back asleep.

I've managed to get him to compromise in two areas; firstly on weekday mornings he will grudgingly switch off the tv once I am in the kitchen because I am not a fan of tv first thing in the morning. Secondly, he will now watch netflix on his ipad when we go to bed, so that I can read my book and fall asleep without the bright tv light in my face.

On a personal note, I could completely go without tv, I just don't enjoy it at all, however I realise for the sake of my marriage (and to avoid world war 3), I will have to reach a compromise. We will probably have children in the next couple of years and I just would prefer to sort this out before they come along. I should probably also add that he is not lazy at all. The majority of his tv watching is just having it play crappy mindless shows in the background while he works on the house, cleans or works on his laptop.

So what I am asking is, does anyone have any advice on how they managed to kick their tv habit, or how they helped a spouse/friend/child reduce their tv watching? On a different note, if you were previously an avid tv watcher, was there a specific book, article or piece of information that you read which changed your mind?

Thanks in advance :)

sokoloff

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Re: Advice for reducing a spouse's tv consumption
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2018, 02:55:45 AM »
Divert his night time attention to another activity would be my first suggestion.

I too use TV to help me fall asleep at times, but other activities work better.

Khaetra

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Re: Advice for reducing a spouse's tv consumption
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2018, 05:29:48 AM »
I too am one of those who do not like a really quiet house.  Does he like podcasts?  Those are great to listen to when you're doing something else.  If it has to be TV, maybe look into getting him wireless headphones that he can walk around the house with that work with the iPad so he can listen to TV without actually turning on the big set (many cable/sat companies offer live streaming). 

As far as helping wean him off, I've got nothing (full discloser, my TV is on right now so I am of no help).

Hirondelle

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Re: Advice for reducing a spouse's tv consumption
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2018, 05:38:12 AM »
My mom also doesn't like a quiet house, so our house has radio on all day long. To me it's better than TV as TV makes it tempting to start watching and then keep watching, while radio is more of a real background noise. Plus it keeps me up to date with the latest music and some occasional good interviews (depending on channel picked).

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Advice for reducing a spouse's tv consumption
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2018, 07:19:29 AM »
My advice: leave him alone! Stop trying to control him. He has his reasons and his habits. Heís compromised and as you say, heís not lazy. So why canít he have this? Donít make this a thing, choose your battles. If you make it this, youíll build an irritant on his side with you. You know what happens, you slowly push him away.  Instead of trying to strategize what you can take from him that he enjoys, what are you doing to bring more into his life? You donít need to tell us, but have that conversation with yourself.

terran

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Re: Advice for reducing a spouse's tv consumption
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2018, 08:19:00 AM »
My advice: leave him alone! Stop trying to control him. He has his reasons and his habits. Heís compromised and as you say, heís not lazy. So why canít he have this? Donít make this a thing, choose your battles. If you make it this, youíll build an irritant on his side with you. You know what happens, you slowly push him away.  Instead of trying to strategize what you can take from him that he enjoys, what are you doing to bring more into his life? You donít need to tell us, but have that conversation with yourself.

I was thinking the same thing from the title, but two things occurred to me as read OPs post:

1) This does effect her (assumption based on the kid thing so I'm going to go with it, although OP could be a he and planning to adopt, not "have" kids) in that she has to listen to the TV. The falling asleep to the TV thing would be totally unacceptable IMO, but it sounds like the husband has been accommodating about that by switching to an ipad with earphones.
2) This habit is likely to be passed down to the kids and I think it's reasonable to try to figure out how to not make that happen.

That said, my wife and I have a saying: "You knew this when you signed up" about things we knew the other did/was like when we agreed to marry each other. This clearly isn't knew behavior, so I would agree that the OP shouldn't expect her husband to do all the changing.

If the quiet house is the problem, what about listening to a radio show or podcast on his phone with earphones in the morning? Sounds like he's not really watching, and I'm sure he could find something he would like listening to. For that matter, would you be as bothered if he was listening to radio instead of TV? My grandparents used to have NPR on in the background during just about all waking hours, which thinking about it now is kind of weird, but it was just "them" when I was growing up. Would you be ok with that kind of background noise or having music on?

lhamo

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Re: Advice for reducing a spouse's tv consumption
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2018, 09:11:33 AM »
Does he like music?  We often have Spotify streaming as background noise.

I'm a podcast fan, myself.   

justchristine

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Re: Advice for reducing a spouse's tv consumption
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2018, 12:42:57 PM »
I agree with the other posts to leave him alone.  You prefer quiet, he prefers noise.  One isn't better than the other.  He has already compromised by turning off the kitchen tv when you come in and the iPad with earphones at night.  If that isn't enough quiet for you than maybe you need to give a little and try wearing earplugs or noise cancelling headphones sometimes.  Living together with someone involves compromises on both sides for a happy home life.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Advice for reducing a spouse's tv consumption
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2018, 01:47:38 PM »
I would leave it alone, except that I would try to substitute music whenever possible (preferably something you both like to listen to...).

earthshine

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Re: Advice for reducing a spouse's tv consumption
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2018, 02:01:06 PM »
Wonder if there is any type of music you both enjoy that you could play

If you like soothing sounds, check nadha aradhana, yoga padhi and ancient voices (free on youtube and first two are also on sound cloud)

Noodle

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Re: Advice for reducing a spouse's tv consumption
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2018, 02:08:25 PM »
I have a personal solution (since I also hate TV noise), but I promise you your problem is better...I am partially deaf and wear hearing aids so I just turn them off or down when noise is annoying me. Perhaps you would be happier if you took control of the situation with earplugs or wireless earphones streaming white noise, especially since your DH has already made some compromises to accommodate you.

As for the kids, they may provide enough background noise that your husband doesn't feel the need for an artificial solution. :) If not, it may be more effective to discuss changes relating to actual, existing kids rather than theoretical ones.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Advice for reducing a spouse's tv consumption
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2018, 12:09:23 PM »
I feel for you.

I grew up in a house where the TV was ALWAYS on. My dad liked TV as background noise.  My sister and her son are just as tv-obsessed.

Now I have a husband who absolutely loves podcasts.  Loud ones.  I like the occasional evening of actual quiet.  If it's not quiet, I'd rather keep the radio on low - and sometimes it is true background noise and I am the only one who can hear it. 

We compromise. 
There is no TV in our bedroom, and the radio isn't on either if both of us are in the room.
If I'm upstairs on the computer listening to the radio and he comes up, the rule is that I can ask him not to turn on the podcast - I was there first.  He'll put on headphones in that case. 
I have earplugs that I can wear when the noise gets to me.  This often makes my husband feel guilty (which isn't my intent), and he turns off the tv.
We have a no-electronics rule for school nights, unless we are all watching a show as a family.  That means I have to sometimes plan things for us that don't involve electronics.
If he leaves the room and leaves the podcast blaring, I turn it off.

My husband has some hearing loss, and I think my dad did too.  I think that is partially why they want noise around them.

GreenSheep

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Re: Advice for reducing a spouse's tv consumption
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2018, 12:39:25 PM »
I can see both sides of this. I love a quiet house, but I like to listen to podcasts (via earbuds, which go with me from room to room) while doing mindless/boring tasks around the house. My husband would probably have music on all the time if I weren't home, but he limits it to quiet instrumental stuff on weekend mornings (which I enjoy for a while, tolerate for a while longer, and usually by the time my tolerance is wearing thin he's turning it off anyway) and who-knows-what in his headset while working (works from home) or exercising. He used a headset at work when he worked in an office, so he just naturally kept using it at home, too. No discussion between us was required for that, but I like his decision.

On the other hand, my husband prefers a quiet car, while I like having music or podcasts playing after conversation has dwindled. On a long trip, after we've run out of things to talk about, I sometimes listen to something with my earbuds if I'm not the one driving. Thankfully, he prefers to drive, so it's rare that I'm driving in silence and boredom! But only when we get to the point where there is really just nothing left to say. We're both introverts, so that doesn't take long. :-)

So for us... earbuds are the answer. However, we only use them during times when conversation is not possible (he's working in another room) or has been exhausted (long road trip). I think we have both nonverbally agreed that listening exclusively to something while someone else is available for conversation is rude, at least to us. I guess the down side to having your husband use earbuds all the time is that he might be less likely to engage with you than he would if he could hear you just as well as the tv in the background. I'm not sure what the solution is for that.

Anyway, I hear you. I'd rather put up with the boredom of doing mindless tasks in silence than be subjected to tv all day long. I find it hard to think when there's constant noise. I hope you and your husband can find a good compromise. It's a good sign that he has made some compromises already. If you can find a way to meet him halfway, it sounds like he'd be receptive. Also, it might be worth discussing your concerns about your potential future children inheriting his tv habit. He may not see it as a negative thing, so that would be something to sort out before kids come into the picture.

honeybbq

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Re: Advice for reducing a spouse's tv consumption
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2018, 12:41:04 PM »
My advice: leave him alone! Stop trying to control him. He has his reasons and his habits. Heís compromised and as you say, heís not lazy. So why canít he have this? Donít make this a thing, choose your battles. If you make it this, youíll build an irritant on his side with you. You know what happens, you slowly push him away.  Instead of trying to strategize what you can take from him that he enjoys, what are you doing to bring more into his life? You donít need to tell us, but have that conversation with yourself.

I personally hate white noise and find it loud, distracting, and annoying. I personally could not live in a house where the TV is on all the time like the OP has described. Although this probably would have been a deal breaker for me and I would not have married them.

Lady SA

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Re: Advice for reducing a spouse's tv consumption
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2018, 12:41:39 PM »
The TV watching is a symptom, not THE problem. Essentially, your husband is using the TV to solve a problem for himself. You mention he dislikes the quiet house, is that the only issue/problem he is "solving" with the TV watching?

Once you get to the root problem, then that opens up a bunch of alternative solutions for HIS problem that you can discuss and come to an agreement on. His problem (disliking quiet) isn't going away, so you should help him find alternatives if his preferred solution (TV) doesn't work for you.

Lets say his root problem is simply a dislike of quiet. Would putting on music fix that just as well as the TV? I personally like having the TV on while I putter around, but it drives my DH nuts (but he does like music), so instead we have background music going pretty constantly. It works for both of us.

Or maybe he has a few "problems" he is solving with the TV. A sense of loneliness? Habit? Anxiety/Distraction? Maybe he finds the combination of audio/visual calming and/or stimulating. Essentially, you just need to dig a bit deeper than the surface TV issue to find out what is actually driving this behavior, and see if you can brainstorm alternatives that meet his needs but also don't drive you bonkers.