Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Boys toys

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

I've had my toys all my life. I'm 65yo. It hasnt changed. Around 80 cars since 17yo and 8 motorcycles. Model aircraft, sculpturing and the like. But, every woman I've had a relationship with has had either resentment, jealousy or dislike for my toys until now. My wife of 10 years loves our new slot car and train set combined.

A friend of mine has a project to restore a vintage car. He has nearly finished the project, that started before his wife of 6 years came on the scene. In their first year of living with each other she helped him store and categorise his spare parts (many). She dropped the odd hint that restoring a car "wasnt worth the effort". He explained to her that it was the journey, his passion and the end result that drove him towards his goal. She said "I'll let you have your car" !

About 3 months ago she upped the topic. He toiled finding the time to take her for picnics, movies and the like so she wouldnt feel abandoned. The time needed to commit to his project was exhaustive. I arrived for a cuppa one day and she openly asked me if I was in her position if I'd like to be marired to a mans 'project'. clearly there was tension. I suggested if you cant beat them join them. The car would likely get finished much quicker if she helped him. Then they can enjoy drives on Sundays to the beach. She immediately rejected the notion "I couldnt stand working on that thing".
If ever there were two sides to a story this is one of them.
Yesterday my mate visited me. He was depressed. He said his wife brings up his car project every time they discuss money, the shortness of it. He said "if I had never married her I would never have struggled emotionally like this and would have been happy to have my passion, now I want to burn the car". And "it's as if my wife has this burning desire to own me which means me not having my dream...because my dream should be her and her alone".
Men can be in love with a woman and have his toys as well. Men having toys (the word "toys" is so demeaning) is therapeutic, enjoyable and what they are good at.
Treading the fine line with this between them, I asked his wife if she had a passion of any type. "No" was the answer. She works part time and has lots of time to have one. She said if he didnt have the car she'd have the money to have a passion. I asked what that passion would be and her answer was "I dont know". mmmm

Is she possessive or should he have considered a womans needs before deciding to remarry?

Tony WK

13 Replies 13

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Tony,

While I haven’t experienced this exact problem, I know many couples who have. My partner was into cycling and would ride a few hours most saturdays and Sundays. I was never bothered because I thought it was healthy for him, was a good outlet for him, and allowed me time to pursue my own interests. From what I have observed, the problem seems to arise when the wife feels that resources are being taken away, either it’s quite expensive, or time consuming or both, and the wife is left feeling neglected, without a partner or short changed somehow. Rather than seeing it as a hobby, she then sees it as a selfish and indulgent endeavor and becomes resentful. She will typically reach this spot faster if she doesn’t have any hobbies of her own or feels as though she needs to shoulder the burden that her husband’s absence creates with respect to housework, looking after children etc. He in turn questions how someone who loves him can’t see how much this means to him and support him. I think what is needed is a good old fashioned compromise and establishing ground rules that they both can agree on from the outset. My partner used to bike ride early in the morning and would be home by 10am so that we could do activities together. He always stuck to his word and made sure he wasn’t too tired to do anything with me and so I felt secure that I was a priority. Similarly I play sport a few nights a week so I cook dinner the other nights. I think balance is key.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Tony,

I loved the time my late husband spent on his Toys, it was a time of peace for me.....that much that I went out of my way to help him...a lot of times...armed with my crossword puzzles or embroidery for me, in case he didn’t want my help...I never discouraged him from doing them....On the few times that he needed or wanted my help...he was grateful towards me that I showed an interest in them....an interest that grew for me, and one that I did enjoy....when his mood was good....

His passion was for old bikes, he would disassemble them and reassemble them with new or reconditioned parts...He had a lathe (metal) and repaired many parts...

He/we restored a BSA lightening, a Ducati, an old Triumph Bonneville, and his most loved restoration was an old Harley Shovel...all pre 1965...,Which my eldest son still has and enjoys riding it...

The Harley after he stripped it to the frame, he got it sprayed and he then brought some bricks, wooden planks and placed them on top of a large piece of plastic with a think blanket on top, then started to rebuild it in our lounge room....Hmm he never thought about how he was going to get it outside, but he did with the help of his 1 adult and 1 teenage son....😂😂..and me of course..

Anyway..what I’m trying to say...If a man has a passion for his toys...I feel that his wife/partner should encourage him in his endeavours...better still join in with him...especially if his parter was involved in his project before marriage..

Tony, I think she is a bit possessive or maybe a bit jealous of his time spent on his project....I’m sure she would have known about it, before they married so she should be more accepting of him and his Toy*.....If she’s not interested in what he loves to do...because that is who is is...Then she shouldn’t complain....and let him enjoy his free time when and how he wants to....

Take care Dear Tony...and enjoy what you love doing..


Community Champion
Community Champion


I had an ex whose passion was getting drunk and flirting with women, so restoring a car sounds great.
She would gave know about his passion why Mary and try to change him.
i would ask her if he stops working on the car and he ends up in hospital how will she feel or he stop working in car and she still is not happy.

The things is remember don’t wish too hard because when we get what we want we may find we don’t want it at all.

My tuppence worth.

Hi Juliet

Balance certainly is the key and the reason for the thread. However, I'm concerned many dont know what good equal balance is or they know but think their judgement is balanced when it isnt.

On the flip side of "boys toys" is... maybe we'll call it "girls world". An example was my previous inlaws. The MIL would crochet every spare moment. It all came to a head when hubby suggested a country drive to a lake in the mountains where they once walked along the shore and skipped stones on the water. She of course crocheted on the way rarely looking at the scenery. He tried making conversation about the landscape but she didnt lift her head. Finally arriving she told him he can walk along the shore by himself as she was content to watch him and enjoy the view. A few metres on and he turned to see her head down, crocheting again.

Should he be happy for her being content to be so focussed? Should he feel disappointed that he couldnt actively share his memories of him and her ?

Well he returned to the car and drove home, when arriving home she held up her work and said "do you like the crocheted cardigan for our new granddaughter?" It was really cute and pink and well...lovely.

In my view, communication is wanting before anger sets in. Also its hard for some to focus on other things when they are passionate about their activity.

Yes, she was lacking interest that day and she would have done both a favour by putting the passion aside for the trip. He could have voice calmly his need for company.

Balance is certainly the key.

Hi Grandy

We lost my MIL last July. Prior to passing she mentioned to my wife how lucky she was married to a handyman, that built our own house recently etc. She'd had 4 partners throughout her life and none could hold a hammer. So I get what you are saying.


It reminds me of the saying "careful what you wish for"


I think a happy partner ship is at the end of each day both have agreed they "had a good day". That would include doing what they wanted to do and making effort to ensure their partner is going to enjoy the day also.

Grandy being inventive or handy mechanically is a great pastime. It's even better if your partner takes some interest.

Quirky, reminds me of the saying "careful what you wish for"


Hi Tony,

“To both agree that you had a good day” - I love that. Some of us have in our personality the ability to become a bit obsessive, often the types to be are drawn to such hobbies that take skill, focus and mastery. Admirable qualities to have and not to be discouraged, but something requiring self-awareness. On the flip side, some partners do not have a single hobby and expect their significant other’s undivided attention and for them to meet their every need. Unrealistic expectations and I’d probably take up a hobby to get away from them! The rest of us are a bit more moderate and enjoy hobbies (ours and our partners) but I think it begins to grate when you feel as though you spend all of your spare time alone or all of the household chores etc always fall on your shoulders. For example, I have been annoyed with my partner over him playing video games for hours as soon as he gets home from work and most weekends. I have been annoyed because we have a new puppy that I look after all day while trying to work from home. By the end of the day I’d had enough and wanted to hand him over for a break. But instead my partner comes home and locks himself in his room with his headphones, so can’t hear any cries, doesn’t take him for walks etc. And on weekends he starts playing early and then I come out and the dishes are still stacked up in the kitchen etc and left for me. I think if people stop and think whether they are being fair and reasonable, that goes a long way.
As you mention, balance is subjective, but could also be split by hours - for example, if you spent all day working on your hobby on Saturday, then a day out with your partner on Sunday doing an activity is nice (and leave the crocheting at home!). or during loose hours such as the early morning or evening after dinner. Or in the case of my partner, look around and see what needs doing and do it before you spend hours on your hobby. That will go a long way to making your partner happy and they are a lot less likely to become resentful of your hobby because it usually isn’t actually about the hobby

Hi Juliet

Very valid points.

An obsessional interest especially video games which results in hours going by quickly not to mention it is mesmerising, will most likely create conflict or at least frustration to you.

Every household is different. For us retirees we have a basic chore divide. I cook nearly all meals, outside chores, Mr fix it, moist driving. My wife does the housework, washing, dishes, medications etc. But we also go out of our way if that routine has been interrupted so there is an obligation for one of us to explain why a task was delayed. This is a conflict avoiding strategy born by automatic levels of care as I see it. In the early days of our marriage some 10 years ago we sorted out this quickly. Our tasks can overlap eg I'll get the clothes in off the line if she is having an arvo nap or empty the dishwasher is she's been unwell or is enjoying her hobby. But I suppose avoiding tasks so to allow us to carry out an interest (eg video games) simply wouldnt happen and dare I say it- its unacceptable, whether its a "they can wait" or " she'll do them".

I want to mention one thing, of all our chores the one thing that my dear wife is deficient of is imo a lack of appreciation for how hard physical work can be. More on that soon.

As for the pup. Can I compare it to a swimming pool lol. My wife has been looking at inground swimming pools. In Victoria's climate they arent justified but the one solid reason for me not endorsing the concept is- that I'll be the one that will do all the work, cleaning and maintenance. At 65yo I've recently just finished building our house most of it ourselves and my wife did a sterling job helping and doing the computer orders etc but most of the physical work was done by me, obviously I'm exhausted. So to avoid any upsets post swimming pool install prevention is better than cure.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing eh. If one day your partner asks "I'd like another dog" you can reply "you leave me with this one all day every day, so what would change with a second one apart from doubling my workload?

Am I on the right track?


Hi Tony,

Thanks so much for the insight into how you navigate the day-to-day. That part of life is often hidden from view and so you never really know what the norm is or how others do things, which is a shame because it’s a good way to correct things that may not be working.
For me, I think my issue arises because the division of chores doesn’t feel equitable to me. I wash and dry the dishes (we don’t have a dishwasher so that alone seems endless), write the grocery list and do the shopping, cook dinner (we do it together), clean and tidy, empty bins and recycling, feed the pup twice a day, walk him, change his water, take him to the vet, train him, feed and water the chickens. I also do all the admin, so bills etc, furniture purchases, pet supplies. I made the offer on the house, did everything for that process etc. I do the same with trips etc. My partner seems happy for me to take on the traditional gender role except I work full-time and he is not handy in the slightest so then it can feel like I do everything. It would just be nice to feel sometimes that someone “has got me”, whereas I kind of feel like I’m on my own, if I make a mistake or don’t know how to do something I will need to figure it out quick smart. I’m quite independent as my parents really didn’t help me much with anything, but it can be tiring. Also, a bit of recognition occasionally would be nice but that never really happens.
I like that you are both quite flexible in that if one person needs help the other steps in and picks up the slack, I think that’s a healthy partnership right there. I see what you mean about prevention, but I suppose my issue with that is, if my partner is completely hands-off with a puppy then how would he be with a child? Does that then mean that I should forego children to accommodate his laziness?

Hi Juliet

"Laziness" vs having children.

My 1st wife was 19yo and me 29 when we married. The honeymoon should have told me everything. All packing etc done as she slept and slept. I always had hope she'd mature and "do something ".

Every morning for 4 years I struggled to get her out of bed to go to work after I'd do the housework. Falling pregnant we planned on the old fashioned lifestyle, mum at home with the kids. In the least I hoped she'd look after the children. Long story short I ended up working 3 jobs. One in security 42 hrs a week 12 hr shift work, lawn mowing round and building cubbies. One evening I got home asked her "what's for dinner" . "What do you want". Anything, I have to fix the car dear. I returned, no dinner, "I asked you what you wanted for dinner, didn't say I'd cook it" she said. By this time although she agreed to be the "homemaker" I resorted to doing the washing and changing nappies more often than her. It lasted 11 years..doctor home visit requested, bloods taken checked for depression. Etc. When he arrived at 2pm she greeted him in her pyjamas. His diagnosis? Severe laziness. .My suicide attempt led to divorce.

Her second husband greeted me at the gate when I dropped the kids off. He was after advice...he had the same issues. They divorced. Then 3rd partner, gone same.

I've since expressed to people that all humans should strive to accomplish as close to 50% of life's workload as possible. Failure to accomplish say 40% is forcing your partner to take up that extra 10%. The real problem as well as that is that the partner should "worry" over their partner taking up such extra chores and the unhappiness it brings. Such absence of consciousness is imo the real issue. Plenty of carers of physically disabled partners do less even far less than 40% without issue due to showing appreciation and "trying".

Summary- laziness is not compatible with a loving living together partnership. It won't change with adding workload like having children and can be the catalyst to separation, sad life

I'd go further- lazy people are not capable of being considerate enough for most relationships to survive. Consideration is a large chunk of what we seek in love but sadly it in an ingredient we assume is within the person we fall in love with that promises the world.

Yep, still angry 25 years after the divorce, the absurdity of it all.

Ps she had great parents when it comes to doing everything for her lol.

Sorry for the bad news dear Juliet.