Friday, February 15, 2008

When your doll collection threatens your spouse

Understanding is the key to resolving conflicts, in any relationship. It's good to understand why your spouse might be intimidated by your doll collection. Here are few issues I have faced, and how I'm trying to resolve them.
  • Issue: Your dolls might completely overrun your budget. Some doll collectors (like me) already have another collection of some sort, and this your new hobby might add an additional cost.
  • Solutions: Agree (and stick) to a yearly or monthly budget. Sell off some items from your other collections and use the money to add to your doll collection. Get a job at a doll shop to make money (and maybe a discount) for your new addiction.
  • Issue: Your collection takes up too much space. I'm a stay-at-home mom, and I use crafts such as rubber stamping, scrapbooking and quilting to keep me sane. We live in a tiny house (with four children), and space is an issue.
  • Solutions: Pare down on your craft collection to make it look like your stuff isn't all over the place. Use your space creatively--install a shelf or use wall space instead of counters or special furniture, if you don't have room. Rotate your dolls on a shelf on a monthly basis, and keep them in safe storage when not in use. Make sure your spouse has his own shelf or space for his hobbies or items to display.
  • Issue: Your collection takes up too much time. Every collector needs to spend time at doll shows, fairs, garage sales, thrift shops, etc., in addition to arranging and caring for your dolls.
  • Solution: Make sure you keep a regularly scheduled date night with your spouse, which does not include stopping at your favorite doll dealer, even for "just a minute." This solution actually works well in both directions, since there is nothing I like less than waiting in the car for half an hour with four screaming kids in the Fry's parking lot. Something else that has worked is getting my two daughters involved--they love going to doll shops with me, and it's a great way to instill a love of the artistry at an early age (mine are 7 and 4 years old).
  • Issue: Your spouse gets the creeps from dolls.
  • Solution: If you have one, let me know. Exposure has helped me overcome some of my own anxieties (of moths, for example), so perhaps that might help. Display only a few at a time, where you can see them and show them off, but avoid displaying them in your joint living space. Explain why you like the dolls to your spouse. I collect because I find Tonner dolls exquisitely beautiful and inspirational--I use them as muses for my own artwork. Once I explained that to my husband, it seemed easier for him to deal with.
Most importantly in any relationship--don't get to the point where you feel like you have to hide your doll addiction from your husband. I'm not one to offer marital advice, but it seems like when hobbies interfere with your marriage or partnership, it's probably not the hobby that is the real problem. That being said, I'd really better stick to my budget!

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