The subject of man caves is often divisive, especially between men and women. We get it; it can be a really unnerving request to get from a significant other. “Hey, honey, can I take some space away from you?” That kind of question can seem even more inconsiderate if kids are also involved. That one’s bound to sting. But, there are some ways to rephrase that question. Your partner should realize that having a “man cave” can be a healthy outlet for the both of you.
Before we get into our 10 reasons why a man cave can keep a relationship healthy, let’s first consider what a man cave can be. When we first hear that term, it might rankle. Are we literal cavemen in this situation, that we should require such an outdated solitary dwelling? Well, not necessarily. A man cave can mean whatever we want it to mean. For some, it might be their basement tinkering station. Others might opt for the somewhat stereotypical wood-and-metal decorated room in the basement. That room might have a flat-screen TV, and a gaming system, as well as some arcade machines on top of that.
There’s nothing wrong with this option, of course. However, we can only recommend you to go for it if the rest of your house is just as swanky. You shouldn’t get to have a brand new TV for your personal use, while the rest of the family is scooting in to watch a 30-year-old TV in the living room. That would just cause unwanted resentment, which is the whole thing we’re trying to avoid. So, how can you go about convincing your family that you need a space of your own, for everyone’s sake? Well, the first reason you can try is:
1. Personal space
Listen, we’re all entitled to our personal space: that includes both the man and the woman in the relationship. Therefore, this (and, come to think of it, all of the other reasons on our list) will only work if your wife and family also get to unwind in their own spaces. That whole thing about “if the wife’s happy, everyone’s happy” is often right, and you’ve probably felt it yourself. If your wife already has a space of her own, it’ll be much easier for her to see why you might need your space. You definitely shouldn’t make it sound as though she’s suffocating you with her presence. Just try to encourage your wife to develop her own personal space, and you’ll be able to do the same.
In today’s society, it’s not even that surprising to want some space and time for yourself. There are so many people everywhere that you’d think we’d all be used to overcrowding by now. However, there’s no denying that some of us have a more pressing desire for solitude. If you’re one of those people, taking some space for yourself will help you recharge so that you can return to your family a better, less-anxious man. Speaking of which, that’s another reason you might want a man cave.
Having a room where you can sit and unwind is certainly cheaper than getting a professional massage. Although, now that we’ve mentioned it, why not do that too, if you’ve got the budget. Also, if your stress surpasses the normal working man’s blues, we do recommend visiting a mental health professional.
But, for your normal relaxation needs, having a space separate from your family can be therapeutic. It can be an area with no demands. Some people would say that a man cave is a place where you “don’t need to be a husband or a father.” We wouldn’t want to say that. Being a husband and a father is amazing, and there’s no reason to avoid that, especially when a wife and mother can’t denounce her titles the same way. That’s why we won’t say that a man cave absolves you from responsibilities. Your partner certainly wouldn’t want to hear that, anyway.
Your own space can offer a short reprieve from the rest of life’s stressors. You can use your alone time to meditate, take a nap, or maybe start a journal. At this point, we’ll go ahead and remind you to ensure that all members of your family also have this kind of opportunity. A stressed-out family is a family that lashes out at each other. But, for the people who relax best in solitude, taking time apart can be healthy for in-group relationships on the whole.
3. Building anticipation
Do you remember when you and your significant other were just starting to date and had to wait days in between seeing each other? That longing impatience is the kind of feeling you can recreate if you each have your own space. You can have spontaneous meetings during the day that will still feel fresh. You can even schedule a date, and have them feel like they used to when you just met. Building the urge to see each other throughout the day is the best thing you could do for your relationship with your spouse.
You can even have a throwback to the old days when you were starting to date. Many people were either living with family or roommates when they started dating their current partners. That means that during the first days of your relationship, you probably had to sneak around a bit to see your partner. You can do that now, too, in order to recreate that initial spark. Maybe you and your partner could even visit each other’s spaces, and steal a moment or two there. Just not too often, if you want to retain that feeling of anticipation.
4. Having little secrets
Having little secrets is important in any relationship, romantic or otherwise. You just don’t need to tell your spouse everything. Having privacy is perfectly healthy, no matter what anyone says. We can love our parents and siblings, too, but we rarely feel it’s necessary to share every minute detail of our lives with them.
It’s the same with your spouse. And, even if we do end up sharing everything, including every stupidly funny meme we found online, it’s good to stock up on those kinds of stories so that you can have one good sharing session with your partner.
5. Having a boys’ club
Here’s where things can get a little bit tricky. Somehow, a lot of people get angry at the suggestion that men might also need to spend some quality time with their friends. But, we’ll remind you that this in no way means that we’ll be putting friends before family. It also doesn’t mean that we’ll just be avoiding responsibilities, or wasting time. Women often have closer and higher quality friendships than men.
Research also shows that men handle stress differently than women because of this. A woman might share something with a friend to relieve tension. Men, on the other hand, stay silent more often and engage in unhealthy coping mechanisms. So, having a group of friends over to talk, watch a game, and have a few drinks with, is just fine. A grown man can’t cruise through life maintaining the same superficial friendships he may have had since high school.
Your man cave could be a good place for all of your friends to relax. And, you can even do that while further developing your relationships. If nothing else, have you thought about how much money you’d be saving by having your friends bring drinks instead of heading out to a bar? It would also be safer, as you wouldn’t need to drive anywhere. Although, taking it easy with alcohol is always wise.
As we mentioned, some men choose to have gaming consoles or arcade machines in their man cave. Yes, this could be a great stress reliever. But, it could also be an amazing opportunity to bond with friends or family. Get your wife and kids in on the fun, and try to become a family of gaming geniuses. Or, you could take just the kids, and make sure that your wife gets some alone time for herself, too. “Happy wife, happy family” and all that. Even if you and your significant other don’t have kids, you could both just play a game together.
You can even use your man cave to organize a table-top game. Whether it’s a standard game of Monopoly, a DnD session, or one of the many new card games available online, there’s a game for everyone, and it doesn’t need to be fueled by electricity. And, if you want to invite your partner into your man cave, you can think up more fun games together. After all, no one ever said your man cave has to have restricted access all the time.
In this day and age, a lot of us will have to work from home at some point. Whether it’s a whole home business gig for you, or you need to contribute to your company in the hours when you’re not in the office, a man den can have a little office set-up away from your family. This way, your family won’t bother you while you’re working. Even more importantly, you won’t bother them with your demands for silence – which makes for an all-around healthier environment.
You can also do another kind of work in your man cave, even if you’re not working for a job. Alone time is great if you need to contemplate your life goals or plan for the future. You can use your man cave to try to figure it all out by yourself before presenting your thoughts to your partner. And, once you have an idea about what your next move will be, your wife can help you narrow it down further. That’ll make for a good relationship-building exercise, as it will show her that you trust her judgment. It’ll also show that even though you like your alone time, you also appreciate sharing your insights with her.
You can have your man cave represent your personal style and hobbies. If you’re into reading, you can have a whole bookshelf full of your favorite reading material, with a comfortable chair set up right next to it. Maybe you’d even like to set up a writing station for yourself – after all, nothing’s stopping you. Also, if you’re a collector, you can have your collection displayed in a creative way. And, if you like to run marathons, you can even display your medals.
A lot of people think women are the only ones who like to decorate their spaces, but we know that’s not true. Having a room of your own that you can rearrange at will can really help you de-stress. Whatever you decide to do with your room, it can become an excellent creative outlet for you. Whether you’re just decorating for the sake of aesthetics, or you choose to dedicate a portion of the room to your favorite hobby, your room can be a representation of yourself. And, having a physical representation of yourself that you can see can ensure that we never feel like we’re losing ourselves in a house full of people. It can even be fun to have your family visit you in your man cave and learn about your interests.
Having exercise equipment in your man cave can check off quite a few reasons we already mentioned. Whether you exercise alone with your thoughts or while listening to music, you’re bound to feel more relaxed when you’re done. Working out can also make you a much more pleasant companion for the rest of your family, and your spouse in particular.
The added benefit of exercise would be having a more fit physique, which is another notion your spouse will like. Exercise will also make sure you have better stamina and more energy for when you do want to spend some time hanging out with your partner and family.
Plenty of men just rename their existing gym to be their man cave and add in a few personal touches. However, having exercise equipment in “your” room obviously doesn’t mean that no one else can use it. In fact, there are some distinct benefits to exercising with a partner, not the least of which is having someone to be accountable for your progress.
Surveys show that a lot of older men think of what some would call “man caves” as their “tinkering dens.” You can do that, too. If you love to work with your hands, you can set up a woodworking corner, or neatly organize your tinkering tools in your man cave. Also, if you enjoy being handy, you having space to work will be an added benefit for everyone around you. So, say goodbye to fixing those broken clocks and appliances in the kitchen. You can now take the few extra steps to carry them over to your workstation, where you can set up lights and tools, instead of having to carry those around with you.
Your spouse is sure to appreciate that you’ve taken it upon yourself to fix some stuff around the house. And, even if there’s nothing to fix, and you just like to tinker with your own gadgets, that’s completely fine – as long as you’re making sure that you’re not the only one having fun.
No matter what anyone else says, we can’t think of a man cave as a place to escape responsibility. We’re not trying to run from our wives and kids, or in any way put ourselves and our friends above them. Instead, having a room to ourselves can be a great way to keep our relationships interesting and present our best selves to our families.
And yes, sometimes we do need some time alone with our thoughts. Sometimes, we need the company of a good friend and good beer. But, no matter what anyone says, sometimes relationships do need some space. We’d never want to be the person who comes home from a stressful day of work and takes their bad mood out on their family. So, having a room where we can be alone to contemplate the day and let go of that tension could be incredibly beneficial. Ultimately, having the space to work on yourself in all of the ways we talked about will put you in a better mood when you rejoin the family in the living room.
However, a man cave doesn’t necessarily have to be a restricted area. If we’re creative enough, we can even make sure that everyone feels included. Just have your man cave also be the family playroom.
Of course, as we’d already mentioned, all of these things aren’t just aimed at men. Women have plenty of stress to deal with as well. That’s why we should all ideally have some space to call our own. This way, both partners can find ways to relax and unwind. Naturally, if there are kids in the mix, you’ll need to take turns watching them. But, that is something we should all be happy to do in order to ensure the happiness of our partners.