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Topic: Skeptical wife syndrome, anyone seen this?
Message: Posted by: RookieMage (May 14, 2015 02:46AM)
My wife has been somewhat skeptical about my new passion for magic, and it makes me a bit crazy. She does not see lots of effects from me because I have an aversion to showing her stuff until I have it down pat. And I'm a frickin Rookie Mage, so my skills are not quite at the Houdini level just yet... So my magic performances for her are somewhat infrequent and she does not seem to integrate the time I have to spend in practicing. I love the reactions I get when I show her something that I can do well, but the rest of the time she is less than enthusiastic about my taking time for it/spending money on it. Not so much that she is gonna strangle me, but sort of a less than cheerleader attitude, if you know what I mean. Is this common among significant others/has anyone else dealt with this and/or have a helpful tip for the newbie?
Message: Posted by: professorwhut (May 14, 2015 10:08AM)
My wife does not enjoy magic, she never has.
If I approach her with a deck of cards in my hands, she will run out of the room screaming.
Message: Posted by: george1953 (May 14, 2015 10:45AM)
I am lucky, my wife enjoys magic and is very clued up with respect to moves sleights etc.
So I always show her any new ideas and know that she will tell me exactly what she thinks of it. To me having someone tell me truthfully what was good, what should be changed etc. is a useful weapon to have.
Message: Posted by: Lance Inkwell (May 14, 2015 11:42AM)
My fiance and I have been together for 12 years and will be getting married in August. I have found over those 12 years that it's easy for her to feel like a third wheel when I'm very passionate about something I'm working on, like my art work or magic tricks. It was almost like she viewed my hobbies and practice as another woman. I came to realize that it wasn't the art or magic that she hated, it was the time that these crafts required, the time that I spent focused on them and not her and things that interest her. Once I learned this, I decided to find a way to make more time for her, and practice my art or magic when it doesn't get in the way of us being together.

The best way I went about this, was setting aside designated times for her, and for my hobbies, and then gave her my full attention when I was not working on my hobbies. Once she could see that she was just as important to me as my art, she learned to love my art and magic tricks. For the magic, I also found ways to do tricks with stories and things that interest her, and ways to make my tricks romantic. The other problem my magic had in her eyes, was she associated it with only clowns and geeks. (Not saying either of the two are bad, but in her eyes... you get what I mean.) She thought that guys who are interested in magic were sleazy and dorky. Once I showed her how magic can be a very intellectual practice, and how it can even be sexy- for lack of a better phrase, she learned to appreciate it.

So my advice to you RookieMage, take her to romantic places and make roses materialize from thin air, show her a coin trick where the coins turn into diamond earrings, and probably the best trick of all- make your magic disappear for a few hours and give her your full attention. Make her feel like she is more important than anything you do, and she will start to support you and cheer you on. I know this is all easier said than done, but it worked for me. Good luck!
Message: Posted by: Dougini (May 14, 2015 03:39PM)
[quote]On May 14, 2015, Lance Inkwell wrote:
My fiance and I have been together for 12 years and will be getting married in August. I have found over those 12 years that it's easy for her to feel like a third wheel when I'm very passionate about something I'm working on, like my art work or magic tricks. It was almost like she viewed my hobbies and practice as another woman. I came to realize that it wasn't the art or magic that she hated, it was the time that these crafts required, the time that I spent focused on them and not her and things that interest her. Once I learned this, I decided to find a way to make more time for her, and practice my art or magic when it doesn't get in the way of us being together.
[/quote]

Smart man, Lance! Welcome to the Café! :)

Doug
Message: Posted by: RookieMage (May 14, 2015 08:04PM)
Thanks for the feedback all:

Prof Whut: My wife does not run but she will (on occasion) roll her eyes. And I love your post signature too :o)

George1953: Do you mean that your wife knows the ins/outs of your effects or just comments on the performance?

Lance: Great advice, and something I can probably start doing right away. After 30 years of marriage, keeping the romance going is important and why not use magic to help?
Message: Posted by: MGordonB (May 14, 2015 09:22PM)
It's a cliche but it's very true - happy wife, happy life.

As long as I spend some time with her, listen to her and let her vent, keep a heathy bank balance and a zero Visa balance, my wife is pretty OK with my magic hobby.
Message: Posted by: MichaelJae (May 14, 2015 10:26PM)
Has your wife seen you perform for strangers? Has she seen the fun your having and the bit of joy you create in that moment in time for someone random. Once she experiences those reactions, she might perceive things differently.
Message: Posted by: Lance Inkwell (May 14, 2015 11:31PM)
Thanks Dougini. I'm glad to be here! RookieMage, hope you find my advice useful.
Message: Posted by: MVoss (May 15, 2015 02:15PM)
Part of the problem is that she knows you and has certain expectations and ideas about you, and suspending disbelief can be hard for those people who know us best. Friends and family in that way are always very hard to perform for.
Message: Posted by: Kabbalah (May 15, 2015 02:43PM)
I met my wife while performing in a bar twenty seven years ago.

It is still magic!
Message: Posted by: MichaelMason (May 15, 2015 09:11PM)
First and foremost, it is important to be supportive and respectful of one another. Your partner is not require to share the same interests as you but I hope she respects your passion for magic. Recently, magic has become a newfound interest of mine. Fortunately, my specialty will be illusions and my partner loves them! She does not seem as interested in some of the other ideas that I have but she does listen to me and offer ideas when she has one. I may not accept all of her ideas but I show her the same courtesy by listening to her.

Oftentimes, some significant others seem apt to dismiss certain ideas, or some subjects altogether, because they are not interested in them. They fail to see the bigger picture; all they really need to do is respect and support their partner, and at least listen to them when they talk about something which interests them. In fact, I enjoy watching the news and discussing politics. My partner HATES both! She cannot stand either one! The news, however, does tend to report some interesting things so she will watch it with me from time to time and we will end up discussing the topics which interest us. This is something she has grown to somewhat enjoy. It took time of course.

To be honest, my partner's main concern right now is when I start looking for an assistant. I do not know whether this is something I will have to advertise and interview for as I am hoping to find somebody willing to volunteer. Perhaps a friend. My partner will not be able to accompany me to all of my shows. Her first idea was for her to be my assistant. I will not cancel a show simply because she, as my assistant, will be unable to make it. She does not like the idea of another beautiful woman, "half-dressed," assisting me in front of large crowds of people. Such an arrangement, of course, would be strictly on a professional level. At times, I will probably be putting my life into this person's hands!

Has anyone else experienced this with their partner? Concerns about a young, beautiful assistant working closely.
Message: Posted by: MichaelMason (May 15, 2015 09:17PM)
Furthermore, my partner seems more 'freaked out' about my affiliations with certain groups. She assumes that I am an 'occultist.'
Message: Posted by: Aus (May 16, 2015 04:30AM)
[quote]On May 15, 2015, MichaelMason wrote:
Furthermore, my partner seems more 'freaked out' about my affiliations with certain groups. She assumes that I am an 'occultist.' [/quote]

You need to hide your illuminati meetings a bit better Michael, and besides magicians got burned at the stake for using witchcraft so if it's any consolation things could be worse. ;-)

Seriously tho, I wounder with other things being considered the lack of interest or enthusiasm is due to how we present out magic to our partners. I have to admit that a lot of magicians perform magic in a very clinical fashion without much fanfare and without it much of the romanticism of magic as an art form might not shine through and be apparent.

I mean how many card transpositions and versions there of can she really endure and still hold that same enthusiasm as the first time you showed it to her. There needs to be an emotional element to our magic that needs to be just as important as nailing down that pivotal slight.

If she can feel the benefits of a well crafted performance she might better understand our interest in all this stuff.

Magically

Aus
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (May 16, 2015 09:05AM)
How much time and passion do you give to what she is interested in?? Are you willing to put the stuff down and go shopping with her just because she asked?

Also, does she feel you are just trying to fool her? Or does she feel drawn deeper into this part of your life?

To be marginalized, either in time or intellect ("you just want to see if you're smarter enough to fool me!"), is to feel disrespect. Have you just sat down and had an honest talk about what's going on beneath the surface? If she is really that upset, are you willing to shelf the magic for as long as it takes to repair the trust? And does shd know and believe that?

Else you may wake up one morning next to a deck of cards -- only!!

Ed
Message: Posted by: RookieMage (May 17, 2015 12:05AM)
Thanks again for the added feedback all, it's clear to see that this magic community thinks highly of keeping a happy balance; as MGordonB says, "Happy wife, happy life" and it is true. I'm happy to report that I do take time to care for my wife and her particular interests (even shopping with her Ed :o) but she is just not as "on fire" with my new passion as I am.

So after much thought, I have decided to stick with what I have always told my wife, "the beatings will continue until morale improves" and just pray that she does not give me the dirt nap while I sleep...
(for the slow ones, that Was a Joke :o)
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (May 17, 2015 12:25AM)
Sounds like you're off to a decent start. Some years ago, I had to apologize for making it all about me n magic, and I put everything in the attic. Five years later, I dared ask her permission to pull it down, with the caveat that if it ever got that bad again it was all going in the trash! It's been 8 or 9 years, I think, and still going strong.

Ed
Message: Posted by: RookieMage (May 17, 2015 04:49AM)
Hey Ed, I bet you are a great husband and it sounds like you are blessed with a great wife too! Yep, the balancing act is tricky, but my focus is to make sure she stays happy enough to not be put off by my magical interests. Ie, if I wanna have some fun, I gotta make sure that she does too. I also LOVE your website and demo video, it looks to me like you have been a pro for quite some time now, which is Awesome IMO :o)
Message: Posted by: bowers (May 17, 2015 12:02PM)
My loving wife usally goes with me to all my shows.
And helps with the packing and un-packing too.
She knows most of the workings also.

I will perform for her a new effect before putting
it in my show.She knows what to look for.And can tell
me if I flashed or something just doesn't look right.
Todd
Message: Posted by: johnstu (May 22, 2015 07:01AM)
I imagine there is probably a difference in how a spouse looks at magic depending on whether they are married to a working magician or a hobby magician. I'm a hobbyist and my wife still thinks of it as playing with cards/coins. She's not particularly interested in it.

Would the wife/husband of a performing magician be more invested in the magic as it is what puts at least some of the food on the table? My magic just puts cards on the table, cards that get in the way when we sit down to eat.
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (May 23, 2015 08:16AM)
Johnstu, that's very likely -- in my little opinion at least.. She may be seeing your little hobby as stealing time away from her. From my viewpoint - and you are most welcome to disagree with and ignore this - right there you have to examine that possibility to ask if it's true. But only if you value your wife above your cards. It's at least worth opening up the conversation, as long as you're willing to let her be worth more than whatever pride and accomplishment you get from magic.

Again, from my viewpoint after 33 years of marriage.
Ed
Message: Posted by: johnstu (May 26, 2015 04:52AM)
Hi Ed,

I may have made it seem as though I have a problem that isn't there. Thankfully, while my wife isn't particularly interested in magic she is not threatened by it, she looks at it as a "my husband the big kid" kind of thing. She knows that I would put down the cards and be with her any time she needs me.

I certainly appreciate your advice and agree with it wholeheartedly, but am pleased not to be in quite the situation that requires it.
Message: Posted by: Snoogansgt (May 29, 2015 08:56AM)
My wife wasn't the biggest fan of magic when I began working with it again recently. I had done some magic as a teenager, but kind of moved away from it in my early 20's. I have since got married and now I have a new drive to pick up magic again. At first she was very closed minded to it all as she though magic was very "uncool". After lots and lots of practice and me doing lots of research in the understanding of magic as well as performing it, she began to be more interested. Now she is my go to when I'm working on a new effect or a new move. She provides me with constructive criticism that truly helps me out. I'm very fortunate to have such a wonderful supporting wife. Took a little while for her to warm up to it, but she eventually did.

I wish you the best of luck, and it sounds like this kind of problem is more popular than you think.
Message: Posted by: Lou Is (Jun 1, 2015 02:29PM)
It's pretty accepted in magic that spouses (and close friends) tend to be very bad subjects for a performer to "test" things on. It has a lot to do with the fact they really know you very well and are much less likely to put aside their disbelief. Which is *kind* of important for a magician and for the magic to have maximum effect.
;)
You'll probably find you get a better reaction from workmates, and casual acquaintances. Once you are more confident with the particular effect, THEN try presenting it to those who know you well.
Message: Posted by: Russo (Jun 3, 2015 11:02AM)
I guess I'm Lucky - I met my Wife when she was sick, in a Hospital(we were 16) and I was entertaining the youth ward,( we joke that we met in bed) - Married 3 years later (both Virgin). Shes been my Assistant( she also assisted BlackstoneSR. once) and my partner/ adviser for 59 years(59 years June18)-even taught her a 30 min. routine when we were overbooked. She loved it. Best to all newcomers -- P.S. at 78 don't perform much , though glad to share ideas anytime. Ralph(russo)Rousseau
Message: Posted by: Snoogansgt (Jun 5, 2015 02:43PM)
That's a great story Russo! If only everyone was as lucky as you to meet such a wonderful individual. I too have a great wife, and I'm thrilled to call her mine.
Message: Posted by: Fozzie41 (Jun 8, 2015 07:21AM)
My wife isn't too impressed by magic but will let me perform any new tricks to her and give me honest feedback which with me being new to magic is great.

I have showed her a couple where she has actually liked the trick which is a good confidence boost knowing I have done a trick well.

When its passed the wife test I try it one somebody else, which funnily enough is usually her sister who really enjoys magic. She was even impressed when I messed a trick up because I was close lol.
Message: Posted by: Snoogansgt (Jun 8, 2015 10:24AM)
My wife is the best person for me to practice with because she has a very keen eye, and can offer great constructive criticism. This really helps when it comes time to perform for others.
Message: Posted by: Lou Is (Jul 4, 2015 06:22PM)
[quote]On Jun 3, 2015, Russo wrote:Married 3 years later (both Virgin).[/quote]

Good to know. Thanks!
Message: Posted by: magicshowprod (Jul 13, 2015 04:33PM)
Unfortunately for me, my wife is one of those people that feels that magic is there to make them look stupid. She told me as a kid she didn't like watching magicians. And when I try to show her something new....right at that magic moment....she gets that look in her eye that says......."I'm not stupid. I know you're doing something sneaky.

I would love for her to enjoy magic as entertainment and not as a personal challenge, but unfortunately, that's not going to be. Now, my 9 year old daughter is a different case. She loves learning the magic and performing. I know that, someday, we will both be performing together as a team. And that will truly be magic! :)
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Jul 14, 2015 07:54AM)
It's not to early to get her involved now! Wanna see the potential? Watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81QclWVOL8I

Patricia Duncan just disappeared. She had potential.

Doug
Message: Posted by: magicshowprod (Jul 14, 2015 08:50AM)
I love it! I'll make sure she sees this tonight. Great inspiration....and loved the ending! :)

Magic is a great way for a young person to express themselves. Our daughter is kind of shy but when she performs magic that little entertainer comes out of her and she just beams. Very cool thing to see.

Thanks for sharing that video. Let's hope Patricia is still out there performing somewhere. If not now, maybe in the future.
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Jul 14, 2015 10:19AM)
Here is Patricia Duncan at the IBM Convention 2007:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niw2LZ-xBo4

Don, I hope you encourage her! She needs a female mentor. There are plenty here! :)

Doug
Message: Posted by: Doug Trouten (Jul 15, 2015 12:27AM)
I got my wife hooked on football by sharing personal stories about the players (from feature articles on the sports page). Once she "knew" a player, she was interested in seeing them play. Maybe a similar approach could work with your wife and personal stories about people in the world of magic.

You might look for videos of performances with a lot of emotional punch. Two that spring to mind are Tina Lennard's "Maid in Heaven" routine, and the recreation of the "Blue Room" illusion (also featuring Tina). Both are on YouTube, and you don't have to like magic to like these performances. Maybe they can serve as a gateway drug!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bokFurvLNwU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCQiocETD9c
Message: Posted by: magicshowprod (Jul 15, 2015 11:43AM)
That's an excellent idea. It just so happens I watched both of those videos the other day and was very moved by them. Looks like the wife and I have a Youtube date tonight :)

Thanks everyone for the good ideas and strategies :)
Message: Posted by: Doug Trouten (Jul 15, 2015 09:59PM)
One more thought. It may be that your wife has some hobby she really enjoys that you find pointless. You could always pretend to be interested in that, in exchange for her pretending to be interested in magic. Maybe pretending to share interests is the basis of a happy marriage!
Message: Posted by: magicshowprod (Jul 16, 2015 09:37AM)
Make-believe will keep us together :)
Message: Posted by: BeachCat (Jul 24, 2015 11:02AM)
Interesting subject men. So, here's a woman's point of view and keep in mind, every woman is different!
My mother was not fond of my Dad's hobby and all of his magic "shenanigans" because there's a lot of alone time working on sleights etc not to mention going to the local magic store (Hollywood Magic at that time) to hang out with the guys. She felt that he'd rather being doing that than to be with her.
Personally, I think it's healthy to have outside interests but you gotta make your significant other feel that they are always number one. (Even if you'd rather be at the local magic ring meeting!)
if you're going to work on your sleights, effects etc, pick a time that you know it won't take away time from your spouse. It's also important to encourage her to have her "girl" time with her friends. Some spouses
get jealous because if they don't have their own circle of friends. Every situation is unique but just always make her feel special and if your relationship is a healthy one, she'll do the same.
Message: Posted by: magicshowprod (Jul 24, 2015 11:24AM)
Or just remind them you could always be at the bar instead :) :stout:
Message: Posted by: Simon Layland (Aug 4, 2015 11:39PM)
Or Just Trade her in.
Message: Posted by: Aus (Aug 15, 2015 01:52AM)
[quote]On Aug 5, 2015, Simon Layland wrote:
Or Just Trade her in. [/quote]

They might not take returns Simon, try ebay. ;-)

Magically

Aus
Message: Posted by: DaveGripenwaldt (Nov 12, 2015 05:52PM)
I am blessed with a wife who is fine with me having a hobbie...though maybe she likes that it get's me out of the house. Hmmmmmm....
Message: Posted by: eralph357 (Nov 12, 2015 07:13PM)
My wife was lukewarm until I started finding ways to include her in the magic. SpeakEasy was the best for that since it requires two people. The kids being involved too also helps - it's become a family thing.
Message: Posted by: Doug Peterson (Nov 13, 2015 03:01AM)
My spouse fully supports me learning magic. She has always encouraged me to do what I like both in hobbies and career.
Message: Posted by: RiderBacks (Nov 21, 2015 12:04AM)
[quote]On Nov 13, 2015, Doug Peterson wrote: My spouse fully supports me learning magic. She has always encouraged me to do what I like both in hobbies and career. [/quote]

Sounds like you married someone sane. If so, you're probably sane yourself. Good job! =)
Message: Posted by: mindtaker (Dec 1, 2015 12:03PM)
I like the ideas of getting her involved. Try to come up with 1 thing she could help with and then go practice/perform it. As soon as she sees people's reactions she'll understand more. Also, what kind of magic are you doing? Maybe the kind of tricks you're doing aren't for her? For example maybe she doesn't like card tricks but would love more mentalism? And I will reiterate most spouses don't dislike the magic, they dislike the time away from them.
Message: Posted by: Father Photius (Dec 1, 2015 01:28PM)
Pretty darn common. If you do magic to entertain friends and family from time to time, she will mind less, as long as you don't spend huge sums on it. If you are doing box magic, that is costly. But there is so much magic that can be done inexpensively. In fact, I know pros who made their living doing magic solely out of Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic and the tricks in that. All of them are pretty inexpensive and the Book shows you how to construct your own prop. Remember most magicians have no more than a dozen effects they do Two card moves can turn into hundreds of card tricks with different prsentations and reveals. Sleight of hand takes practice, but costs little. But almost all wives are that kind of skeptic at first, even Nani Darnell had her doubts at first, or at least her mother did and nearly converted Mark into a sporting good salesman. The longer you stay with it the better. Take your wife to a magic convention. She will meet other people, including wives who don't jump out of boxes or do magic, and will enjoy that, plus all the shows. She might even get to like them, which is a good excuse for you to take her to them.
Message: Posted by: HarryB (Dec 1, 2015 02:32PM)
My wife is very supportive of my hobbies. I go upstairs for one hour each night to practice while she is getting the kids ready for bed. I'm lucky that she understands that I need my alone time to unwind and concentrate on something after a busy day at work.
Message: Posted by: Jacob3 (Dec 4, 2015 11:01AM)
I don't like performing for my girlfriend either. She always tries to be a smartass and wants to discuss the trick afterwards.
Message: Posted by: Newsround (Dec 5, 2015 05:22PM)
My wife isn't particularly interested in magic. But, as I started due to our son's interest, she fully supports my interest in the art. When I was practising a bit a while back, I would always show her what I was doing. She would be my first person to go to, as I know she would tell me honestly what I needed to work on, what she could see I was doing etc
Message: Posted by: ymumagic (Jan 14, 2016 03:14PM)
[quote]On May 14, 2015, Lance Inkwell wrote:
My fiance and I have been together for 12 years and will be getting married in August. I have found over those 12 years that it's easy for her to feel like a third wheel when I'm very passionate about something I'm working on, like my art work or magic tricks. It was almost like she viewed my hobbies and practice as another woman. I came to realize that it wasn't the art or magic that she hated, it was the time that these crafts required, the time that I spent focused on them and not her and things that interest her. Once I learned this, I decided to find a way to make more time for her, and practice my art or magic when it doesn't get in the way of us being together.

The best way I went about this, was setting aside designated times for her, and for my hobbies, and then gave her my full attention when I was not working on my hobbies. Once she could see that she was just as important to me as my art, she learned to love my art and magic tricks. For the magic, I also found ways to do tricks with stories and things that interest her, and ways to make my tricks romantic. The other problem my magic had in her eyes, was she associated it with only clowns and geeks. (Not saying either of the two are bad, but in her eyes... you get what I mean.) She thought that guys who are interested in magic were sleazy and dorky. Once I showed her how magic can be a very intellectual practice, and how it can even be sexy- for lack of a better phrase, she learned to appreciate it.

So my advice to you RookieMage, take her to romantic places and make roses materialize from thin air, show her a coin trick where the coins turn into diamond earrings, and probably the best trick of all- make your magic disappear for a few hours and give her your full attention. Make her feel like she is more important than anything you do, and she will start to support you and cheer you on. I know this is all easier said than done, but it worked for me. Good luck! [/quote]

Wow, that is very well said. Thank you for your wise words.

I am currently teaching my wife mnemonica to help her get involved a bit, she enjoys working with me and not just watching :)
I also show everything to her to test myself out because she (and my parents) see everything, so they give me excellent critiques. But I try not to overdo it otherwise she gets a bit, understandably, annoyed :)
Message: Posted by: PeterOwens (Feb 21, 2016 11:26AM)
I've got the same problem with my girlfriend of 3 years, I took up magic around 6 months ago, I spend hours upon hours practicing tricks and sleights to get them perfect, when I approach her with a pack of cards it seema like a chore for her, but after I do the trick/s she says a simple "well done, that was good" and that's it, I normally practice on her because she tells me if she sees a move being done or will just straight up tell me if its a rubbish trick or a good trick, and I like the honesty. If I can do a trick for her and impress I can do it for anyone in my eyes!

-P