My wife avoids her cousins, even though I maintain friendships.
I have a moderately active social life — I have lunch with friends and go to arts activities when I can. When I do these things, I always invite my wife along and she always creates a reason she can't and then sends me on a guilt trip. It's not what I want my life to be.
I do love my wife dearly. I invite friends in, which also upsets her. I don't do this without consulting well in advance.
Last weekend, I had four friends in for a dinner party. My wife treated all of them rudely, did not come to the table until dining was in progress — we waited over 10 minutes — and then berated all of us for our rudeness.
A note: Our children won't come to the house anymore because of her behavior.
I'm open to suggestions. She refuses to join me for therapy. She says it's a trap.
— Social Spouse
Social Spouse: This is a much more serious problem than her being “nonsocial.” This is antisocial. And one-third of her total friend count hasn’t been in her life for 30 years! Her children have fled. That’s not “a note,” that’s a skywriter over your house putt-putting a wavy WAAAAKE UUUUUUUP.
You say she “refuses to join me for therapy” — not surprising, of course. But I hope it means you are already, actually in therapy yourself, because that’s where my answer was going to send you all along. Solo.
It sounds as if your wife came into your life already with a difficult personality, and she has only picked up more difficult and even abusive behaviors with age — possibly because that’s just what people do, becoming more intensified versions of themselves, and possibly because there’s an element of diagnosable illness and/or decline.
It’s possible she has been an abuser all along and you’ve minimized it, with the best of intentions of keeping a family intact.
If this is even partially true, then ongoing professional guidance is your best source of suggestions. Whatever the substance of it, please know it’s going to be absolutely necessary — and it’s okay — for you to make room for your social life. Around her, despite her, but not subject to her guilt trips.
I am not mentioning separation because you didn’t even swerve that way, but that has to be on the table when a spouse is abusive, and as you describe your wife’s behavior, it sounds like emotional abuse.
And make sure you keep the lines open between (just) you and your children. If you didn’t back them during those episodes of “her behavior,” then you owe them apologies for that — and zero pushback if they choose not to accept.