Is hubby’s hobby too dangerous? Can you tell him ‘No!’?

Earlier this summer Tori Spelling’s husband Dean McDermott was pretty seriously hurt in a dirt bike accident. He was in ICU for several weeks with a punctured and collapsed lung. He just recently got out of the hospital. (I realize I am writing about Tori Spelling but stay with me. I swear there is a good conversation in this.)

Spelling has complained on her show Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood about Dean choosing a dangerous hobby and that it is not appropriate for a dad. In fact, described it as “On their show, Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood, the couple fought about Tori’s constant concern for Dean’s daredevil racing.”

From an older story on Extra after the crash first happened:

“When asked if she’ll force her husband to quit riding, Tori said she’s not sure if she can. She told ‘Extra’s’ Lauren Sanchez, ‘You can tell him, because I don’t know if I can do that. I’m not his parent. I’m his wife.’ ”

“For right now, the two are just focusing on Dean’s health. A caring Spelling says, ‘He’s pretty banged up.’ They’ll discuss his plans when he gets better.”

I am very interested in Tori’s quote about being his wife and not his mother and not wanting to tell him what to do.

Michael doesn’t do anything dangerous but sometimes he does make choices (such as going to Georgia-Florida on Halloween night) that I wouldn’t make.  I agree with Tori (can’t believe I am saying that) that a husband has to choose to do the right thing and a wife can’t and shouldn’t “make” them do the right thing.

So multiple angles form this story to discuss:

Does your husband/children’s father participate in any sport/hobby that you feel is too dangerous for a family man to participate in?

Do you feel like it is your place to forbid your husband/children’s father from doing something that could hurt him and in turn your family?

Do you ever put your foot down and just say “no, you can’t do it”? Give examples?

Is that appropriate for a wife to do?

33 comments Add your comment


July 20th, 2010
2:26 pm

Not quite the same thing, but….

Many time when my husband is trying to quite his tabacco habit he will use the gum. I was raised that “smacking” is not acceptable and it was along the line of chewing with your mouth open, just plan gross!!!

When my daughter does the gum smacking, I jump her and make her spit out the gum. But when my husband does it I say nothing. My daughter called me on the double standard and my response was my job was to raise her with good manners I can not be held responsible that his mother didn’t feel smacking gum was a disgusting and offensive and I am not his mother and it is not my job to “raise” him.

Otherwise we have a few hobbys we could get hurt with, horses, 4-wheelers and the like, but nothing dangerous. Guess I should qualify that with yes the horses are handerous and I have the scar to prove it but they are worth the risk.

We both are feeling at our age (mid and late 40’s) that our days of wild and crazy are behind us. We can enjoy the memories but don’t feel the need to prove ourselves anymore.


July 20th, 2010
2:36 pm

If my husband said I couldn’t do something then I am just the type that’s gonna do it just for spite. Childish maybe, but he and I are a little too old to be a parent to each other. We parent and set restrictions for our children not our spouse. I probably do more dangerous actitives than my husband. I love to ride motorcycles, my husband can take it or leave it. How would you feel if Michael told you not to do something. Really?????

pick your battles

July 20th, 2010
2:51 pm

You husband will not resent you if you make the request only on rare occasions. If my wife told me in the sweetest way that racing motorcycles was too dangerous and that she wouldn’t know what to do if something happened, I’d quit riding. If she told me, “You are not doing that anymore!” I’d keep right on riding.

Its not what you ask, its how you ask and how often you ask.


July 20th, 2010
3:06 pm

I think its something you can have a discussion about. I don’t think it is correct to forbid your husband to do a particular hobby, but you should be able to present your opinions (in a nice way) and discuss whether something very dangerous is appropriate for someone with responsibilities.

If a wife has very real, reasonable concerns about something the husband plans on doing, I think it is wise for him to listen and reevaluate his activities. He may not even be aware how much stress he is putting on his wife when he goes off to do something dangerous leaving her to worry about what will happen if he gets seriously injured. If it is a hobby and not part of his job, then is it really worth the pain/worry he may be causing his wife just to have a jolt of adrenaline?

@pick – it is definitely how you ask. nagging and carping is not going to get good results. Calm discussion with reasoned arguments and reasonable requests will get much further most of the time.


July 20th, 2010
3:14 pm

The only thing I have ever had a STRONG opinion about was him getting a motorcycle. It is a big purchase and he already has road rage (in my opinion!) :o) Getting killed is one thing, maimed for life is another. And, since I would likely need to co-sign to purchase…I’m out! Also, it’s not him driving that I am most concerned about, but the other crazy drivers who are oblivious!

There are many other things that he might like to do, but I don’t foresee me putting the kabosh on any of those. If he wanted to do dirt bike riding, that would be ok (even though I have a friend who is a quadraplegic from racing).

Like a couple of the others have said, I’m not his mother. He should use enough sense to think of the effects on the family. I guess that’s why we have life insurance LOL!


July 20th, 2010
3:16 pm

“Forbid”? Forbid another adult to do something that they are legally and physically capable of doing if they wish? I can’t even begin to imagine a relationship where one part of the couple thinks they can TELL the other person what to do — certainly not an equal one.

We learned a close-call lesson in my family growing up when my dad was taking flying lessons, something he had always wanted to do. Suddenly, he was only a few hours away from his license — and he stopped. Wouldn’t say why, except that he was “busy”. I smelled a rat, and finally got it out of him: He had had to make an emergency landing on a back road due to a fuel line clog. No damage, no injury, but it was at that point that he thought to check his life insurance policy. Sure enough , it didn’t cover him while flying, and the rider for recreational flying was prohibitively expensive. So — no more flying.

Anytime my husband wants to do something risky, I just smile and say, “Make sure you paid the insurance, hon!” Thankfully, he’s not much of a daredevil – but there’s no way I’m going to stand in his way.


July 20th, 2010
3:49 pm

@michelle..You would of probably killed my husband a couple of years ago then..I came home from work one day and he proudly showed me his new motorcycle..I knew that he had been looking for one (sort of)..So we went that evening, bought me a helmet and I took off work the next day so that we could go ride..:)

I guess that I’m lucky in that my husband doesn’t have any dangerous hobbies, so I’m not that worried about things that he does..Heck, his work is just as dangerous as some hobbies..He climbs up on roofs that are “yeah” tall and never thinks about it..

common sense

July 20th, 2010
3:57 pm

You can not forbid another adult from doing something. I understand the concern.

I have a good friend whose husband had a dangerous hobby… She just called the insurance company. Increased the policies and made sure that all of his paperwork was in order. They wrote wills and final preparation plans. Not that this wasn’t needed, she just made sure that he was quite involved and then told him to go and have some fun.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

July 20th, 2010
4:36 pm

let’s face it….if you forbid your hubby from doing something he enjoys like riding a motorcycle that doesn’t present a clear, present, and immediate danger to you or your loved ones (I’m thinking smoking, drugs, excessive drinking, abusive behavior), it’s because YOU don’t like what he is doing and YOU fear how it may affect YOUR life. Plain and simple.

I have a neighbor whose hubby “forbid” her from going out to dinner and bars for “girls night out” once a month. His reasoning was because he thought her friends were a bad influence and adversely affected her frame of mind and subsequently their marriage.

Do I think that was silly and unreasonable…yeah. But his argument is NO different than the one presented here. If the wife doesn’t like the hubby riding his bike, should she have the right to tell him that the potential adverse ramifications of it are enough for her to prohibit it? If you feel that way, you’re entitled to your opinion, but you’re going to be a big hypocrite when your hubby tells you he doesn’t like you hanging out with your friends and you go ballistic on him.

Where do you draw the line…don’t ride horses(remember Christopher Reeves)…don’t atv…..don’t skydive….don’t drive your car(read the accident reports)….don’t jet ski….don’t ski (remember Natasha Richardson)….the list will never end and can be (ir)rationalized to any extreme.

By the way…my neighbor doesn’t have to worry about her hubby exiling her from her friends anymore…their divorce was finalized last year.


July 20th, 2010
5:00 pm

so what happens if you forbid your husband or wife from doing something and they do it anyway? do you ground them? divorce them? im all about parents, husbands and wives discussing the dangers of certain activities, but like tiger said….EVERYTHING is dangerous. granted some things are more so than others, but if your husband or wife is bound and determined to do it anyway, like was said above…make sure the insurance covers it well and let em go for it. you cant sit on the couch all the time just to make sure youre safe. plus you can probably get struck by lightening sitting on the couch. ( i actually know a man who was struck by lightening while asleep in his bed)


July 20th, 2010
5:39 pm

If it is something that is dangerous and the spouse cares so little for their family that they continue to selfishly pursue the hobby then perhaps they need to not be part of that family anymore. My husband stopped flying (his hobby for years) because we had a child and being around for his children was way more important to him than the hobby. I never asked him to stop, never would have evan thought about it, he did it all on his own. It is very nice to know how much we mean to him.


July 20th, 2010
5:49 pm

Anything one of the spouses objects to should be discussed, and a meeting of the minds reached. If an agreement is not negotiated, the partners have to evaluate the importance to them of the other spouse agreeing. Whether it is using drugs, drinking/smoking, racing cars, enticing young girls, or chewing with your mouth open, it is up to the couple to decide whether they will continue their relationship.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

July 20th, 2010
6:11 pm

You know what’s ironic? And forgive me for placing this squarely on the wives, but the topic is after all “is HUBBY’s hobby too dangerous” and completely directed at those dastardly hubbies. What is ironic is that I bet all those daring things were part of the appeal to the wives when they first met.

I would even venture a guess that the husband’s sense of adventure was actually an added value to how the young girlfriend, soon to be wife, saw her suitor.

I bet you there were things said like “he (fill in the blank with some risky activity)..that is so cool” and you praised him and and really cherished him for not being the guy who wanted to play monopoly or just go out to the movies and dinner on a Saturday night.

On behalf of guys everywhere, I would ask of all you future wives out there who start with this attitude…at least have the decency to say to your future mate something along the lines of “I REALLY appreciate how adventurous you are now…but when we get married I’m going to need you to assassinate that little part of you that you hold so dear that makes you feel alive and young.”

Guys are just looking for a little transparency, that’s all.

I’m just glad that when I say “honey, I’d like to try skydiving sometime” or “I want to get back into kayaking”, my wife only gets upset when her schedule prohibits her from joining me.

what the hell

July 20th, 2010
6:15 pm

Maybe I’m just selfish but I agree with Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp. I think as long as the person doesn’t have excessive behavior (alcohol, or drug use, physically or mentally abusive) they should be able to do what they love. But hey, I’m learning how to ride a motorcycle so my opinion is biased.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

July 20th, 2010
6:16 pm

@what the hell…..are you the hubby or wife?


July 20th, 2010
6:22 pm

It is selfish to have a dangerous hobby or other voluntary activity that increases your risk of serious injury or death. The loss of parent or spouse is horrible and leaves the survivors with a changed life through no decision of their own.
If the daredevil is severely injured for life and left with significant brain trauma or quadraplegia, then someone has to care for that person. And most medical policies don’t provide round the clock coverage for custodial care. And while someone can suffer this type of injury in a car, biking accident, stroke or fall, the likelihood is greatly increased by riskier activities.

Life the father who looked at the cost to add his recreational flying to his insurance policy, the risk taker needs to look at what his/her actions would do to their family both if they die and if they survive.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

July 20th, 2010
6:35 pm

@Heartbreak…so i’m curious what activities you would find a husband to be unreasonably selfish to engage in. let me provide a list

river rafting
riding a motorcycle for transportation purposes (like a harley, not doing 100 foot jumps on a dirt bike)
jet skiing
triathlons where you do open ocean swims in CA (a guy got killed by a shark there)
wading in the water at Pensacola (kid got his arm ripped off by a shark there a few years back)
playing golf (several people a year get killed by lightning)
playing adult league baseball (line drives kill)
getting a private pilots license
mountain climbing

I really would be interested in which one of these would be verboten to you. But more interestingly, I would like to know why the WIFE gets to be the judge of the level of appropriate risk that results in the activity being selfish.

Admittedly, some of the risk of these activities listed is greater than others. But in each activity, a great many people have died engaging in them. Conversely, in each case, a great many people have spent decades engaging in them without incident. And in each activity, when engaged in responsibly and with respect to their skill level in comparison to the difficulty of the activity, they are really a very low risk.

So why does the wife get to decide that they don’t have confidence in their husband to do things responsibly and he is really just a selfish jerk?


July 20th, 2010
7:57 pm

Dang Tiger, you go boy!


July 20th, 2010
8:01 pm

Have a good life insurance policy and a disability policy.


July 20th, 2010
8:13 pm

My husband is an adult. If he wants to participate in a hobby that is inherently risky or dangerous, it is his right. I am his wife, not his mommy. So I can’t forbid anything. But I would make certain that he understands the ramifications of his decision, like perhaps not being alive to see his children graduate, get married, meet his grandkids, etc. If he can live with the risk, so can I. Maybe not happily, but that is the way life is. Risky.


July 20th, 2010
8:36 pm

Gosh! And I was about to tell my husband to stop smoking crack and picking up prostitutes. What was I thinking?

Mom of Two

July 20th, 2010
8:39 pm

My hubby not only has a hobby or two that can be considered dangerous for someone who is not trained properly, he’s started taking the kids along (they LOVE it) and teaching them all he knows. :) I’m only an unhappy camper when I have to work and can’t go along! Life is short, you only get one and you should enjoy the one you’ve got while you can.

I wonder how many of these wives who don’t want their husbands snow skiing (that’s how Sonny Bono died) or enjoying other sports/hobbies have husbands who are overweight, don’t eat properly, don’t exercise enough, drink, smoke or otherwise engage in activities that have been proven to shorten their life span. I don’t know the stats, but I would venture to say that the percentage of husbands killed in car accidents is higher than those killed in “dangerous” hobbies. Ditto for cancer, heart disease, etc…


July 20th, 2010
9:06 pm

Tiger…The only ones on your list that I consider hazardous enough to require second thoughts are hang gliding (too little control), motorcycle riding (rate of accidents with traumatic injury and death are too high per mile traveled compared to other modes of transportation) and private pilot. My feelings on these activities might also be related to the deaths of friends and the subsequent grief I watched the families experience after a motorcyle accident and a private plane crash. Were these two parents doing what they loved? Yes of course. But the grief and hardships these parents and children have endured because of the family member’s choice of activity is heartbreaking. The affects have lasted for y
I think you are biased as to whether it is male or female though. I feel the same regardless of gender.


July 20th, 2010
9:14 pm

My bottom line is that if you have a family, you have greater responsibilites than when you were single. When you make a choice to have a child, you have an obligation to that family. Yes, Mom of Two, car accidents and cancer have taken 4 other friends. Their families also grieved but these were course of life events that did not involve choice on the part of the victims.

Also, Tiger you didn’t address my comments concerning traumatic injury that would require your family to spend the rest of your life caring for you. My theory for that is if you choose the high risk activity, then you should have enough Long Term Care Insurance to care for you for life so that don’t burden your family or society with your choices. Buy enough of this expensive coverage to carry you for 30 or 40 years, accept what your decisions may do to your loved ones and then carry on. But don’t disregard the comments of loved ones who may truly want to enjoy the next 30 or 40 years with you in the best health possible.

Warrior Woman

July 21st, 2010
9:56 am

@ Tiger – I’m with you. My husband and I are adults. I would be angry if he told me what sports and activities I can enjoy, so I won’t tell him, “You can’t do that!” The exceptions would be something that was illegal (which he’s too ethical to do anyway) or that put our children at undue risk. I don’t think people realize that life is dangerous. You can accept that and enjoy it anyway, or you can have a paralyzing fear of danger that makes you miss out on fun.

On the other hand, you should be responsible enough to ensure that you’ve provided for your family in the event of your accident or injury. That’s why we have insurance and financial planning.

Warrior Woman

July 21st, 2010
10:32 am

@ Heartbreak – It’s also selfish to expect your loved ones to wrap themselves in cotton and sit perfectly still on the sofa to avoid all risk.

Is badminton too dangerous? 85% of badminton players are injured every year. So are 65% of runners and 21% of walkers. The injury rates for running and aerobic dance are higher than the injury rate for alpine skiing. (Statistics from Sports Injury Bulletin)

Would you forbid your loved one to ride a bicycle or a skateboard or to rollerskate? Sports and recreational activities account for 21% of childhood brain injuries, and bicycling, skateboarding, and skating lead the list.

Life is dangerous. The only way to avoid danger from life is to be dead.


July 21st, 2010
10:38 am

Am I the only one with “The Beaches of Cheyenne” running in her head?

I have no problem saying “that sounds dangerous” or “can we discuss it.” However, like most posters I never told my ex, or any SO in my life, don’t do it or a flat out No. Never gave an ultimatium on it either….I did give one on the drinking,drugs, and women–and of course I said he is my ex.

People live with scary daily….fireman, policeman, solider….should you tell your spouse not to be that?


July 21st, 2010
12:15 pm

@tiger….that goes both ways…it seems men and women fall in love with the person one is…then only want to change that person…i have had that happen to me, and i wondered why, if they fell in love with the way i am and the person i am, do they want me now to become another person? i have warned my kids about this….be sure these things that are causing you to fall in love with this person are things you can live with forever!

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

July 21st, 2010
1:45 pm

@Heartbreak…so what about the next person who comes on here and says “hey Tiger, I think every activity you mentioned is too risky for someone who others depend on to engage in and therefore makes them selfish to continue to do so”.

Can you see how twisted this gets and how you completely relinquish your rights to complain when your significant other tells you that he thinks you’re selfish for engaging in anything that he feels has the potential to be physically or emotionally detrimental?

All I’m saying is that the assessment of risk regarding hobbies and behaviors is completely subjective from person to person, and the presumption made here today is that if a sig other feels it’s too risky…well then it is. And I think that is a very slippery slope. I may be an idealist, but I would like to think that we marry people we actually know very well, and forge on with those relationships appreciating the things we know about them and not just tolerating them and then wake up one morning 5, 10, or 20 years later to inform our sig others that they can no longer do the things they love, even though we were permissive of all along. Kind of a switch and bait, it you ask me.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

July 21st, 2010
1:51 pm

@Heartbreak….”My bottom line is that if you have a family, you have greater responsibilites than when you were single.”

Doesn’t anyone entering a relationship have the responsibility to lay it out on the table that certain activities will not be tolerated, and conversely let’s say a motorcycle rider putting it out there that he/she will not be giving up his/her bike once the nuptials are finalized?

Wouldn’t it be fair, Heartbreak, for you to tell your fiance BEFORE you get married that you will not tolerate him riding his motorcycle ever, and that if that is a deal breaker then you should break up? Somehow I get the feeling that doesn’t happen very often.


July 21st, 2010
2:30 pm

I need to say that I would never tell a Spouse that he/she could not pursue an activit Do I think some are too hazardous for a responsible parent? Yes. My list is limited and if my spouse does make sure that all Life, Disability and Long Term Care insurance is in place then go ahead. However, don’t expect your family to care for you for decades and recognize what your choice of activites may mean to your family.

Again, I wouldn’t be married to someone who told me what I could or couldn’t do and I would never dictate to my spouse either.


July 21st, 2010
2:52 pm

Tiger – I think the topic is geared toward the women to say/ask don’t do that for the simple fact that the family is primarily financially dependent on the man of house more so than the woman. Speaking for our household, should my SO decide to engage in something stupid/dangerous and become physically unable to work, it would literally force us into a life of poverty at this point in time. Now once the house is paid off, and the kids are grown, sure, update the insurance policy & tell him to have a blast. Also, as an insurance agent, yes, these hobbies have to have an additional (expensive) rider in order to pay off at all so if you or your spouse decide to take up sky diving, be sure and read the fine print in the policy.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

July 21st, 2010
6:42 pm

@JD….I’ll concede you may be right. I’m just saying that I think we’re confirming through this conversation why some men (not me) feel like once they get married, their spouse begins the indoctrination to change who they are pre marriage. If we don’t change, we’re selfish pigs, but when we do change TWG posts blogs complaining about how Superbowl commercials portray men as being shells of the men they were pre-marriage!

Talk about a catch 22!