wife says I am cold and insensitive

halcon21July 21, 2007

My wife says she's at the end of her line with me. Currently, we are separated but have been talking. We do have a 1yr old together, but I also bring three other kids from two past relationships. No the kids do not live with me, and in the past the youngest(10) was putting serious strain on the relationship.

My wife has said unless I seek counseling there is no way we are getting back together. She said I have to many unresolved issues with my past that are affecting us. I Don't know if anything from my past is affecting me or not. Personally, I don't think about things in my past.

Her biggest gripe, she feels I need to be more attentive toward her needs and that of our child. She feels since we currently "DO NOT" live together I should still understand she needs help with our child... I AGREE 100%. However, she never asks me for what it is she needs. I tell her ask me what you need and I'll get it. I'm not Kreskin I can't read minds. Her argument is

"If I have to ask you and it doesn't come from you, it shows me you don't care. You should understand I always need help"

I'm not sure I follow that line of reasoning. I've told her I don't know if you have 20 cases of food, diapers, clothes, or anything else. I would like to get you what you need "NOW" and not what you may need later.

Recently, she had a flea problem at the house and asked me to research what was the best way to eradicate the problem. I gave her some answers, but she was still miffed because it didn't dawn on me to go buy the stuff and have it waiting for her when she got home from work.

Huh? you asked me to do some research for you... that's it.

In the end, she didn't use my research; instead, she followed her sisters advice, and the flea problem persisted. According to her, though, that's not the point. I should have been more sensitive to the needs of our child and shown that I cared by purchasing what I researched and having it ready for her. Of course, you know the argument was "all you asked for was research."

One thing that has also really upset her is I've told her "I am perfectly happy being alone. I expect to grow old and die alone and that's okay if it happens. It would be great to be with you, but I will live on if it doesn't work out."

I do love her, and want to be with her, but I certainly don't need her.

there's a lot more but I just wanted to see what your thoughts on this was.

there's more, but let's see where this goes first.

thanks for your time

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Your post is so typical immmature "GUY" it's laughable! Ok, first off, no matter how true or logical it seems never tell your wife or the mother of your child that you don't need her. Come on; we know you are not going to fall off the earth without her, but saying those words with your implication is just down and out mean. Nobody except a small child ever really "needs" someone and we CAN all die alone so there is really no need to say or imply it to her.

Now on to other stuff... You have a baby; you're wife is overworked.....help her. I doubt you tell her specifically everything she needs to do, right? Does she have to read your mind to know when you are hungry and it's dinner time or does she just make dinner? Come on; you can't bow out of doing things by saying you can't read minds. It's a cop out. You shouldn't have to read anyone's minds to know what needs to be done. If you truly don't know what needs to be done then talk to other men that have babies and good marriages, and see what they do or follow her around the house taking notes to see what needs to be done or even pick up one of her baby books.

Open your eyes; if dishes are in the sink they need to be done. If laundry is piling up, it needs to be done, if the toilet seat is too sticky to lift up, it needs to be cleaned, if the baby is crying in the middle of the night, he needs something (go check what), etc. And here's one, you should know where the diapers are (because you help change him, right?) so you should be able to see if you are running low (TAKE A LOOK!). I know it sounds petty and specific but please don't act stupid; you can find your answers if you want to; Your wife shouldn't have to take on even more responsibility and work by having her tell you what to do, so you don't have any responsibility on your own that she didn't tell you about. Believe it or not, there are many men out there that get it and know -- they are NOT mind readers and their wives don't tell them anything -- but they want to be a contirbuting member of their family. YOU could even come up with a chart or list (that you make) or some system that could help both of you know what needs to be done.

P.S. Why is your wife even involved in the flea problem? My husband would have taken the bull by the horns and resolved it himself before I even knew there was a problem -- quit moaning about things she did and didn't tell you to do; next time just handle the entire problem yourself.

Most couples have some problems the first year with a baby, but I think your problems go a lot deeper and you probably should go see a counselor with her. Sorry if my post sounds harsh...but it just sounds to me like you really just don't get what it means to have a family.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 2:46PM
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There's a huge difference between doing what you're told/asked, and being responsible for something. In other words, someone is always responsible for making sure that the things that need to be done get done -- and if it's not you, then it's always your wife. Also, having been there, I can say that it's honestly much easier to do everything yourself than to ask for help you can't count on getting and constantly be disappointed. How about asking your wife for the top three things you can do to make her (and your child's) life easier? Then, come heII or high water, do those things.

Halcon - Do you know why your first two marriages broke up? Do any of your wife's complaints sound familiar? I guess what I'm saying is that YOU may not tie your current problems to your own thoughts about your past, but you wife is seeing problems that she perceives would have been there or that are stemming from things that happened long ago. Could be that counseling would help bring some of them out into the light of day...

In any case, it sounds to me like you have nothing to lose by trying counseling, and a whole lot to lose (strike 3) if you don't.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 6:09PM
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Okay, perhaps I wasn't clear on something, actually I was You just didn't read it correctly. We "DO NOT" live together. In fact, I currently live 20 miles away. I do not see her everyday because I work. Without being there, I don't know what goes on... I can't see it. When I was there, it was obvious what needed to be done, and I handled it. that is no longer the case. She currently has her sister living with her to help her.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 8:05PM
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I assumed you guys were trying to work it out and you wanted to know what may have been going on in her head when you were living together and what you could do differently to make it work. You say you handled what needed to be done when you were there; really, are you sure? Is that what she thinks? Why are you separated then?

And, still, are you never there taking care of the baby to check if diapers or food are needed, or dishes need to be done? Or, because you don't live there do you just write those things off unless your wife mentions them.

You just don't get it...YOU still could/should have handled the flea problem...but I don't think you see it that way or would even consider the possibiltity. It's still your house, your wife and your kid living with fleas...your wife mentions it to you...do something; handle it like a real man. No excuses!

Instead of complaining and thinking what and why you can't do things, just do something/anything. Excuses will kill you. Bring over some diapers and wipes. Stop by just to watch the baby so your wife and SIL can catch a movie or something.

Obviously, and we know because you told her, you would be just as happy without her....but there is a child involved and this is your third relatioship with children that you can't seem to work out. Grow up; part of the responsibility of having kids is trying to be being a decent husband. Maybe you should think about things in your past relationships so that you don't repeat the same cycle.

And one more little comment...the greatest of love often comes from need...don't be afraid to really truly need your wife; If you truly needed her, you would treat her differently and probably great love would come from it. Don't be afraid or too proud to need someone. Maybe that is the root of your problem....you are afraid to need her and don't want her to rely on or need you. Not a good recipe for a marriage.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 10:35PM
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Carla, I will take what you said and run with it. The needing part I'm not sure will ever happen.

A brief background on my persona: I haven't spoken to my father in twenty years, and it never bothered me. I haven't spoken to my brother in two, and again never bothered me. My mom and I are not really on speaking terms, and, again, it really doesn't bother me. I have no problem ending relationships and don't look back. My past really bothers my wife and I suppose she doesn't want to be like to be like the rest... I don't blame her but it is just how I am. Everyone says I have ice run through my veins.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 11:15PM
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halcon21 - you definitely need counseling. You and your wife need marital counseling but I think you need to work on yourself first. You are estranged from the most important people in your life... and you're not bothered by it. You need to find out why. Not to be a smart-a, but do you think you're too self absorbed?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 12:01AM
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Maybe your family is really messed up and you are better without them anyway???? Sounds like maybe you have attachment problems...see yourself anywhere in the link below? You can find tons of stuff on attachment problems to read if you're interested. I'm sure a counselor could help you sort through some stuff. You obviously care, at least a little, or else you wouldn't be posting. Everyone wants to be loved, some people have just never been taught how to give or receive love.

Most importantly, remember you are an example and caregiver for your children. Attachment problems can often come from bad or lack of parenting...even if there is ice in your veins, I'm sure you want better for your children. Get some professional help.

Here is a link that might be useful: Attachment in Adults

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 12:08AM
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moonie, there are always reasons for things being the way they are; I really doubt you would give that advice if you knew the circumstances. The self-absorbed part is the only thing you may be right. The "why" is not the issue to my wife... The ease in which I do it is what bothers her.

She witnessed me dissolve a 20 year friendship with someone without "me" batting an eye. Every time I end some sort of relationship she asks me if it bothers me and I say no and go on as if nothing happened.

I will tell you what really bothers me, a lot, in people "Lack of self-sufficiency"

One of the first things I ever told my wife when we first started dating was "I don't need you to ever cook for me or do my laundry. If you want too, that's fine, but I don't need you to do it."

I am the type of person that handles his own. If I need help with something, I will give you a reason why I can't do it. If you say no, I understand and work out a plan b. I will not be mad at your answer, because I know I asked a question that solicited a "yes" or "no" answer.

Carla, thanks for the link. in response to "everyone wants to be loved". I'm starting to think, other than my kids, I don't care if I have it. Typing this out and seeing it in front of me, in black and white, is really opening my eyes. The reality is, now that I think about it, after a while relationships bore me. It's like going to the same office everyday and doing the same thing. I've told people I will never work for anyone, because one day they would show up and find me hanging from the ceiling in my office. I said it as joke, of course; but, it was the only way I could express how I felt about working for someone. In case you haven't noticed, I am self-employed and have been most of my life. The times I wasn't, I got bored to the point if my boss said the wrong thing, I would grab my stuff and walk off the job.

Not sure if there's a way to fix how I feel about relationships. Truth be told, I stop putting in the effort once I get bored. This would explain, why I am always reading and studying something. I need to be mentally stimulated constantly.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 1:13AM
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Halcon, I think it's really good that you're asking questions - hard ones - and that you're being willing to really think about what's going in your relationship with your wife. Many people who encounter family/marital difficulties are quick to dismiss them as someone else's fault or problem, but your willingness to be a bit introspective is, I think, a good sign. That is the first step to growth.

I'm guessing from your words that you must have gotten badly burned when you were a child by people you loved & trusted the most - your parents. That makes me sad. Whatever it was, as a child you didn't deserve it and I can't blame you for shutting down to close relationships as an adult. But now you have your own beautiful little ones, and they'll learn a good deal about how relationships work from you. I don't know how old your other three kids are, but I guarantee, your one-year old is craving your love and affection right now - please don't shut down to her. Perhaps this can be your motivation for change and growth in yourself - to give your kids a blueprint for living that's better than the one you were (or weren't, actually) given. I'm sure you don't want them to grow up to have ice in their veins too. I encourage you to give them the gift of your own growth - of seeing that they matter enough to you for you to do the hard work of changing things that have become deeply engrained.

I think you can do it. It will feel uncomfortable and weird at first - like walking in a pair of shoes you've never worn before. But please do check into seeing a competent, experienced counselor who can help you begin to make the connections about the patterns in your life. If seeing someone seems too scary at first, pick up a copy of "Getting the Love You Want," by Harville Hendrix.

You are never too old to grow.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 2:59AM
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Most people live in their hearts, but some live in their heads. It sounds like you may be one of those, Halcon. My first husband was one of those. In counseling, the therapist asked him how he felt about something powerful I had said. He replied "I think..." She said -- "No, not what do you think -- How did you feel?" He again replied "Well, I think..." He just could not see the difference. Can you? Do you?

I understand your point about self-sufficiency, and it's a quality I admire in a person. But at the same time, when carried too far, it shuts people out and walls you off from the people who love you and want to be part of your life. I think this is part of what your wife is trying to tell you, and may be why your other relationships ended.

I hear too that losing those now-dead relationships didn't bother you, and to a certain extent, I understand that, too. And perhaps losing your wife and child won't bother you. But losing you will hurt them. Particularly your daughter. And it will hurt a lot. Right now, you're not hurting because you don't know what you're missing. But I can tell you that you're missing something wonderful, the most wonderful and profound human experience of all -- the experience of deeply loving another person and intertwining your life with hers. It is that love that makes the world go 'round -- that inspires the greatest art, music, poetry and literature. Until you experience that love, you're missing the greatest thing of all, and that's a tragedy.

I don't equate "ice in the veins" with evil or malice, but rather with 'void'. OK - so a void doesn't hurt, but it also doesn't warm and enrich. There IS a better world out there that's passing you by entirely.

Two possibilities occur to me:

- The first is that in some way, you were badly damaged by your early experiences, and chose to wall yourself off emotionally as a survival strategy. It's possible, with therapy, to learn why you found it necessary to wall yourself off, and how to let some people into your core and learn to love.

- The second is that you were just born this way -- simply missing that little piece of the brain that masters empathy and complex social-emotional interactions. Have you ever read about Asperger's Syndrome? It's a milder form of autism that affects some intelligent people that way.

I wish you the best --

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 12:39PM
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perhaps you guys are right about love, but I don't miss it, not from a spouse anyway. Like I said, I think I get bored really easy and I have to be mentally stimulated constantly. In my career, I do something new and go somewhere new every day. here is some more insight into my personality: I only listen to a song one time and watch a movie one time. If I hear or watch a movie again, it bores me to tears. that is a reason I listen to talk radio exclusivly--always something fresh. If the program is a repeat, I change the station.

I'm not making excuses for my actions, rather looking for insight as to why I am this way.

I live alone and never invite anyone to my place; I prefer being alone and doing my thing when I want to do it. I feel, when people come over, I have to be a good host and I can't do what I really want... my thing, what ever it is. I'f I am tired I want to lay down, but there is a sense of obligation to stay up because I have company.

Truly, I feel like I sabotage my own relationships because I much rather be alone. I generally find what others do extremely boring unless I already have an interest. That is why I surround, or try to surround myself, with like-minded individuals.

perhaps I am missing a little piece of the brain and that's okay. I have accepted what I am, and I am thankful I do not suffer from some codependent problem.

perhaps, I do have Asperger's Syndrome... that might explain why I am the way I am with certain things. hmmmm! more studying. good, I like it.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 3:41PM
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I doubt you have Asperger's. How can I say this..you don't seem odd or eccentric, just more like an A-hole... You probably have some personality disorder which can be born or bred. How was your childhood; were you abused/neglected in anyway?

A lot of people love to learn and surround themselves with books and info. to do so; And, even I hate watching movies more than once; what is the point? It's normal for a lot of people. I even think talk radio is boring because I think in reality they really are just repeating the same things (same jokes, news and politics just with different names) over and over again...BORING!!!

What I find surprising is that you seem to "think" you are so different with your love for knowledge and getting bored so easily. Plus, I think almost everyone would prefer to work for themselves and hate working for others. You're not special there either....but, what most people do and know is that they have to do things to get by in society..and that may include putting up with a bad boss to bring home money to help support a wife that they may be bored to tears with. For some reason you are not able to form a responsible or healthy attachment to people and try to use your above average intelligence and easy boredom as an excuse. There's that excuse word, again. Sorry, but if you were truly intelligent, you could find things to stimulate you almost everywhere and you would understand that hard work is just that. It's really the average or below average man that needs to be entertained with "stimulating" things all the time.

Aside from attachment and entitlement issues, the other aspects of your personality seem somewhat normal, maybe slightly narcistic, but many men are like that. It is nice to see you think/know you may have a problem. That's probably the biggest obstacle in overcoming your problem(s). Look up info. on "Personality Disorders" for your fun, and call a shrink. A marriage counselor probably won't be able to really help you yet. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 5:34PM
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carla, I can see a conversation with you would be as boring as watching grass grow. Actually, watching grass grow would be more productive.

You seem to suffer from a problem I despise in people and often fire them for, "Selective Hearing".

Where did I say I was any different from anyone. This is twice you've assumed something.

I am looking for Insight, and so far, from what I can tell, you are incompetent in this regard. Although, your intent may be there, your approach is less than diplomatic. In fact, I am going to take a wild guess and say your approach mitigates positive response in your personal relationships.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 6:34PM
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Why are you mentioning things if you don't find them special or odd about yourself then? Do you just like to ramble or see your thoughts in writing?

You think we care if you watch movies more than once, or that you don't want to work for someone else, or you need intellectual stimulation, and get bored easy and this is why you can't stay with your wife? Are those points about yourself supposed to mean something or not? I guess not.

"Selective Hearing" is what these boards are all about; you should know that with all your self education. Everybody is assuming things when posting responses. I think you are just over sensitive to my remarks because maybe they struck a cord. And if you are firing people (like more than one) for selective hearing, you've got bigger problems with your communication skills than you think. It's probably not them, buddy.

Did you ask about me? (No?... there goes my selective hearing again)... Well, I talk to my mom (and dad) everyday and have been married (only once) for over 10 years, keep in touch with friends from as far back as grade school, and am PTA vice pres., just got back from vacation, youngest kid is sick but getting better, thanks for asking -- so maybe I'm not all that bad and you'll want come up with some other EXCUSE to not "hear" me.

Are you sleeping yet?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 7:53PM
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If life is so wonderful, why are you here?

you wrote
"Why are you mentioning things if you don't find them special or odd about yourself then?"

Excuse me, I never said they were unique to me. I was hoping someone might point me in the right direction for self-edification. Perhaps, some higher level of insight than your able to offer.

you wrote:
""Selective Hearing" is what these boards are all about; you should know that with all your self education"

Really! I thought I was coming on a board with a higher level of intellect. I'm glad to know, however, based on other responses, the only person with your low level thought process is you... Did I mention I despise incompetence? Ohh yeah, I did.

you wrote:
"Did you ask about me? (No?... there goes my selective hearing again)... Well, I talk to my mom (and dad) everyday and have been married (only once) for over 10 years, keep in touch with friends from as far back as grade school, and am PTA vice pres., just got back from vacation, youngest kid is sick but getting better, thanks for asking -- so maybe I'm not all that bad and you'll want come up with some other EXCUSE to not "hear" me.

Well god damn! Now I see why you're the resident pro around here, life is just cute and cuddly where you're from.

I'm sorry to read your kid is sick, but what the hell does that have to do with anything? Am I suppose to be impressed with your qualifications? How does that prove anything? OHH, Wait! Your going to tell me something along the lines "Obviously, I have a better grasp on what it takes to run a successful marriage and apparently have better coping skills with those that surround me." Am I close?

As far as sleeping? I'll have enough time to sleep once I am worm food.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 8:39PM
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I share a few of your personality traits (extreme self-reliance, easily bored, often can "take or leave" relationships) so let me offer a few words:

The first is "responsibility". I'm sure you take responsibility for personal grooming, even though the process of showering, etc. is incredibly repetitive and dull. I'm sure you take the trash out at your place and keep it neat, even though it's a boring, thankless task. So on your own personal level, I bet you have no problem in your sense of responsibility outweighing the inherent boredom of everyday maintenance.

Your problem comes in when you expand into a relationship. You expect that everyone is as self-sufficient as yourself, and your relationship with the other person will only be about mutual interests, not any of the mundane support issues. But most folks are not as supremely self sufficient as yourself, and will expect that their relationships involve some level of mutual support, be it emotional, physical, or financial. And a lot of the needs that people have are unspoken. You only find out what they need by learning about the person, and understanding them.

But if you are willing to take on the responsibility (there's that word again) of a marriage, then you automatically have signed yourself up for the job of trying to understand your partner well enough to help them out even when they can't express it themselves. Mindreading? In a sense it is, but rather more like Heartreading, being able to understand someone better than they know themselves. And a lot of that is sitting through the 10th time your spouse describes the same event, or another workday just like the last 256. There's a reason they are telling the story, and it's up to you to figure out what they are really telling you.

You want a REAL challenge in life? Forget the books, work toward understand your wife well enough to hand her something just before she asks for it. The look on her face will be the biggest payoff you'll ever get.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 9:17PM
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Hey, Halcon, are you my ex??? Is your real name Steve? Are there TWO of you out there?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 3:36AM
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I've heard my DH use the same line on me (quote)

"If I have to ask you and it doesn't come from you, it shows me you don't care."

My experience is that this is along the lines of "it's the thought that counts". In other words, just do SOMETHING tangible. It doesn't matter if it's exactly what is wanted or needed, the important thing is the EFFORT. If you're given a clue as to what is needed (like the flea problem, for example) then you can take it beyond what is requested. I think that any intelligent person knows what that next level is--taking it to the next level is what makes it thoughtful and, by virtue of being thoughtful, shows you care.

As a child, when I complained I was bored, my mom--one of the major reasons I'm dealing with the "personality issues" that I have--would say "that's because you're boring". Maybe she thought that was amusing but it's one heck of an f-ed up thing to tell your kid. I think you might find it very interesting to explore why you become easily bored. I wonder if it's because you only invest a small part of yourself in what you do when it comes to emotional attachment. I could be projecting because that's one of my issues, but I have been called "cold" on more than one occasion by more than one boyfriend so I feel a little empathy toward your situation.

However, I think it is probably not this simple. When I read that you become easily bored and some of the other things you wrote about yourself, I felt that you could probably benefit from some individual counseling/therapy. I am in both individual and marriage counseling and I am learning a lot about myself, about how I feel about things, and how to be assertive. I think if you gave it a serious effort you will be able to find the answers to some of the questions you are asking (and you will be treated with dignity and respect).

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 2:10AM
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Well I guess you have to ask yourself if being with your wife and child is the most important thing in your life...well...is it ?

If it is...then you must do some research on how YOU can improve things.

I think your wife needs to be more specific in her requests, which I have learnt to do.

Some good advice from other posters, I hope you read all this.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 4:07AM
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With few exceptions, I appreciate the input guys.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 1:16AM
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In my humble opinion, you are very much a loner. Perhaps you should keep it in your pants so as not to procreate to create any ties to anyone.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 9:58AM
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mimi, I assure you, procreation is no longer an issue.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 2:08PM
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ok... I don't know about cold and insensitive... you sound a lot like my husband... I think of him as being totally clueless about the lives that surround him.

I agree that is sounds like you both need to see to some counseling... we've been there, and are STILL there) that said... there are things I would like my husband to "just take care of" without being asked... (see if these are things you did/did not do)...

Meals do not magically appear on the table, help put them there sometimes.

Clean up after meals does not magically happen.

Wipe the counters when you see they are messy.

It you took it out to use it, put it away, or if it's now empty toss it and put it on the shopping list.

Pick up your laundry and toss it in the hamper.

Maid service is not existant in our house, clean up after yourself.

Schedule your own appointments at times you know are convenient for you.

We both get up to go to work, if the child (or pet) needs someone during the night... take turns, your job is no more important than mine.

Being an at-home mom is a job, with p-poor pay by the way.

Remember birthdays, holidays, school events, etc. Just becasue your family ignored these while you were growning up does not mean our family should.

The washing machine/dryer do not require female attention, they respond to males also, and do not require anything onther than about an 8 year old mentality to operate.

Poor planning on your part does not mean an emergency for me. I may opt to help out, but do not expect me to, unless you are willing to recipricate when I plan poorly.

You don't drop things when I ask for help with something, don't expect me to drop things for you.

Treat me at least as well as you treat your co-workers, I am your spouse, not your slave.

I think you get the idea... I think in any marriage there nees to be a flow of give and take... and for whatever reason it seems that frequently the males seem to want the Ozzie and Harriet home... but the modern life of equals in a marriage... it doesn't work... both people have to be willing to be flexible, BUT especially when children are small, a lot more of the burden of the children shifts to the wife, without anything really ever "leaving" her plate... my favorite question to my husband to make him stop and think was/is... what changed in your daily life with the addition of children into our family? To be honest, he would freely admit that he had added "responsibilities" mental and financial... but that he really didn't do anythng "extra" around the house or for the children... that that ALL fell to me... while we were both working full time at very comparable jobs.... Is it any wonder I was stressed and feeling lke I wanted to just strangle him some times??? A child adds a lot to a household... multiple children are exponential additions in the younger years...


Good luck

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 7:43PM
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