Tag Archives: spouse

I sort of told my parents all kinds of horrible stuff about my wife.

My wife and I recently went through a difficult period in our marriage, and I leaned heavily on my parents for support. We’ve since worked through our problems, but I told my parents some things about my wife that I probably shouldn’t have, and now they’re cold to her, more critical than they used to be, and constantly questioning me about what’s going on in our lives. While I’m appreciative of their loyalty and the fact that they were there for me when I needed them, now I’m wondering if I didn’t make a mistake. Can I correct this somehow?

You’re wondering if you made a mistake. Um, yes! Yes, you did!

What’s wrong with you?

I see no problem with leaning on your family in hard times, and asking them for emotional support. But I’m guessing you did more than that. I’m guessing you called your mom crying on a Friday night after you discovered that Judy’s new job was not, in fact, managing a Friendly’s, but working as a lap dancer at Friendly’s Strip Club and Naked Disco.

It’s possible, you know, to mention that things are a little rocky without actually giving all the details. I’m sure your parents want you to be happy, but I’m also fairly sure they don’t want to know that the weekend everyone thought your wife was on a yoga retreat, she had actually run off to Puerto Rico with her sister’s husband.

From now on, keep your mouth shut. When your parents say disparaging things about Judy, be polite but make sure they know how much you love and respect your wife and how you’re really focusing on the positive now, and not dwelling on the past. Tell them often and enthusiastically how great she is, and mention a lot how she reads to the blind, delivers meals on wheels to shut-ins, and tutors homeless children after school.

And for Christ’s sake, keep your trap shut from now on.

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Thanks, but no thanks, perv.

My friend’s husband is a pig. I try to avoid him whenever possible, but we live in a small town and they always seem to be around. I like her a lot and enjoy her company, but it’s so awkward to try and have a conversation with her while he’s standing there making suggestive comments and giving me lewd looks. I know my friend knows he’s doing it, and I think it embarrasses her so I don’t want to say anything and make it worse, but it has to stop. My husband wants to kick his ass but I want to deal with it myself.

I don’t think it’s a terrible idea to have your husband beat the tuna salad out of him, but if you want to be a big girl and use your words, this is what I would do:

React as if you’re taking everything he says seriously. So if you’re like, “It’s hot out today!” and he’s like, “Yeah it is, baby, maybe you should take your clothes off,” take them off. Or at least one item–maybe your bra. Hand it to him and say, “You’re right. I feel much better now. Thank you.” And then walk away.

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How to not make friends and not influence anybody.

My wife’s brother’s wife is a [insert offensive name for the female anatomy]. I hate her.  Never liked her.  She and I are in similar business, so I called and asked if she could introduce me to her boss.  She said she would talk to him about it. Days went by and she didn’t get back to me.  I sent her an email that said, “Maybe you could just give me his name, and I will go about it myself by sending him an email.”

She wrote back saying that her boss said “No [insert f-bomb] way do i want to talk to anyone.”  Professional people do not say this about someone that they do not know.  He does not know me at all, has never heard of me, and has no reason to think ill of me.  That said:

1.  I don’t believe she spoke to him.
2.  If she did, I am completely sure she didn’t do my story justice at all because she is mildly [insert offensive name for developmentally disabled people].

So I asked again if I could just get his name and I would find a way to just call him myself.  She wrote back that she is completely uncomfortable with that because she knows her boss hates solicitation.   Of course, I could get the name off the company website, but she said that she would help… how would I know she would go psycho.

So I replied, “Thanks.  I will remember this when you ask me for something.” Now of course, everyone in the family is mad at me. They know she is a fruitcake, but think I should massage her to keep the peace.  I am tired of being the peace keeper.  If someone is an asshole, can’t I just say, “You are an asshole?” Seriously, do I have to be nice to someone who is going out of the way to be an asshole?  My wife says to be nice because she’s family.

You asked a favor of someone you hate, and have never liked. Based on your sweet letter, I’m sure you’re a wonderful person, but my excellent intuition tells me she’s not such a fan of yours, either.

She skirted around doing the favor and tried, gracefully, to not do it for you, but you kept asking. This made her feel (if she is lying) like she had to keep making up excuses. Finally, she just said no, and then, wait…who went psycho?

That brings us to your next question…no, you don’t have to be nice to someone who is going out of their way to be unpleasant. But for whatever reason, your sister-in-law was trying.

And your wife is right. Especially because it’s her family, not yours. Terrorize your own family all you want, but try to make things easier for your poor wife.

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I’m sick of family functions.

We live near my husband’s family in the town where he grew up. His family is huge, and it seems like every weekend there’s an event to attend or a birthday to celebrate. Not attending these gatherings inevitably hurts the host family’s feelings, and then there’s bitterness and recrimination to follow, including accusations of liking other cousins better or not liking a particular brother-in-law or something else ridiculous like that. My husband doesn’t mind going to all these parties, and likes to avoid the drama. I don’t like having our weekends planned for us and I want to be able to skip some of these events without pissing off my husband and 90 other people.

Oh my God, you have to move.

If you really can’t move, I suggest divorce.

But if you like your husband a lot and want to keep him, here’s a good strategy: ignore them and their forced merriment. Make plans as if there weren’t a hungry pack of wolves waiting to devour every second of your precious free time. This way, when you’re invited the christening of your husband’s mother’s second-cousin-twice-removed’s fifteenth kid, you can say, “Oh, I’m so sorry. We’d love to come, but we have plans.” Don’t engage in the high-drama aftermath. Stay strong. It’s more important to make yourself happy than a large group of people who, I suspect, are always ready and willing to find something to be upset about.

You can’t skip all the shindigs, you know; I’m sure you knew when you got married that his family was like this. I think once you stop attending everything, though, you’ll enjoy much more the gatherings you do attend. Also, see if you can get an ally somewhere in your husband’s family and convince her to get everyone to agree to one big combination birthday party every other month.

Lastly, see if you can’t get some of these occasions to involve heavy drinking. That would totally help.

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I work really hard and my spouse is at home watching Oprah and eating bon bons all day.

I work full-time and my husband is a stay-at-home dad. When I come home at the end of the day, the house is a mess, the kids are fighting, the TV is always on, and he’s in the worst mood. We decided that I would work and he would stay home because it made the most economic sense, but I resent having to clean up the messes they made during the day, and I feel like he could make a better effort to entertain the kids. We fight all the time and our relationship really sucks right now.

If you were a man, I’d go find you and scratch your eyes out. Then I’d put them back in so you could see me yelling at you about how hard it is to be a stay-at-home mom.

Since I feel some solidarity with the ladies, there will be no eye-scratching, but there will be yelling. BEING A STAY-AT-HOME PARENT IS HARD. My poor husband used to come home from work to find all three of us crying. I regularly presented him with the home-cooked delicacy of defrosted chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. Sometimes, I was still in my pajamas. It was totally hot.

Babies are difficult, and being with them all day can make a person crazy. Cut him some slack, and consider this: you come home after a shitty day of pressure and stress and 27 conference calls that accomplished absolutely zero, and you’re worried about making your commission this month, and you’re all pissed off that your assistant forgot to send that important email and your boss yelled at you for 20 minutes about it. You need a break. Your husband was puked on by the cat, the two-year-old, and the two-year-old’s friend who came over for a playdate. Then, the dishwasher leaked all over the kitchen floor and while he was cleaning it up, the baby crawled under the kitchen sink which was left open in your husband’s haste to find a sponge. The baby might or might not have drank some Lysol, so while your husband is mopping up soapy water, he’s on the phone with poison control, trying to keep the toddler from tracking water all over the house, and keeping an eye on the baby to make sure it doesn’t suddenly collapse from drinking a toxic substance. He needs a break.

Unfortunately, children don’t allow you to take breaks. I think you both need to lay out your expectations of what your own responsibilities should be and what you think the other person should be taking care of. If they don’t match up, figure out how you can get in sync. I’m not talking about some anal-retentive list where you’re each doing exactly 1.3 loads of laundry a day; I think it needs to be more fluid. The strain on your relationship is coming from finger-pointing and blaming and misplaced expectations. Figure out what needs to be done, and figure out who’s going to do it, and I think it’ll be less stressful.

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My husband couldn’t find his head even if it were up his own ass.

How do I get my husband to take care of his own shit?  My husband is a hard working, caring person who is totally disorganized.  Initially, it seemed easier to me to just do things for him than to wait forever to him to do them himself.  This plan has backfired and now he does nothing that involves an interaction with a third party. He will not call the pizza or Chinese take out order in, he will not return any reply to his own juror summons, and most recently, he will not call the center for disease control.

Last week he was harassing my poor, innocent, cat named Jack. Jack tired of my husband and bit him ever so slightly on the wrist.  His wrist swelled up terribly and the infection started travelling up my husband’s arm.  Eventually, he had to seek medical attention and he named Jack the perp of this domestic cat bite.  The Dr. gave him antibiotics, and he is fine.  I’m sure my husband had some disgusting construction crud on his arm that cause the worsening infection and my cat is totally innocent.  Eight days ago my husband was supposed to call our vet and have Jack’s records sent to the center for disease control to clear Jack’s name.  Today he calls me at work and asks me to do it because he has spotty cell service where he is. Do I take care of his shit AGAIN or do I risk my dear cat being confiscated because of his negligence?

First order of business: save the poor cat.

Second order of business: stop the bullshit.

I’ve long wondered why a man who can manage tens of millions of dollars, oversee a staff of forty, or supervise the construction of an entire building cannot manage to find his own keys. For a time, I reluctantly bought into that whole hunter/gatherer farce, but now I know the truth: men act this way because we allow them to.

Admit it…part of you feels a little gratified when you locate the sunglasses, answer the juror summons, or send his mom flowers on her birthday. It makes the fact that he needs you concrete. Let’s banish those thoughts and feelings. He married you and loves you and needs you for a variety of reasons, none of which is the fact that you’re a goddam bloodhound or his social director.

We have the same conversation in this house about thirty times a day. “Look with your hands, not just your eyes.” If you can really commit to not helping him physically, your life will be so much better. You can help him mentally with sympathy. You can acknowledge his frustration, but you can NOT stop what you’re doing and go help him. He’ll learn if there are consequences. He’ll be late for work because he couldn’t find his brown belt. He’ll spend a night in jail because he skipped jury duty. He’ll have to eat wilted celery from the back of the crisper drawer because he won’t order a pizza. And slowly but surely, he’ll start to take care of himself. You just have to steel yourself; there will be whining and door slamming. Just tolerate it, and repeat to yourself, over and over, “I am not his mother. I am not his mother.”

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I want an awesome dog and my wife wants a sucky one.

My wife and I are considering getting a family dog. Aside from the normal questions like who will actually care for the dog, we are having a problem. She wants a crappy dog and I want a cool dog. How do I let her know that her taste in dogs is so crappy without hurting her feelings?

Smart men know that the secret to a happy marriage, happy children, and a happy dog is letting your wife get whatever she wants. Consider this first.

Now, think about what kind of dog makes sense. Let’s assume you want a chihuahua and your wife wants a St. Bernard. You may think a St. Bernard is a crappy dog because it’s big and slobbery and its poops are the size of a small child. Your wife may think a chihuahua is a crappy dog because it’s little and yippy and petting it is a similar feeling to petting a rat. Neither of those dogs makes sense, then. Figure out what your needs are (how much space you have, whether or not you have children, who’s going to walk it and how often, etc.) and then do some research to figure out what kind of dog is best for you. Don’t be hung up on one certain type. There are a billion kinds of dogs; surely there’s one you can both agree on.

And then get whatever kind of dog your wife wants anyway.

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My two-year-old is engaged to be married, and this bothers my husband.

We have a two-year-old girl. Our good friends have a boy who is a little older than our daughter. They joke around a lot about how the kids going to get married some day, which is cute and I don’t mind. My husband, however, goes nuts when we see them and they say to their son things like, “Look, it’s your girlfriend,” or “They are just the cutest little couple!” I thought he was joking around when he said he wanted to tell them to stop, but after the last time we saw them, he was really pissed off and said if they talk about it again he’s going to say something. I don’t think he should say anything so now I don’t want to hang out with them because I’m afraid he’s going to offend them.

When the kids are 16 and that family comes over for dinner, and the dad gives his son a condom and says, “Go get ‘er, Tiger!,” your husband can speak up.

For now, he should clam it. Your husband knows these people aren’t serious; the kids are two. Clearly they’re not in any kind of relationship, and the other couple is being affectionate, not vulgar. Your husband is reacting to what it makes him think about: he can’t deal with his little girl growing up and having boyfriends. I do believe this is normal, so just talk to him about what’s really bothering him and maybe he’ll relax. If he doesn’t, then maybe talk to your friend, privately and with good humor, and see if she can’t mention to her husband that your husband is freaked out by the coupling of your children. Then a confrontation is avoided, and you can all keep having fun together.

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Everybody likes a tattletale.

My cousin (let’s call her Megan) lives one town over from me, and my husband and I spend time with her and her husband regularly. Over the last five years, the men have become really close friends – better friends than Megan and me. We’ve never been particularly close. I love her, but we’re very different people.

My sister, however, has been Megan’s confidante since they were small, and she’s always reported Megan’s drama back to me. I keep my mouth shut about it, but last week when my sister was over for dinner she mentioned that Megan’s has been having an email flirtation with a man she works with, and was planning a hotel tryst with him. None of my business, right?

Except my husband was there during that conversation, and now he’s all fired up and angry at Megan and wanting to tell his friend (her husband) that something’s going on. I told him to stay out of it but now he’s mad at me, hates Megan, and says he won’t spend time with her ever.  My sister and husband are also angry with each other, and my sister will absolutely flip out if we say anything to Megan or her husband. And while Megan is being dishonest and terrible to her lovely husband, she’s family and I need to support her. What do I do?

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! My head hurts.

There’s a lot of information here, and what it boils down to is this: Megan is trouble. She’s a sneaky little liar. She should have known better than to tell your sister, and your sister should have known better than to tell you and your husband…and blah blah blah.

I’d like to make a general statement, then, about telling. I always tell my kids not to tattle, because tattling is annoying. For grownups, though, I think tattling is totally fine. If I ever knew anything about a friend’s husband, I would find a way to tell the friend. I don’t think your husband has to be involved on a personal level; any way of spilling the beans will do. Skywriting, candygram, anonymous email, whatever. I would want someone to tell me, and I wouldn’t want someone I love to suffer the humiliation of being the last person to know.

Since nothing has actually happened yet,  in this case instead of telling his friend, your husband should call Megan himself. He should say, “I know what you’re planning on doing, and I can’t in good conscience keep it from my friend. Please talk to [husband’s name] about the problems in your marriage. Since you haven’t done anything yet, maybe this can be an opportunity to save yourself from being a LYING CHEATING SLUTBAG.” (Maybe leave out those last few words, but you get the picture.)

As far as your sister is concerned, she’ll get over it. Maybe this will prompt her to tell Megan not to keep her infidelities to herself, and your sister will learn what happens when a girl doesn’t keep a secret.

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I let my husband buy a boat, and now we’re losing our house. Oops.

Here’s my problem and the same of thousands I’m sure. We are behind on our mortgage, I’m in the middle of a divorce from a man who is not working, so I am on my own. He refinanced the house 3 years ago and took 175,000 out of it to buy a boat. We owned our own business at the time and I figured if he thought he could afford it, then that’s ok. I didn’t know anything about these type of mortgages, I was blindsided by the whole deal. The house is in pre-foreclosure, luckily the mortgage is not in my name so my credit won’t be affected.

I am working trying very hard to get the mortgage set back to a rate I can afford, working full-time, a full-time student (graduate in May), and a single mother. I am at my wits end here! I don’t want to lose the house because of my daughter, and I love my home. We have so many pets and I would hate to have to give them all away. Do I keep trying to work with the bank on the mortgage, or just lose it all and walk away? I am at my breaking point here!!

Oh my God, honey, take a deep breath.

You graduate in May, so let’s check that off the list. One more month and no more school stress. Working full-time, especially in this economy, is good, so yay for that. It’s stressful being a single parent, but that’s a pretty permanent issue, so let’s just say that it sucks and you’re going to figure out quickly how to navigate it and move on.

See? When you say, “lose it all and walk away,” you’re not actually losing anything. You have your shiny new degree, and your job, and your daughter. Worst case scenario is that you end up renting a place and you can’t keep all your pets. I know you love them, but come on. They’re pets.

The house/mortgage issue needs professional help. There are many, many reasons why I’m neither a lawyer nor a financial advisor. If I were to give you any advice in those arenas, you’d either end up in jail or living in a tent behind Wal-Mart. I know it costs money, but spending a little right now on someone who can help you is an excellent investment. You might be able to work something out where your ex-husband pays the portion of the loan that applies to the boat, and you can pay the house portion. Work with the bank, but if it doesn’t pan out, it’s okay. Your house is a structure; your home is where your family is. I’m confident that if you do have to move, your new place will feel like home before you know it. Also, keep track of what he owes you in child support, so that when he does get a job, you can collect it.

I’m totally ashamed to admit that when it comes to money, I have my head up my ass. Back when I was only taking care of myself, I would spend every penny I had on beer and cute tops, run out of cash, and then eat ramen until I got paid again. Luckily, I married someone who’s much better at finances than I am. Unfortunately, it seems like you and your ex-husband were both in the head-up-your-ass category.

You’re actually lucky. His crappy judgement didn’t wreck your credit, and now you know that you’re never, ever, ever going to let some flake who wants a boat take out a gargantuan loan that directly effects your life without putting some serious thought into it. Go to the library and get some books (I’m a fan of Suze Orman) and learn how to manage your money. You’re in charge now. Act like it.

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