Wife tired of always picking up the slack
Dear Annie: A few months ago, my husband was laid off from his job. When that happened, he asked if he could just stay home and work on his own personal projects and interests. I work a corporate 9 to 5 job and can barely cover our bills without his salary, but I said yes because I wanted him to be happy. Now, though, I’m beginning to resent him.
He refuses to do anything useful while he’s home all day. I come home to a sink full of dirty dishes and a messy house every evening. He has said he will do some housework, but I need to call him and remind him. On top of that, he doesn’t do things that will take five minutes of his time. Recently, we needed to call a plumber to come fix a pipe under our sink.
My husband knew about this but never called one, claiming that he just forgot about it. When I brought it up again, he asked if I could do it on my lunch hour. Now, he is upset with me because he says I’m not “allowing” him to focus on his own interests like I promised. I am upset because I didn’t realize that he meant never having to do an ounce of housework or anything responsible ever again.
When he was working, we split all the responsibilities and chores pretty evenly. Now, everything has fallen to me unless I beg my husband to help me (and even then he does the bare minimum and gets upset at me for interrupting him). Am I wrong here? What can I do? — Overworked Wife
Dear Overworked: He’s your husband, not your child. You bring home 100% of the income and do the vast majority of chores. The chores that you don’t do, you delegate to him — and delegating itself is a kind of chore. Where’s the balance in that?
Talk to your husband about finding at least a part-time job to supplement your income, to get him out of the house and into a healthier headspace. He might be experiencing some depression after being laid off. However, keep quiet and your resentment will reach toxic levels. It’s imperative that you get back to feeling like his partner, not his parent — and ASAP.
Dear Annie: I am wondering: What is the polite way to get out of a conversation after running into a friend while out to dinner?
My husband and I are busy with our large family and many responsibilities, so we rarely go out. Going out to dinner together means we have to coordinate a night off and hire a sitter, etc. Frustratingly often, when we go out for one of these semi-rare date nights, we see someone we know while eating dinner. Without fail, they want to stay and visit. And a couple times they have even sat down with us and stayed for their meal (date canceled) We’ve tried going to out-of-town restaurants and even dropping strong hints, but they don’t get it. This also happens when we have a special family meal out, like for a birthday. Short of hiding under the table, what should we do? — Wish I Had a Table for Two
Dear WIHATFT: Forget dropping hints. Exchange brief pleasantries, but then be direct. There’s no shame in simply saying, “Well, we’re on our date night!” You can inject some humor, if that’s your style — e.g., “Great running into you, but I’ve got a hot date here.” Anyone who matters won’t mind.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now. Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Go to http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.