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Tired of 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 at home all day. I come home to a sink full of dirty dishes and a messy house every evening. He said he will do housework, but I need to call him and remind him. Plus, he doesn’t do things that will take five minutes. Recently, we needed to call a plumber to come fix a pipe under our sink. My husband knew but never called one, claiming that he forgot. 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 interests like I promised. I didn’t realize that he meant never having to do an ounce of housework or anything 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 percent 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?

Talk to your husband about finding a part-time job to supplement your income, to get him out of the house and into a healthier headspace. He have some depression afer 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 responsibilities, so we rarely go out. Going out to dinner together means we have to coordinate a night off and hire a sitter, etc. Often, when we go out for one of these semi-rare date nights, we see someone we know. Without fail, they want to visit. And some have even sat down and stayed for their meal (date canceled) We’ve tried going to out-of-town and even dropping strong hints, but they don’t get it. This also happens with 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!” 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.

(Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com. This column is syndicated by Creators Syndicate columnists. Visit the website at www.creators.com.)

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