Saturday, December 16, 2017
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Her reluctance to work breeds resentment

Carolyn Hax is on leave. This column ran previously.)

Q: My wife and I have been married nine years, and it's starting to bother me that she has not begun her career yet.

Following college, she got a master's degree and then started her Ph.D. She's now six years in and has hinted that she may not want to work after she graduates.

This is such a big deal for me because I saw what my mother went through with my father. He was lazy, making my mother work atrocious hours before they divorced. I told myself I would never marry a housewife.

I wouldn't have asked her to marry me had we not agreed that both of us would have our own careers. She now says things like, "What would happen if I don't work?" and "People change." I'm growing resentful. What can I do?

J.

A: Say this to her.

One thing to consider is that "hinting" at a preference for the future is not the same thing as "making my mother work atrocious hours for us to get by." Your emotions might not be able to tell the difference, but don't let your mind conflate the two.

Meanwhile, people do change. Could that just be her excuse for dodging accountability? Absolutely — but it could also reflect a true change of heart that you ignore at the expense of your marriage; "housewife" has no inherent connection to "lazy." Figure out where these nine years have taken both of you.

Then, you talk. Remind her of her question, then ask her if she was serious. If yes, then say you'd like to give your answer: "What would happen is that I'd remain the only one earning money for us both, and I can't say how I feel about that without knowing what you plan to do instead."

Then, listen to her. What she intends to do with her life and whether she follows through constitute the whole story here. Don't react to it until you see where it's going.

Comments

Tell Me About It: Thrown off by sudden, no-gift Christmas

Thrown off by sudden, no-gift ChristmasI am meeting part of my family for an early Christmas celebration. Five days out, my cousin e-mails everyone to say she will only be giving a present to her mom and our grandparents. She is skipping our aunt, my...
Published: 12/14/17
Plan your weekend Dec. 15-17: Katy Perry, boat parades, Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

Plan your weekend Dec. 15-17: Katy Perry, boat parades, Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

Superstar Katy Perry: In the ever-escalating arms race to be the most eye-popping pop star on the planet, sometimes you have to call in for backup. Even if you’re Katy Perry. When plotting her lavishly spectacular Witness Tour, which arrives i...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17
Top things to do this week: Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

Top things to do this week: Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

NEW HOPE: Star Wars partiesWith the opening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the force of fan excitement is strong, so of course there are Star Wars parties this weekend. The giant movie complex Riverview 14 GDX is having celebration with characters from...
Published: 12/13/17
5 things to do under $5: Gasparilla Bowl beach day, Hanukkah on Ice, boat parades

5 things to do under $5: Gasparilla Bowl beach day, Hanukkah on Ice, boat parades

1 Battle at the Beach: The Gasparilla Bowl is coming to Tropicana Field on Dec. 21, but before that the bands, cheerleaders and dance teams from Florida International University and Temple University will have a day of beach-related games and competi...
Published: 12/13/17
6 gift ideas for grandparents and grandchildren to spend more time together

6 gift ideas for grandparents and grandchildren to spend more time together

A grandparent can be a tough person to buy a Christmas gift for. Likewise, many grandparents are stumped on what to get the kids besides some cash. Why not make your Christmas gift something you both want more of: more time together making memories. ...
Published: 12/13/17

Tell Me About It: Leave gender out of division of housework

Leave gender out of division of houseworkWhy is it that when a woman cares about the division of labor at home ó like her home being a decent level of clean ó she is considered to be overreacting?OK, Iíll get down from my soap box now. (Iíll also bre...
Published: 12/13/17

Tell Me About It: Overwhelmed parent weighs out options

Overwhelmed parent weighs out optionsQ: Since my kids were born, my job basically covered the cost of day care. The kids came home overtired and overstimulated.As they became preschool age, I restructured my work to freelance so I could drop off and ...
Published: 12/12/17

Tell Me About It: Identity of biological father is revealed

Identity of biological father is revealedQ: When I was 18, my mother revealed that the father I grew up with was not my biological father. She claimed she didnít even know my bio father, and never contacted him again after their brief weekend fling a...
Published: 12/11/17

Tell Me About It: Parentsí extreme sheltering feels creepy

Parentsí extreme sheltering feels creepyQ: My daughter, 11, has three friends from school. One girlís parents are generous hosts. "Emma" is an only child and has a pool, fun toys, great snacks.The problem is that Emmaís parents donít let Emma be a gu...
Published: 12/10/17
Top things to do for the week of Dec. 11-17

Top things to do for the week of Dec. 11-17

Katy Perry: The Teenage Dream songstress roars into Tampa’s Amalie Arena on Friday ($45.75-$195.75). amaliearena.com. Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights begins Tuesday, bringing fun celebrations including Hanukkah in the City at the Sundial St. ...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/12/17