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Old 09-07-2007, 12:20 PM   #21
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I wonder if this goes deeper?

It almost sounds as though your wife feels like she has another kid at home instead of an adult partner. A couple of men I know deliberately did a poor job of household tasks just so their wives would not feel comfortable turning it over to them. I am not saying that is what you do, but some of this is reminiscent of what my daughter goes through with her husband. She has 4 children and truly feels like he is a 5th child.

Quote:
She won't let me do grocery shopping
Quote:
She says that even when she does make a list I forget things (which is true)
Quote:
She won't let me touch the laundry, unless it is towels
Have you attempted to do household tasks in the past and messed them up? Is that why "she won't let" you handle them? If I am going to live with another person in any capacity, they are going to carry their own load if we are both working. If my spouse is not working, I at least expect not to have to do more than I did before he retired at a minimum and I would certainly be hoping that my tasks at home were considerably reduced in such a way that at least my minimum standards would be met. For instance, how much trouble it is to clean the dishes at night instead of in the morning? In the grand scheme of things, it is a small matter.

If, on the other hand, you have always been a partner with her in home matters, and she is just so hard to please that nothing you do will be enough, then I feel sorry for you. I agree with others that communication is critical. You have to sit down and talk this through. If you know for a fact that you have not fulfilled your part to help her at home, then admit that up front before you even start the conversation. That would go a long way with me to set the mood for creating a better way to do things.

I also agree that she is going through a stressful transition herself. Who knows what is going through her mind, but this a new situation for both of you. It requires frequent open communication and putting all your cards on the table. If this is only about transitioning to a new division of household chores, you can work it out. If this is really about something much deeper that appears on the surface to be about household chores, communication is the place to start. Best of luck with a very challenging situation.

TG
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Old 09-07-2007, 12:22 PM   #22
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Wizard....

Since the old way hasn't been working according to your first post...maybe it's time to change up.

Make a list for the grocery store. Surely you can figure out some meals to cook and buy those ingredients. Wash the towels and your laundry. Offer to do her laundry and see what she says. You can step up and start to take over. Don't be surprised if she re-does some of the work you did. If she does, that's her issue.

But any help is better than no help.
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Old 09-07-2007, 01:05 PM   #23
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Wow! sounds like things are tense around your house. Do you have any kids at home? Man I gotta tell ya it sounds like you would be better off at work. I know this sounds awful but, maybe you should rethink things. It sounds like your wife may resent the fact that you no longer must get up and go to work. I no I could not handle what you are going through. I will retire before my wife. She knows that when I retire I will not be the house keeper, cook, domestic servant. I will be RETIRED, period. If she doesn't like it she can leave. But it will be my time to enjoy life, not take on another job that does not pay anything.

2

P.S. I found an old apron in the attic a while back I can send it to you.
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Old 09-07-2007, 01:20 PM   #24
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Texas2step, who will be the house keeper, cook and domestic servant when you retire? Does your wife work?
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Old 09-07-2007, 01:38 PM   #25
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Here is an article about late life divorce

A House Divided
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Old 09-07-2007, 01:39 PM   #26
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I was in your wife's shoes for about 5 years so I can provide some insight into it. In the beginning, my husband expected me to do what I had always done. From my point of view, i didn't see why I had to work a long day and come home to domestic stuff and then do the heavier cleaning on my week-ends when DH was at home all day. The first 6 months were very hard and boy was I grumpy! There is nothig worse than you have some dragons at work I needed to slay that morning and my HD asking where is this or that because actually looking under papers would be too hard or commenting on how relaxing his day was going to be. I just stopped doing anything except some grocery shopping or cooking when I felt like it.

After that, we worked out responsibilities. My husband did take laundry and only ruined a couple of sweater by washing them in hot water. I took responsiblity for the cleaning since I could do it on the way home. I did change the our roles. I handled all the financial items and he did the home items. I still resented him having a life he was enjoying so much while I had a job I hated but I was able to keep the feeling under control now that I didn't have to do the housework also.

Now that I have been retired for 1 month, we once again are diviting up the chores and I am a lot happier.
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:24 PM   #27
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Oh, please. I bet she'd be "willing" to let you do your own laundry, ...
That upsets her more ! "Doing a small load is a waste of soap and water !"

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Towels, napkins, and dishrags would be an unexpected bonus.
I do wash those about 50% of the time.

Quote:
For someone who claims to be interested in improving marital harmony you sure are raising a lot of objections. I wish you luck in your learned helplessness...
You stop doing things (like cleaning) when you get criticized for not meeting someone elses standards. I figure if she doesn't like the house cleaner, we can always hire a different one.
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:26 PM   #28
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The only thing I can add is about the dirty dishes. I think that some women were brought up by their mothers to ALWAYS do the dishes right after dinner...not to wait until later. Dishes are done, lights off and the kitchen is closed for the night. Next morning, everyone wakes up to a clean efficient kitchen that's breakfast ready. It makes waking up for the woman of the house much better-even before her coffee.
Yep ! You are 100% correct on this one (except she doesn't drink coffee) !
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:34 PM   #29
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... My husband did take laundry and only ruined a couple of sweater by washing them in hot water.
I did that 31 years ago. She still has not forgiven me !

Now you know why I am not allowed to touch the laundry!

I have asked her NOT to iron my jeans and T shirts. She says, "But then they look wrinkled" She actually gets upset if I sneak them out of the to-be-ironed pile. Sigh.
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:38 PM   #30
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I guess the thing that inspired me to write this thread was the lecture I got about asking a question of her while she was getting her breakfast and lunch ready. (And don't anyone suggest that I should be doing that for her. I have been told to stay out of that.)

A simple "Yes" or "No" would have sufficed.
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:54 PM   #31
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............If she doesn't like it she can leave.........

Yea, right. Along with 1/2 your pension, 1/2 the 401(k) and IRAs, 1/2 the value of the house and other property.
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:59 PM   #32
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IMHO your problems sound deeper than division of labor and seem to have been this way for awhile. With your employment change, you are looking for other changes as well. This will not be an easy road.
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Old 09-07-2007, 03:02 PM   #33
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Sounds like you need marriage counseling much more than a housekeeper !
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Old 09-07-2007, 03:19 PM   #34
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I guess the thing that inspired me to write this thread was the lecture I got about asking a question of her while she was getting her breakfast and lunch ready. (And don't anyone suggest that I should be doing that for her. I have been told to stay out of that.)

A simple "Yes" or "No" would have sufficed.
I recently visited and exited the area you are talking about. IMO, it can't work for you, unless you are totally spineless and devoted to survival in that situation at all costs. Even there you will likely get angry at what you may come to see as nit-picking, nagging, over-controlling attacks on your self esteem. She already is angry about something- maybe housework, maybe some other thing or things. It may be that these weird controlling demands are only a semi-socially acceptable substitute for other complaints and dissatisfactions. If she will talk honestly with you, you may be able to have fruitful and respectful discussions about what is working and not working in each of your lives.

However, once you become identifiably angry it's all over, as you have fallen into the trap lovingly prepared by years of feminist training and mental conditioning. Angry wives are righteous, as men are clueless pigs, sloppy housekeepers, and controlling monsters. Angry husbands on the other hand are pitiful, deluded and likely dangerous beasts.

Probably your least traumatic exit would be to return to work- any work that she will recognize as work so as to give legitimacy to your autonomy. Something physically exhausting might be good- like working for a landscaper.

I recommend stepping back and imagining that a good buddy of yours was telling you this about his wife and home situation. How would you interpret that? What would you privately think he should do? Or even could do? Sometimes we can see more clearly if we step back and change perspectives.

Good luck amigo,

Ha
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Old 09-07-2007, 03:23 PM   #35
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Wow, people are piling on.

oldwizard, let me give a more generous view of this.

First, I'll admit, there looks to be some need for communication here, but...

In some ways, I've seen this with my wife. I swear, there are areas that she sort of says she wants help with, but it seems she REALLY wants to do those things herself, and resents me helping her.

I can sort of understand that - I might 'complain' about having to fix the toilet, but I really do think of that (and general house/car maintenance, computer set up, etc) as 'my domain'. I would be a bit miffed if she took it upon herself to dig through my tools and start a maintenance job herself. I would be concerned that she would do it wrong or screw up my tools or something.

I think some people get a bit protective about what they view as their 'domain' (I'm trying hard not to use sexist associations like woman-cleaning-cooking, men-fix-blow-up-stuff - it can go either way).

My wife *claims* she wants me to help more with cooking, but every time I offer to go to the grocery store with her so we can plan some meals that I can cook, it always, 'no - you have stuff to do, no need for both of us', and then she rarely ever spells out what we are having when, so that I could cook it. I really do think she sees this as 'her thing' and takes pride in serving great meals to her family. When she does specifically ask me to cook something (if she's running late or something), I do. - and gladly. It's just hard to get her to commit upfront to any schedule.

So, I should probably communicate more on this too, but I'm not so sure it's as dark as people are painting it. Think about that, open up a little at a time, and see what happens.

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Old 09-07-2007, 03:34 PM   #36
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Yea, right. Along with 1/2 your pension, 1/2 the 401(k) and IRAs, 1/2 the value of the house and other property.
I would just make sure I got the better half. All the money in the world is worthless if you are stressed out and unhappy.
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Old 09-07-2007, 03:41 PM   #37
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Probably your least traumatic exit would be to return to work- any work that she will recognize as work so as to give legitimacy to your autonomy. Something physically exhausting might be good- like working for a landscaper.



Ha

Maybe you would not even have to go to work .You could just dress up a few times a week and mumble something about consulating then when she leaves you could come home and relax !!
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Old 09-07-2007, 10:50 PM   #38
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I retired (after 31 years) about 6 months ago, because of an offer from my company "that I couldn't refuse". My dear wife still has about 5 -6 more years to get her pension from the local school system.

Things seem to be getting a bit "strained" around the house, so I would like some input from others, especially the fairer sex !

First, my wife, who is an above average house keeper, stopped house cleaning after I retired, just to see if I would start doing it. Well, I outlasted her, mostly because she usually does not like the way I clean house anyway. I did offer to hire a housekeeper, but she said, "I would have to clean before she/he came !" It took the better part of a week to get things back to the way she likes them.

Second, DW, pointed out that I had not done much additional cooking, especially while she was working (although we eat out/have carry out more than ever). I agreed and now that school is back in I have cooked dinner a couple of time. Well, last night, I said I would do the dishes in the AM only to have her start them at about 9:00PM (she has to get up at 5:30AM), after I had settled down to watch TV in the family room. I don't understand this, other than she dislikes dirty dishes.

This AM, while she was getting her breakfast and lunch ready, I asked if she knew if we had some ingredients for dinner tonight. Instead of a simple "Yes" or "No", she gave me a 60 second "lecture" on why I shouldn't ask her questions like that in the AM.

I'm nervous about where this is going. I would like to retire with this lady and have told her she can quit anytime she wants and we will be okay. (Her pension and benefits would be nice, but I'm pretty certain we can make do without it.)
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She won't let me do grocery shopping either. 1) She hates making grocery lists ("If I see it on the shelf in the store, I'll remember we need it.") 2) She says that even when she does make a list I forget things (which is true)

However, I'm the one who has to run to the store for the dozen eggs or gallon of milk. There have been days when I have made 3 or 4 runs like this in less than 3 hours.
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She won't let me touch the laundry, unless it is towels !
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That upsets her more ! "Doing a small load is a waste of soap and water !"

I do wash those about 50% of the time.

You stop doing things (like cleaning) when you get criticized for not meeting someone elses standards. I figure if she doesn't like the house cleaner, we can always hire a different one.
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Originally Posted by theoldwizard View Post
I did that 31 years ago. She still has not forgiven me !

Now you know why I am not allowed to touch the laundry!

I have asked her NOT to iron my jeans and T shirts. She says, "But then they look wrinkled" She actually gets upset if I sneak them out of the to-be-ironed pile. Sigh.
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I guess the thing that inspired me to write this thread was the lecture I got about asking a question of her while she was getting her breakfast and lunch ready. (And don't anyone suggest that I should be doing that for her. I have been told to stay out of that.)

A simple "Yes" or "No" would have sufficed.

Well, heck, Wiz, you have all the answers. I give up.

You're absolutely right about everything and she's totally wrong. The best thing for you to do would be to ignore every wrong thing she says and to do what you know is right. If she doesn't see it your way then she'll just have to do it herself. She'll have to come around to your way of thinking or else quit working to take care of everything at home again, and either way you "win". You don't want her financial support anyway.

I'm done here.
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Old 09-08-2007, 07:43 AM   #39
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I am in the opposite situation. Since DW will ER soon... I am looking forward to her being able to take on more home chores. I believe it is only fair.

Well... to be fair, you posted your side of the story in your voice. She probably has a different tale to tell.

Unless you have a rocky relationship anyway, she must not see it the way you are telling it.

Something is out of whack soldier... better figure something out.

Heck... if nothing else, you might consider hiring a "Stealthy" housekeeper. Don't get caught.

A couple of things to consider:
  • The other girls at work may be helping it along.
  • If she hates her job... you might be the dog that is getting kicked (think psychology 101)
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Old 09-08-2007, 09:20 AM   #40
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What I think is interesting is the issue is always housework or cooking ? What if the shoe were on the other foot and the guys came home and complained because we did not seal the deck ,or mow the lawn or take out the garbage ? If we women want help with the housework when the guys are retired shouldn't the guys expect help with their chores if we are the ones retired ? Is Ha right have the women in America turned into bullies ?
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