Dear Dr. Turndorf,My husband and I have been together for nine years. We’ve been married seven of those years. He was only 15 when we got together and I was 19. Our age difference haven’t made much difference except I feel like he hasn’t grown up. In many ways he’s matured but in others he is still the same as he was 9 years ago.He is a good provider and a wonderful father (we have one 6 year-old boy), but he often ignores me. Recently we split up because I feel he is ignoring me and won’t help around the house enough. He uses the excuse that he was this way when we married but when will he grow up? And what do I do in the meantime? I can’t work all day, come home, cook, clean, and take care of my son.Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated
You are not being treated properly. He needs to be more responsive to you, that ‘s sure. When he says, I was this way from the beginning (meaning he never helped) he is telling you, ‘This is the way I am. Like it or lump it. ‘That is not a relationship supportive answer, it is angry, hostile behavior.Why is he so pissed? I think you may have accepted his not helping around the house until you became so overwhelmed that you couldn’t take it any longer. If you allowed him to get away with murder in the beginning, he became accustomed to the cushy lifestyle. Add to that the fact that he probably came from a family in which the woman did it all (meaning that this is the norm for him) and you have a pretty pissed off camper on your hands.Now what? You can try understanding his annoyance over the fact the rules are changing on him. Then, you need to help him understand your feelings. Ask him how he wants you to feel when he refuses to help or pay you more attention? Ask him what his behavior is saying to you. Ask him how he wants you to interpret it?You might also tell him that he is expressing a lot of anger through withholding behavior (refusing to give attention or help). Tell him that this behavior is breaking the relationship. Tell him that it would be healthier for the relationship for him to say, in words, why he’s so angry with you. When he tells you, thank him.In many ways, he reminds me of a two year old. He’s having a tantrum and being withholding. If we can get him to speak about his anger, he will be less inclined to act it out through withholding actions. That’s a big start. Let me know how talks progress.