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Marriage & Life Partnerships Debunking the old-ball-and-chain stereotype one couple at a time.

 
 
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Old 5th January 2004, 12:30 AM   #31
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Having done it for the other two I can guarantee that she will think it is the right thing to stay at home until they go to school. It is very hard to do what you think is the right thing for some of your children and less for the others. Who is to say that you are right and she is wrong? There are benefits to staying at home and to paid childcare. Academic studies are split roughly equally of whether each is a good or bad thing. Yes she may need to be less emotional and more realistic but your attitude to her and the situation is unlikely to facilitate this. You are also being emotional, you sound as though you hate your wife for wanting to stay at home with the kids - even if she needs to go back to work your attitude to her is extreme. Is there some other reason why you don't trust her?
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Old 5th January 2004, 12:52 AM   #32
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And another thing!

You had another child when you did not want to do so - you are equally responsible for this. To some extent it seems like the added pressure has compromised your lifestyle at a time when you could least cope with it. You say you agreed that she would have 2 years off with each and that is what she has had to date so why all the resentment? This is not just about the future but seems to also be about the past. Have you resented the impact kids have had on your lifestyle? I'm not trying to get at you just to suggest that to me it seems like there is a whole lot more going on here than you are acknowledging and whilst you attack each other you will construct defensive rationalisations to justify your positions. If you want your marriage to work you will both need to have a little respect for the other and at least try and see the other's point of view. That means her being realistic if you are going to end up destitute but it also means you valuing the contribution she is making to bringing upthe kids, supporting her in minimising the amount of childcare/work required to get through and accepting that retirement planning may have to be put on hold for a little longer.
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Old 5th January 2004, 1:13 AM   #33
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Yes she may need to be less emotional and more realistic but your attitude to her and the situation is unlikely to facilitate this. You are also being emotional, you sound as though you hate your wife for wanting to stay at home
Well, I'm not sure how you know how I "sound." Would it be more pleasing if i didn't use caps?

this is not the very first discussion we have ever had. in each one she has told me she will not return to work. now that you've cleared up what doesn't facilitate her attitude, what would? you don't think i'v ever tried to have a calm discussion about the subject? you think i don't know that yelling and screaming about this would be stupid?

look there' a lot i've posted that seems to have been misread, or more likely, unread, or most likely, ignored. for example, early in my first post i admitted that having my third child was not her fault. there is really no reason i do not trust her. although circumstances suggest she might have planned our third child, she'd need to be extraordinarily lucky.
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Old 5th January 2004, 6:35 AM   #34
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Would it be more pleasing if i didn't use caps
No - I was giving you advice based on my opinions and experience, which you can disregard if you see fit. That is the purpose of this site as I understand it and I therefore assumed that it was advice you were seeking. I was not seeking to please or gratify myself.

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I'm not sure how you know how I "sound
I think you know I was commenting on the content rather than the style of your posts. To me (my opinion only) you sound as though you do not respect your wife, her views on the way to bring up children, you think she is lazy, dishonest (in that she uses childcare as an excuse to avoid fulfilling what you see as her responsibilities) and it has coloured your view of her to the extent that you dislike her rather than just her behaviour. It would be tedious in the extreme to list the specific comments you made that gave me this impression, neither is it necessary. You are either interested in getting advice from another perspective or you aren't. Apologies if you feel the advice is ill informed but I can only base it on the information you have provided which I may have interpreted differently to others based on my experience. Are you interested in getting varied advice or seeking solely to validate your own viewpoint?

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this is not the very first discussion we have ever had. in each one she has told me she will not return to work. now that you've cleared up what doesn't facilitate her attitude, what would? you don't think i'v ever tried to have a calm discussion about the subject? you think i don't know that yelling and screaming about this would be stupid?
Changing your attitude about your wife will facilitate a change in her attitude. OK so you are not yelling and screaming but are you being respectful, loving and supportive? You also need to understand her views and argue logically with reference to them (this is basic psychology). You may have done this but the content of your posts led me to suspect otherwise.

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look there' a lot i've posted that seems to have been misread, or more likely, unread, or most likely, ignored. for example, early in my first post i admitted that having my third child was not her fault. there is really no reason i do not trust her. although circumstances suggest she might have planned our third child, she'd need to be extraordinarily lucky.
I read all of your posts and did not ignore any of the content but, as always, certain things will seem significant depending on one's perspective and others less so. I did read that the third child was not her fault but was seeking a reason for the level of hostility toward her when so far she has had the agreed amount of time off (I know the deadline is looming). I've got kids and in my opinion it's really easy to blame your partner when you are having difficulty coping with a drastically altered lifestyle - and it's often not done consciously but is expressed through the little things (e.g. "what have you been doing today - it can't compare with the sacrifices I am making"). I know you don't consciously blame your wife but the crunch has come because of this third child and if you have reached your limit of coping it may be more constructive to at least acknowledge the root cause rather than simply focusing exclusively on your wife as the problem. Really anything that helps you gain a sense of perspective and balance will help, if on reflection you decide you need to address your attitude as well as your wife's.

Good luck - I'm sorry the advice riled you.
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Old 5th January 2004, 2:39 PM   #35
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accidental duplicate post deleted.

Last edited by cdn; 5th January 2004 at 2:41 PM..
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Old 5th January 2004, 2:40 PM   #36
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this is not the very first discussion we have ever had. in each one she has told me she will not return to work.
What does she tell you? There are many possibilities as to why your wife has taken the position she has, and we can all guess at them, but the only person who really knows why she feels as she does is your wife. I know that sounds obvious but what may not be so obvious is that perhaps you and she have become so polarized on this issue that neither of you is able to "hear" the other any more. Potentially, you're feeling that she has abandoned her commitment to support the family financially, while she feels that you care only about the financial situation and are disregarding the family's (specifically the children's) emotional needs, which she is providing for. You say that kids need the socialization opportunities that daycare provides but surely you know that this is simply not true. Kids have been learning social skills since caveman days but daycare is a relatively new invention, and the jury is still out as to its purported benefits. Even the studies that claim daycare is ok haven't gone so far as to suggest it's equal or preferable to being with a loving parent. No, I don't wish to debate the benefits of daycare with you, but to point out that your wife's disagreement with you does not necessarily make her lazy or ill-intentioned. Her paradigm might just be different. What is clear is that, if you wish your marriage to survive (do you?), you need to come to some agreement with your wife. I don't see a bright future for you if she simply gives in to your ultimatum. For these reasons, I think that you would benefit from counseling. Not only will a trained counselor help you to really "hear" each other, but he or she should be able to help you to see options other than the ones you've presented here.
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Old 5th January 2004, 3:02 PM   #37
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Daycare is expensive! All but swallowed up my entire pay check when I was a working mother of a two-year-old.

But it can also be a very profitable business for that stay-at-home mother who enjoys working with children.

Have you ever considered this as an option and/or compromise?

...merely a suggestion.
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Old 5th January 2004, 3:36 PM   #38
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Well, Samson, you've struck nerves all around. Some believe that your wife's "lazy homemaker" identity is simply something you crafted as an excuse to "bail out" of an unhappy marriage. Others cringe at your "sexist" insistence that your wife get out of the house --viewing your pressure as a slighting of the social value of the homemaking role. Still others view you as insufficiently sensitive to any number of biological and/or social reasons why your wife would choose homemaking over alienated labor.

It is unsurprising that, given the gender of the best LS posters, and the hot button issues you raise, that you, even more so than your wife, would become the issue. Sometimes it does get hot, here.

The basic fact is that for about 7 years you and your wife have been at loggerheads . She is perceived by you as being on strike while you commute hundreds of miles, get laid off and have your savings depleted. While love or partnership is not about agreeing about everything all of the time, a couple should, especially after 7 years, agree on something as fundamental as a willingness to re-enter the job market. Her civil disobedience is viewed by you as a breach of the partnership agreement and a deliberate slighting of that which you value above all else.

This is not the recipe for a lasting marriage, which has elements of an economic partnership.

Have you considered your wife's part-time employment as a substitute teacher assuming you can get child care arranged? It might be financially feasible depending upon child care costs and wage structures.

Also, is your wife possibly agoraphobic; ie, afraid to leave the house. We have one or two in our neighborhood. If so, Paxil works for many.

Maybe you could take this dispute to a mediator who, after hearing both sides, could make non-binding recommendations.

I'm afraid that positions are so entrenched that, however this turns out, someone will be very, very unhappy.
I just hope that your marriage has not passed that point of no return, which I mentioned earlier.
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Old 5th January 2004, 4:20 PM   #39
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It is unsurprising that, given the gender of the best LS posters, and the hot button issues you raise, that you, even more so than your wife, would become the issue
Samson is asking for advice so his opinions and behaviour, how he can influence his wife are the most productive issues to concentrate on.

If his wife posted I'd be advising her to get real about the finances, try and see things from his point of view and seek compromise.

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positions are so entrenched .... I just hope that your marriage has not passed that point of no return
My opinion exactly - hence the attempt to convince Samson that compromise is necessary, the starting point of which is an appreciation of the opposing view. Who knows if it is possible (certainly not me) but the marriage is doomed unless they attempt it.
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Old 5th January 2004, 4:38 PM   #40
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I understand that the poster is the focus of advice, as it should be. Still, Samson, by his peremptory tone and content, ruffled some feathers. That's fine.

Advice in neither given nor received in a political vacuum.


At bottom, this dispute is about gender and power. This is a classsic power struggle between a husband and wife--with the marriage's very survival hanging in the balance.

And I'm not optimistic about the end game.
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Old 5th January 2004, 4:41 PM   #41
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It is unsurprising that, given the gender of the best LS posters, and the hot button issues you raise, that you, even more so than your wife, would become the issue. Sometimes it does get hot, here.
Is the gender bias on the part of those posting or on the part of those interpreting? Or both? It's funny that you mentioned this because I would have said that there is a second level of bias that has to do with whether the poster has children.

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The basic fact is that for about 7 years you and your wife have been at loggerheads . She is perceived by you as being on strike while you commute hundreds of miles, get laid off and have your savings depleted. While love or partnership is not about agreeing about everything all of the time, a couple should, especially after 7 years, agree on something as fundamental as a willingness to re-enter the job market. Her civil disobedience is viewed by you as a breach of the partnership agreement and a deliberate slighting of that which you value above all else.
Is this correct, Samson? My understanding was that you were ok with the situation initially and that the problems started when you got laid off and then escalated with the conception of your 3rd child.

In any case, I bet that part of what happened is that, as Samson stated, he and his wife talked about things before they got married and came to an agreement that she'd stay home for the first 2 years of each child's life while he supported the family financially. But what they probably didn't discuss is what they would do in the circumstance that presented itself: Samson being laid off within that 2 year window. Somehow, rather than renegotiating the terms, they became polarized, each assuming that his/her position was the only logical one and expecting the other to share this view. This is evidenced by Samson's assumption that the logical course would be for his wife to go back to work, while his wife's assumption seems to have been that they should use their savings to finance this period.


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This is not the recipe for a lasting marriage
Definitely not.

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Have you considered your wife's part-time employment as a substitute teacher assuming you can get child care arranged? It might be financially feasible depending upon child care costs and wage structures.
Yes, part-time work is one of the options I had thought a counselor (or mediator, as Bart suggests) might be able to discuss with you both. Depending on your wife's skills, working from home is another option you might want to consider, possibly doing private tutoring.

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I'm afraid that positions are so entrenched that, however this turns out, someone will be very, very unhappy.
This is my take, also.
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Old 5th January 2004, 4:55 PM   #42
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Is the gender bias on the part of those posting or on the part of those interpreting? Or both?
Clearly both. I'm not even sure it rises to the level of a bias, and if it did for some posters, so what?

I suspect that many of us ,especially women, found Samson's tone / attitude offputting.

I prefer the term "sensitivity" to "bias."

The gender issues are impossible to ignore, here.
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Old 5th January 2004, 5:04 PM   #43
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I don't choose to see every such discussion as a gender battle. Similar advice was given to ArdaCandissima when she complained about her stick-in-the-mud husband. What can be very helpful to someone posting a problem is to have the other side of the story presented to them in different interpretations.

Samson is absolutely convinced that his wife is 'lazy'. Had Samson been Samsonette and had Samsonnette been complaining about a 'lazy' husband, most of us would have said exactly the same thing, which amounts to 'are there different causes for your partner's lack of cooperation that you have neglected to see or not understood were possible' and 'try to deal with it in a better fashion than to issue ultimatums'.

These are not gender-based responses to the situation at all.

Any time you see a poster complaining that his or her partner is 'lazy', you will see me then suggest that the partner be checked for depression. So, please, if you must view this discussion through a bias, at least identify it as your own bias rather than making definitive pronouncements about everybody else's interpretation.
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Old 5th January 2004, 5:18 PM   #44
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She takes Synthroid for hypothyroidism.
I didn't read anything past the post with this line, so please pardon if I'm repeating others.

Why is she taking this? Does she have a thyroid gland? What is the diagnosis for her to be on this? How long has she been on this? How often are her levels checked? Is she on anything else?

I'm asking because my Aunt had her thyroid gland removed and has to be on Synthroid. It literally took years before the dosage was adjusted properly for her - it takes months at one level before it can be determined if the level is too high or too low. The depression, inertia, attitude that you described can be triggered by Synthroid.

Get her to a doctor and get the levels checked and since this has been going on for so long - get both of you into counseling. It sounds like you are enabling her and once the medical problem is properly diagnosed and is being treated a pattern has already been set. Plus, she had those kids and the hormones during pregnancy are really twisted - it could be a post-partum depression too.

Get her to a doctor and if she is unwilling to cooperate or try - then send her packing for a while -- you can hire a live-in housekeeper/sitter for not much more than she is costing you (get references and check them out & invest in a nanny cam)! I'm half serious here. Maybe the shock to her system of not having you to lean on will prompt her to go to a doctor and stay in counseling for a while. Especially if you file for custody of the kids.

If, after you are certain that her health is good and this is just the type of person she has decieded to be, you decide to divorce her then don't falter -- do it. You can be a better father to your children if you are a happy or content man first.
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Old 5th January 2004, 5:23 PM   #45
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Hmmmm interesting - amazing how the use of the word "Sensitivity" rather than "bias" got me thinking again. I'll be honest and say that I found your views deeply unpalatable, Samson. I stick by what I said (you need to get out of that trench) but fear the fact that I find your views distasteful led me to be less sympathetic than I would normally be when discussing such personal matters. Sorry.

Yes gender is in there somewhere but I think it is more in the lack of charity to each others roles. Many men (my husband included) would sacrifice anything to do what they see as right for the kids and we have agreed it is worth going into debt to get more time at home with them (I now work part time and term time) in these early years. From the outset he was keen to get me to stay at home as much as I felt able to. I think it's more to do with the lack of communication and compromise in the marriage. An opposing view without compromise would have a similar effect on some women (ie. one where the husband expects the wife to forgo a career to stay at home and look after the kids - not that uncommon).
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