Unequal division of housework puts marriage on stormy path
DEAR ABBY: I have been married for seven years and have two beautiful children. My husband and I both work full-time, yet I do almost all of the household chores. I have asked him repeatedly to help ease my workload and stress by dividing the chores more equitably, but my requests are met minimally and temporarily. This has caused arguments, tension and resentment.
He says, "You and I value different things," or, "This isn't what I want to focus on at home," or, "Your standards are too high and have negatively impacted your relationship with our kids." I do ask our kids to clean up routinely because I want them to be active members of this household, and this is how I was raised.
It's putting a strain on my marriage and affecting my feelings toward my husband. Do I need to let this go? Or are my priorities misplaced? -- OUT OF BALANCE IN RHODE ISLAND
DEAR OUT OF BALANCE: From your husband's perspective, why should he have to help with the housework if he can jawbone you into doing the lion's share? Perhaps you should offer him a choice -- participate more or someone will have to be hired to take some of the burden off your shoulders.
As to your children, please stick to your guns. It is important they master basic housekeeping skills so that when they become adults, they will be able to take care of themselves. Few children relish the idea of doing housework, but many of them do it anyway as a way to earn an allowance.
DEAR ABBY: I was happily married to the same woman for 51 years. "Jane" was married 42 years to the same man. We were both widowed. We hooked up and were enjoying our time together, but after about three years it all changed.
Do you believe in split personalities, the Jekyll and Hyde thing? Jane started falsely accusing me of having affairs with other women. The last two women she accused me of being involved with I don't even know. The accusations have been coming more frequently. One day she's fine; the next day she is accusing me.
Jane doesn't like vulgar language, and normally she doesn't use it. But when she's accusing me of communicating with these women, she uses words that would make a sailor blush! A researcher's first guess was the early stages of Alzheimer's. I know she is paranoid, but why? -- HATES THE CHANGE IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR HATES: A personality change such as you have described can be a symptom of Alzheimer's disease, but it can also be caused by small strokes and other dementias. Jane's paranoia could also be a symptom of a physical illness. If she has family, it is very important that you inform them about what's happening so they -- and you -- can encourage her to be evaluated physically and neurologically. If you do, it might save not only her life but also your sanity.
DEAR ABBY: When I was 21, my grandparents told me, "It's better to be loved than to be right." Fifty years later, I'm still trying to follow that advice because it's so true. Sometimes it is very hard to practice, but I will never forget those words. -- KEN IN SHERMAN OAKS, CALIF.
DEAR KEN: Anything that encourages folks to get along better is good advice in my book. People sometimes place too much importance on trying to be right. Now, allow me to share an adage with you that I learned from my grandfather: "I never learned anything while I was talking."