Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married for five years and we have two children. In the past year, she has been exceptionally critical and unloving.
I work full time. I also cook every meal, do all of the laundry, clean the house, do the grocery shopping and help with the children. My wife works from home as a private tutor. She pays the bills and handles most of the financial stuff. Right now, her job pays better than mine, so I feel obligated to do more around the house despite being gone for much of the day.
It seems as though 90 percent of our conversations are about how disappointed she is in me. She says that I am burdening her with carrying the family because "she has to have a job for us to make it." I already feel terrible about this without her emphasizing it, but I am clueless as to how to change the situation.
She complains about things she wants me to do, but when I do them, she questions my sincerity, saying I only did it because she nagged me. She often uses foul language, calls me names and insists things will never get better. She frequently threatens to divorce me if things don't improve immediately.
Right now, I don't talk to her much, because everything becomes an opportunity for her to criticize me, but she seeks me out. I have to walk away to avoid saying things in anger, and then she snipes at my walking away.
Annie, I promised to love her for better or worse, so I often wish I were dead. But I love my kids and don't want them to grow up without a father. She won't try counseling, because she doesn't want other people to know. -- Can't Win in Tennessee
Dear Tennessee: Anyone who calls you names, constantly criticizes and threatens divorce is behaving abusively. There is no cause for her to complain that she has to work. The days when a husband needed to be the sole provider are long gone. Counselors do not broadcast the names of their clientele. Your wife doesn't want to go for counseling because it might require that she change how she behaves. This is too bad, because she'd be much happier if the two of you could work on this together. Since she refuses, go without her. And if the constant berating doesn't let up, try the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. You need help.
Dear Annie: "Embarrassed About the Next Generation" must not know many young people. As a recent graduate of the public education system, I can report that I learned to analyze complex problems and formulate lengthy, coherent statements, thanks to my quality instruction, and so did the majority of my peers. I can indeed articulate what I want, and that's to not hear the phrase "kids these days" ever again. -- Insulted by the Previous Generation
Dear Insulted: Thanks for weighing in on the other side. We're with you.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailboxcreators.com or write to Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies.
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