Lazy, Unmotivated Wife
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Old 07-28-2008, 08:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Lazy, Unmotivated Wife

My wife and I are about to have our 10 year wedding anniversary in a few days. When we got married, we were both 19 years old, and had a 4 month old baby. He's 10 years old now. We also have a 2 year old daughter.

Anyways, I am facing some serious issues here. Ever since we got married, I have always been the primary money maker. I also put myself through college. Full time for four years while working. I'm active duty Air Force by the way. It was tough going to school while working and raising a family. But I now have a job that I absolutely love.

My wife on the other hand, has had a few jobs here and there, and taken a few college classes. At the jobs she's had, she always winds up getting fired or quits. She always has an excuse which is obviously a made up story. It usually boils down to a personal problem that she had with somebody that worked there. Since we've been married, I can't think of ANY job that she held for more than two months. It just blows my mind. When it comes to college classes, she drops half of them. She only takes one or two at a time. She has NEVER gone out and done any of the work to get a job, or get enrolled in school. I make enough money to support us, and put her through school. It's not like I make a LOT of money, but I always find a way to get things done. I encourage her all the time, but unless I do all of the footwork myself, she would never enroll in school or get a job. So obviously, I am half of the problem here, as I have enabled this behavior for years. Hindsight is always 20/20 though.

So, since she's usually not working, I would expect that things would get done around the house. I work a LOT sometimes. However, I come home, and nothing has been done. Dishes are piled up, laundry is piled up and the house is in disarray. Half the time, she's asleep on the couch. Sometimes, I'll let it go for a few days and see what happens, but I can't stand it any more. So, I'll ask her about it and start complaining. She usually gets mad and throws a tantrum and goes and does the dishes or something. Laundry is NEVER done. It is either on the couch, in the washer, in the dryer, or piled up on the bed. If she piles it on the bed, she just shoves it on the floor when she goes to bed. Then, our incredibly hairy cat lays all over it and it just needs to be washed again. It amazes me that she is still thin and hasn't put on any weight. She doesn't do a whole lot.

Before anybody asks, she HAS been evaluated for depression. She was kind of depressed when her mom died last year, but this has been going on for years. The doctor said that nothing is wrong with her. My wife also says that she's not depressed. So, I can't figure out what the deal is. Any time I confront her about it, she blows up into a rage. I NEVER scream or even raise my voice. I am extremely laid back and don't let a lot of things bother me. But this nonsense is really bothering me. But any time I try to talk to her about it, she doesn't even let me get a point across. She just starts screaming and crying, and sometimes, will drive off like a maniac in her car.

I'm going to be 30 years old next month. I have always been faithful to her, treated her with respect, provided for her and the kids, never once abused her physically or mentally, I don't run around drinking, or get in trouble and I'm very responsible. I have my faults like anybody else, but I definitely have my head on straight for the most part. I also try to be a good, responsible father to my kids. Honestly, they are the only reason I am still married. Had I not had kids, I wouldn't have gotten married in the first place. I don't want them to grow up in a broken home and I would hate the thought of not being able to see them every night.

I realize that I have totally enabled this behavior from the beginning. I just kept digging that hole so to speak. I do everything for her when it comes to school, work, etc. It's like pulling teeth to get her to do anything around the house. I have to get her angry in order to get her to clean anything up or cook or whatever. She drives a brand new car and I drive an old S-10. Again, I enabled her. I can fix anything on any car. I wouldn't have bought the new car, but I'm away from home for weeks and sometimes months at a time. I didn't want my kids to be rolling around in some beater. If it broke down, even a flat tire, she just can't deal with it.

Anyways, I kind of wanted to vent a bit, but I also want to hear from others who are, or have been in the same boat I'm in. What did you do? I don't think I can take this stuff much longer. Nothing I do or suggest, seems to work. It might have a temporary effect, but I think she needs a cold, hard reality shock. I would have absolutely no qualms about doing this, but I'm worried about my kids. Without me, she has nowhere to go. Her mom is dead, and her dad is a jerk. I'm worried she might move in with her sister, who is even worse than she is. I can't afford two residences that's for sure. My main concern, is my kids. I'm not worried about my stuff, or my money. She could have it as far as I'm concerned. I can replace all of that. I don't think she would give me any trouble about custody. She cares about the kids a lot and I don't think that she would deny them the right to their father, and I wouldn't do that either. I'm just worried about what kind of environment they would be in if I weren't around. So, for those of you who have been in similar situations, please share your experiences. Any little bit of advice or insight will help. I know what needs to be done. I'm just curious how to go about doing it with the least pain for my kids. Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 07-29-2008, 07:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lazy, Unmotivated Wife

First, you sound like a terrific guy! You have accomplished much. It's just awful you don't have an equally motivated wife.

Although I don't have any personal experience in this area, I'll take a shot at it. When you mentioned her sister was the same way or even worse, that's a flag to me. Perhaps there is something from their childhood that's causing problems. Is her sister married? How does her sister's husband deal with all of the issues? I was thinking you might could talk to your broth-in-law for moral support, if the two of you are close enough. In addition, I think your wife would be well served by counseling. Since she is so unmotivated, she probably won't last at that either. So to keep her motivated you might try going as a couple and see where that takes you.

Good Luck!
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lazy, Unmotivated Wife

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Honestly, they are the only reason I am still married. Had I not had kids, I wouldn't have gotten married in the first place. I don't want them to grow up in a broken home and I would hate the thought of not being able to see them every night.
You sound like a very good guy who has done well for his family. But it sounds like you never loved your wife. I'm wondering if your wife ever really loved you, and if she did, if she's now realizing that you never loved her.

I also suffer from lack of motivation. My husband works really hard at a job he loves. I dont always get laundry done, I've been fired and quit jobs, struggle with school, and am not always the person or the wife i wish i could be.

Your wife's emotional explosions tell me something is very wrong. she's really angry. No one likes to be a sloth and get nothing done all day. I know from personal experience. I dont like it when i've failed myself or my husband. I get angry at myself and frustrated that i cant do any better.

When im going through periods that my motivation is at an all time low, I tell my husband. i apologize and let him know i'll try harder. But if i dont trust my husband, if i dont think he loves me, i get angry, i lash out, and i withdraw.

Honestly i find it odd that you would think to divorce your wife over something as trivial as the laundry not getting done, or cat hair on clothes. I feel sorry for you wife because i know how she must feel. She's sounds miserable, frustrated, and lonely.
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies! My wife's sister is 27 years old, has never had a drivers license, no job, and her house is so disgusting, I won't even allow my kids to go over there. She still drives around all over town with no license or insurance on their car. I just can't believe that she doesn't get caught. I can't relate to her husband because he's the same way. This behavior and their filthy house seems to be okay with him.

I don't think my wife or her sister had a traumatic childhood or anything. They were both close to their parents. But they were slobs too. My mother in law died last September, and the problems my wife has with her dad now, stem from that. He was seeing somebody else as she was dying.

Anyways, my wife's behavior around the house or towards me hasn't changed due to any of that. This was going on long before any of the stuff with her parents happened.

To the second reply, I don't really know what to say about that. I have never given my wife anything to be angry about. You say that it's silly to get a divorce over laundry not being done and stuff like that. It goes a little deeper than that for me. I have worked really hard to improve our situation. I work hard all the time. When I come home, I take care of stuff around the house like mowing, fixing things, and I'm always doing something. I have provided a nice, comfortable living for my family. I encourage her to do something with her life. Instead, when she lays around on the couch all day instead of doing ANYTHING AT ALL to help out around the house or contribute to our marriage somehow.... to me, that's like a big F you to our wedding vows. It's insulting. I should not have to totally support another adult because they are lazy. If she were sick or something, that's different. But she's perfectly capable of helping me out, and she doesn't. She doesn't apologize for anything, won't ever listen to me without blowing up in my face, and won't get help. I mean, what other options do I have? Continue to put up with it? I'm sick of it.
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lazy, Unmotivated Wife

I think you answered the question bothering me. Your wife was obviously conditioned at an early age to be a slob and lack motivation. That's going to be hard to break and you have already been so supportive of her. It's kind of like watching the TV show, Clean House. After a few episodes of the show, one can clearly see a pattern develop. Heck over half of the people living on my road are just like your wife's sister. And that has been going on for several generations now. You might try counseling. I wish the best for you.
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Old 07-30-2008, 04:52 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lazy, Unmotivated Wife

Believe me i completely understand that you are sick of your wife not acting like a responsible adult. And you have every right to be upset. I'm pretty sure we all have things we are sick of our spouses doing, or not doing.

You also keep saying she has nothing to be angry at you for. That may or may not be true, but that's not really for you to decide.

I think its like you said, that this is much deeper then being about laundry, etc. Do you two do anything romantic together? Do you talk at all about anything other then this issue?

I really dont think you are unjustified in being upset with her. But because you feel such strong resentment towards her and she is obviously really angry, there is definitely much more going on.
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Old 07-30-2008, 09:25 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lazy, Unmotivated Wife

i agree that these things stem from childhood.
clean house dirty house.
ok we can all turn out different to our parents or become the same.
personally i came from homes that were organized and clean .
but a few ppl i know live in their own mess. and they dont change.
i dont think everything can be blamed on depression.
but she seems to blame u an awful lot, by the way she speaks to you.
i actually believe this to be resentment.
you are committed and u work and she does not have an ounce of your stamina or worth. so what does she do, she criticises you in the only way she can do, and thats putting you down.
your children are the primal concern here .
what do you want for them.
your wife unless you really go for the change factor will not change,
i think you should shock her.
you actually sound from your mail, a little walked over.
you have to take control of that. its like she frightens you, you are quite timid around her.
thats her control over you.
the shock comes into play, when you stand up to her and tell her to make up her mind.
there is only so much you wil and can take and you wil take it no more. either she bucks her ideas up or your going.
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Old 07-30-2008, 02:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Ok, I read this book not too long ago called the 5 love languages. Reading your post you and her fit right smack into the book. To you providing for the family and being a family man is how you show love, but how you feel loved is by her doing things not because she has to but because she cares enough too. Her on the other hand doesnt seem to be motivated or understand that this is what makes you feel loved and respected because she doesnt see love the same way. She is probably one that wants to hear positive words and words of praise for the things she has and does do. If you both could understand what these things are then you can learn to work with them and most likely you will come home to a cleaner house and dinner cooked and a much happier wife.

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Old 07-30-2008, 02:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lazy, Unmotivated Wife

1. marriage counselling
2. hire a maid
3. get rid of the cat
4. insist on a productive attitude out of your wife
5. tell her what are deal killers for you
6. tell her the price of ignoring them
7. listen to what her wants and needs are
8. if she hates housework, ask what work she is willing to do, then insist she do it
8. did I mention getting rid of the cat and hiring a maid?

BTW, inadequate people are angry around productive people. it puts them in a bad light that the y do not want.

BTW II, if she is depressed or having some kind of mental problem, that could explain the vegging. Get that evaluated.
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Old 06-06-2010, 05:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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WOW--if I wasn't reading your post, I would of thought that I wrote it. Let me guess-after "things" explode she will work well for a while anywhere from one to two weeks and then its back to the same thing. You need something taken care of and "OOps!!" I forgot to or didn't feel well.. Finding a job is more of a chore than working a job and filling out the paperwork is done at the last minute with your help?? I have the exact situation except that we have four kids...I have heard it all from my family members, from she's lazy, how can you live in a house like that, to I hate her (my own mother).. We have been married for 19 years now and EACH DAY I wake up and find something, some reason to say I love her. I look back on my life and wonder, did I just waste that time and now I have kids involved with the situation? The love language that was stated above is nice and its gives a really warm feeling, for a while. It works, but only if its worked and you know how the job situation is looked at. You and I both enable our wives, I have been doing a lot of research online looking for answers. Strange thing is that I find a lot of information from the other side of the spectrum. There isn't a lot for guys that stick around and try to work things out and this is really sad, for us. Most guys that I know (and have) packed up and left a while ago. I see them and they are happy, lost weight, spirits lifted and have a really positive outlook on life. I, feel like I die a little bit inside. My wife has just started a new job (not worked for nine years) to my pleading and I haven't heard one good thing about it. I am very worried if she looses this of what my reaction is going to be, she needs this as much as I do for independence, self respect and a role model for the kids. I will not enable her any more. This is a decision that I have quietly made. She has seen a slight change in my attitude and is wondering what I am thinking. Its beginning to bother her but I am hoping and praying that she follows through with things. I have noticed that since beginning work that is now the "other" excuse to not have things done around the house. Yeah, thats never made a difference! Anyway, I have been picking up some of the slack, dishes and laundry as well have the kids and I am ignoring any negative information with her new job. So far things may be changing, however I could just be lying to myself again too. Since there is NO support for guys like you and I, you are welcome to contact me and maybe we could help out each other. I know exactly how you feel! dncrt@yahoo.com.
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Old 06-06-2010, 06:38 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I agree it doesn't sound like you love your wife. You say the child is the only reason you married her, and now you want to divorce because she is lazy.

She blows up at you because she feels like you are not the boss of her while you are bossing her around. Understand what you are doing. You are disrespecting her because you don't have any respect for her and she feels it. You actually get her angry to make her do as you want. If that's not bad enough, getting her angry is done in ways that are disrespectful. You would have to yell at her, insult her, and goodness knows what else you say and do. And to think you do it all deliberately.

Can you imagine just so very loved and respected she must feel? I wouldn't want to be her on her best day. She has every reason to be angry with you.

I understand how you feel to some extent. You are motivated while she is not. You have done much to provide a good life for your family, but she has not progressed along. I am saying though that your methods of dealing with the situation is less than ideal, antagonistic, disrespectful, and can only garner negative responses from her. Because you don't love her and because you feel you deserve better than her, you treat her like crap and then expect her to WANT to do as you say.

Well, you have the divorce all worked out in your head, so good luck to you. I guess I should point out you're likely mistaken that she will give you custody if that is what you meant. Divorcing her will add to the resentment you already built up in her, and she will fight you like a mama bear because she will not want to lose her children and because she will hate you for doing this to her. You have imagined a smooth transition and method for getting rid of your wife, but she won't go so easily. You have already made sure of that. Not to mention she will be extremely hurt. She is as clueless to solving the problems of your marriage as you are but won't feel she deserves being dumped like this.
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:25 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lazy, Unmotivated Wife

Of course she will be angry - post divorce she will have to work.

The OP seems like a good guy whose only crime has been being way too nice and way too patient. If she keeps house the same way post divorce he will be able to get custody of the kids. The system favors mothers getting custody, but it does not tolerate "do nothing" parents who are disgustingly lazy/dirty.

Maybe the divorce will wake her up.


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I agree it doesn't sound like you love your wife. You say the child is the only reason you married her, and now you want to divorce because she is lazy.

She blows up at you because she feels like you are not the boss of her while you are bossing her around. Understand what you are doing. You are disrespecting her because you don't have any respect for her and she feels it. You actually get her angry to make her do as you want. If that's not bad enough, getting her angry is done in ways that are disrespectful. You would have to yell at her, insult her, and goodness knows what else you say and do. And to think you do it all deliberately.

Can you imagine just so very loved and respected she must feel? I wouldn't want to be her on her best day. She has every reason to be angry with you.

I understand how you feel to some extent. You are motivated while she is not. You have done much to provide a good life for your family, but she has not progressed along. I am saying though that your methods of dealing with the situation is less than ideal, antagonistic, disrespectful, and can only garner negative responses from her. Because you don't love her and because you feel you deserve better than her, you treat her like crap and then expect her to WANT to do as you say.

Well, you have the divorce all worked out in your head, so good luck to you. I guess I should point out you're likely mistaken that she will give you custody if that is what you meant. Divorcing her will add to the resentment you already built up in her, and she will fight you like a mama bear because she will not want to lose her children and because she will hate you for doing this to her. You have imagined a smooth transition and method for getting rid of your wife, but she won't go so easily. You have already made sure of that. Not to mention she will be extremely hurt. She is as clueless to solving the problems of your marriage as you are but won't feel she deserves being dumped like this.
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Old 06-06-2010, 08:49 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lazy, Unmotivated Wife

han others I guess.

Last edited by Mike188; 07-03-2010 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 06-06-2010, 09:04 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Honestly i find it odd that you would think to divorce your wife over something as trivial as the laundry not getting done, or cat hair on clothes. I feel sorry for you wife because i know how she must feel. She's sounds miserable, frustrated, and lonely.
It is not trivial to live every day in a house you hate coming home to, or feeling embarrassed for yourself and your kids, and believing that no matter what you do, nothing will change, and if you clean, the spouse will ruin it very quickly, and not in a minor way.

On the other hand, OP, you provide a typically male list of things you have "done" or purchased for your wife. But, did you show affection and attention? Were her needs treated as gifts by you, b/c you knew you could provide something she really wanted/needed, or were they brushed aside or determined (by you) to be not as important as something else?

Just some questions, not any accusation. I left my ex for reasons that were similar in some ways--the only thing he contributed was money, and he made damn well sure I "paid" for having any other expectations, too. And yes, I contributed financially to the household as well.

Other than counseling, for you and your wife, I don't see much to suggest. She needs to figure out why she is so unmotivated. If you are willing to hang on while she does some counseling, for the sake of knowing your kids are in a good home, then do so. If not, figure out HOW you can keep your kids in a decent environment. Take pics of her sister's place, for example, to show to a judge if you want to make sure they don't go there. Find a roommate for yourself so you can give your wife enough money to live someplace decent so the kids are safe when away from you--whatever it takes. Or, keep the kids with you full time and "hire" your wife/soon-to-be-ex as their day care provider, so she can spend time with them in your home until you get home in the evening. Then she goes to her own place (if you can get a court to award you sole custody on the basis of her way of living, if it is truly a threat to the kids). Be creative in your thinking. Could you share a duplex, for example? I've honestly thought about doing that with my ex, for the kids' sake. Good luck!
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Old 06-07-2010, 02:25 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Of course she will be angry - post divorce she will have to work.

The OP seems like a good guy whose only crime has been being way too nice and way too patient.
I'm not sure where get that from. He sounds very motivated, likes to achieve goals and financially provide for his family. Okay, maybe a good guy for general intents and purposes, but as terrible a husband as she is his wife. Almost sounds like they deserve each other.

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If she keeps house the same way post divorce he will be able to get custody of the kids. The system favors mothers getting custody, but it does not tolerate "do nothing" parents who are disgustingly lazy/dirty.
C'mon Mem. You don't know how badly she keeps house. No one would take her children because the laundry needs to be washed, and a judge only knows what he tells them, so he wouldn't get custody for that reason. Perhaps for some other reason, but he probably wouldn't get custody anyway. But let's assume she keeps house as badly as you think. Divorce court has nothing to do with that. The children would be taken away by Child Protective Services if he called them on his wife (or ex wife as it were). Who would put their own children through that? I hope no one.
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