How much time is used for "daily duties" aka housekeeping, food prep, grooming, etc - Page 2 - Talk About Marriage
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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 05:16 PM
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Re: How much time is used for "daily duties" aka housekeeping, food prep, grooming, e

[quote=DustyDog;17718593]When I suggested 15 hours, her immediate response was "How needy are you, anyway? Nobody needs that!" and to the "emotional needs" she said "I can take care of my own emotions just fine and so could any mature man."

Have you told her that this isn't going to work for you? That you're unhappy in the marriage? You're dealing with extreme independent behavior.

There's a plan not too far from that from Gottman, but both require the willingness of both people.
Agreed, but Dr. Harley has found in his clinical practice that if the husband is on board and willing to try, he can usually have better success influencing his wife than vice versa. It might be time to seriously consider marital coaching and keeping the 15 hours a week and getting your emotional needs met in this marriage on the front burner. When was the last time you brought it up to her?


Darned straight on that one. I have found no way to get her to just spend fun time together. The walks in the forest? She brings the phone and does financial calculations with it.

Yep, she needs to know this bothers you. Why do you keep going with her when she is doing this? Have you told her how much this bothers you?


One of the first things she said she admired about me when we were dating is that I'm not perturbable emotionally - it was true then and it's true now. I seem to have, without being told, developed an inherent mindful approach to life.

My husband is the same way and he is my rock. It is highly attractive to me and yet infuriating when I want to discuss emotional things. But he makes a lot of effort and I do too to handle emotional things. Sounds like you are as well- but not your wife.

I know full well how to not judge, criticize, etc - Gottmans list of his four horsemen goes to great lengths to explain how these manifest many different ways, and how to go about conversations without bringing them into it. Merely asking for a discussion is often all it takes for her to stonewall. And a gentle request is not a judgment.

Ok, but the thing is....your first post was laden with criticism and judgement and usually the way we present things DOES seep into how we talk to our spouse. I obviously am wrong but maybe consider that your wife is picking up on your irritation? I know I do with my husband and it 100% is a lovebuster. Add a wife who isn't aware of her own lovebusters and you have an issue in the marriage like what you're experiencing. I know because I've been there.

During an MC session once, what seemed to come out is that the only measurement she makes of her goodness is that the people she's working with are 100% pleased with every single thing she does. Any request for trying it a different way is interpreted as a judgment....hence, after the first week on any new job, she is convinced that "everybody's pissed at me".

So she's sensitive to judgement/criticism. You know this about her. Yes, it's a flaw but one that MANY of us share. My husband is not immune. He gets defensive whenever he is told I'm unhappy for any reason, even if presented in the nicest way possible. It's human nature. The bigger issue is how do you reach her without triggering her? And how do you convince her to work on not getting triggered? Change the dynamic. Try communicating with her a different way. The current way is not working for her (or you).

All suggestions to 'schedule' a time to do anything - whether the suggestion came from me or the counselor, have been responded to with "That's ridiculous! You can't schedule something like that, you have to wait until both of you are in the mood and I'm never in the mood."

Independent behavior. It's a tough one, I get it.

I tried, for a while, to communicate with her via email. But her attendance to email is erratic - she'll do a burst of it on a weekend and ignore it for a month. Also, her family has a habit of abbreviating sentences to the point where you can't actually tell what they're saying...for instance, someone might write "Skipping the public dinner tonight"...which I would interpret as me being told that the writer plans to skip the dinner...then two days later I find out that the intent was to ask ME if I was skipping the dinner - the absent question mark seemed important to me. And...in person, she never says what she's feeling - in email, it's worse. No way to tell if she's writing from a position of being angry (common) or whatever. Email actually cause a substantial increase in her anger, because I was unable to tell that she was angry. In person, I can at least see her face turn red.

Then text her instead. And encourage her to ask you for clarification before jumping to any conclusions. When dealing with an emotional person, in-person is MUCH more likely to escalate issues.
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Your wife IS committing lovebusters too (annoying habits, including poor conversation, and independent behavior, and stonewalling. But so are you, as I pointed out above).

The way I speak with her is quite different from what I wrote on here...to express something in the kindest and gentlest ways, being careful to stop frequently and ask questions to try and gauge how well it's being received - is time-consuming. I'd have written ten times as much on here if I'd used the actual phrasing I use with her.

But you're not reaching her and she's getting defensive. So she's likely picking up on your irritation.

The MC, having heard us in a dispute, told me in private session that I'm basically doing most things right, with one exception - when she stonewalls, I would begin asking what's wrong? Why won't you engage? Don't you want to work this out? Worst thing you can do with a stonewaller. So - I stopped that two years ago. MC has recommended books on how to communicate with the emotionally fragile person, or on how to handle people from broken homes (hers was not, but the resultant self-observation methods are as if she were) and so on.

That's why texting/emailing could be helpful. If she's emotionally sensitive, like many women, including me, she could be picking up on your body language/facial cues expressing irritation/annoyance. And my husband, when he feels I'm not meeting his criterion for "logic" can get that way at times, and I'm highly sensitive to it too, though getting better with mindfulness.

I'll get Lovebusters, sounds useful. The "His needs, Her needs" book is one that I discussed with MC and she said it's so focused on relationships with infidelity risks that you guys won't find it useful, especially since your wife wouldn't read it anyway. Nonetheless, why not - I'll get that one too.

Your MC may have been thinking about one of his other books Surviving an Affair, which I agree, does not apply here. Nis Needs, Her Needs was very helpful to us and we have never gone through infidelity.

My needs really are low - a little time every day would be nice, and maybe not interpreting most of what I say as an attempt to belittle her. Even a compliment gets "I'm sure you don't mean that" as a response...at best!

But it does seem like you also need better conversation and for your wife to change her reaction to you, as well as eliminate her independent behavior. I think you have your work cut out for you.

Almost an exact quote of how I used to bring things up in the past, which would elicit the response "I'm sorry I'm a worthless human being, why not just throw me in the trash now."

So this reaction is clearly extreme. I get why you're frustrated. In addition to working on how you communicate with her, and taking steps to work on the feelings of love in the marriage, I'd also add that if you think she has some sort of imbalance, she may need IC as well. How old is she? Do you think it could be a hormonal issue?

Gottman pointed out that one has to be VERY careful about using the word "but" or a phrasing that means the same, such as "while (discuss good stuff)...."...the word "while" can set up a highly emotional person to be prepared for the blow at the end of the "false compliment", which is how they interpret it. His recommendation would be more like "Honey, I really had a great time with you last night and I do enjoy our conversations. In fact, I'd enjoy even more if we can work in more conversations about (name the topics you'd prefer, making sure they are topics you have covered in the past which do not appear to cause her anxiety)" She chose to speak of co-workers, so if I implied, even a little bit, that the topic was less than wonderful for me, she interprets that as me criticizing her ability to choose conversation topics.

She might, but you've got to start somewhere and I don't think that just sucking it up and taking it is the answer. She is an adult, and she needs to learn how to meet her husband's need for mutually enjoyable conversation. This is why Dr. Harley recommends texting. If she knows that she can ask you for clarification, and that you are ON HER SIDE and in no way want to hurt her, you just want to enjoy your time with her more and have mutually agreeable conversation, would she be more open to receiving feedback, especially knowing that she can give her own feedback to you at that time? This works even for cases where one spouse has anger issues, so it could very well be something to consider with an overly-emotional wife.

I busy myself with projects...if I happen to be working on one when she comes home, she tiptoes and avoids me knowing she's even gotten home because she "doesn't want to bother me when I'm working". I have said, Oh, darling, I've LOVE for you to interrupt me, you are more important than these materials things any day! Her reply? "So, I'm materialistic, you say? Why the hell do you want me around?" I know there's a way, and I read voraciously and watch interviews on Youtube with book authors and every time there's another suggestion that sounds useful, consistent with avoiding the Gottman Four Horsemen and I try it...and get no progress.

Is she going through menopause? I think you need outside help here. Maybe try Dr. Harley after you read his books. He will talk to you and give you both advice, and your wife might like that more than the MC because Dr. Harley typically addresses quickly what husbands can do to make their wives feel safe and supported in the marriage, which really helps women who may have emotional/anxiety issues. And he's very optimistic about finding success in situations like yours- where the husband is willing to do the work to improve the marriage. He will help you figure out how to get your wife to see that she needs to be willing to work on this as well, but if you're on board, it typically is much more effective.



Last edited by Jessica38; 04-14-2017 at 05:41 PM.
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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 06:15 PM
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Re: How much time is used for "daily duties" aka housekeeping, food prep, grooming, e

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Is she dramatizing it? 2 loads of laundry each day, for 2 people? That's insane. Any OCD going on (listing out drinking water as a chore is strange)? Expectations of being perfect?


I'm guessing yes. Only because it's something I might do if someone repeatedly questioned how I spend every minute of my day especially when they admit to being able to spend 12 hours doing nothing and not realizing it. So....she's gotten into a habit of entertaining herself while he's doing nothing (ADHD, it can happen).
More to the story. Maybe.


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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 06:21 PM
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Re: How much time is used for "daily duties" aka housekeeping, food prep, grooming, e

What have you done, yourself, to improve the situation? What exactly would look acceptable to you? Do you utilize schedules so you don't lose track of time, schedule dates and honour the time promised? Do you plan social outings, or whatever it is you want to do?


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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 08:04 PM
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Re: How much time is used for "daily duties" aka housekeeping, food prep, grooming, e

I think I remember one of your threads, maybe in the Financial forum, when you were thinking of "maybe" divorcing her (apologies if I'm confusing you with someone else).

What changed your mind (assuming I'm remembering any of that correctly)?
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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 09:07 PM
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Re: How much time is used for "daily duties" aka housekeeping, food prep, grooming, e

Buy a concealed video recorder and place in the area she spends time. You'll have your answer in a hurry.

Unless she works as an actress being prepped for a sci-fi movie, 4 hours to get ready is a bit over the top.. many of the others too.
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post #21 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 09:36 PM
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It would be helpful to know whether she is as self sufficient as she expects you to be. What does a good marriage look like to her and what would each of your roles be?

Yes the time she allocates to those tasks is excessive, and she is scheduling stuff to minimize interaction with you. But, if you try to tackle it she will dig in and label you immature, inconsiderate, controlling, etc.

A better idea is to frame it in terms of what you need from a relationship. Explain how you feel about the situation now and where you need to be. It is then up to her to decide whether and how she accommodates you.
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post #22 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 03:17 AM
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Re: How much time is used for "daily duties" aka housekeeping, food prep, grooming, e

It sounds like you have an OCD roommate.

It's entirely possible she's spending all this time doing these things, but the quality and efficiency of much of the work is lacking if she has to repeat a number of these tasks daily.

And if she's not willing to find 15hrs a week to spend with you, then you may as well get used to the roommate life.

"If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you'll be unhappy for the rest of your life."

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post #23 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 11:15 AM
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Re: How much time is used for "daily duties" aka housekeeping, food prep, grooming, e

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Since about 2-3 years into the marriage, it has occurred to me that my wife arranges her schedule so as to minimize the time she is available to be a couple. If we're both home, she's either frantically busy doing stuff or in front of the computer doing "important catch-up". A common discussion is how can we end up finding more time to be together. Mon-Fri, there's a quick morning hug, then one more when she comes home and that's that. If we're both available, we may walk in the forest for 1-2 hour once on the weekends.
I am the opposite of your wife.. I do everything I can to maximize my time with my husband... so when he is home and I am home.. we have free time together... I would be mad at myself if I didn't get all my stuff done while he was at work.. It would cause me frustration and I'd feel like we were wasting our lives if we were both piddling around doing household stuff when we are home together.. .we will cut the grass together sometimes or if he needs help with a project.. but I want this time saved for some romancing, ....maybe a day out riding bikes together, taking a walk, eating out/ a movie, or hanging out at home cuddled up to a movie, we've went outside and lying on blankets under a tree before - just talking, playing a game, a picnic outside... whatever.....

He also tries to get stuff done when I am at work now...our time is very precious to us...the other night.. he went to sleep when he got home so we'd have time when I got home late.. then he couldn't go back to sleep at all !

I tend to do a morning of cooking for 2- 3 days ahead.. I may ready up a room when walking into it.. and be done before I walk out...I have done laundry all hours of the day or night... just when I am down there and see it needs done.. there is no set schedule.. with a larger family.. things come up.. it would be more stressful if I had that extra pressure on certain days or times -My Grandmother used to be like this.. and I always felt that was rather ridiculous as she would decline to go places due to having "Laundry day" or something... maybe those were just excuses.. I don't know.. but I'd never live my life like that..

In the mornings when I get all the breakfast's for the kids, him, packing lunches.. I will be tiding up the kitchen.. vacuuming floors before I head out for the day, no dishes in the sink when I leave..

Some of the things your wife has on her list are very odd... like taking a drink, getting vitamins.. I have our vitamins sorted out a month ahead of time.. so it's just a matter of spilling them in a small cup & getting a drink.. what is that - 30 seconds of time...

Time management makes for a smoother running day, for sure.. Multitasking is good !

Getting ready for work taking 4 hours!! unless one is staring in a movie & has a make up artist re-doing her face...my husband gets up at 5:50 am & is out the door at 6:30....I am similar .. this will involve at the very least washing our hair, brushing teeth.. and eating too, for me.. add some make up... it helps to have clothes laid out the night before -ready to go, or anything we need for work already in the vehicle... Do a little night planning for what's happening in the mornings too.. I have a large calendar to keep me on track.. I use timers so I don't forget things.. with a kid going here.. there , something in the oven, when I have to leave, etc. it helps me stay organized and focused.

Quote:
She stresses out at work badly, so when she comes home from work, she's completely incapable of much of anything and I leave her be at that time. We don't need income, but she has always felt that "success" means you always have a job. Doesn't matter what it is. There's also some fear related to money - she grew up upper-middle class, but the parents kept the kids from asking for too much by constantly saying "we're poor and need to control spending so we don't end up homeless"...that old childhood model is still with her. We're approaching retirement age, and I can't see her not working even when retirement comes along. More and more often, I kind of feel that I have a college roommate, not a spouse.
That's a shame as it sounds her life would be a lot less stressful if she could relax a little ...let go of those fears....just enjoy the fruits of both of your past laboring.
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post #24 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 12:49 PM
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Re: How much time is used for "daily duties" aka housekeeping, food prep, grooming, e

The stuff she listed out is NOT "getting ready in the morning" and sounds insane to me. Getting ready in the morning, at least in MY world, consists of JUST THAT...shower, hair/makeup, clothes, breakfast. Period. All that other crap is HOUSEKEEPING.

Bottom line is, your wife doesnt care to spend time with you. All this other crap is irrelevant.

Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.

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