How can I communicate in "man terms" and not like a "emotional chick"?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2011
How can I communicate in "man terms" and not like a "emotional chick"?
Sun, 01-20-2013 - 8:15pm

I’ve come to the conclusion my husband has decided he wants a 1950’s housewife that also has a full time job. He had moved us 5 times in four years by accepting managerial promotions with his job. Each move he has become more and more demanding of me. My work hours are not constant sometimes I can work closing/opening shifts with just enough time in the middle to get 5 hours of sleep. Yet when I get home he goes off on a tangent talking about how he doesn’t understand why I cant keep a clean house and keep up with the dishes or laundry. We recently decided we wanted to try for kids but then he drops a bombshell of considering applying for a position 9 hours away from my family. This set me off. My life literally consist of working my ass off and going home and cleaning while he tells me I’m not doing a sufficient job.

I explained to him that that I needed help with chores and I didn’t want to move again because I’m tired of feeling unstable and didn’t want to raise children in a home where we could be uprooted any minute. I also explained how I feel he never considers how moving affects my life and my resume, I can’t do anything of enjoyment with my life because I’m to far from friends and family and we move to much for me to get more. He’s response to this was I was being over dramatic and was being selfish and preventing him from having the career he wants. Right now I have the flu…the house is a mess and of course I called into work. He had not once offered to get me a drink or medicine but has repeatedly gone on a tangent about how messed up the house is. When I started coughing he kept giving me dirty looks and asked if I’d be quiet cause he was trying to concentrate. Then later he goes to bed attempts to beckon me to the room and he’s completely oblivious why I have no interest in getting all hot and heavy. My husband was not this way when I met him his bad attitude towards me seems to have something to do with is job since with every move it gets progressively worse. I feel like when I describe my problems to him I come across as a needy emotional chick when all I want him is to step back and look at how he’s treating me. I’m not looking for “ leave his @$$” comments or comments bad mouthing him. I’m looking for constructive feed back on a better way to communicate with him. Any suggestions?


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2001

First, I totally agree with Demontespan that you need to get all this resolved to your satisfaction and see that it's stayed that way long enough for you to be sure it's going to stay that way before bringing children in. 

You say he didn't used to be this what's the reason for the change?  I may be wrong but I suspect that you insisted on taking more of the household responsibilities until one day he stopped trying to help.  I can tell you from personal experience that when someone takes over the responsibilities, it's very easy to lose track of what should be shared.  It's so easy to fall into a place where you find yourself feeling that you're entitled to be taken care of that way and even feel put out when it's suggested that you should do part of it. I'm wondering though, when you're completely overwhelmed, have zero help and are buried in household duties to the point that you have no life other than work and housework and don't even have enough time to sleep, why in the world would you so much as entertain the idea of children? 

When you talk to him what do you say?  How do you say it?  Is your speech full of drama, high tones and "always" and "never" statements?  Are they calm and even, using "I" statements and speaking with facts and reality?  It may be that you're getting emotional and dramatic when you're talking about it, obviously we can't know that.   Here are some therapist-approved guides and tips for conflict resolution and healthy arguing:

The Lie About Trying Harder

Ten Rules For Fair Fighting

Verbal Fencing With Someone You Love

Dos and Don'ts For Fair Fighting

Conflicts - Points to Remember

Managing Anger, Conflict & Tension

What can you do?  There are two solutions:  You can hire a cleaning service to do the clean up, or you can stop taking care of everything.  I promise you that as long as you continue to do it all, he's going to continue to expect you to do it all.  Sit down with him and tell him you're no longer going to take care of it all.  If he's hearing it, the two of you can write up a list of chores and decide who does what.  If he's not hearing it make the list yourself and be clear with him what you consider his to take care of and what you will be taking care of.  If he complains, I would ask him why this will be hard for him?  After all, if he can't understand why you have a hard time keeping up with things, then it really shouldn't take much work on his part either right?  Then comes the hard part - do your part, but do no more.  If his job is dishes, leave them for him, no matter how long they sit, no matter how gross it gets.  No reminding, prompting or pushing.  Move forward with a mindset that he'll take care of them when he's ready.  If company comes by, it's his embarassment, not yours.  If the dishes all end up dirty and you have nothing to use, wash only what you need for yourself for your immediate use and leave the rest.  You know, one coffee cup in the morning.  One plate, fork and knife for a meal.  Seriously, do nothing for him.  Of course, this applies to any chore he's assigned to.  Eventually he'll see that you're really not going to do them and he'll step up.  If you cave and do it for him, you're telling him that he never has to do anything because you will, no matter what you say.  He just needs to hold out long enough and you'll take care of it for him.  Understand that if you use this method, you have to do it with a positive attitude, this is not meant to be a "pay back" or punishment to him, it's meant to give over responsiblity to him and get him to realize things have really changed.  This method works great on kids too -- they too will ignore their chores if they know you'll do the chores if they ignore them. 

~ cl-2nd_life

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008

Please don't try for kids till you sort out expectations of each person's role and communications!  Kids can survive being uprooted if they have a stable family and the parents have a good relationship.  I have army brats friends who are happy and well adjusted.  Kids cannot, however, survive in an environment where the parents have a tenuous relationship.

Also, from a practical standpoint, if he would not give you care and help out when you have the flu, what kind of help could you expect from him when you have a baby? 

I think you were right in seeking counseling.