Reader Comment: My husband and I are relatively new Catholics, and as a result are not using birth control (I’m following TCOYF). The key word here is “I’m” – my husband has absolutely no idea when I’m fertile or not fertile. This is not much of a change from when I was using birth control; I’d be surprised if he could have told you what method I was using unless it was something I had to stop to insert.
The singular burden this places on me is symbolic of our entire marriage – I take care of nearly everything and he just expects it to get done. My husband can’t/won’t do even simple house repairs, doesn’t know how to even pay his credit cards, and the time he spends keeping house is minimal. And yet again, he’s managed to trash “our” bedroom. The bathroom that’s attached to “our” bedroom is only his, I don’t even have a toothbrush in it, and it’s filthy. I’m relegated to sharing a bathroom with the kids. The bedroom smells like cat food and litter box because he’s moved his kidney-failing cat in there (his kidney-failing cat who he won’t even learn to do the fluid injections on, so I’m stuck doing it), clothes are piled everywhere, and I don’t even think the bed has sheets on it – but I’m not sure, since I’ve been sleeping on the couch for the past two months.
It’s not the first time he’s done this. I’ve explained in great detail exactly what I need from him, from talking to his Catholic male friends about how to get more involved in the family planning to “these are the things I need you to do around the house, since we’re in non-traditional roles as far as what I’m expected to do I need you to pick up some of the other things”, but at this point I don’t know what to do. I’m not withholding sex as punishment, but this feels more like another child than a life partner and so I’ve completely lost interest.
Athol: One of my key thoughts is that the purpose of marriage, is to have a “functional, productive and happy relationship” and not to “save a woman”… or in this case “save a man”. To be completely blunt, you don’t sound like a wife, you sound like you’re a direct care staff in a group home.
However the whole dying cat in the bedroom routine really seems to step things beyond him just being lazy and stupid, into the realm of undiagnosed mental illness. It’s utterly abnormal male behavior to haul a cat into the bedroom and watch a wife move out… without thinking you’ve make a major mistake. Plus it’s a hygiene concern.
I think you have three basic options here. The first is just to say that the situation has gotten too big for you to effectively work for change yourself, and call in for further help. Mobile Crisis is 211 in many locations in America.
Option two is to stop supporting his behavior by your actions and see if that sparks a change. If something isn’t absolutely critical to be done for your children, and he’s supposed to be doing it and doesn’t… then just let it be left undone. If his cat is essentially “the other woman” that is ending your marriage, I think you work against your interest by coddling him by doing the shots that he should be doing. Move the cat litter box and food out of the bedroom to where ever they should be.
No doubt if you refused to give the cat it’s shots (do offer to teach him to do them, but refuse to do them yourself), and move the litter box, he’ll claim you hate the cat and probably be very angry at you. So there is the risk that he does something stupid while angry – which coupled with the question of him being mentally ill, may be quite likely.
The third option is essentially to ask him to move out. The purpose of this is twofold, (1) you get to regain control of the house and deal with the basic hygiene and cleanliness concerns, and (2) wake him up to the seriousness of his behavior and direct him toward getting help. I’m not saying divorce him just yet, just get him into treatment, he may do significantly better on medication.
Also absolutely do not get pregnant to him until this is sorted out. It’s all pretty weird.