Batshit Crazy. No Wait, Catshit Crazy….

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.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Ewww. Put the man out and put the cat down. I wouldn't even attempt to work this out. He sounds like a complete and total loser.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Without knowing the whole story, I'd still venture to say there's elements of sociopathy to this. I wouldn't be surprised if the husband was abused as a child. I'd also assume the wife is fairly young and simply not yet sufficiently worldly to understand what these warning signs could indicate. No offense to the wife, but holy crap girl, run! You do not want to spend the best years of your life being Alice lost in somebody else's psychological rabbit hole! That said, one does wonder if there are issues on her side as well that allowed things to progress as far as matrimony. Let's amend that to, "Run! And then see a good therapist!"

  3. Anonymous says:

    Poor your reader!

    I faced a similar situation because I was too clueless and too busy (doing more than my share work) to read the signs and thought being tolerant and always nice was 'christian'. I also had little idea of what normal was, since I had a 'difficult' childhood.

    I wasted most of my life chances by not taking action earlier.

    To change I became desperate and reached out to friends to establish what was normal and implemented a strategy.

    I did the following which resulted in the ex becoming much more functional:
    * developed myself and became more independent (this scared him and seemed to promote effort to change)
    * did not reward dysfunctional behaviour (walked away, did not reply etc)
    * where his dysfunctional behaviour impacted me, took direct action or indicated direct action such as "anything smelly will be removed from the bedroom".
    * set boundaries and clearly articulated them
    * repeated my requests in a calm and pleasant manner e.g. "you smell, people are complaining, please take a shower".
    * made sure there were rewards for him including my demands having positive sides for him, e.g. "no means no for us both", "if you are responsible you may manage the household budget"
    * encouraged him to seek medical attention and undertake healthy activities such as talking with friends and helping others
    * encouraged him to seek advice from friends with medical experience and supported that he spent money on medical consultations

    He was ill, but also lazy, depressed and helpless. He never became a good husband, but he is a much healthier and happier person thesedays.

    Sometimes taking the lead and being firm is the christian thing to do. Also, you really need to look for early signs and act because once you have a gut full of a dysfunctional spouse, it may be too late for the marriage. However, taking action to help the other person change may be the responsible and "christian" thing to do. You may have to leave them eventually if you want a reasonable life, but you leave them in a better place.

  4. Looking Glass says:

    Around the rest of the Manosphere, the term is "he's become the Omega". That's what he's doing right now. That is *not* a good sign. If he was previously like this, then you've married badly. If this is new, then something has either changed or something has broken inside of him.

    The simple first steps is to recognize: You *cannot* fix him. All you can do it take care of yourself, it is up to him to respond. If you're now Catholic, my suggestion is to go talk to the Priest and ask for intervention/help. While Athol isn't too big on religion these days (hehe), it can be used to help impliment correction of the issue.

    One thing that did stand out was "since we're in non-traditional roles". This speaks to she works but he doesn't? Might be reading more in than is there, but something in this relationship is WAY off. It could be mental health, emotional health (the learned problems, not the physiological problem like mental health) or a really nasty case of "crushed manhood." It's going to be 1 of those 3. And it's only going to get worse if not addressed.

    Athol offers very sound advice. Something is really, really off with the whole situation. (Though, is the Cat maybe a gift from a dead parent? People can do the strangest damn projections at time, so have to ask.)

  5. dreadpiratk says:

    She doesn't outright say it, but I wonder if she's the sole bread winner in the family right now. Might explain the defeated man syndrome somewhat. I sincerely hope she's not having sex with this guy at all! Timing method is well and good but not fool proof, and bringing another child into this mess would be very very wrong. Any man that gives up sex for a sick cat has big big problems.

  6. Anonymous says:

    A man giving up sex for a sick cat… the mind boggles. I just cannot imagine ever doing that. Well heck, I'm one of those guys who detests pets in the bedroom and will stop seeing a woman if I find out she lets her pet(s) sleep with her as she is telling me what she considers important and I ain't it. So I sympathize with the wife here. The man has issues, most definitely. However, only he can admit to them.

    Only thing I can tell the wife for sure is don't get pregnant with him, period. She really should not want to bring a child into this mess as she might end up having to leave this guy for one who will treat her better. We're not at that bridge yet, but it's clear different tactics are required. Athol and anon@7:09 have given her some ideas along these lines. She needs to understand there's still no guarantee of success though. She needs to be prepared to kick him out of her life if he doesn't show sufficient improvement.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Sociopathy is most likely. Not likely to change. Chances are he's skilled at hiding it long enuf to get a job or a wife, but can't hold it together long-term. So, asking if he was like this when she married him is useless. Better question is, did it start to trickle in sliwly, or show up over a shorter period of time. The slow trickle means there's nothing she can do. Get out. Shorter onet may be event-based and fixable, but with a huge struggle.

    I wouldn't blame her for leaving either way.

  8. This really isn't the kind of thing that people online can diagnose or give advice about.

    Does he now or did he have any good qualities or good husband/father skills?

    He needs to see someone. He likely needs medication and some therapy. Have you talked to him about these issues and your concerns? Does his family know what is going on with him?

    I am very pro-marriage, but if he doesn't seek help then I would separate and try to force his hand to get help. It isn't a healthy environment for the kids, you, or your husband. He has to be miserable. So sad. I'm so sorry.

  9. Stephenie Rowling says:

    Its really great that she finally seeked help. She probably though this was a situation they could solve together. But as the say goes you need a village to raise a child you sometimes need a whole battery of expert to save a marriage.

    The idea of talking to the priest is usually a good one, the priests are definetely pro-marriage and deal with a lot of issues with couples so he probably will help and many religious men react better to another male of higher status calling then out than to anyone else.

    I do wonder about the emotional attachment to the cat too.
    I wish them good luck in life and love.

  10. It sounds like the reader has a lot of issues to deal with that I can't begin to address, but I can help with the natural family planning problem — which she stated as "my husband has absolutely no idea when I'm fertile or not fertile."

    The people who teach natural family planning expect the wife to take her temperature and the husband to write it down in a chart. Doesn't that sound so lovely? The two love birds sitting there in the morning with a thermometer and a clipboard.

    It is, of course, completely unrealistic nonsense. Men don't do that.

    If you're going to use NFP, the wife needs to communicate when she's fertile, and it's easy enough to do. Just have some private signal, e.g., when the green piece of lego is on top of the desk, we can go at it. When the red piece of lego is on top of the desk, I'm off limits.

    It's a horrible way to regulate your sex life, but … hey, you're the one who chose to be Catholic.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I don't normally add comments as I agree with alot of what Athol says, but this post fired me up. I am an animal lover, my cats are a part of the family and I treat them as such. I had a cat dying from kidney disease and let me tell you – It's worse than watching a human with it. A human can get a transplant. A human can take care of themselves. An animal relies on humans for everything. I view animals in the same way as an infant. They rely on you to do what is needed for them because you chose to be responsible for them. Telling a person to put the cat down cause the cat is sick is wrong. My cat had a good quality of life for almost a year before it was no longer humane to keep him alive.

    Now I'm not advocating him not taking care of the cat, I did the same thing. The cat moved into the bedroom/master bath with me and my then boyfriend, but I took great care to ensure that he was taken care of. The litter box was done twice daily and in an out of sight area and I took care of all the medications that he was on. Now, technically the cat I had was my boyfriends, but he could not do the injections. He never was patient enough, never was able to find the right spot and just didn't have the guts to put a needle in his cat. So we came to an agreement, I would take care of the cat – He paid the vet bills. There are ways to compromise.

    Should this husband take care of the cat? Yes, but some people cannot always do what needs to be done. Yes, the wife should put her foot down and insist that he cleans up after the cat and himself, but killing the cat is not the answer and SHAME on every single person who suggested it.

  12. I love cats. We have 4 of them, and we just paid a small fortune for one of them to have surgery. Our cats are family members, but they are not as important as the actual human members of our family.

    The cat sounds like it may be pretty miserable, too. I wouldn't be surprised if the more humane choice for the cat *is* putting it down.

    I admit though that when people start getting irate about animals and their rights I start to tune out. Animals are animals. They are not people.

  13. Looking Glass says:

    @ Anon 11:30 pm:

    The cat is dying and killing the relationship, along with damaging the lives of a few kids, I'd chose the health of the people involved over the cat any day of the week. Everyone should.

  14. Anonymous says:

    No! Many of you are wrong.

    What does this man do for a living?

    If he's an engineer (or in some science related field) then this all makes sense. I know many science nerds who are like this.

    Obviously she is in charge of all things in the house, and he is in charge of all things outside the house.

    If he has a good job then deal with it. You married him.

    Also, any woman who even threatens to not give the cat life saving treatment (I had a cat with kidney problems it won't kill you to give it water) is a miserable human being.

    The cat is important and if you don't love an innocent animal enough to care for it, despite your husband, then you are the one with the mental illness.

    No true woman would allow an animal to suffer in order to punish a human.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Well-advised, Looking Glass.

    I give this reader props for being blunt and honest, as well as reasonable with her husband.

    Jennifer 6

  16. Let me check.
    A man treats the woman worse than the cat.
    Is a total slob.
    She has the brilliant idea to use a glorified rhythm method for getting the horny out of the system (he treats her like shit after-all, soo sexy).
    Because the Pope sez so..

    Not sure who´s crazier here.

  17. Athol Kay says:

    I think the cat lovers are missing the point a little. It's his cat and his responsiblity, so if the cat dies before it's time, it's his fault. He's also made it clear that the cat is more important than her.

    I'm sure there's a way where the cat be cared for and the wife isn't upstaged by a litterbox. He just chooses not to do so.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Original reader, here.

    Yes, my husband is a science nerd. No, I'm not the sole breadwinner in the house, he makes a substantial amount of money. What I meant by non-traditional is that he doesn't know how to use tools, mow the lawn, change the oil (or take the car to get the oil changed), build things, etc. Since I do all these things (with the exception of mowing the lawn – I found someone who does it cheap so I'm not dealing with grass allergies for days afterward), it's not really fair to expect me to also cook, wash the dishes, do the laundry, vacuum, grocery shop, deal with the in-laws, drive the kids around, and deal with work.

    We had a serious talk this week. He admits there's a problem, and admits that he's depressed. He's going to talk to someone at the church this week – not the priest because he's swamped this week, but a good friend who works in a ministry position there.

    He also cleaned the bedroom, and while the litter box isn't gone, he's tending to it.

  19. Athol Kay says:

    I'm glad there's some progress Anon.

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