January 26, 2008 in Features

Annie’s Mailbox: Give husband chance to change

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar The Spokesman-Review

Dear Annie: I am due to give birth to my first child any day and am seriously thinking about asking my husband to move out after I do. “Tom” is lazy, underemployed and self-involved. We’ve had occasional fights about his lack of participation, but mostly I was content. I was willing to take care of our finances and do nearly all the house and yardwork. But not anymore.

Tom wanted us to have children, but after I got pregnant, I started noticing how little he contributed to our relationship. I’ve seen how other men treat their pregnant partners, but Tom still spends the vast majority of his paycheck on himself and pursues all his own interests, only pitching in at home when I get very upset.

The final straw came when I was put on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy. If I don’t get up and do some dishes or laundry, nothing gets done. I realize now that if Tom can’t sacrifice some of his personal time to help me when I really need it, he isn’t likely to be a good father to our child, and he certainly won’t be a good example of how a husband should behave.

As much as I’d hate to kick Tom out of my life, I don’t think I can handle taking care of a baby and a husband while working full time. I might as well go it alone and at least remove the burden of Tom’s care from my plate. Honestly, he’s been so uninterested in me and my pregnancy, I’d be amazed if he asked for visitation rights.

Counseling probably won’t work, as Tom only attended two of our four Lamaze classes before he got bored and stopped going. Any advice? – Better Off Alone in Des Moines

Dear Des Moines: No one has bothered to teach Tom how to be a responsible, hard-working husband and father – including you. By taking on all the household duties, you have given Tom the impression that his participation is not necessary. Please give him a chance to shape up before you throw him out. Explain how you feel, and insist that he go with you for counseling and, if necessary, parenting classes, as a condition of continuing in the marriage. If he isn’t interested, we agree that he’s more burden than help.

Dear Annie: Please correct me if I am wrong. When referring to a certain form of dementia, why do the media and others pronounce it “Altimers”? According to Webster’s dictionary, the correct pronunciation includes another “s” and is supposed to sound like “Alts’hi’merz.” – Irene in Roanoke, Va.

Dear Irene: You are correct. The disease is named for Alois Alzheimer, the German neurologist and physician who first identified the disease, and in German, the “z” is pronounced “ts.”

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