Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 10:11 pm
Dear Annie: My husband and I just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. We have three beautiful daughters and a grandchild on the way.
Since the beginning of my marriage, I have worked two full-time jobs and additional part-time jobs when needed. My husband has never worked more than one job at a time. He was unemployed for three years after our last child was born and refused to care for the children while I went to work. He wants me to keep him in the style to which he would like to become accustomed.
My husband doesn’t want me paying the bills, but he is not paying them, either. I get frustrated when the collection calls come in and he won’t address the issue. I don’t want to be a whiner, but I am at the end of my rope. I can’t buy anything without worrying if it will mean no groceries that week. I have not had a new outfit in over 10 years. I shop at thrift stores and Goodwill.
I want to be able to answer the phone without worrying that it is a collection agency. I want to buy one new thing without guilt. I want my children to learn financial responsibility. Please give me some help to get out of debt and keep my marriage a happy one. — Financial Failure
Dear Financial: Your husband needs to get off his duff and hold up his end of the marriage. Staying happy and out of debt should not be your exclusive responsibility, and he sounds too disorganized to get his act together. It’s possible he has adult ADD and you should suggest he see his doctor about it. Meanwhile, contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (nfcc.org) at 1-800-388-2227 and make an appointment to speak to someone.
Dear Annie: I disagree with your advice to “Doesn’t Matter Anymore,” the woman who asked her husband six months in advance to plan something special for her 40th birthday.
Clearly the husband accepted the wife’s request to host a party. Regardless of whether he was overwhelmed or procrastinated, the wife is not at fault. If he couldn’t do it, he should have told her that the task was beyond his capabilities.
As someone who desperately wanted a celebration of my 40th birthday from my now ex-husband, I sympathize. In my case, I said nothing and just hoped he’d care enough to do something special. Consequently, I got nothing. — It Does Matter
Dear It Does Matter: Many readers took issue with our response. Read on:
From California: Sounds like the 40-year-old birthday girl is having a midlife crisis and pouting like a 13-year-old. Why make such a big deal about a birthday if she knows he doesn’t like to do these types of activities? I would guess this “take charge” person is so dominating that nothing could be good enough anyway. I wouldn’t think of asking my husband to throw a party for me.
Mt. Airy, Md.: Men run the majority of the businesses around the world, so why do you assume they can’t plan a party? I bet if it were a golf outing, he could handle the arrangements.
Boston: Did you forget to take your sensitivity pills? Milestone birthdays can be tricky. Why was a party, given by her husband, so important? If there was ever someone who needed counseling, this woman is it.
Omaha: I am a 51-year-old male, and if asked to provide a party for my wife, I would be on it in a heartbeat. A guy who blows off his wife’s wishes shows her where she stands. Any moron can call a few friends and order balloons and cake. He is just inconsiderate.
Chicago: I don’t think her expectations were unrealistic or that she should need to give him guidance. If she completely runs the show at home, she needs to change the dynamic and make him assume more responsibility (like maybe planning the kids’ birthday parties).
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 7.29.08