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I'm sick of my wife being lazy and doing nothing! I deserve better, don't I?

Tagged as: Marriage problems, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (10 February 2010) 23 Answers - (Newest, 20 April 2011)
A male United Kingdom age 41-50, anonymous writes:

Right, I'll try to keep this short and to the point.

I have been married for 10 years (together with my wife for 13 years), all in all we've had a pretty good marriage so far and I was pretty content. Until our new neighbours moved in.

Now I can't help comparing my wife with the new woman that moved in and I find her lacking in most departments.

The couple that moved in are European (He's English and She's Swedish) and they have three children together. My wife and I got to know them a little a short while back at a dinner party.

He's ex bodyguard now regional security manager for one of the largest companies in the US.

She's a corporate lawyer and apparently a quite well known within her industry.

What really gets me is the fact that they have been together longer than my wife and I but they are still so playful with each other - they seem truly happy.

After our first child was born 9 years ago my wife has become a stay at home mom and she has let herself go. I realise how shallow that might seem but it's a major source of resentment as I've kept in pretty good shape. She is overweight, makes no effort with clothes and make-up and our sex life is dull and predictable. She also seems to have no aspirations left in life, our children are now in school so there is no need for her to stay at home full time but all I get are excuses (its hard to find a job right now, she's not feeling well, etc etc). I really don't know what she does all day!! We have a cleaner that comes three times a week and she does most of the cleaning and laundry so it's not like she's doing a lot of house work.

The neighbours wife on the other hand brings home a great salary (somewhere around $ 200,000 I was told by one of the other neighbours who's husband is a financial advisor and works with the family), her husband earns a really good wage too but not quite as much. They are basically set for life with properties around the world, various investments etc. My wife just does not understand how much pressure she is putting on me by refusing to contribute to the income of our family (she's quite happy spending it though and regularly goes to SPAs).

The neighbours wife is very petite (size 2-4 I think), she's very well educated and sophisticated, works a full time job, brings home a great salary - and yet I see her out playing with her children more than my wife does with ours!

I just don't know what to say or do anymore.

I'm sick of my wife being lazy and doing nothing! I resent having to pay for her 'treats' when she contributes so little! I don't find her attractive anymore and I feel I could do better - in fact I feel like I DESERVE better.

Seeing my neighbours so happy, wealthy, attractive and active just puts my own life into harsh perspective and I feel like I want out.

What should I do??

View related questions: moved in, neighbour, overweight, petite, sex life

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A male reader, nuggs United States +, writes (20 April 2011):

First leaving is a horrible solution! I was married for 13 years when I find out my professional wife had been having a 3 year affair with her boss. We had twin boys and I tried to work things out with her for them but in the end it was just too much pain and I left. Even though I did get custody of my boys I still allow her to be a big part of their lives. Since I have remarried this causes a lot of problems because women simply don't like ex wives! The pain that divorce puts on children is horrible and I know and was told don't stay married for the kids, but the truth is the amount of extra stress it put on you because of your kids is just horrible! I am 35 and have been fit most of my life and this has changed that to the point that I was rushed to the hospital a month ago for a heart attack. So don't stay married for the kids, stay married because the stress will freaking kill you!

Second this crap of let her know how you feel, help her, be willing to do something yourself to inspire her. Whatever! Women are selfish my nature much more than men. I know in my case I already do all the work at home hopping to inspire her, it doesn't work! People make a choice rather they are going to be successful in whatever they do rather it be a doctor, lawyer, or homemaker and the only thing that picks you up out of a rut is inspiration or desperation, and most people just are not inspired very easily.

My advice is to cut all financial means and the house keeper. This crap that stay at home moms are entitled to equal share of the finances because they stay home only works if they are meeting a financial need at home, sounds like to me she is just an expense.

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A female reader, mika72 United States +, writes (7 June 2010):

Your first huge mistake you are making is comparing your wife to a woman whom she is never going to be and only you know that. You need to accept her for who she is and if you want change, you need to begin with changing how you think and feel about your wife. You said for better or for worse, so let us take this as being the worse. There was a reason why you were initially okay with your wife being a homemaker and now all of a sudden, you want to recreate her. Is there anything you can recreate about yourself because no one is perfect? I am currently a homemaker and to be quite honest, I cannot stand being a homemaker. When my husband ask me to not go back to work to advance his career, I resign and we began relocating. My weight increased when we began relocating due to stress, unhappiness, and my husband's attitude changed all together towards myself and children. He got so use to traveling and being away from home like a bachelor, he loved it. Meanwhile, I stress with now having to use his income and none of my own. He has moved us far away and I have no family support, but he continues with his activities. So my point being in all of this, I could work and have a Bachelor's degree, but I figure with all the shit he put me through and the sacrifices I made, which he seems unappreciated, why go back to work. You put me here, so here I stay. It has become very very hard for me to get work from being absent for two plus years, so he can continue to make up for it. When I am ready, I will go. Your wife may feel the same way, but again only you know the real truth. My attitude to my husband is if you want a wife like next door, divorce me and you can have it all. Divorce and go get what you feel you deserve better, but you have not and I wonder why. Look at the man in the mirror and stop being so judgmental, she is your wife. I welcome the day my husband says he wants to leave and want better because he will never ever get me back.

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A male reader, manperson101 United Kingdom +, writes (5 March 2010):

Hi mate, unlike other users, I think you seem like a sound, normal bloke, I'd say so you sound quite angry and almost fair enough. We've all been in the relationship where one gets too comfortable and leaves the other to do it all haha.

I also don't see the problem in striving for perfection! The next door neighbours have it better, of course you want that too. If your wife's ideals and ambitions don't match yours then that is a serious problem!

Maybe she's bored, maybe she's lazy or maybe she's depressed. How about booking a weekend away to do something active, fun and interesting. Maybe she'll realise thats shes missing out on life and is unfit and unhealthy and it will be a wake up call. My dad took my mum skiing when they were 40; mum struggled with fitness and it hurt her legs. This made her feel really determined to get fitter and stronger. She bought loads of aerobics DVDs and a treadmill for the garage. They went every year (sometimes twice) for 15 years after that!

However, you know your wife and whether that will make her more determined or more depressed! I will say that the more active she is, in terms of both exercise and hobbies, the more energy she'll have from it.

Good luck mate!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (11 February 2010):

I am sure you are doing pretty fine in your life.Not all of us can take off on vacations to Maldives.:)

I am not sure if stopping the hired help wouldn't cause problems.After you get used to a certain life style,its hard to slog.Guilty as charged.I am all for her being independent,finding a job and sharing the burden.But if you can afford the cleaning service and make her life a bit easier,why not?

Since you started a comparison thing,I am a homemaker.My husband wanted me to keep a cook too.I have a hired help.But I drew the line at hiring a cook.Whenever I feel worried,he says the day we can't afford one I will let you know.Granted we are quite well off but it takes a heart to treat a wife like a princess.There is nothing wrong in giving her material comforts and an easy life.That doesn't mean I am a slob either.Think about it now that you are in a more amiable mood.

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A female reader, Tigerlily United States +, writes (11 February 2010):

That sounds like a great plan. What's even more heartwarming is after all the really heartbreaking hopeless situations headed for disaster you read about on here... this was one where people really were able to help you see some light, find some appreciation for the life you have and come up with a really great solution. I'm just really happy to read this follow up. Good luck and keep us posted!

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A female reader, Ich_liebe_dich Philippines +, writes (11 February 2010):

Ich_liebe_dich agony auntIm happy to read what is your feed back.. You are not only saving your relationship to your wife here but also your children and the Good Family you have.. I wish you a good start of the new year..

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (11 February 2010):

Hi again and thank you for the update! The vacation sounds wonderful! Im guessing the hard working neighbors will be green eyed seeing as they still have kids running around the house to occupy them, and loads of work so they can't take time off to be with each other ;)

And it's okay to rant it out from time to time. Gets it off the chest, and when it comes out in writing things usually get clearer and easier to understand.

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A male reader, called Steve United Kingdom +, writes (10 February 2010):

called Steve agony auntFirst things first - stop facilitating your combined financial and emotional suicide trait, get rid of the Cleaner!

The Kids, your Wife and YOU are healthy? Then get off your combined butts and help each other to regain or discover your family. This is what life is all about...

In Sweden and many Nordic countries life revolves around the family unit - not social destruction like in the USA or typically seen now in the UK. Money does not necessarily mean happiness quite the opposite I'd say...

Sort out you family first - remove all financial incentives and discover the real people beneath!!!

Steve

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (10 February 2010):

Well Dude,,

couple of things are pretty clear..

Lot of female responders are kinda jelous because your wife has kids in school, a housecleaner to come in 3 times a week, and a whole lot of time to do squat nothin but watch t.v. and eat bonbon's. You aren't helping either,, you're enabling her behaviors. (likely the kids too..)

Stop staring over the back fence at the neighbors,,You got enough problems right in front of you.

#1 Sit down and have a meaningful communication with your wife. She should care something about her physical and mental well being. Explain your wants needs desires. Your wife is not a contributing member of the team, she's along for the ride. Get her to a Dr. make sure she is mentally and physically ok. Get her to work out with you or encourage her to workout on her own.

Here's a biggie,,, FIRE THE HOUSECLEANER. You're wife is fully functional and capable of doing some housework. So are YOU and those Kids are equally capable of cleaning their rooms, getting their clothes to the laundry, etc.

If that doesn't get anybody motivated to actively participate in being a family.... Take all the electronic KRAP and put it into a "time out". Till everyone starts acting like members of a family and quit depending on hired labor to do family things for you !!!!

Work together and set goals as a family and set goals with your wife for things you and her plan on doing.

Both you and your wife is responsible for your lives and being in the position you are both in !!!

The biggest problem is YOU GOT A DOSE of REALITY on what being a FAMILY really means !!

A stay at home wife does NOT need a house cleaner 3 times a week,,, how many slobs are living in your house anyway ???

Family's who work together and all share in keeping their area's clean should have no problem keeping a house clean.

Your entire family needs to work together as a family. Cooking, cleaning, spending quality time together, helping each other,, setting goals together, and working together toward those goals.

In case I didn't mention it.. fire the house cleaner/wife.

It will not be easy but if You, your wife, and kids get motivated and start setting goals (besides letting the house cleaner in so she can clean the house) your entire family will be happier, better adjusted and healthier too !

Everyone in your family shares equal responsibility for where your family is at currently!!!

..

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A reader, anonymous, writes (10 February 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Certainly more responses than I was expecting!!

I do appreciate you all taking the time to give me your honest opinion, some were harsh, some where encouraging and I think I've come to a conclusion.

Firstly, I'd just like to say that I was having a bit of a bad day. Normally it's not like me to rant and rave to complete strangers like this... I probably do have a bit of a crush on the neighbours wife, she is a fox, but mostly I just feel like I'm not measuring up to what I would term as a 'perfect' life.

I didn't consider the fact that my wife might be worried/scared about going back to work. She's a confident woman and it honesty didn't cross my mind.

The truth is that I love my wife dearly, reading over the responses from you guys I felt sick every time divorce came up.

So the conclusion....

I've booked a two week holiday for us next month, kids will stay at their grandparents. It's a beach holiday with a 'get fit' program (healthy meals and lots of activities). It's in the Maldives which I'm told is a very romantic destination - when we get back we'll sit down and discuss potential work.

Wish me luck!!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (10 February 2010):

I am not judging you but it seriously sounds like you are having a crush on your neighbor's wife.

I can't help thinking,"What if your wife started thinking like you?"

I am in no way accusing you but just want you to see from the other side of the coin.I am trying to think from your wife's angle:

He thinks cleaning and laundry is housework.What about dishes,arranging house,PTA meetings,helping with schoolwork of kids,running to doctor when they fall ill,making sure they are well fed,they are emotionally taken care of.Where did the day go?

What was the last time he said I was beautiful(regardless of how I look).That would be a nice incentive to take care of myself.The more the compliments the more would I like to beautiful for him.

When was the last time he flirted with me.Even the guy in the mall said he loved my womanly curves.I wish my husband would only notice me someday.

All he seems to be doing nowadays is stare and spy on that petite hottie lawyer.Sigh.

Money is not the be all and end all of life.If he wouldn't criticize me so much but gently and slowly encourage me ,I feel I can do much more.Yes I feel scared of having a career after 9 years.But with his GENTLE AND CONSTRUCTIVE ENCOURAGEMENT I am sure I can find my footing again.

If he notices the hottie lawyer playing with the kids how would he notice me taking care of the kids.

Her husband seems a much nicer guy.A marriage is nurtured with unconditional love and acceptance.If we had an emotional bonding I would be much more willing to listen to what he says.Why doesn't my husband encourage me tenderly?Why doesn't my husband flirt with me the way he does with his wife?Why Why why?I have been a loyal wife and taken care of the home and kids.I certainly deserve better.Don't I?

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 February 2010):

A friend of mine has just emigrated to New Zealand from the UK. She said that she is happier because people are judged for who they are not what they have. I think you have a checklist, based on your neighbour, of what your wife should now be like. Do your wife a favour... if you don't love her any more (clearly you don't) then let her find someone who does. You need to find someone who shares your level of income, works all hours god sends, does the housework, looks after the kids and still has enough energy for 5 hours of incredible sex. Good luck in your search.

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A female reader, Ich_liebe_dich Philippines +, writes (10 February 2010):

Ich_liebe_dich agony auntI think comparing the wife or the partners to the others wife or partners is not a very good feeling or thoughts to every part of a couple. It will damage the relationship. its like a virus coming in. So please dont start to this thinking. This is really not good. I would suggest, why dont you invite your wife to some dinner and have a little serious talk about this matters. I thought couple's get married not only for one thing but also to share everything. I think she is a little depressed. She love's you thats matter most' and if you talk to her she will listen to you and understand you. I think She need you now emotionally.. take care of her and take care of this family you start. dont break it just because you see another happy couple outside of your circle. Good luck too

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A reader, anonymous, writes (10 February 2010):

Wow! When I was reading this I was imagining if it had been a woman what y'all would have said to her... Accusations of being a golddigger would have surfaced.

Anyway, your problem is not a problem with your wife; it is both of yours. You need to have a family meeting and talk to her about how you would like to make changes for your family as a whole. Maybe she also looks at the woman's husband with admiration and wonders why you can't measure up to him. But I must warn you though; the grass is not always greener on the otherside; sometimes when you take a closer look, you will see nothing but weeds. They may be the ideal family but you have no idea what really goes on.

Change starts with gratitude... Tell your wife you appreciate her and all she has done for the family. Tell her that you want her to start taking care of herself more and to start getting out and about so she can regain the confidence she once had. If you start with accusations and negative stuff then she will be resentful. Inspire her. Draw up a family list of goals where you both agree on your goals for 6months, 1yr, 5 years from now. The truth is if you leave her, you will have child support payments and she has a better chance of landing a successful partner than you do. My ex husband tried that "you will never get anybody as good as me" talk when I was overweight with a new born baby and he had a size 0 mistress; and now a few years later he borrows from me and I have moved my new bikini body on to a very good life together with my kids who my millionaire boyfriend loves like his own. I'm just telling you this to illustrate that you must not underestimate her ability to change her life and get on without you; try and work on your relationship instead; look inwards not outwards.

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A female reader, DiscoveryToysMom United States +, writes (10 February 2010):

I think that you sound very selfish to be questioning your own situation because of what you SEE in someone else's. You don't know what your neighbors life is really like. You just know what you see. SO many people look happy on the outside and in public, because that's what they wan't people to see. They could be the most unhappy family behind closed doors, and you will never know. Just because your neighbors make more money and are in shape, and the mother plays with the kids doesn't mean you should question whether you should leave your own home or not. You have children for crying out loud. Sure everybody sees something in someone else's life that they desire. But the smart thing to do would be to fix your life AT HOME not plan to leave the home in search of something else. Why don't you take your wife out, just the two of you and talk to her about how you feel and what you want. It sounds like your wife is depressed. If you can ask the question that you asked so easily. And if you are really think that you want out of your current life, then I can guess that you are no prize to your wife either. You probably act that way towards her all the time without saying a thing to her and not even realize it. She may see this and react in her own way.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 February 2010):

Hello,

You were content with your life as well your marriage until your new neighbors moved it. Until you saw the other wife you were satisfied with what you had.

What if a WORSE couple had moved in. What if this couple had a wife who smoked a lot, stood outside shouting and her kids ran wild and caused havoc, whilst her live in boyfriend had his mates around, mad a lot of racket and was generally a piece of work?

Just becuase a power couple moved in next to you, suddenly you have decided your life isn't for you anymore. Its not any different to your neighbours buying a Ferrari and you feeling sad becuase you have a Ford.

This is nothing more than a case of 'grass is greener'. There are better women than your wife. There are going to be women who are younger, fitter, blonder, sexier, smarter but none of them are the woman you fell in love with. Remember who your IS. the woman who you fell in love with and try not to forget that person.

Also, you can only see the shiny good aspects that your neighbours want you to see. You may see the wife outside playing with her kids but you might not see the arguments they may have indoors. You might resent the fact that the neighbours wife brings in 200 grand but you may not get to see her berate her husband and make him feel less manly just because she brings in more money. I am not saying any of this happens but you don't get to see them behind closed doors, and chances are that they too have problems like everyone else.

Do not start to resent your wife just because she doesnt measure up to a strange woman who you have met on a handful of occasions. If you feel your wife can improve things about herself and your marraige then tell her and ask her in a polite manner.

Good luck and don't be a wallly and do something stupid! :D

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 February 2010):

Yikes, I wouldn't go telling your wife she is lazy and does nothing. That's not exactly constructive. That would just send her further into doing nothing. Maybe you can start some kind of fitness activity with her. Do it together. You can't compare your marriage though. That's unfair. It sounds like your wife may be also suffer from some form of depression if she is lacking any ambition whatsoever. You don't know what she does all day? Sounds like you two don't even communicate much!! Lots of reasons she may be in a rut. But as her husband, you owe it to her to communicate effectively and help her get a start of a better life. I can't imagine she is very happy right now.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 February 2010):

I don't think,you love your wife.. Maybe ,you don't deserve a hot wife,like the neighbors wife.. But,if you do ,go and try to find one. You not gonna make this one ,any better. You sound like a pretty mean guy. I think, maybe she is depressed from you.Somehow,I just cant see you,as a victim. Do some soul search!

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (10 February 2010):

I feel ya man... Well, A Father-like person of mine does..

Well here you're Either stuck (Or have to do the Ultimate choice, Divorce) or she's comprehensive, meaning she'll listen to ya.

Wish you best of luck.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 February 2010):

Your wife isnt the issue here, you are jealous! You didnt complain about your wife until now, so nopes, its the jealousy speaking. Although, there is a valid point in all of this: seeing the comparison allows you to point out exactly what makes you miserable with your own marriage, and thereby offers the golden opportunity of making the right changes.

Discuss is with your wife. But don't say she's lazy and that you are jealous of the couple next door. Rather say, you are inspired by them. They do many great things, and you've come to realize how much of a routine your own marriage has become. They have that spark, and you want to find that spark again with your wife. Will she be open to that? Don't blame her, make sure you make this sound like an opportunity for the both of you to change the routines and start a new era in your life.

You should try to remember though that it is very hard to give up something you've done for years and decades, for something new and quite frighting. Your wife hasn't been working for so many years. Say you are worried she will be bored, and loose interest in life, if she stays put at the house with nothing to do. Not force her into work, but for example say she can have a part time ting somewhere, or even do volunteer work (sometimes volunteer work turn into paid work as well). Also discuss with her the prospects of money? Say, if she had a part time job, then you could cut down on your work, and so you will have a lot more time to be together, go on long vacations (take that one month trip you always dreamed of to Asia or somewhere). Or if the idea of more spare time doesn't sound great to you, plan with her what you two could do with all the extra money you'd have if she took a part time job.

Im sure once she gets back into business she will remember the joys of contributing to society through a job. But as she in fact now is a stay at home mom by profession, it will not be easy. It is like a career change. I am sure you wouldn't be too eager if someone told you you have to drop your job and do something completely new and start from scratch.

Best wishes! As long as you destroy this resentment in you and start to enjoy what you do have, I am assured you and your wife will be just as happy as the neighbors, probably even more! Remember, you don't see what goes on behind closed doors and your neighbors might just be great actors and are really going bankrupt for all you know.

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A female reader, Tigerlily United States +, writes (10 February 2010):

Hmmm. I hate to say it but most women who have ambitions and aspirations in life don't let children slow them down. Sounds like your wife is maybe a bit bored or depressed. They say you can't change other people. But maybe you at least owe your wife to talk to her about how things have become.

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A female reader, jc82 United States +, writes (10 February 2010):

jc82 agony auntWhat attracted you to your wife in the first place? Did she used to be more like this woman next door? Be very honest when you answer this question to yourself, because if your wife was never terribly ambitious or athletic, then its not really fair to blame her for not changing suddenly. You can't marry someone expecting them to one day fit a mold you aspire to.

Is your wife depressed? If she is overweight and has no goals, chances are, she's probably not really happy. You should talk to her, tell her you are really impressed by the couple next door (don't only mention the wife) and that you find yourself wanting to try harder as a result of seeing their example. See what she says, ask her how seeing people, other women, who earn money and are thin makes her feel. Most likely she already feels kind of inferior and does want more, but doesn't know where to start. Think about getting her a life coach, or counseling. Maybe she needs some kind of boost. Try and gently nudge her, ask her where she is at emotionally and boost her confidence.

You shouldn't abandon your wife without trying. But, don't stay with her while at the same time resenting her and thinking about how disgusting she is and how you deserve something better. Living with someone who thinks that of you will be enough to crush anyone's spirit and she probably already knows what you think and its discouraging. If you continue to believe you deserve better and more and all of that and you don't want to be with her, then leave. Staying together would be demoralizing for both of you. She also deserves to find someone nice who loves her the way she is.

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A female reader, Emilysanswers United Kingdom +, writes (10 February 2010):

Tell your wife you are unhappy.

Tell her you want her to be more of an equal in the marriage.

Ask her what more you could do to make her happy and her life easier. How could you support her to find a job in life she would enjoy? (And I don't mean financially here.)

Point out that if she got a job then she could buy something pretty and you could take her out for a romantic meal in it.

You have to be willing to do something too. You can't make this into a big attack on her. Give her suggestions and ideas to improve HER life as well as yours.

She sounds like she has just got into a rut, so help her to re-discover her dreams and then help her get them.

Good Luck!! xx

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