Ask E. Jean - Tormented? Driven Witless? Whipsawed by confusion?

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My glorious stud muffin is becoming uber grouchy in his old age. It seems that everything annoys him and simple requests (hon, can you take the trash out?) turns into a melt down of how demanding I am. I am 10 years younger and an executive who out-earns him 3x over. That didn't used to bother him, so when I get home from conquering stereotypes in the construction world, I want time with my beloved, not another battlefield. His response in a calmer moment is some version of "you treat melike an employee." Thoughts?

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    First, even if you are treating him like an employee, that's no excuse for him to act like a child.

    That said, I think that the only way to address this is head on. He says you treat him like an employee?

    Remind him that the two of you are *partners*.

    And then ask him if he really believes that he is behaving like one.

    I may be old-fashioned, but I believe that the person who spends the least time working away from home should pick up the slack in taking care of it. It is not reasonable for you both to work full time and then you do all of the chores while he does nothing.

    That's not a partnership, it's a parent/child relationship.

    My advice is to sit down with him during a calm time and try to to address the partnership issue with far more tact than I've shown here. Make a list of daily, weekly and monthly chores and then decide who is going to do what. Post the list on the refrigerator.

    Once that is done, let him be responsible for the chores he has chosen.

    That's going to be the hardest part for you. If he says that he'll take out the trash, you have to let him. No nagging. No sighing and rolling your eyes. And absolutely NO taking it out when it piles up. No matter how high the piles get.

    Appreciate him when he stays on top of things. Understand if he's occasionally a day late. Leave it alone when he does nothing.

    Because the minute you cave in and do his chores, you're telling him that's okay to be a child. Mommy will step in. That is one of the worst mistakes a woman can make in a relationship.

    If you approach this as a practical issue and not a personal one, you have a better chance of working it out. He will either step up, or you will see that it might be time to trade this grouchy stud muffin in for an actual grown-up man.

    reply to Robynne
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