We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section.
Dear Em & Lo,
When my wife and I started dating, I noticed she was a bit of a slob. That’s not the way I was raised. My mom was first one up and gone to work. After 8-10 hours as a nurse, she would leave work. Stop at the grocery store, buy something to cook for 5 of us. While dinner was going on she was doing laundry, washing, drying, and folding clothes. My dad would get home about 5:00pm, cut grass, and other yard work. Homework would be checked, then eat. I guess I grew up too idealistic, I thought that would be how it would be when I married. Man, was I in for a surprise.
She was raised a little different. There was someone on the payroll to do theses things. I addressed this when she lived in an apartment which was not just a mess, it was awful. So awful I cleaned it my self several times. She explained that when we got married and got something of our own she would change. At 21 years old, boy was I played.
After the wedding we had to rent an apartment, nothing changed, raised hell. Again she explained, it wasn’t ours. This was 8 months into the marriage, and I realized I had made a mistake, but didn’t give up. Kept my part up. Grass cutting, weed eating, helping a lot inside house, thinking I have —– up.
Finally in late 1999 we bought a 10 year old house. I went to work, planted seed and sodded some grass. Painted 3 bedrooms and a play room in basement, and laid tile in a 24’x24′ room by myself. Guess what, no change, at all. I did as much or more of the laundry as she did. Loaded dishwasher, mopped, and vacuumed as much as she did for about 9 years. Started feeling like a fool. Many arguments and hard feeling. After all that time of begging, crying, I made the realization she had lied to me the whole time. I worked 10-12 hours a day and got plenty done after I got home.
I started going to a dark spot. It got to the point I could not look at her. I would ask her to mop the floor, and she always had a reason. She knew how I felt about these things. I just decided this was as good as it was going to get. I did not want to leave. We have an 11 yo and a 15 yo.
It got so awful I left, then I hear she has had an affair. I went to a place I had never been before, I was angry, hurt, and betrayed. Time has passed, the boys and I are doing great. She is miserable, she won’t let me get my stuff. I trusted this girl for 30 years so I let her handle the divorce.
What could I have done differently?
— Mr. Clean
Any advice for Mr. Clean on what he could have done differently, or what he can do now? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below.