Home > Gender differences, Marriage, relationships > The Real Reason Your Wife Doesn’t Want to Work

The Real Reason Your Wife Doesn’t Want to Work

Donna Reed WannabeeYou’ve used logic, reason, ultimatums, bargaining and begging to no avail. Your wife still won’t go back to work even though the kids are in school full-time. You may ask yourself why she spent time and money on an education only to disempower herself by becoming financially dependent upon you. It’s a valid question.

Being at home for the kids after school, shuttle services and taking care of you are plausible excuses, but they are excuses and flimsy ones at that. Let’s be honest, has your wife achieved Donna Reed status or does she complain about the menial aspects of housekeeping, cooking, laundry and driving the kids everywhere? Do you eat a lot of takeout food and pre-prepared meals?

So What’s the Deal?

Many women still harbor the childish wish to be taken care of. The wish to be taken care of is natural, we’ve all had it at one time or another. Usually when we’re scared, sick or uncertain of the future. Then reality kicks in and we remind ourselves that we’re adults and take care of business.

By voluntarily giving up her career and making herself dependent, she’s infantilized herself and placed an unfair burden on you. Also, if you have a daughter(s), what kind of role model is she setting? Why should you encourage your daughter to go to college much less save for tuition when mom doesn’t use her degree(s)? Your wife is another dependent, just like your children.

Except that your wife isn’t a child. She’s an adult who refuses to grow up in this respect. Women with a modicum of intelligence aren’t happy in this role. They’re stuck; trapped between an insistent, unrealistic wish to be taken care of, the desire to be recognized as an equal and their fear of being an independent adult.

Your wife’s wish to be taken care of and dependency on you will eventually breed resentment and anger in both of you. She’s angry and resentful about needing you and you’re angry and resentful because you’re shouldering the burden and she’s mad at you because of it. Crazy, isn’t it? This is called hostile dependency. Why does this happen? Because no matter how powerful her childish wish for security is, SHE IS AN ADULT, which creates an unconscious conflict within her.

Shrinkwrapped explains, “These people are unaware of their dependency needs and often will loudly proclaim how independent they are; at the same time, their behavior reveals their need for a parental relationship with others who are emotionally important to them.” Developmentally, they’re adolescents and “resent their dependency on their parents who embarrass them, often disgust them, and constantly fail them by virtue of their shortcomings as human beings.  Adolescents have a number of developmental tasks to perform before entering a psychologically healthy young adulthood.  They must give up… the feeling that all options are open to them; they can no longer hold the fantasy that they can grow up to be whatever they want.”

“One must give up the passive wishes to be taken care of and nurtured.  To be independent is hard work and facing true independence (not the pseudo-independence of the child who screams “I don’t need anything from you” right before they storm out of your house and drive to their friend in the car you pay for) is frightening. The comfort of knowing someone will always be there to take care of you and make everything all right is not easily given up; and once given up, the knowledge that there is no one standing between you and the dangers in the night is potentially terrifying. . . Furthermore, because these people are responding to conflicted, unconscious dependency needs, it is literally impossible to satisfy them.”

Your wife wants to be taken care of, but wants to be recognized as your equal. Here’s the problem: A child cannot be an equal partner to an adult. An equal relationship requires that both partners be  whole, with their own fully developed identities. If she wants to be seen as an equal, she needs to be an independent adult in every sense of the word. You can’t be truly independent when you’re taking care of yourself on someone else’s dime. Children get allowances for doing chores, so they can go to the mall; adults earn paychecks to support themselves.

Why It’s Important for Your Wife to Work

  1. She’ll build her self-confidence and feel better about herself, which is sexy.
  2. It will foster independence.
  3. She’ll be more interesting to you and others.
  4. She won’t just be paying lip service when teaching the kids about the importance of an education and hard work.
  5. She’ll ease your financial burden, which will reduce your stress, which will make your time together more enjoyable.

Standing on your own two feet is scary, but it’s a developmental necessity. It’s part of being an adult and an equal partner. I hope for your sake and hers, she can do the psychological work and go to work.

by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Private Consultation and Coaching

I provide confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. My practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit Services and Products for professional inquiries.


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Photo credits:

Donna Reed Wannabee by Marci Roth Illustration on Flickr.

  1. jen
    February 12, 2010 at 8:17 am | #1

    An interesting study that claims most working women are actually less happy then they were 30 years ago.


    • October 25, 2011 at 6:37 am | #2

      You know why Women are less happy? Because it’s proportional to the amount of stuff they don’t have. Women always want what they can’t have. Ever see a woman marry a nice man and destroy him? Same reason. My wife is incredibly capable of working- can make nearly as much money as I do (shes an R.N.) We’re pretty well screwed w/ the housing bubble and have lots of debt to pay off now, our youngest is almost 5 years old, but she just does not want to go to work and has every excuse in the book- her mom stayed home, her sister stays home. I have a super high stress job that drives me to the edge, long hours, weekends, 9-10 hr days, the bills pile up, 1 week of vacation yearly, and there’s no escape. I’m depressed about it all, and can’t fix the situation. She has the ability to help address the problem but wont’ get off her rear end to job search. She says she’s not ‘called’ to job search because she’s a christian mom. We’ve been married over 10 years and always threatens to leave me when we get into an argument and run home to her parents. I’ve been employed the last 11 years, and when she got a job last year right before we were about to miss our first house payment, she was fired from it two weeks later because it’s almost as if she intentionally wanted to get canned.

      • Frances
        December 13, 2011 at 8:27 am | #3

        I hope you don’t really think this is true of ALL women! I take offense to the notion that I, as a woman, must be some insatiable harpy, lol.

        I have three kids, and I work and have worked since day one, in some capacity. I work for an indie publisher, which thankfully gives me the option of telecommuting, and I freelance as much as I can. I do this with two young children too small for school, and I cook almost every meal from scratch (I’m a vegetarian so I often don’t have a choice in this regard lol).

        My husband is constantly trying to get me to stop working and stay home. He was raised to want a Donna Reed type, and that ain’t me, lol.

        My point is that not every working woman is unhappy. I love what I do and I as much as I love my kids, and treasure the time I get to spend with them due to my flexible job, I also look forward to the day they are both in school full time and I can go back to the office everyday.

  2. Caleb
    January 21, 2010 at 12:45 am | #4

    Dr. Tara

    I cannot express how theraputic your site has been for me. It is so helpful knowing that not only are there so many others in my situation but also that there is someone who clearly knows what we have lived through. I have found that the events I have endured are near impossible for people looking in to believe. I am a USAF pilot married long term to a diagnosed BPD. If you can think of something that would ruin a marriage I have lived it. Multiple affairs, rage, eating disorder, alcohol binges, spending binges, driving drunk with my children in the car, physical assault, relentless emotional and verbal abuse of me and children, distortion campaigns that kept me from my children for nearly a year, damaged my career, and cost me over $100,000 in legal bills. I lived with a master manipulator who controlled me with threats of taking my kids knowing the courts would always side with her claims and victim scenarios. I was paralized with the fear of divorcing and leaving my children in an abusive situation with a woman who at a minimum would destroy them psychologically and at worst could end their lives. I was not willing to take the chance in our slanted courts who always favor the mother especially if the dad is a Servicemember. I decided to stay no matter the cost to me. I had to save my kids. No one believed how bad it was and in our cirlces she was better than the perfect mom, professional, and wife. She was flawless on the outside. To those closest (me and kids) she was Evil incarnate. Long story short, once bitten twice shy I began taping audio of phone conversations of the rage, drunkeness,etc..this past year she finally had one of her normal meltdowns abusing me and the kids and I was able to video the incident. It was a repeat performance of the earlier incident that she was able to remove my children with. The difference this time was the tape. Not knowing the incident was recorded the night culminated with her being arrested for domestic assault. Upon bail she filed a DVP against me with claims of physical abuse of her and the children just like she had done previously. It had worked flawlessly once surely it would this time as well. She even brought pictures of injuries to court to prove I assaulted her (injuries she caused by falling drunk on a gravel road). Although the judge ruled she caused her own injuries did she hold her liable for the false allegation of abuse? NOPE. She then filed for emergency custody of the children she had assaulted. I produced the tape. I got sole temp custody of the children. The children, one of whom ran away that evening seeking help came out with everything they had endured to 3rd party court appointed investigators. It has been 8 months now and she has been allowed to see the children 1 hour a week. Guardian ad Litem investigated and has recommended no unsupervised visits until majority age. Childrens counselor agrees as does DHS. Psychological evaluations diagnosed her axis 1 alcohol abuse. axis 2 BPD. So you think kids and I would be safe at this point. OH no. The Forensic pscychologist report although diagnosing her with BPD threw a wrench at me. Basically stating that I was responsible for rage by manipulating her fragile psyche, I drove her to drink because she had to numb her pain, I forced her into affairs because she had low self esteem, and that I left my children in an unsafe environment in an effort to “catch” her. So now I have become the target. He never once mentioned the affect her disorder had on us. In fact he exonerated her by giving her wiggle room out of responsibility for her actions. Give a Borderline any way to blame or shuck responsibility and they will maximize it. The shrink really screwed this up and obviously is not schooled on thet true aspects of this illness. I was dinged for being paranoid. I fully admit it. Not only are military pilots trained that way but I lived with a BPD for 15 years and had no idea what I was up against. It was predictable unpredicatablility. I always knew something bad was coming I just never knew what or when. Hypervigilance is an understatement. I was paralized in fear. I could not stay in it and remain sane and I could not get out leaving my children to fend for themselves. Imagine calling from Iraq to find your wife driving home drunk with your small children in the car!! routinely. I was HELPLESS. My attorney this past week withdrew under pressure. I warned her early on that she had never been up against a Bordeline of this magnitude. She did not believe me. I am now broke 3 years from retirement and had to hire a very expensive yet skilled attorney (not familiar with BPD) I will eventually go public hopefully with these tapes I have. They are a clear representaion of Borderline pscyhosis. Remarkably even with the tapes responsibility is projected. “This is all your fault because you turned over the tapes”, “I lost my children because you gave up the tapes” Nevermind whats on them just that it was discovered and I can’t lie my way out this time. I remain in a battle of epic proportions to save my kids even with mountains of solid evidence and reports. The biggest issue now “why were you taping her?” “you obviously set her up”. To which my answer always is. I taped because no one believed me or even had the capacity to. As evidence, even with the tapes I am not believed and she still comes out as the victim. Same reason I couldn’t leave sooner. Look at what I am having to go through to free myself and the kids despite all evidence. Can you imagine me just saying “hey you are abusive and I want a divorce?” If I had not taped I would be in jail for spousal abuse and would have lost my children, my home, my job and likely my sanity based on her word. With borderlines tapes are your only hope. Otherwise what they do is impossible to relay. I would love any advice and would love to hook you up with my new lawyer

    • December 28, 2010 at 12:22 pm | #5

      I feel so sorry for you. It sounds like the people assessing your crazy wife are more crazy than her to even let her near her children ever again!! She needs locking up away from everyone for everybody’s safety. Mind you a lot of people can be dangerlously manipulative not necessarily violent I’ve met them and they are “so called” doctors?!! Dont give up and hope these crackpot professionals finally see the truth for you. Lots of people
      must be in your shoes, women can be total lying bitches and dangerous aswell.

    • Harry
      October 24, 2011 at 10:37 pm | #6

      I think the way this works is that the local, state and federal governments do not want to have to use tax dollars to support the kids or the ex-wives so they create a situation in which it is cheaper for the man to keep the family together, no matter what. That is why there is an overemphasis on the idea that the man is “responsible” for everything, basically parroting the attitude of the women themselves who are only out to absolve themselves of any responsibility. It is a lifelong trajectory in which a woman will do anything so long as she can justify in her mind that some man was responsible for it. The majority of men have no idea of just how bad many women are, if they did know, few men would ever roll the dice and get married. They tell a man that if his girlfriend or wife is in a pissy mood or spoiling for a fight while she’s on the rag, he should be extra kind and loving to her so that she may realize she made the right choice in being with him. The reality is that the woman is just itching to cheat at that moment and she’s looking for any excuse to create enough distance to storm out the door in order to succeed. I know women too well to ever marry one. The bitter irony is, my mother and sisters have carried out and perpetrated a lot of the hateful, undermining, belittling and controlling behaviors most men experience from their girlfriends and wives. Some women simply can’t stand to see a man happy, I mean that literally! My moods were actually being monitored and kept in check! They took advantage of the fact that they had proximity to me, by reason of the fact that we are of the same family, to make my life hell! Coldly, calculatedly, underhandedly, covertly, but also abruptly and in your face. Each one had her own approach towards bringing me down, trying to destroy my work life, reputation, peace of mind and tranquilty. One of them even went so far as to repeatedly state that she was trying to drive me to suicide. They are all unhappy in their own lives, but what in the hell does that have to do with me?!!! The worst of the bunch, the one who has always been the most upfront in her hatred has repeatedly dragged me to court only to manipulatively tell the judges that she wasn’t interested in pressing forward because I was her brother, she cared about me and she didn’t want to wreck my job prospects. At no time did she tell the judge that every word of her complaint was false. She tried playing the virtuous victim. It didn’t work. Not only could the judges see right through her but, interestingly enough, every single woman in the court rclearly ecognized the game she was trying to run on me. Which tells you how commonly known these tactics are among women.

  3. ariel
    January 20, 2010 at 8:36 pm | #7

    This is a joke. The only reason public opinion has been manipulated to hold that women should work is to double the tax base so that we can keep paying for the government’s misdeeds. Yes, housework, etc. is boring as hell and I will not in a million years pretend that a lot of the “work” I have been doing recently is interesting. I have a 1 year old and another on the way. I was working from home for a while making just under six figures before the layoff but that was fairly boring too considering there was little social interaction. I think that this article is a horrible fiction. Should I stay home with my children I will make sacrifices that are so difficult to make and to call me infantile or willingly dependent is a joke. Some women stay home because it is best for their kids. Also, life itself is a job. Dealing with maintenance people, plumbers, shopping for food, taking care of kids doctors appointments, being present at the school through pta and other volunteer opportunities are all excellent ways to contribute to a family. Far be it for a woman who isn’t bringing in MONEY to complain. Now, in my case I might have to go back to work because I earn double than my husband and the wonderful man drove us secretly into debt while I was pregnant pretty much ensuring that he can’t support us. Lucky SOB.

    I find your article disgraceful. Who hurt you so badly that you are this twisted?

    • shrink4men
      January 20, 2010 at 8:54 pm | #8

      Hi Ariel,

      Thanks for sharing you interesting perspective on taxes and SAHM’s.

      Also, masterful use of the classic shaming/ad hominem attack combo (I find your article disgraceful. Who hurt you so badly that you are this twisted?) It adds a lot to rational discourse.

      Dr Tara

  4. Ashley
    January 13, 2010 at 6:39 am | #9

    hi. i am a sahm, and i had to give up a lot for my child. i moved across the country to live with my significant other’s family, gave up returning to school b/c of the lack of money and lose my entire life basically. i loved working, and i would love to be working now. i value my independence and hate relying on my boyfriend and family for support, but for the sake of my child, i choose to be there for him.

    i am sleep deprived, can’t take a crap when i feel the urge, nor can i always eat right away when hungry because my child comes first. i take rearing a child very seriously, and young children really need that foundation of support; the constant presence of a mother (or mother figure) for support.

    what im trying to say (as i type this with 1 hand b/c my baby is sleeping on my arm, being crabby and teething!) is that being a sahm is a difficult job, but you cannot compare it to any job the person NOT at home is working. i have worked until having a child, and it is like comparing apples and oranges. you can really half ass any job, mothering included, and get away with it if youre good…but give us sahm’s the benefit of the doubt…i dont leave my baby to cry sp i can take a shower, i dont make him anyones responsibility my my own when im alone during the day. i put my all into mothering, breastfeeding, and showing my kid the world.

    im not trying to overly glofify myself, but i think its a problem when no one can value what i do for my child everyday due to the fact that i dont recieve a paycheck. wee could have some more money, yes, but at what cost? and there are costs. babysitters get paid, and for them childcare IS a paying job. i may not recieve money for my work, but my work IS important. no babysitter loves my child like i do.

  5. Julie
    January 10, 2010 at 9:20 pm | #10

    Women who work are more likely to get a divorce. They are less likely to put up with mistreatment and abuse from their husbands. If your wife works she may have more confidence in herself but she may not have as much confidence and energy for you.

    • shrink4men
      January 11, 2010 at 12:39 am | #11

      Do you have statistics on this? Not being snide. I’m interested in them for research purposes.

      Dr Tara

    • Kev.
      January 11, 2010 at 1:08 am | #12

      I have no idea of the validity of your argument or not, so I’ll just take it at face value, and hope that you can provide some of the statistics that Dr. T asked after.

      What intrigues me, though, about this suggestion you make, is how it played out (in my case, anyway), the exact opposite. Maybe you can shed some light on this.

      To wit, I worked full time. I supported my ex because she wanted to take the summer off, ostensibly to finish up her final project for graduate school. At least that is what she told me. She barely touched it the entire summer. Yet, she became increasingly more abusive to me: rages, silent treatment, name-calling, isolating me from friends and family (because I was “obviously” sleeping around, even though -a- I wasn’t, and -b- there was no eveidence), gaslighting, embarrassing me in public by screaming at me for things I hadn’t done, accusing me of lying about being in the hospital, even though she’d been there with me the entire time, and more.

      Working full time did not give me the “confidence” as you put it, to put up with the mistreatment and abuse I was getting from her. I sank into despair, lost my functionality as a human, and gradually became a hollow shell of a human. I couldn’t remember to eat. I couldn’t remember to get dressed. I came dangerously close to suicide.

      So, why do you think the “work builds confidence in oneself and makes one less likely to put up with mistreatment and abuse” only works the one way? It didn’t pan out the way you describe for me. Is it because I’m a guy, and therefore somehow “different”?

      Or are you suggesting something else? I’m just trying to understand your point.


      • finallywokeup
        January 11, 2010 at 3:28 am | #13

        Julie, that must be why my ex-wife, who refused to work and was exactly the “glorified babysitter” mentioned above (didn’t cook – bought frozen; didn’t clean, had a cleaning lady; and didn’t watch the kids all too well, either, since she had after-school help that I paid for, or me in a home office part time, and when she didn’t she would often call me to come home early so she could go to the salon) left me and our child because I wasn’t making enough money to support her the way she thought she was entitled to.

        P.S. She had a graduate degree and, prior to children, more varied job experience than I did.

    • Daniel T.
      December 6, 2011 at 7:14 pm | #15

      “Less likely to put up with mistreatment or abuse..” A woman should not put up with either in any case. Certainly not for the right to remain unemployed. To suggest that a woman standing up for herself is a loss to the marriage and husband screams volumes regarding what you consider ethical behavior of a woman and or wife.
      Julie here is another example of how deep seated and cancerous the ” happy wife happy life ” clause has become to: 1) Marriage as a meaningful institution. 2) The integrity and universal value of the female gender. 3) Any respect or consideration due to a man regarding his right to pursue his own happiness wihout contingency to another individuals.
      All too often I see socially accepted marriages founded on the blind and grossly negligent perception of marriage as an opportunity carry the torch, and continue where the wife’s father left off in raising a daughter.

  6. metalman
    January 1, 2010 at 2:11 am | #16

    This reminds me of a quote I once read: “To say that today’s women are independent is like saying a teenage girl is independent because she has her own bedroom in her parent’s house.”

    The thing that really kills me about the stay-at-home wives of my friends is that . . . well . . . they don’t do much. Really, they’re just glorified babysitters whose job it is to make sure the kids don’t kill themselves or each other before daddy gets home. And when daady gets home, it’s ‘Mommy’s time off, because she’s worked so hard all day.’ These women don’t cook, don’t clean, don’t handle the household bills . . . pretty much, they’re useless. And they’re ALL COLLEGE GRADUATES. Honestly, most of themn couldn’t find their own a__holes without a compass.

    And to top it all off, these gals are usually unhappy and resentful.

    This is why God invented hookers!

    • Jon
      January 1, 2010 at 1:05 pm | #17


      The term, “glorified babysitters” that you used should win a Grammy. It is a powerful metaphor that should go into the vocabulary used to describe all “Cluster B’s”.

  7. Patrick
    December 18, 2009 at 4:54 am | #18

    All I can say is when did you do a psych evaluation of my wife. I have been dealing with this issue for over a year now and my wife is being totally unfair about it. We are going broke and getting further in debt and bankruptcy is right around the corner. Last week my wife was offered a good job. The same job she used to have, that had been held over my head since she left that job when I was offered a higher paying job in another state. When we moved I said she could stay at home with our 3 yr old and adjust for 6 months. Since the new job paid well and we had some savings it wasn’t a big sacrifice. Plus she was going to get certified and all that. Now it is 20 months later and she hasn’t gotten certified and just rejected a good job with great benefits, because she would be 30 minutes away from home.

    I’m ready to throw in the towel and declare bankruptcy and file for divorce. I hate the thought of bankruptcy because I am a professional with an MBA and a career. Yet, I’ve tried to support our family to the best of my ability, I just didn’t plan for us to have just one single income for this long. Had she taken the job the debt wouldn’t be a big deal. Since she didn’t I’m not sure I can make the mortgage payment next month.

  8. DrMom
    December 3, 2009 at 8:28 pm | #19

    FABULOUS! It’s about time this was put out there. I am copying it and mailing it to the women in my neighborhood who ask my 11 year old daugher if I don’t love her because I have a PhD and run a laboratory as a univ faculty member! They tell my child when she visits their daughters that if I loved her I would stay at home…and they have told me that if I was going to choose work, I should have been held down and forcibly sterilized. Yes, this is in an affluent neighborhood in SC where wives of physicians actually, really, truly say this crap! They like to brag, “Well, my husband is a doctor.” I like to reply: “I didn’t have to marry one; I became one myself.” I loathe these selfish, money-grubbing, lazy women.
    My daugher reports to me that the children of these self-satisfied pigs complain all the time about having no freedom (MOM MONITORS EVERYTHING THEY SAY AND DO), no privacy (mom is ALWAYS IN THEIR BUSINESS because she has no life of her own), and no reason to achieve anything if they, too, will be shunned for getting a graduate degree and a high-powered job. THANK GOD my daughter has never had to deal with the drivel spewed by underachieving borrowed-money/status-****** like the SAHMs on my street. I wonder what they would do if their husbands died or lost their jobs…or left their fat saggy asses for more appreciative, hard working women.
    Yes, they complain that they take care of the kids, take them to school, cook a new dinner nightly, and all that…well, hell, so do I! And I stay fit, sexy, and full of zeal for my husband. Hmmmm….seems a working girl can have it all.

    • shrink4men
      December 3, 2009 at 8:49 pm | #20

      You ROCK, Dr Mom!

      I’m astounded and horrified by what the mothers of your daughters friends say to her. Even if they think this way, you don’t say that to a child. Seems to me they’re desperately trying to justify their over-privileged wastes of space existences by slamming you and other hard working employed mothers. My hunch is that as doctors’ wives, they’re not on their hands and knees washing the floors and scrubbing the toilets. I’m sure they have hired help doing what they supposedly elected to stay home and do.

      These women are lost causes. The people I feel sorry for are their children.

      Dr Tara

      • Grateful
        March 13, 2012 at 3:29 am | #21

        Upon first reading this blog I was upset by your comments just as much as Kayla was, however as I kept reading I saw glimpses of me in the posts. I know that I blame my partner for impregnanting me twice and not taking the precautions I requested at the time, so now with five children I barely let him near me, and expect him to provide for me and my three children from my previous relationship in the way that I had become accustomed when I was working full time and a sole parent. He constantly complains about the costs of living and I do not listen to his complaints because of my anger towards him and just comment that it is what life costs (he moved out of home at 40 to live with us when I fell pregnant because he believes it was the right thing to do). My youngest is 7 months and our son 2 years I did take a contract and return to work when our son was five months however it was too stressful for the household. I have also had some recent bad experiences using a child care centre. Reading your posts has started me thinking about the deeper issues to my problems with the child care centre, my desires to stay at home until my younger two start school and my recent change in study direction. I am currently on maternity leave and expected back at work in Jan 2013, therefore I have not found your blog too late. The first step for me is to seek out a family day care provider I am happy with, then seek out a way to come to terms with the additional children I now have. My job bores me, but after reading your blog I see how I need to grow up, go back to work and study at night finishing the degree slowly, so that I can contribute to supporting my three children from my previous relationship, and be completely responsible for my own life. For the past two years I now see how much I have spiralled out of control, I used to be like Dr Mom, strong in my convictions to work, but now I see how I am lost in the anger and the victim status I have created for myself. Thank you for your blog and your straight talking.

        • tomg
          March 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm | #22

          Don’t want to sound too self serving, but I read that you are examining your role within your family as financially responsible to your families well being and security by not delegating that task to your husband. Hopefully he shares in everything else concerning your children, house chores, etc….

          I’ve come to the conclusion (many actually) that I never promised, bought,agreed to take care of, water or weed anyone’s rose garden. Family is serious and difficult and a team effort. It’s a breeding ground for resentment, anger, anxiety, depression and fear.

          It’s nice hearing from you. It assures me that there are mature mates out there. Thank You!

    • wife#2
      January 2, 2010 at 3:25 am | #23


      Oh, I know this one too well DrMom…I went through it as a single working Mom years ago.
      I just finished my MS, and started my doctoral program this fall. I guess if I love my kids I should quit school. NOT!

  9. jham123
    September 17, 2009 at 4:06 am | #24


    Damn that is a strong message…….So so true.

    I’ve posted some of this…but I left out the financial aspect you mention.

    In my other post I told you about how my wife cried and told me nice things (first time in 10 years) when I was 2 hours away from signing a lease on my own place. (I caved and moved back in with her….I’m weak)

    I didn’t mention that this was the 27th of the month……and all her “support” that she had in her back pocket turned out to be empty promises from her Mother and our Church….

    She was convinced a week earlier that those two entities would gladly support her if I was out of the picture…….It takes ~$6k per month to keep the doors open in my house.

    Well, Her mom’s support turned out to be a $200 check and the Church was willing to supply her with $400 in Grocery vouchers………Oops….

    She has no Job….No savings…no prospects for a Job….has not worked in 17 years……

    I’m almost sure her change of heart was self preservation.

    • shrink4men
      September 17, 2009 at 11:13 pm | #25

      Hi jham123,

      You’re probably right, which is also why you should be concerned about her “friendships” with the triple divorcees on facebook.

      So much for you not doing enough to support her all these years (mentioned in one of your comments on another post). These women truly do suck one’s life blood.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  10. Confused
    September 5, 2009 at 3:27 am | #26

    Hi Dr. Tara

    I have been married for 10 years and my wife is someone I have known from childhood and I do love her like crazy. She has stood by me in trying times when my family was actively hostile towards me, and she’s normally very loving and caring and we do enjoy spending time with each other a lot.

    Nevertheless, we have had frequent conflicts all through our married life, with many of the characteristics you describe in your posts, especially the professional victim syndrome.

    She didn’t work for the first few years of our marriage, and then we moved to a remote area (which was something I wanted to do more than she did, because I needed a quiet and peaceful environment in order to work to set up a new online business) where it wasn’t easy for her to find work. So she didn’t have a chance to work the past 5 years (although if she really wanted to she could have started a business of her own where we were living, and I tried to encourage her to do that many times).

    The way she remembers our 10 years together is that she has sacrificed her career for the sake of my work. But I didn’t ever stop her from working, and in fact tried to help her get her own business going many times. It was always the case that she was not motivated enough to really get into it. Nevertheless she blames for preventing her from working, and for then making her feel like a parasite, except that I never said that. I just said being the breadwinner, I deserve respect, and for my time to not be destroyed with tantrums, and to not be yelled at for the smallest things.

    She used to say often that she feels useless not working, and I used to say well you are working at home and keeping the fires burning so I can get my work done. I told her you are half of this business. We were in a very unusual situation running a business single-handedly from a remote location, so I did believe this to be truth, for the most part. But now saying this has come to bite me in the ass, because when I tell her I deserve respect, especially considering that feeding us is my responsibility, she immediately takes it to mean that I am calling her a leech.

    But I always did and still do consider her running the house and handling other administrative matters a great contribution to helping get our business off the ground, except for the fact that her frequent tantrums and propensity to get angry at me at the smallest things made it very difficult for me to actually work on the business. I would always point out to her that this kind of conflict was inimical to both our interests but it continued.

    Eventually she started to say that she was very bored and wanted to move back to a big city. I also figured that she isn’t someone cut out to be a housewife and would not be so temperamental if she was able to follow her own dreams and have a career, so I did what was necessary to move us back to a big city, which is where we have been for the last 6 months.

    However things have only gotten worse so far. Maybe it is me being impatient and expecting things to change faster?

    We’ve moved to a new country, and to stay here I have to study at University, which I am doing. So now I not only have to run my business but also go study things that I don’t need to, as I’m highly qualified in my field and have over 15 years of professional experience. But I am doing it to keep both of us in this country where we have a better lifestyle, and she can actually find jobs and hopefully a career that she enjoys eventually.

    Despite all this, she continues to behave as if I owe her a better lifestyle, to make me feel like I am not making enough money (though I make enough to house us in a brand new city-center apartment, and we have always lived in great comfort and have a fat savings account), and to cause me stress and tension when I really can’t afford the loss of time that causes given all my added responsibilities in our new context.

    She recently got a job and since then things have been even more crazy. We have fights that don’t get resolved for 24-48 hours, even though I try to make up even when I didn’t start the fight. Sometimes I think it’s hormones (she does get most irrational a few days before her period) because we normally have a pretty great time together.

    But I am starting to be convinced that there is a deeper issue here than hormones or boredom. I feel that she doesn’t respect me, doesn’t realize what effort it takes to build the business and make the cash, and doesn’t respect that I need to have a clear and happy state of mind in order to work with concentration. There seems to be a very pronounced lack of empathy.

    In fact, within a month of our moving to this new country, when we hadn’t even found an apartment to live in, and when I was struggling to keep up with the demands of starting University and not falling behind on my commitments to my business’s customers, while also trying to get everything worked out for our new life in a new country, she had a very brief affair with a guy she had hardly known for a week. She did ask me for permission to open our relationship just before that, and I had agreed, as I am in principle open to the idea. (On the other hand, when I had asked, many years earlier, to open our relationship, she had reacted totally negatively to this idea, equating it to some form of perversion).

    However I had no idea she was already ready to jump into bed with someone, and especially at a time when I needed all the support I could get from her and she knew it. During this time, I felt utterly miserable and alone and let down. She didn’t actually go all the way with the affair and didn’t actually sleep with the guy, but mostly because he was also a friend of mine and he made the right decision. She did later apologize for this whole debacle and for making me feel left out in the cold at such a difficult time.

    But she doesn’t seem to realize that she still continues to do the same thing.

    I try my best to accommodate her needs, and I always make excuses for her behavior (oh it’s PMS, or she’s feeling bored, or strange in a new counry, or insecure, or whatever). But I am now feeling like I can’t take it any more and that I will fall physically ill if this keeps up. It has already had a big impact on my health I am sure.

    But the worst of it is that I do love her and I know she isn’t a bad person, and is just mixed up in her head and has too many feelings of frustration that result in her taking her anger out on me. And perhaps my telling her that she is one half of our enterprise has made her feel that that she is entitled to repeatedly and frequently destroy my time and my mental peace.

    I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to split up with her as she IS my best friend and has stood by me in bad times and I do feel very happy with her when she is sane. But the repeated episodes of irrational anger and tantrum throwing are very very difficult to live with.

    Perhaps I just need to give it some time… I have dated quite a few women and I realize that all women have hormones and mood swings, to some extent, and all of us are just humans and give into irrational crap once in a while. Everyone can go through bad phases and it seems to me this is one such, and that things should get better.

    But I just don’t know what is the truth. On top of that, she is now 32 and if we want to have kids we need to start trying soon. But I am not sure if I want to have kids with her.

    My mother is a 110% true NPD/BPD, possibly even psychotic, and I see too many similarities between her and the way my wife has started behaving of late, and I also see disturbing similarities between the way my dad handled my mom by denying an euphemizing about her (which just ended up making her much worse) and the way I am handling things with my wife.

    If my wife is indeed a BPD/NPD and it is indeed true that such people don’t change, then I definitely don’t want to have kids with her or stay with her. On the other hand I don’t want to throw away the baby with the bath water just because she is having hormonal mood swings or is going through a difficult phase in her life.

    So I am very confused what to do, and how to go about dealing with this.

    Also, she could just be (as she says) stressed out these days because her dad is very seriously and terminally ill and she doesn’t know how long he has to live.

    Another fact is that she was repeatedly raped as a child (when she was just 3!) by a family member. She claims to have dealt with it but I don’t think she has and I think that her behavior towards me and others is still heavily affected by that trauma. This is also the reason I think why our sex life has been very difficult. I am quite a kinky person who likes all sorts of “perversions” but she seems very inhibited and closed about sexual exploration and adventures that are in any way out of the ordinary.

    Anyway, I have written on for quite a long time… I am very confused. I don’t want to lose the warmth and comfort I feel with her (and don’t want her to be out in the cold either) and yet it is difficult to get on with life when every other day is a 24-hour soap opera.

    I would instantly take your advice to leave the relationship if I knew it was really BPD/NPD, as I can clearly see it is with my mom, but in a case like this which is not black or white it seems to be much harder to decide on the correct course of action.

    And yes she has threatened suicide several times, though never made an attempt, thank goodness. She always threatens to split up with me when we have a fight, and she often hurts herself when we have had a fight, such as by falling down stairs, not eating for extended periods and then fainting, running away and going to places where she isn’t safe, etc. etc.

    Thanks for listening… hope you can provide some tips for this scenario…

    • shrink4men
      September 5, 2009 at 5:11 pm | #27

      Hi Confused,

      I read your post from beginning to end and the thing that stands out most (and adds to the length of your tale) is the number of times you make excuses for your wife’s inexcusable behaviors. I can’t diagnose your wife without meeting her, speaking with her and observing her behavior; however, based on your description it seems likely that she has some serious characterological issues.

      You have been the sole provider for the last decade. Yes, it takes time and energy to run a household, but unless you’re living in a 15-room house with grounds and children, it’s not that difficult to manage the living space of two adults. I work full-time for a web-company from home, run my own 3/4-time blog/consulting business from home and keep my share of household responsibilities and make dinner 6 nights a week without complaint. I don’t find it stressful nor do I consider it hard labor. My partner earns far more than me and I’m grateful for his huge contribution to the quality of our life together. It makes me feel good to give him a nice place to come home to at the end of the day. I understand I may be a little different, but I just don’t understand what’s so hard about putting clothes in the washer (takes 3 minutes and going back to my current work projects for 45 minutes and then transferring the clothes to the dryer), running a load of dishes once a day, and light dusting and sweeping once or twice a week.

      It’s not your fault your wife is bored; that’s her responsibility. If you’re bored—do something (like get a job or start your own business) other than complain about it. You uprooted yourself, your business and started a university program, taking on unnecessary stressors and not only is your wife not happy, she expresses her gratitude by telling you she wants to have an affair. WTF? Not only is this behavior unempathic and ungrateful, it’s abusive.

      PMS, an alleged abuse history, a sick father, boredom, confusion—these are all excuses and lame ones at that. Your wife is an adult, not a child. It’s time for her to stop blaming her behavior on others. Furthermore, suicide threats are one of the most abusive things you can do to someone. I think you’re right to seriously consider having a child with this woman. If you have kids with her, you’ll be on the hook for life, plus do you really want to expose children to this?

      I can’t tell you what to do, but I don’t think your wife’s behavior is going to get better especially since you’re doing all the work for her. And I don’t mean money-generating work. I mean you’re the one who’s looking for answers, you’re the one who’s doing some serious soul searching, you’re the one who’s jumping through hoops and turning himself inside out to make the relationship better while all your wife seems to be doing is saying, “Gimmee, gimmee, gimmee!” followed by, “Not good enough!” and then the coup de grace, “Would it be okay if I have a sexual relationship with your friend?

      I think your mother’s pathology primed you for the current relationship you have with this woman. As I sit here writing my reply to you, I’m becoming increasingly angry for you. I encourage you to think long and hard about how you want to spend the next 10 years of your life and keep in mind that the longer you stay with this woman, the more of your assets she gets should you divorce. The courts will punish you for staying in your marriage. Even though you think you’re trying to do the right thing by working on and trying to save the relationship, you’re actually just prolonging your suffering and increasing the amount of money you’ll have to give her in the end.

      I hope this is helpful.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  11. A Frustrated Husband
    August 24, 2009 at 11:01 am | #28

    Dear Dr Tara,

    I know this article is a little old, but I have a situation on my hands that relates very closely to this article. I’m in desperate need of advice.

    My wife and I have lived together for about 2 1/2 years, we have a one year old son, and have been married for just over 6 months. About once a month for the past 7 or 8 months, we’ve gotten into a fight about whether or not she should quit her job. Her argument is always, “I want to stay at home and raise our son.” and, “I’m the only woman in our family that has to work.” etc.

    Now, just as an FYI, my mother-in-law lives with us, is on disability after a triple by-pass, and offered to be our son’s nanny for the cost of rent and her monthly cell phone bill. It’s a pretty good deal if you ask me, and it’s been working well for 11 months.

    To be honest, I would love it if my wife could stay at home. It wouldn’t bother me in the least, assuming we were actually capable of sustaining our lifestyle without her income. But, to be even more honest (don’t get me wrong, I love my wife to death), she is really needy. When I say needy, I mean she likes to spend money. For example, about a year and a half ago she decided she needed a new car, (she had ’92 Pathfinder then, so she really did need one) and she went out and found a Lincoln Navigator that she really liked. We were able to get it financed with a hefty down payment from my savings. Awesome. I was happy with the deal, and so was she… for about 6 months. After which time she decided she needed a new car because the Navigator was, “Too big.” I managed to put off trading it in for another year if only to gain some negative equity back. We recently went down and she found a new GMC Yukon that she likes (which, in case you haven’t notcied, isn’t any smaller than the previous…) Fine. I’m happy with the Yukon. It’s really nice, and she seems happy with it so far also. (I personally prefer to own a Chevy over a Ford anyway, but that’s another discussion)

    But, obviously, here is the problem we face. She likes to have new things. Hell, I like her to have new things also! But, it’s just not possible without her income. If she lived more like me, maybe it would be. I drive a 1995 GMC pick-up with 220k miles. I like my truck and I won’t be getting a new one anytime soon. I still like to eat Ramen Noodles, she likes to pick up Olive Garden. I was happy with my 24-inch round screen TV, she made sure we picked up a 57-inch LCD… and another 30-inch for the bedroom. I like Folgers coffee, she needs Starbucks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. etc, etc, etc. I could go on and on. To be honest again, I actually like this about her! It helps me to enjoy some of the finer things. At heart, I’m very much a bachelor in that I require very little to live, and she encourages me to live better.

    However, the problem still remains. We barely earn as much as we spend. And now we’re fighting because she doesn’t think she needs to work. I’ve tried to budget with her, to show her how important her income is, but she still doesn’t get it. In my opinion, she has no legtimate reason to not work. We have a nanny who works for far less than she should, and that same nanny is required by the state to hire a housekeeper in order to keep her disability income, so we have a housekeeper.

    I honestly can’t wrap my head around my wife’s hang-up. I don’t know how else to tell her that she can’t quit her job. The arguments over this turn into full blown fights, and show no signs of coming to an end. Honestly, I’m scared she’s just going to quit anyway. I’ll have to watch as her car gets repo’d, we struggle to pay the bills, and her credit card gets denied.

    What can I say to her to get it through? Please help.


    • shrink4men
      August 24, 2009 at 7:05 pm | #29

      Hi Frustrated,

      From your description, your wife sounds entitled, immature, clueless and utterly unempathic.

      First, in this economy, she’s lucky to have a job. Second, all of these new things she likes and the UN-necessities (e.g., Starbuck’s, Olive Garden) are all expensive niceties she’ll have to give up if she quits her job. I’m sure you’ve explained that and yet she thinks your salary alone should magically be able to pay the tab for the lifestyle she wants, your child and her mother. Furthermore, in addition to her mother, you have had to hire a housekeeper and a nanny, so what exactly would your wife be doing at home during the day?

      I think you have a big difference in values. Living paycheck to paycheck with a young child is a risky proposition. Being a saver vs. a spender is a major values difference. Attitudes/beliefs about money/spending/saving cause a lot of conflict in relationships. Are you saving anything for your child’s education right now? Does she care? Does she get it? And what about healthcare benefits? Not only are the two of you not on the same page, you don’t seem to even be in the same book on this one.

      Unless your wife grows up, I don’t see this issue being resolved. She’ll feel resentful about not being able to stay home and sip Starbuck’s all day and you’ll begin to feel resentful because she’s making you feel like you’re not an adequate provider. Wanting to quit her job and the emotion and entitlement she has around this issue are not based upon reason. Therefore, explaining the very simple concept of a budget and the no brainer concept of “if you want nice things, we both need to continue working” is not going to work. You may as well be talking to a wall.

      Perhaps if you speak to an objective third party expert (e.g., a financial planner), he or she might be able to get through to her. From what you’ve written, she doesn’t seem to want to hear reality from you. Alternatively, you could propose that you quit your job and stay home with the baby and let her shoulder the entire financial responsibility and let her feel some of the pressure, but that probably won’t go over very well. I don’t think there’s anything you can say to her to get her to understand. She understands, it’s just in conflict with her infantile wish to be taken care of, which is why I don’t think reason and logic will work on your end.

      Anyone else have some advice?

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      • Justin
        August 25, 2009 at 2:06 am | #30

        Dr Tara,

        Thank you for your response! Your comment about resentment is spot on. Although, I hadn’t really realized it until now. I don’t think feeling that way is beneficial to my circumstances, so that’s at least one thing I can change in order to work towards a positive solution. So, thank you very much for that.

        You’re probably right about getting an objective third party. She doesn’t typically hold my opinion or views in very high regard without first getting the approval from somebody else. So, that is definetly something I’ll look in to.

        Also, I actually have suggested that I quit my job. :P Obviously she didn’t like the idea very much, being as how my income accounts for more than 2/3 of what we bring home. She was able to calculate how that budget would look, in her head, in a matter of miliseconds.

        I’m sure you’re tired of hearing this, but I love her to death. Almost unconditionally. Even if it takes me the rest of my life, I’ll try to work towrds a solution.

        Maybe I’m naive, I don’t know any better, and maybe I’m just plain stupid. I’m okay with that. I just hope it won’t stop you from dropping me an occasional inspiration, piece of advice, or kind word?

        Thank You Again,


        • shrink4men
          August 25, 2009 at 3:57 am | #31

          Hi Justin/Frustrated,

          FYI, you have a right to feel resentment re: having to carry the entire financial burden when your wife is entirely capable of working. You’re not the one who needs to work on this. You’re wife is the one who needs to do some work, in addition to getting a reality check.

          Good luck,
          Dr Tara

      • Justin
        August 25, 2009 at 2:25 am | #32

        *edit: I meant to say that feeling resentful is NOT beneficial. :)

    • Mark
      August 31, 2009 at 3:28 am | #33

      I understand. A little different here though. When my wife and I married 3 years ago, she had one semester left for her undergrad in psychology. We had a child and she stayed home for a while. 1 yr ago, she WANTED to work again…no problem, I’m up for that. I want her to be fulfilled. Since then she has had 4 jobs and made ZERO money. First she got her R.E. license, then she got certified as a Landman, then she was an apprentice(without pay) to do heart sonograms(she told me this was cheaper than having to go to school for it), and now she is working from the house, trying to get her certification to do Home Staging. Everone of these has COST money. She “won’t take a job for chump change,” and wants to finish her education. Great, except she refuses to finish it anywhere but where she started(a private school that is about $30K/year). Our counselor told her 3 months ago to do some investigation into other schools(she accused me of holding her back, not wanting her to get a degree). She has done none. On top of that, I found out after 6 months of marriage that she had over $30K in deby(75% was school loans though). Ok, a little off subject, but I understand…just a little different. My wife wants to work, but only for the fleeting moment that her latest interest is perked by…oh, and not make any money doing it. I love soccer. I guess I could spend money going to Europe to learn soccer, in hopes of coming back to be a proffesional soccer player. I’ll let you know how that turns out!! :)

      Oh, and Frustrated…here’s what I would do. Agree to comply with her wishes. However, as a family you need to do a test run. Live off of your income, utilizing no credit, for 6 months. Meanwhile, take her income and put it in savings. If your family is happy with your life style after 6 months, great!! She get’s to quit her job as she desires, AND you have extra savings, just in case something happens with your job. Just my two cents!!

      • Kev
        August 31, 2009 at 7:19 am | #34


        How do I put this politely? She doesn’t want to work. If she did, she’d do something about it, like, get a job (yes, even in THIS economy), or finish her education somewhere.

        My ex pulled this, too. She worked a few part-time gigs, and was always one step away from finishing school, but never quite finishing it – suddenly changing degree programs, or deciding on a new career path, that would (surprise) require more school/education/training.

        Now, in all fairness, she did mostly pull her own with the bills, but I ended up paying for a lot of things (in more ways than just financially).

        I don’t know if it’s the thrill of the chase, short attention spans, or just liking to have grandiose plans to better market herself to others. She even derailed my own professional plans (I had to surrender them because they were “selfish”), so that I could support her while she pursued her own. The problem was, her plans changed on a weekly basis, and half of the time, I wasn’t allowed to know about them.

        This has gotten long and rambling, due to the hour. But seriously. If your wife truly wanted to work, she’d be working.

        I’ve read your other replies, and I wish you luck with the situation. As I”m sure you know, and as others around here will probably tell you, it’s time for you to get out of the relationship.

        Let us all know how that soccer apprenticeship works out for you. ;)

      • shrink4men
        September 17, 2009 at 11:09 pm | #35

        Hi Mark,

        I agree with Kev. If she wanted to work, she would. Period.

        Being a professional student is one way many women avoid becoming an actual professional with an actual career. First they dabble in real estate, then interior design, next they want to become a chef or a charity events planner or a phlebotomist. They take a few classes and lose interest or blame it on the instructor for being “mean” to them.

        Meanwhile, you’re still left shouldering the entire financial responsibility plus the bills for her unfinished coursework or, sometimes completed coursework that she never turns into a paying job.

        I like Kev’s suggestion. Let’s us know if you try it and how it works.

        Kind Regards,
        Dr Tara

  12. fromCOtoAZ
    July 11, 2009 at 11:45 pm | #36

    i have to agree with the 2 gentlemen before me. sometimes women see this site and they explode with what is written. Kayla… for every example you can give, any guy on thyis site can match you and then some. you have YOUR personal experiences that you are pulling from, and we have ours. this is a site for our experiences not yours. if you can state your case in a calm manner and at least admit that there are plenty of women that Dr. T is talking about, show a little objectivity, then just about everyone here will accept your point of view. none of us are evil monsters hell bent on ripping women to shreds. my ex fits most of this criteria, which is why i’m on this site – to obtain knowledge about where to go and what to do since it’s over and she’s still making my life hell. but never – not once – am i down on women, down on life, or down on love. my posts to this site are very specific to the issue(s) that i am currently dealing with concerning one person. and that pretty much goes for anyone else who is one this site. there is a LOT of knowledge that can be gained from this site – to apply to both sides – if you can only process it objectively instead of taking it so personally. have you yet to see any posts on here that says all women are evil? no? it’s because not all women are evil. and the rest of us are smart enough to know that.

  13. Kayla
    July 11, 2009 at 3:34 am | #37

    Dr. Tara,

    These women choose to stay at home to raise their children. They happened to want to be more involved and probablly see working as taking time away from their ability to watch thier children learn and grow. They want to be there every step of the way.
    Husbandsin a healthy relationship should be able to understand that need. They expect their wives to support their need for a meaningful career. Why can’t they support thier wives wish to stay home? It’s meaningful to them.

    And yes being a housewife is a job. So maybe you should try it sometime. You might rethink your position.

    Spousal support is not a form of abuse. If the marriage fails and the wife has been at home tending to the household responsibilities and children’s needs while her husband has been working she should be supported for a reasonable amount of time. Especially, if the children remain with her. If she is suffering financially the children will to.

    Everyone loses in divorce. Both parties won’t be living the standard of life they are used to. The argument that only the ex-wife benefits is ridiculous.

    So the mother denies the father access to the children and shouldn’t expect child support? There are men out there who think they can start a family and realize ‘hey this isn’t what I want anymore’ and just walk out. They are self-motivated and obviously there is no emotional bond with their children. Yet, they think they should be able to drop in and out of those children’s lives anytime it’s conveinent to them? So these women must collect welfare checks that everyone else pays for because this man doesn’t want to be responsible. How nice. Or, what if the father was abusive and neglectful should they be able to still come around? But, they shouldn’t be financially obligated since they aren’t allowed to come around?Tey helped put this child on earth they can and should be held financially responsible. Now, if the mother is denying access because of her own hurt ego and is using her children as tools to torture her ex-husband then that would be an entirely different matter.

    I don’t see how saying something is unfair is the logic of a child. You expect to be treated fairly in your relationship how unreasonable is it to be treated fairly
    when disentangleing your live’s from one another? The court wants to find the most equitable resolution for both parties. Another way of saying it is being fair.

    And by the way, spousal support is a fraction of the amount of funds the wife previously had access to. So I bet that would be motivation for a housewife to find a job. I’m sure you’re employer didn’t give you extra mouths to feed before he cut you loose.

    Learned helplessness? Hostile dependency? Oh, please! When your husband decides to leave you with all the martial debt, bills,and refuses to act like a mature responsible man, take care of his child or think he is not financially responsible for child care costs I see no problem demanding spousal support. It’s not like all this debt was incurred by one person. And not only one should be held responsible. Demanding some financial intervention does not make this person helpless or dependent. However, it might make them hostile.

    And how would my beliefs on this subject be unhealthy for others that interact with me? I wonder if it surprises you that I do have a full-time career in the military and at one point and time I would have liked to be a stay-at-home mother. Thank god I didn’t at least not with this person I’m currently married to. I could only imagine how much worse my position would be if I had.

    I am a supporter of housewives. Most especially those married to men in the service. While their husbands chose a very demanding career path they are at home keeping up with the house, rearing children, and maintaing the family finances. They have been supportive of their husbands and I don’t see what wrong for housewives to ask for the same. You don’t dictate what kind of job yourhusband has and he shouldn’t dictate what kind of job his wife has.

    • July 11, 2009 at 4:51 am | #38

      Hello again Kayla,

      I don’t understand why it seems so difficult for you to just use the advice Dr. Tara gives here on this site. However, I do realize that much of this information will not cross over to a woman’s point of view. It isn’t supposed to. Female-oriented websites don’t offer apologies for their orientation, last time I checked.

      With all the thousands of web sites and books, CD’s and so forth specifically geared to helping women deal with abusive men why do you come to one of the few that deals with the other side of the coin, go into a tizzy and go off on all sorts of tangents complaining about all sorts of issues that are frankly, irrelevant to the site topic.

      You are doing what Dr. Tara has written about in some of the other articles on the site: Going on endlessly about your feelings without doing anything about it.

      You’ve been victimized by an abusive man as I understand it from your posts. I’m certainly not ridiculing that. But is it possible you can’t fathom the idea of a woman being just as abusive in a way particular to their psychology towards a man? This site is dangerous?

      Get a grip, take a deep breath and search around for a site that may be better suited to your situation. Y’know, for women? There are better places to vent.

      Kevin Grover
      Divorce Resource Center of Rhode Island

    • macdaddy
      July 11, 2009 at 4:43 pm | #39

      i don’t know about anyone else but i’m kinda getting irritated with you Kayla. Like kevin said you’re going off on these tangents and arguments that are based on one example you know about and you ignore the firsthand experiences of all the men here and professionals like kevin and dr T who work in this field.

      i have my own experience with divorce and a ex-wife who still doesn’t want to work even though both are kids are in high school. My ex has more advanced degrees than me. she has a masters in organization and mgmt, a nursing degree, and a realtors license. even though there’s a nursing shortage in our city and i have found her jobs that she’s qualified for she still won’t work. she accuses me of trying to control her. i’m not trying to dictate what job she has. i don’t care what she actually ends up doing just do something. if you want ot use ‘its not fair’ i don’t think it’s at all fair what she’s doing to me. i don’t like my job all the time but i go out and there and do it. why do i have to support someone who is more than capable of supporting herself?

      Instead she sits back and takes 2/3 of my income and more than half of our joint assets. we had no debt, she’s very capable of working but has made it her full time job to wipe out everything i worked hard for the last 19 years and made it so i can’t save money. her attorney tells her not to work and she keeps finding reasons why she can’t. she doesn’t even need to drive our kids around anymore because our oldest has a license and a car. i know women and men who would love to have my ex’s education and skills and would capitalize on it. it’s a waste.

      when i read your side of things they are very one sided and don’t ring true for me. i did a lot of the work around the house. she didn’t like to cook so we ate a lot of take out. she supported me in my career by complaining i was never home and didn’t spend enough time with the kids while she used to complain that i didn’t make enough money and are house wansn’t big enough which was why i was working 14-hour days in the first place. you said that you work full time in the military so why are you angry about what dr T writes? It doesn’t apply to you then.

      your comments remind me a lot of my ex-wife. you take one thing dr T says, you twist it around and blow it out of proportion and then you go on and on about it. even after dr T points out how you take it out of context, you twist it around some more. no one here is going to see things your way, but maybe thats why you’re here. maybe you don’t have your husband to have this kind of conflict with anymore and you come here for it. seems like youre trying to control how people here see things and that you’re right just like my ex used to do with me.

      it took me a long time to wake up and realize my ex was destryoing my health and mind. she had me ina FOG and i suffered in silence for a long time because if i disagreed with her or stood up for myself i wouldn’t here the end of it just like a lot of guys here.

      i don’t usually comment here but i read everything people write. i agree with kevin if you’re looking for people to agree with you there are plenty of womens sites that will unless you like trying to control others and push them into agreeing with you because maybe your husband won’t play the game with you anymore.

  14. July 8, 2009 at 6:56 pm | #40

    I read the above, and I agree with everything you say. A woman indeed has a choice to have a career or not work, and a man has no choice in the matter.

    As a guy, If I could get away from working for a couple of years, and not be shamed for it, I would do it in a heartbeat.

    You know how awesome it is to get FOOD ON YOUR TABLE, FOOD EVERY DAY FOR 20 OR SO YEARS without having a job? This is the PRIMARY motive to becoming a housewife, and everything else is secondary, ternary and ulterior reasons. But those ulterior reasons are usually embellished more to make it seem like they are not lazy so people would not shame on them as much. But nobody can tell me that these women DO NOT ENJOY AVOIDING WORKING IN THE REAL WORLD while being housewives, but that aspect of being a housewife is not embellished. Ironically, it’s the PRIMARY MOTIVATION.

    I respect independent women, or women who will actually work again full-time when the kids are older. But the ones who “sacrificed their career” (didn’t) and then unilaterally file for divorce to their faithful, generous providing spouse is mainly who this is all written for.

    • July 8, 2009 at 6:57 pm | #41

      oh BTW, see the link on my name

      • shrink4men
        July 8, 2009 at 7:01 pm | #42

        Ugh. Thanks for stirring the sh*te storm, Owned. I’d better brace my inbox.

        Dr Tara

    • Kayla
      July 9, 2009 at 4:30 am | #43

      There are plenty of men out there that choose to stay home and their wives bring home the money.

      Do you know how much childcare costs are? For an infant it can be anywhere from $880-1200 a month. What a nice chunk of change to be taken from your earnings. Depending on the financial situation it might make more sense for one of the parents to stay at home.

      So, even if later these women who choose to be housewives change their mind and want to rejoin the workforce after their children are older they have a few issues.

      1. They managed to complete their degree but have no work experience therefore making it difficult to get a job that is meaningful to them.

      2. They managed to complete their degree and have work experience but have been out of the workforce for so long that employer’s don’t want to spend the money or time to train them and get them back up to speed.

      They DID take a hit and sacrficed their careers to be around to raise their children.

      • shrink4men
        July 9, 2009 at 1:06 pm | #44

        Hello again, Kayla,

        So, because they fell behind on their skills and lost experience these women are incapable of going back out into the work force and getting the experience? They should stay at home forever, essentially collecting welfare checks from their ex-husbands because it’s too hard to find a job or a potential employer might treat them unfairly? Gosh, and you accused me of being derogatory towards women, Kayla. I actually believe most of these women are smart enough and capable enough of working, that is, if they can let go of the infantile wish to be taken care of.

        You accuse me of generalizations, but the second point you make is a gross generalization. Finding a job is difficult for most people, especially in this economy. And, no surprise here, but when you take an extended break from work or change careers, you usually have to work your way back into the workforce by taking jobs for which you’re overqualified/underpaid at first or start off at a lower position to learn the skills and work your way back up. It just means you have to put a little more time and effort into it and deal with some possible jerks. This is true whether you left employment to be a housewife, to start your own business that fails, took early retirement and lost your savings or your spouse dies and doesn’t leave enough money for you to survive upon without working—except that the ex-wife is the only one who seems to be exempt from having to stand on her own two feet.

        The belief system you express in your most recent comment, Kayla, are examples of learned helplessness and hostile dependency—neither of which are healthy for you or others who interact with you. Many people have to take jobs they don’t like in order to pay the bills and be responsible adults. It’s called being a grown-up, which is in direct conflict with the entitled, infantile beliefs many ex-wives have about not supporting themselves.

        I don’t believe women and their children should be put on the street (as you mention in one of your other comments). Children should receive reasonable support until they are 18–IF the mother does not interfere and and deny the father access to the children and should receive spousal support for no more than 2 years if she is capable of working. Two years is a more than ample length of time to get up to speed on skills and find a job. And, yes, many of these women will not be able to replicate their marital standard of living with their own jobs, but here’s a newsflash, you’re entitled to the lifestyle you can earn, not what someone else can earn for you. Furthermore, ex-husbands who are paying through the nose year after year no longer enjoy the marital standard of living either when they’re the ones actually earning the money. There is no logic you can use to explain this to me. Saying something “isn’t fair” is not logic. It’s the emotional reasoning of a 5-year old.

        Many of these women refer to being a housewife/stay-at-home-mom as a “job.” Ok. Let’s go with that. I’ve lost jobs before and filed for unemployment. The unemployment benefits I received were a fraction (1/3) of my previous salary and they didn’t go on forever and ever until I felt ready to go back to work. Knowing that I had a ticking clock hanging over my head to find a job to support myself was pretty good motivation. My next job didn’t pay as much, but I don’t resent my former employer and demand that he keep giving me money when I no longer have a relationship with him. If states handled unemployment like most of them handle spousal support, I probably never would’ve looked for another job either because it is hard to find employment even when you’ve been in the workforce without interruption. I have absolutely no sympathy for women who adopt these attitudes. They are the reason the negative stereotypes you bemoan exist, Kayla.

        Dr Tara

      • Jennifer
        May 3, 2010 at 9:58 pm | #45

        Even in the best of marriages it’s naive not to consider what you would do if your husband divorces you, looses his job or dies. My husband and I agreed I would stay at home with our son for a few years, but I made sure to have my BA before I had my son, and I’m planned ahead to work on my masters and to volunteer in my field, so I can successfully renter the workplace.

        Woman put themselves in a dangerous situation when they assume they can just stay home for the rest of their life.

        • Sri
          December 20, 2013 at 5:27 pm | #46

          I love you Jennifer just for this answer. I’ve been married for 8 years now and tried to get my wife to work like maybe 2 years in all in all these years. It was something I asked her for her commitment much before marriage. Even in all her friends circle, literally every single lady I know works. I really am in a confusion how she’d be able to take care of herself and our kids if, God forbid, something happened to me. As a man, I can take care of things to the best I can, but over that, it would depend on her too. Irony of life, even her mom and my mom (her mom in law) were working moms. My mom now stopped due to health issues and her mom is still working. Just about whatever I do doesn’t seem to help. You know, her line actually gets paid much more than mine even with half the exp she has compared to my exp in my line. And yet, she just doesn’t even apply let alone attend interviews.

      • Working DAD
        June 21, 2012 at 6:43 am | #47

        You dont need a degree to work at walmart. Being a stay at home mom is the greatest gift of all. You say you cook, clean, and take care of kids. Well guess what. Your always going to have to cook and clean. My ex wife just stayed home got fired and would not go back to work. And when i put my foot down after 5 years she left me and got custody of our daughter and i have to pay child support now. I love my child to death and i miss her when she is gone. Its so bad when she goes back to her moms i have to close her door to her room cause it hurts to bad to see her stuff around. Oh and the reason my ex got custody was because i have a job and she didnt so she could be their for her more. Our child is in school and i work 40 hours a week and feel like i got punished for having a job. Now our child is 11 and my ex is still a stay at home mom or a 30 year old retire as i like to put it.

        • tomg
          June 21, 2012 at 3:09 pm | #48

          I’m so sorry. It’s what Husbands and Fathers are put on earth to do I guess. I’ve explained in previous posts that our son has been in rehab. He finally recieved his HS diploma and my wife is pushing him to apply to 4 year colleges. I have my values and a boy who did and sold drugs, failed HS, and had a gun in my house does not change his stripes in 8 months….so, as I said from day one. He is now back home and fully expecting us (me) to underwrite a $37 K/ year college in Arizona becasue he has a pulse. think of it. A young man with substance abuse and behavior problems goes away to live on campus…..I don’t even have to imagine that outcome. I put it this way (I say amost nothing anymore. I refuse to engage) that everyone should have an education, but nobody is entitled to one.
          Of the four people in our home, two people do not work, and two get up EVERY day and do what we are supposed to do. Me and our youngest son. Again, I made it clear (in the most constructive and calm way I could) I will do whatever it takes to protect him and me.
          There are two others who have the untapped capacity to make all their dreams come true, but have chosen impose their “wants” onto the other two.

          I get it. The writing is on the wall. When it comes to the 11th hour (that is the pathology in our family. My wife refuses to engage until the last second and then threatens in the most passive agressive way possible) to get her way. Whether it be, blame, shame or guilt. PLUS, I have her family pouring on at the same time, but unwilling to pass the hat.

          It is coming to critical mass very quickly, and i full anticipate ,and prepearing for your same fate. She will get her way through the bias legal system, continue to rescue cats full time, and life goes on. Simple!

          I feel your pain and have withdrawn totally from her physically and emotionally. If she “goes there’ I listen empathetically, while being totally unhelpful. I’ve read all the woman self help books on what to do before you file for divorce. Oprah has now turned into a good source into the window of what the world is regaurding legal and social landmines of how men are played like base fiddles. The articles and radio shows from “O” magazine explain how halarious that process can be for woman under the odd idea that this is how woman can “empower” themselves and unapologetically shed the abuse of men who have the gaul to question what they are getting out of the relationship. Men getting angry about being treated as an ATM and an emotional piece of funiture… who would have thought?

          I once asked my wife that is she woke up tommorrow in her “perfect world” what that would look like? She had zero answer, however i suspect nothing much would change except having to deal with me on any level and having unlimited leverage.

          Your post is heartbreaking, and I can see the future.

        • tomg
    • Jennifer
      May 3, 2010 at 9:51 pm | #50

      Owned, your own experience isn’t everyone else’s reality. I stay home with my 16 month old son, and my husband works. He’s trying to find a new position on the other side of the country, and I mentioned to him the other day, that towards the end of this year I’ll be close to the end of my masters program, and I can start applying for jobs in the state we want to move to. I asked him, if I get a job, would he like to stay home with our son. He said no. Maybe on a part-time basis, but he wasn’t up to it on a full time basis. Unlike you, he understands I don’t just sit at home and wait for him to bring home the money. I work just as hard as he does.

      You should also keep in mind some people have careers that are all or nothing, and are not family friendly. Most jobs don’t end at 3 pm so you can pick your children up from school, help them with homework, cook supper, and get to soccer practice.

      • charlie
        June 8, 2011 at 6:28 pm | #51

        True. Sometimes a spouse at home, managing the other side of the partnership is the way to go. My sister-in-law had an MBA and twins – she stayed at home, took care of everything while my executive brother often worked ungodly hours. They have had a happy prosperous marriage for over 30 years.

    • Frances
      December 13, 2011 at 7:59 am | #52

      I know this is to years old and no one will probably read it, but I have to disagree and make a point. My ex husband chose to stay at home with our daughter and I worked for the duration of our marriage. Some men DO have a choice, and it was a choice that worked for us, and worked well. The idea that men are locked into the role of ‘provider’ for ‘his woman’ is antiquated. I had more earning potential therefor I worked. Plain and simple.

  15. Kayla
    July 7, 2009 at 10:53 pm | #53

    First off, I am not accusing you condoning physical violence. I think the way you write about it minimizes the behavior. I don’t think you can be driven to phyiscal violence. That is just an excuse for those who can’t control themselves and find a way to place the blame on someone else. When somone openly admits to hitting thier significant other and wonder’s why that person is having a hard time getting over it and “uses it against them” I have a hard time having sympathy for them and question who the real victim is.

    Second, you may be able to obtain restraining orders under false pretenses usually for a period of 14 days before you have to attend a hearing to prove the allegations. No judge would extend one for more than a year without something solid.

    If you were educating women on how abusive men can be and using derogatory comments to describe them and their behavior I would have a problem with it.

    As for your reaction to my comments, I have to say I’m not all that impressed. It seems if somone doesn’t agree with you they are either hostile, didn’t get their facts straight or misinformed.

    Also your forum is open. So I would assume you don’t mind if somone doesn’t agree with you and would comment on it. I am really shocked at some of your posts and felt I should engage you on them.

    I have looked for a forum to help me figure out how to deal with an abusive spouse and have found none that specialize on men in this kind of setting. I really can’t find a blog that references “how to tell if you are married to psychotic asshole” and wouldnt’ be interested in it if I did come across one. Clearly, those women have no respect for the opposite sex.

    I am looking for a solution. Not to tell the world how crazy my relationship is. I feel some of your blogs are inflammatory and wanted to give you a female perspective on your work.

    • shrink4men
      July 7, 2009 at 11:44 pm | #54

      Hello again, Kayla,

      First, I left you several instances (i.e., direct quotes) in which I not only don’t minimize physical violence, I explicitly censure it. Specifically, a reply I left to one of your comments on the The Emotionally Abusive Woman: You Can’t Reason With a Crazy Person thread time stamped 2009/07/07 at 2:51pm. Many men and women who have developed a trauma response from repeated emotional and/or physical abuse often behave in ways that are totally out of character and which they later deeply regret.

      It’s usually when he or she has been pushed to the extreme that he or she has a “wake up moment.” It in no way excuses physical violence, but I wouldn’t label a man or woman who has sustained long-term emotional abuse and finally snaps as a person who “can’t control themselves and finds a way to place the blame on someone else.” I’ve never excused or minimized these instances of physical violence, but rather encourage these people to end the relationship and seek help.

      You have written that you have a “crazy” husband. You said you Googled the phrase “how to deal with a crazy person,” which is how you found my site. I assume your ex-husband said and did things that were extreme and pushed you to the limit now and again. Did you always keep your cool and not lash out in anger? Were you always perfectly reasonable when he was at his most hurtful? If you ever verbally snapped back at him, did he ever use that behavior to portray you as emotional or out of control? Crazy, emotionally abusive women do the same thing to men and, even if you have the patience of a saint, you’re eventually going to snap and say or do something you regret. That’s when a person needs to ask him- or herself why they’re staying in a relationship that drags them down to that level.

      Second, I know firsthand of many cases in which women have managed to drag out denying or limiting visitation between children and their fathers for much longer than 14 days. Negative legal advocates have plenty of tricks up their sleeves to drag out this process based on little or no evidence. In fact, many attorneys (bad ones) encourage their female clients to make false charges to improve their chances at court.

      If you find my criticisms and descriptions of the way NPD/BPD women treat their targets derogatory, it’s because I have no empathy for these women. They are predatory abusers. “Crazy bitch” is pretty common language and, in many cases, well-deserved.

      My comments and writing aren’t here to impress you. I’m here to inform and empower men who have been targets of emotional, psychological and physical abuse. I can understand why some women are uncomfortable with what my readers and I have to say. I welcome comments from readers, whether they agree with me or not. However, as I’ve already stated, I will stand by what I write and point out when people make inaccurate accusations about my beliefs and what I’ve written.

      There are many sites for women who are in abusive relationships. In fact, they proliferate.

      Thanks for your perspectives,
      Dr Tara

  16. Kayla
    July 7, 2009 at 9:57 pm | #55


    You are right. I do beleive men need a place to vent and support. What I don’t agree with is the kind of advice that’s being given and how venting turns into woman bashing. . I assumed it was a man that generated this site and was astonished to see it was a woman.

    And to give some personal insight, I also see this website as dangerous. If the wrong kind of man , a NPD man got a wind of this forum…. the damage it would cause.

    • macdaddy
      July 7, 2009 at 10:06 pm | #56

      It’s been my experience that only tyrants and bullies are afraid of or offended by the truth.

      Kayla why do you find information that is helping many men make sense out of the craziness and pain they had dangerous? What if a NPD woman found a site about what jerks men are and you better believe they are out there. Don’t you think women like this are just as capable of using this kind of information to suit their own messed up behavior. What about all the men who come here who aren’t NPD creeps. Kinda flimsy argument, but that’s just my 2 cents.


      • shrink4men
        July 7, 2009 at 10:11 pm | #57

        Thanks, dbear and macdaddy. I appreciate your support!

        I write for you guys and its your opinion that matters. I’m always gratified to know you find the information and perspectives I provide helpful.

        Kind Regards,
        Dr T

      • Tom G
        May 10, 2011 at 5:11 pm | #58

        Tyrants and bullies read all sorts of stuff to justify their behavior. This is really no differant. Sure, you can cherry pick, but I read the article with a broad understanding that there are certain aspects that may apply to relationships like this.
        My wife for instance went to college and never worked a day since we got married and later had children. She choose to stay home which was a pretty significant stressor to me. Over the years I did get resentful and angry at times that I was not able to fully participate in all the fun stuff she did with them while I was working. After her own internal resentments built, I was accused of not being fully present in our family which was a so hurtful because I did focus on work to afford her those choices. I was also accused of being too controlling of the money aspects of our relationship. I guess I should have just turned over my paycheck and shut the hell up? Fortunatly I invested very wisely and we are now pretty set.
        Because she felt her own inadequacy, she started to she a shrink to work on certain “coping skills.” This resulted in a full court press shift and rewrite of history. I am now being portrayed as the person who drove her into psycotherapy because I alone destroyed her self esteem.
        Rearly a hot meal on the table when I came home. I have enough of my own self esteem that I would feel funny expecting that at all. The kids ate mac and cheese and pizza boxes were frequent guests in our recycle bin. The house was always clean and clean cloths at the ready, but we are all supposed to now pick up the slack and do for ourselves. However, she has no urgency even doing a resume as our kids are now within college age.
        Is it me? Have I been too nice and too focused on our financial security?

    • charlie
      June 8, 2011 at 6:14 pm | #59

      I don’t see any ‘women bashing’ here. This site is a terrific resource for men who are dealing or became entangled with with very sick disturbed individual women, not an entire gender. The “women good/men bad” cultural myth has to end. Most men and women are neither saints or demons, somewhere in between. It is entirely naive or self-serving to think otherwise.

      • shrink4men
        June 8, 2011 at 6:23 pm | #60

        Hi Charlie,

        Many women, when they’re held accountable, cry “Misogynist” and/or “Woman Basher.” Apparently, it’s abusive to tell a woman she’s being abusive and/or taking advantage. Go figure. Kinda like when you confront a 5-year old about breaking your cell phone and they call you a “Meanie.”

        Dr T

  17. Kayla
    July 7, 2009 at 9:24 pm | #61

    The court system is a necessary evil, needed for real deadbeat dads and moms, but in many, many cases, the courts are responsible for separating children from a loving parent (usually the father) based on unsupported, downright false accusations of an NPD/BPD/disturbed/angry/vindictive mother.

    I’m sorry but I find several problems with your response. First of all, deranged women who do use the court system to their advantage are found out in the end. It requires a lot of time energy to lie and sooner or later you will get caught up. I have faith in the justice system.

    For example. A good male friend of mine just finalized a messy divorce. He had several affairs throughout the course of their marriage and of course this put her off the deep end. She slapped him with an Ex Parte restraining order and made all kinds of accusations of physical abuse. In the end she had no supporting evidence and backed herself into a corner. The children suffered. This is a classic case of abuse that I’m sure many men have had to put up with.

    The court’s commissoners, and judges deal with stories like these on a daily basis. I’m sure they try to look at all the possible scenarios before making a decision. They also refer these accused individuals to have DV assessments and substance abuse screenings. I’m not saying that men don’t get screwed. I just don’t think it happens as much as you beleive.

    What I find so offensive about your site is your approach on educating male victims. I find a lot of your views are based on stereotypes. I am curious… are you a fan of the book “Men are from Mars, Woman are from Venus?”

    • dbear
      July 7, 2009 at 9:39 pm | #62

      Kayla, regarding your comment:
      “I’m not saying that men don’t get screwed. I just don’t think it happens as much as you beleive.”

      It doesn’t matter if you don’t think it happens as much as someone else believes, for those of us who do get screwed by these types of women we need support as much as women who get screwed by men. It’s not about the statistics it’s about getting help and encouragement.

    • shrink4men
      July 7, 2009 at 9:56 pm | #63

      Not all bad court decisions are overturned and for those that are, it often takes months and sometimes years to do so and usually at the husband’s/father’s expense. There’s something inherently wrong with a system that acts on a woman’s or man’s claim of abuse without providing any evidence. Meanwhile, the accused parent loses precious time with their child(ren), is made to feel like a criminal and subjected to expensive legal fees, court evaluations, etc., while their exes go about poisoning the minds of their children.

      When the truth finally comes out, the woman often gets off without any cost, inconvenience or punishment for committing perjury and perpetrating incalculable damage to her child(ren)’s and ex’s relationship. Next time you Google, look up “shared parenting” and “father’s rights.” Furthermore, divorce isn’t just what happens between a man and a woman; it’s BIG BUSINESS. The courts, court evaluators, social workers, attorneys, children support collections departments, etc. make BIG MONEY from divorces in which there are custody issues. The belief that the truth will come out in the end is incredibly naive. There are many people who make a damned good living banking on the truth not coming out.

      Courts often reward the individual who is the most convincing, which frequently has nothing to do with the facts. William Eddy (author of High Conflict Personalities in Legal Disputes and Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing a Borderline or Narcissist) refers to the type of women I describe as “persuasive blamers.”

      Someone gave me a copy of Men Are From Mars… when it first came out. I couldn’t get past the second chapter as I thought it was the usual self-help drivel. Speaking of curiosity, I, too, am curious. Would you find what I wrote so offensive if I were educating women about how abusive men can be? I don’t find your views offensive. I think they’re reflexive, ill-informed, reactive, oppressive and hostile, but I’m not at all offended. We see things differently and that’s ok. However, when you accuse me of minimizing or tolerating physical violence and other things I haven’t written, I will point out what I consider to be errors. Furthermore, no one is forcing you to read my blog. If you don’t like it or disagree with the perspectives and information offered here, don’t read it. On the other hand, I do appreciate the page views.

      Thank you for reading and commenting,
      Dr Tara

    • July 11, 2009 at 4:18 am | #64

      Hello Kayla,

      As someone who, with my wife (she’s a divorce mediator), owns and operates a facility helping divorcing couples and individuals coping with divorce I can say with authority that you are absolutely and completely WRONG when you claim that deranged spouses get found out in the end when making bogus accusations against their ex.

      You cite just one example of a situation where a vindictive person (in your case, a woman) got caught making malicious claims on a restraining order and seem to feel that’s how they all work out.

      Compare that with the tens or even hundreds of thousands that get away with it and inflict humiliation, jail time, financial penalties and the loss of access to the children on an ex suffering in angry, frustrated silence. I can cite a dozen we’ve worked with from memory just sitting here as I type this.

      Your absolute faith, that you claim to have, in the Justice system is embarrassingly naive and ill informed. Yes, they have a tough job and are often hamstrung by the law. Yes, many are good people trying their best under difficult conditions…

      But the justice system is like any other environment where money and power are the coin of the realm… It’s about money, who you know, who owes who a favor and who’s got the ‘juice’ with the judge. I’ve met court reporters who won’t work in family court anymore cause that couldn’t stomach the corruption and legal shenanigans that goes on.

      Don’t take my word for it, ask any experienced Family Court attorney who’s retired. They’ll tell you all you can stomach and more. And tell ‘em I sent ‘ya.

      Kevin Grover
      Divorce Resource Center of Rhode Island

      • shrink4men
        July 11, 2009 at 4:53 am | #65

        Thanks, Kevin. I’m taking a break for the weekend.

        Dr T

    • Ashton
      October 28, 2012 at 11:06 am | #66

      Kayla you are crazy! The court system doesnt give a damn about justice when it comes to the father. We all have “friend” stories and you and i both know they are BS when used to make a point on the internet. My children were kidnapped using the court system. This WAS because i was a male. Misandrany is the bane of of todays society and children’s lives are being destroyed because of this female hatred. Your response to this blog is proof you fit in the category of being a blatent male hater. Please disect this for the masangany in which you will portrait it as. I along with others are fed up with this childish behavior exhibited by few females and we WILL seek justice

  18. Kayla
    July 7, 2009 at 4:39 am | #67

    What is wrong with traditonal roles? Maybe you didn’t mind your mother going back to work growing up but there are other children out there like myself you wanted there mother’s to be home with them instead of working.

    It’s hard working full-time job, trying to squeeze in an education, and being a mother which btw is another job in itself. Try doing that and breastfeeding. That alone burns 800 calories a day. Especially, if you have a physically demanding job.

    And mind you these women aren’t just sitting around. They are tending to household duties like laundry and housecleaning. You pay the dry cleaner’s don’t you?

    Some women don’t finish their degree before they have children and stay out home for so long they are out of the loop to employment with a substantial income. No work experince.

    So the marriage doesn’t work out. The wife just gets kicked to the street? After, she spent years raising children , cooking , cleaning and whatever else. alimony is a form of financial abuse? so is child support? If the children end up with their father their mother would be just as financially responsible if not more.

    Deadbeats are fathers/mothers who take no part in helping raise the children they put on this earth and think they can just walk away from there responsiblities. They aren’t deadbeats because they refuse to pay. They are deadbeats because they take no part in the child’s development. So if they can’t handle being there physically and emotionally they sure can financially and they should. That’s why the court system is in place.

    • shrink4men
      July 7, 2009 at 3:20 pm | #68

      Hello again, Kayla,

      There’s nothing wrong with traditional gender roles. I’m all for them. You seem to be having knee jerk reactions of offense and outrage to my writing without paying attention to what I’ve actually written.

      As I’ve already stated, being a stay at home mom is a legitimate choice, if it was mutually agreed upon by both partners before having children. I know of many women who are well-educated, extremely capable of working with children who are in school full-time (i.e., not breast feeding) who refuse to return to work, opting to go to yoga, shopping, and being an after-school taxi service while placing the entire financial burden on their husbands. Many of these women also have weekly housekeepers.

      And yes, in many cases, spousal support is a form of financial abuse as I’m sure many of the men who participate on this site can attest. If a child is in school most of the day and the woman is capable of working, why should the ex-husband subsidize a woman’s choice NOT to work? It doesn’t make sense. Many women go on and on about “sacrificing their careers” for their kids, even when their husbands not only encouraged, but begged them to go back to work. Are they mothers or self-appointed martyrs? In my book, being a self-appointed martyr is just another version of the professional victim and I don’t think women with these attitudes are good role models for their children.

      Nowhere on this site do I refer to child support as financial abuse, but now that you mention it, in many cases it seems wrong when women receive sometimes thousands of dollars per month while limiting or denying a loving father who wants to be involved in his children’s lives access to them. There are absolutely men and women who shirk their responsibilities as parents, but I don’t defend them here, so I’m not really sure what point you’re trying to make.

      The court system is a necessary evil, needed for real deadbeat dads and moms, but in many, many cases, the courts are responsible for separating children from a loving parent (usually the father) based on unsupported, downright false accusations of an NPD/BPD/disturbed/angry/vindictive mother. It’s called hostile aggressive parenting (HAP) and parental alienation syndrome (PAS) and it really does exist. You can Google these terms, too, and read some other heartbreaking stories.

      Thanks again for reading and commenting,
      Dr Tara

  19. Danielle
    June 21, 2009 at 1:30 pm | #69

    Thanks for this. My sentiments exactly.

  20. June 17, 2009 at 11:34 pm | #70

    I found your blog today, and am very impressed. A lot of this stuff is resonating with me, particularly the borderline/narcissistic girlfriend stuff. It’s in the past for me, but the effects linger, and your articles answer a lot of lingering questions.

    Have you read Elizabeth Warren’s “The Two Income Trap”? It’s an nteresting book about how two income families can actually paint themselves into a corner rather than offering more money and options. I can’t do the book justice, but it’s well worth reading, and it made me reconsider the necessity of a second income in marriage.

    • shrink4men
      June 18, 2009 at 12:20 am | #71

      Hi Kameron,

      Thanks! I just read your post, Truth, Damned Truth, and Statistics, and all I can say is, “ditto.” With your permission, I’d like to reblog it on A Shrink for Men. I’ve never reposted anyone’s blog before, so this is a first for me. I’ll link back to your site as well.

      I haven’t read “The Two Income Trap,” but have been meaning to get around to it. I’ll pick up a copy before my vaca in a couple weeks.

      Thanks again for the positive feedback and let me know if you’re ok with me reposting your blog.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      • max fedup ontario
        September 23, 2012 at 5:30 pm | #72

        Yes, but the stay at home mom — should be taking care of home. cleaning, cooking etc. When the husband works all day, comes home sink is full of dishes, laundry is all over the place, visible dirt is all over the carpets, dust is everywhere, and the mom says I was on the net job hunting!!! EVERY DAY??? It’s been almost 2 years like this, she lands jobs, but she finds every escuse to not go to them. I am burdened enough.

        • arkmark
          February 11, 2013 at 11:11 am | #73

          I have had yet another blow up with my wife. The last full time job she had was before we married 20 years ago. since then she has brought in less than 20K in 17 years. I have paid fro a college degree for her and she will only go after THE job not a job. I am currently under employed and we are drawing on our savings( Her retirement ) to make ends meet. I fear that when I am dead she will litterally have nothing to support herself. Resentment is the word that stand sout most to me in this article

          • Anon
            March 13, 2013 at 4:23 am | #74

            I experienced a similar thing. My wife has not worked at an outside job for a single hour, bringing home not even a penny since we were married 15 years ago. I had warned her early on that backup income was necessary in case we ran into a family emergency like illness or job loss. Well, guess what, I had cancer and was not expected to survive, and then became unemployed after I went back to work. I have since recovered and have been working. Yet having experienced two traumatic incidents in a row in short proximity to each other, she still refuses to go look for a job. She has many excuses and claims she looks for work on the Internet every day but has not sent in a single resume…….She hasn’t even created a resume. At first, she said she wanted to take classes and took an online class but dropped out of that (we lost almost $1K of tuition) because she would not do the homework. She will do anything as an excuse to put off looking for work. It’s been 15 years and the resentment is very high.

            To the poster recommending the “Two Income Trap” book, the basic premises of that book are:

            1. People who have two incomes often fail to save the extra income and instead increase their lifestyle expectations to match or exceed the extra funds that result from the extra income.

            2. The spouse earning the 2nd income will need to incur work related costs such as clothing, transportation, and meals which reduce the net cash realized from the 2nd income.

            3. Income taxes on the 2nd income reduce the actual amount of extra cash that you realize.

            4. There are childcare costs.

            5. it IS possible to earn two incomes but save wisely and avoid the two-income trap of spending the extra income.

            My response to this book is that while it is possible for a two-earner couple to squander the 2nd income, it is also possible for a single-earner couple to squander the single income. Earning a total household income does not necessarily result in a worse cash flow situation than a single-earner household. As the author indicates, careful financial planning is needed even if you have two incomes.

            As for the case of childcare, this is something that each couple should weigh for themselves. It is possible for a couple to end up worse off if childcare costs outweight the after tax cash flow from the 2nd income.

            Lastly, in an environment where many households are two earner households and are able to afford to pay more for goods and services, the cost of these goods, services and assets (i.e. housing) will be determined by supply and demand. The higher demand and the ability to pay more for them will raise prices for everyone, whether you are a single earner or a dual income household. So, everyone is affected. There really is no neutral on this one.

            • tomg
              March 13, 2013 at 9:04 pm | #75

              Well written. Well put together. Now leave……………..Nobody gives a crap. We can cry our eyes out while standing on our heads.
              Your wife is either mentally unstable, or evil. Stop the denial.
              Mine did it all, plus entertained a boyfriend in her spare time………LEAVE NOW! If she wants to keep you interested, she will stop her behavior. If not, count your blessings.

            • just some guy
              March 14, 2013 at 12:53 am | #76


              I can feel your resentment of the same old thing after 15 years. That was me 4 years ago, its been 19 years for me.

              4 weeks ago I finally asked her for a divorce. We aren’t even at the 6 month waiting period to establish residency in Texas yet, but I couldn’t take the lack of action on her part to find a job and on my part to just get this part of my life over.

              So, she is the complete passive in everything it seems. She won’t fight anything. Not sure why anyone would do that anyway, but crazy people are everywhere.

              We haven’t finalized how the assets will be divided, but come 1 May, we can file for a non-contested divorce and push the paperwork through.

              No kids here so its just going to dividing up things and we find new places to put our stuff.

              Its nice being able to no longer feel pent up resentment, and finally be able to express myself as wanting a partner, but being disappointed that wasn’t able to happen.

              begin quote

              ” I wanted a partner in all aspects of my life including the financial parts, both the contributions as well as decisions about where to spend any cash flow. However, since you have been unwilling or unable to contribute financially to this relationship, I can no longer contribute in any other way. You might think you love me, but if you did you might have done the one thing that I asked for the past 20 years. Namely, attain some employment to contribute to the financial obligations for this household.

              Had you made efforts to that effect, I might have been able to support you, but I see now that I am alone in my dreams and goals of financial independence, and we do not share these priorities in common.

              This anger and resentment for how I feel treated by your behavior has led me to this point, a point where I can no longer even tell you that I love you, I am just numb and I want a divorce.

              I’m not going to yell or feel the need to drag this through the courts, but all I want is for you to be happy and myself to be happy and I now know that involves us no longer being partners as how I viewed that word when we were married.

              No one is sadder that this didn’t work, but I feel that there has been more than sufficient time invested in what I view to be a failed relationship, unmet expectations in what a partnership is, and the healthiest thing we can both do is move on.”

              end quote

              .That was the gist of it for me. Tears were shed on both sides, but its the beginning of the end on my 15+ years of resentment. Don’t get me started on the missed opportunity costs, the lack of contribution to a society, the waste of talent, the fact that I will now work for at least 10 more years beyond when I wanted to retire.

              Totally, f-ed up situation, but I feel much better now than about a month ago.

              Best of luck in your situation. You are not alone.


              • tomg
                March 14, 2013 at 2:55 am | #77

                Wait until your wife figures out what the real world costs and what responsibility really is. My wife even had an affair and when the reality struck her about three months into the process, she actually called me to ask me to slow down the process so she could find a job with health benefits. Yes folks, she is so ingrained with entitlement she actually has no clue what she was asking me to do.
                She really does not give a rusty F%4# and thinks it my obligation to pay for health insurance while she and her boyfriend feast off the $100K cash settlement I gave her, plus a house and half of everything else……….She really can’t help herself.

                You did the right thing by bringing this all to a head.

                Stay the course. Good luck

                Tom G

                • just some guy
                  March 14, 2013 at 2:42 pm | #78


                  Thanks again for all of your moral support and feedback! Its good to know that I’m not alone out here and even though its just pixels on a screen its probably been more human contact than with my supposed partner for years.

                  I don’t wish her ill, but she has lived a sheltered life for so long that I don’t think it possible for her to function as a completely independent adult, certainly not financially.

                  Like you said, pay for healthcare, whats that? Let alone rent, gasoline, electrical, insurance, groceries, etc.

                  I just hope she “figures it out” and starts doing something about her life, since this gravy train has a departure schedule to keep.

                  Cheers, and I hope you and your sons are all well.


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