Sex and the City: Inattentive husband

I watch husbands help their wives and sometimes even pamper them by doing special things for them and I feel jealous. My husband doesn’t help at all. Even at the airport I have to look after our baby, push the luggage trolley, do the check in formalities and even lift the bags to put on the weighing scale.

He simply enjoys himself and lives a bachelor life. Even in bed he expects me to pleasure him with no consideration whatsoever for me. Any attempt to communicate my needs and frustrations have fallen on deaf ears. What should I do?

To sit around feeling jealous is to embrace a state of inertia. There is nothing wrong with him enjoying himself but it would seem here that he is enjoying himself at the cost of your comfort. Therein lies the problem where both the man and the woman in the relationship have a right to their enjoyment and comfort by first working out what needs to be worked through or worked on as a couple.

The logic of love and the logistics of relationships both involve the development and exercising of one’s communication skills. What you have said to him needs to reach him in a manner that he is compelled to mull over his role in the relationship so far.

Only then would the communication succeed. Communication is like a four lane speedway with an infinite number of vehicles (a metaphor for words). Every vehicle is navigated towards a certain destination and may reach there sooner or later and yet – different vehicles run at different speeds with a range of factors like mileage and fuel efficiency also affecting the journey.

Words are exactly like that. Some words are lost in translation and some words never serve their intended purpose so to be fair – going back to the drawing board would make perfect sense at this stage.

Now while you have said that your attempts to communicate your needs have been unsuccessful, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate how you have communicated your concerns. Subtle hints or requests may not be the manner in which your message may reach your husband. There are incisive ways to reach a person emotionally.

In the absence of requests, sometimes an escalation works best. What does this mean? This does not mean getting loud or dramatic (as is commonly observed in disgruntled spouses) but this means either taking him with you to see a relationship counsellor (for a third party perspective) or you being extremely firm and clear with him about your grievances.

There is no doubt that your husband is going to have to learn to ‘share the load’ to show you that he too has an equal stake in nurturing the relationship you’ll share. Marriages benefit a great deal from mutual initiatives taken to find sustainable ways for individuals and couple’s to be happy.

However a little bit of prodding may be required from time to time. When you speak to your husband pay attention to how you are expressing yourself to him. To beseech or plead him would be to sacrifice your dignity. Speak with clarity, conciseness and vehemence. Not everyone is gifted at being eloquent or verbose in what they want to say but that doesn’t mean they should shy away from expressing what needs to be expressed.

We teach people how to treat us. If you’ve spent a lot of time trying to double up on these chores without complaining or without clearly outlining ‘who does what’ then that can create a series of confusions. Your husband may have enjoyed being a bachelor for a long time and may be inexperienced at what he needs to do to sustain a mature relationship as a part of his marriage to you.

These are lessons that few books or educational institutes prepare us for. If he’s grown up in a home where he’s constantly been picked up after, then he will continue to expect that from the rest of the world. However, the need for change needs to be communicated and negotiated.  

Even when an employee joins a new company, in addition to the job description, he/she is surely handed over an employee’s handbook that outlines the basic guidelines and code of conduct required to be adhered to in order to integrate well into the organization they have joined.

Now you are not expected to hand a print out of some sort to your husband but listing out the various areas in which you would like his support would be the systematic way to go about it.

His support cannot be forced but it can certainly be requested for assertively. To be assertive is to set boundaries and chalk out areas of growth and development for the shared betterment of an endeavour and relationship.

Like all projects that require the involvement of large teams and logistical divisions, marriage is a lifelong project that requires the complete and utmost involvement of 2 constantly a growing and thinking individuals.