She's Gone All to Pot

Q: I go to work and have a second job three nights a week, and when I get home I have to do the dishes, pick up everyone's clothes, and then I have to cook because my wife says, "I'm not feeling good." Meanwhile she lies on the couch watching TV, on the phone with her friends, eating out of jars or shoveling it in with her fingers. She gets the furniture filthy, the rug is full of crumbs and droppings right where she sits. She takes a shower every two or three days. She's getting fatter each day, from being 112 pounds on the day of marriage to 210 pounds now 7 years later. We don't have any kids but she babysits friends' kids, not caring to go out to make a penny or a life for herself. She is always saying it is the obligation of the man to bring home the bacon, pay the bills, buy the food she likes to pick on, and buy the clothes she wants.

What do you do with a slob like this when you get no help but do not believe in divorce? She starts a fight when I have an engagement to see my friends or her family for the holidays. One more thing is that she decided to have an abortion after three years of marriage which I found out only by overhearing a fight she had with her girlfriend. So why don't you talk about these women so we men see that we are not the only ones? There are so many women that want everything but do not want to do anything to help or realize they are not getting any younger! — Joe, 52

Dr. Susan: I don't know how many women are out there who are as passive as your wife. Age shouldn't matter; I don't get your comment about her not realizing she's not getting any younger. None of us is, obviously. But not everyone goes totally out of whack like she has. I can't help but think that your wife is depressed or otherwise unwell. Nobody really enjoys doing nothing, and few women actually believe it's the husband's job to do everything for them. At least outside of royal kingdoms, if she's a princess or something. Rather, it sounds as though her metabolism is askew, she eats out of boredom, and she doesn't do the housework or cooking because you're there, conveniently, to fill in. She most certainly needs to see a doctor for a thorough workup. Anti-depressants or hormones might make a difference, at least to give her a jolt. Either way, I strongly urge you to see a counselor, preferably with her. Even someone in your church if that is where you get your strong anti-divorce beliefs.

It's hard for me to see that you actually have much of a marriage to hang onto. Her having an abortion without talking to you is worrisome. At least stop picking up her clothes for her. She is killing herself, as well as you. You aren't going to "fix" her by writing to me.

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