creators home lifestyle web
Margo Howard


Mom Purloins the Diary Dear Margo: I found out last week that our 17-year-old high school junior is having sex with her boyfriend! First of all, I found out the wrong way: I snooped in her room and read her diary. Second, she would never admit to it, so my husband …Read more. The Bad Seed Dear Margo: I never thought I would write to an advice columnist, but here goes. I've been dating someone for about a year now, and we talk of marriage occasionally. He's ready for commitment and very gung-ho about us getting married, which is …Read more. Oh, and, Uh, By the Way... Dear Margo: I am soon to be 27 years old, and my only serious relationship ended a few years ago. In hopes of avoiding the standard meat market of dating, I'm considering registration with I've also had my share of casual relationships.…Read more. It Is in the Bible, but Not in the Stars Dear Margo: I have been dating a wonderful man for four months now. He is very kind and sweet in every way. We are much in love and happy together. There is only one problem: We are different religions. I am a Christian; he is agnostic. I have …Read more.
more articles



Dear Margo: How can you tell whether someone is bipolar or just plain angry? I've been with my husband for nine years, married for five. I currently work full time, go to school part time and am away from home 13 to 15 hours a day Monday through Thursday. On weekends, I spend time with our kids, do homework and light housework. The issue is my husband.

During the week, he is the housecleaner, which he claims not to mind because I am the main moneymaker. Because I only have a year left in school, I shouldn't have this schedule much longer. He, too, is in school and works part time.

One of our issues: When friends invite us out during the week to celebrate a birthday or a new job and I'm able to get a sitter, he gets upset and lectures me about not doing housework, not working harder at our relationship and just wanting to party with friends. Another issue is that he thinks I don't find him attractive anymore because we don't have sex like we did when we met. (I was 19, without a care in the world, and we'd get physical about five times a day.) Over the years, it's dwindled to once or twice a week.

Without going to a counselor — which he doesn't believe in — I am wondering whether this is a mental issue or an abusive one that can be dealt with on a rational level. Am I naive for staying and thinking that once our money and schedule stresses go away he will be better about not saying hurtful things? — Dealing with Who Knows What?

Dear Deal: I am no diagnostician, but this does not sound like bipolarity to me.

It sounds like anger mixed with insecurity, resentment and immaturity. In addition, your being the major breadwinner is probably interfering with his machismo. Show me one woman with kids, a full-time job and part-time school attendance who is getting it on five times a day, and I'll give you a nickel.

Your reluctant househusband needs to shape up and grow up. I suspect you are assigning magical properties to having more money and easier schedules. Those things don't make people nicer; they just provide more money and easier schedules. I would have it out with him and tell him that his treatment of you is causing second thoughts about the future. If there's an improvement, fine. If not, decide whether this is how you want to live. — Margo, decisively

'Til Death Do You Part

Dear Margo: My younger sister died after a long illness. Her husband was a total menacing control freak before, during and after the illness. There is a bit of a family dispute going on about what to do about him. Is there anything wrong with cutting him out of the family completely at this point? — Hesitantly

Dear Hes: No. If the guy was an irritant while your sister was alive, I assume you all put up with him for her sake. Now there is no reason to do that. I would just ease on down the road and reject any overtures — which may, in fact, not be forthcoming. — Margo, sensibly

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers' daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.




14 Comments | Post Comment
#1: Good heavens, the man's in his mid-thirties or older, is gettin' some once or twice a week, and he's COMPLAINING?! His problem is that he's totally divorced from reality and is living in some bizarre, adolescent fantasy-land.

I'm looking at this woman's schedule and trying to figure out when she gets five minutes of private down-time.

I also note, with dark unease, that, aside from his nookie issues, he starts ragging on her chiefly when she proposes to socialize with someone other than himself. He is okay with her tight schedule and less than 50% share of the housework as long as 100% of her time, energy, and attention is devoted to her family and their future--in short, to himself and his well-being.

Red flag, red flag, red flag....
Comment: #1
Posted by: Khlovia
Fri Jan 6, 2012 2:19 AM
dear hesitantly--as long as there are no children born of that marriage, go for it. he himself is no longer a member of the family. but if there were children, they are and for their sake you should try to maintain a cordial relationship.
Comment: #2
Posted by: alien07110
Fri Jan 6, 2012 7:27 AM
Dear Dealing,
Please tell your husband to leave and to take the children with him, and find a woman who understands that any woman who is gone from the home "13 to 15 hours a day" all week has this as her priority list: 1. Work 2. School 3. Friends 4. Kids 5. Housework/homework 6. Husband. It's fine to want school and a career, but trying to both at the same time, and have a social life, doesn't mix well with a young family. He should find someone who appreciates all that he does and puts him and the kids first. I feel sorry for those kids who see their mother for one hour a day.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Jane
Fri Jan 6, 2012 7:46 AM
Re: Jane

If you think there is a woman on the planet who would care more for him while working and raising kids and going to school, you are insane. She has sex with him once or twice a week. That is darn good and obviously she prioritizes sex with him or it wouldn't happen at all. She is allowed to get a sitter occasionally and go out with her hubby and friends-did you miss that part?-to celebrate special events! Good for her for doing so. Wives/mothers are not slaves.
Comment: #4
Posted by: farrar sanchez
Fri Jan 6, 2012 8:52 AM
You don't say if he's in school full-time, but one thing is certain, he wouldn't be available for a romp five times a day either.

It would appear that your husband resents it the minute you have an apportunity to let your hair down and have a bit of fun, and only "accepts" his share of the responsibilities when he sees you running ragged. Does he count the hours you spend eating and sleeping and put the timer on when you shower?

"Dwindled" to once or twice a week? This is more than a lot of couples much less busy than you get. Seems to me like he's looking for something to complain about because he doesn't like the way things presently are, and he's too immature and selfish to sacrifice gracefully for the sake of future good. And one of the things grating him right now is that you're the main breadwinner - that doesn't sit well with many men, especially immature, selfish ones.

Abusive issues ARE mental. He is not being rational. You may want to sit him down and try to discuss it (so that he cannot complain he never had any warning) but, for your own sake, I don't recommend rocking the boat at this particular juncture - you have enough on your plate as it is, additional stress would only be to your own detriment.

Once you've safely graduated and things have settled to a more comfortable schedule, you can revisit the situation if he's still carping pettily about yurunda.

Unless there are children involved, there is no obligation to socialise with someone whose company you do not enjoy.

Comment: #5
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Fri Jan 6, 2012 10:01 AM
Re: Jane
The woman has a full-time job, studies part time, has children, does light housework on the weekend, socialises with friends in the company of her husband AND gives him nookie twice a week and you think she's STILL not doing enough? What the hell is WRONG with you?

You're even worse than he is. Why don't YOU marry him?

Comment: #6
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Fri Jan 6, 2012 10:04 AM
@Jane -- Yes, it is extremely challenging to work full-time, go to school part-time and also have a family to care for. And yes, sometimes people take on too much and need to rethink their priorities and determine what they realistically can keep doing. But you automatically assume that the LW is going to work and going to school for only her own betterment, whereas I assume she is doing this for the entire family's benefit. As she is the primary breadwinner, I assume they can't really afford for her to stop working or work less. And I further assume that she is going to school as a means to further her career so that it will be more lucrative -- so that the whole family's financial situation is better/more stable. Sure, it's possible that this woman is "selfishly" going to work and school because she wants to become a high-powered something or other because of the prestige it will bring to herself. But I'd put money on it that she does it for the good of the entire family who, I'm sure you'll agree, would probably like to have food in their bellies, clothes on their back and shelter over their heads, and maybe a few little luxuries along the way.

And as others have noted, the LW didn't say she was getting a sitter so she could go party the night away with her friends and leave her husband behind -- obviously, if the husband wasn't included, she wouldn't NEED A SITTER.

A person would have to work really hard to interpret LW1 as some selfish b!tch who is neglecting her husband and family for her own selfish ends. Kudos to you for managing it.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Lisa
Fri Jan 6, 2012 11:39 AM
Margo wrote: "I suspect you are assigning magical properties to having more money and easier schedules. Those things don't make people nicer; they just provide more money and easier schedules."

No, money can't fix everything and is no substitute for a healthy, loving relationship. But I read somewhere that the most common factor (not necessarily cause, mind you, but factor) in divorces is financial issues, i.e. not having enough money and/or disagreeing about how to handle what money is there. While, I, too, believe there may be some underlying issues unrelated to money or harried schedules that this couple may need to work on, let's not dismiss just how strong a factor money often is.

It is surely true that a selfish jerk will continue to be a selfish jerk no matter how much money he's got. You can't throw money at that and expect it to magically change. But if you are in a relatively healthy relationship that happens to be under significant time and money pressure, then having more time and more money CAN make a big, positive difference.

Moreover, I have to say, the LW sounds just the tiniest bit prone to exaggeration (and/or not particularly well-informed about psychological issues, not even pop psychology). She tosses out "bipolar or just anger" as if the two might easily be confused and later says she wonders if this is a mental issue or an abusive one that could be dealt with on a rational level. HUH??!? Neither a "mental issue" nor an "abusive one" can be "dealt with on a rational level." So, while the husband sounds like a piece of work, she doesn't sound like the most reliable of narrators, and it's her side we're getting.

On the whole, I actually agree with Margo's advice, which suggests that he is insecure and immature (I would suggest she probably is, too). And I also agree that she needs to talk with him about it and see if they're able to get anywhere. But I can say in my own case, having a bit more time and money would be a pretty GIANT help!
Comment: #8
Posted by: Lisa
Fri Jan 6, 2012 2:16 PM
LW1--"I currently work full time, go to school part time and am away from home 13 to 15 hours a day Monday through Thursday. On weekends, I spend time with our kids, do homework and light housework. The issue is my husband." It's obvious that both you and your husband lead extraordinarily busy lives which are stressful. Margo hit the nail on the head. This isn't about abuse or mental problems on the part of your husband. Your husband sounds insecure because rarely sees you and a bit immature because he longs for days you were his fresh and carefree 19 year old girlfriend, free for sex whenever it pleased him and available to do whatever whenever. Now that you're married with children and have a busy life that leaves precious time for him, he's simmering in resentment because he apparently feels as though he's shouldering more of the burden of keeping the home fires burning than you. It's also possible that he's a bit jealous. Your husband seems like he's fed up with the status quo and his hurtful comments are his way of venting. But understand that his blame is misplaced. What you and he are experiences is called life. It's rough right now, but as you point out, it isn't forever. Sit your husband down for a heartfelt talk about what's bugging him and patiently listen to what he has to say. When he's through, explain lovingly that while your busy schedule is demanding and you both are doing the best you can, it's important for your health and wellbeing to let your hair down once in awhile and enjoy some much deserved R & R. The same is true for him. Tell him that his hurtful outbursts and snide remarks are hurtful. See if there's any sort of compromises you can both agree on to ensure the household duties are met without making one or the other of you feel overburdened and resentful. It's also important for you both to try to make time in your lives to stop the presses and take time for each other. Hang in there, you'll make it!

LW2--You're under no obligation whatsoever to maintain ties with a toxic person under any circumstances. End of story.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Chris
Fri Jan 6, 2012 2:42 PM
LW1 - Gonna play devil's advocate here... when is the last time that the wife arranged a babysitter and went out for the evening with just her husband. We often read about wives that work, take care of the kids, keep house and feel under appreciated by their husbands. This just sounds like a role reversal to me.
Comment: #10
Posted by: Scorn
Fri Jan 6, 2012 5:03 PM
I was going to say the same thing as Scorn- all well and god that she's spending time with friends, but could hubby be resenting how little time she's spending with HIM? From his perspective, he's cooking, cleaning and caring for children, and his wife is constantly too busy for him. Even for a mature, loving husband, it has to rankle on occasion, doesn't it?

At one point I was (wrongly) upset when my bf tried to see friends, as he always managed to schedule these evenings for a night I was really looking foward to relaxing with him (like after several days of crazy work and social schedules)- and due to my own insecurities. If that's hubby's case, while he's not handling it maturely, it might be a valid issue that he feels neglected and too far down her priority list.

I wouldn't completely write off hubby's feelings here, even if he's expressing them poorly. If I thought bf had time for his friends but not for me, I'd be upset too, and I'm sure many people here would feel the same. It's worth a sit-down. She needs to find out what he's actually upset about, and perhaps there is room for compromise.

And unlike Margo, I disagree that this problem won't get better. If the main issue IS lack of time, her having more time after her program should certainly ease the pressure on both of them.
Comment: #11
Posted by: Jers
Fri Jan 6, 2012 5:30 PM
LW1: I think everyone is wrong. I think his main concern is you don't make time for him. The only time you want to let your hair down is with friends and he's missing the one on one time. I imagine anytime he suggests doing anything during the week you have a million excuses including things that he's not doing appropriately around the house to keep from doing what he wants to do but as soon as your friends have something exciting you are all about it. It sounds like the "things he blames you for" is more of a defense mechanism. Take it from a man's perspective.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Larry
Fri Jan 6, 2012 11:05 PM
LW1: Really, I think this couple needs a good old fashioned conversation away from the kids. Yeah, her schedule is crazy, and I don't begrudge her that. There's nothing wrong with a woman wanting to go to school for her own personal reasons - men do it all the time and no one bats an eye. The real issue here seems to be that they're not on the same page. Perhaps the issue is that the husband is being emotionally abusive (doubtful) or is having self-esteem issues (maybe, but I still doubt it). I'd put money on this being a case of they're both so stressed that they just say things like "you never make time for me" or "I'm not superwoman" or whatever, without sitting down and saying "It's not really the amount of sex I miss, but the amount of time I get to spend alone with you. How can we fix this?" And then the wife says "I didn't mean for that to happen. Friends are important to me and I want to celebrate special occasions with them, so maybe we can have a regular date night so you don't feel like I'm choosing" or whatever. If these are the issues, them finishing school will definitely help when their schedules become a bit less ridiculous.
Comment: #13
Posted by: AgLee16
Sun Jan 8, 2012 9:15 AM
LW1: I will speak for the husband. Anyone who is working at home is usually waiting for the weekend to spend time with the spouse. Both the spouses should actually love socializing to see the weekend being spent that way. The husband can't be immature since he does pitch in housework as he realizes his wife is the main breadwinner. The friends they are visiting may be her exclusive friends or colleagues. I am also a working person and like my weekends to be free but when I have to socialize say after one or two weekends with people who are not very close it does get on my nerves.
Comment: #14
Posted by: surefoot
Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:04 PM
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right: comments policy
Margo Howard
Mar. `14
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
23 24 25 26 27 28 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31 1 2 3 4 5
About the author About the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month