Sad Bastard of the Week: If your husband sucks, just pretend he doesn't

Posted at 8:00 AM Jan 12, 2010

By Andrea Grimes

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Once upon a time, Sad Bastard of the Week was about advice column letter writers with serious issues. More and more, however, SBOTW is about the crappy advice those letter writers get. Because really, when something like Sunday's Annie's Mailbox happens, wherein "Married and Alone" writes that she is depressed and underappreciated by her husband, it seems "pretend your husband doesn't suck" passes for actual advice.

"Married and Alone" says her husband talks the talk, but he doesn't walk the walk:

I am in my early 30s and a stay-at-home mom of two small children. My husband works hard and tells me often that he loves me, but he never shows it. It's been more than 10 years since he bought me any kind of card or gift. I do all the housework and cook all meals, including cleaning up afterward. He says "thank you" every night, but even that gets stale after a while.

I feel depressed and unappreciated. I have purchased self-help books for him to read and have outright requested him to do things, to no avail. I have even told him I'm depressed. He will listen, but the next morning all is forgotten. I don't know how to get through to him. How do I deal with the loneliness? We live in a rural area, and I don't know where to get free help. Please help.

If you thought the solution to this problem is "give this woman more chores that involve pretending to be her own loving husband," you might be the writers of Annie's Mailbox!

Your husband tells you often that he loves you and thanks you for what you do around the house, which is more than many women get. See if you can explain to him in your sweetest voice how much it would mean to you if he occasionally brought home a rose or a card. But if he won't cooperate, we suggest you buy yourself cards and gifts, sign his name and tell him "thank you."
Sheeeeiiiiiiiiiiiiiit, women these days are always demanding to be listened to and appreciated, and this woman needs to learn how to pretend to be someone else listening to and appreciating her, am I right? It sounds like she has a lot of time, money and energy to spend buying herself cards, signing them as if they are from someone else, and then thanking her husband for doing this nice thing for her.

That sure doesn't read crazy.

But hey, maybe Annie's Mailbox could suggest couples counseling, or at least acknowledge that even if Married and Alone is part of the problem, the husband has some kind of obligation to help support his struggling partner emotionally, right? No way. What this woman needs is church and, definitely, to in no way seek to leave this man.

You also need to find other outlets for your loneliness if your husband isn't capable of giving as much as you need. Make friends with other parents. Sign up for an evening art class, political lecture or church group, and ask Hubby to baby-sit. Form a book club. If that doesn't alleviate the problem, talk to your doctor. Your depression could be hormonal or chronic and require medication.
It sounds like advice to Betty Effing Draper, does it not?


Juny said:

What the hell is wrong with these people at Annie's mailbox? First it's our own fault if any of us get raped, now we have to lie to ourselves to keep ourselves happy? I mean, yes, friends and a community do play a part in our daily lives, but I still expect to feel appreciated by my boyfriend, and I'm pretty sure it's not asking much to expect the same out of a husband.

BorgQueen said:

So basically... shut up and take it, bitch. Also, if all else fails, just get some happy pills, that way your husband won't have to listen to your incessant whining about not being appreciated since you will be in a drugged-up fog from now on. Nice

Baltimoron said:

Jesus Christ.

This is the sort of advice you'd expect to read in some alternate universe where "The Feminine Mystique" was never published. The only 1950s chestnut it's missing is pouring more energy into the kids.

almost30 said:

When I asked my ex-husband for what seemed like the millionth time in our eight-year marriage to engage me intellectually, he suggested I try an estrogen pill. I left him.

Zaskoda said:

What was this woman doing to make her husband feel special?

Lindsay said:

Oh my GOD, it makes me absolutely insane when people say that their husband is "babysitting" the kids. BABYSITTING?! That's what you do when you look after kids that don't belong to you!! They're his kids too! (we assume anyway) "ask Hubby to baby-sit" What a load of shit.

Also, can we ban the word "hubby"? It sickens me.

lewen said:

I don't know. I read this sunday and it didn't bug me. maybe the Annie girls read this letter the same way as me.

"I'm a stay at home mom. My husband is appreciative of all the work I do but he works alot and doesn't really do romantic. I'm lonely."

Lucy said:

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Christine M. said:

My husband depresses me, too. He is an absolute energy suck. I am the mother of three kids and my husband works all of the time. He never takes time off even though he gets 7 weeks of vacation a year. He is so fricking insecure that he WON'T take time off. He is a VP for heaven's sake! Yet so insecure. When my kids are asked to do things with their friends, I have to tell the parents they can't, their dad wants to do things with them. Yet he DOESN'T, he's too scared to take time off from work. So, I , in the end, am the bad guy. I have been out of the workforce for 12 years, otherwise, I might leave him. We live an affluent life in DC but I am completely and utterly trapped. I just want to self-medicate to get through. Yet, my children need their mommy. Sex with him REVOLTS me because he is so disengaged (where's the turn on?) and he wants it ALL OF THE TIME. Really, can I just pretend his doesn't suck? Can someone tell me how? I don't believe in divorce, but hey, I'm driving around with the seatbelt off hoping to die in a car crash.

Julieanne said:

Ok well this will be different. I work full-time. I am the breadwinner at my house. My husband gets the opportunity to stay home w/the kids. My husband does do the shopping, etc Makes the meals, however, spends all the rest of his time coming up w/new get rich quick ideas that just end up costing me money. I don't make tons of money. We live month to month basically. We are on a stict budget. Nothing new I know. However, all the money goes for us to live and then if there is anything left over he wants it to go buy a metal detector or something. He also sucks my energy dry. He doesn't do a bit of housework so I have to come home and do that too. The only reason we stay together is because we are both dedicated to our children. We want them to have a stable environment. Which they do it is just not a nice, neat and clean one. I want a different life. I want to travel. I want to go on Safari in Africa. His comments are don't you know what happens to Americans when they travel out of the county? He is such a negative drain.

Dimitri said:

I am a 39 yr old man..i am happily married. My wife is intelegent and hard working.
Your husbands are stuck in a rut. I used to be a lazy fat bastard and in hurts a mans pride.
Tell ur husbands to try jogging/weightlifting or even just fast walking.IT REALLY GIVES A MAN A NEW LEASE ON LIFE.
Dimitri Cape Town
South Africa

Kim said:

Wait, wait, wait. OBVIOUSLY that's poor advice to do your own lovin' in a loveless marriage. But to "seek to leave" this guy because he won't buy her flowers and cards??

Isn't there any middle ground? And what does the Bible have to do with it? Its almost like you're suggesting ENDING A MARRIAGE (because those silly words you said during that pretty ceremony were just words, and should have been followed by the phrase "as long as you always make me happy in every way") as a way to prove that divorce is ok.

You summarized their advice so well. Let me summarize yours (and every other person who has a problem with the Bible expecting people to actually BE and STAY married, instead of marriage-hopping like its high school): "If you don't like it, confront him so you can say you tried, and then take those kids and leave him. Maybe he'll buy his next wife flowers." I mean who cares, right? People break up all the time, and kids don't REALLY suffer that much. And its not like you're all that invested in the outcome anyway.

60 years from now, when this woman's life is spent, and her children are grown, do you really think she'll be PROUD of herself for leaving a man who is obviously having problems?

Isn't it worse to dump our totally unrealistic expectations on men, curse them when they don't meet those expectations, ignore the emotional impact that divorce would have on EVERYONE (because women aren't the center of the universe no matter how much they give birth or do dishes), use divorce as a tool for revenge, completely abandon our PROMISES to each other at the alter (that's so old-fashioned, anyway, right?) and begin the search for the next idiot who feels like climbing a pedestal? thank you. All feminism ever got me was a complex about being a mother, an inability to depend on my husband's working wage, an inability to expect him to support me in the event of divorce, and a whole entire website of women who would LOVE for me to divorce my husband the very moment he forgets to buy me some dead plants wrapped in cellophane.


You don't have to "suck it up" when your husband is lame (when did he stop being your friend, anyway?) but you don't have to LEAVE HIM, either. People are lame. They get depressed, they get sad, they get complacent. They are allowed to. Women go through all kinds of stages of joy and depression, and need all kinds of help. But let a man, specifically a husband become depressed and its time to leave that asshole.

Great advice.

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