In Discussions, Life, Parenting, Style

“Abuse” and what my partner does for me in a typical week

I am pondering over reader comments that stuck with me about my relationship with my partner being “abusive” from The Time I Considered Being a Single Mother.

I guess in some ways you could see it as his freak need to control everything and be a perfectionist as “abusive”, but I don’t actually think I am abused, objectively speaking because abuse is not something I take lightly.

Abuse is something that is truly damaging to someone.

I don’t like using the word lightly because it is not a lightweight word, so when someone says it to me, I do take it very seriously and consider the situation as objectively as I can before deciding if it is a label that applies to what I am feeling.

Even emotionally, there WERE times where I felt like he was very controlling (even if it came from a good place of wanting us to live healthy and happy to be together forever), but after I blew up at him and told him to back off because I was not a robot, nor was our son, and he needed to be more flexible and learn new attitudes, he took everything to heart and has done that.

I don’t think that is indicative at all of an abusive relationship at all. I would really challenge that word in this case.

He doesn’t play mind games, manipulate me, or anything. He just has set rules in his head of what is the “right way to live“, and cannot understand that there are grey areas.

He is very inflexible in that sense, rigid in his ways, and cannot see that things are not black and white. That, I knew even before we had Little Bun, and he has admitted it to me many times that it is something he finds very difficult to overcome because he cannot see the different facets of something or be flexible on the fly like I am (something he admires in me).

When something happens or I tell him something, he takes it seriously, absorbs it, considers the situation of what I am saying, and then puts in place a way for himself to follow what I am saying.


For instance — I said that we have to stop yelling so much, and soften our tone when we talk to Little Bun even if we aren’t angry. In every conversation, we try to keep calm, neutral voices, and when we ask him to do something, we try VERY VERY VERY hard not to scream and get angry at him.

In the past few weeks, I have seen a major change in the way he talks to Little Bun. He softens his tone, he asks instead of commands, and is bending the way he approaches Little Bun rather than the way he was brought up with his father (whom he hated).

That, is also not indicative of an unresponsive, abusive or controlling partner at all. He listened, we worked it out, and we are growing together as parents.

He just isn’t someone who is easy-going.

I cannot change that about him, but he is trying. He is a very serious person who takes things literally. I am a little squishy in that regard.

I read somewhere that the longest, strongest partnerships tended to be with two easy going people who were both flexible, but it isn’t impossible if we are both willing to change and learn. I’m adapting to what he needs and vice versa.

Look.

It was really, really rough during my pregnancy and during the first few years of Baby Bun’s life because as new, scared parents, and for him, as a man who wants everything to be perfect in life – the most efficient, most healthy, best way to live for everyone he cares about – he went into the extremes of wanting to make sure we would not put an ounce of anything bad in our bodies or be near anything that would harm us.

Now, if you don’t have children, this is not something that seems like a big deal to you, but I know mothers who are just like my partner and extremely, EXTREMELY controlling about what comes near their offspring.

Is it biological? A sense of need to protect to the end? An inability to let go of control and to accept that other people (and CHILDREN) have wills and minds of their own?

WHO KNOWS.

At any rate, if you don’t have kids, please keep that very significant variable in mind. I said many times as a childless person that I would never… and….When I have children… and all of that #$(*#%)@ went out the window pretty quickly once I had one.

Our other recent blow up that involved him wanting to control and take away any kind of minor responsibility Little Bun now has to put away laundry, help match plates and put away Tupperware lids, and when I very rationally pointed out that he needs chores and tasks to gain confidence and to grow into a boy, and later a man who would feel like he had any kind of agency over his life, he took me very seriously.

Out of that conversation….

He made a good point that I am making decisions that do not involve the both of us and in the end, he felt hurt & excluded.

I am choosing to buy toys or assign tasks to Little Bun for my own reasons (revealed now), that he was not consulted on and he felt left out.

Until he said it, I didn’t see it. I didn’t realize that I was acting “alone” in my decisions to teach Little Bun how to be an independent boy, and I never voiced or mentioned what I read because I had assumed he would just “see it”.

But how could he? Unless I tell him, he has no idea that this is what I have been reading and absorbing from all sorts of parenting articles and books.

I just assumed that he would see what I was doing, because I never consulted him on what to do with and how to raise OUR son.

So… again, I wonder if…. If it was a mother who was controlling like that, if we would call her “abusive”.

I am not knocking that the reader comments are not valid at all – they do have a very good point although it is very one-sided in my Week of Money posts – but I know plenty of mothers who are very controlling just like my partner.


Are they abusive too?

They yell at their husbands for things like innocently giving their 6 month old Honey Nut Cheerios because there is honey in there and you can’t give it to someone under the age of 1.

Or “how many times do I have to tell you…..” … and when they recount these stories, I have always felt like they were quite controlling and far too strict / perfectionist, but I never would have said “abusive”.

I wonder if it is also a sensitive trigger gender topic that is underlying it.

(Again, I had given this a lot of deep thought, obviously, and DO NOT take the word “abuse” lightly.)

So.. what I think is definitely missing is what he does in any given week, which is a lot.

In a typical week my partner does all of this:

In the morning, he makes Little Bun’s lunch – peeling the apples, etc and cutting it up and checking the oranges for seeds before making his lunch box.

Before he leaves, he also makes a note if he has to pick up the goat milk for Little Bun and milk for myself to make sure it is at the freshest possible time (the day the milk truck comes). Sometimes I leave him notes to pick up things like “extra gauze pads”, and he does it.

He has errands to run for both of us before he comes home, sometimes it is things like looking for soccer gear for Little Bun this summer, making sure that he finds the soccer program and sends me the link to sign up for it — you know, research-y stuff.

Yes, to a reader’s point, at work I make my own breakfast but that’s because I tend to get hungrier than him, so I’ve just started doing mini breakfasts at work to supplement my diet. I mean he’s not my food slave. I can still do things on my own and make my own meals.

Just because he is the main cook in the family, doesn’t mean I’m helpless and can’t do jack for when I need to.

After work, he comes home and researches what to buy or replace – detergent, soap, anything even custom chairs and he searches through all of the websites for deals to see if he needs to stock up on sugar, pasta, etc this weekend because it is a good deal.

Last week he even searched through sites and went to all the grocery stores to find me the CHEAPEST deal on my Bio-K Plus supplements. This is something only I take, and it helps my health (I think) to lessen my cold and sickness to build my immune system.

He took it upon himself (I didn’t ask), and spent the last week visiting and finding the best price for me to save money. That, for me, IS love. It is the daily, little thoughtful things you do that are ordinary, not the grand gestures that happen twice a year on Valentine’s or on anniversaries, but then the rest of the year is crappy treatment of your significant other by treating HER like a house elf.

He makes dinner (once on a work week, twice on weekends).

I make dinner all other times for myself or Little Bun if I am still hungry after my breakfast at work, the lunch (which he makes for me ahead of time). Dinner is simple, just noodles. If I wanted to eat the same thing everyday, he would make extra soup for me, but I am not keen on that, so I leave that for him and Little Bun.

Again, he’s not my food slave.

He also works on the house – he researches new things to buy (our shower caddy won’t stay up, so he found a basket instead and asked me to buy it online), and he used to spend 3-5 hours a night when we first got our place, fixing the holes in the wall, painting, cleaning out the air vents, redoing the heating grates (vacuuming them out).

I was a construction widow during that time. I was in the other apartment we were renting with Baby Bun, and he was in the new one, desperately working nights and weekends to have it perfect for us to move into.

The other day, he spent the night taking the fridge out of the area (and the oven), and wiping / vacuuming the entire spot back there to remove all the dust and crap that accumulates after a year. He does this yearly, along with scrubbing down the oven and the stove.

When we go to sleep, he used to do Little Bun’s pyjamas but now I do them because Little Bun puts up such a fight with him that it is easier for me to do that, and his baths. Little Bun is still very resistant to change and non-Mommy tasks, so we are accepting it for now until he is older.

During the night, he gets up to check on Little Bun to make sure he is covered (I could not care less if Little Bun freezes, because he’ll wake up and find a blanket himself), and always makes sure our son is covered to stay warm at any given time during the night.

I’m in charge of potty and milk runs however because Little Bun refuses to have anyone else help him and it is not worth the fight for either of us, or Little Bun.

One or two days a week, he stays at home with Little Bun and cares for him the whole day instead of my bringing him to preschool.

They do Daddy-Baby stuff together and I go to work and come home alone in bliss. I even take longer to come home and go to yoga instead which gives me a break from Little Bun.

On the weekends, he leaves at 7 a.m. the morning and sometimes earlier if he has to take the car to the mechanic to get the tires or oil changed, and then does the grocery shopping for the week plus errands on his list.

Every single weekend, he has a list of 5 tasks to achieve for the home – various things I have no idea he even does or has on his list frankly, but it keeps the house clean and running smoothly.

He buys everything on his grocery list, goes to all the stores, on occasion, picks up all of the bottled water in huge boxes to store in our house (we don’t drink tap especially after the reports of the water quality here), and spends about 4-5 hours doing this, along with running errands like going to the home hardware store to buy things to fix the apartment, new things he needs for our cars to help optimize them or make our lives easier, and anything to do with Little Bun that I may not have covered.

When he comes home, he prepares lunch, and spends the afternoon working on the house.

Sometimes he cleans the oven, or does things on his To Do list that are not ordinary cleaning tasks (I handle that stuff), and/or last weekend for instance, he had me enter my tax slips and then he spent the day going through to make sure we could save the most amount of money possible by trying to transfer income to him as a spouse, etc.

During the time he is working on things, cleaning the pipes, organizing the locker to make sure things are labeled, not rotting from a water pipe, etc, I am out for a good 6 hours doing whatever I want. This is when I run “errands” of my own, like returning his online purchases, or my own, or just sitting in a café blogging.

This is MY ALONE time.

He also does all of his own laundry, AND ironing, bathroom cleaning (he has his own bathroom where he stores things too and it is more a linen closet than a ‘bathroom’). I handle the clothes for Little Bun and my own.

On Sundays, he is up a little bit after me, and starts cooking for the week for all of us.

And yes. HE MAKES CROISSANTS for breakfast:

He usually spends 4-5 hours cooking depending on if he needs to make more soup for Little Bun to eat for dinners, and he also prepares all of our lunches for the week.

The dinner is usually a light meal because we are both tired from the day.

Just before we sleep, he dresses, goes downstairs, and details our cars. Every week. Now that I have that nice car, and he does use it, his contribution is to not only take care of it, but to detail it and make sure that it is in good condition for us.

Then, the week starts again.

On top of all of that, we also do big things like jaunts to the farm where we will together as a family during peak tomato season, drive an hour, and hand pick up to 50 pounds of organic field tomatoes from local farms.

Then after that, he spends about 12 hours in total over 2 weeks, to blanch the tomatoes to remove the skins, de-seed them, then spend time over the stove boiling it down to his own organic, homemade tomato paste which he then freezes into little pots to make pasta or pizza with during the rest of the year.

The end result?

This as-homemade-as-you-can-get-without-becoming-a-farmer pizza:

I mentioned that he also takes care of everything to do with the car (mechanic wise), but also all equipment-related items like cleaning of barbecues (he does that every year), cleaning of the equipment like our bikes, all of the garbage, recycling, and anything “house-related” he knows I won’t / cannot do, even deep cleaning the bathroom shower stall (I just do daily vacuuming and some wiping).

For all events (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays) — he cooks and bakes.


This means he makes the entire meal from scratch, and does the cake as well for all three of us. On my birthday especially, or if I am very sick, he will do all the cleaning of the kitchen and dishes as well.

It is important to note here that I have never ever cooked a meal for him in return and let him “relax”. He’d rather cook his own meal, so I have offered but he has refused.

So recently, he has started baking bread twice a week with Little Bun to save us money, so he makes the dough ahead of time, bakes it the next day, and avoids buying bread from the bakery.

During the summer, he is planning on doing summer activities ALONE outside with Little Bun like going to play soccer as a team, but also going to the park alone with him to bond.

I am insistent on this because he cannot repeat what his father did to him (no bond or love there). He knows this, and I am holding him to this when the weather warms up.

So. If he wrote about his typical week, you would not see any wasted time in:

  • Beer drinking and watching TV, lounging around – partly because we don’t have a TV but also that he is not that type of guy
  • Sports / activities with friends on the regular – he goes out maybe 4 times a year alone with friends and I am happy when he does so that he gets a break too

I only “lose” him during these times:

  1. The World Cup – every 4 years
  2. Biking during the summer on weeknights – he gets so little time during the year here in Canada to do his favourite hobby (biking) and summer weeknights are his favourite times to go out and be alone on the trails as the weekends are too busy and annoying; this can also be a Little Bun + Daddy Activity when they get older, because he likes to do long jaunts for 2-4 hours and Little Bun is too small for that right now

So you can see, his point of view from what I can see that he does, is very extensive.

He does a lot more than most, and it is about equal to the time I spend with Little Bun and on the home.

He does far more than that too, because sometimes I email him during the day to give him more tasks to do on the weekend, or notes about things, or ask him about advice, or he helps me do things like fix my necklaces or laundry that I have forgotten about.

I don’t write about his day because they are MY Week of Money posts , but he does a lot in the background. Stuff doesn’t get deep-cleaned in our house if he doesn’t do it.

Then, he does really thoughtful things like build a necklace rack for me:

Or, research, install, and arrange / clean all of my bathroom products to surprise me like this bathroom cabinet that greeted me one day when I came home:

He had wiped down every bottle, organized everything into where he thought it would fit best, arranged the shelves, and made sure that I had what I wanted.

I mean… REALLY. That, not for nothing, is love. It is a far greater expression of love than any typical grand gesture.

He does far more than most husbands I daresay because when I tell the women at work what he does, they all want to kill me because they’re envious of the load he takes on without my nagging or asking him.

I do not give him any “Honey To Do Lists“, he does them himself and adds extra things if he sees they are missing. He VERY RARELY asks me to do things, because I also take on things like Little Bun care to give HIM a break.

All I know is that while it might seem very unbalanced as I am very Little-Bun-focused, he helps out the best he can on the other side making sure the household runs smoothly.

Is he perfect?

No.

But neither am I.

We’re both working on it because that’s what life partners do.


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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45 Comments

  1. r
    raluca

    Wow, I’ve stopped reading blogs for a few weeks and one of my favorite bloggers is now in an “abusive” relationships. #shock!
    Ok, joking aside, I’m really am shocked to read words like abuse. I mean, people say what people say, but really, if feels weird to see anyone throwing words like that on somebody else’s marriage. This is not a loving word. This is a judging word. It’s one thing to take a person aside(or email them) and voice your concerns about their relationship and/or their well being, and quite another to state publicly that their relationship is abusive and they are guilty for allowing it.
    Marriage is hard and it’s, in my opinion, impossible to be 100% happy about your partner. It’s also quite easy to be unhappy in a marriage without being abused. I can, on top of my head list 10 things that I hate about my partner in less than 10 seconds. I can also list about 20 things that I like about him in less than 20 seconds. I also think that if I did not stand up to my partner he would try to get me to act in the way that would suit him best. Not because he’s a controlling person, but because it’s his nature, or I should say, human nature, to act in his best interest. I believe that I am too capable to do the same thing, perhaps to a lesser degree, but still, if he did not push back against my ideas, I would also quite like him to act in the way I deem to be “the best way”. But I like to believe that both of us are mature enough to accept that there is no best way. There’s my way, his way and a good compromise in between that keeps us both happy.

    Having a partner that does not think exactly the way you do is a good thing. It makes you grow. It makes you try different things, it takes you out of your comfort zone and gives you perspective on life. Having a partner who’s way of thinking is very different from your own is, in my opinion, less good. It creates too much friction in too many aspects of your life together, especially in difficult periods of life, such as raising a kid, or an illness. It is, however, not abuse.
    Abuse is when a partner willingly takes advantage of another. Not when he doesn’t understand that he’s wrong to do one thing or another, not when he’s incapable of behaving in another way because of his/her way of thinking, not when he/she cannot find the right words to help the other. That’s not abuse, that’s just hurting between partners, something we all do at some point in our lives. Abuse is malicious and has purpose. Anything else is just human nature.
    Now, I’m not saying that it’s ok to hurt one’s partner. All that I’m saying is that unhappiness with one another does not mean abuse and it does not mean anyone is to blame. And nobody should diagnose abuse from a few blog posts on the internet. Life is too complicated to throw away words like that.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Which is why I did not take it lightly. I really do not want to ever downplay those words because it just makes women who ARE abused somehow diminished in their pain you know?

      Reply
      1. S
        SMT

        I am sorry to keep commenting and this is the last time. But I am absolutely stunned that people can decide saying something IS potentially abusive is so awful/judgemental and that deciding something ISNT abuse is ok, that’s a judgment in itself regardless. Especially if they haven’t been had professional counselling! This is exactly what causes the stigma for women, and why many people do not think to get help or even simply reconsider the dynamic of a relationship. Never tell someone something is ok, the initial article was all about how things are not ok!

        Reply
        1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

          Do not apologize. Thank you for commenting in a constructive manner and helping us all see things in a different light.

          Reply
    2. S
      SMT

      You make many great points, but as someone who has been abused, abuse is absolutely NOT malicious or has a purpose. That’s a classical outlook on what the abuser themselves looks like. A man or woman who is doing it with intent to hurt others. A lot of abusers have been abused or have had parents who have been cruel. A lot of abusers do not know they are being abusive such as my husband as that’s what he saw in his own family dynamic. You don’t need to know the ins and outs of someone’s relationship to know it’s not ok to do some of the behaviours displayed. A comment on someone’s personal relationship and choices is never ok. A comment on actions or behaviour is definitely fine. If someone sees a child being slapped in the face or someone calling their kids names, we don’t need to have the history of their whole relationship to know it’s wrong if that makes sense. To say something is not abuse can be damaging. It’s what causes people to think their situation is ok when clearly there’s a problem somewhere.

      Reply
      1. S
        SMT

        Everyone has relationship problems. And everyone manages them in the way they know how based on many factors such as how they were raised, how they are as a person. But some people manage them in a negative way and it’s not abuse. Some manage them in a way that severely affects others to the point of control and anger towards children which is a sign of abuse. There are so many things that can be wrong in a relationship, but once someone exerts control, or shows a personality that causes a partner is to be afraid to make a mistake, break something, etc that’s a huge problem.

        Reply
        1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

          You’re absolutely right. It is something in a power imbalance that is an issue but I guess I never classified it as abuse.

          Reply
      2. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

        Comments should be encouraged .. I agree that a healthy discussion helps and I hope everyone reads your comments.

        Reply
      3. r
        raluca

        Let me rephrase that a little bit then, because I think my argument did not come across correctly.
        Hurting one’s partner is not ok. Having a relationship where partners are unhappy with the other is a bad thing.

        But, and this is the important part, unless one partner does it on purpose, then that relationship can be salvaged. That relationship can grow, if both partners are willing to give it a shot. That relationship can also fail, if the differences are too big to be bridged. Also, another important thing here: if/when that relationship fails, the partners share equal blame, which is to say: there is no blame, the differences were just too big.

        If however, one partner purposefully hurts and demeans another, then, in my opinion that relationship should be terminated immediately.

        I have one other observation to make: if a marriage is not going great, then both partners are unhappy with the other. I think that if the marriage is abusive, one partner is feeling perfectly fine because they’re getting what they want ie: submissive partner who bends over backwards to do what he/she wants. If both partners are unhappy, then maybe it’s not about abuse, it’s about learned behaviours, emotional baggage and hurts that can be worked on together or with counseling. None of us are perfect.

        Reply
  2. S
    SMT

    I feel, in my opinion, this could be abuse. The reason why is because it mimics my situation at home. We too have a baby. I didn’t think it was abuse until I went to counselling. And neither did my husband until he went to therapy either.
    When I’ve read past posts about you breaking items and are anxious to tell him, or the control he tried to exert over you while pregnant, those are classic signs of abusive behaviour. Any controlling behaviour over someone else is considered abuse. Whether it was temporary, whether he helps out with you son, or even if it happens more occasionally. His yelling at you and you son is not ok. His personality is eerily similar to my husbands, and the hate for his father – huge red flag. You may justify it by saying you yell too, but I imagine your relationships with others outside of him aren’t like that at all. You don’t yell or scream at friends or coworkers. Unless it’s perhaps your father, or family. Again it makes sense. When he reprimands your son the way he does, it’s called abuse by adult privilege, and it’s a power and control issue and that’s unacceptable and can be very detrimental to your son as it will invalidate his feelings. I really hope you guys sort out the arguing around your son. It’s realky awful to feel upset to the point that you consider being a single mom. I wish you luck!

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Hmm.. You are right, I will relook at that.

      He has however, in recent times, definitely changed his approach. He is far softer now in yelling and screaming. He has probably realized at any rate, that I am not responding well to it and neither is my son. I have epic screaming fights with him when we really do fight.

      As for other things, I am trying to see it from his point of view that we should be consulting each other on what to do with our son, but it is not like I don’t fight back at all. I wonder if that is where I draw the line — abuse being that the woman can’t really defend herself..

      Reply
      1. S
        SMT

        It’s so interesting that you say that, that abuse is when a women can’t defend herself. I too am very capable of defending myself. I would never seem like the stereotypical ‘type’ that would accept behaviour like that. But again, that’s something women do to tell themselves it’s not abuse, and I did the same. Remember there are many many forms of abuse. Relationship issues such as not consulting your husband never warrant any of his anger or reacting. Period. Parents who display unhealthy anger in front of their children can cause them to become emotionally dysregulated, especially when they may not always see you make up/apologize/verbalise this isn’t how mom and dad should speak to each other or how you behave when angry. Ultimately you’re the only one who can decide what to do. I wish you and Baby Bun the very best!

        Reply
        1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

          I’d agree with that unhealthy screaming as hurting them, but I’m the pot calling the kettle black because I have epic blowouts at least once or twice a month at Little Bun,, I’m working on it but .. DAMN it is hard.

          Reply
  3. Domonique of She's The IT Guy

    Sherry,

    I appreciate you giving us a look at your relationship. I do see your partner as controlling, but not abusive. I moved back home after I split from my boys’ dad. My grandmother is your partner’s twin. It is literally like you described her when you described him. I understand all too well how this dynamic works, except in my case, I’m a clutterbug, so we butt heads constantly over everything.

    I hate that you feel like you had to defend your relationship. If you’re safe and happy and feel well cared for by your partner, I’m happy for you and Little Bun. Again, to each their own. I bet most people could write about their daily lives and have false accusations thrown at them. Take it with a grain of salt.

    <3 Domonique

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Controlling is definitely the word.

      Reply
  4. Financial Orchid

    Thanks for the real post. I guess no one can really anticipate for it until it actual happens – pre natal classes or not

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      NOT AT ALL. Children are not predictable on anyone’s relationship.

      Reply
  5. J
    Jessica

    I appreciate you responding to the comments you received and writing this post. It was illuminating and a very thoughtful breakdown of how things work in your relationship – which is, frankly, nobody’s business anyway.

    I take ownership of being the person who first threw the word “abuse” out there. The sense that I get from this post is that you are in a happy, healthy relationship. Although each of us can quibble about how we prefer to sort out the division of labour in a household, you have clearly found a way that works for you.

    Having said that, it makes me sad/mad that you and others on the comments here would state that someone who is *only* controlling, or *only* screaming at you, is not abusive. I think that viewpoint is very damaging to a lot of women who are in unhappy, unhealthy relationships but are made to feel like that doesn’t matter because it’s not black and white abuse. (Or, as you said, children with an unhappy, unhealthy relationship with their mother.)
    I would also say that one of the best pieces of advice I ever read on a blog was to remember that “Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean that everyone can.” Not every women has your inner strength, your confidence, and your financial resources. I’m very glad that when you decided to draw a line in the sand with your partner’s behavior, he responded in a loving and caring way and worked to adjust his behavior. Some women aren’t able to draw that line, and some men won’t respond that way to being told they are out of line, and for those women, I will be a voice that says the behavior as it was described is not okay.

    I am entirely able to agree with the last statement of this post – I am not perfect, nor is anyone else, but we’re all working on ourselves, together.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Thank you. I still challenge what “abuse” really means. If they are in unhappy, unhealthy relationships, that is not “abuse” in the sense that the partner is forcing them to stay in them.

      I was in many “abusive” relationships if I used your example because I was unhappy and in an unhealthy, unbalanced financial situation with someone else, but I would not say it was abusive. It was unhealthy and unhappy for sure but not abusive.

      I was able to leave at any time (truly, there was no emotional mental or physical constraints), but *chose* not to because I had such low self esteem at that time.

      I think I see that as the difference — choice. Agency of choice anyway…

      Reply
  6. J
    Jamie

    I thought abuse was a bit harsh as well, but I think that word triggered this post and I think this post was a bit needed to see exactly how you two divvy up the tasks because, it does seem one-sided sometimes (that’s because we are only getting your perspective here). Also, you said that he took what you said to heart and has changed. For me, abuse (other than physical abuse which is 100% never right) is something that happens more than once. If someone does something to hurt you (again, not talking physically) or is being controlling and you call them out on their behaviour. If they really listen to your side (and they may screw up every now and then because we are human) and work on fixing their behaviour, then I think its something else.

    Most men have a hard time in being more flexible and seeing things emotionally because that’s the way they were raised. My husband is very direct and didn’t understand why some people’s feelings would be hurt when he was stating “facts”, I came along and said, well they could be taking it as a personal criticism, you might have to find a better way of saying the same thing. This has helped our relationship, his with our son, and even his working relationships! Like I said, I think I’d have a hard time getting along with your partner but you too do seem well matched and both of you just need to keep working towards the common goals of being a happy family and raising LB.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Mine is really inflexible. I knew that when we started dating, he really sees the world as black and white, and I don’t. I wonder if this COULD be a gendered thing, because I have talked to other women who have surprisingly said the same thing — their husbands see the world as black and white (“this is wrong and therefore..”) without considering the context and circumstances.

      Like stealing – if you steal bread, that is wrong. It is stealing. But if you are stealing it to feed your starving brothers and sisters, is it still wrong? I would say no, my partner would say “yes”.

      Mine DEFINITELY states “facts” and “rules” of how to live a perfect life, and it drove me bonkers before, and drives me even more bonkers now with our son because he doesn’t see that he is a separate person.

      We are working together. It’s all I can say. I am trying to ask him for more help when the emotional burden of Little Bun becomes too much (yesterday was a prime example) and he has stepped up and taken him away from me to calm down. We’re new at this so we don’t know how to handle a third intruder/person, if that makes any sense.

      Reply
  7. S
    Suba

    Frankly I think your partner and you are very well matched. You seem to bring in different skills to your household table and seem to want similar things (futon bed/minimalist condo/alone time as opposed to family hangouts etc.etc.) out of life. I think the word “abuse” in this case merits an eyeroll from me.

    Reply
    1. S
      Suba

      to your household* not household table*

      Reply
    2. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I always thought we were about 90% matched. I would like him to bend a little. I am always annoyed when he is stating “facts” at me and I am eyerolling inside my head because that is NOT HOW YOU LIVE A LIFE, but I clamp it down, listen to him, and then rebut in a rational way, which is the way he needs to be communicated with and which has helped immensely rather than bursting into tears or screaming.

      Reply
  8. E
    Eva

    Hi Sherry,

    I don’t think your partner is abusive, although I do not agree with your rationale, you seem to draw this conclusion based on his motivation, which is “good”( he only wants the best for his family), abuse can be based on such a “pure” motiv.

    From my perspective, you and your partner seem to overestimate his contributions. Frankly, a lot of what he does seems not that frequent , unnecessary ( again, according to me) and by far not the best use of his time, time that you could spend as a family, which is what I value the most. But you seem to appreciate it so perhaps it is more valuable to you than other possible time allocation.
    I still think you shouldn’t let your son or your fatigue dictate who does what for/with him, and you seem to resent it regularly, so I offer(ed) my opinion thinking you may be looking for a different perspective.

    It is good that you are able to talk and adjust what needs to be changed, on both sides.

    I appreciate you writing these posts ( I don’t care for fashion 😉).

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Thanks for your input — I suppose it does seem like what he does is unnecessary in the sense of how organized he likes to be, and how “perfect” he wants to be all the time, but there is a benefit to all of it. I have seriously never run out of the basics, and I do appreciate that he thinks of all that so I don’t have to worry about picking up toothpaste or finding the best deal on X and Y… I could not care less about optimizing the house and car, but he does, and it has saved us a good chunk of change (yes he tracks it)… to the tune of about $5000 a year.

      Reply
  9. A
    Alice

    He sounds like the ideal person I want to be (detailing the car every week?! Wow!), except that I don’t have such high standards. Now I’m thinking I prefer the way I am as it is. I appreciate the inside look to living with a perfectionist.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      He is a crazy perfectionist but he KNOWS IT IS A PROBLEM. We have discussed this many times that he has to let go. He has to stop expecting so much out of himself (and then out of everyone around him). Everyone has told him that. He works on it, he observes what I do, he listens to me, and then we disagree (sometimes) or work out a compromise.

      Reply
  10. SP

    I love how open and honest you are. That comes with the risk that people will chime in with opinions, but you know your life and when people are off the mark. I also like how seriously you considered the comment and explained your point of view.

    No relationship is totally perfect, and all of us blog readers are much more likely to see and take your side of things rather than realize there are two people interacting.

    <3

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I know, but he is also an unusual person to get to know. Even at work, I am his total opposite – friendly, etc.. and he was never raised to be like that, nor is he naturally a friendly extrovert. Somehow it works. 90% of the time.

      When it is 10% of the time, man.. fireworks. Get ready for some screaming from me.

      Reply
  11. M
    Maggie

    Great posts. I find it very interesting to get such a personal insight into other peoples life, esp. relationship and parenting. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I’d be happy to write more. I’m pretty raw / honest about how things are. I hope I am at least…. I hope I am really seeing the relationship as being rosy rather than black because IT IS rosy and not because I’m lying to myself. HAHA!

      Reply
  12. L
    Linda

    Insightful! Always pros and cons. As long as there’s more laughter than sorrow, then that partnership sounds decent to me. He does a lot from what You mentioned and thats always a plus! “most” men are on the lazy side in my opinion.

    I don’t have a child but I certainly think abt allllll these things that might come up.
    My HB is pretty helpful and isn’t the “lazy” type. He may take a while to do something b/c the majority of things is a “just do it now and done” in my eyes, but I guess that’s where the balance is.

    Abusive was a very harsh word for whoever said it. I don’t agree it was abuse. Controlling is a bit more fitting. Either way, clearly you guys are continually working on it. That’s partnership!
    Good luck.

    Hi Sherry!!!

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      He is ridiculously controlling at times. He knows it, I say something, and then he adjusts. He doesn’t see everything I see and I don’t see what he sees either, so we both have to communicate more instead of assuming things.

      Children just make it 1000 times worse.

      Reply
  13. S
    Sense

    Oh wow, now I need to go back and read the other comments on that post!

    Blogs can be highly personal places but stating your opinions on other people’s partnerships might be taking it too far. I don’t even do that with my closest friends unless they ask me directly and are sure they want my opinion (though of course I sometimes have strong opinions on their relationships in private!! :)). All that matters is that you are content and make it work for you. Through your posts, I can tell that you try to talk it out with him when you are frustrated or angry, are not afraid of him or to talk to him firmly when you need to, and are pretty satisfied with the work-sharing arrangement that you have (with the exception of wanting him to approach your son in a different manner and spend more time with him).

    This all makes me think, because in some of my past relationships, I have been the inflexible, perfectionist one. I am working on it, but it is quite difficult!

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Definitely not afraid of him.

      I need him to step up and be a better father and I tell him, suggest ways, and then force the situation (in which he DOES step up and take over).

      He is very caring and loving but I’m afraid, not naturally “fatherly” as you see on TV with goofball dads. He is the kind to make sure we are all fed, clothed, organized, clean.. but then for the playful side of things, he is not sure what to do.

      Reply
  14. E
    Emily

    You forgot to justify his binge drinking alcoholism.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Thank you for trolling. /sarcasm

      Reply
      1. E
        Emily

        Is it trolling to remind you of your statements over the years? That he has a problem with alcohol and once he starts drinking, he can’t stop.

        He frequently drinks a bottle of wine in one sitting and you’ve mentioned on your vacations that he leaves you and gets blackout drunk.

        That fits the definition of binge drinking alcoholism even if you’re in denial about it.

        His heavy alcohol consumption is one reason why he has gout. That’s another thing that you’ve admitted to not understanding.

        Rather than being so quick to get offended when someone says something that you don’t like, take it on board and consider whether there’s any truth to it.

        I’d rather do my own housework and cook my own food than put up with his behavior. It’s your choice to do so, but don’t complain when others standing further away can see the forest and ignore the trees.

        A lot of people grow up in abusive families and don’t behave like him. That’s the character of a weak person.

        Reply
  15. K
    K

    This is not meant to an inflammatory comment… but do you think he could be on the autism spectrum?

    It is the inflexibility that rings bells for me (personal experience, family member with Autism).

    Reply
    1. K
      Kim

      Is that really anybody’s business?

      Reply
      1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

        Perhaps not, but I do appreciate both of you chiming in on both sides 🙂

        I have wondered if he was on the spectrum, or with some sort of personality thing, but I then thought maybe it was OCD + his upbringing with his father that made him the way he is. Who really knows?

        Whatever it is, he has learned to cope with it, he doesn’t have hard times connecting with people, and so on.. but I do see some tendencies of him flare up and make me wonder if he is. *shrug*

        Can’t do anything about it now 😉

        Reply
    2. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      You know, that has actually come across my mind a few times. Like on the edge, but I wonder if it is a combination of OCD + his terrible childhood with his father that has made him who he is.

      Who knows. He is who he is and he is trying.

      Reply
  16. V
    Vivian

    Thank you for such an honest post. My husband is a wonderful man who does a lot for the family too, but we are in the new baby phase right now and sometimes I do feel very alone and isolated due to my new role as a mom, hormones, combined with endless sleep deprivation. It’s been a rough time for our marriage even though it’s still very strong. So I can understand your previous post of having a tough time but also appreciate you writing about what your partner does for you and your little one.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      You’re welcome. It is not easy, a new baby. A pregnancy, a new baby, a new life, your “legacy” being passed on.. it triggers a lot of things in both parents for different reasons and people turn so completely different after they have a kid or not.

      New babies are ROUGH on a relationship. You are being tortured by your own volition (LOL).. and the mood swings are insane…

      Reply

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