A New Definition of Fidelity: Being Radically Present

A New Definition of Fidelity: Being Radically Present

True fidelity goes beyond keeping sex within marriage.

Steven Kalas, a counselor in Las Vegas, astutely observes that sexual fidelity is not really the hardest task in the world; it’s making an effort to prioritize your relationship when the rest of life gets in the way. Says Kalas:

“Give me a nickel for every time I’ve heard a wife complain about her husband’s mistress, whose name is “Work,” and you and I will go to Maui and retire.

Give me a nickel for every time I’ve heard a husband complain about his wife’s paramour, whose name is “The Kids,” and you and I will buy Maui and retire.”

Too true. Close friends have admitted to me that they’re impressed with my once-a-week commitment to sex (seriously!) since they have gone months without it. Their wives are too busy. Too tired. Too uninterested. Kalas says that this is unacceptable.

“It’s wrong to wake up in the middle of a marriage, shrug your shoulders, then passively and unilaterally decide you’re no longer interested in sex. That is an egregious infidelity. And it’s just plain mean.

When you take the wider view, not having sex with anyone else might be the easiest part of marital fidelity. All you gotta do is keep your pants on. Say “no.”

He recommends what he calls being “radically present.” It’s unusual for a man to talk about relationships like this, but it’s exactly what make the best marriages thrive. Imagine if both husband and wife lived some form of this pledge:

“I promise to be Radically Present. I promise to show up for this relationship, chiefly by promising to show up for my own life. I promise that my “I” will be forever grounded in our “We.” I will cultivate habits that nurture our connection. I will be alert to notice habits that presume upon our connection. Take it for granted. While, on any given day, any number of things might rightly and urgently require my energy and attention, I promise not to allow anything to comprehensively subordinate the primacy of Us.”

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Comments:

  1. 1
    KK

    “He recommends what he calls being ‘radically present’.”

    Sounds great; wonderful, actually… Now show me where one can find all these mature, self-actualized men. 😉

    1. 1.1
      S

      With mature, self actualized women.

      1. 1.1.1
        KK

        So there aren’t any single guys that are mature and self actualized?

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          This black and white thinking makes me want to go to sleep. So I will. Goodnight, KK. Try thinking of “grey” as you drift off tonight. It seems to be missing from your palette.

        2. KK

          I was being facetious… both comments. I thought the winky face made that obvious.

    2. 1.2
      JD

      If there is a dominant complaint in the community of “men who have lots of success with women but can’t find one they want to stay with”, it’s that most women expect far more effort in all phases of the relationship from the man than they give in return, and are oblivious to how one-sided the relationship looks from the outside. That is, they think they’re contributing their fair share, or even more, but it’s actually not even close.

      As a backlash (everything in society these days is a backlash), these men gather, complain, and resolve to become more selfish, since that’s what the “market” is incentivizing. They get away with it, since women can’t find any better. Women, in turn, complain about this, and both sides escalate.

      Nobody wins.

  2. 2
    JoAnn

    Would have been so, so, so much easier to prioritize time, affection and sex for my husband if he had actually helped more with the kids and house, instead of being the fourth child.

    1. 2.1
      Ross

      Why did you marry a child then? Not blaming anyone but you CHOSE your partner. Yes back then there were fewer resources than now to learn. What I am saying is that poor partners are always gonna be there. Let them get matched with other poor partners. I’d rather be single and take my time. I found many valuable guys on dating sites. Yes they may not make very good money or look like top models. But they are out there. Choose one that shows presence from the very beginning and let the losers go even if they look good or are rich.

  3. 3
    FG

    JoAnn @2

    Whenever I read a comment like yours, this is what comes to mind…

    – Were you working outside the home / gainfully employed at the time?
    – Were your responsibilities (workload, stress) equal to his? Usually, but not always, reflected in money received from the job
    – By house, I assume you mean chores (cooking, laundry, similar). If yoou were both employed, and the comment is moot if you weren’t, why not hire a cleaning lady to spend a few hours every 2 weeks and split the cost (likely on a proportional basis to the 2 possibly different incomes)?

    4th child! So yo uhad 3? Which is in my book “one too many”. Did these just materialize out of thin air or did you plan for them? As in #1 in year 1, #2 in year 3 (by then, is you previously had no clue, now, you know that raising kids is demanding), #3 when exactly?

    As to his being a man-child, you may be right, or completely wrong. If he alone was the bread-winner, he endured a heavy-load, and probably rarely brought his work problems at home. Most men say little or nothing, shielding their spouse from the harsh realities. He shields YOU from them (possibly) but is affected by professional / work life.

    1. 3.1
      KK

      @FG,

      Whenever I read a comment like yours, this is what comes to mind….

      – If both are employed, and depending on the children’s ages, childcare for 3 is quite expensive. Even if the children are in school, that still means after school care and full time childcare in the summer’s. That means the disposable income necessary to hire a housekeeper, may not be there. And wives, most often, are responsible for the house work and childcare, regardless of work status. Even if you hire a housekeeper, the cheapest I’ve come across is $150 a week. That doesn’t include laundry or dishes. Just a quick dust, vacuum, mop and done. Meals still have to be made, laundry and dishes done daily, and all the things that come along with raising children.

      – Now to your moot point… If she’s a stay at home mom, do you really think she shouldn’t get a little help in the evenings?? While he’s at work, 8 to 10 hours a day, she’s doing a pretty important job too. The difference is that when his day ends, it ends. Hers doesn’t end until the kids are asleep.

      1. 3.1.1
        Stacy2

        I think the bigger question is why have 3 kids? Why put yourself in a position where you’re both overwhelmed and unhappy? Better to stop at 1 or 2.

        1. KK

          Triplets? One child, then twins? Or maybe they actually WANTED 3 kids?…. Gasp, the horror!

          For someone who is so open minded when it comes to reasons for infidelity, you sure don’t seem to apply that open- mindedness across the board.

        2. Stacy2

          oh I am open minded. Triplets is just bad luck I’d say. But if they WANTED kids why is she complaining about, actually, HAVING to deal with said kids? I mean it’s pretty self inflicted. That’s the point. Personally, there’s no way I’d have three kids if their father didn’t have the means to hire a full time nanny and household help. I’d be miserable doing all that work myself and alone (and lets face it men never do this stuff)

        3. Ross

          Totally agree with Stacy. So many complain about the clutter in their life but it is clutter they chose. And with clutter I include kids. Wonderful creatures yes but they do take a ton of time and resources and you should know this by the age you are able to reproduce. If someone gets 50 cats and then they complain about them, people would immediately admit that person is foolish because she chose the cats. But with kids, there is this culture of adoration towards reproduction. Truth is, the human race is at no risk of extinction so there is no whatsoever need for anyone to have a lot of kids and then get miserable and strained for that.

    2. 3.2
      Kanga

      @FG

      There are stresses that go along with both scenarios – staying at home and working outside.  My ex husband was also just another load on me.  My day started before his and ended after his. He got up, put his pants on and went to work, came home, ate dinner and whatever, while I continued to work long after he walked through the front door and sat on his arse.  I was also up and down during the night while he snored away.

      On the weekends – my work continued all day, every day,  while he read, smoked, drank.  I mowed and unless it was too heavy or difficult did most of the ‘man’ jobs as well.

      I then went to work in school hours – so he wasn’t the only one earning. so I would work before school, at school and after school and at night.

      Also, not telling your spouse about troubles at work never felt like ‘shielding’ me – it felt like cutting me off and keeping me out of his life. I would have liked to hear about things he was worried about etc. – it would have made me feel like part of a team.

      Childcare and domestic help are ridiculously expensive in a country that has minimum wages.  Before and after school care is extremely hard to find.  That is why I worked in a school while my kids were growing up. I had to choose my employment around the needs of the kids, not what I wanted to do.

  4. 4
    FG

    @KK  3.1
    I’m reminded of a friend years ago who complained that by the time his gf was done rinsing dishes BEFORE the dishhwasher, he felt them ready for the cupboard 🙂  Kids? Dishwasher! After a few short years, the kids can load and unload said dishwasher themselves.

    As to laundry, I do my own. Granted, not when I was married. Thus, I know exactly what it entails. Ironing is a pain (so I don’t and steam toys take most of the work out of that by now). Load washing machine, load dryer, empty dryer, fold? I appreciate when it is done FOR me, but otherwise, it is merely a minor annoyance.

    @Stacy2  3.1.1
    That remains, in my view the social contract, unless BOTH are more or less equally gainfully employed.
    Look up the cost of raising a child to age 18 in the US… If having 3 kids did not push the family into bankruptcy (as per JoAnn’s #2) and the husband was “bringing home the bacon” and enough of it to cover ALL needs, his job or position entailed serious responsibility.

    You BOTH latched on to “Three kids? Not a good choice!” unless unexpected.

    @Kanga 3.2
    Shielding is a natural state for many. Then again, after those work concerns are set aside or put on hold, explaining them can be very much like going back to work or reliving them, so there is a caveat with sharing.

    Housekeeping, even for a few hours every two weeks, is a boon. My Dad, now a widower, pays 4 hours every 2 weeks and does the rest himself. Costs him $60 for a cleaning tornado.

    Now, a word from our sponsor:
    – a reasonable scenario needs to be worked out if both parties ARE working,
    – if only ONE parent is working outside the home, you enter a traditional scenario, and responsibilities of the home fall on the stay-at-home parent, period. My mother seemed to know this: she had worked a position of responsibility for a short time before I was born, she stayed home, dad provided.
    – nobody forced you to have kids. You signed up for this? Own up! It IS a lot of work. It IS constant and unrelenting. Kind of. A lot of it IS automated and needs little attention. And for whatever reason, millions of women still had time to watch Oprah, or these days, Ellen, and Dr. Oz. And a few soaps, to boot.
    Maybe motherhood demands a dedication that has fallen by the wayside? Too much pampering? Unreasonable expectations? I’ m not being ironic. Simply voicing my own internal questions. But it seems that a lot of the moans and complaints have to do with children. They are optional. In fact, for very many men, having them requires a lot of convincing.

    News of the world: the guy won’t (unless both partners work), and it’s not his job.
    I empathize with any gal who got a raw deal. Some chores DO fall under “male duties”, but even saying that has exceptions: the job may NOT BE only 8-5, + commute. It may have overtime, projects, and other “extensions”.
    Getting up in the middle of the night when he must be tip top the next morning for meetings? Not his job! Dealing with the team he supervises at work and THEN the kdis when he gets home? Not so sure!

    1. 4.1
      Mrs Happy

      Dear FG @ #4,

      I disagree with you. It actually perplexes me when couples prioritise sleep for the person earning the money. Sleep deprivation is unhealthy and unsafe.

      I think the person driving the kids around should be the one sleeping more. So unless the working partner drives aeroplanes, trains or buses, or does delicate specific work like brain surgery or anaesthetics, they should at least share sleeplessness night-time kid tending, if not do more of it.  Seriously what does it matter for most employees if they are tired during a meeting or their working day? Just less money made for the company, usually. If only the earner gets to sleep normally, you are both prioritising money, over your partner’s and children’s health and lives (car accident risks while driving fatigued, anyone?).

      I couldn’t stand to be married to someone who thought it was OK for me to work 16 hours every 24, while he just did 8-10. Ick. I just wouldn’t do the work. I’d let it pile up. I’d emotionally exit from the marriage. Oh right, that last, is what wives with lazy or entitled husbands, do.

      Parenting is more intense now, than it has ever been in human history, in terms of hours per week mothers spend 1:1 playing with their kids (even full time working mothers play more hours now, than their own mothers who were stay-at-home, did with them).

    2. 4.2
      Jess

      Where do you get the idea that having children is “optional” for many men? The majority of the men with whom I have recently went on dates, all want a child or two.

  5. 5
    Skaramouche

    Fascinating to see how the discussion has derailed from the original point: in a marriage, it is crucial to make time for each other :).  I agree 100% with this post…a rare thing indeed because I seldom agree ONE HUNDRED PERCENT with anything anymore…

    The definition of marriage seems to have changed these days.  The traditional, symbiotic relationship of the past seems to have become a unicorn.  These days I see one of the following scenarios:

    1) One partner (mostly husband, on occasion wife) is a high earner so the other partner can afford to stay at home and hire help.

    2) Only one partner works but is not a ridiculously high earner and the second stays at home but is generally unhappy because he/she does not want the traditional stay-at-home role and all its trappings.

    3) Both partners work and share the child rearing + chores, sometimes equally and sometimes unequally.

    Let’s face it…if you don’t have money and/or  a sympathetic (read: caring) partner, a stay-at-home life can be horribly unfair and boring.  Yes, there are lots of ways to make it work..to make it a joy but you absolutely need either money or an understanding partner or preferably both.  I sincerely feel that those who are complaining above didn’t have either.

    1. 5.1
      KK

      Skaramouche said, “I sincerely feel that those who are complaining above didn’t have either”.

      Wrong. Those situations exist. But there are also plenty of moms with an upper middle class or wealthy lifestyle, that are just as frustrated. So, the part about the uncaring or unhelpful partner is much more a factor than money.

      Some women CHOOSE to stay at home AND raise their children without outside help, regardless of finances.

      If you look at a family where the wife does EVERYTHING, you’ll most likely find an unsatisfied wife. It doesn’t take much to make her feel valued and appreciated. Put a movie on for the kids and help her prepare dinner once a week. Tell her you’ll get the dishes tonight and encourage her to watch her favorite show for 30 minutes. Get her a gift card to the spa and take the kids to the park for a few hours on Saturday. Little things mean a lot! Not every day, but often enough (once a week?) do something to help out. How will that make her feel? Loved. Appreciated. The results? A happy wife who will want to meet her husband’s needs. If a man takes his wife for granted and expects all these things to be taken care of, resentment will eventually set in. The best he can hope for is for his sex life to be treated as one more chore. Want a great sex life? Appreciate her by telling her you do and pitch in every now and then to show her. Same goes for women. Appreciate how hard he works. Tell him and show him often. It isn’t rocket science, but for some reason some people feel ENTITLED to receive more than they give.

      1. 5.1.1
        Callie

        I know we had a pretty bad back and forth last week, and you might not want to hear from me, but I couldn’t help it.  KK I gotta say I am agreeing with you so hard in this thread. Absolutely 100%. Show your wife you appreciate her. Do something special once in a while. A little goes a very long way (and of course ditto for women doing something special for their men as well).

        1. ScottH

          There’s a Kalas column for that.  google:  steven kalas Spouse sometimes just wants to be noticed

        2. KK

          Thanks, Callie.

      2. 5.1.2
        GoWiththeFlow

        KK,

        Where’s the LIKE button 🙂

        An underlying theme going on is that a parent who stays at home has an easier job than the parent who is employed.  That’s a load of bull.  A colicky baby who is up every 90 minutes crying and spits up half the formula she drinks for 8 straight weeks is way more challenging than taking care of a patient with a gunshot wound or a ruptured aorta.  When I was an intern, one of the chief surgery residents said he got more sleep when he was at the hospital overnight on call than he did at home with a newborn baby.

        1. KK

          Thanks, GWTF.

          “When I was an intern, one of the chief surgery residents said he got more sleep when he was at the hospital overnight on call than he did at home with a newborn baby”.

          I believe this 100%. Until you’ve experienced it yourself, you really don’t know. I had twins. They were not in sync on their sleeping / eating schedules. Lol. I was a zombie for months.

           

      3. 5.1.3
        Adrian

        Hi KK,

        You said, “for some reason some people feel ENTITLED to receive more than they give.

        How do you deal with this?

        From my observations I would say that about 90% of people in relationships believe that they are giving a lot or more in a relationship!

        Either more than they actually are giving or just more than their partner gives; but most people do NOT believe they are not giving their fair share.

        So what do you do when you think you are giving 100% but your partner thinks you are only giving 30%???

        1. KK

          Hi Adrian,

          Go back and re-read through all FG’s comments. Now imagine how he would react if his wife complained that she felt unappreciated.

          Read Stacy2’s comments. How would she react if her live-in told her he thought she was spending too much money? Let’s say she’s spending her OWN money but he feels she isn’t contributing as much as she should to their household or he’s just turned off by her materialism. Maybe while dating, he didn’t pay that much attention, but now that they’re living together, and I’m assuming he can read receipts, he might not like it. Imagine her coming home from shopping, and he shakes his head at how much money she spent. How will that go over? Lol.

          You can’t reason with unreasonable people. It’s best to try to avoid people who can’t see the other side of things. If you end up stuck in a marriage to someone like that, what do you do? I’m guessing after a sincere conversation, if nothing changes… marriage counseling. It may or may not help.

        2. GoWiththeFlow

          Adrian,

          The article was about being “radically” present.  Which assumes that you are paying attention to your partner and committing to understand their concerns, give them the benefit of the doubt, and help ease their burdens.  One thing that the Allana Pratt interview touched on and something that is discussed in The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, is that couples can get caught in a downward spiral where their needs aren’t being met, so they in turn withdraw from giving to their partner.  And down and down they go.  For things to change, sometimes someone has to go first, lead with love, and decide they’re going to make an effort to be a better partner and meet their loved one’s needs.

          In T5LL, Dr. Chapman gives examples where he has spouses each write down three things they want their partner to do that would make them feel loved.  The lists are exchanged and the people agree to do those things for the other irregardless of what they think about it.  For instance, if the wife wanted to be surprised with flowers (her love language is receiving gifts) the husband did it even if he didn’t understand why such a cliched thing would matter.  The wife in return made her husband’s favorite meal even though she wasn’t too crazy about it, because his LL was acts of service.  The key here is that people feel love differently.  And to make your partner feel loved you have to do it in a way that has meaning for them and put aside your own ego.

          Now contrast that with some of the comments that have been posted here:  If my husband didn’t act like a child, then I would be willing to show him affection.  Homemakers have it easy.  The real burden is in being the provider so why should I help around the house?  In neither scenario is there any acknowledgement that their partner’s needs are reasonable and meaningful, and maybe they should try to understand and meet the need.  Instead there is contempt, which is a big predictor of divorce.

          Now what would happen if the wife decided to hug and touch her husband affectionately during the day and tell him how much she appreciated what he did for the family.  Think he might mirror her behavior, since he’s being filled up with love, and start helping out a little more around the house?

          What about if the husband with the business made an effort to get home by a certain time every night and bathed the baby and put him/her down to bed twice a week so his wife could have a little me time to finish a task, take a non-rush shower, or watch a favorite program.  Do you think that then she would be more understanding and supportive of him when it comes to work, now that she feels she and the baby are a priority for him?

          Someone has to go first, to give more, and to do it because it’s good for their partner.  And what’s good for their partner will be good for the relationship.

      4. 5.1.4
        Skaramouche

        @KK, fair enough.  You have a point.  A caring partner is more important than money.  But I’m not wrong.  However, money can make up for any lack, perceived or real, in your partner.  He (or she) won’t buy you a spa gift card or offer to do the dishes?  Well great, if you have money, hire help and buy the card yourself.  I’m not saying that money makes up for the absence of genuine care and concern but it goes a long way towards buying some semblance of happiness.  Let me put it this way, would you rather be a stay-at-home mother struggling to make ends meet or would you rather be one whose high earning husband is just as uncaring as the other woman’s but at least he keeps you in enough funds to buy help when you need it?  As for those who CHOOSE to do it without outside help despite good finances well there, you said it…it’s their choice.  It isn’t about hard or easy…it’s about choice.  When you have money, you have choice.

        Please don’t think that I’m defending those spouses who seem to think everything at home is the stay-home partner’s job OR that I’m saying that staying at home is easier than working full-time.  It most definitely isn’t!  At least at work you can get away and have a mental break.   However, I’d like to point out that having children is a choice and that one’s partner doesn’t suddenly become unhelpful and uncaring.  You know (or should know anyway) the personality of the person with whom you are procreating.

        1. KK

          @Skaramouche,

          “However, I’d like to point out that having children is a choice and that one’s partner doesn’t suddenly become unhelpful and uncaring.  You know (or should know anyway) the personality of the person with whom you are procreating”.

          Not so sure about that. How many couples do you think actually sit down and have multiple in- depth discussions about children and how it might change the dynamics? I doubt many do. And even if you did, you’re talking about something you’ve never experienced so the conversation is about what you think it’s going to be like. I’d be willing to bet most couples discuss wanting children pretty briefly, as in, “I can’t wait to start our family”. “Me too”. And each person has their own pre- conceived notions of what that will be like.

          “Suddenly becomes unhelpful and uncaring”…

          Let me ask you this: Do you believe men that say their wives suddenly becomes uninterested in sex?

          Because some women do; especially after children, especially if their husbands are suddenly unhelpful or uncaring. Classic cause and effect.

        2. Skaramouche

          Yes I believe those men because well, for whatever reason (hormones/chemical imbalances, being overworked, being irritated with their husbands), those women ARE  NO LONGER INTERESTED IN SEX.  What point are you trying to make?  That because women can suddenly lose interest in sex that men can also suddenly become uncaring?  That makes no sense.

          Let me re-state what I was saying earlier.  When you make a life altering choice like getting married or having children, it is very important to carefully evaluate your decision.  It is impossible to anticipate and plan for every situation that life throws at you but you should try to think about possible scenarios that will come up, how you think your partner will deal with them and whether that is acceptable to you.  There will always be surprises and unexpected situations.  However, most people do not suddenly change overnight.  Meaning, a caring, unselfish man who is attentive to his wife does not turn into an uncaring jerk the second his wife gets pregnant.  There are typically some warning signs beforehand.  Did they split the chores evenly before children?  Did he already think that the higher earner should do less chores?

          This discussion started because I stated one simple fact: in general, in order to have an effective relationship in which one partner is stay-at-home, you either need a good deal of money or a caring and unselfish partner who makes up for the things that money could have bought, like child care relief or help at home.  If you have neither money nor an understanding partner, life at home can be bleak.  To be very clear, I am not suggesting that money makes up for care or companionship but in those cases, the problem is with the marriage not the stay-at-home arrangement or the children.  The reason I made this point to begin with is I read a lot of discussion about marriages where “the wife does everything” and so is unhappy.  With money, she doesn’t HAVE to do everything.  Hire help!  That’s not magically going to make your previously unsatisfying marriage suddenly satisfying but the complaint that seems to be rampant: I do everything at home and he doesn’t help” will go away!

  6. 6
    FG

    I guess from my point of view, if you deliberately have 3 kids (as opposed to a fluke of nature), the provider has a career, not just a job. The responsibilities entailed do call for a normal sleep cycle.

    Most kids in school seem to have a school bus pick-up and drop-off. A stay-at-home mom may have ample opportunity for a nap if she has a toddler.  As one ex gf told me about when her kids were younger, thank God for TV. Kids will watch it while you prepare dinner. As to spending more time playing with the kids, why? Who made THAT call? Taking kids to the park or playground has them playing with other kids their age. Is this some form of strange coping mechanism to compensate for something? A “I have no time for housework because I MUST play with the kids”? Abusive meeting scheduling in companies also serves the same purpose, almost like the dog eating your homework “I have no time (or not enough) to work because I spend too much time in meetings”.

    My statements are general. Bringing them back to specificity, meaning personal cases, makes my comment unapplicable. The general rules and conditions I lay out are simple: we were considering the working provider and the homemaker roles. I do not see that the role of mothers has changed in any way since my childhood. But maybe earlier generations worked hard, or harder. Had chores at home during childhood and teenage years. Had a stream of uninvited guests, but the era was far more social, and no dishwasher, so dishwashing duty was continuous, never resolved. Long gone are the days of the washboard by the river, brook or lake, or the hand-activated wringers. The women of those days managed to raise kids in spite of those obsolete, time-consuming methods.

    Some men DO disappear in their bubble. Maybe they need to do that to make it work. When a personality-type or circumstance makes those guys close up, communication may be challenging. Maybe they’re just doing the best they can.  As to homemakers, the role is to make a home. Slight irony. My (perhaps very limited) grasp of the modern / contemporary situation: women want kids, but can’t or do not wish to deal with the situation once they have them. Sad parallel:: the kid telling his parents that yes, he will take care of the dog. And then doesn’t.
    Daycare is such a wonderful option. Expensive?
    The average cost of center-based daycare in the United States is $11,666 per year ($972 a month), but prices range from $3,582 to $18,773 a year ($300 to $1,564 monthly) – Google
    That would be for a relatively short time: eventually, kindergarten calls!
    Not doable on minimum hourly wages or low-income. We all agree on that.
    I have seen and heard of other cases where the mother wanted to work, for a net household income increment of zero. To stay in the game, so to speak. Which is a questionable strategy if her earning capacity is that low.
    A young colleague of mine had a child shortly after he started his own business. His spouse gave him lip on helping with the kid, even when she was on maternity leave (she’s a replacement teacher). Had there been postpartum or other affliction, I would have seen it as “duty calls”, but such was not the case. So he’s managing employees, admin, clients, and contracts, has work that must get done, but little princess demands that he postpones essential tasks to deal with the kid. Pardon the bluntness, but I told him to grow a pair. Were I in his shoes, we would have a serious talk, and laying out the realities (she did concur with his decision to start the business). And were she to stick to unreasonable demands, as sad as it might be, there is such a thing as a deal-breaker.

    Both partners must go to bat to engage their significant other. It’s not always a 50/50 deal. But do keep the term “homemaker” in mind. It says something critically important. And Oprah and Ellen are NOT involved. To regain the possibility of being radically present may be difficult. Some choices were made, perhaps erroneously, and the consequences of those choices persist for a long time. “Radically present” requires presence to start with, and presence demands awareness. I’m not sure such awareness or consciousness came into play if decisions were made that condemned the couple to an unpalatable life or lifestyle. Unless some event changed prevailing factors (job loss, office closing, etc.)

    1. 6.1
      Katie

      What he (FG) said!

      Except the whole women want babies thing. Both men and women want babies equally I think.

      I don’t know why though. That just seems like a lot of work to me. Plus what if you have one and it has some kind of disability that means you have to take care of it FOREVER?!?!

      No babies for me thanks.

    2. 6.2
      Stacy2

      Completely agree with the above ^^

    3. 6.3
      GoWiththeFlow

      Wow FG,

      “Some men DO disappear in their bubble. Maybe they need to do that to make it work. When a personality-type or circumstance makes those guys close up, communication may be challenging. Maybe they’re just doing the best they can.  As to homemakers, the role is to make a home. Slight irony. My (perhaps very limited) grasp of the modern / contemporary situation: women want kids, but can’t or do not wish to deal with the situation once they have them.”

      So men get the benefit of the doubt because they’re doing the best they can, where women just don’t want to deal?   And yes, your grasp of the modern situation is very limited.

      First off, it’s not just women who want kids, men do to.  Our gracious blog owner has said many times that he proposed to his wife before he was entirely certain about marriage to her because he wanted to have two kids and age was a factor.  It takes two to create a life.  They are both responsible, and those first years of parenthood are both joyful and very hard.  Funny how you didn’t criticize your young friend for “whining” about the hardship and struggles his new business entails, but you criticized his wife for “whining” about her parenting struggles.  You dismissed her pleas for help by saying they both agreed to the business startup, but didn’t acknowledge they also both agreed to have a child.

      Secondly, most mothers of young kids are employed outside of the home out of economic necessity.  The full time homemaker role is not the norm.  Childcare expenses and concerns don’t end for dual earner families once kindergarten starts.  You can smugly arm chair quarterback criticize people for their struggles with raising kids all you want.  Our fraying intergenerational compacts rely on there being successive generations of workers who’s productivity supports the economy and the older generation’s ability to retire.  That means societies need children.

      Thirdly, you say that the roles of mothers haven’t changed since your childhood.  Are you a mother?  Have you raised children across decades?  I have three kids by both birth and adoption.  The age gap between #1 and #2 is twenty five years.  In that time span, being a mother HAS changed.  Parents don’t have the autonomy or the social benefit of the doubt they did 20-30 years ago.

      The number of moms I have know who have had the cops called on them is frightening.  Because they walk down the street to get the mail when the baby is sleeping in the house.  Or the debit card function doesn’t work on the gas pump, so they run inside to pay the clerk when all the while, the car is with in view.  The prevailing standard seems to be something I wouldn’t choose to do as a parent is sufficient grounds to call the police.  100% glued to the parent’s side supervision and kid micromanagement is what is expected today.  When my oldest was elementary age, it was normal for kids to walk 2 or 3 blocks to their friend’s house alone.  Now mom are dad has to walk with them or drive them.

      In the meantime homework levels have increased.  When my younger two were in kindergarten, they each hd 45-60 minutes of homework a night, plus required story reading time.  Expected outside and extracurricular activities have drastically increased;  mommy and me, infant swimming lessons, soccer clubs, church charity activities, blowout 3rd birthday parties that require a party planner.  And God forbid your toddler should do a very developmentally normal thing and have a tantrum in public.  Half the store is ready to yell at you to shut your kid up because a tantrum is a sure sign of gross parental failure.  The other side is watching with cell phones ready to dial 911 in case they deem your response to be abusive.

      Things have changed.  In all areas of life.  That’s one of the themes this blog covers:  How do the sexes adjust to changing gender roles and norms and still manage to connect and support one another.

      1. 6.3.1
        FG

        There are occasionally award-winning commercials from around the world at film-fests. Two hours or such of TV or cinema-house ads, a little like the global collection from SuperBowl-like publicity. One such ad saw a Dad with his kid at the supermarket, and the kid wants candy. Puts them in the cart. Daddy puts them back on the shelf. Epic tantrum ensues. Everybody watches as the kid goes nuts, throwing things to the floor, crashing into displays, et., while the Dad looks completely dumbfounded… The commercial is for… condoms.

        Thank you for the lesson in biology. I wasn’t aware of the facts of life. Of if I understand condoms, maybe I was. No, I’m not a mother. That was Arnold in a so-so movie. See previous sentences about biology. 🙂  What I DO understand from observation in various world locales, and having friends in same, is that the environment you describe and Child Protection Services insanity is rather specific to the USA. A little of that elsewhere, but not to the insane extent you wrote about. You may also be living in Angst Central, but, that is conjectural.

        The most important word in all of your comment is EXPECTED. Who expects that? Are you projecting others’ expectations onto your own family or lifestyle? See, I was raised with a formidable weapon of aloofness: who gives a $%^&* what others think! Fabulously liberating. The list you make of what OTHERS expect of YOU is fascinating, because YOU bought into THEIR demands.
        Church charity? Skip! Not compulsory. Or as Bono (of U2) once said in lyrics, “the God I believe in isn’t short of cash, Mister”. That’s YOUR self-imposed yoke.
        Infant 3rd b-day party blowout? Skip! Is your community THAT crazy? MOVE! Find somewhere sane to live.
        Ask yourself, and ask your significant other: what makes YOU (and HIM) happy? I’m betting Church functions don’t! They eat away at time better spent elsewhere.

        Back to my heavily criticized narrative: yes, some men do want kids. I specifically wrote that I was considering the “male worker, female homemaker” model. Which is still found. Half of MDs marry within the same group. And then, the woman decides to take a break from doctoring. Go figure! But they have rather unique income levels to pull that off. I often wonder if the male MD half of the couple is all that pleased with the concept.
        Back to tracking: IF and WHEN the man bears all or the principal burden of income responsibility, I do find him excused from household duties. Sorry. That’s what I meant by “doing his best” and not going insane. There is NO obligation to have kids. I am appalled at couples who do beget them w/o prior consultation of how they will manage the family household.

        When you say society needs children, do I hear echoes of your Church? Because quite frankly, population keeps growing in the US, so, I question that statement outside of a religious context.
        Expenses from progeny stretch to 18 AND beyond. Do you have a figure? I do!
        You mention THREE kids. Two by birth and one through adoption. Which, by the way, is very generous of you. With a 25 year age gap. Nobody imposed a 3rd kid. Nobody imposed adoption. The older siblings do… nothing? Your husband and yourself obviously wanted to do this. Or, knowing something of couples, it is possible (not saying it was the case) that the 50th time you brought it up, he gave in! And I reckon he provides support ($$$).
        The consequence of “giving in” (because frankly, I don’t know too many guys who want a repeat of toddler years in what I assume is their early 50s: parenting age + first pregnancy + 25 years, right?). Maybe he did. He concurred. So you have the means to do this, and if so, I seriously doubt that you are forced to do all the work yourself. Why do you want him to jump in?

        1. GoWiththeFlow

          FG,

          LOL!!!  Every assumption you have made is wrong.

          The great thing about being an older mom is that I don’t bow to the expectation that have cropped up over the past 25 years.  I haven’t set foot in a church in about 15 years.  The younger two have never been been baptized or even been inside a house of worship.  We’ve never been to mommy and me.  The kids’ birthday parties cost less than $200 and require minimal planning.  They’re a little young for for organized sports, but when they get to that age, if they’re interested we won’t go crazy with the expensive club teams.  I feel sorry for the young parents out there who buy into these expectations.  To buck the system, they pay a price when they incur the disapproval of their friends and family.

          As far as 2 MD couples go, when I went to my med school class 15 year reunion, of the 58 women who graduated with me, only 2 took time off to be full time moms.  The rest have worked continuously since graduation.  Five had full time house husbands, and quite a few had husbands who took consulting or freelance jobs after the kids were born so they could work from home.   So I’m surprised that you report that many women  physicians “drop out” and the tone you use implies you disapprove.

          As far a twisting some poor man’s arm to adopt 2 children in mid-life, I’m a lifelong single so no man is financially supporting me.    And no one was “imposed” upon.  I adopted because nurturing, teaching, and loving a child has been the thing that has brought me the most happiness.  Talking about the challenges of parenting is like the suggestion box at the front of a store.  Every slip that is stuffed in it is a complaint.  No one ever says, “I love shopping here!”  But rest assured your friend and his wife, who asked her husband for help where she struggles, both have immense moments of shared joy with their child.

          As far as society needing children, my opinion isn’t informed by religion at all.  It’s driven by economics.  Social Security, Medicare, and many pension funds would collapse if there aren’t younger generations to pay the taxes and invest earnings in the market to fund such social programs.  This is one of the reasons Italy and Greece have such deep seated problems with their economies.  Their birth rate is so low that they aren’t replacing themselves.  There aren’t enough workers to supply the funds for their social programs.

          So if people choose to be child free, by no means do I look down on them.  Parenting isn’t for everyone and it’s good we live in a time where we can exercise control over it.  But consideration should flow in the other direction as well.  Stop demonizing people who are raising the next generation, as “not being up to the responsibility of it.”  Funny that a different commenter compared raising kids to choosing to have a houseful of cats.  Cats don’t benefit society the way human children do.

  7. 7
    ScottH

    I’ve been reading Mr Kalas for many years and have learned an incredible amount from him.  I would highly recommend reading his column “we are all walking wounded” and “marital problems probably started with the strange idea.”  He has many many more columns worth your time but i would start with these two.

    1. 7.1
      GoWiththeFlow

      A friend introduced me to Kalas’ work.  I hope he puts out a book of his columns.  I would be great to have it all gathered together in one place.

      1. 7.1.1
        ScottH

        He must have been a very good friend to have introduced you to Kalas.

        Kalas does have a book with a collection of some of his older columns but you’re right, a collection of all of his columns, searchable by topic, would be pure gold.

         

        1. GoWiththeFlow

          He was a great friend and I learned a lot from him.

          I found the book on amazon.  I probably didn’t find it earlier since I usually only search ebooks.  It’s been along time since I bought a “real” book that wasn’t for kids 🙂

           

          The book is called “Human Matters: Wise and Witty Counsel on Relationships, Parenting, Grief and Doing the Right Thing.” By Steven Kalas.  It was published in 2008, so I hope he’s working on a new collection.

  8. 8
    FG

    Sorry if I gave away the punch line…  The commercial I mentioned in earlier writings was…

    Still worth a look

  9. 9
    FG

    @ GoWithTheFlow
    Imagine Mrs.MD, a radiologist, who suspends her practice and professional activities for 3, 5 or 8 years. Or merely dabbles in the meantime. She might become a B reader (which I call “Is that kneecap in your nostril?”) as opposed to her former A reader status. Is this the MD you want for your diagnosis if you are ill? At the end of the “Mama vacation” period, should we simply have her resit her board exams? Like an athlete who takes time off, inactive people see skills reduced. THAT is my concern (or source of what you call disapproval) with those MDs

    So if I get you right, you are saying that you had the kids without a father in the picture?
    A topic I feel very strongly about, for a simple reason: my definition of freedom is anything goes, up to the point where you impinge on somebody else’s freedom. The implication is the right to have as many kids as you can afford to pay for, but no right to expect others to pay for them. So if chhosing to live in squalor at the end of a dirt road with a bunch of kids, I’m not sure the kids would have chosen those living conditions.
    Adoption is fine. You obviously had the means. And that kid was already there, with little or no future prospect but being “in the system”. You provided the kid with a loving Mom, better prospects, and much better living conditions.

    As to having other kids w/o a Dad in the picture, and this is a very personal view, a decision was made to bring them in this world w/o a Dad, but they had no voice or choice in the matter. A rationalization can be made that they were provided for and loved, but still, I have a problem with that. We might also believe that since they never knew what having a Dad is like, they didn’t miss it? From both experience AND observation, boys are best raised with a father in their lives.
    Having said that, and as a lifetime single, your speculation about couple intimacy and proceedings can be faulty. I’ll grant you that my “conjecture” about motherhood can use a case-by-case review. But I do have a wide array of observations from many countries and different lifestyles and economic conditions.

    As to the friend’s s.o. demanding that he contribute / participate, while she was doing nothing else at the time and he had work to do, not video games, not TV, not goofing around, but completing analytical work, I think she was misguided. The fact that his office is in the basement makes some people think that yo ucan just drop everything and go do her bidding. The work involves a logical progression, and interruption is a pain in the neck.

    Pensions, Babies & Economy
    “There aren’t enough workers to supply the funds for their social programs.” No, and there never will be!
    From a mathematical standpoint, for your pensions theory, you need TWENTY people to pay for the pension of one retiree, unless capital was hoarded to make future payments andór economic growth allows to pay as you go. Do you see the extraordinary fallacy? Population would have to increase twenty-fold every cycle or generation to make your statement true. NOT population as a whole, but the pension-supporting population, which unfortunately comes close to the same thing.

    Furthermore, we are entering the “end of work” era. We finally are at the Future Shock moment. Computerization, automation and robotization will reduce the need for men and women labor. Old stalwart quasi menial jobs will disappear. Period. As things now stand, the employment levels are artificially sustained, and a large percentage of government and corporate jobs could be ditched while maintaining all services and functions.

    We are carefully maintaining a status quo, which also means our society is fossilized. Project to the future: will we continue needing doctors? Yes, the surgeon’s role is indispensable, But a lot of current diagnoses could be performed by software while the patient waits. Q&A, symptoms, and then partial diagnosis done before seeing a doctor.
    Do we need to redesign bridges every time we build a new one? That will soon be templated, with variants for terrain conditions and the like.

    Greece? Rampant tax evasion. Huge debt load from net import economy. Unaffordable (but such are always well intentioned) social benefits. Retirement age was lowest of any EU country. Productivity was way under par. Unemployment is soaring, and no, a baby boom does not create a job market out of thin air.
    Italy is roughly in the same spot as Greece. Corruption may be more widespread.
    If you spend more than you make, you’re in trouble! Economically, we’ve entered an era of stagnation compared to a previous era of growth, and growth is not driven by birth rate. American success was greatest in the 50s to the 90s. Technological advances were prevalent, but a huge bonus came, unfortunately, from Europe’s near destruction. Production capacity had been obliterated, and most everything had to be imported, while Asia had not yet modernized and come to the fore. So US companies were selling like crazy.
    In an article like
    http://theconversation.com/baby-booms-and-busts-how-population-growth-spurts-affect-the-economy-46056
    …the author alludes to many other factors, but truth is, a (or the) baby boom was consequential rather than causal.
    Education makes you more knowledgeable, but not more intelligent. The IQ Gaussian distribution curve is cruel. The left of center population will have little future prospect for work. Even gardening could be automated. And if you’re not on the right side of the curve, you will not miraculously qualify to become an engineer, MD, or the like.
    Too many people in the same field is inefficient. We currently use or need one MD per 300, but we could already make that much more efficient.

  10. 10
    S.

    That was interesting. It’s so rare that people fully are present in life.  If people aren’t making their spouses and family their priority, then what is their priority?

    Deeper fidelity means saying “yes,” again every day, to being Radically Present to the life of this man or this woman you said you would love, honor and cherish.

    I think it starts with saying ‘yes’ every day even if you aren’t married yet.  Being present with yourself, without distraction. Not being afraid of solitude and really getting to know and love yourself. It’s not a one-day or one-year process.  If one can do that with themselves, it may be easier to do with a relationship once their partner enters their life.

  11. 11
    GoWiththeFlow

    “I magine Mrs.MD, a radiologist, who suspends her practice and professional activities for 3, 5 or 8 years. Or merely dabbles in the meantime. She might become a B reader (which I call “Is that kneecap in your nostril?”) as opposed to her former A reader status. Is this the MD you want for your diagnosis if you are ill? At the end of the “Mama vacation” period, should we simply have her resit her board exams? Like an athlete who takes time off, inactive people see skills reduced. THAT is my concern (or source of what you call disapproval) with those MDs”

    LOL!!!  You so don’t understand the practice of medicine.  Your statement echoes the sexist arguments medical schools and residency programs used to keep women out of the field in the 1970s:  Women will just get married/pregnant and quit so why let them in?  Can a mechanic take two years off to travel then be “trusted” to fix a car?  That’s a more property analogy than the world class athlete one you threw out.  Medical knowledge doesnt change rapidly enough that a doctor’s skills are obsolete that quickly.  Plus, in the States, to maintain medical licenses and be insurable for malpractice, docs have to document yearly continuing medical education as well as practice hours.  Completely ceasing practice, then coming back is extremely difficult.  BTW:  I know way more men physicians who retired, then came back because the bank account took a hit in the great recession than I do women physicians who took significant time off to raise kids.  It’s pretty simple, the women are usually providing a huge chunk of the family income.  It’s in the families’ best interest that she keep working.

    “Having said that, and as a lifetime single, your speculation about couple intimacy and proceedings can be faulty. I’ll grant you that my “conjecture” about motherhood can use a case-by-case review. But I do have a wide array of observations from many countries and different lifestyles and economic conditions.”

    As a single, no I have never been in a marriage, but I have had a few LTRs and a lot of couples relationship advice applies to other relationships as well.  Lead with love, give the benefit of the doubt, accept, appreciate, and try to ease your loved one’s burdens works wonders with siblings, parents, teen/adult children, and friends as well as spouses and romantic partners.  Being a parent, on the other hand, is more of an either or thing.  People either sign up for it or they don’t.

    “As to having other kids w/o a Dad in the picture, and this is a very personal view, a decision was made to bring them in this world w/o a Dad, but they had no voice or choice in the matter. A rationalization can be made that they were provided for and loved, but still, I have a problem with that.”

    I just love the “a decision was made” line of thinking.  As if sex drive is a higher functioning rational process, birth control is cheap, easily accessible and 100% foolproof, and abortion is readily available as well.  (FWIW, in the U.S. we’re likely 2-4 years away from having abortion be illegal in a huge chunk of this country)  Humans reproduce and are many times raised in situations that are less than the 100% level ideal.  The huge majority of them still turn out well enough.  For most of human history not having one or the other parent around, or even not having both parents at all, was a common occurrence.  The species still survived and thrived.  As a woman who’s mother died when I was a teen, I wish western academia and society at large considered that not having a mother around impacts girls, and boys as well for that matter.  Thing is, the huge majority of motherless kids, with some combo of a nurturing father and extended family support, will turnout fine.

    “As to the friend’s s.o. demanding that he contribute / participate, while she was doing nothing else at the time. . .”

    You know this?  Did you have a camera on her watching her every move?  Or is this what your friend reported to you?  His version of events.  And where does referring to her as a “princess,” as you did in a previous post, serve to help the situation?  Maybe if your friend took his wife’s concerns seriously, and didn’t start from the assumption that she’s being an unreasonable “princess,” they could negotiate a solution that will work for the both of them.

    As to babies and pensions, yes, growth is not driven by birthrate.  But the retirement systems in the U.S. were built and currently operate on the foundational belief that there will be way more people working and paying into the system than there will be people drawing on it.  That’s the reality here.

    It’s interesting, it’s seems as if yours, and a few other commenters, position is that the world would be better off if no one had children.  The judgement passed on the commenter who has 3 children was appalling considering she did not state at all that her kids were a burden. The “child free” people rightly don’t want to have their individual choices demeaned.  But some CF practitioners gleefully will turn around and bash adults that choose to have the “clutter” of children in their lives.

     

    1. 11.1
      KK

      GWTF,

      I applaud you for your choices. You’re a loving mom and I’m sure your children feel very blessed to have you as their mom.

  12. 12
    KK

    I especially liked this tidbit from the original article:

    “Except for the private porn habit, because, by definition, a thriving marriage is one wherein you will no longer find it interesting or necessary to cultivate a private sex life”.

    1. 12.1
      Adrian

      Hi KK,

      Just for my own personal clarification: are saying that you have no problem with the man or woman watching porn with or without their partner, you just don’t agree with keeping it a secret from their partner?

      1. 12.1.1
        KK

        Hi Adrian,

        I agree with what Kalas said. 100%.

    2. 12.2
      ScottH

      This paragraph of Kalas’ resonates with me:

      “It’s wrong to wake up in the middle of a marriage, shrug your shoulders, then passively and unilaterally decide you’re no longer interested in sex. That is an egregious infidelity. And it’s just plain mean.”

      As he states, infidelity isn’t just not porking someone else.

      1. 12.2.1
        ScottH

        Here’s a quote from another one of his columns about this topic:
        “The deliberate withholding of sex in marriage is no little thing. It’s huge. It’s consequential. I could even make an argument that it is hostile. Cruel. To render marriage sexless is to fundamentally change the marriage contract.
         
        Of course, I would affirm that no one should ever have sex they don’t want to have; but, when you find you don’t want to have sex with your spouse, then I would say you have a responsibility to explore that reluctance, to fix it, to bring every effort to the goal of healing whatever needs to be healed so that thriving sexual courtship might resume as soon as possible.”

        1. Henriette

          I generally agree with this.  Withholding sex is terrible; both a cause and a reflection of serious marital problems.  However, I think it’s easy to blame only at the person who doesn’t want sex whereas the fault might well lie with both partners.  For instance, the husband is critical of her body and behaviour; is it so strange that she doesn’t feel sexy when she’s with him?  Or the wife who is constantly angry and disappointed; I’m not sure I’d fault her spouse for not desiring sex with someone like that.

        2. Stacy2

          I agree with the premise but i disagree with the conclusion:

          ” I would say you have a responsibility to explore that reluctance, to fix it”

          I think more often than not, the onus is actually on the other person to fix whatever they’ve been doing that is turning their spouse off. The “refuser”spouse just has to be receptive. Assuming there’re no medical issues (such as depression or what not), healthy women want sex. We just don’t want bad sex with men who don’t put any effort into being charming, sexy, seductive towards us. This is the thing. If the husband thinks that “foreplay out of the window, i am in i am out, i am sleeping”, he should not act surprised that his wife will prefer going straight to sleeping. There’re many other issues that will also drive a woman’s libido down (a sink full of dirty dishes after a long workday being an example). Lack of compliments, lack of appreciation, etc. I would say that no woman just wakes up and decides she doesn’t want to have sex with her husband anymore. This is just the end result of marital discourse that started a while ago, but as usual most men are too oblivious to realize that. They literally don’t realize that something is wrong until either sex is withed, or divorce papers are served.

        3. ScottH

          The topic of sexless marriage is too complicated to generally assign blame to the other person.  Sometimes it’s the refuser who is to blame and sometimes it’s not.  Sure, if one partner lets him/herself go and becomes a selfish boor, then it’s very conceivable that their partner will find them repulsive.  Or, a person can withdraw because of internal issues that they are having.  I think usually when it gets to this point, the chances of resolving the issue are slim/none; otherwise, why would you have gotten to this point?  I think the burden is on the “aggrieved” party to begin the conversation with effective communication.  If their partner comes to the table for a constructive conversation, great.  If not, then put your seatbelt on because you’ll be in for a wild ride.  I think two healthy partners would not let it get to this point and it only takes one unhealthy partner to ruin a union (can I trademark that?).

        4. Stacy2

          “I think usually when it gets to this point, the chances of resolving the issue are slim/none; otherwise, why would you have gotten to this point?”

          Totally agree. This is why i say based on my observations that it takes 3-6 months from the date when people go for “couples therapy” until the date when divorce is filed. It’s too late.

  13. 13
    FG

    @ GoWithTheFlow #11

    I don’t demean people who want to have children. The context is HOW, with current demands on our time and stresses of 21st century life, to make the couple’s relationship work (as a starting point), even with kids in the equation (as a case b consideration)

    I don’t work in the medical field. MDs are in the IQ Z 1.3 to 2.0 range. Nobody below that range and certainly some higher than that, but on average, that’s a fair estimae confirmed by various studies. If I go on vacation for 2-3 weeks, it takes me a whole month to get my data crunching ability back to its normal level. At Z 3 tp 4, no need to get specific 🙂  That being said, you missed the point that in spite recceiving the same training / education / school, there ARE B readers. Or the appellation would not exist!

    Are you trolling or just throwing emotional banter when you mention the impact of not having a mother around? No one here (or anywhere) nor any even vague recollections point to a denial of such a fact. The reason why we don’t usually spend as much time on that side of the topic is simply that mothers ARE around. A few dilettantes, perhaps. A few cases of abandonment. But there is a large segment of the feminist movement who believes men superfluous in raising children, some fathers who disappear (most for bad reasons, or sheer stupidity, but a few are jsutified… a FEW), and when they are around, what they do is never quite enough. I’ m poking fun.

    As to that friend and colleague, his wife only works as a temp and I did specify she was on mat leave at the time, or had suspended work for a time. Suffice it to say that an emergency is one thing, I did mention “duty calls” somewhere on this page, no? And “I want you to…” XYZ is another, especially when not otherwise engaged. I called her princess. From various stories (and a few hands-free phone convos overheard in his car).

    Mothering is demanding, because it is continuous. It is not constant, though: a little here, a little there. Or was somebody else getting paid to take care of that for you and you missed that point? While I am not disputing that your kids may be stellar, I doubt that you did all yourself.  Nothing wrong, again.

    Years ago, we ran numbers (yes, using a chronometer by task duration). Not to demean the mother, not to provoke, and certainly unbeknownst to her. Actually, we applied our methods from other areas of our work.
    The pain is the round-the-clock aspect. And the requirement for selflessness. Cooking is not so demanding, and in a family environment,, frozen is common, and gourmet extremely rare as regular fare. Just as an example.

    Anyway, we’ lll agree to disagree, because no matter what I write, you’ll find a comeback. The propensity for modern women to be dissatisfied as homemakers is well documented.
    In fact, women are or feel, by and large, miserable. In spite of your thoughts on the matter, I had nothing to do with it! 🙂
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1218372/Why-women-miserable.html

    1. 13.1
      ScottH

      FG- I always find it interesting when someone aims ridiculous comments at GWTF like you did.  Everybody in the past who’s done what you did got trounced.  There are few people as well rounded, level-headed, and intelligent as she is.

      FG- you got trounced and don’t even know it.

  14. 14
    Nyght

    I find many of these comments asinine and Neanderthal-ish. Bottom line? No matter what your clutter or workload– work, kids, or otherwise– both parties in a relationship must do what’s necessary to keep the rship going and to stay active in it. Period. If that means that hubby is doing 50% of the housework and childrearing (not a revolutionary idea in a situation wherein BOTH are responsible for life’s upkeep) then that’s what needs to happen. If that means wifey needs to arrange play dates with the kids at a friend’s house or send the kids to grandmas for the weekend so that she has time for hubby, then that’s what needs to happen. If both need to cut down on being workaholics, then that’s what needs to happen.

    There’s no need for these snide asides about the inherently sucky nature of women or of childrearing. Both people in a couple need to put in 50% of the total household responsibilities (if they can), and they’ll find both their workload mitigated and their sex lives elevated. If you don’t get that, then I just don’t logically see how a relationship will be happy and successful for you.

    1. 14.1
      Morris

      Sounds reasonable. But to be a fair the partner(usually women but I’ve seen plenty of men as well) that feels the house is really theirs and the other partner is regulated to a garage or basement. Or the partner that feels the home needs to be spotless and things done their way(Dishes need to be done a certain way. Washing clothes needs to be done a certain way etc.). Or the partner that feels the kids need to have each day booked with activities. Really needs to change and learn to compromise as well.

       

      There is nothing equal about both partners doing equal work when the work is defined by one partner. I see it time and time again. One partner has a much higher standard. And those standards aren’t important to the other partner. A compromise would be to find something in between. But the partner with higher standards has a really hard time with this. ‘Happy wife, happy life.’ is a saying for a reason. And it sucks that it’s true. Both sides can do a bit more in a relationship.

  15. 15
    FG

    Well, it seems that part of the crowd believes in a model similar to…
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11142847/Women-down-your-tools-Why-its-finally-time-to-stop-doing-all-the-housework.html

    What I had read, and it was based on older US data crunched with a different question in mind,  was…
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/men-who-do-housework-have-less-sex/
    where one of the comments may be revealing…
    I was surprised that a major media would dare to make a reference to this study. Not surprisingly, a comment arguing that it should not be cited has already emerged. In my university, no study that dared to contradict feminist dogma (no matter how scientific)would ever get backed or published.
    My addition: Key word? DOGMA

    Whereas in the UK, where houses are doll-sized perhaps (read: tiny in comparison to the US, and a parallel could be drawn from Canada in terms of size, where average house sizes are perhaps NOT tiny, but definitely smaller than in the US)…

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11972672/Men-who-help-with-housework-have-more-and-better-sex.html

    Evan might note that in terms of confirmation bias, I’m rather objective in my research. 🙂

    Strange thing, a couple’s sexuality. From personal anecdotal evidence, some women wish to remain constantly in soft tender lovemaking, with no excursions outside that scope. Most women like a variation from soft to a little rough and a touch animalistic. And on the other end of the spectrum, a percentage of women likes dominating sex ALL the time. Which, from a male perspective, is rather tedious unless you are limited in “style” to only that aspect. No corroborating bits, here.

    When I state an opinion, I try to make allowances and explore the other side of the issue. A discussion or reflexion is usually not cut and dried. My comments explored various cases. Here’s a personal take on things: since I have no kids, and am not likely to shack up with someone who does, the likelihood of conflict with my partner is extremely low. I strongly believe in getting a large segment of household chores done by the cleaning lady, and the rest gets divided up.
    I cook (whether for myself or for two makes NO difference), and do so better than 95% of the women I’ve met in my life (although I would still like to get a few recipes off some of them).
    Currently, my gf lives in one house and I, in another. Cooking is the only occasionally shared task. Since my office is at home. and she works outside of home, plus she lives some ways off from FG central, I usually go to her place. Reason? Simple: she’s not tired of seeing her space by the time entertainment time comes around. She’s a very intelligent woman (readily demonstrated by the fact that she is dating ME LOL) and if and when we do shack up, can’t imagine we’ll have any problems in the division of work/chores/expenses.

    Less than obvious, and left unmentioned until now, I HAVE lived through a scenario that trended towards imbalance. My ex was never gainfully employed (or perhaps 3-4 weeks over 12 years), she stayed at home and dealt with the household. I really wanted her to work and make money, but try as I might, that never happened. High reluctance.  When she announced that she wanted me to do this, that and the other thing, I simplified the matter and pulled the plug. By then, because of her refusal to be active, my respect for her had dwindled, and with that any love or desire I had for her. Her demands just became “cherry on top of the sundae”. My assets were partly protected, so she got her nice payment on the way out, and that was it!

    So outside of the feminist rants, or opinion-based filtering, they work just fine when found.
    I would have NO interest in a relationship with a clear predominant lack of logic, misplaced emotions (as opposed to enriching ones), or distorted fact. However, your opinion is accurate: you and I, together, wouldn’t even get things off the ground. To each his own!

    Average sex is 8 minutes foreplay and 5-7 minutes coitus. That is apparently what people do! By those standards, I am an alien from outer space. And my partners over time voted for extraterrestrial practices. If living under the same roof condemns us to the average, I’ll opt out!

    Finding consensus on anything is impossible, and not just limited to disparities or divergence in gender-based opinion. We’ve grown too diverse. Even within a select group, where we attempt to create greater similarity (education, income, assets, etc.), coherence is seldom seen.  Keep that in mind!

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/emmajohnson/2015/04/20/study-proves-moms-spend-too-much-time-with-their-kids-liberates-working-moms-everywhere/#401a028f39f5

    http://www.bls.gov/TUS/CHARTS/HOUSEHOLD.HTM

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/03/14/men-women-work-time/1983271/

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/making-time-for-kids-study-says-quality-trumps-quantity/2015/03/28/10813192-d378-11e4-8fce-3941fc548f1c_story.html

  16. 16
    Gn

    Very profound and true…this is the new slogan for my next relationship to be radically present. I think it has been the cause of a lot of my suffering. Thanks so much for this article. 😘

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