Dear Annie: Husband feels unappreciated

Annie Lane

Dear Annie: I’ve been married for 26 years. I have a 24-year-old son at home on the autism spectrum, and his 4-year-old daughter, of whom he has full custody. They get by with my help, and money, of course.

I have always been a very loving and supportive husband. I cook, clean, do laundry and whatever else needs to be done. I’m getting older now and developing arthritis. For a while, I would push through the pain to pamper my wife. Now, when we sit down, she throws her leg on me and says, “Rub my feet.” I didn’t mind when she appreciated it, but now that she expects it, this ruins it for me. If I say no, she gets upset.

When I try to talk to her about it, she turns it back on me and says that I shouldn’t blame her for my problems. She said that since I’ve been doing it so long, she just expects it. This is not very comforting. She said, “Why don’t you have some alone time and do something that makes you happy?”

For 26 years, I’ve never had alone time. I go to work, and then go home to my family. If I tell my wife I want to go somewhere by myself, she assumes I’m going to meet another woman. Plus, after 26 years of only thinking about my family, I have no clue what makes me happy. I just know I’m not. — Resentment

Dear Resentment: No one likes to feel unappreciated. Your wife ordering you to rub her feet sounds like she is acting more like a tyrant than a considerate, loving partner. Then again, you have allowed this reign of terror for quite some time.

Instead of brewing like a little teakettle that is going to blow, just tell her exactly how you feel. It is understandable that her lack of appreciation has made you not want to do nice things for her, but you have to tell her that. Couples therapy could help ease this conversation, so that pent-up resentments could be dealt with calmly.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today