Dear Thelma: I resent my wife for treating me like dirt

  • Family
  • Sunday, 22 Dec 2019

After much consideration, I have decided to write to you as I have probably just exhausted all possible avenues that I could rely on to vent my troubles. I have been married for six years, and if I am honest, marriage life hasn’t done much for me nor has it made me any happier. If anything, it has made me depressed and disappointed.

Both my wife and I are working adults. We do not have any children, and I have decided not to have any even though my in-laws are pressuring us about it because I already have my hands full.

Briefly, ever since we moved into our matrimonial home six years ago, my wife has contributed close to nothing in terms of house chores. I have been doing everything since Day One. She cooks but never cleans and will almost definitely make a mess out of the kitchen. I am a little “OCD” when it comes to cleanliness, organisation and order while she is the complete opposite so she practically drives me up the roof five days a week. We used to argue a lot about this but we talked and compromised but it never lasted as old habits die hard.

Realising nothing will change, I tend now to just take it upon myself to clean up after her to avoid arguments but I feel like this is harming our relationship in a way that I fear we cannot reconcile. I have tried talking to her but she just won’t change; it has been six years.

I feel like she’s treating our matrimonial home like a rent-free Airbnb lodging (since I am the one paying all the bills) where she just comes, freshens up, makes a mess and leaves. I feel like I am suffocating because I cannot get any rest in my own home. There are even times when I don’t even feel like going home or seeing her because I feel so helpless.

I initially planned to go for a short holiday just to let off some steam (my last holiday was two years ago) and out of respect, I asked for my wife’s opinion but she basically said “No” in an indirect manner and tried to guilt-trip me into abandoning the plan. For the record, she goes for holidays several times a year with her friends, unannounced, and I don’t make a fuss about it but I just cannot understand why she is doing this to me. I feel like I have committed a crime and my sentence is marriage and my prison is my home.


You’re unhappy, you’ve had conversations and the promises for lasting change haven’t happened. I’m very sorry but the way you describe your situation, it sounds as if you’ve exhausted your love for your wife. Now all that’s left is resentment.

Consult a lawyer and end the marriage.

But I think you really need to consider where you went wrong because I don’t like what I’m reading. You write about housework, money and holidays; I’m suspecting abuse and control issues.

Having a different cleaning standard from a partner is fairly common. But making yourself a martyr over it is not the solution. You might have done your part and made your wife pay for a contractor to do her share. Why didn’t you?

People are not clueless about housework: they pretend to be so because they’re lazy, entitled or bullies. I would suggest that in your marriage, housework was a vehicle for power and control. I’m saying that because of the way you deal with holidays. Why can your wife go on breaks but you can’t? That’s just insanely unfair.

Also, a marriage is a partnership where all the dirty and boring tasks are shared, and money for living is contributed to by both parties. How come you’re paying all the bills? Again, so totally unfair that it strikes me as abusive.

I don’t see you even sitting down together at the end of the day and having some quality personal time together. I know you’re fed up now but did you ever have any kind of loving, respectful connection? Because your letter reads as if you’re an ATM crossed with a maid.

So, I think you need to have a good think about what you want out of a relationship and how you might avoid repeating mistakes the next time round.

As you won’t be paying for a partner anymore, invest a little bit in a therapist and have some good honest probing conversations about your marriage, your previous relationships, what kind of expectations you picked up from watching your parents relate and so on.

Is something bothering you? Do you need a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on? Thelma is here to help. Email or write to Dear Thelma, c/o StarLifestyle, Menara Star, 15, Jalan 16/11,46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR FULL NAME, ADDRESS AND A PSEUDONYM. No private correspondence will be entertained. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, usefulness, fitness for any particular purpose or other assurances as to the opinions and views expressed in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses suffered directly or indirectly arising from reliance on such opinions and views.

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