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How does one handle a nonsupportive spouse/partner?

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Replies to: How does one handle a nonsupportive spouse/partner?

  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34239 replies379 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 15
    These are all heartfelt responses. We've all been there, at times. In fact, it's so traditional to get to a point where we think kid issues outrank the adult relationship. Dangerous surf.

    But I just want to note that @ucbalumnus hit a chord and gets a nod. Yes, this is what women have been doing for generations.

    Imo, btw, good counseling isn't finding the pro who takes sides. A needed component is self evaluation and broadening your own perspective.

    No one gets into a better college for taking the SAT before junior year is solidly underway. Most kids take it after first semester. No tip, no sheen, for taking it early, even if he does well.
    edited July 15
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  • mom2andmom2and 2879 replies19 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 15
    It is not unusual for one parent to be more involved in the day to day school stuff than the other (typically the mom), but it makes life easier if both parents are on the same page about the degree of parental involvement. August before junior year is early for the SAT and is before the PSAT that "counts" is taken. What is the point of having him take it now? Is it that school is so demanding he won't have time to focus on testing?

    My guess is you may have come here wanting support for your way of doing things. Without hearing your wife's side, it is hard to comment. Did you tell her that this particular time was needed for study before she invited the cousins over? Is it unusual for your family to see the cousins? Is this her family or yours? Did she tell you ahead of time they were coming so you could re-arrange the study time? Are you and she on the same page as far as target colleges?

    My advice would be to really look at what it bothering you and pick one area in which you want her support and then talk to her about it. in a calm, non-judgmental way and be sure to listen to what she has to say. You both will need to look at how you approach child rearing and compromise. I would also ask what your kids want - was your son upset that he missed study time? Does he feel overwhelmed with school, sports and now SAT prep?
    It sounds like you are in a generally good marriage with this rough spot. Hope you and your wife can work through this.
    edited July 15
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  • garlandgarland 16011 replies198 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Let me start with saying I have a lot of sympathy. I was the more involved parent and H was the medical professional with long, long hours. He did still participate more than you describe your wife, though (he was the math/chem/physics go to for questions; I handled writing, literature etc). That being said, I do think you have to figure out what you are good at or not, and not expect re-learning. I could no more help with trig or exponents than stand on my head, without hours and hours of study, which would be nuts. It wouldn't be me that needs to learn it, but my kid. If I'd needed to, I would have sent them to tutoring and/or school resources (I think a lot of people under-estimate the utility of after-school help from teachers.) I also think that studying for the SAT before junior year is not a priority, and if it is happening, you don't need to be the tutor on a rigid schedule.

    So I sympathize with feeling you are carrying the bigger burden, but I do think you can pull back on some of your self-expectations that cause resentment to your wife. I think the important question is --does she interact with the kids in other ways? Is she a participant in the family overall? Does she share at least partly in the emotional labor, overall family dynamic upkeep, etc? Those to me are much more importan than who's tutoring who, and when.
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  • Midwest67Midwest67 3030 replies13 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 15
    My bff is a therapist. The best thing she ever told me, pretty early in my marriage, is that when one partner overperforms, the other is able to underperform.

    Yes, however, I'd like to point out that the over-performers sometimes (not always!) expect others to rise to their standards and work load because their way is the RIGHT WAY TO DO THINGS.

    A simple example might be one person who MUST have the house spotless & has a low tolerance for a "lived in" house, whereas the other person might prefer not to clean constantly & has a much higher tolerance for the messiness of family life.

    The solution might be for the person who is madly cleaning with burning resentment to let that go. Hire a housekeeper to come in once a week for the big clean, and come to an agreement on daily picking up that both parties (& kids) can live with -- that might not be "good enough" for the person with high standards, and might be "too much still" for the person with lower standards, but suddenly it's a solvable problem.
    edited July 15
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23031 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If your wife doesn't want to do the tutoring or driving to sports and events, you can always hire someone to help you out. Do what you want to do and get someone else to drive to school, sign up fo SAT tutoring, have someone come to the house for essay writing help. If you want the cousins to go home, look at the cousin and say "Go Home!" (or tell your son he needs to go study and just do it.
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  • RiversiderRiversider 848 replies101 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited July 15
    1. Parenting is a shared privilege/responsibility, it doesn’t matter who earns more or less. She should be helping out but if you have more time/interest, it’s okay to do more. They’ll be done with this phase and gone to college in few years then you can take up all the hobbies or new jobs you want.

    2. You are a helicopter parent, make kids more autonomous, they’ll be better students and better adults.

    3. Other than some random problems, studying is their responsibility, they are high schoolers not second graders, they should know how to find online resources, how to approach teachers and classmates to help with difficult concepts. You may like playing school at home but clearly she doesn’t and just because she was a good student, doesn’t mean she can be a good teacher.

    4. She may not verbalize it but clearly she resent school as the only focus for the family.

    5. If she invites someone and kids need to study, it’s fine for them to study in their rooms, at the library or at a friend’s house. It just shouldn’t be a norm to have people over on school nights or weekends before big tests.

    56. Talk about it. Tell her that you need her input to make life more efficient so you and the kids are more relaxed but at the same time doing what’s needed.

    7. Show her some love and find ways to make her feel involved in daily process as advisor/cheerleader , without making her uncomfortable by assigning her tutoring chores. When people are involved, they are more likely to value what you are doing and offer to pitch in.

    8. Show kids some love and good times which have no connection to school, college or success.

    9. Don’t put too much emphasis on SAT, good students score well with self-study, average students can’t make merit scholars by crazy practice.
    10. Go easy on kids, don’t push them too much.

    edited July 15
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  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1497 replies14 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It might be my stereotypical view that typical Asian families often have more “tiger moms” than “dads”. Who cooks and do house chores at home?
    I don’t think you need couple therapy, I think you might want to have regular dinner dates with just you and you DW, talk about work/kids and ask her opinions about kids’ education. Join her for TV nights once in a while, you need some downtime too. Ask your S21/23 whether they want you to work with them academically? Maybe they don’t need your help anymore/so regularly?
    Good luck.
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  • astute12astute12 674 replies9 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited July 15
    Like hiring a weekly house cleaner, hiring an SAT/ACT tutor can be a marriage saver! These tutors know the test and how to prep for it. It isn't just the problem solving it is time management as well. If you can afford it, hire a private tutor to come to the house. We did this and it was truly a good thing. Also, let your wife know how you feel. Arrange a date night, get out and have a serious discussion about your unhappiness and how to change things. Resentment is a marriage killer. Good luck and keep being the good parent you seem to be!
    edited July 15
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  • TempeMomTempeMom 2970 replies25 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    You obviously care very much for your children and their future. I don't think, however, that what your wife is doing necessarily means she doesn't or that she is unfairly leaving it all to you. My husband and I parent very differently and I am definitely the one who expects more independence from the children. My husband recently got a book called "The Gardener and the Carpenter" which pretty much sums it up -- I let the garden grow with occasional trimming/staking and he wants to build the kid from the ground up. Please accept this as another data point. Best to you and your family.
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  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom 5262 replies241 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Or, do what we did — abdicate entirely and send them to boarding school. Regain the adult focus in your life. ;)
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  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1497 replies14 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @MaineLonghorn
    I love that philosophy, similar to teach the child to fish, but better, stealing it 😀
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  • MWolfMWolf 1521 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @MaineLonghorn The issue is less the OP's child raising practices, and more that he and his W are not on the same page. While he may indeed be a helicopter parent and that may very well be contributing to the issue, the fact that his W, rather than have a serious discussion and hammer out a shared strategy, is instead, sabotaging his effort, means that the major issue is between the parents, not between the OP and his kids.

    As others have pointed out, the OP may be overcompensating for what he sees and his wife's unwillingness to contribute, while his W may be overcompensating for what she sees as the OP's over-involvement.

    Until the two of them are deciding together on a strategy for education, and until the division of labor is explicit and agreed upon by both parties, any advice we provide about child education is premature and doesn't really focus on the actual issue.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 38502 replies2108 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    That is all true. Just pointing out that the wife may not have a faulty view of things as the OP seems to think. They definitely need to come to an understanding.
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