"He Acts Like a Child"

Donna is tired of Leo's irresponsibility. He thinks she needs to lighten up. Can this marriage be saved?
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Her Turn

Still a Kid

"I've had it with Leo," 39-year-old Donna declared tearfully, her slim frame tense with anger. "Something just snapped last week when the bank called about our mortgage payment. I told them the check must have been lost, but I knew better. When I confronted Leo, he said he'd mailed it. Then he confessed it was in his briefcase along with other bills he'd 'forgotten.'

"We've been married twenty years, and I know he'll probably never change. He is so irresponsible. He has had a management position at the same corporation for 25 years but he constantly messes up our personal finances. He does the same thing with his health. He's diabetic, and I have to monitor his diet and medication. If he really cared, he'd act like a grown-up.

"For the first time I think I can be on my own. My attitude started to change when I was diagnosed with colon cancer three years ago. That was a few months after finding out that Leo was seriously diabetic. I had been taking care of everything for him, from regulating his diet to picking up his prescriptions. But when I was diagnosed, I was on my own.

"I've always had to be the one in charge. My folks both worked long hours in a factory. My younger brother had severe asthma and got all the attention, while I took care of the house and fixed all the meals. I got blamed for everything that went wrong. My mother was always yelling at me, and my father and brother constantly put me down.

"The only way I got any praise was to do everything right. I got good grades and wanted to go to college, but my parents said I'd just get married, and besides, I'd think I was too good for them if I were educated. So I took secretarial training and dreamed of the day I could move out.

Stuck in College

"I was 19 when I was hired in the secretarial pool at Leo's company. I liked him immediately. He was so different from my father: college-educated, nice manners.

"We started talking at the office Christmas party, and I was thrilled when he asked me out. We were married four months later. I realize now we didn't know each other very well. We had problems right from the start. Leo insisted on handling our money, but he never paid the bills on time or wanted me to know our bank balance. Whenever I got upset, he'd make some lame excuse, like 'I don't want you to worry.'

"Occasionally, he's really thoughtless, like coming home from work several hours late without even calling. Dinner is ruined and I'm hopping mad. Then he apologizes-- but does it again.

Continued on page 2:  Her Turn, continued


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