"He Never Comes Through for Me"

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"We fell in love that night"

"Slow dancing together a few weeks later, Tom looked into my eyes and said, 'I don't want to ever let go.' We both agree that we fell in love that night. Tom had everything I wanted in a husband: intelligence, sensitivity and, seemingly, a strong work ethic -- he was putting himself through graduate school with scholarships and a part-time job at a bookstore. We got married after he'd completed his master's degree; I still had a year to go. While I finished my thesis, he substitute taught and worked in a bookstore. Newlywed life was hectic but mostly happy. It wasn't until my final semester that Tom's passive side surfaced. We'd agreed to move to his hometown, so I figured he'd use his connections to pave the way. But Tom just waited for job leads to come through the university's career development office, and there weren't many. I was worried about money. Late one night, as I wrote cover letters and he watched reruns on cable, I told him how disappointed I was. 'You're not the man I thought you were,' I said. 'It looks like I'll have to take care of you.' I felt guilty the moment I said it, but he just shot me a dirty look and changed the channel.

"After I found a job I asked my new boss if she knew of any openings for math teachers. She reviewed Tom's resume and helped him land six interviews. Ultimately, Tom found a position at a top public high school, where he still works.

"I soon discovered Tom wasn't an equal partner on the home front, either. We supposedly divide the chores, and Tom is in charge of the lawn, house repairs, taking out the trash, and car maintenance. But he either waits until the last minute -- the kitchen trash can overflows before he dumps it in the garbage bin outside -- or won't do the chores unless I nag. A few times, when our front lawn looked like a jungle, I came home from work to find a neighbor cutting it! I was unbelievably humiliated, but Tom just shrugged and told me I was overreacting.

"Last month, before I left for a three-week business trip, I asked Tom to pay the bills, do laundry, and keep the house neat. He assured me that he would. Unfortunately, I came home to find unpaid bills strewn across the kitchen counter, dirty laundry on the bedroom floor, and filthy dishes in the sink. But worst of all, he hadn't mailed the adoption paperwork, which I'd asked him to do. I had finalized everything before I left; we were waiting only for a copy of my birth certificate, which was to be delivered by FedEx. All he had to do was clip it to the rest of the paperwork and mail the envelope. Easy, right? I asked him about this every time I phoned home, and he told me the birth certificate hadn't arrived. When I got back, there was the FedEx package sitting on the counter, unopened! I just lost it. 'I can't believe you didn't do anything,' I said, tears welling in my eyes. 'I'm angry, hurt and disappointed. If I can't trust you to mail some documents, how can I trust you to feed our baby or pack a diaper bag?' Tom claimed he was afraid of messing up the forms and wanted us to finish them together. He also said he was too exhausted to care for the house.

"Well, I'm exhausted, too -- mentally and physically -- from having to do everything. I hate nagging him and I feel overwhelmed and alone. I still love my husband, but I'm terrified that I'll never be able to count on him, and I don't have the energy to take care of two children -- Rebecca and Tom."

Continued on page 3:  His Turn


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