"He Used to Be a Hunk, Now He's Just a Whiner"

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Glenn's Turn

I love Sheila's cooking -- but by the time she gets home a fancy meal is the last thing I care about. I've spent the day running after two small children and cleaning up mess after mess. What I really need is some time to unwind. I'd like us to sit down together, have a glass of wine, and talk about our days. But when Sheila goes off to make one of her masterpieces, I'm stuck doing child care for another couple of hours.

And the fact is, we should be spending less on food -- our income is half of what it used to be. Plus we paid so much for fertility treatments that we're still trying to dig out of the hole. When I see our grocery bills and look at our credit card statements, it's hard to enjoy eating all those exotic meals.

I've told her I'd be happy with rice and beans, but she reacts as if I'm attacking her. Actually, she attacks me. When she starts in I walk away. I'm not going to be drawn into a fight.

It's true that I come to bed late, but not because I'm sulking -- that's the only time I can get a little space for myself. As for finding time to exercise, forget it. Sheila's lucky -- she can go to the gym every day during lunch. I don't have a lunch hour. She may be willing to watch the kids so I can go biking every now and then, but that's not going to get me back in shape. Besides, my old bike really does need to be replaced. But since I'm not earning a paycheck I don't feel comfortable spending money on stuff like that.

I really am grateful to Sheila for letting me stay home with the twins, even if I don't always show it. My own father was never there for me when I was a boy and I swore I'd do things differently. Thanks to Sheila I've been able to keep my promise. In some ways this is much more fulfilling than my old job.

But I feel like I've given up too much in exchange. I barely have a life anymore, beyond making sure that everyone else's needs are met. I'm at the end of my rope and I wish she wouldn't blow up in my face whenever I even hint at what's bothering me. If we don't talk anymore, it's because I've learned it's safest to keep my mouth shut.

Continued on page 3:  The Counselor's Turn


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