"When My Mother Died, Our Marriage Fell Apart"

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Her Turn, continued

"Before long, everything Zach did seemed to enrage me. I know I have a bad temper that I need to control. Still, it was maddening to return from visiting my mom, upset and needing to talk, only to have Zach pull away. 'She's fine,' he'd say. 'She'll get through it.' I was mystified by his lack of concern. He loved my mother! They would talk for hours about all sorts of things.

"And I'll never forgive the way he acted when she died. I called Zach as soon as it happened, and he said, 'I have to orally defend my dissertation tomorrow. What do you want me to do?' I was so angry I slammed the phone down. He ended up flying out -- the department was happy to give him a postponement -- and delivered an eloquent and moving eulogy at her funeral. But to this day, I feel betrayed.

"My life is just a perpetual treadmill. I get home from work, make dinner, clean up, throw a load of laundry into the washer, fold the dry clothes from the night before and pack Lily's lunch for the next day. Where's Zach, you ask? Having a grand old time with Lily. It never occurs to him that there might be something he could do.

"Zach claims my priorities are all wrong, that it's more important to hang out with our daughter than vacuum. Well, of course it is -- in theory. But houses don't clean themselves and groceries don't magically appear on pantry shelves. If I ask for help, he either doesn't hear me or says 'in a little while,' which translates to 'never.' He'll agree to something -- like getting our sprinkler system fixed -- yet weeks will go by without a single move on his part. When I reach the boiling point I start screaming. Zach then promises to be more attentive, but nothing ever changes. I feel as if I'm stuck in the movie Groundhog Day. I'd like to keep our marriage together, but I don't want to wake up at 50 and realize I'm still miserable."

Continued on page 3:  His Turn


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