Feel familiar?

via Giphy

Sometimes I suspect my husband can do more than he says.

When I ask him to help a little bit with the chores, or even just cleaning up after himself, he can’t find the energy. But when his friends invite him out, he manages to rally for a few hours of fun.

I’m grateful that he has such loyal, wonderful friends. I’m glad he can still get out and have fun while he recovers – and it does seem promising that he’ll be back to work in a few months. I understand that when you have limited energy you have to carefully choose what to spend it on and certainly helping with the chores is not an enticing task.

I understand those things, yet it leaves me feeling like he has forgotten me. I am not recovering from an injury, I have much more energy than he does right now. But we all have limited energy and limited time. I have things besides chores that I would prefer to do. There are lots of things I would have rather done than the unpleasant parts of caring for him and running the house and earning money to pay the bills for the past few months. Yet they all fall on me.

When he was unable to contribute, that was fine. I love him and we each do the best we can. Right now it feels like he’s not doing the best he can. He resisted my taking care of everything at first. Now he’s grown a little too comfortable with me taking care of everything for him.

He’ll never be back to normal, I know. Soon he’ll be as recovered as he’ll ever be and he’ll have the ability to take care of himself. Even now, he’s back to doing the things he was never comfortable with me doing. The things he was never so enthusiastic about doing still fall on me.

These months of caregiving have undone the women’s revolution. I’ve been asking for him to do more and more as he’s recovering. I’ve been checking with his treatment team to see what he can do and what he’s not quite ready for yet. I’ve been starting out gentle and slowly letting him know that returning to doing his share is not optional. He’s refusing to take the hints, so I’m having to get more blunt with my requests. He’s full of excuses for why he can’t help with our shared responsibilities.

Marriage is a partnership. I don’t think both shares have to be even. We all have our strengths and our preferences. Sometimes one person can’t contribute the way they used to and some people give back in different ways. But we need to find a new balance that works for both of us.

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