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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I feel like my take charge executive wife is treating me like an employee and I’m not sure how to handle it.

Short version: I’m a high school English teacher who usually works at a camp all summer but can’t this year due to family commitments. I have secured a job teaching a one week course in July (for about $1200). I’ve also applied for another virtual teaching job, and asked a contractor friend if I could help out with kitchen demolitions. I planned to refinish the kitchen cabinets and reseal the deck in the interim. Today, in regards to these summer plans, my wife said, “I’d like to solidify a plan straight away…” Why is it so important to her that we need to solidify a plan for what I’ll do this summer? I get paid 12 months, she makes more than double my salary and we aren’t desperate for the modest money I’ll likely make doing summer work (though of course it’ll help). It feels like she is arbitrarily taking charge and I have little recourse. I don’t know how to respond. I need perspective, wisdom, and help!

Backstory (if interested):
My wife of 19 yrs. is a classic woman executive. She’s worked exceptionally hard for a seat at the table at which she still isn’t always heard. She’s responsible for a lot in the office and she takes charge of her staff to ensure it all gets done. Taking charge is kind of her thing, the kids and me, at the family reunion, in the grocery store with strangers. She’s most comfortable when she’s in control (can be very uncomfortable when she’s not). Her impatience also has a hair-trigger. I tend to stay in my lane outside of work. I have no desire to insert myself or take charge of things that aren’t directly in my purview. I also suffer with depression and anxiety that often limits my productivity at home. This is a consistent source of friction for us. She feels overwhelmed working full time and “doing everything for the business of our family” I don’t take enough initiative, don’t complete enough tasks, don’t follow-up/through enough or in a timely enough fashion. She is often very critical of and sometimes insulting as a result. I’m often very defensive and feel like her employee. Our marriage has almost always been tenuous. Resentment lingers in the air like cat pee at our house—don’t always notice the smell but it’s always there. I’m in behavioral therapy and take medication. I’m getting better at my part, but it’s a process.
 

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I feel like my take charge executive wife is treating me like an employee and I’m not sure how to handle it.

Short version: I’m a high school English teacher who usually works at a camp all summer but can’t this year due to family commitments. I have secured a job teaching a one week course in July (for about $1200). I’ve also applied for another virtual teaching job, and asked a contractor friend if I could help out with kitchen demolitions. I planned to refinish the kitchen cabinets and reseal the deck in the interim. Today, in regards to these summer plans, my wife said, “I’d like to solidify a plan straight away…” Why is it so important to her that we need to solidify a plan for what I’ll do this summer? I get paid 12 months, she makes more than double my salary and we aren’t desperate for the modest money I’ll likely make doing summer work (though of course it’ll help). It feels like she is arbitrarily taking charge and I have little recourse. I don’t know how to respond. I need perspective, wisdom, and help!

Backstory (if interested):
My wife of 19 yrs. is a classic woman executive. She’s worked exceptionally hard for a seat at the table at which she still isn’t always heard. She’s responsible for a lot in the office and she takes charge of her staff to ensure it all gets done. Taking charge is kind of her thing, the kids and me, at the family reunion, in the grocery store with strangers. She’s most comfortable when she’s in control (can be very uncomfortable when she’s not). Her impatience also has a hair-trigger. I tend to stay in my lane outside of work. I have no desire to insert myself or take charge of things that aren’t directly in my purview. I also suffer with depression and anxiety that often limits my productivity at home. This is a consistent source of friction for us. She feels overwhelmed working full time and “doing everything for the business of our family” I don’t take enough initiative, don’t complete enough tasks, don’t follow-up/through enough or in a timely enough fashion. She is often very critical of and sometimes insulting as a result. I’m often very defensive and feel like her employee. Our marriage has almost always been tenuous. Resentment lingers in the air like cat pee at our house—don’t always notice the smell but it’s always there. I’m in behavioral therapy and take medication. I’m getting better at my part, but it’s a process.
Remember you're a husband and not a minion. Your W's self image at work isn't a license to try and be a dictator with her H.

Good friendly communication is called for and that's ok.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just tell her your plan is to play it by ear. Just because she wants a plan doesn't mean you have to give her bullet points
Remember you're a husband and not a minion. Your W's self image at work isn't a license to try and be a dictator with her H.

Good friendly communication is called for and that's ok.
If we were good at good friendly communication I wouldn’t be desperately seeking advice here.
 

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I feel like my take charge executive wife is treating me like an employee and I’m not sure how to handle it.

Short version: I’m a high school English teacher who usually works at a camp all summer but can’t this year due to family commitments. I have secured a job teaching a one week course in July (for about $1200). I’ve also applied for another virtual teaching job, and asked a contractor friend if I could help out with kitchen demolitions. I planned to refinish the kitchen cabinets and reseal the deck in the interim. Today, in regards to these summer plans, my wife said, “I’d like to solidify a plan straight away…” Why is it so important to her that we need to solidify a plan for what I’ll do this summer? I get paid 12 months, she makes more than double my salary and we aren’t desperate for the modest money I’ll likely make doing summer work (though of course it’ll help). It feels like she is arbitrarily taking charge and I have little recourse. I don’t know how to respond. I need perspective, wisdom, and help!

Backstory (if interested):
My wife of 19 yrs. is a classic woman executive. She’s worked exceptionally hard for a seat at the table at which she still isn’t always heard. She’s responsible for a lot in the office and she takes charge of her staff to ensure it all gets done. Taking charge is kind of her thing, the kids and me, at the family reunion, in the grocery store with strangers. She’s most comfortable when she’s in control (can be very uncomfortable when she’s not). Her impatience also has a hair-trigger. I tend to stay in my lane outside of work. I have no desire to insert myself or take charge of things that aren’t directly in my purview. I also suffer with depression and anxiety that often limits my productivity at home. This is a consistent source of friction for us. She feels overwhelmed working full time and “doing everything for the business of our family” I don’t take enough initiative, don’t complete enough tasks, don’t follow-up/through enough or in a timely enough fashion. She is often very critical of and sometimes insulting as a result. I’m often very defensive and feel like her employee. Our marriage has almost always been tenuous. Resentment lingers in the air like cat pee at our house—don’t always notice the smell but it’s always there. I’m in behavioral therapy and take medication. I’m getting better at my part, but it’s a process.
Why do you have a problem sharing with your wife what you plan to do this summer? Seems like a no-brainer to me.
 

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I’d have a serious problem with your wife if she worked for me and if her attitude at work matches her attitude at home then I’m not surprised she’s not being heard. She sounds like the proverbial ball buster.
You don’t realise it but she’s grinding you down. It’s time for you to take a stand here because otherwise you are going to end up with serious mental health issues.
 

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My H and I have to remind each other that we are NOT at work and we need to not use a bossy tone with each other. I am not his assistant and he is not my employee. No one is anyone's boss and using that tone creates resentment. But when things are tense or you're in a bad mood, you can slip and be rude. It's important NOT to do that and to apologize when it happens.
 

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Maybe you could try this:

“Hey sweet cheeks, the movie is I Know What You Did LAST Summer not THIS Summer. Now why don’t you run along and maybe grab me a cold beer from the fridge. Thanks hon!”

Ok maybe not…

Actually instead of employee her treatment sounds more like a mother nagging a son.

I solved my problem by moving out and largely ignoring her.

So you could also do that.

Another possibility is you go shock and awe. The other way to get rid of someone asking you to do something is to run circles around them and destroy them. So let’s say they want A, B, and C. You do those, but then you also do all the other letters of the alphabet at the same time and ask for feedback on them because now you’re blocked. Bossy nags hate this, especially if you bury them deep because they’re already so busy! This works maybe 99% of the time but it won’t work on the 1% that are truly exceptional. They’ll bury you back but twice as bad. I’m guessing your wife doesn’t fall into the 1%.
 

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If we were good at good friendly communication I wouldn’t be desperately seeking advice here.
So, you've just provided an example of your defensive or combative conversational strategy.

Don't continue that approach as a general rule with TAM or your W. Neither will be productive.

There is a lot of support here if you have the ability to discuss without hostility.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Remember you're a husband and not a minion. Your W's self image at work isn't a license to try and be a dictator with her H.

Good friendly communication is called for and that's ok.
Why do you have a problem sharing with your wife what you plan to do this summer? Seems like a no-brainer to me.
I don’t have a problem sharing. I have a problem convincing her the plan is viable, valuable, respectable, reasonable…
 

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Taking charge is kind of her thing, the kids and me, at the family reunion, in the grocery store with strangers. She’s most comfortable when she’s in control (can be very uncomfortable when she’s not). Her impatience also has a hair-trigger. I tend to stay in my lane outside of work. I have no desire to insert myself or take charge of things that aren’t directly in my purview. I also suffer with depression and anxiety that often limits my productivity at home. This is a consistent source of friction for us. She feels overwhelmed working full time and “doing everything for the business of our family” I don’t take enough initiative, don’t complete enough tasks, don’t follow-up/through enough or in a timely enough fashion. She is often very critical of and sometimes insulting as a result. I’m often very defensive and feel like her employee.
A couple of things don't add up here. You say she's most comfortable when she's in control yet she constantly complains that she is overwhelmed 'doing everything for the business of our family'. By your own admission you 'stay in your own lane' and avoid taking charge. Your wife complains that you don't do enough and you don't complete or follow through on tasks. Am I missing something here? Like maybe she doesn't really want to be in charge all the time at home? She probably feels like she has to because nobody else will.
 

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That would likely trigger Armageddon.
Of course it would. So you'll cower ad she'll continue to control. Until, and unless, you are willing to face her ire and stand up to her, the dynamic will continue. If she's not going to change, it's incumbent on you to change.

As it stands, your marriage sounds miserable to me. Have you ever considered leaving?
 

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I don’t have a problem sharing. I have a problem convincing her the plan is viable, valuable, respectable, reasonable…
That's a tough spot. It will help your whole situation if when you have a plan that works for you, just share that once with the W and move on.
I'll assume you're not excluding her as you're creating plans that work.
But I sense it will be hard for you to stand firm on what you think is good overall for both even if it's not 100% what she wants.

Emphasis on sharing plan then standing firm, don't have to keep rehashing. The rehashing over and over even if she keeps bringing it up will only worsen things.

Compromise happens when both parties don't get everything they want but enough.

Hang in there. Not being her employee but a H and taking a stand will bring you the benefits you want.
 

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If we were good at good friendly communication I wouldn’t be desperately seeking advice here.
Have you ever put your foot down and just said "hey babe, I don't feel like we are a team here. I almost feel like you're my boss. This isn't what I signed up for when I married you"....then see what she says.

But you have to have some kind of a backbone here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just tell her your plan is to play it by ear. Just because she wants a plan doesn't mean you have to give her bullet points
Playing it by ear is not a viable option.
A couple of things don't add up here. You say she's most comfortable when she's in control yet she constantly complains that she is overwhelmed 'doing everything for the business of our family'. By your own admission you 'stay in your own lane' and avoid taking charge. Your wife complains that you don't do enough and you don't complete or follow through on tasks. Am I missing something here? Like maybe she doesn't really want to be in charge all the time at home? She probably feels like she has to because nobody else will.
Yes. She has mentioned that she’s in charge by default although she doesn’t respond well to not being in charge. When I do things in a way she wouldn’t she says, “I knew I should have just done it myself”
 
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