Why He’s Blind to All the Extra Work

Christmas means way more work for most women and, usually, her workload goes up more than his. This is especially true if the couple has pre-teen children and/or Christmas is at their place.

Why He's Blind to All the Extra Work

You would think he would see this. You would think he would offer a hand rather than sitting on the couch watching football or talking guns with uncle Rufas. And because you think he should see it and do something, you get upset.

Recently the young adult guy who was living next to us was working on some mechanical project. Lori suggested I go offer to help him. But I didn’t do that because I knew it would sound to him like I thought he needed help. Instead, I took out the trash, which gave me an excuse to walk by him and say, “Give me a yell if I can help”. I see this regularly because we live on ten acres with several other adult men. We are all willing to help and requests for help happen, but we all play by the guy rules.

You see, there are rules here. Most guys will ask for help when they need it (or maybe slightly after they need it). If they don’t ask, they don’t want the help, or they don’t think it would be fair to ask for help. Offering to help is fine, but suggesting someone needs your help is saying they aren’t capable or are doing it wrong.

Odds are your husband expects you to play by these rules. But you’re playing by female rules. 

If you want his help, ask. Don’t just say, “I could use some help” – give him something specific. Also, give him an idea of when you need it done and why you need it by then. Then don’t remind him unless he goes past the time he needs to get started.

This is not a guarantee of getting all the help you want, but it will work better than saying nothing and getting upset that he’s playing by male rules.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and this is how guys roll.

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11 Comments on “Why He’s Blind to All the Extra Work

  1. Life is much easier once I started speaking “man” with hubby. My only issue is that I fight being resentful that I am the one who has to bend and alter and change and do the work, and I feel it reinforces the pervasive cultural idea that anything feminine is inherently wrong somehow.

    If I take a step back I can see that hubby does indeed treat me differently than his fellow males and has learned “woman,” and more specifically “libl.” It wasn’t really until after I “manned up,” though. But maybe that is because the woman was too much for him to handle and carried a lot of baggage since his mom used her woman to manipulate.

    This is part of what made me toss Debi Pearl’s book. She made it sound like men absolutely love our feminine wiles and damsel ways. Use them to stroke his ego and get him to perform in knightly ways. As I read that I remember thinking, “no way is my man buying that! It would just tick him off more!!”

    I had to move some fencing on our farm recently and it was heavy, cumbersome, and taller than me. Hubby just stood there watching me struggle. I started getting livid because he wasn’t helping me while I was obviously struggling. But, I never asked for help, either. He just watched. I made a quip, and he responded with how he knew I was strong enough and could do it on my own and how sexy it was watching me work like that. What? I thought men found women in beautifully done up feminine repose doing needlework or something sexy. Not when she is in work clothes, covered in livestock yuck, struggling with a roll of fencing and cussing under her breath.

    • @Libl – “Life is much easier once I started speaking “man” with hubby. My only issue is that I fight being resentful that I am the one who has to bend and alter and change and do the work, and I feel it reinforces the pervasive cultural idea that anything feminine is inherently wrong somehow.”

      A lot of men would say the same thing – with the genders reversed. I see more and more of that, and it’s no less wrong than the reverse.

      As for your last paragraph, living in rural Eastern Washinton I know a lot of men who are attracted to a woman who is able to do some things we generally think of as masculine.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Christmas Expectations Can Ruin Christmas!My Profile

    • Some men like the girly thing, and most of these are younger guys. Stop listening to women about what men want. Helpless, needy women are a pain in the ass to deal with.

      • So the best advice my oldest teen son gave me a couple years ago (I have all sons) was this, “Mom…you’re trying to figure out how men think by listening to things all written by women, and that’s not working too well.”

        He wasn’t putting women down, but he’d realized a lot of what I’d been saying, “but I read…” wasn’t lining up with how he and his dad and his brothers and their buddies really thought.

        • @ B, I am one of three boys. I told my mother the same thing fifteen years ago when I was in college and my brother ran away from home. She wouldn’t listen to my father, or either of her sons about how to deal with it. She chose to listen to her female hairdresser and one of her girlfriends. The situation turned into a dumpster fire. After she and my father divorced she asked me for advice multiple times on guys she was dating, not one time did she listen, instead choosing to listen to her other divorced female friend. Now she will ask about an issue in dealing with one of my brothers, I will tell her how to address, my stepfather will also tell her, and she will ultimately listen to what some other woman tells her instead.

      • So are helpless, needy men. The last thing a wife wants is a Peter Pan husband.

      • Yeah, I stopped listening to those women years ago. Threw Debi’s book in the trash. Now, I am accused of being too much of a feminist. :-/

  2. If a man wants help he will explicitly ask for it, otherwise it’s an unwelcome intrusion into his world. If you violate this you better have earned your right to enter this guys life uninvited, which means you are very close to him.

    We don’t notice the extra work because we don’t care as much about it. I don’t care if my family shows up and the floor isn’t swept, they will get over it…….my wife on the other hand will not get over it.

  3. I learned the hard way, haha. I was massively pregnant with our third and was really struggling to get the older two into bed one night, getting madder and madder at my husband as he sat on the couch watching tv. I finally exploded at him, “Will you get off your __ and help me already?! Can’t you see I need help?!” To which he sheepishly replied, “Okay okay… I did want to make you even madder by implying you couldn’t handle it.” Oh. Lesson learned.

    We had a good discussion later in which I apologized and I let him know I always welcome his help, but I also promised to ask for it immediately when I wanted it. I’m only sorry I didn’t know to ask sooner; this has made things go so much smoother in my marriage.

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