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AIBU?

All women I know are in my situation

1000 replies

growli · 25/06/2023 13:17

Pretty useless DH. They're left to look after the kids. Called nags if they complain.

It mostly falls on them. The marriages are pretty rubbish.

I've posted here so many times about my issues with my H and my lifestyle with small kids.

I always get told I need to divorce. I get told that there are other men out there who aren't as useless with their children.

In real life, every woman I know, faces something similar. Mainly responsible for everything to do with kids and house, works full time most of the time too.

Husband works hard, but doesn't contribute to looking after the kids or household. Complains of not enough sex.

The women I know are highly educated and in successful careers. We all feel stitched up. We were told if we study hard and are in successful careers, we wouldn't end up being slaves to our husbands and children.

What happened to the men our parents raised ? For them to expect women to still be like their mothers ? Doing everything for kids and family.

Mothers and mothers in law in general ( even though they raised us to be successful career women with choices ) don't have a whole lot of sympathy as it seems a raise to the bottom and ' how much harder ' it was for them.

I realise I'm generalising

OP posts:
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SouthLondonMum22 · 27/06/2023 17:54

girlswillbegirls · 27/06/2023 17:19

@SouthLondonMum22 I think you have a point. I'm too worried that the house is running OK to let it happen without the instructions. You let teenagers make mistakes to learn, this is the same idea. I should try.
@Yea2023 you are fortunate but a bit on the smug side.
@Husband1984 you are a very rare case. I would tell your wife to get the finger out as clearly its not fair to work very part time and not to do housework. I assume you already talk to her, maybe a serious talked followed by a weekly schedule with shared tasks in writing might help. Let her pick her tasks but make sure the jobs are (at least) equally shared.

I think it would be a good start. Think about things you can let go so you might leave the schedules for activities after school because they are expensive and you don’t want the children to miss out but pasta/pizza for 3 days? Let it go. I’m sure you can think of other examples too.

It still wouldn’t be perfect but like I said, it would be a good start and potentially, slowly letting go of some of the mental load.

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sonearly · 27/06/2023 18:11

Husband1984 · 27/06/2023 16:58

What if it’s the other way around? I work full time and my wife 14 hours a week. I contribute 6x what she does financially, I do all the housework (clean bathrooms, hoover, tidy, all laundry, mow the lawn, put the bins out etc and my wife only does the food shopping) and I do more of the childcare with most school runs, bath and bed times (my wife goes out once or twice a week) playing with our son at home, taking him to sports practices etc. My wife will take our son to school birthday parties though.

I have tried to ask her politely to help me out when she has days when she’s not at work, but it isn’t received very well.

Any advice on what might work to get you to do a little bit more without causing an issue?

p.s. yes I am a typical male complaining about sex though! 😂

That's quite unusual.
Maybe there is some reason she feels no impulse to help you, and that living up to basic obligations and contributing money is quite enough to put in, all things considered.

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JapaneseTony · 27/06/2023 18:28

@Husband1984 What does she do the rest of the time? It sounds quite an extreme situation. I only know one couple where things are this unfair (although it's the wife who's FT and the husband who does nothing) and in their case it's largely due to him having a gaming addiction and anxiety disorder. Does your wife have any mental or physical health issues? Or alternatively, has she just checked out of the marriage?

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BurritoMadness · 27/06/2023 18:37

I have a fabulous and sexy DH. He really pulls his weight in every area, including with the DC. He sets them a great example of how and father and husband should behave and they are growing up seeing us having a great relationship with healthy communication.

He is my second husband however and the DC are his step-children.

The first husband was as described in OP’s post really. Which is why he is an ex-husband.

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mandlerparr · 27/06/2023 19:39

Husband1984 · 27/06/2023 16:58

What if it’s the other way around? I work full time and my wife 14 hours a week. I contribute 6x what she does financially, I do all the housework (clean bathrooms, hoover, tidy, all laundry, mow the lawn, put the bins out etc and my wife only does the food shopping) and I do more of the childcare with most school runs, bath and bed times (my wife goes out once or twice a week) playing with our son at home, taking him to sports practices etc. My wife will take our son to school birthday parties though.

I have tried to ask her politely to help me out when she has days when she’s not at work, but it isn’t received very well.

Any advice on what might work to get you to do a little bit more without causing an issue?

p.s. yes I am a typical male complaining about sex though! 😂

What is she doing with all those extra hours of time? Unless there is something we aren't being told, then she is being abusive towards you and the kids.
My cousin is married to someone that can't do a lot of things, but she has chronic illness that causes major pain and meds and illness cause fatigue. And she still does more than what your spouse is doing.
So, if she doesn't have a legitimate reason, then she should be contributing a lot more.
Frankly, if someone is not contributing to the amount you are saying, I would assume they are either cheating or working somewhere else you don't know about and hiding the money.

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Apricotflanday · 27/06/2023 20:05

SerafinasGoose · 27/06/2023 16:00

You think it's the lot of other women to offer support and constructive solutions?

Now why would that be?

You need to take some responsibility upon yourself. You simply don't like hearing it.

On your head be it.

I have no idea what on earth you're on about here.
But yes, I think everyone (whatever sex) should be supportive of others rather than pretend they know what 'choices' people they've never met have in their lives then blame them.

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Apricotflanday · 27/06/2023 20:33

gannett · 27/06/2023 09:28

By hearing it from others.

Lots of us didn't realise we deserved better (in whatever area of life) or how to go about doing that until later than was ideal. In a lot of cases it wasn't our parents but friends, mentors and older women who gave us that advice. Yet the women literally trying to pass along the message that it doesn't have to be shit, you have power over your own destiny and there are non-selfish men out there are getting shouted down on this thread.

Yes, better to moan endlessly and inaccurately about how men are inherently lazy and selfish (are those traits found in the testicles, I wonder) and let's all bond over how much we hate our husbands and call that feminism.

That's not what I see on this thread. I think it's to do with how people are expressing it. Telling them they 'choose' things being that way and are responsible is not helpful. Obviously they didn't 'choose' it or if they did, perhaps the alternative you imagine aren't the reality of each of these women's individual lives and circumstances. Campaigning for single parent benefits, child maintenance, affordable housing, etc. might be more supportive and useful for people in such positions.

And if some do actually want to moan...why does that bother you so much? It's very good for people to have a good moan together!

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PimmsandCucumbers · 27/06/2023 20:35

This thread makes me realise how women don’t really have each other’s back, and men must sit back sometimes and enjoy all the in-fighting!

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DrSbaitso · 27/06/2023 20:36

PimmsandCucumbers · 27/06/2023 20:35

This thread makes me realise how women don’t really have each other’s back, and men must sit back sometimes and enjoy all the in-fighting!

If we even discuss the issue of men not pulling their weight, it's our fault.

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SerafinasGoose · 27/06/2023 20:42

Apricotflanday · 27/06/2023 20:05

I have no idea what on earth you're on about here.
But yes, I think everyone (whatever sex) should be supportive of others rather than pretend they know what 'choices' people they've never met have in their lives then blame them.

I'll try to clarify. Your statement was this:

It's possible to support someone by showing ways they could do something about it

Why is it the place of those who are responding to this thread - who for the most part are women - to provide solutions to other women's domestic predicaments? Women have agency. They are not helpless children. The solution is in your own hands. But given you keep talking of blame, if you're insisting this is all the fault of lazy men, it's therefore a Man Problem. So why place the onus on other women to resolve it?

(something constructive and actually creating a better situation rather than risking poverty and homelessness in great emotional distress) rather than blame.

People have responded to precisely these points. You just haven't liked the responses. It's been shown exactly why, and how, no woman in is the position of having 'no choice' but to put up with this. This has made some PPs quite irate, as seen through the 'Not My Nigel' style of response to the many women who don't recognise the picture of home life painted in the OP.

It's the suggestion that women are passive dolls with no agency or ability to make decisions of their own that grates here. Certainly not all the women responding here in the vein of their own frustration with their lazy partners have been so passive or accepting. Some have kicked those partners into touch - including myself in the past - but a good many have resorted to less 'final' measures and simply stopped behaving as a service human. No one has to buy diarize all their in-laws birthdays and send cards to their PiLs, to cite just one example. This is a choice.

Speaking of which, I don't know about anyone's 'choices' here. But if someone is choosing passively to accept this behaviour, reminding DP when he has a dental appointment, continuing to behave as a service robot in the mode of Kryton, are you seriously suggesting others should be supportive of that choice?

It's a stupid, self-sabotaging choice (and yes, it is a choice). Why would anybody support that?

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Apricotflanday · 27/06/2023 20:57

SerafinasGoose · 27/06/2023 20:42

I'll try to clarify. Your statement was this:

It's possible to support someone by showing ways they could do something about it

Why is it the place of those who are responding to this thread - who for the most part are women - to provide solutions to other women's domestic predicaments? Women have agency. They are not helpless children. The solution is in your own hands. But given you keep talking of blame, if you're insisting this is all the fault of lazy men, it's therefore a Man Problem. So why place the onus on other women to resolve it?

(something constructive and actually creating a better situation rather than risking poverty and homelessness in great emotional distress) rather than blame.

People have responded to precisely these points. You just haven't liked the responses. It's been shown exactly why, and how, no woman in is the position of having 'no choice' but to put up with this. This has made some PPs quite irate, as seen through the 'Not My Nigel' style of response to the many women who don't recognise the picture of home life painted in the OP.

It's the suggestion that women are passive dolls with no agency or ability to make decisions of their own that grates here. Certainly not all the women responding here in the vein of their own frustration with their lazy partners have been so passive or accepting. Some have kicked those partners into touch - including myself in the past - but a good many have resorted to less 'final' measures and simply stopped behaving as a service human. No one has to buy diarize all their in-laws birthdays and send cards to their PiLs, to cite just one example. This is a choice.

Speaking of which, I don't know about anyone's 'choices' here. But if someone is choosing passively to accept this behaviour, reminding DP when he has a dental appointment, continuing to behave as a service robot in the mode of Kryton, are you seriously suggesting others should be supportive of that choice?

It's a stupid, self-sabotaging choice (and yes, it is a choice). Why would anybody support that?

I think you're hypothesising about individuals' differing situations. No doubt some women do organise their partners' appointments, which yes I agree is odd and seems like it must be a choice, but others are just struggling to hold things together without much support and whether that's a choice might depend on your philosophical position on whether being faced with far worse seeming alternatives (especially in a cost of living crisis sith barely any social safety net) constitutes a choice.

I don't know why you're telling me to take responsibility when you know little about my life, either.

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Apricotflanday · 27/06/2023 21:01

SerafinasGoose · 27/06/2023 20:42

I'll try to clarify. Your statement was this:

It's possible to support someone by showing ways they could do something about it

Why is it the place of those who are responding to this thread - who for the most part are women - to provide solutions to other women's domestic predicaments? Women have agency. They are not helpless children. The solution is in your own hands. But given you keep talking of blame, if you're insisting this is all the fault of lazy men, it's therefore a Man Problem. So why place the onus on other women to resolve it?

(something constructive and actually creating a better situation rather than risking poverty and homelessness in great emotional distress) rather than blame.

People have responded to precisely these points. You just haven't liked the responses. It's been shown exactly why, and how, no woman in is the position of having 'no choice' but to put up with this. This has made some PPs quite irate, as seen through the 'Not My Nigel' style of response to the many women who don't recognise the picture of home life painted in the OP.

It's the suggestion that women are passive dolls with no agency or ability to make decisions of their own that grates here. Certainly not all the women responding here in the vein of their own frustration with their lazy partners have been so passive or accepting. Some have kicked those partners into touch - including myself in the past - but a good many have resorted to less 'final' measures and simply stopped behaving as a service human. No one has to buy diarize all their in-laws birthdays and send cards to their PiLs, to cite just one example. This is a choice.

Speaking of which, I don't know about anyone's 'choices' here. But if someone is choosing passively to accept this behaviour, reminding DP when he has a dental appointment, continuing to behave as a service robot in the mode of Kryton, are you seriously suggesting others should be supportive of that choice?

It's a stupid, self-sabotaging choice (and yes, it is a choice). Why would anybody support that?

And yes, irrespective of sex, I do think it's both kinder, more helpful, more effective, more ethical and socially responsible to tell someone how to escape a difficult situation or offer help rather than tell them to do it without showing them how. Obviously these are people who are exhausted and struggling, some even at breaking point, so are in a state of mind, exhaustion and stress as well as in a practical position where it's harder for them to find out how.

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BadNomad · 27/06/2023 21:04

I do wonder if all the women saying they have no choice but to stay with their useless husbands would still say that if he was physically abusing those children. I also wonder if all the women supporting them in staying with these useless husbands would still support them in staying with a physical abuser.

And I know someone is going to say "That's not the same thing blah blah blah" I know it's not, but it does show there is an element of choice involved. People leave when they have a good enough reason to leave. Some people here have just made the judgment that children witnessing incompetence, misogyny and disrespect are not serious enough issues to leave over. That is their choice.

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UthredofBattenberg · 27/06/2023 21:11

Yep, I hear ya.

While my ex wasn't useless, I had 100% of the mental load. Doctors, dentist, parents evening, arranging childcare for holidays, arranging holidays, shopping, buying uniform, school shoes, clothes, I could go on.

The mental load is still there, but at least now I have one less person to factor in my plans and clean up after.

90% of the women I know have either split from their husbands, or unhappily stay and complaining how they are fucking useless (not a judgement on them staying - not always easy to leave I know!)

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Apricotflanday · 27/06/2023 21:19

BadNomad · 27/06/2023 21:04

I do wonder if all the women saying they have no choice but to stay with their useless husbands would still say that if he was physically abusing those children. I also wonder if all the women supporting them in staying with these useless husbands would still support them in staying with a physical abuser.

And I know someone is going to say "That's not the same thing blah blah blah" I know it's not, but it does show there is an element of choice involved. People leave when they have a good enough reason to leave. Some people here have just made the judgment that children witnessing incompetence, misogyny and disrespect are not serious enough issues to leave over. That is their choice.

It's difficult and dangerous to leave an abuser.

Really, we don't know individuals' situations. They might not have the means or support to leave. They might love their partners. They might feel the upheaval and years of stress, lack of money, and emotional distress for themselves and their children far worse than living exhausted and stressed but with security, comfort and with someone who does some of the childcare and earning.

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BadNomad · 27/06/2023 21:39

Apricotflanday · 27/06/2023 21:19

It's difficult and dangerous to leave an abuser.

Really, we don't know individuals' situations. They might not have the means or support to leave. They might love their partners. They might feel the upheaval and years of stress, lack of money, and emotional distress for themselves and their children far worse than living exhausted and stressed but with security, comfort and with someone who does some of the childcare and earning.

Right, so they've chosen to stay because it is the better option. That is a judgment they have made for themselves and their children. And if that choice ends up negatively affecting their children, it has nothing to do with them, apparently. It's only the useless man's fault.

The funny thing is though, the law doesn't give a pass to women who consistently fail to protect their children from physical harm from partners. But the emotional/psychological harm from being raised in the family setups mentioned on this thread? Who cares about that. We'll just pretend that the children won't be affected. They'll figure out for themselves one day how to be decent partners and what to expect from decent partners. Or not.

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Issania87 · 27/06/2023 21:47

I think the issue for the most part is because the husband's aren't completely useless. I think if you have a completely useless partner it is easier to get to the point where enough is enough and you leave.

I think personality comes into it. I'm an organised person and DH is go with the flow, so naturally a lot of the life admin has fallen to me. But it is definitely not equal. I work full time and earn more. I do all the bills, most of the food shops, cooking and cleaning. We split school runs 50/50. Childcare in the holidays probably 60/40 to me. Getting up with the kids in the night is 80/20 to me but then I would say who gets up in the morning is probably 60/40 to him. But I'm fairly happy with how things are, I don't feel taken advantage of any more.

The one bug bear I have from your post OP is the sex nagging. Drives me nuts. It's to do with our love languages - I show and feel loved by doing tasks and "looking after" that person, and he feels love through sex. It does bother me that everything I do doesn't matter to him if I'm not having sex with him, but that's something I'm never going to change.

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SchoolQuestionnaire · 27/06/2023 22:53

gannett · 26/06/2023 08:21

Not my experience in my social circle. Occasionally maybe. One acquaintance turned up to a bbq once in an absolute state because she'd left her husband alone to "babysit" their kids for the first time and she wasn't sure he could manage. They were 4 and 5! She stayed about half an hour and the conversation afterwards, among both men and women, was how strange that was.

But the essentialist "women are domestic, men are selfish" trope is also bizarre. In my relationship I'm the lazy husband. I drop my clothes on the floor, I don't spend much time thinking about domestic stuff, I don't care about mess, I'm horrifically disorganised. (Also have no interest in becoming a parent, but unlike many men who share this view, I found a partner who also had no interest in this.) Meanwhile DP, a man, is the neat freak constantly trying to put the household into order. My study, which is my domain, gives him the shivers. But over the years we've met each other halfway and divvying up the chores according to our strengths is an absolute non-issue. He does A and B, I do C and D and if something isn't kept on top of, well, the world keeps turning.

A few scattered thoughts.

It's not blaming women to tell them that they, and only they, are responsible for their happiness in the one life they have to leave. What makes them happy may differ from what makes other women happy, and no life will be perfect and no partner flawless. But you have so much more power to control the essence of your life than you might think. You don't have to be miserable and you owe it to yourself to work towards your version of happiness.

A poster upthread said it was taboo, but she was attracted to neanderthal types and not 50-50 types. I have noticed on MN dating threads how many posters insist they only want "traditional" men. Men who paid for dates, big strong tall men, men who played a set gender role in terms of courting them. Men who don't fulfil very rigid masculine stereotypes get threads about how they give posters the ick. Mummy's boy, tight, soft, wet... those insults are all over dating threads here. Thing is, if you want a traditional man, and if the dating scene encourages straight men to fulfil a traditional role, well then you get the whole caboodle and once you have kids, guess what? You're in the traditional roles you said you wanted.

I also wonder about just how much drudgery there actually needs to be. I'm child-free so I realise - thank God! - I don't have the same experience as parents. But I read posters talking about daily vacuuming? Scrubbing the floors? Those are weekly jobs at best and if that timeframe slips a bit who cares. I've also never scrubbed a floor in my life. Mopping takes 20 minutes tops. Someone upthread complained that her husband had the temerity to be tired after working an actual job while she'd been PLUMPING THE CUSHIONS. There's definitely a subset of MN that seems to believe that full-time employment to earn money is somehow life on easy street compared with the entirely unnecessary effort involved in maintaing a pristine show home.

I mentioned plumping cushions. I also work a full time job with a far longer commute than dh and believe me, I am tired. Bit of a stretch to assume that one who likes to sit on an unsquished sofa must not be in paid employment.

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Blossomtoes · 27/06/2023 22:56

Bit of a stretch to assume that one who likes to sit on an unsquished sofa must not be in paid employment.

Thinking that’s what was actually said is an even bigger stretch.

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Apricotflanday · 27/06/2023 23:00

BadNomad · 27/06/2023 21:39

Right, so they've chosen to stay because it is the better option. That is a judgment they have made for themselves and their children. And if that choice ends up negatively affecting their children, it has nothing to do with them, apparently. It's only the useless man's fault.

The funny thing is though, the law doesn't give a pass to women who consistently fail to protect their children from physical harm from partners. But the emotional/psychological harm from being raised in the family setups mentioned on this thread? Who cares about that. We'll just pretend that the children won't be affected. They'll figure out for themselves one day how to be decent partners and what to expect from decent partners. Or not.

It's possible the children could have far worse experiences in poverty, with a mother suffering extreme stress and emotional distress, than they would living in a relatively happy, secure home where their mother is exhausted but managing.

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BadNomad · 27/06/2023 23:23

Apricotflanday · 27/06/2023 23:00

It's possible the children could have far worse experiences in poverty, with a mother suffering extreme stress and emotional distress, than they would living in a relatively happy, secure home where their mother is exhausted but managing.

All the highly educated women with successful careers that the OP is talking about would end up in extreme poverty without their husbands? 🙄

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Apricotflanday · 27/06/2023 23:26

BadNomad · 27/06/2023 23:23

All the highly educated women with successful careers that the OP is talking about would end up in extreme poverty without their husbands? 🙄

No. The thread was talking about women in general by this point. I'm saying that people have different circumstances and we don't know them all. Perhaps some would be fine, some would flourish, others wouldn't.

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BadNomad · 27/06/2023 23:43

Apricotflanday · 27/06/2023 23:26

No. The thread was talking about women in general by this point. I'm saying that people have different circumstances and we don't know them all. Perhaps some would be fine, some would flourish, others wouldn't.

What's your point? Because some women have harder situations it means no one should say "This shit is not right, and it will damage your children in the long-term"?

There is nothing feminist about supporting women to be passive participants in their own lives.

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girlswillbegirls · 28/06/2023 00:22

SouthLondonMum22 · 27/06/2023 17:54

I think it would be a good start. Think about things you can let go so you might leave the schedules for activities after school because they are expensive and you don’t want the children to miss out but pasta/pizza for 3 days? Let it go. I’m sure you can think of other examples too.

It still wouldn’t be perfect but like I said, it would be a good start and potentially, slowly letting go of some of the mental load.

@SouthLondonMum22 Thank you very much for this. You made me read my posts and realise some of the stuff I would add my to do list are not that necessary and the list keeps growing and growing unnecessarily. It's true that eating pasta/ pizza a few days won't harm the kids, same if they didn't bring x item to school
And the important stuff must still go on a reminder list like sport activities or doctor appointments so they are never missed. I am going to follow what you said and start prioritising and let go on some of the stuff so I can actually minimise the mental load.
I really appreciate you took the time to answer my post. It was great advice. 🌹

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mandlerparr · 28/06/2023 00:35

BadNomad · 27/06/2023 21:39

Right, so they've chosen to stay because it is the better option. That is a judgment they have made for themselves and their children. And if that choice ends up negatively affecting their children, it has nothing to do with them, apparently. It's only the useless man's fault.

The funny thing is though, the law doesn't give a pass to women who consistently fail to protect their children from physical harm from partners. But the emotional/psychological harm from being raised in the family setups mentioned on this thread? Who cares about that. We'll just pretend that the children won't be affected. They'll figure out for themselves one day how to be decent partners and what to expect from decent partners. Or not.

If you think living in abject poverty with empty belly and threadbare clothes is easier than seeing your mom do all the work while your father is a useless ass is a better situation, maybe you better have another think on it.
Poverty is violent, it is dangerous. If I have to choose between moldy public housing and having to clean a home by myself, you are damn straight I am choosing cleaning. Criminal activity is much higher in poorer areas.
"mah, not all single moms are poor" No, but a lot are, aren't they. You think society is any less mentally and emotionally abusive to single mothers than these lazy men are? Newsflash, it is not.
and believe me, there is a big difference between barely seeing your dad 30 minutes a day, but knowing he lives there and never seeing him because now that he doesn't live with you, he doesn't come around at all or only comes every few months.
so, do these women make a choice. Yes, the best they can make. If you have a better choice that isn't just platitudes and toxic positivity, then go for it. Share. Because there is no housing for these women to move into.

And yes, If your spouse only models shitty behavior for your children, that is 100% his fault. No one else's. Believe me, my children have done the poverty thing vs the lazy father thing and they are much happier with a home, cleanliness, lack of bugs, lack of crime, being able to have a car, have food we bought, etc. They also experience way less bullying and get better grades.
So, do I make a choice to be treated like shit so that my children can have a better life? I do.
Would I love to have better options? I would.
I don't even know what you are so angry about. I mean, you have only made good choices and your life is only good, right? Or are you just mad that someone is complaining about their shitty life. because you can always just unfollow. Why is it so upsetting to you? Please don't just repeat that you don't want to hear about it. I have given you a valid solution to that problem.
It is your choice to take it or not.

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