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Morning Sickness

Emily Flake

By Mink Stole | Posted 8/7/2002

My husband is a wonderful guy most of the day, but he wakes up like an ogre each morning. We have a good mattress, he's not much of a drinker, and he seems to sleep all right, but it takes about an hour after he wakes up for him to even begin resembling a human being. He can't even speak without growling until he's had at least two or three cups of really strong coffee. Before the twins came I would just stay out of his way, but they're 4 years old now and leave for preschool about the same time he leaves for work, and their feelings are hurt when he snaps at them or ignores them. I've tried to talk to him about it, but he gets defensive and says that's just the way he is. Is there anything I can do?

Mrs. Monster

Dear Mrs. M:
It probably wouldn't hurt to consult a doctor about your hubby's horrible rise-and-snarl mornings, especially since you've already addressed some of the obvious possible causes. But if he's defensive already, it might be better to make the suggestion later in the day, when he's back to his normal sweet self. If he won't go to a doctor, or if it turns out he's just genetically a morning Mr. Hyde, the next best thing might be for hubby to get himself up a bit earlier every day (a preprogrammed coffee maker could help) so that by the time the kids are up he's well on his way to being human. If that won't work, then explain to the kids--as often as they need to hear it--that Daddy loves them just as much in the morning as he does at night, but he just gets up a big old grump every day and it's better to leave him alone until he's completely awake. No parent is perfect, and as long as he's not abusive (which is never acceptable), is otherwise good to them, and you don't make too big a deal of it, it's an unfortunate but forgivable flaw your kids can learn to live with the same way you have.

My husband left me six months ago. We have two kids together. I want him back so bad. I am trying to get over him but I can't. He tells me he is not coming back, but he has me puzzled. The whole time he has been gone we have been having sex whenever he comes to see the kids. I find myself doing things like cooking the day I know he's coming, making meals I know he likes, and thinking that will please him. I guess I'm trying to win points. I think that's why I have sex with him too, although I do miss sleeping with him. People keep telling me that this way he has his cake and is eating it too and that he has nothing to miss--that I have to stop being so nice and accommodating, and once I stop catering to him maybe things will change. He says he doesn't care anymore, but I don't believe that. I could be wrong--maybe he doesn't--but how can I tell? Sometimes when he comes here he says he's only here to see the kids, not me, but then he hangs around the house lying on the couch watching television. If he didn't care about being with me, wouldn't he just take the kids out somewhere?

Puzzled D

Dear D:
Honey, that D must stand for "delusional." This man has not only his cake to eat and keep, he's got his pancakes-and-sausage breakfast, his Quarter Pounder-with-cheese-and-a-large-Coke lunch, and his homemade-meat-loaf-with-mashed-potatoes-and-peas dinner to go with it--all served up with in-between-meals snacks of please-let-me-please-you sex. And all he needs to have this delivered right to his lap, so to speak, is to show up and watch television on your sofa. Sweetie, this is not the behavior of a man in love; this is the behavior of a selfish jerk who's too damn lazy or cheap to take his kids out to a movie and who's willing to let his wife bend over backward to try to get him to come home when he has no intention of doing so. Which he keeps telling you, by the way. And, because he keeps telling you, he can justify taking anything you want to give him, because, after all, to his mind he's being totally honest. The fact that he's taking a cad's advantage of your wanting him back to let you wait on him hand, foot, and other miscellaneous body parts is beside the point.

I know you don't want to hear this, but it's time to kick the guy out. It isn't necessary--in fact, it's a really bad idea--to bad-mouth him to the kids, but when it's his time to see them, make him take them out somewhere. Stop catering to him. Stop having sex with him. He left you, remember; it's time you made him remember too. Stop trying to turn the clock back and start moving forward. He won't like it, but if he's even remotely bright he'll respect you for it. And you might just start respecting yourself, which is much more important.

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