Monday, April 17, 2006


If you are a woman with a special man in your life, chances are that sooner or later it is going to happen. Maybe it’s already happened, maybe it’s happening right now, or maybe it’s going to happen sometime real soon. The day of the “round-table discussion”. The day, when out of nowhere, he will say to you, “I don’t want to do this anymore. I think I want out.”

And so now, after the initial brain-searing shock, what do you do, particularly since you thought everything was going well and good? Car paid for, house almost paid for, kids thriving, savings building, sand and sun holiday in the works, job promotions happening, household chores nicely split right down the middle and running as efficiently as a well-oiled machine. And a monster bouquet of flowers not yet wilted in the vase on the kitchen table from the last thoughtful expression of love and appreciation. Living the dream, like peaches and cream, or so you thought and now what is this all about?

Now in order to explain this, I have to ask you to deviate from this problem to how problems like this are handled in the workplace. In recent years, business consultants have researched all there is to know about employees’ work curves. Employee motivation, contentment, enthusiasm and productivity. And they have found that, although at first glance, it would seem an increase in pay should be the best motivator, it really isn’t. It may temporarily slow down, but it seldom halts, the downhill slide of the discontented worker.

What Researchers have found out is that the greater good is accomplished by giving employees ownership of their work. Greater responsibility and control. The ability to define their own goals and the authority to set tasks in motion through their own innovation. This is the formula for increased employee motivation, pride, productivity, satisfaction, and loyalty. A formula that makes for happy team workers and makes those same happy workers work harder.

So knowing this, let’s now return to the subject matter of the original round-table discussion when the significant other announces out of the clear blue sky that they want out. A staggering proclamation that makes one immediately wonder what is at the root of it? More often than not the initial response is he can’t help himself. This is the outcome when increased age and decreased hormones begin to conflict. The well known but less understood mid-life crisis. But a mid-life crisis usually is evidenced by infidelity. And in this situation there is no infidelity. Of that we are certain. So that only makes the situation more puzzling.

But thankfully, for some diseases, even if diagnosis is non-specific, there are cures. And for this complex matter, there are two treatment methods depending on how the household is administered.

If this is a union based on the philosophy of the 50’s, the husband is the CEO of the team. And so, if that is the case, fixing this problem is in His job description, not Hers. And being the support worker is not so bad because all she needs to do at this point is shrug her shoulders and say, “You’re the administrator around here so if you’re not having fun, then don’t be telling me about it. I’d be keen to listen if I were in charge because in that situation I would be responsible for your good time, but as it is I am not. So deal with it.” (And with that little announcement, the ball is back in his court. He can’t blame anyone but himself for any negative feelings or failings.)

Or, on the other hand, if the woman is the Boss, or CEO, than she better get busy. She needs to transfer some of the ‘ownership of the work’ to her support staff to get back motivation and enthusiasm. Which might prove to be a tough thing for her to do after managing all affairs of the Company single-handed for 5 or even 35 years.

This is a bizarre rant so let me first assure you that I’m not advocating anything here. How you conduct your affairs is your business. But this is a theory that seems to hold as much water as emotional bribes like Dr. Phil’s advocating of wine, flowers, dining, and dating pretences to mend failing relationships.


Anonymous Esther said...

In being married 26 years, both hubby and I over the years have had those feelings, "I want out".

And not so much, I don't love you, or I don't want to be with you..but more .I am dissatified and bored and frustrated with my life as it is, and maybe there is MORE......out there?...

More what?...Whenever the feelings of discontent creep over they sometimes do, I have the horrible task set in front of me of building a whole new life, new that something I really really want?

Apparantly not, because I also make the list (pros and cons) and the pros always win out for sticking it out...even when I don't want anyway.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

Hi esther, glad to hear the pros are ahead. That's good news. That's how it should be.

Meanwhile, I'm getting a bit suspicious about reader reaction. I'm getting so little feedback here that I am beginning to wonder if the rant is just too absurd or if there is a discomfort in this topic that makes readers flee for their lives.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous ruthie said...

I've been married 27 years and occasionaly over those years have felt bored, frustrated, there must be more than this.

Recently went away for a week with a friend for a beach holiday and was thoroughly homesick, missed my husband terribly. This was a considerable shock for me as he goes away on business quite often and the strength of these feelings was quite overwhelming and spoiled the holiday for me. What did this reveal - that our friendship, companionship, routine must be what I really value without knowing it all the time

1:21 PM  
Blogger Me said...

Actually, I'm thinking through your thoughts on eras taking part in how we problem solve in our marriages. I think you're right. Although I'm from the age of the latter era, I was brought up in the former, and it worked well. Big Dad and I really struggled at one point in our marriage, and both of us wanted out, but I think the influence of our parents, both being candid about their own problems early on in their marriages, helped us through ours. As a young married, it was easy to look at couples who have worked through all of that and think they never had issues! But I think everyone, if they are honest, have had thoughts such as these, and for us, it was our vows and good advice that saw us through... We're at 18 years now. ;)

10:01 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

ruthie, thank you for those enlightening thoughts. A real pleasure to read.

me, your comment was much appreciated. It is good to know that sometimes integration of past policies and present ones can work out beautifully.

10:47 AM  

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