Friday , June 21 2024

Wives suffer one-sided marriages with ‘man-child’ husbands


In the middle of washing her hair, Ngoc Trang had to run out of the shower to check on her crying baby while her husband played video games on the couch.

The 24-year-old woman living in Cau Giay District, Hanoi, said that for the past four months, she’s only managed to sleep three hours a night because she has no help caring for her child during late-night crying fits.

Instead of helping her look after the baby, her husband has been constantly occupied with his games and phone. Every time she has asked for his assistance, he has used the excuse that he had to wake up early for work.

“He sulks at me when I complain about his carelessness. In the end, I had to console both him and the baby to get some peace,” Trang said.

After being in a relationship for three years, Trang decided to marry her current husband at the beginning of 2022 not only because of his stable income, but because she had thought he was someone who was willing to share responsibilities with her.

However, after they married, he transformed into an entirely different person, she said. He left everything to her, from finding a place to rent to even when to have a baby. Whenever Trang asked his opinion about a decision, he would simply reply: “It’s up to you.”

Trang also said her husband is addicted to video games and plays from morning until night during the weekends without a care in the world.

“On the day I gave birth, he even paid someone to play his games for him because he had to be in the hospital with me,” she said while shaking her head.

Trang now laments that she feels like the only one making an effort in the marriage.

Ngoc Trang cooking and taking care of her baby at the same time, while her husband sits around playing games, November 2023. Photo provided by character

Ngoc Trang balances cooking and caring for her baby, while her husband plays games, November 2023. Photo courtesy of Trang

Men like Trang’s husband who “refuse to grown up” are not rare.

Marriage and family specialists often use the term “man-child” to refer to an adult male whose personality and behavior are more akin to that of a child. Characteristics of a “man-child” include never, or rarely ever, being willing to do chores, an unappreciative attitude, and apathy towards taking care of themselves and even their own children.

When pressured, a “man-child” can try to make an improvement, but often any changes only last for a short period of time.

Tuyet Mai, a 45-year-old administrator of an online marriage forum with over 400,000 members, revealed that 50% percent of the group’s average 200 monthly posts are from wives discussing how immature their husbands still are .

A quick survey of the forum conducted by reporters from VnExpress showed that 75% of women are often in disputes with their husbands about their immature behavior and unwillingness to share housework.

“For the last three months, there have been over 100 posts from Gen Z couples sharing their problems. These couples are often willful and like their personal freedom. As such, things usually come to a breaking point when these couples have kids and the husband does not put in the work to care for the children or the household,” Mai said.

After giving birth to a baby at the beginning of November, Minh Thu, a 27-year-old Hanoian living in Thanh Xuan District, confessed that she has become tired of listening to her mother-in-law and sister-in-law’s demands.

Even her desire to pump her breast milk and have her baby use a pacifier has been adamantly criticized by her in-laws.

“I was told that I have to carry my baby in my arms daily to let the baby feel my warmth. If I don’t, my husband immediately calls my in-laws,” Thu said.

She recalled that prior to getting married, her husband was respectful of her decisions and the two of them frequently sat down to solve problems together. However, after their wedding, he began to constantly call his mother to complain about his life or to ask for money.

“He will even call for his parents’ help when a device is broken in our home or if our baby gets sick, all the things we could do by ourselves,” Thu sighed.

There have been many times when Thu contemplated separating from her husband and moving back in with her parents to live more peacefully with her child.

Marriage and family specialist Le Thi Minh Hoa said that a husband’s immaturity is most often visible in their belief that raising children and taking care of the household are solely their wife’s responsibilities.

She advised wives to make clear from the beginning that chores are to be shared.

“Women should have their husbands do some of the chores on their own. Even though they may not be good at doing it, this will prevent them from always relying on their wives,” Hoa said.

Psychologist Tran Huong Thao added that every conflict will have a consequence if not resolved completely. If the wife is constantly conceding to her husband and adhering to his wishes, the marriage will gradually become tiresome.

Thao pointed out that if this kind of situation drags on, it could become a reason for the husband or wife to cheat, which could lead to the total collapse of a marriage.

“A simple hug and thank you from the husband can often make the wife happy. However, the reality is that the wife is more than likely the one to console the husband,” Thao said.

According to Nguyen Viet Chung, a professor at Hanoi University of Medicine and Pharmacy, frequent and prolonged conflicts about an unresolved issue can affect the mental health of those involved.

When the wife feels overwhelmed by housework and lacks support from her husband, or feels that he does not care about her anymore, it could lead her to mental stress, loss of sleep, anxiety and depression.

He also added that husbands are often immature because they are not mentally ready to become a husband or father, or their love for their wife has waned.

“Aside from making an effort to sustain the relationship and listening to each other, newlywed couples or couples planning to get married should learn about what marriage really is and how to take care of children. They should also learn how to manage and overcome stress,” Chung shared.

After marrying her husband five years ago and having two children with him, To Uyen, a 30-year-old Saigonese residing in Binh Thanh District, described her 35-year-old husband as careless. There have been times when he was so focused on playing soccer or drinking with his friends that he forgot to pick up his kid from cram school.

Instead of berating him, Uyen created a schedule outlining all of the week’s plans and clearly dividing the chores between the two partners.

“Even though my husband’s forgetful, he’ll still do things if I remind him to. He also doesn’t argue with me and occasionally buys gifts to motivate me. I see him as a clueless child sometimes, but I think it’s kind of cute,” Uyen concluded.

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