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My husband angrily refuses to eat what I cook

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a homemaker in my 30s. My husband refuses to eat the meals I cook.

We’ve been married for eight years and have two children. My husband is usually kind to me, but he erupts in anger every six months or so. He says it’s triggered by my words and actions.

When it happened about six months ago, he bluntly said to me: “What you cook tastes terrible. Stop cooking.”

He also said he wanted to eat hot, freshly cooked meals and didn’t like meals prepared ahead of time. I conceded and said, “I won’t serve you meals I prepare ahead, then.” However, he just snapped back at me, “That’s not possible for you.”

Ever since then, he’s prepared his meals by himself. They’re just ramen, retort-pouch curry and similar meals. However, when he’s eating them, he says, “It tastes great.” It’s really frustrating for me.

Now I’m freed from cooking meals for him. It saves time and energy for me, so I’m considering just making that the way we do things in our family. However, I feel irritated every time my husband says something I didn’t cook is great.

What should I do?

I, Tokyo

Dear Ms. I:

Your husband complains of “meals prepared ahead of time” and he doesn’t like them. However, ramen (instant, probably) and retort-pouch curry are the ultimate “meals prepared ahead of time,” aren’t they? So he’s contradicting himself here.

Our meal preference is greatly influenced by what we frequently ate when we were children. In your husband’s case, it must have been retort-pouch food and so-called junk food. He may not be happy unless he eats these things regularly. Nevertheless, it’s terrible for him to take that frustration out on you.

One more thing came to mind while reading your letter. He works until late at night and comes home to find his family members have already finished dining. Maybe that makes him lonely that he has to eat something that was made a while ago and that everyone else already ate. This situation might make him angry, and as a result, he complains like a spoiled child.

So why not make more opportunities for you, your children and husband to eat hot, freshly cooked meals together? It can be on days off at home, dining out or some other occasion. If possible, let your husband cook meals for you. I only hope his cooking isn’t so bad that you have to eat retort-pouch food.

Kiyokazu Washida, philosopher

(from June 30, 2015, issue)Speech

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