The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a homemaker in my 50s. My husband, who is in his 60s and continued to work at the same company even after he reached mandatory retirement age, quit his job as soon as he found out I had inherited my father’s fortune. Ever since, he has stayed idle at home all day long and even suggested our house be rebuilt using the fortune.
Our current home was built under my name after I was given financial assistance by my grandfather.
It’s so comfortable to live in and full of good memories. However, my husband insists the house be demolished and rebuilt. When he showed me a drawing of a new house, I found it nonsensical because it was designed without considering how we would move around inside the building. He apparently had decided the plan with a construction company without discussing it with me and our children.
I was astounded, but nevertheless agreed to rebuild our house. I made various suggestions along with our children to make the new house comfortable to live in. However, he won’t listen to us.
When our children asked why, my husband just said, “It won’t move forward if I listen to your opinions.” He enjoys proceeding with the project on his own. Watching his way of doing things, our children have become angry and support my wish to get a divorce, saying, “Why can’t he discuss such an important matter with you? You don’t need to be with him anymore.”
W, Tottori Prefecture
Dear Ms. W:
You mention even getting a divorce, which indicates that you’ve already become very frustrated with your selfish husband, well before facing the issue of rebuilding your house. Your husband probably thinks you are just a pushover because you haven’t complained about his behavior to his face.
It may be a good idea to get a divorce, but before doing that, I suggest you at least give him a chance to fix the situation. You have an absolute advantage because you own both the property and the money. This may not be the way you want to do things, but you should tell him: “If you won’t consider my feelings, leave this house. This is mine.”
Your husband will probably be surprised to find you’ve suddenly changed your attitude. It will settle everything if he apologizes and becomes humble. He will perhaps refrain from making selfish comments. He may also start working again, even if he does it unwillingly while speaking ill of you behind your back.
On the other hand, if your husband becomes angry, you can consider separating. However, getting a divorce is not easy if he doesn’t agree. If you make up your mind, I suggest you seek advice from a public center for women or a reliable lawyer.
Masahiro Yamada, professor