The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a female office worker in my 20s. I’m fed up with my husband, who boasts on social media about how much he helps with our child.
I returned to the office and began working reduced hours after my child entered nursery school. My husband barely helps with housework or childcare on weekdays because he says he’s tired from his busy job. He watches the kid for a grand total of 15 minutes in the morning while I prepare for work.
What makes me mad is that he’s always taking photos with our child during those 15 minutes or on weekends and posting them on social media sites where they disappear within 24 hours. Based only on the images he uploads, you’d think he was the perfect father.
When I asked him to look after our child more often, he said, “Everybody I know tells me they’ve never seen anyone help out with the kids more than me.” He seems to think he really is the “super dad” that appears in the posts.
When I discuss the issue with people around me, I always hear, “But on social media he seems like such a good dad.” It really makes me feel terrible.
T, Kanagawa Prefecture
Dear Ms. T:
Your husband pretends to be a great father by posting pictures on social media, despite doing little housework or child rearing. You can’t allow this charade. You also have the right to be angry that people around him take his social media posts at face value.
Your husband seems to think his family is just a tool for enhancing his reputation, and I don’t think he’s about to start helping you any time soon. Regarding your future, I know it makes logical sense to say that you should keep trying to reason with him, but realistically speaking I don’t think you can expect too much.
So how about changing your mind-set? The person living in your house is no longer a husband. He sits around doing nothing — much like, if you’ll excuse the expression, a household pet. When viewed in this light, your husband resembles a valuable pet that brings home a salary, don’t you think?
He has some unflattering aspects, but there’s no one else like him. In fact, you should be grateful. Now that you’ve made this discovery, you can begin to feel a little bit better.
As for the people around him who think he’s such a great person, if you can just think of them as “neighborhood pet-lovers,” maybe you can you can still find a way to forgive them. After that, all that’s left is whether you can truly accept your husband.
Soichiro Nomura, psychiatrist