Speak Up

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dear Chefhusband,

What happened? You must be feeling so overwhelmed at this point. You are contemplating your failing marriage and on top of that several Internet strangers are telling you what's best and throwing sandbags of advice at you. This must be terrible. But then again, you must also feel very proud of yourself for refusing to live in a marriage that's not working. Of course, by refusing to live in that marriage you have two choices 1. Leave. 2. Fix it.

It seems that you want to fix it, but you feel hopeless. That's not a good position to be in. And please understand that all the patrons of this website are looking out for your best interest, or least Id like to think so. Though the comments may come off as harsh, believe me, these people have been in very similar situations and they want to see you have the same happiness as them. What a gift they are giving you!

It's said that love conquers all. Does it? Will love conquer your struggling marriage? You and your wife will decide that. It's not easy being married to a chef. Ever! But it's your job, and hers, to work and work and work every day at your marriage until DEATH DO YOU PART or you are miserable. I don't hope you stay together. My hope for you is this: I hope you both are happy. Only your marriage will decide how to make that happen.

Best of luck my friend,


Anonymous said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Agreed! I think every significant other of a chef has to adjust to the lifestyle. But think about it this way -- other couples complain about being sick of seeing each other every day, and I spend time with my husband once a week. I think it gives longevity to our marriage, making me feel like Sundays are date day. We're so happy to spend time with each other. To me, marriage is about partnership and you have to figure out how to meet in the middle. I can say it took a really long time to get used to his schedule. However, if you can find happiness in the small things (like treating her day off as date day), you can adjust and be really happy. Now, I treasure the freedom I have to make plans and spend time with friends while he's busy working. I challenge Chef Husband to find the joy in the time you have together and fill the rest of the time with friends and focus on personal development.

PS. If your irritated about being the primary person to clean the house, get a professional cleaner. If that's the deal-breaker, it's worth the investment, even if it's from your bank account. And there are some cheap services in NYC. It could save your marriage.

Anonymous said...

Dear ChefHusband,
I am of the exact same mind as you; for me, the purpose of getting married was to have a companion and be a companion to someone, and to share one life together as two different people, but partners. I am amazed (in an admiring way!) by some of the women on this site, and for a while, I stopped reading it b/c they just made me feel like I was a bad, selfish wife for not being OK with this lifestyle even though it was so difficult - and they also made me feel like things were destined to stay the way they are.

My restaurateur husband swore he was burning out when we were dating and that he only "had a couple years of this left in him." A couple of years has come and gone, and there is no exit on the horizon. Our first year of marriage was absolutely miserable, constant fighting, etc. I think it was because it struck me then that marriage wouldn't change anything, and he was no closer to getting out. It only made me want/expect more; and it only made me feel left out as all my friends started functioning completely in pairs.

When I told him quietly one day that I didn't think I could do this anymore, and uttered the D word for the first time, crying b/c I was still so in love with him, something must have clicked. He is still in the business, but he makes so much more of an effort to help out at home, or to come in and lay with me a few moments as I fall asleep, before getting glued to the TV. He is seeming more disgruntled with the biz and is exploring options (or modifications), now being enrolled in a sommelier course. I still don't see a true light at the end of the tunnel, and now I just found out that I'm pregnant (i.e., will be a single mom again). However, his willingness to compromise seems to be growing every day. The only wisdom I have to share is that it took us one year of marriage just to figure out what our problems actually were, and what our "threshold of pain" was, so to speak. I think 5 mo is a little soon to make up your mind. She is very young, and at 26, I didn't care nearly as much about building a home life. Besides, you don't have a biological clock ticking, like chefWIVES do. Therefore, if you feel in a couple years like you cannot do it anymore, you still have time to find someone new and settle down, if that's what you want. I guess my advice is, tell her calmly and sincerely that you can't do it like this, and then give her some time to make some adjustments - not an ultimatum. Give her REAL time to think through what life might be like without you, and whether the biz is really going to mean that much to her long term. I hope this babbling helps. It helped me to write it.

Anonymous said...

Its only a job get over it iv been a chef for 12 years a head chef for 7 plenty of drink and drugs should get you through it and waitresses