I want to divorce my wife for being incompetent with housework

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a male teacher in my 60s. My wife is a homemaker, but I do the laundry and clean the toilet, bathroom and our children’s rooms. It’s because I can’t trust her to do it.

If I leave it to her, there’s mold everywhere on the toilet brush stand, inside the washing machine and the dish drying rack. She even leaves the lids of wet wipe containers open.

When our youngest child was around 3, my wife would at 10 p.m. prepare dinner consisting of nothing but instant noodles without any additional ingredients.

If we go to a chain restaurant, she instantly goes to a window seat and I am left having to bring water, plates and other such things to our table. She never even says a word of gratitude.

I’m considering divorcing my wife. Her ignorance and incompetence causes me despair.

These things may sound trivial, but this is why I feel disappointed and angry even more. I feel all these things are what we are supposed to have learned when we were children.

I’m tired of it. Can I get a divorce on these grounds? I have no intention at all of restoring my relationship with my wife.

— S, Saitama Prefecture

Dear Mr. S:

If you are asking whether the reasons you have listed can be considered grounds for divorce, even if your wife doesn’t want to get divorced, I can only answer you thus: It’s impossible. As you are aware, your complaints about daily life are so trivial that it would be difficult for an arbitrator or judge to determine any breakdown in your married life.

As a matter of fact, what does your wife think about you? Don’t you care?

I can imagine her complaining to her friends and relatives, saying, “My husband is so picky that he checks the toilet brush stand and the washing machine drum every time the laundry is done,” or, “He’s forever moaning every time I go sit at the window seat first when we go to a chain restaurant.”

A husband and wife have their own sensibilities about how to spend daily life, so it is understandable that you feel frustrated when they don’t match. But I think you have to put up with each other and come to terms with this.

You are one-sidedly calling your wife ignorant and incompetent, but I can almost hear her saying, “You were the one who chose and married such a person.” For once, why don’t you try looking at yourself from her perspective?

— Yoko Sanuki, lawyer