ZOMBIE THREAD ALERT: This thread hasn't been posted on for a while.
Hello, I have only just joined MN, and I am boringly beginning with a moan...after many years of marriage and 3 (now adult) children, (are there many more like me, in their 50's?) my partner STILL won't do a 'reasonable' amount of housework (in my opinion). What I find even most frustrating is that even when I have just cleaned / wiped / swept / polished, he will do something that leaves a mess...and apart from the irritation of a mess being made, it seems as though he 1.. does not respect or value what I have done 2. doesn't care if I am inconvenienced /upset. I get so angry, it seems so unreasonable of him, what can I do? Thanks to my potential new friends x
If he is like this still after 20 plus(?) years then it is probably unlikely that he will change. Not without an intervention. A big intervention. So what form do you think this intervention should take?
Sell the house
It has to be strong enough for him to sit up and take notice. How far are you willing to take it?
Starting point - why have you decided this is an issue now, ie what was the straw that broke the camel's back?
When you've talked to him about it what has he said?
Thanks so much for replying so quickly. We (well, I) have tried to discuss this so often. He has always been untidy so I suppose hasn't changed that much over the years...and there have been many 'straws breaking the camel's back'....and it's made worse by the fact that he doesn't mind untidiness or sticky worktops! It's me that gets upset/cross about it. So if I give in and do the washing / cleaning whatever, he doesn't notice. And if he does reluctantly clean the kitchen, it is never done properly..and then I get accused of being 'house proud' or never being satisfied with what he does....
As far as how far I'm prepared to go with this, it seems crazy to separate/sell up etc. as it is not a new, terrible event, and lots of stuff is good with us. I actually feel embarrassed that I do 99% of the domestic stuff when I am otherwise independent, sensible, modern thinking woman...
How much housework do your children do?
Also, I have thought about this a lot over the years, and if he was physically unable to do domestic chores, I would do them, in addition to my p/t job, without worrying, I think.
It's the fact that he makes so much mess, WON'T clear up after himself, and does not appear to value what I do.
They have mostly left home now, so when they come back home they are more like visitors than regular household members. But over the years, when they were at home, it was sometimes difficult to tell them to clean up etc when their dad would / did not.
Why was it difficult to tell them to clean up when he wouldn't? I don't follow that logic. Did you not teach them how to clean and cook and shop and wash their clothes, etc? Or are they all boys?
I usually do wash his clothes...occasionally he'll carry down a great bagful of clothes and cram them into the washing machine, then usually leaves them there...the more I write about it.. the more embarrassed I am feeling about how I've let myself become this way.
Don't clean sweep or polish, the world will not end.
He might notice, my DH isn't fussed.
If he leaves his clothes in the washing machine, just take them out, put your own load on and, when it's finished put his back in again. Leave it all to rot. He will notice when he runs out of clothes. You are treating him like a baby.
The children (all in 20's) are all perfectly able to do everything for themselves, but asking / reminding them to do a chore was awkward when their dad was sitting there not joining in / also contributing..it would have been better / easier if we were a united couple, both being seen as having equal responsibility for running the house.
Are you saying that the children questioned why they should have to clean up when their dad did nothing? If that's the case you should have taken notice of them, they had good sense.
I do think, from what you've said, that you are choosing to do the lion's share, rather than insisting that he do his share too. I also think you let the children get away with not doing much.
You can't really complain about it when you don't do anything to change it.
Hi all. My sister has just been down for the weekend and she too has been telling me (again) how I do too much and how I need to be far more assertive with the husband. As I said before, when certain things aren't done, it is me who notices and is bothered by it...who feels embarrassed if someone comes round and sees a mess... Hmm...I think I need to amend my ways...
Stop washing his clothes and cooking his meals. When he asks why, tell him. You need to make a proper statement if you want things to change.
Goodnight, and I hope to continue my MN involvement on more positive note....other people's views are definitely useful.
I understand where you are coming from with this. My husband (aged 48) doesn't seem to understand the concept of housework at all. I would blame his mother, but I can't because she is lovely. I had agreed to marry him (whirlwind romance) before I saw the state of his flat - and then I nearly changed my mind!
I have tried not cleaning, but he doesn't seem to notice. I have tried not washing his clothes, but he just wears mucky clothes that he picks back up from the floor. He is a wonderful man in almost every other way, but basic housework does not seem to be on his radar at all! If he cooks, he leaves a terrible mess in the kitchen. If he uses anything, he leaves it on the table or on arandom shelf instead of putting it away. I have never known him to hoover (except when I was heavily pregnant and begged him with tears in my eyes). At his age, I don't think he will change.
I have no advice but I do sympathise...
(Although, I have found that asking for specific jobs to be done does sometimes get results, e.g. washing up, emptying the bin, mowing the lawn etc. - but I do have to be very clear about what I am asking him to do, so if I want him to wash up I must say "and please wipe the top of the cooker and clean the kitchen surfaces.)
I know what you mean about feeling awkward asking the children to help out, my DP is terrible for not noticing mess, leaves clothes everywhere, makes a mess when he cooks, uses the clean tea towel to wipe up spills. It drives me up the wall although luckily he doesn't live here full time, so I get a reprieve sometimes!
I think you do need to be firm, tell him it bothers you, even though it obviously doesn't bother him, and you need him to do x,y,z without making you feel like you're 'nagging' him, I.e. If he doesn't do it, you reserve the right to remind him or ask for it to be done properly without argument.
If he case about you he needs to start pulling his weight, as it may not be divorce territory at the moment, but this sort of disrespect can compound other problems until you start to question what you're getting out of the relationship compared to what you're giving.
On the plus side, DP was very proud of a) noticing some mess and b) actually doing something about it today! I gave him a metaphorical pat on the head, if they act like kids! treating them like kids works, sadly!
Good morning! thanks for empathy and ideas. The 'lack of respect' as I see it is definitely a very important aspect of all this. And I begrudge being made to feel a 'nagging wife'. Onwards and upwards.
I have a lot of sympathy for you! It is so unfair. I don't enjoy housework at all, but I spend much more time doing it than my dp because I feel embarrassed if people come round, I want my dc not to be embarrassed about the house, and because I find life less stressful if I can find things.
My dp is not a bad person, but he was brought up in a family where his mum did it all. So was I. We're both fighting against the image of gender roles that we grew up with. I don't feel disrespected by dp because when I (regularly!) bring up issues to do with housework he admits it's unfair and tries to do more. We've been together for 6 years, and we've gone from him doing nothing, to him doing half the childcare, cooking and washing up, and at least regularly participating in other cleaning and laundry. But it's a work in progress, and it drinves me mad that he needs every job pointing out to him, so I am still the organiser of housework, so it still feels like my responsibility in some ways.
What I really want is for us to make enough of an effort that gender equality within their relationship comes naturally to our dds, and I hope that it will be easier for them.
If you haven't read it, there's a brilliant book called Wifework by Susan Maushart that talks about this.
If your dh won't change you can't make him (although surely if you talk about it he must see it's unfair for him to have more leisure time because he's a man?) I think you'd be very reasonable to stop doing anything for him that creates extra work for yourself though - stop cooking or doing his laundry. Have a box or cupboard where you dump all his things so you don't need to look at his mess. See if he feels housework is more important after a while of not benefiting from his own personal maid.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.