Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

DPs table manners

(63 Posts)
thisisfartoohonest Tue 04-Dec-12 15:37:29

This seems so daft when writing it down, but here goes. I really don't like my DP's table manners. We got together when we were young and carefree and I never noticed them, probably because we never sat down for proper meals then. But now that we have young dc I care more as I want them to have nice table manners. He eats on his elbows, and scoffs his food. Do you think I am being totally unreasonable?

purrpurr Tue 04-Dec-12 15:40:10

I don't think you're being unreasonable. One of my exs had horrendous table manners. In the finish I put down my knife and fork, waited til he'd finished eating, then quietly left the table and put my food in the fridge for later. When he asked why, I simply said that I didn't want to spoil his meal, but the way he was eating with such volume and obvious mastication had turned my stomach.

I went for dinner with him a few years after that and his table manners were impeccable.

NatashaBee Tue 04-Dec-12 15:40:41

No. It's bloody irritating when i try and get DSD to eat nicely and she says 'but daddy doesn't!'.

ohfunnyface Tue 04-Dec-12 15:45:03

Have you pointed out to him his bad manners? Obviously tactfully!

shrimponastick Tue 04-Dec-12 15:46:06

sort him out. It isn't acceptable.It amazes me how many people haven't been taught basic table manners.

DH took me out for dinner on our first proper date - if he hadn't been able to handle himself and his cutlery then I wouuldn't have gone out with him again. Luckily he passed. grin

CuriosityKilledTheCrapTree Tue 04-Dec-12 15:48:40

Agree. I said to STBXH a while back (when still together) that 'you wouldn't eat like that on a first date - so why now'

His mouth was full of spaghetti hanging out so he couldn't answer me hmm

thisisfartoohonest Tue 04-Dec-12 15:55:13

Yes, I've mentioned it to him on several occasions and he gets really annoyed, telling me that it is not a big deal and he just wants to relax at the dinner table and not have me judging him. I've explained to him that it's a big deal to me and about our daughter etc but it does no good. His whole family have bad table manners, as they don't eat at a table, just on their laps. It is bothering me a lot and I just don't know what to do. He already thinks I pick at him because I've started pulling him up on other things, like when he says he can't be 'arsed' rather than 'bothered', 'pissed off' etc in front of our dd. I feel like I am being such a moan, but these things really matter to me. He is a really good dad by the way, we have just been brought up with different standards of ok, and now it's really starting to be a bother in our relationship.

Thanks for taking me seriously by the way, I was feeling a little pathetic writing this post.

Any ideas for dealing with this?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bradyismyfavouritewiseman Tue 04-Dec-12 16:06:01

Hmm. Wonder what the answer would be if a woman came here saying her dh had called her disgusting because of her table manners. That have always been the same.

I don't like bad table manners, but i wouldn't marry someone then start moaning years down the line that 'now' its not acceptable.

LemonDrizzled Tue 04-Dec-12 16:08:51

When I was growing up my dad used to play the Table Manners Game where we got points for good manners and lost them for bad. Elbows on table/talking with mouth full/reaching over someone to get the butter -10, putting knife and fork together neatly +10 etc.
I started playing it with my DC and included their DF as he needed training too! Also proved useful when teaching DC to use loo brush, put loo seat down, hang towels up etc. It only worked partially as we split up later but it made 26 years bearable!

Lueji Tue 04-Dec-12 16:11:41

hmm

Eating with elbows on the table and scoffing food.

As bad table manners go, that's not so bad, IMO. grin

Is he eating with his hands, and wipping his mouth with the back of his hand?

Maybe just tell the DCs and if they ask, just tell them that daddy didn't learn when he was younger and now he's too old? Maybe he'll get more self conscious.

AllBellyandBoobs Tue 04-Dec-12 16:19:50

I'm a stickler for good table manners but elbows on the table doesn't really bother me. Luckily DH has generally good manners, he wouldn't be H if he didn't. His mother though, dear God, she talks with food in her mouth and makes smacking noises when chewing. She's posh too, had a nanny and everything smile I dread having to remind dd about her table manners if MIL is eating with us, I'm not sure there is a tactful way to do it.

Letsmakecookies Tue 04-Dec-12 16:54:55

I don't think you are being totally unreasonable to not like it. My x had terrible table manners, mind so did his family. Last time we sat down for Christmas dinner with his dad, his dad had finished half his plate before I had finished dishing out, and the two of them I think had 4 full plates before the meal was over. To be honest it made me so nauseous and became a real bugbear of mine.

Would I have minded in the throws of early love, no because I was young and to be fair was not self-aware enough about how much it actually bothered me that he was unable to hold a knife and fork properly, elbows etc. But as time went by I have to say I began to see it as a bit disrespectful. But I guess for me it was more a matter of lots of other things breaking down and this just being one of the things that I lost tolerance for (although I never said anything), and actually something that he stopped 'trying' with too. That list of 'can I live with this habit/behaviour for the rest of my life' did get longer and longer!

But I do think you would be unreasonable to say anything really, same way you would be unreasonable to tell him how to dress.

thisisfartoohonest Tue 04-Dec-12 17:06:05

Thanks for replies - some really good posts for me to bear in mind. I suppose the difficulties I'm having here arise in relationships when you have been brought up differently and have different standards and expectations...which become more apparent when your own children come along. How best do you deal with this??

Luegi Thanks I like your idea of still being able to speak to the children without tackling their daddy too much.

ihearsounds Tue 04-Dec-12 17:13:39

Table manners are a big deal for me. I dumped someone for lack of manners, he spoke with his mouth full, chewed with his mouth open, made loads of noise, licked the plate.. I have seen pigs with better manners... He looked really shocked when I told him why I was dumping him.
Found out recently that 20 odd years later, he's a lonely old (much older than me) man who keeps getting dumped because of his lack of manners. hmm

dappledawn Tue 04-Dec-12 17:16:22

My DP chomps his food really loudly, and I can hear the eating noises even from the next room...! A bit like a cow chewing its cud. Urrgh, it does sometimes make me feel a bit sick....I also don't like it when he helps himself to food /vegetables with his fingers, putting them back in the communal bowl after they've already transported food into his mouth -! (is there a germy emoticon?) Yuk!! I suppose he'd do well in a society where they all sit around a table and help themselves with one hand from communal bowls, though. It's not a great example for DS though, whose table manners also leave a lot to be desired....

Angelico Tue 04-Dec-12 17:17:53

Was interested in this as my DH has a maddening habit of not putting his knife and fork together when finished eating - he just kind of abandons them. I don't understand it as he has a senior job, goes to work dinners etc so can't understand how he didn't notice that what he is doing is a bit strange. The thing is when we are out for meals it causes real confusion for waiters etc as they don't know if he is finished eating. I get fed up asking him if he's finished - it's like being his mum! I don't understand why he does it confused

I told him before we had DD he needed to sort it before she learned to copy him - she's a baby so have a bit of time to mould him yet...!

This would be a big issue for me, but it is difficult for you if you accepted it initially, and so it is you, not him who has changed.

My DH chews his fingers, not nails, but often the flesh round the nail is bleeding or raw. It is revolting...I am trying (~after 17 years) to get him to change...sometimes it is worse than others. I think making the point that others find it revolting too (he is trying to change jobs after 24 years) is hitting home.

jingleallthespringy Tue 04-Dec-12 17:58:06

There's a word for skin-chewing/picking - it's a recognised compulsive disorder.

I'd find it really difficult if my partner had bad table manners. I have a friend who has an enormous mouth and scoffs the food, I kid you not, like a pig, with accompanying snorting. Truly vile.

Even people who culturally eat with their hands do it neatly.

ClippedPhoenix Tue 04-Dec-12 18:16:15

I couldn't sit opposite someone who ate like this it's bloody awful. I also can't understand why, if when you've told him, he hasn't rectified it.

I'd refuse to eat with him until he got it into his head that eating like a pig isn't on.

thisisfartoohonest Tue 04-Dec-12 18:16:23

Thanks all.

so, finding myself in this position, what would you do? It really is a big deal for me, although to be honest, he isn't a pig at meal times, not disgusting, just elbows and a bit of food shoveling...

ClippedPhoenix Tue 04-Dec-12 18:19:11

I'd just tell him to stop it.

thisisfartoohonest Tue 04-Dec-12 18:22:12

Done that...several times. He says I'm making a big deal out of something really small. That he'd understand if he was a real pig at the table, but that I am just nit-picking and he isn't so bad (which is semi true). I told him it mattered enough to me, but he said that I was being unreasonable.

ClippedPhoenix Tue 04-Dec-12 18:24:50

Well it's put up and shut up then where he's concerned isn't it.

Is there something you do that irritates him? If so, then keep doing that and give him exactly the same answer.

Letsmakecookies Tue 04-Dec-12 18:28:38

I really think you should do nothing. He is an adult and you either learn to accept it or don't eat near him. You cannot 'teach him how to eat properly' that is actually quite demeaning, but you can deal with it internally and work out why it annoys you so much, and decide to let it go. How would you feel if he decided he didn't like the way you drove and started re-teaching you that.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now