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.

need some tips on how to stop taking dh for granted

(20 Posts)
Ohhelpohnoitsa Mon 11-Feb-13 18:42:31

I am so glad I posted this, thanks for your help. Obviously your replies have helped and reading them has made me do some thinking. I will definitely make an effort and right away too. I am going to be ever so polite with my pleases and thankyous and start with propwr good mornings and goodnights and hellos and goodbyes. drop in a few thankyou for doing.... and oo that looks nice where you have..... Hopefully subtle but effective.

SlowLooseChippings Mon 11-Feb-13 13:19:36

Ohhelp - yes, exactly. It's getting into the habit of appreciating him too. That sort of thing - if I realised I hadn't kissed DH goodbye this morning - is where I wouldn't have noticed before.

But now I'd text him and say "just realised that I never kissed you goodbye this morning. Remind me to give you two when you get in!" You don't have to actually snog the life out of him later, especially if he's not very tactile but it's more about letting him know that he is important to you. It's small and jokey but it says I am thinking of you with affection. It might sound a bit false to you, but no new habit ever feels natural from the start. Give it time and thought and before long it will come more easily. You probably do appreciate him, I'm sure you notice when he has done something well, but we are more inclined to take doing-well for granted and only speak up when something is not done to our satisfaction. It's like that whole positive reinforcement thing that you do with your kids, on a grownup scale. I'm totally convinced that praise and acknowledgement is the secret of life. grin

CMOTDibbler Mon 11-Feb-13 13:12:21

Yup, thats the sort of thing. Another is, do you wish him a good night with the same love and attention that you do the dc's? Make the same little fuss over his birthday (fave thing for tea, the cake he likes) as the dc's?

Ohhelpohnoitsa Mon 11-Feb-13 13:05:56

Thank you kind ladies. It is definitely the little unspoken things I think. He would positively die if I slow danced around the kitchen with him! He isnt a tactile person - doesnt like to be touched. but the suggestion made me giggle!! I think slowloosechippings has it spot on - I need to acknowledge the things he does. Good call. So now I have sussed out what to do I now have to think how to do it without being too overt. Didnt get iff to a great start today - kissed all 3dcs before I left and just shouted bye to him. Its that kind of thing isnt it?

mermaid101 Mon 11-Feb-13 12:59:46

I think I might be in danger of being in a fairly similar situation to you. It's a bit of a nasty shock when you suddenly realize how you have been behaving. It was for me anyway.

I asked a few friends for advice, and the best bit I got was to try to treat your DH as if they were your best friend. So for me, that means really engaging in conversation with him - actually properly listening and then responding really pleasantly and with interest , not just swapping child care/house work instructions. I also found what seems to help for my DH is to say if you have done something for them. Not in a "points scoring" or "put upon" way, but just to let them know you that you did something because you know it makes life nicer/easier for them.

So for example, today I'm off work and my DH is working. I have washed his work clothes for him. He is a tradesman and normally does this himself as it is a bit more involved than just sticking a load of washing on. I'll tell him tonight that I did I because I had a bit of time and it will save him doing it when he is tired tonight. Then (hopefully) he'll feel a bit "looked after" and appreciated.

I have also just found smiling and saying a heartfelt "thank you" when he does something to help me (which really is quite a lot).

I feel pretty ashamed of myself when i think that I wasn't doing this naturally. Thanks for posting. At least I'm not the only one!

MortifiedAdams Mon 11-Feb-13 09:52:30

Could you maybe just once in a while do one of his jobs? Put a.fresh load in the machine, or do whatever ironing is needed while watching something on tv?

We dont really have his and hers jobs in our house, but I know DH has never ever cleaned the bathroom - I would be well.impressed if I went in there one day and he had cleaned it grin

CMOTDibbler Mon 11-Feb-13 09:43:11

I think the thing about going away/nights out on your own is that people think it prioritises your relationship etc, but it makes it into a big thing that it has to be a special effort etc. IMO, what makes a relationship strong is the everyday tiny things of bringing home someones fave chocolate, making a drink without being asked, just being as polite to each other (please, thank you, you're welcome) as you would to a stranger, having a 10 minute chat in bed about the day - that sort of thing.

glasscompletelybroken Mon 11-Feb-13 09:40:55

Sometimes it really is the very little things. I work from home, DH gets up just before me in the morning and he always turns my computer on and makes me a cup of tea. It really gets my day off to a good start.

I always make his packed lunch which sends him off with a smile.

If we're sitting down watching TV in the evening and one of us leaves the room for any reason we will always ask the other if we can get them anything.

scaevola Mon 11-Feb-13 09:34:16

I think it's a good thing that he wants to communicate with you and isn't shying away from expressing dissatisfaction.

I'd be a bit wary of asking him to supply a list of things you can do - perhaps ask later if there's anything specific. Because my hunch is that although he is fundamentally happy with how your family life is, what he's after are signs that you appreciate him, and your putting thought into it (OK, with MN help) will be important at least at the start.

Even though you've said he might cringe at over-romanticism, I still think you might consider running him a bath, sending texts during the day, doing straightaway one domestic chore you'd ordinarily put off a bit, find something daily you can wholeheartedly praise him for, tell the DCs (within his earshot) what a great dad his is because of (specific example), foot/back rub etc.

And whilst your about it, see if he does parallel for you.

ratchetcratchet Mon 11-Feb-13 09:27:44

i had a similar problem to you and after 20 years things were decidedly 'rutty'

The thing is... I can spend 5 hours cleaning and tyding and he can do it in 15 mins. He goes over what i do anyway because its not up to his 'standard'... (he has isshoos) so we came to the agreement that he may as well do it.

But over time i did take him for granted.

so i started saying 'thank you for looking after me'
which covered everything. from making me a cuppa to putting the bin out!

a little thank you here and there... just him knowing i had seen his effort and appreciated it.

things are great now

HTH

SlowLooseChippings Mon 11-Feb-13 09:21:31

I used to be much the same. My husband works hard and does his fair share around the house too. Half of it is letting him know that I've noticed and appreciate the things he does for me, and half it is letting him know the things I do for him because we are a team.

I noticed that he feels worst on Mondays having to leave for work after a weekend spent together so I tell him DS and I will miss him when he's not around, and that we can't wait to see him tonight. If during the day, while he's gone, I find something small he's done for me (like making up all DS's bottles before coming to bed, or getting something heavy down from a high shelf for me) then I text him and thank him for it. I want him to know that I've noticed. I also let him know when I've done a job he hates - thank you cards or ironing for example - because me doing something for him to make life a little nicer is also a way of showing him that I appreciate him.

Last year in a email discussion about something house related I absentmindedly stuck in two lines thanking him for working so hard for our family. A few months later he mentioned it, as it really stuck in his mind, and since then I've been careful to remember to appreciate and occasionally thank him for working all day for us, especially when he has had a bad day at work and found it tough. If he could be home with DS all day he would be like a shot.

KeatsiePie Mon 11-Feb-13 00:16:34

I leave notes for my husband for when he will come home and I will be asleep/out. They don't say much, just, I love you, I left you the last piece of cake, etc. And then doing things like, well, leaving him the last piece of cake! There's something about someone else saving a bit of food just for you, it's nice. Or being the one to get up and make the coffee in the morning, then bring him a cup or have it ready for him on the counter. Telling him how nice he looks in a sweater he's wearing. Looking up ahead of time something he'll like on tv that you can watch together, or arranging a movie download.

Have to say though, I don't get what's wrong with babysitters and it sounds like an entire night out would be awfully nice for both of you.

BeforeAndAfter Mon 11-Feb-13 00:05:39

I think you're lucky he felt able to say something.

What did you used to do in the early days? How about a bottle of wine with some bread and cheese (or whatever suits your taste) in the lounge, all relaxed and cosy with a film? Spontaneous physical contact - hugs when cooking, washing up, loads of eye contact, little kisses here and there. Slow dancing when cooking? Listening to music instead of telly with a trip down memory lane of favourite tracks when you got together. Do you have pet names that aren't used anymore? And a spontaneous BJ goes down well - no pun intended!

Good luck!

Ohhelpohnoitsa Sun 10-Feb-13 23:48:18

thanks for replies so far. he is not a twat and he does have a point tbh. we share house stuff - he does laundry & ironing, i do shopping, cooking, book holidays, sort chrismas etc so there is no resentment there. I suspect he thinks he does more "housework" than me but in the grand scale i'd say we have an equal split. he is a "get it done now" kind of person where i am a "i'll do it in a while" kind! I think Rhondajean has got it - he needs some attention. Old raver, i don't take criticism well, but this time I do think he has a point. I am so far past doing "the little things" that I cant even remember them, hence the post.

cestlavielife Sun 10-Feb-13 23:34:32

Ask him to write a list.
No point you thinking of things if he will reject...

What is it he does while you sit back ?
Do you equally share responsibility for the dc?
Or are you looking after dc putting their needs first and "neglecting" him?

equally share housework ?

But rethink not going out. It is daft. How old are the dc. ? What harm will they come to if you go to a movie together and they stay with a babysitter. How is that neglecting them ? Or do you each get time off to go do your own thng while the other stays with dc ?

You both need abreak and if you don't have a break together how will it work ?

tribpot Sun 10-Feb-13 23:26:30

Does he lead by example in this? What are some of the nice things he does for you? This might give you a clue as to what he has in mind.

rhondajean Sun 10-Feb-13 23:24:38

I don't think he sounds a twat.

But not going out together is not prioritising your children. It's neglecting your relationship snd increasing the chances of them having their home broken up at some point.

What would he like? Ime it's about listening to men when they say things like this - they tend to be feeling like they need to talk about something and feel like they matter but a lot if men still aren't brought up to be able to ask directly for it.

Make him a cuppa and ask how his day was. Then sit Nd listen to what he says. And tell him about yours. See how it goes.

Of course, if he doesn't listen back, he could just be a twat...

sausagesandwich34 Sun 10-Feb-13 23:23:16

The little things can be taking him a drink, a random cuddle just because, saying thank you -but does he do those things for you?

oldraver Sun 10-Feb-13 23:15:56

He says, he wants..... what do you think ?. Alarm bells are ringing when he said he doesn't wnat you to go away on your own or on nights out. It wont harm the DC's to be babysat.

Its all very easy for him isnt it..... blame you for not paying him attention then and the answer is for him to curtail you going out.

Do you think there is any basis to what he says about 'him doing it all', what does he mean by that

Personally I think he sounds an twat

Ohhelpohnoitsa Sun 10-Feb-13 23:08:59

bucking the trend here - dh is (almost perfect) but has had a real go at me for taking him for granted and sitting back because I "know he will do it". He says (and approves) that I totally prioritise the dcs but then I prioritise work / house / living and have no thought or time for him. Now the conversation was a little extreme but in parts is true. So I asked how I can improve this and he says its the little things - he doesnt want us to go away on our own or have nights out etc (as he too prioritises the dcs and doesnt want them with babaysitters) - he just wants the little things. so mumsnetters, help me please. I have lost perspective and honestly dont know what these things are anymore. That is sad isnt it. He and I have never been romantic - infact we are probably the opposite, for instance if I laid the table really nicely and made a fab meal or tan him a bath or anything like that, he would find it cringeworthy. but I have think of some thoughtful little things. Any ideas welcome.

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