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Changing DH'S behaviour - can it be done?

(66 Posts)
Billysilly Tue 05-Mar-13 08:14:47

Hi

I want to vent at my dh's behaviour and ask for suggestions to change things.

I'll say at the outset I do not want to leave him. We have in many ways a happy marriage and two Dc who adore him.

He is however lazy and selfish and both things are getting on my nerves more and more. We have been together for many years and these have always been traits of his, however it has become more obvious since the arrival of our children.

Examples include constantly disappearing to take naps and only suggesting I take one if he happens not to be tired, I am expected to keep on going.

Getting up with Dc on a Sunday only, which is my day for a lie in. They are not good sleepers.

He is awful if he has to get up in the night. Shouting and swearing. He turns into a really horrible person.

I am currently away for a few days with Dc and I know he won't have done any housework or dealt with any laundry other than his own (he had to phone to ask how to use the washing machine)

While we are away he has taken a day off work because he needs time for himself. He has not thought at all about our parents going on holiday and who will look after our Dc I.e. me. My holidays are not viewed as time to recharge my batteries, only his.

Money - for most of our relationship I have been the main earner and have ensured we have enough to cover the bills and an equal amount of spending money. He is now the higher wage earner and Is now transferring random amounts to pay the joint account and keeping more money to himself. Some months he does overtime or gets a bonus but as a family we see little of this.

He smokes and claims he needs more money for this (don't get me started angry.

I have a separate account for birthday and Christmas presents which he refuses to pay into, although he does buy a couple of presents from his own account at Christmas for me and a few friends I wouldn't have a clue what to buy for. For my birthday he bought me a very expensive present from our joint account promising he would put the money back. He still hasn't 4 months later. I did not ask for this present but it suited his needs ( it was an iPad, he wanted me off the computer in the evenings)

Some of this is selfish behaviour, some of this is being unrealistic about money. He has a history of debt, now cleared but looks at our joint account sees plenty of money and then spends from it. We are consistently £200 - £300 overdrawn, not all because of him, but if he contributed a more reasonable amount and did not skim off the top we would be doing a whole lot better.

I realise I have probably set a pattern for this earlier I our relationship as I minded less doing the majority of housework and was happy to do the accounts but I feel resentful at the moment.

Warning bells should have struck when in our pre wedding chat to our minister he said one of the main things he loved about me was that I looked after him. Looking after me never seems to come I to the equation.

So, how can I improve things?

Billysilly Tue 05-Mar-13 10:07:05

What kind of action?

Off out now, will reply later

Pendipidy Tue 05-Mar-13 10:19:45

It makes me annoyed laugh when people always come on MN and listen to someones issues and then always say, why don't you want to leave him? I can't imagine that everyone one here who posts that has a completely rosy and perfect relationship themselves. If everyone left at any sign of issue in a relationship then nobody would ever stay with anyone and we would all be in continuous short relationships, bailing out at the first sign of something you didn't like.

It is admirable that the OP doesn't want to leave him. These are issues that can be worked on and there are always things in any relationship that are annoying and you would not wish for, but the good points outweigh the bad. A stable family unit is a good thing for all concerned. Jumping ship at any bad sign is not putting enough effort into a relationship.

By all means, OP, try and discuss your issues and hopefully your DH will understand your point of view and put effort into addressing your concerns...but sometimes, people cannot be changed and you put up with some things because you love them and other points about them are the reason you love them. No one is perfect!

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 05-Mar-13 11:30:20

pendi - this isn't the first sign, its a well established and ingrained pattern of behaviour confused

OP has already talked to him but as there are no consequences for him and he is too selfish to give a shit, nothing has changed. Are you suggesting she has to put up with all that crap??! The shouting, swearing, issues with money (either not sharing his or taking her money), the naps, the laziness, the lack of respect and so on? You must belong to the 1950s hmm

Oscarandelliesmum Tue 05-Mar-13 11:30:50

I read the lazy husband by joshua cole which has some good tactics in it. Often just leaving it lying around pointedly will result in a sheepish offer of help!
My h sounds similar in regards to house work. He is just a bit lazy and would rather the house was a tip than clean it, this is entitled, shitty behaviour and he knows it angry That said, he is improvimg and we do love each other.....

AnyFucker Tue 05-Mar-13 11:33:17

I find it ineffably depressing that women feel impelled to teach their husbands how to be decent human beings.

Isetan Tue 05-Mar-13 12:28:00

He treats you poorly because you let him. Yes, we all hope that the people that we love and and say that love us back would not behave this way, but you now know different.

I have been there OP, the hand wringing the "Why can't he see how much this behaviour hurts me".

You are worth more and should value yourself more, now start acting like it and maybe he will learn by your example. By putting up with his shit for so long you have condoned the behaviour, which means if there is to be change its not gonna be easy.

If you want different, demand different! To paraphase Malcolm Tucker he needs to "Step the fuck up, or fuck the fuck off". If you are unwilling to attach any serious consequences to his piss poor behaviour, then your only alternative is to STFU.

You are not without voice, the only people that benefit from martyrdom are Kleenex and manufacturers of hypertension medicine.

Pendipidy Dan Savage calls this the price of admission. If the bad points don't overshadow the good, then that it is the price of staying in the relationship. However, the resentment accrued from being subjected to continued selfish and disrespectful behaviour will tip the balance in the end. In my opinion better to tackle this now while the OP still cares.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 05-Mar-13 12:53:48

A year ago I could have written this post. I had even cried about needing help with specific things he said yes then never did anything. ExH than took this to a new level and had an affair as I didn't give him enough attention.
I wish we had gone to couples counselling/relate long before where we could have hashed these issues out. With hindsight I was not direct enough and should have stood my ground more.
One thing I will say is it is actually easier on my own as I was doing everything anyway and now I don't have to pander to his wishes. From the outside even though OW lives with him some of the time it seems his life is a bit sh*t.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 05-Mar-13 13:52:30

"It is admirable that the OP doesn't want to leave him. "

It may be admirable but it's counter-productive when there are big problems. Imagine having a job where your employer says 'whatever happens, however many mistakes you make or how badly you do your job, I will never sack you'. A hard-working person with integrity might get confidence from the statement. A shiftless person would see it as licence to take the piss.

The OP's DH is in the latter camp....

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 05-Mar-13 14:15:05

ExH than took this to a new level and had an affair as I didn't give him enough attention.

Selfish entitled men are very vulnerable to having an affair so this does not surprise me. However, I do hope you do not think that his affair is your fault - he could have talked to you, suggested counselling etc instead of deciding that shagging OW as the best option for resolving his issues....

What Cogito wrote.

Also the writing re all this was on the wall even before they got married to each other as per this comment:-

"Warning bells should have struck when in our pre wedding chat to our minister he said one of the main things he loved about me was that I looked after him".

For whatever reasons (on OPs side it was probably a toxic mix of actually loving him and thinking that marriage could somehow make him a more responsible human being) they got married and the earning bells were ignored.

Suzanna69 Tue 05-Mar-13 14:17:14

'Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invaribly they are both disappointed.' - Albert Einstein.

This quote of yours is interesting: I am bad at delegation, at work as well as home. I tend to see what needs done, do it and then resent the fact I haven't been helped or appreciated.

If you do everything, he will let you. Also it sounds like you might be a control freak (no offence). He might well feel that whatever he does wouldn't be considered 'good enough'. That might even be the reason he bought you a wildly extravagant present he couldn't afford to pay for, he is over compensating in the only way that makes sense to him (if he's had money issues before he probably sees material things as the best way to show appreciation, to himself and to you. Some people do this - I know I do if I don't rein myself in).
I'm not defending him, especially the shouting and swearing if he has to get up in the night and the nasty behaviour. But he may well be feeling very emasculated with you being the main breadwinner for so long and taking control of everything. I think perhaps you should consider that you have contributed to this situation. It's rarely 100% blame on one person's side.

bingodiva Tue 05-Mar-13 15:00:24

pendipidy im glad someone has a level head on them - what you have written is spot on. I have noticed there are certain people on here who say the same thing over and over and are quite condescending about other peoples relationships. i would love to spend a week with them to see what they are like in RL as its easy to be a keyboard warrier

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 05-Mar-13 15:03:21

"Jumping ship at any bad sign is not putting enough effort into a relationship"

But - to continue the analogy - saying 'no thanks' to a life-raft when the ship you're in is almost sunk would be stupid... No-one's telling the OP to jump ship. However, when faced with very stubborn, very bad behaviour it would be foolish to rule out the ultimate sanction.

A relationship can only be worked on if both parties are wanting to put the effort in. OPs H clearly does not want to put any effort in, there were problems in this relationship before they actually walked down the aisle (and OP has alluded to that as well).

Billysilly Tue 05-Mar-13 15:06:06

I had a look at the preview of the book Oscar suggested, and he definitely falls into the boy husband category.

Pendi - I agree with a lot of what you say.

Isetan - I agree, I do have martyrish qualities and indeed DH has accused me of this during arguments. Back to the previous point of my poor communication, assumptions on my part that he realises how tired I am and how much I do. He is very quick to tell me how tiring his day has been.

Suzanne - no offence taken, I am indeed a control freak. I also hate giving others too much to do, but have high expectations of myself and how much I can do. If I can't achieve everything and very often I can't, I get frustrated and annoyed at D H for not helping. A pattern I'm remembering my parents playing out and my dad saying but she didn't tell me what to do.

I'm talking to him late tonight so I'll try the if I do this you do that suggestion.

Thank you. Your giving me some things to think about.

Why agree with Pendi's comments?. Clearly you are not happy with the situation as it is; how many more years of your life are you willing to sacrifice for some selfish man who is happy to have you look after him?.

Well you can try to talk to him again but really you are dealing with someone here who won't play ball.

This is a man who after all bought you an IPad primarily so that he could get you off the computer in the evening so he could use same.

Do you at heart think you are simply now replaying in your own life what your parents taught you about relationships?. Think too about what you are both teaching your children now re same, is this really the relationship role model you would want them to emulate as adults?.

I think and know you want things to change but trying to change someone's else behaviour is not possible, its hard enough to even change one aspect of your own behaviours.

bingodiva Tue 05-Mar-13 15:42:04

billy you say
"Suzanne - no offence taken, I am indeed a control freak. I also hate giving others too much to do, but have high expectations of myself and how much I can do. If I can't achieve everything and very often I can't, I get frustrated and annoyed at D H for not helping. A pattern I'm remembering my parents playing out and my dad saying but she didn't tell me what to do."

does this mean that you dont ask DH to help but expect him to see what needs doing and he should get on and do it to the same standard as you do things?

I'm sure he doesn't wait for you to suggest a nap or wait for you to ask how his day is. He says he is having a nap and tells you he is tired and had a rough day. Have you tried just telling him you are tired, you need a nap and could be do the dishwasher while you sleep?

The money and different standards (i.e. OK for you to share, not OK for him to share) that is much more intractable, selfish and worrying.

It does sound like you need to be more assertive about what YOU need. I'd start small rather than saying everything needs to change. So with finances - sit down, say you are concerned your finances are a mess, that you want to sort it out, and this is your proposal (eg limits on what either of you can take from joint acccount).

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 05-Mar-13 19:14:46

I don't feel my ExH's affair was my fault it was just an extension of his selfish me me behaviour.
I do wish I had been more assertive earlier and I feel that if we had gone to counselling with an independent third party to allow everyone to have their say it might have impressed upon him how unreasonable his behaviour was before it got to that level.

ClippedPhoenix Tue 05-Mar-13 20:00:10

In my experience men like this don't change. They may make an effort for short bursts at a time but they will constantly revert to their default arrogant selfish selves.

You will knock yourself out trying to "understand" and tell yourself over and over again that they aren't that bad and if you could just be better at getting across your needs blah blah blah, it will be ok.

Unfortunately, it won't. Over time you won't even know who you are anymore.

Someone in a happy fulfilling relationship would never utter "he's not that bad".

That is probably the case Clipped but a couple of things struck me in the OP.

"Examples include constantly disappearing to take naps and only suggesting I take one if he happens not to be tired, I am expected to keep on going." Why would he suggest she naps? I suggest I nap, DH suggests he naps. No one is expected to be psychic.

"While we are away he has taken a day off work because he needs time for himself. He has not thought at all about our parents going on holiday and who will look after our Dc I.e. me. My holidays are not viewed as time to recharge my batteries, only his." Seen by who? Has OP taken time off and told DH she needs some time to herself?

The money, presents and smoking OTOH sound like a selfish arse.

ClippedPhoenix Tue 05-Mar-13 22:18:31

Does she need to tell him?

I really think she doesn't.

Surely a kind and considerate person would actually know that you do things equally?

I have never got this, tell him business. Should you have to?

Should you have to tell someone that you're tired, can't they see it? and act accordingly?

It smacks of men being let off normal fundamental caring actions.

ClippedPhoenix Tue 05-Mar-13 22:20:20

Forgive him because he is a man?

Nah!

Hell no, Clipped I am not one of the 'bless him he's incapable of seeing dirt because he has a penis' brigade. I do think that taking some responsibility for your own self care is important too. As I say, it is rare that DH or I suggest naps to each other, we just nap.

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