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Really fed up with DH - mid life crisis type post - long

(355 Posts)
BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 19:08:38

So, DH has a long history of being a bit of a grumpy old sod at home more often than not when it suits him, and lying in bed at every opportunity (at the weekend it's usually more or less all morning, plus at least a 2 hour nap in the afternoons, plus slipping upstairs for a bit more of a lie down at regular intervals whenever I am not looking). I have pointed out he is doing less and less with us as a family, that we have become a very stereotypically gendered household in some respects, and that he might be depressed but he replies:

1. No he isn't, He is just tired.
2. He works hard and commutes to London (NB I also have a full time job and commute to London, he replies his commute is half an hour longer each way and I get to work from home sometimes).
3. He needs more sleep than me.
4. He does some of the washing and cooks once a week or so.
5. He earns more than me which makes his job more important to propping up the lifestyle of the family.
6. Two weekends out of three in term time he takes the older two to the local station on a Saturday morning to get the train to school (20 minutes there and back, then he goes back to bed).

(I have posted on here in the past about the rampant hypochondria linked to the lie downs, but luckily that has now diminished to more or less tolerable proportions since encouraged by MN I told him to man up and that there was nothing wrong with him, although he did strut about in front of our Christmas day guests with a thermometer thingy in his ear at one stage, so the hypochondria has obv not gone completely).

Now he lost his dad a couple of weeks ago, and the funeral was yesterday. I have been doing all the necessary propping up and wifely support that you would expect and which is only right. However his reaction to this is like an extreme version of his normal-lying-in-bed-complaining-all-the-time-not-doing-much-with-the-family. When his mum died a few years back it was also extreme. I think it's probably not an exaggeration to say that he copped out of family life for an entire year on that occasion (I remember speaking to relatives about it for advice at the time, I was so exhausted and fed up). I had five, repeat five bereavements of my own during the same period, including one of my closest, dearest relatives, but they were more or less ignored because he was so wrapped up in himself and his own grief.

I am really worried I am facing another year or so of doing all the heavy lifting for the family emotionally and domestically while he disappears into his psychological defence cave. I am not sure I have anything left to give. Over the last year or so I have felt suffocated by his moods and needs for lie downs, absolutely suffocated, and imprisoned in the house while we wait for him to wake up/get up/get dressed/get washed and join in. It's like we are all perpetually in limbo, and when we do get out, he's such a wet weekend it's no fun any more. I struggle to do the whole thing on my own as my mobility isn't the best.

He never volunteers to take the kids to the park, play with them or anything - if I don't nag him or do it myself the 3YO would basically spend all weekend indoors more or less entertaining himself, and the older ones would just sit in their rooms. He does however run around in a complete frenzy on a Sunday evening at 9pm in an attempt to find their PE kits and get them to complete their homework, at which time we are all completely frazzled frankly.

When he is at home, DH disappears off regularly and if he's not in bed, after half an hour or so he will appear and say things like 'well, I've tidied the kids's rooms/tidied our rooms/put everything away' very proudly, when the reality is that this is a 5 minute job stretched out to 30 as I have already usually spent the morning on domestic tasks, and he is actually multi tasking in the most inefficient way possible - dabbling about doing a bit of a job here, a bit of a job there, never quite finishing anything, criticising the way I organise the house. If he runs out of these pointless domestic tasks to occupy himself, that's when he goes off to lie in bed for a bit, rather than do something with the kids.

I have tried playing his lying in bed game as well, to see what happens, but basically the kids just end up rather neglected and start fighting, and he gets even grumpier.

I am really exhausted with all this. It is not what I got married for, tbh. I have just snapped at him and told him to 'see a fucking counsellor FFS' blush and while I apologised straight afterwards, he has now driven off in a sulk to get away from the house. I am not getting what I need emotionally from this marriage at the moment, at all.

Oh dear, what on earth do other people do in this situation?

FairPhyllis Thu 04-Apr-13 20:17:37

But there's always the possibility he just won't change. You are here looking for surefire ways to get him to change, but they might not exist. In which case, you would have to decide, am I happy to live like this? is this worth it?

I don't think this is an automatic LTB scenario. But it does sound like a 'he shapes up pdq or I reconsider our future' scenario. The 'doing things in shifts' thing sounds like you are basically not a team, and that is why he feels he can opt out and go to sleep. Personally I think relationships are about being a team. (Is he really sleeping when he naps, btw?)

What do people do at the weekends? Depends how old your children are, I guess? Go for a walk, go shopping, visit relatives, go out hiking for the day, take the kids to a museum/house/farm/zoo, swimming, cycling, go to the library ... Not every weekend needs to be a riot of excitement though. Going and buying the papers and doing gardening or cleaning or cooking is as good as it gets sometimes.

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 20:19:10

I know I should cut him more slack in some respects, but it feels as though I have nothing left to give really.

FairPhyllis Thu 04-Apr-13 20:19:44

Cross posted. So you are on ADs. What are the chances that the stress of essentially living on your own is contributing to your depression?

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 20:22:56

If I am really honest with myself I think that must be a factor, yes.

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 20:23:40

Kids at home are 15, 12 and nearly 4.

MavisGrind Thu 04-Apr-13 20:29:56

My XH is like this. I could have written much of your posts myself. The endless lie-ins and naps, the constant hypochondria. Family life on shifts and the utter self absorption.

My X went to couselling for about 4-5 years of our time together. Shortly before our 2nd DC was born I pointed out that the trips to his couseller were costing us a third of our income after our mortgage. I was told to get a job hmm

It has to be said, he's a much better father now as he's only got the dcs for small bursts.

I'm so much happier! I might be single for the rest of my life but I've achieved so much since he left (in the end life wasn''t fun enough apparently hmm) that I don't care. The dcs are fine and I'm not having to put up with a whole heap of nonsense anymore.

I hope you can find a way to resolve things so that you and your dcs are happy.

LadyApricot Thu 04-Apr-13 20:30:38

This could have been written by me. The only difference is your dh does slightly more than mine. I am at a loss.so so so bored and hate that I get up at 6am every morning for the children yet he lies in until mid day.
If I tried to stay in bed the dc's would be neglected and he'd get cross.
I wish I had an answer. Depression is he only thing I can think of. If they won't admit it though then what hope is there?
Counselling I guess?

ExcuseTypos Thu 04-Apr-13 20:38:36

I do feel for you.

Whatever his problem is he doesn't sound happy and you certainly aren't.

I think you must be very worried that he will need another year to get over his dad, so I understand why you lost your temper with him today. I think I'd be telling him you understand he will need time to get over his dad, but you cannot put up with the way it was last time. He has to get some help so he becomes part of the family again.

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 20:48:26

It is very interesting hearing everyone's experiences and thoughts, so thank you for that.

I am seeing him tomorrow at the house, so I think I will try to take him for a pint and see if I can get him round to the idea of bereavement counselling. Perhaps we can see how that goes, and then if it isn't working, then Relate can come a bit later on, perhaps.

In the meantime, I think I will plan my weekends a lot better so I have activities scheduled that I can actually cope with on my own, for example I could take the smallest one swimming on a Saturday morning, and then go out for a coffee or something. That kind of thing.

PurplePidjin Thu 04-Apr-13 20:49:34

Iirc you're both academics?

Keep a diary. Write down exactly what he does and how long it takes on one page, and exactly what he does and how long it takes on the opposite page:

Mrs Boffin: 8am wake up, make tea, play cars with dc3. 8:25 make dc3 breakfast, help dc2 find green shoes. 8:30 shower, dress

Mr Boffin: 11am wake up. 11:30 get up, make tea. 11:40 shower. 12:15 collect dc1 laundry. 12:45 nap. 15:00 get up and ask Mrs Boffin to make lunch.

Then show him.

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 20:51:39

Hahaha Purple, do you have a secret camera??

No, he's not an academic. I can't say what he does on here for outing reasons. He has quite a full on job but he does make a bit of a meal of some aspects of it.

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 20:55:08

I think I might well do a diary, tbh.

MooncupGoddess Thu 04-Apr-13 20:59:02

Sounds really difficult, poor you.

I will just say that I think most bereavement counsellors to prefer to wait until a while (a few months?) after the death, as the vast majority of people feel dreadful and have no energy for a while after a close relative has died... it is absolutely natural and not seen as a problem that necessarily requires counselling.

I entirely understand why you are so concerned given his previous behaviour, but losing one's last parent is just devastating. Can you grit your teeth for a few months longer, while asking him to do specific tasks at home and with the children?

Ebayaholic Thu 04-Apr-13 21:00:18

The fact that you say if you make a fuss you will be a fat lonely single parent of 3 speaks volumes- does he not care enough about you to change things to make you happy? You don't seem to think so. Is it his way or no way? Have you no power within the relationship?

Charbon Thu 04-Apr-13 21:05:03

I think this is about laziness, selfishness and entitlement BoffinMum.

Plus a deep-rooted belief that the things he avoids doing are actually women's work.

I had a wry smile when you posted that everyone else thinks he's marvellous. That same sexism is alive and well in society at large and many working women will tell you endless tales of listening through gritted teeth when strangers, family or acquaintances remark on how wonderful their husbands are for looking after their own children, cooking a simple meal or ironing their own shirts. I'm often away with work and I get to hear this all the time about how lucky I am to have a husband who'll do any of that. We've often compared notes as a couple and it won't surprise you to hear that no-one has ever said the same to my husband about how 'wonderful' his wife is, doing all that while he's away.

Hypochondria is a form of lying, just as napping is a way of 'hiding' from family life and unpleasant chores.

I don't think this is about depression or bereavement at all. I can imagine you noticed a few of these traits and beliefs before you had the children, but that they have come to the fore in earnest since they came along and very hard work beckoned.

I'd do some analysis about what you really think underlies his behaviour and then tackle it head on, agreeing some new expectations of family life and load-sharing.

This is sounding familiar to me too. Dh has had the day off today. Dd has been at holiday club so he has had no child care to do. I've come back from work to find dd being babysat by the tv, the house a total sty and dh in bed ill. He may be ill, I don't know, I haven't really had time to check. (btw, I have multiple disabilities and am in a lot of pain today, but I have responsibilities so I keep going.....)

As for what to do about it. Things sometimes get better when I broach it / throw a strop, but he slips back into the pattern. He's recently started shift work and now he sleeps pretty much all the time he's not working. (and has impunity to sleep day or night) but I don't want to separate as I would lose some of my precious weekends with dd. I have her all to my self at the moment.

I sent dh to the drs a few years ago but he was told he wasn't depressed. He was just stressed. He used this to justify sleeping more, refused to get any help and subsequently lost his job. He's happier now but still slopes off to bed(or the pc) at the drop of a hat..... Put it this way, dd is never sure if he's at work or in bed as we see so little of him even when he is home.

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 21:32:08

Charbon, you are right and I know this really. Nobody says well done to me for bearing him 3 sons, running his home, supporting his career and managing the rest of our domestic life. But he is a big saint for 'allowing me to have a career' and cleaning a toilet twice a year.

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 21:34:02

You know, I think I am living with an old man sometimes, he's that lethargic, with so many medicines lined up beside his bed.

welcometomysillylife Thu 04-Apr-13 21:37:26

Mostly this behaviour is simply laziness. What woman with kids has the opportunity to lie in or go to bed during the day? It wouldn't enter our heads. Men do it because they can. It is also a choice that is saying they don't want to join in family life. Been there, done it, wouldn't put up with it again.

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 21:38:46

I sometimes lie down for a bit, and make him step up to the mark, but it's more to make a point iyswim.

Hassled Thu 04-Apr-13 21:44:01

You asked what other people do at weekends.
DH works away all week every week. He's usually back Friday nights.
Sat morning he has a bit of a lie in - up at 9 ish. He takes DCs to music lessons, popping into a sumpermarket to get lunch/whatever en route. In the afternoons he usually takes the DCs to the football.
Sundays he's up early to coach DS3's sports team. Sunday afternoon we go out collectively or potter around/deal with homework.

You have the patience of a saint. What you describe is so far from normal I can't begin to quantify it. I'm sorry you're having to deal with this shit.

You don't mention redeeming features - are you still able to enjoy his company?

JulieCarp Thu 04-Apr-13 22:21:13

Can I ask ? does he sleep well ?
Im afraid he sounds very self absorbed - unless he is very unwell with the flu weekend long lie ins/ naps sound a bit much.
Its nice to have a bit of a lie in but he isnt being very fair.

In the Carp house we are usually up by 8 .DH will go for a run/cycle while I drink coffee and DC lumber about in the kitchen stripping it of food wink
I will then go for a swim/ sauna and then we have lunch together.
We might go shopping in the afternoon /garden/go for a walk/or just potter about .
DC might meet their friends and go into town.
Sundays are similar with a bit of cleaning thrown in but short of a little nap in front of the sport on tv noone goes back to bed unless ill.
Does he go out or get any exercise at all ?

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 22:29:09

He doesn't do any exercise really. He's getting a beer gut and man boobs and tbh I don't really fancy him much like that. I don't like fat men.

He belongs to an amateur dramatics club and from time to time they put on plays which involves intensive rehearsals and then two or three nights for performances. This will remove him from the household even more. He missed our 15th wedding anniversary, although he did apologise in front of the audience at the performance that night, and presented me with some flowers, and he was away for Mother's Day afternoon rehearsing (he spent the morning in bed). I have to say I had a major strop on Mother's Day after that, a full on grump. I made it clear that it made me feel utterly taken for granted.

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 22:34:10

He says he sleeps badly and tracks it on his iPhone every night. I then have to listen to his bloody quantified self statistics every morning with his percentage rating, and look at his sleep graph. Frankly it looks from the stats that he sleeps just the same as the rest of us, but I have given up trying to get this message across to him. I have also told him that napping a lot is bad for sleep hygiene, but he doesn't seem to make the connection.

He also lies funny in bed. I have to keep well over to my side and I have a duvet, while he has a special ritual with a sheet and a blanket wrapped around him in a certain way. Apparently I give out too much heat in bed and regularly invade his side 'like Hitler invading Poland'. I am bloody fed up with his silly ways, I can tell you.

JulieCarp Thu 04-Apr-13 22:35:29

He spent Mothers Day morning in bed shock
Bloody hell ! I dont blame you for being in a grump . He needs a reality check but of course its now immensely difficult due to his recent bereavement.

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