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AIBU about DH and his 'can't/won't cook' role?

(97 Posts)
Lazyoldcow Sat 06-Apr-13 18:13:34

May sound trivial compared to other issues here but it gets me down. Our DCs have left home recently, we get on quite well, but DH has never cooked. Been together over 25 years and I've cooked every day for 99% of the time. The only times he's chipped in is when I've been really ill ( in bed, after childbirth , after operations) when I've had to give him a list, a menu and detailed instructions on how to even heat food up and chop vegetables. Ironically his dad was a chef! shock

Anyway I've now had enough. He cannot cook anything- and I mean anything. I've suggested a basic cookery course, looked up these for him, suggested he tries to do 1 meal a weekend and focuses on just 1 thing- like a simple fish dish, or a chicken dish and he just doesn't listen to me.

I am utterly fed up with taking responsibility for food. If i come in knackered I cannot expect any food ready for me- not even a simple stir fry or omlette.

he lived alone till we married- around 30 and eats a canteen lunch so he'd never starve.

Any ideas?

MintyyAeroEgg Sat 06-Apr-13 20:54:23

Just tell him that you are not going to do it all any more! Fgs.

MintyyAeroEgg Sat 06-Apr-13 20:57:16

What on earth has "do you work outside the home?" got to do with it?

For years I was sahm and my dh worked 50 - 80 hours a week.

Didn't mean I was expected to cook 100% of family meals! That is utter bollocks.

TonysHardWorkDay Sat 06-Apr-13 21:11:11

In my parents house there used to be a running joke that my Dad could burn water. We never had takeaways unless my mum was away, then it was cereal for breakfast and a mixture of restaurants, pizza and the chippy for the rest.

Things shifted as he retired before my mum, we had no local cafes or a works canteen for him to pop to and he couldn't justify expensive meals out daily for ever. He soon got bored and had to learn the basics. He is no chef of the year but can manage a simple meal and now does nearly all the cleaning and shopping as well as having sole charge of the DIY.

So I suggest abandoning him, go on strike and make him do something. For what its worth I will always remember the look of pride on his face when this well well educated and high achieving man told me he had 'cooked' his first meal. It was beans on toast by the way. I do love me Dad.

Charbon Sat 06-Apr-13 21:20:28

How do you feel about repeatedly telling your husband about something that upsets you and is important to you and he just ignores it?

This really isn't about cooking. It's about something much more serious.

Minx179 Sat 06-Apr-13 21:33:28

My DH used to be the same, as well as not pulling his weight in other areas. He couldn't cook, didn't know how....blah, blah... If I got fed up with cooking, we'd get a takeout.

In the end I told him to fuck off unless he changed. He now cooks every weekend, his roasts are better than mine.

It's just laziness and disrespect that makes them not bothered.

NathanDetroit Sat 06-Apr-13 21:48:36

A lot of my friends (I'm early 30s) are with men who just don't cook. I find it enraging on their behalves - although they don't seem to care - and I think it's really disrespectful to expect your partner to get up and cook regardless of what kind of a day they've had, what else is going on. I think it's pretty controlling, actually. I don't understand why it's ok to entirely abdicate making your partner happy/comfortable in this way and it seems to be pretty common.

I guess a conversation about how it's time things need to change and therefore calmly discussing how you could each split tasks more fairly would be in order. ie when planning the weekly shop my partner and I discuss who will cook what and when we do this we eat much better than when we don't plan out as neither of us take responsibility.

Lazyoldcow Sat 06-Apr-13 22:45:48

No sadly he is not taking the piss.

When he last cooked broccoli for us, he cut it into tiny florets with no stalk on at all. He has never had it like that in his life from me or anyone. so why????

We buy a Saturday paper- Times- and a while back i showed him their "Only 4 chicken recipes you will ever need" pages- for chicken substitute pasta, eggs, fish, etc etc- one a week. His reaction is "oh, yes, okay".

Then nada.

I am a good cook, i admit. But it';s as if he has never really LOOKED at what's on his plate! A few weeks back i asked him to chop up a pepper for stir fry- He chopped it into tiny squares unlike anything we have ever eaten.

I have now told him I am not cooking him anything until he has made a meal for me.

I will lose out short term because I am not going to make roast pots for just me- and lots of other things too- but that will be a small sacrifice if it works.

dontyouwantmebaby Sun 07-Apr-13 00:07:01

"I will lose out short term because I am not going to make roast pots for just me".

au contraire OP, this is exactly what you need to do. why should you go without a lovely roast dinner just because he is too lazy to do any cooking. he can rustle up an omelette instead grin

however, I have to say if you've been doing 99% of the cooking for the last 25yrs or so, I'd imagine its quite difficult (but crucially, not impossible) to change habits that have been ingrained over those years, almost like a role reversal. the fact you've discussed that this is an issue and that he knows you're not happy about it should prompt some serious action towards remedying this on his part.

ps fwiw i do all the cooking in my household through choice as I enjoy it but chores are split fairly equally, there's things I am not good at, don't enjoy and so it makes sense for me not to do them. you just have to find what works for you (and I appreciate you doing all the cooking is not this!) good luck.

Minx179 Sun 07-Apr-13 00:09:05

Why do you think you will lose out only in the short term? Do you honestly think your DH will start cooking because you stop? You said up thread that he will eat at work then live on sandwiches in the evening.

It sounds as though you have tried this tack before. You stop cooking, he eats at work until you get fed up and start cooking again. He's won.

He is taking the piss. He's never had broccoli florets cut up tiny, so he does it to prove that he can't do it properly, plus he knows it will annoy you. The same with the pepper. So you do it yourself, he's got out of cooking again, because you've agreed he can't do it right.

HazeltheMcWitch Sun 07-Apr-13 00:22:41

Look, 95% of the issue is probably that he doesn't want to cook. he's not done it, you always have. You've complained about it, but you're still cooking, so the status quo IS working for him.

Maybe some of the tiny remainder is fear of looking like a fool? So you might need to put up with miniature, overcooked broccoli, just for a bit. Even if he's doing it to make it point, your rising to the bait isn't helping your cause - it's 'proving' that he can't cook.

By no means do I mean treat him as a toddler, and praise the heavens out of the smallest task. However if you want him to cook, you might need to accept he's on a bit of a learning curve - and his 1st efforts wont be as good as things you could make better in half the time and with fewer pans.

HazeltheMcWitch Sun 07-Apr-13 00:23:18

2nd the Jamie Ministry of Food book, as a great intro into cooking.

ImperialBlether Sun 07-Apr-13 00:28:29

I could live with the cooking, but not with his refusal to do any housework. That's terrible. To be honest, I probably wouldn't want to eat anything he'd prepared, but I'd be happy to sit in a room that he'd dusted and vacuumed.

Simple don't feed him, he'll soon learn grin
And if that doesn't work, he will either turn into skelator or get of his bum...

louisianablue2000 Sun 07-Apr-13 00:29:04

I guess you have to decide how important this is to you and if it's a single issue or if it's just one part of him taking advantage of you in the home. i have to say I'm not holding out much hope for you after 25 years but if you want to insist on him cooking (maybe on a day he's not at work so he doesn't have the option of a canteen meal that day) you have to treat him like the child he is pretending to be. So praise the behaviour you like and ignore what you don't. Don't comment on how he has cut up the vegetables, don't comment if he burns the food or doesn't wash up. Just tell him how nice it is to have someone work hard to make some food for you to eat. Tell him it makes you feel loved and special etc etc. Maybe make him watch Like Water for Chocolate so he understands cooking food is about showing your love. Guilt him into cooking for you.

This is obviously all spectacularly unfeminist but Idon't think you are going to get anywhere with 'we need to sharethe jobs out evenly'.

DorsetLass Sun 07-Apr-13 00:39:58

Reading with interest as we have been married for eight years and DH is yet to cook a meal - including the day I had our DS - born at 9am - Ives shone cooking dinner at 7pm!! This is not a plea for praise - I feel like I have been a mug and laid terrible foundations for a non cooked for future! I really will be interested to hear how you get on - so I can learn and try the same!

Lavenderhoney Sun 07-Apr-13 02:07:55

If you have been cooking and cleaning for 25 years I doubt he will change now. Well done for teaching your dc to be independent.

Why do you want him to cook? Does he do the shopping or help menu plan?

If you just want a break from cooking then he can take you out for dinner or get a takeaway or you could go to a friend?

Sounds more like he got everything done for him and now the dc have gone its blindingly obvious he expects you to do it all still. His dad was a chef! That's interesting he won't cook though, as he was used to a man being in the kitchen.

My dad didnt cook til he retired and we had all left. Then my dm said she had been cooking 3 meals a day for 40 years and she wasn't doing it anymore. So she didn't. They lived off bacon sandwiches and he had to go with her to the supermarket ( first time in 40 years, nearly had a heart attack at the price of bread)

He never really got beyond bacon sandwiches or a fry up, but dm said it was ok, plus who ever cooks washes up. She did cook again after a month, but not every day and he had to do the housework on those dayssmile

Bogeyface Sun 07-Apr-13 02:58:03

My H couldnt cook. Didnt stop him trying to do the cooking when I was at work and he wasnt. 80% of the time it was fine (not great like mine!) and 20% it was awful, but he tried and that made all the difference.

This isnt about cooking is it? This is about him expecting you to do the "womens work" and him to be waited on.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 07-Apr-13 07:25:34

I don't see the problem. Does he do other jobs at home or is totally bone idle? I know plenty of people (all genders) who think they can cook but probably shouldn't. I know quite a few who are too bone lazy/incompetent to cook so live on sandwiches, take-aways and ready-meals. If I lived with someone like that I'd prefer to do all the cooking as long as they pulled their weight in other ways.

If you want to insist on sharing this particular job, fair enough. Point him to the kitchen and don't take no for an answer. But it seems to be setting up a conflict where none need exist.

SprinkleLiberally Sun 07-Apr-13 07:35:44

Is he bothered about what he eats? We cook because we need to feed the dc, but without them I'd not bother much and do egg on toast, sandwiches cos I'm not that bothered about eating full meals or cooking them.
Would cooking together once a week be nice? With wine.

deliasmithy Sun 07-Apr-13 07:40:00

My OH is a cant cook, wants to cook.
Its me that bans him from the kitchen. Cooking is my forte and im bored of food poisoning.

I risked asking him to oven cook breaded fish the other week. It was raw. He was substituted bracken and sticks from the garden for herbs as he wasnt sure what they were.

None of this bothers me, perhaps its because he does offer and he also does the dishes and tidying kitchen as his contribution.

I DO see the problem. Someone expecting their partner, who is ill in bed, to micro-manage the food they are supposed to be cooking, is not being reasonable. You're not asking him to make perfect puff pastry, or cook a souffle, just for him to learn the basics so he can cook a simple meal once a week.

In our house I do most of the cooking, I enjoy it most of the time, and DH never really learnt. He pulls his weight elsewhere though. He is slowly learning to cook now, and will cook once or twice a fortnight. He really hates cutting up raw meat, and can't stand the smell of raw fish, so we usually by pre-diced chicken or stir fry strips for his meals. He's very good at cooking fajitas. grin The first time he cut a pepper, onion, cooked chicken, cooked cous cous etc I had to do it with him, or at least give step by step instructions and be available for questions! He's not stupid, far from it, but it was all completely new to him and I think he worried about making a fool of himself.

nocake Sun 07-Apr-13 07:51:40

My mum encouraged my dad to cook by playing to his love of gadgets. She bought him a bread maker, which he now loves and makes all sorts of different bread, and she paid for him to go on a cookery course where they played with the latest ovens and hobs that Miele make. Mum still does most of the cooking but Dad now has the confidence to tackle a meal and won't starve, or resort to takeaways, if Mum is away.

NeverMindOhWell Sun 07-Apr-13 07:58:11

My DH is the same but he does do all washing up, most of the cleaning and ironing. I do almost all the childcare, all household admin, cooking, laundry and cleaning the kitchen. On nights when I am too tired to cook or when I worked late and came in starving we ate microwave meals. I know they're shit but is was perhaps once a month so not the end of the world. Even if you ate them once a week would it relieve the pressure?

rubyflipper Sun 07-Apr-13 08:01:56

I hate to be morbid.

But what will happen to your DH if you get sick/need care or die?

My FIL has never cooked a meal in his life, too. I worry about what he will do if MIL passes away first.

sparkle12mar08 Sun 07-Apr-13 08:10:33

You've enabled his faux helplessness for 25 years - he's not going to change now voluntarily. Why should he, he's getting a great deal! Sorry op but I think you blew your chance on this one 24.5 years ago. Unless you're prepared to actually jeopardize your marriage with a genuine ultimatum I know exactly what will happen. Nothing.

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