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.
I need your help - DH doesn't see there's a problem(126 Posts)
Just feeling so helpless. My feelings for my DH are very conflicted: I love him but I am on my knees with wanting him to take some responsibility for his life/our lives.
Basically, I make all the decisions, take all the responsibility, make all the plans and do all the 'moving forward' in our family. This isn't really about money - he has inherited some income from before we met - but about almost everything else. He's a stay at home dad and I'm off putting in the hours working. I love what I do and this is a decision that we made so we could have someone at home for the DC and to look after our investments.
However, he just abdicates every decision to me. Every awkward or challenging conversation with banks/lawyers/insurers/accountants either waits for me or simply NEVER gets done. We borrowed £70K for a project he was going to do last summer, it still hasn't been done but we've been burning through it on repayments. Today he told me he still hasn't called the accountant to go through the business plan.
It's not just the big stuff though - it's everything. It took six months of me asking for him to take the dog to the vet. OK, I didn't badger him but why should I have to? The DCs dentist trip was the same. I can't make the appointment - he needs to so he knows when he can take them. I do make appointments for eg tradespeople to come to the house.
We have a cleaner three days a week. I do all the cooking. I've asked him just to do 40mins housework a day sorting clothes/putting on laundry - he won't.
I spoke to him at the weekend about all of this, and how I feel dumped on, but over the (10) years we've spoken about it loads. I thought he'd hoisted something in but,no, when I asked him today if he'd followed up X phone call or Y email he hadn't. I asked him to sleep in another room tonight. I'm just gutted.
Can you take a career break for a year? Take over the childcare and the investments etc (with you on the case dealing with the money and less childcare you may make back your salary).
Without the "status" of the marvellous SAHD he might actually pull out his finger a bit and do more round the house. If not well at least you're not also trying to do a FT job as well and you can be fun mum rather than stressed mum.
And if it comes to a split a year from now he wouldn't get ft custody of the dc.
I really really feel for you - I do think maybe the best way to sort the situation out is to educate/re-educate DH on how to do these things for himself. Could you lessen the cleaner to once a week or stop altogether? 3 times seems a lot to me. Would not getting in a cleaner force him to do it or would he just leave it?
Can you sort of make it his repsonsibility to do certain things and increase slowly or would be just not get them done? By giving one task at a time, it will stand out when he cant do them.
I don't think increasing help will help the issues long term. They only mask the problem. I understand you need them for your sanity probably, as the last thing you want to deal with is a messy house on top of all this when you get home.
I would take away 'luxuries' like cleaners etc to make him see the consequences of inactions. Are there other things you can restrict? Can he cook?
Do you think you can turn him around?
My DH has some similar traits. Things like I think I am the driver of all decision etc. I also feel like he sometimes lives like a single man and forgets he his now part of a family. I have sort of had to tell him to step up a bit and tell him what he needs to do. Train him a bit. Sounds silly but I think there are many grown intelligent men who left with children in a house alone would not cope well for an extended period, running the house etc. sorry don't mean to generalise.
i do feel for you - do you think there are things you can do to change he situation?
As for him having an affair, I am aware that men who feel their balls have been shrunk can turn to other women
That wasn't what I meant - people who have affairs tend to be selfish and entitled. They are usually the ones investing the least energy and effort in their relationship - it makes sense when you think about how people who have invested so much more are more likely to not to want to consider destroying all they have worked hard for.
It is true though that in affairs, the betrayer will seek justification for his actions and it could be that your DH is entitled enough to think that shrinking his balls is justification enough to cheat.
I am sure you are attractive and funny and I do hope he sees you in the same way.
How does he show that he really does care about you?
He would quickly understand what things needs to be done if he lived alone wouldn't he? Has he ever lived alone?
I think some people grow up thinking that if something actually needed doing someone would do it - ie, someone else!
So he would think the houseplants probably don't need doing, or you would have done it; or a bill doesn't need paying yet, or you would have done it or said something.
Its like my teenage boys - they just don't see that they can get on with it without being told, asked or waiting until the situation reaches crisis point.
NeatSoda: Can you just clarify if it's the case that he expects these various jobs to be done, but won't do them himself, or is it that he would happily leave things like housework, etc to never get done and not be bothered about it? For instance, if you came home and refused to cook what would he do? Would he be angry with you or would he happily order a take away instead?
What I'm getting at is that from what you've said it's difficult to tell whether he's deliberately manipulating you into doing these jobs for him, or if it's that you're a go-getter and he's a slob and your priorities in life are very different.
Thanks for all the replies, I've given them all thought.
I'm wondering about the idea of getting someone in to help with paperwork - it feels a bit weird though because it's intimate decisions about finances and so on, but I suppose I could find someone really trustworthy. I can't help feeling they'd just have to end up checking everything with us anyway.
I think there are self esteem issues but I suppose I don't have much patience for them as we all get nervous about doing stuff, we just have to do it. He DOES care about me, he just has no concept of how his behaviour affects me, he really cannot see it.
As for him having an affair, I am aware that men who feel their balls have been shrunk can turn to other women. However, we aren't there yet and as I'm super funny and attractive () we're still OK from the fancying POV.
We haven't had a great weekend together, although he's back in the bed. He asked me if he could and I didn't want the DCs worrying. We did do some nice family stuff on Saturday but I have had a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach all weekend. Everywhere I look I keep seeing tasks in need of completion and it's making me mad. Even watering the house plants made me resentful - and I quite like watering the plants!
OP, do you think he has severe self-esteem issues and feels unable to do these things? Going from a career to being a SAHM did that to me, and it took me a while (and to change my thyroxine actually) to start being able to manage that.
Hi OP, I've read the whole thread and think some of the comments are harsh and uncalled for. I do however believe it's highly unlikely your DH will change. My reason for saying this? Because I've been with my DH for over 25 years and have pretty much been putting up with the same crap as you for most of them.
When we met we both worked f/t. I fell pregnant very early in the relationship and I went back to f/t work straight after my maternity leave. Everything was fine at this time, he helped with DD, with cleaning house, car etc although I always dealt with household bills, apps etc. Skip 5 yrs and DD2 came along. I took P/T work while my DH carried on working F/T and the majority of child care, chores then fell to me. Over the next 8 yrs along came DD3, DS & DD4.
Due to wanting to work but also wanting to be there for our DC's I started my own business from home so I could work around my family. Has the business grew and became a going concern DH & I decided that he could give up his F/T job and help with the business and DC. It went well for a while but I noticed him becoming lazier and lazier and less and less helpful.
To cut a long story short, I'm still with my DH, besides the fact that he's a lazy git, I also caught him secretly meeting up with someone I considered a friend, behind my back. (Apparently i was always too busy to give him the time and attention he needed!) We've talked and talked and talked, we've been to relate. I now see a counsellor myself once a week for my own sanity. We had another talk last night about me being put on and wanting him to help out but I'm pretty sure it will have all been wasted breathe again and nothing will change! I know it's hard to leave a relationship that you want to work, I also have my own issues for not breaking up the family. Our DD discovered the clues to DH OW and was mortified at the thought of us separating, she took it really bad and became severely depressed and had to be hospitalised for a while due to self harming. Our DS is severely autistic and selective mute and never leaves the house. I'd never do anything to upset my DC and I tolerate DH's attitude for as long as I can before I try to talk to him about it again. I'm currently on strike at the moment in the hope that things will get so bad he will pull his finger out.
Will I leave him? More than likely, one day when I feel the time is right. Do I respect him? No, not at all. Do I love him? Yes, in a way, he's the father of my DC and I care about him. Am I happy? I have my health, my DC, my GC, my business, I can pay my own bills & there is always food in the fridge, I have more to be happy about than many. Do I have a life? My DC & GC are my life, I exist with my DH but I know I'd never cheat and I have no interest in having another man in my life.
I'm probably a lot older than you OP and the only advice I can offer is, don't live my life, it's not recommended. Good luck xx
I think it is incredibly unkind to claim that the OPs husband will NOT find her sexy and funny because she allegedly mothers him.
There is no way you can extrapolate the that from what has been said.
The OP is feeling pretty shit about the situation .
That comment was not kind and was not helpful.
I bet he doesn't see you in the same way i.e sexy and funny given how much you are mothering him
This ^ is also an important point.
I have this a little with DH.
I think what hurts most is that he doesn't seem to care that I care about these things, e.g. tidy house, stuff put away etc. Yes we can each have our own priorities but I pay heed to his and compromise, so why shouldn't he pay heed to mine?
The only thing that works for us is that he is out of the bloody house in a full-time job tbh. Then it works. If he didn't work ft, I don't think we'd stay together.
Good post BeCool.
"Solutions" such as getting a cleaner, au pair etc do not solve the real problem which is that he does not give a shiny shit about YOU or YOUR feelings.
If you still think he's sexy, then maybe counselling to find out why you have such low standards would be a good idea.
"He'd think nothing of telling me to get a cab if I was tired when he'd rarely splurge on one for himself."
Gosh I think the above statement can be looked at several ways:
1. You work and are rushed off your feet - WTF shouldn't you get a cab if you are tired and need a little help?
2. If you get a cab your lazy arsed H won't have to come and get you or help in any way.
3. Surely you can make a decision to get a cab or not without his input? Or are you continually looking for his consent/permission, even to get a taxi when you are run ragged and he won't help?
4. You get so little help and support from him, what when he tells you "get a cab" you read this as him being supportive of you - it's desperate.
My take on this NeatSoda, and I do really really feel for you, is you can make a list as long as you want of the things he doesn't do/does do/good & bad qualities. It's all kind of irrelevant.
What matters is you are now dreadfully unhappy and frustrated and angry and really miserable about your life and HE DOESN'T CARE!!! he is not responding to your utter distress.
Your happiness doesn't matter to him. As great as you think he is, your unhappiness does not affect him. Your happiness is unimportant to him. This is absolutely dreadful - can this change?
If your spouse/partner came to you and said that they were dreadfully unhappy and at wits end, would you not talk with them, listen to them, do what you can to try to help them? Why isn't he doing this? It's not even like you are asking for the world - by stepping up a little he would still have his charmed handsome life, just one where he participates with family life and responsibilities a little more.
I think the fact to face is he see's himself as different, somehow above or excluded from the mundane necessities of life. And clearly he thinks it's perfectly reasonable for you to take care of the lot and enable him to be a lazy lofer (which he deserves to be in his mind).
He feels he is more entitled than you AND he doesn't care that you are unhappy. He doesn't care for your emotional well being.
This is a big problem.
He's handsome and funny.
I bet he doesn't see you in the same way i.e sexy and funny given how much you are mothering him.
Frankly, I think you deserve what you're getting if you are prepared to put up and shut up because of his good looks.
I think it's a good idea to live seperately just for a while like Dahlen suggested.
I certainly think that you need to stop enabling him, eg sorting out his loan.
My SiL does this sort of thing for my brother. It hasn't helped - he is worse than ever because by getting involved she is making it her problem. Eg one day he told her that if she wanted him to get a job she should go and find one for him. She went and did some research, presented him with a list of jobs he could apply for, and he hit the roof.
Another time she went through 1000's of his work emails to help him get on top of his 'job' (he has his own business). Yet all she gets is criticism that she doesn't do enough.
He, meanwhile, doesn't need to do much because he also has a bit of an inheritance which he keeps to himself. He spends his weekends enjoying his hobby, and she works full time and is left on her own most weekends. I reckon the money will be gone by the time the kids leave school.
He won't change because he doesn't have to. She has to make her own choices about her life.
The unrealistic hope you have of him changing will destroy the marriage your'e intent on preserving. If separation and/or divorce are really off the table then its time you abandon all hope of him changing and employ an army of people to do the things he won't.
The 70 grand loan was a big mistake, pay it back now and don't do it again.
No plans to work outside the home. That's fine with me because there's a job here that needs doing and the DCs have one of us around. That was the plan.
But he's not doing this job OP? I think inertia's idea is brilliant. If there is so much money floating around that he doesn't need to work, has a cleaner and childcare then you employ a PA to do the work he refuses to.
This will either make him so ashamed and embarrassed that he will step up. If it doesn't you still get everything done. <and yes the younger and handsomer this PA the better>
I think OP won't respect him. A problem if this sort will not be solved by managing him, or managing round him. The resentment will continue to build.
I guess you are not going to change him, so you'll need to approach this from a different angle.
You need a plan - what do you what him to deal with most? Sort out the $70K? What do you want to happen? To cancel the deal and pay back the money now to minimise the damage, or for him to start working on it? What's stopping him working on it? Are there decisions to be made that are making him put it off?
Make a list of what you want to happen and how it can happen without YOU doing it. Can you get an au pair to help with the children's laundry and food?
Messy Car - cleaners do it weekly
Laundry - cleaners separate and put on wash
Dentists - Au Pair
Vet - Call a mobile vet
Cooking - food delivery service for you (even a few days each month will take the pressure off) and au pair for children
If you accept that you can't change him but don't want to leave him then I think this is your only course of action. Even if you get the house running smoothly you may well still resent him for being such a lazy arse though. Will you still respect him (do you respect him now?)
Oooh, like Inertia's suggestion.
Make sure your PA is young, gorgeous and dynamic.....
So there is an income coming in that is down to his inheritance, which is higher than your income.
Has he ever worked, or did this personal income come as part of the handsome package? In which case, you kind of knew what you were getting?
I suggest that you go part time, and recommend that he does the same. You COULD try just doing stuff for yourself and kids, leaving him to cook/ wash (possibly not) for himself, and giving yourself more time with the kids. Take the job you prefer and if he claims you need more income, then maybe he can take up the financial slack?
I cannot truthfully see why he would change. If he hasn't all this time, then why would he, where's the motivation? And you don't seem to want to do anything drastic apart from work yourself into a frazzle. Perhaps when you collapse with exhaustion he might do something, then again perhaps not...
A way-out suggestion to consider.
Employ somebody in a PA / housekeeper type role.
You're out there earning, DH does some nominal childcare a couple of times a week. You need somebody to, essentially, be in your home for a few hours a day and take charge of running the household- organising tradespeople to work on your house, making appointments for DC, organising where stuff goes in the house, making phone calls to utility companies. Don't rule out employing a man to do this; obviously you'd have to employ the best person - male or female- for the job, but it'd do no harm for your husband to see that it's not just women's work.
You don't want any kind of threat of separation- perhaps your husband might see how much slack you pick up when the household is paying for somebody else to do it, and that person is in your husband's space during his leisure time and explaining to plumbers and roofers that no , he isn't the householder.
Obviously cutbacks would have to be made elsewhere- you can pay back the whole 70k that's currently not being used, for a start.
Hang on second, have I got this right? You borrowed 70k (presumably on your guarantee or in your name) for him to indulge in some vanity wonder project? He has done nothing to start this. The 70k is getting paid back through repayments. So there will be no money to start his project, no benefit from the money borrowed and you'll be down the interest?
God that's making me mad just thinking about it. And that's not even considering the piss taking he gets away with on a daily basis. How do you put up with this shit?
Oh right he's handsome.
Join the discussion
Please login first.