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Is my DH just thoughtless or what? Sorry long.(84 Posts)
I know this isn't a terribly important issue compared to other threads here but I need opinions.
A bit of background- DH and I have had what you'd call a stormy marriage. I had doubts beforehand about our compatability and once we had kids things got worse in some ways mainly to do with differing styles of parenting. I stuck it out then once the DCs had left home we separated and I lived a single life for a while- to think about what I wanted for my next 30 odd years and whether DH was part of that.
DH was devastated that I may never have come back but I focused on his good points, came back and we started afresh. For a couple of years things were better and it was a sort of 'honeymoon' phase. He was thoughtful, brought me flowers and generally tried harder all round. But I set certain ground rules-my career had taken off and now that I was no longer looking after the kids too I wanted a more equal partnership with DH doing more around the house and sharing cooking etc.
I work from home for myself, so of course in between doing my work I'll do some cleaning, gardening, washing and so on. This cuts down on the work I can fit in of course and I'm only paid for what I produce. We have a very traditional set up where he comes in and finds a lovely meal on the table.
I am not happy with this and wanted some changes- I'd no longer iron his clothes but would wash them. I wanted him to make at least one dinner a week- weekends maybe- and do some housework- such as hoovering the stairs which I can't due to my back and lifting a heavy hoover.
But- here's the rub- he doesn't do any of this. I'd given him some slack recently as his mother is very ill and he's had to visit her ( long distance) so I'd managed the laundry for him.
He cuts the grass, puts out the rubbish, and that's it. I do everything else. He'll ask if there is any food we want when he goes into town at weekend. He doesn't offer to shop for and cook dinner.
I am getting increasingly angry with him, and the fact he is really untidy
doesn't help. A tiny example is he uses my shampoo which I keep in a cupboard in the bathroom. I always put it back after I've used it because there are too many bottles etc on the bath already and I have to move them when I clean the bath. Every single time- daily- he uses the shampoo he leaves it out. I remind him daily- he says he forgets.
We have ' the chat' about why I wasn't happy before and he promises to change.
If he read this he'd be shocked because he seems to think he is a good DH. They say divorces can happen over who left the top of the toothpaste and this is what I'm describing almost. I just can't see why an intelligent man gets it so wrong.
I know people might say just stop cooking - he's just make himself beans on toast- he wouldn't cook for me. I don't want a cleaner- there is no need with just 2 of us at home. But he's completely opted out- again- of anything at home.
I'll ask again, what are you actually looking for with this thread?
It sounds like you've made your mind up and you'd like to end the relationship. Is that right?
If you're looking for a unanimous LTB then you won't get it here. People have different ideas about the how important household chores are, not everyone will agree with your POV. Doesn't mean you're wrong for wanting the relationship to end though.
I guess, Wallace, that the op is wavering between the two stances ie. sometimes it's no big deal, other times it symbolises everything.
If I had a skivvy and she tried to leave me, I would beg her on my hands and knees to come back.
I might even buy her the odd bunch of flowers if it meant she did a bit less moaning about what a lazy shite I was.
As the op says, after 30 years and a break-up it's got to be a big deal. Because she knows it's unlikely her husband will change now. I would think the biggest struggle is like a pp has said - owning and acknowledging what that really means.
He broke promises and is now physically absent a lot of the time, choosing not to spend time with his wife even when he can.
From an outsider's point of view, it looks like this man is communicating in foot-high letters.
But I don't think his wife is ready to get the message. Maybe that's not so much about getting the message about her feelings for him, but more to do with misconstruing his feelings for her and therefore, her feelings about herself. If you've been going around for 30 years thinking you were loved and that your husband doesn't want to lose you because of YOU, shifting that perception must be very hard to do, because in turn it alters your view about yourself. That must be very hard and very sad, but in the end it could be quite liberating.
I find your posts very aggressive. You summise an awful lot that is not true. You seem to think you know my DH inside out- well you don't. You also attribute emotions to me that are untrue. I don't know what to say about all of that other than you are wrong and your tone is not at all helpful. Maybe the intention is to shock me into action or a Eureka moment?
The whole problem with trying to explain a relationship is it can't be done in a few lines, online.
It's actually very frustrating when someone reads your posts and says 'Oh it's like this then is it' when it isn't at all.
My first line asked if my DH was being thoughtless or why else would be behave in a way that was one factor in our almost split 2 years back.
There are lots of details I have not included such as his asking if I want to do anything at weekends- and if not he'll go to the gym. As he has been ill for over 2 years and under a neurologist, then I am happy for him to keep up his fitness. It's the one thing that has helped him recover. I put that above chores. I mentioned the gym trips to show how we use our time and how he could still exercise but not spend quite so long there.
What I have gained from this is the sense that I need to talk to him again about his behaviour and give it another shot. He has clearly become too comfortable - but don't think as someone said he is totally sure I'll never leave- not remotely accurate.
I see where you're coming from OP.
THF, buying flowers...I hate it when blokes do that as it usually indicates some kind of guilt or appeasement. I'd rather have someone cook a meal. Buying flowers is such a fake romantic gesture IMO.
My DH is a bit lie yours, and our set up similar (though I have younger kids, and therefore work less for my boss and more "for the family" (housewifely stuff).
DH does not cook, and if I would not cook he would eat microwave burgers, beans or nothing. I have given up that "battle" and only cook when I feel like it (5 days a week) and just do a carton of soup or take away on days I don't. I have said I expect him to do dishes when I cook, which he does (mostly, sometimes need to remind him). It has become a habit now for him to do them. So yes, things CAN change.
My advice would be:
- Don't be a martyr (only cook if you feel like it, go out with friends if you feel like it and leave him to cater for himself, that sort of thing)
- Don't take crap (buying flowers to apologise for general crapness IMO equals taking crap! Yes, thanks for the flowers, now do you mind washing up)
- Pick your battles (the shampoo thing is a small thing that could be ignored IMO)
I think it's fine if only one cooks or cleans, or whatever.
However, there should be a share of overall workload.
If he does nothing, it's a breach of your going back together contract.
Call him on it.
You asked if your husband is just thoughtless or whether we thought there was something else behind it.
Lots of people have said he's not thoughtless and that yes, there is something else behind it.
You can maybe cope with people who say it's just him being lazy, or that you are too fussy.
But if you can't cope with people saying that in their opinion and only based on what you say, the 'something else' is more fundamental and relationship-damaging, there's no point in starting this and asking for opinions.
I've got no need to shock you. I don't know you and I'm just not that invested other than to give an opinion to someone who on the face of it, appeared to be after one.
Though I think I'm realising now that this is one of those 'Yes, But' games where someone asks for advice and says "yes, but it's not that/I didn't say that/he loves me really/why didn't you take into account something I've never even mentioned?"
*If I had a skivvy and she tried to leave me, I would beg her on my hands and knees to come back.
I might even buy her the odd bunch of flowers if it meant she did a bit less moaning about what a lazy shite I was.*
It does not, despite your modifications upthread, sound as if he considers the domestic sphere a joint responsibility. This would drive me to acts of unseemly violence, I have to say.
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