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.
What to do with a killjoy DH?(64 Posts)
DH never wants to do anything. His excuse is that we don’t have enough money to do whatever it is that I want to do, be it a holiday or a day out. There have been times when we have had enough money to do these things, admittedly things are a bit tight at the moment, but other people are in the same position and they still manage to have fun.
I am desperate for a family holiday, but he says no. He says we should be saving money for our future. Well, we haven’t had any fun in years, and we still haven’t managed to save any money! It’s not just money, on the occasions he agrees that we need a holiday, he says we should go and visit his parents who live abroad. They can’t stand me. I don’t want to visit them. Particularly as they have visited us 3 times in the last year.
We never have fun days out, we never go out as a couple, he never buys me anything. Yet we still seem to find the money for takeaways or alcohol. Or going to the local pizza place that he likes. That’s all we seem to do. I have tried explaining to him that if we gave up these things, we would have more money for other things. But he doesn’t listen.
We have 2 kids and their lives just seem a bit miserable. DH only has one day off a week and he seems to spend the whole day in a mood. Again, we never do anything fun on his day off. We’ll go to McDonald’s for breakfast, then maybe the local DIY shop, wander around the shopping centre, get a coffee, go home, get a takeaway… the same thing every weekend. I hate junk food!!!
I thought it was me, maybe I am just a miserable demanding cow, but this morning our cleaner who never usually speaks said: “Sorry to say this, but Sir is a killjoy. He is killing the happiness of everyone around him.” I don’t know what prompted it, as I said, she never usually speaks. But she’s right.
What can I do? I have 2 grown-up kids from a previous relationship who don’t live with us. And I am not being flippant when I say that me and my older kids had a better, more fun life on benefits than my current kids do with 2 parents working!
Is anyone else in this postion? How do you handle it? Thanks.
I agree with just dragging him along to the salsa class as Wish says. At least make him try it out before he decides he's not that bothered.
I also agree with HowlingTrap above 'don't wait around for his permission to have a life'. You seem to be bowing unilaterally to his desire to do very little on his day off. I'm not sure why he gets the casting vote on everything - does he earn much more than you so it has become a case of 'he's the main earner, he has to be indulged'? That has to change. As HW says, make some plans and tell him you are going, he can join you if he wants to.
There are clearly some bigger issues here about how you want to live and those need addressing. I would do it by setting an example. Start planning what to do at weekends, and cheerfully tell him what the plans are. If he says he doesn't want to go, just say 'OK, see you later', and go. If he suggests ordering a takeaway, say 'Actually, I'm thinking that the best way to save for a holiday will be to put takeaway money towards it, so that's what I'm going to do. You get one if you want, though, and I'll eat something we've got in'. I have a suspicion that if he has to ring for his own takeaway and is the only one eating it, it might make him feel a bit less comfortable with this option. Rather than make his decisions for him at this stage (that's what he's been doing to you) let him see that you have decided you don't want to live this way and you are going to change.
Give this a few months and see if he is at all willing to shift out of his rut. If not you have some more serious thinking to do. I don't think anyone should leave lightly, but I also don't think anyone (all right, very few people) should say 'I can't leave'. There is (almost) always a way, if it's really for the best. I think your cleaner has done you a big favour here.
On the practical front, agree with all suggestions about parks, local museums/art galleries etc. Weekend cinema matinees are cheap; Cineworld cheapest of all (£1 only if you book online - take your own snacks and you're laughing). Premier Inn do offers on rooms often - there are currently offers on winter rooms for £29, so you could get a family room and take the kids somewhere different for the weekend as a prelude to a whole holiday. Depending on their age, this is as often as good for kids - my DS is as excited by a day/weekend at the seaside as he is by a whole week's holiday.
if you drive, borrow a tent and go camping for a few days next time we get some nice weather
Op don't take that too badly - my score for a salsa class would be similar as I'm a rubbish dancer and would hate it.
Is he willing to go?
Either just book it and drag him along if you think he may enjoy it or just go out for a drink and a chat.
My dp is a bit of a killjoy too. He doesn't want to go out and do things with me and the dcs. We go out without him. Every weekend I take dd2 out somewhere (dd1 doesn't want to come out with us very often, she'd rather meet her friends which is fair enough), whether that's swimming or for a walk or to soft play or the park. None of that is particularly expensive but we have fun. Then we come home and find that dp has been playing on his computer all day but has managed to do a couple of loads of washing and cook some dinner for us.
I would like him to come with us, but I'm not particularly bothered that he doesn't (mainly because he then gets on and does some of the jobs on our joint to-do list and I make sure I've done the ones I don't mind before we go). He doens't see the point of holidays either. He never had them when he was growing up, they just did some day trips and not many of them either because money was tight. I love holidays, cheap and cheerful is all we can afford right now but I still take the kids away. A couple of years ago I took my sis and her kids away with us too, we had 2 adults and 6 kids between us, it was loads of fun
except the day it rained so much the tent flooded and everything we had with us was absolutely drenched
Don't wait around for his permission to have a life. Stop asking for his approval and he'll soon change his attitude when he sees how much fun you're having .
This ^ this is not an issue of money, I grew up dirt poor ,only ever had 1 holiday away in my life, but when my parents could we got taken to beaches, hiking in the countryside etc he is just selfish and doesn't seem to want to do anything!!
How is he with the kids generally, why is he in a mood on his day off??
He does not care at all does he?. Such men do not change readily if at all.
What do you get from this relationship now?.
Please do yourself a favour and take the children out somewhere nice tomorrow; breakfast at Mcds followed by a trip around the local B & Q type place and shopping centre sounds totally depressing.
So I think I mentioned that there is a salsa class and I suggested to DH that we go once a week, then go to a local bar afterwards and share a bottle of wine and some tapas. I really felt like our marriage could benefit from spending time together, because we never do.
I asked him today what his enthusiasm was for the salsa/drinks evening, out of 10. He said 3 out of 10.
I think making a budget really is necessary for him. He obviously isn't thinking clearly if on the one hand he is fretting about not affording things but blowing off the money for takeaways regularly.
If he's not actually a selfish arse at heart just a man with a few arsey tendancies it could get him thinking logically
As other posters have said, days out really don't have to cost much/any money.
On nice days, go to the park/woods/beach.
On rainy days, go to the library/free museum.
Take a picnic or Thermos flask to save buying food/drink when out.
And yes, I wouldn't start with a holiday. Just say "This Saturday me and the DC are going to XXX, you're welcome to join us if you want to". And go and do it.
Don't start with a holiday. Start with an afternoon out.
Tell your dh exactly how you feel and let him know that you want to start living an enjoyable life.
Let him know how unhappy and bored you and your children are. Find somewhere to take the kids this weekend (doesn't have to cost much. Check the weather and find something local) and ask him to come along. If he doesn't, go without him.
If he's really not a b then he'll compromise and make his family happy (and himself in the long run). It may take a while but if you're planning on staying with him then I think its worth it.
My mother has deep seated fears of enjoying herself and any pleasures that cost money, and they are deep seated in her family. She spends lots of money maintaining her house and garden, however. People can be quite odd about what they allow themselves to spend their discretionary income on.
My stbxh was completely driven by money too. He was terrified of the future and not having enough for it. Now we are splitting and half of everything is coming with me, he is beginning to understand that being a miserable and abusive arse is actually the most expensive thing he has ever done!
"It is almost like he is paralysed by the notion that we 'can't afford it..."
That is because he indeed is. That all goes way way back as well, his parents were and likely are this way inclined too.
Byut I have to look at you as well, why do you stay or is leaving too hard for you to actually put into practice now?. There are really no good reasons for staying in this, your children get taught the same crap as your DH was and look at how he has turned out.
Thanks for all your replies, they are really helping me to get some perspective on this. DH's excuse for everything is "we can't afford it", but then it always has been, even when we were relatively well-off. And given two options in any situation, he will always choose the cheaper one, even if it ends up as a false economy, which it generally does!
It is almost like he is paralysed by the notion that we 'can't afford it...'
Please don't get another part time job to save for a holiday! If anything reduce your work hours and give up the part time job you already have and just take the kids on a free day out, picnics, parks etc! They can be fun too.
If you work even more to save for a holiday at Easter, by them the kids will be bored to oblivion and you will have driven yourself crazy.
I didn't go on holiday until I was 18, my family couldn't afford it but we had a fun packed childhood with walks, beach trips etc.
Just look after yourself and spend more quality time with them. Let him live in misery if he wants but don't work yourself into the ground for six months for the sake of a week away which might be ruined by "sir" anyway
People who are killjoys often have deep seated reasons for censoring fun and imagination and take the moral high ground in defense of their boring attitudes. But usually, deep down, they are frightened of something. Like not knowing what to do in an unfamiliar situation. I think, OP, that you need to take control of your family's discretionary spending and reallocate it to things that are more imaginative. Your DH needs to be gently challenged to try out new activities.
Never mind a holiday. That's a bit pie in the sky right now. Do something this Saturday while you have the momentum with you. Maybe seeing you all traipse in glowing and happy afterwards will make him consider things.
I second the budget advice given above. He might respond to seeing it in black and white where money is and where it is going.
of doing anything different sorry!
I had a very boring childhood. My parents are very routine driven and both worked full time. Mum would spend most of the weekend cooking and cleaning and ignoring us, dad would be sitting somewhere with the paper.
I try really hard not to let us slip into the same rut because I don't want my dc to be bored all the time like I was, or to be nervous or doing anything different.
Can your dh not see that he's perpetuating his childhood? And that it doesn't make sense to do that when he was bored and unhappy?
I was with a man like this. He hated days out and holidays. I spent every bank holiday with the kids on my own with tears in my eyes looking around at all the other happy families. On the rare occasion he came out with us he was so miserable there would be an atmosphere.
We eventually separated and he left. Then he wanted to come back but tbh I could never forgive him for the years he spent opting out of family life. I am still angry with myself for putting up with it for so long.
It's not about spending money or not cooking or not having had days out as a child. It's that he is a miserable and selfish person and you are not likely to change his basic personality. I am much happier alone.
Why do you state it would be impossible to leave?. And yes he may not be a B (I disagree) but he certainly is a Dominator and living with one of those is akin to a nightmare. Your children will pick up on all the vibes even if those are not verbally expressed; they see how miserable you are.
I ask that as leaving is not an insurmountable obstacle (you left an ex H); besides which I think you and the children would be a lot happier if you were apart from Mr SoulSucker. All this man is doing is dragging you and by turn the children down with him.
What do you want to teach the children about relationships, surely not this for them to potentially continue with their own families?.
What was his response to your comment re his parents?.
Well, I spoke to him last night. I told him we needed a holiday and I was just going to go ahead and book it. He didn't even ask where it was!!! He did say though, that he thought we were going to visit his parents (they live in his home country). I said if I wanted to holiday with people who hated me, I would go and stay with my ex-husband.
I am feeling pretty miserable about everything. I wish I could LTB. He's not a B actually, but I feel I am wasting my life with him and the kids are not having the life they deserve, either. Unfortunately it would be impossible to leave, so I have to make the best of it.
Well there you go!
I think I've got him to a stage where he seems to appreciate going out now just by exposing him to it more. He now says yes quite happily to most excursions, not always but often.
Good luck op! Time to just go for it
Oh, that's sad . Actually, my DH also talks about his childhood being very boring. He says all they seemed to do was wander around shopping centres. But that is invariably what we end up doing with our kids...
OP my dh has got this attitude from his upbringing. He had such a boring childhood. He was an only child for years and his parents worked fulltime and just wanted to spend weekends with their friends.
As he grew older, he preferred to stay at home rather than see his parents friends. He's not really known the joy, fun and excitement that days out/holidays bring so doesn't understand it.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.