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Can anyone help me work DH out?(35 Posts)
This might be long - will try not to drip feed....
Been together over 10 yrs, moved in (bought house) 4 yrs. Married this yr.
Dh says he did v.well at primary school then spent much of secondary in 'isolation' slightly off the rails, school referred him to a psychologist (i think) which i think his ineffectual (but nice) mum and v.anxious dad didn't know what to do with.
Not much in the way of long term relationships before me. He was 25 when we started.
Lived with his parents all his life. Struggles to hold down a job - not because he can't do the job but because he has high expectations of others and is very critical
difficult when they are not met. This applies to his and my family and friends too.
So, lack of his work is the reason it took so long for us to buy a house. But he got a settled job, we moved. He changed jobs (was constantly unhappy) then just weeks after marriage, quit his job.(same reasons) Picked up some casual work. Which has just ended. Says quit job as wasn't happy and wants to make things better, for him, and for us. This was 6 months ago. No changes for the better that i can see - house is still a shit hole. He hoards immaculate piles of magazines and newspapers.
All sheds are packed to brimming with his 'stuff'. But in a disorganised, spread out way. Kitchen and dining room are full of tools and bites of motor bike. Nothing gets done.
He is very anxious about things. And critical. Gets himself all worked up about stuff like putting a curtain rail up, so its likely to not get done and end in us arguing.
He pits words, thougjts and feelings onto me that i haven't said thought or felt. I think he is very self critical and thinks i MUST be thinking these things.
I know this all sounds bad, its not all bad and theres much good but its this bad stuff that i don't get. This morning i asked him about work (how had it been left?) and he reacted v.badly. Don't i realise he feels bad enough? That hes trying to make things better? That its boxing day? Then when we carried on speaking - he wpuldn't talk about today, but just in general. I'm not making much sense now, sorry.
I feel that theres an issue, some sort of MH, anxiety, something. But not sure how i can help him. Or if i can keep going through this up and down.
I would say 'anxious dad' is highly relevant.
Possibly one of the cluster c personality disorders? Or traits anyway. Or possibly ASD. Therapy would definitely help but you can't do it for him obviously.
I completely agree with Kate. Realistically, and especially given that he may not accept that he needs help, how far is he going to change? Has he got worse over the years that you have been together? You only married recently - has it been worse since then? Or have your patience and belief that you could change him run out?
The extent to which you can change him is very limited. You should probably be asking not how you can help him but whether you can bear to live like this for the foreseeable future.
My last boyfriend had some of the same tendencies as yours, especially the clutter. He couldn't bear throwing things away and had letters, newspapers and train tickets which were years old. I once threw out a packet of flour in the kitchen which was 7 or 8 years past its sell-by date and he was outraged. He had many other issues too, such as hypochondria and obsessive jealousy.
He had had a head injury which could have caused some of his problems; he may have had psychological problems; or he may have been a difficult, controlling dick. I tried very hard to understand him - I had never come across anyone so complicated before. Sometimes he was very nice so I did try to help and tolerate his more challenging behaviour. Ultimately, though, I came to the view that whatever his issues were, I could not solve them and he was making my life miserable whether it was his fault or not.
I am much happier without him, and actually he does not seem that upset to have lost me. I would never, ever put that amount of work and angst into a relationship again.
It would be incredibly difficult if you had children. Please don't take that step until you have had your conversation, seen the GP, had open conversations about what you would like your life to look like, and then spent some time living that life to see if the promises match the reality.
I have a friend with an EA partner. Their house is always a bit of a tip and she's running herself ragged trying to keep on top of it. He makes it messy. Then complains it is messy. Yet he very rarely lifts a finger to help. It's part of their cycle of co-dependency and control.
Thank you Kate, i do worry thats it will be too much for me. And what it would be like if we did have children.
He is like it with people he knows well. I'm off home now to see how things are.
Re the house - i can't clean properly because of all of the stuff.
He might have MH issues but he might not and I think you have to be prepared for both options. For example, having a house like a 'shithole' but complaining about a scratch on a keyring can also be a sign of being emotionally abusive. I can tell from the information you've included in your post that you are leaning more towards MH issues and obviously you know him best. For that reason I think it would be good to see if he is open to visiting the GP.
However whether he is on the spectrum or not, you still have to choose whether this is the relationship that you want. Sometimes having a diagnosis is a good starting point to develop coping strategies as stubbornstains said but sometimes, having a diagnosis can be an excuse in escalating bad behaviour (it was in my ddad's case).
If I were you, I would think about whether he treats everyone the same or if his behaviour is particularly frustrating and critical with you. Yes, he complains about everyone and everything to you, but does he do it to other people? My ddad controlled his behaviour with people he thought mattered and then was EA with close family. That wasn't because of his mental health issues. That was because he was abusive.
What I'm trying to say is even if he agrees to see the GP, and an issue is identified, it's still ok for you to say that this isn't the relationship that you want. As well as looking out for him, remember to look after yourself too.
Thanks Stubborn, what you say there about years lost really is sad and makes me more determined to try and help him somehow.
Well, it sounds like he "has"^something^, and I guess that the real challenge for the two of you is that he acknowledges and accepts what he "has", and starts to work out coping mechanisms- not just for the sake of your relationship, but for the sake of every other aspect of his life, as he sounds pretty unhappy.
I have recently discovered that I have AS, and I grieve for the years lost- if had only told me, when I was a teenager- "Here, this is what you have, this is why you're struggling with X,Y and Z, and this is what you have to do to get on with the rest of the world", I wouldn't have spent decades floundering.
I guess the real test of whether there is any future to your relationship is whether he is willing to accept that he has to work on himself and change his behaviour in order to improve your relationship.
Thank you all for your responseshes actually very good with money, but again quite obsessive. He knows EXACTLY how much in change he has at any one time. He will very occasionally spend on an unnecessary item but spends so little the rest of the time that its not an issue.
He does indeed feel that he is right. Always. Especially when it comes to ways of doing things. I will often do things alone as its easier (such as doing the shopping, going to the tip, do housework when hes out) although i have got much better at suggesting alternatives - in a way that he finds easy to accept.
Sometimes,.he will start doing something and i stand there thinking 'wtf? WHY is he doing that?!' when there is a blindingly obvious easier bettr way.
I think i do need to look into asd etc more. He does know there is something i think, but has not acknowledged it to me. He says theres something with his dad though.
Its going to be a struggle to involve anyone externally such as gp or counsellor. Can anyone suggest a book to help me with communication? Or something?
I was invited to a thread on mn once but found it all a bit overwhelming.
PS The compulsivity, obsessiveness and repetition classic in ASD can be wrongly seen as OCD. I mean, it might be OCD, but the rest of the problems you list point to a wider issue.
He really does sound like he could have Asperger's. Quite mild, probably, but enough to make him and others unhappy. All these things you list would be definite ticks on a list of Asperger's traits, albeit the milder ones.
The monologing (going on and on) about trivial and boring things which nevertheless fascinate and worry him, and not noticing or caring that he is boring people, repeating himself, or doesn't need to be talking at all, not having friends, obsessive about things like scratches on plates (this sounds more like noticing and being upset by tiny details that others miss, which sounds more ASD than OCD, insisting that you are thinking things about him that you aren't (this is part of the problem men with ASD often have with processing feelings about themselves and understanding how they are perceived; if they feel something about themselves, they can't always see how others don't think it too, ie they project their negative self-beliefs. They also don't often get that others don't have the same opinions and ideas as them in the way that NT people do), coming across as cold when he's really quite sensitive, even the stuff about work, not being able to handle the flaws of others and the reality of work is how I read your description of his problems with working... It's all very ASD.
I was going to ask if he has any friends before you said 'no friends'.
Does he have excessive amounts of energy to devote to pointless things, to the point of not sleeping, but not get anything useful done?
Does he spend money on stuff he doesn't need but fail to pay bills?
Does he think he's the only one who's doing things right and everyone else is wrong?
Could it be bi-polar?
also, maybe it will help admitting to him how difficult you find that he resents you and takes everything so personally - he needs to understand that you are suffering while genuinely trying to help/understand, hopefully that also will make him see a doctor. If you are endlessly patient, and always give in, he may think he can push you even further - it's easy to become self-indulgent when a person can't stop and isn't stopped by anyone.
tell him that you are really trying to respect his sensitivities, but can he consider that you can equally get upset and sensitive when he doesn't see your side in this.
repeating stuff on and on is a compulsive behaviour, a part of OCD. He either thinks you are not getting it, or tries to put hios thought into the 'perfect' words so tries and tries again. Talk to your GP about it - they should sugggest how to deal with it, hopefully offer you support via your own or mutual counsellor before he agrees to go to his own sessions.
But talking means listening too. So you could agree that you each get to talk but for no longer than, say two minutes, or whatever you think you need. Use a timer.
If you are really struggling to communicate, you could go for couple counselling and they will help you both with strategies to use.
I really don't think that this is a good time to be trying for a baby. Not just yet anyway, get this sorted first, if you can.
You deff need some support, make it a new years resolution
No we don't have children. But time is ticking on for that.
To be fair he doesn't usually not want to talk. He will talk and talk and talk and talk. But its really not productive because i generally 'get it' the first time and don't want or need him to carry on for literally hours and always about stuff he is complaining about.Thats prob whi i am always reluctant to start conversations even aboit important stuff as i will struggle to keep it on track and he will take it so personally.
I am miserable. I feel like i need help to deal with it.
Fairenuff - I agree she cant go on like this its not an excuse but they do need to get to the bottom of it other wise OP or her OH cant start to control the situation
Underlying causes are no excuse to treat you and others like this. On the face of it he sounds like he knows what he is doing and it suits him.
You do need to speak to him a lot more. Tell him that you have something important to discuss and ask him when is a good time. Make sure you have plenty of time to talk for as long as you need.
Btw my dh was in a job that he hated and would have walked out if he didn't have others to consider. A family man has responsibilities and sometimes we all have to suck it up and get on with it until something better comes along.
Do you have children with him OP?
does sound like OCD.
Maybe it would help to explain that there is no shame at all in having MH disordres (that's what people are scared about, officially being diagnosed and feeling like 'freaks') and than society now doesn't stigmatise, but sympathises more than ever before (David Beckam has mild OCD!). I think then you might manage to get him to see a doctor.
I think that you are going to have to talk to him about this a lot more. It is the sort of behaviour which will put an end to any respect and love. He can't keep running away from conversations he doesn't want to have just because he doesn't want to have them, not if he wants your marriage to last into old age.
You are right Fairenuff, i'm just wondering if there is an underlying cause for his behaviour? And if there is, it might help both of us to know.
I would tell him that if he wants to be in a relationship he has to be willing to talk about issues, including his emotional/mental state, his reasons for abandoning jobs and just expecting you to cope with the consequences of his decisions.
Also, as he is sharing a house, you should agree ground rules about how tidy it needs to be and how and where to store belongings.
At the moment he sounds controlling. If he doesn't get his way he either walks away (as at work) or becomes difficult and critical. He won't face up to any of his failings which is not a good trait.
If things don't change significantly I would leave. This relationship, as it is, is going nowhere but misery.
Im sorry i cant be more help. I do suffer with anxiety and not good in social stuations although having the kids has brought it out of me a lot so i know its horrible. Could you maybe get him some leaflets from the docs or something maybe to make him just have a little think and maybe think oh thats me (iyknwim)
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