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Finding DH really hard work.(64 Posts)
He puts up barriers, is negative, faffs about, sulks, and I feel generally makes things really hard going.
We are both stressed - dc2 is due in 2 weeks and we've got lot of thing we need to get done.
My problem is that I'm totally sick of being the only one who seems to think things through, or initiate them in the first place. He seems to need instructions for everything, or prompting or guidance or help. It's like he lives in a bubble where only he exists and is only allowed to think of the next 24 hours. There is no visible evidence that he can prioritise or plan or think things through properly.
We've discussed this over and over and nothing changes and I'm at my wits end.
I'm beginning to just feel like he's useless and that ironically I'd have more headspace and free time if we weren't together.
He can be a bit of a neat freak so sharing day-to-day housework isn't too big a deal - but everything else seems to escape him. Sure our towels are hung up nice and neatly in the bathroom, but our old car has needed selling for 2 months. He went to the bank yesterday to pay a cheque in and didn't pay in some cash that I need paying in. He thinks our council tax is £28 per month. We need to get new carpet for all of upstairs, he thinks it can just be ordered - no thinking through cost, the type, the width of the stair runner (though he would have a pernickety view on it if I didn't consult him), the logistics of moving furniture around 4 bedrooms so it can get fitted, the fact that the lead time will be approx the same as my due date and the logistics of having a newborn/heavily pregnant wife around whilst its fitted. DD has been at nursery for 18 months, he wouldn't have a clue how much it costs nor how it gets paid every month. He's pretty hands on with her on a day to day basis but ask him about whether he thinks we should increase/decrease her time at nursery whilst I'm on mat leave or put her in preschool and I'm greeted with a shrug. He'll complain we're low on food shopping but never sits and orders it. But will nip out to the shop to sort himself out with some lunch... The list goes on.
I've tried talking, crying, shouting, asking.... I've tried leaving stuff so he has to do it but it never gets done and sometimes it's important stuff (bills etc) so I can't let it slip too much.
I have to nag him to stay on top of his own work on top of workng 4 days pw myself (pre-mat leave). It's just never ending.
My real fear is that a leopard doesnt change its spots and that this is just who he is and my choices are to put up and shut up or leave..
I know 38 weeks pg is not a great time to be thinking about this but I'm so so worn down by it. I get that he's stressed about things too but living in his bubble isn't going to help and feels fucking unfair actually that he gets to stick his head in the sand whilst I'm running around being the only responsible adult in the house.
Sorry, rant over.
I'm really trying not to pooh-pooh everyone's ideas but I have tried talking and have said I wish I could disappear for a month, unravel all the direct debits, and let him just get on with it. Not practical with a 2yo though!!
I've also, in the heat of the moment, and I'm not proud of it - that he feels like a deadweight sometimes and that I feel I'd have more headspace if I was single. I know this is a horrid thing to say but I kind of wanted him to wake up and realise how serious this is getting.
Again, it's not a to-do list and you can explain that to him. It's a list to make him aware of what has to be done and that you mainly do. This is important becasue as you say, he can easily convince himself that sorting out a holiday, or the carpets, or nursery payments etc, just takes a second or two and isn't a big deal. He needs to see it is all detailed, time-consuming, exhausting work.
The eye-rolling and huffing are aggressive. They are a way of trying to intimidate you into not bothering him with this crap. Spell it out. "Eye-rolling and huffing do not change the fact that you need to share responsibility for this home and family equally with me." Don't let things like that make you give in.
Tell him the truth.
Tell him it's easier when he's not around, that he feels like a deadweight because he just adds to the work and stress without taking any of the responsibility. Tell him his failure to man up and take responsibility for his home and child is a massive sexual turn-off. Not in an angry way, just explaining it.
Does he work? Ask hi how it would go down if he took this attitude to his work responsibilities. It's no different.
But how can you order a carpet or whatever for £4K ( must be a bloody good carpet!) and not discuss beforehand where the money will come from?
I don't get the 'his and hers' money at all- but that's another issue- we have a joint account and everything comes out of it and everything we earn goes in it, bar our own ISAs.
Part of you seems to think that he will read your mind, so you wait for it to happen and when he doesn't you get pissed off.
You need to communicate better and nee to say what you want- if you want him to cook and not serve up pizza then he needs to be told that.
Carpet is yet to be ordered but is £2k so about half.
I earn more than DH, he's self employed and has money come in and out so it's easier to have it separately, then we proportion what goes into the joint account - ie paying 50/50 wouldn't be fair as such. We then give ourselves the same amount each to play with and what's leftover goes into savings. We then usually make big purchases from our savings - but - it's always me saying "how are going to pay for this?" and then reminding him to put his share into the right account.
firm thank you - I will try this. He is fairly clueless as to how stuff works and says he wants to do more and be the man of the house. Until the words turn into actions I'm still a bit cynical though.
It sounds as though you get stressed out very easily and his laid back approach drives you nuts.
I think anyone would be stressed out by living with another adult who thinks council tax is under £30 a month and won't plan ahead. It must be exhausting.
My DH went through this (lived with parents for a while before moving in with me, basically regressed into 'other adult 'owns' the house and does the thinking). I had several very frank conversations with him. The first time it was met with sulking and refusal... when I showed him real examples ("In order for this to happen, I had to think about xyz, phone xyz, go here, measure that... doing the washing up is not enough...") he 'got it'.
Thankfully in our case it was just a bad habit. But it needs to be talked through and the OP shouldn't feel she's 'easily' stressed.
I likened it to having a teenager: yes, he does some chores but as an dult you need another adult to help plan/think about all the household management side too.
And pin you're right in that I do expect him to now know. I'm sick of spoon-feeding him and we've been together for 12 years so I get frustrated when he doesn't get it.
None of this mattered so much before we had children but I've been frazzled since. I'm dreadful at finishing jobs and am a massive procrastinator, and leave things til the last minute so am by no means perfect - but - I acknowledge this and try to improve. It seems I do better under pressie but he cracks.
Actually pink frocks there is plenty of evidence now that there is very little difference between men and women other than physical or social conditioning.
I am shit at multi-tasking and very good at maths. So there.
some light reading for you
We are all individually different, but there is no fundamental difference between men and women.
Your finances seem a bit complicated compared to ours. I'm self employed but all our money still goes into one account, minus about a third of mine which I save for my tax bill.
Our savings goes into ISAs so when there is surplus in the joint account or my own account we talk about which savings accounts it's going in.
We don't have this - pocket money' thing that some couples have- we trust each other to be sensible and if he wants something 'big' then we will discuss it as being affordable, and that gives me the okay to spend the same on me without feeling I need justify it- but he wouldn't mind anyway if they money was there.
I think it's quite rare for finances etc to be handled 50-50. I have 2 close friends whose DHs earn a lot of money- both 6 figures and one more like £500K annually- the wives do all the financial stuff and seem quite happy with that because they don't work and feel it's their role to do more at home.
In your case, you maybe need to accept that you are the practical one . Either you stop doing it, and face the fall out, you remind him well in advance and hope he will change when he knows how much this bugs you or you decide he's not worth it and divorce him.
There is also a difference between nagging and really sitting down with someone and saying you have had enough- and give some ultimatum.
stone- who said women were not good at maths ??
pink with 6 figure salaries I suspect things are slightly less delicately balanced!!
My fear with putting everything into the joint account is that my salary will always keep it buoyant and DH will take his foot off. I'm adamant he could earn more (but lacks confidence in what he does and his pricing) and he sometimes, again, sulks about how hard it is drumming up business and will have quiet couple if weeks because he's been faffing/lazy and the proof is in the pudding in that my savings are steadily going up and his aren't.
Again I guess it's a way of demonstrating that things are unnecessarily imbalanced. All in the joint account and won't see the difference but I will feel it!!
If you cannot trust him to spend wisely, or work hard enough to put more into your joint kitty so you might run into financial problems, then you are living with a child- not a man.
Trust around everything is integral to successful marriages. If you feel he will take his foot off the brake then you have a parent-child relationship- plenty about that on the web.
My point about my friends' was not dependent on how much was earned but how happy they were to be the bankers and accept that their partners contributed to the marriage in other ways , which allowed them not to work, but the deal is they will do more than their equal share on the domestic front.
Just a different perspective on being a single parent.
My exH was fairly useless in the organising department and left everything to me when we were married. Since we separated and I'm not picking up any slack for him, suddenly he knows when parents evenings are, shops for DC food, sorts his bills, etc.
I have more free time and headspace as he now takes responsibility for DC.
However this is because he wants to be fully involved with the DC and be an equal parent (we have shared care arrangement). Also we are amicable despite breaking up for horrible reasons (his affair). We have set up systems like a shared gmail calendar for DC activities etc.
It's not that I think he'll be lazy given half the chance, it's more that he is unaware of the result of his actions/inactions and the bigger impact those things can have - be it financially, practically, logistically or emotionally.
He is immature in his thinking and doesn't see that what he does has an impact on the rest of us. He opts out of taking control or responsibility, and I know some of this stems from his upbringing - his parents are very 'play-it-safe, don't get above your station, don't risk anything, better to not try than to try and fail'. This drives me insane and actually I think he feels like he wants to grab life by the nuts a bit more but hasn't got the foggiest how.
why don't you try couples' counselling where you can let rip in the safety of a neutral 3rd party- DH will hear you, and you may be able to formulate a plan for progress.
I can't help wonder why this is now a problem and you put up with it for a long time with DC1- and presumably you knew he was like this before and when you married? Did you ignore and think he would change?
It seems you have lost respect for him. Not sure how you get back from that unless you're both prepared to do the work - otherwise it just carries on until you get to the point that you explode.
By saying you do the work too - I mean are you prepared to take practical steps to help him get more organised or will this infuriate you further? In which case it does seem that you will end up separating in the longer term as you get more and more cross at his inability to step up.
By practical things, it is babying him to start with. Things like drawing up a task list and dividing it, putting organising systems in place (shared calendar, where paperwork goes, where stuff in the house goes), how often you sit down to review finances and agree joint purchases etc.
All this will be hard work with a new baby. I think you bed to consider whether you carry on as is while you have a newborn or whether you do something now. If you leave it for a few months, you need to have a plan in place for how you're going to tackle it (make the effort to resolve between you or separate).
In the meantime you are heavily pregnant and about to make the jump from one DC to two - can you organise any practical help so you're not relying on (and then being disappointed by) your partner?
I'm not surprised you've lost respect for him - he sounds infuriating! Sounds like you already have two children and the new baby will be the third
Has he ever lived on his own, or did he move from his parents to living with you? How do his parents split household responsibilities - is he copying what he's seen in their relationship?
I must admit that I agree with pinkfrocks that if he has always been like this in the 12 years you've lived together, then you have implicitly accepted his behaviour by chiding to stay together and have children. If you've discussed and argued and shouted and cried, but his behaviour hasn't changed and you've just got on with everything anyway, then he's seen that no matter what you say, you'll just put up with it. From his POV, why should things change now?
I think when you do have your discussion you need to sit down and do it at a time when there is not a row brewing about these issues.
I get the feeling that tensions are running so high now that having a rational discussion will be really hard.
I think some of these issues only come out after you have DC. You can ignore or paper over the cracks when it's just the two of you living together, simply because there's less 'work' and usually more money to enjoy yourselves aswell as do the work.
When DC come along, the household work goes up. That's when it becomes obvious that one partner has been doing more and they pick up the extra work of thinking, organising, etc. With more family expenses to consider and often with less money coming in.
I don't think it's fair to say OP has accepted the behaviour - life has changed, she has changed with it and her DP has not.
I wonder if the OP is suddenly overwhelmed by the thought of the new baby and the impact it's going to have when DH is unwilling to do his bit?
OP I know you don't want to 'baby' him, but I don't think drawing up a list of what needs doing and talking it through amounts to that; it's what most people in house shares do for chores etc when someone ends up doing more than their fair share- human nature is to shirk stuff like this usually!
If you are not willing to try anything, but want to just nag and moan and think how awful he is, then nothing is going to change, is it?
As other people have said- choose a time when you are not angry and discuss it.
Put the ball in his court with the implications explained- ie late payments, bad credit ratings, blah blah- then leave him to it.
Whatever you do, don't give him his 'list' then continue to nag because he will then think he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't- so he may as well not bother!
I think we'd both be up for counseling. Just fitting it in might be tricky with a toddler and brand new baby.
Why is it a problem now? Well time and headspace is more limited since having dd I guess. We used to rent a 2 bed flat so no DIY was required and
I we would call the landlord if anything needed sorting. We now own a 4 bed house that needs redecorating and maintaining. I could manage to do everything before and now I struggle. I find keeping on top of things really bloody hard and don't feel that he's recognised that he can do things to help more. Instead I get the sulking or the barriers. I didn't struggle before so he didn't need to step up.
I'm more than happy to help him but surely there comes a time when he needs to take ownership of things himself. Eg - me setting up a reminder on his phone for the meter readings. He still needs to be nagged every month. Other than doing it myself, how else can it get done?
His phone was on the verge of stopping working so I upgraded it for him (added him to my account as this worked out cheaper). New phone arrived and it took him the best part of three weeks to sort out his PAC code to swap over to the new phone and end the old one. And when he did he got all flustered on the phone and I had to speak to the bloke on the other end to explain it. It wasn't rocket science and I'd told DH a gazillion times what a PAC code was and why he needed it, what he needed to say etc etc etc.
He's getting in a muddle with his business ingoings and outgoings so I suggested he opens another bank account to sort it. He didn't so in the end I did it for him. This was months ago and he's never used the account and still gets in a muddle. He's lost the new bank card.
It's the complete lack of ownership that does my head in. And surely until something clicks in his head about it all nothing will change. I'm just a bit worried about what it will take to get to that point.
I've texted him today (he can't talk on the phone) to suggest that he sorts the carpet which will mean he needs to take ownership of sorting it all. He seems happy with that.
And yes I'm losing respect for him and have told him that too. He says he can feel himself getting sulky but can't help it and knows it's childish but still does it.
It's not so much the thought of the new baby, it's the thought of going back to work in a years time. I struggled massively during the 18 months I was back after mat leave round 1 - because it was all left to me. I asked him to not leave it all to me but he did and on several occasions I really lost my rag and honestly thought I was close to having a break down. That scared him but doesn't seem to have changed anything significantly enough. He says the right things but doesn't put them into action.
So anyway, this hoiseh
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