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.

DH is sulking

(105 Posts)
Theblondebird Mon 19-Nov-12 09:45:58

I just needed to have a rant, and I've namechanged as my DH knows my usual username on here.

My DH has always sulked a bit whenever we've argued, and he also sometimes just gets in sulks for no reason and says nothing is wrong. These sulks can last up to a month at times, but are usually 3 or 4 days.

On Saturday night we had an argument, over something very minor, just like most other couples have from time to time. Whenever we argue he always comes up with all these things he doesn't like about me, and on Saturday night it was no exception, and he even said that he hates me sometimes. What he does is he says things that are going to inflame things and upset me, then says that he's not prepared to argue and goes to bed or just ignores me so it's pointless talking any further about it. He kept saying to me 'YOU started it' as the thing I'd said had caused the argument but he had turned it into an argument.

Saturday he just went to bed, and I was very upset and tearful but I stayed up quite late watching TV and chatting to a friend online, and then went to bed thinking it'd be ok in the morning. Well yesterday he woke up all smirking and off with me and I just knew I was in for a day of sulking. I tried to speak to him in bed and said I was sorry for the argument and could we put it behind us and enjoy the family day out we had planned. I then asked if he would apologise to me as I felt what he had said about me had been a total attack on me and he smirked and said "I'm sorry" in a sarcastic, mocking voice. I got up and went downstairs to sort the children out and he came down after a while and I could tell he was going to sulk all day. He normally doesn't bother with the children hugely but if we argue he's all father of the year and interacting with them as if to make a point to me that "We are all getting on, it is you that's the odd one out". I asked if we were still having our day out and he said "No because you don't seem interested enough" and at that point I decided to just leave him to get on with his behaviour so I told him I'd be taking the kids out as planned, and he could either stay home or come, I really wasn't bothered which he chose as he was behaving like a child. He chose to come!

The day out itself was ok but when he sulks he walks round with a smirk on his face, and does things constantly that he knows will wind me up, to try to provoke an argument and then he can say I'm unreasonable. Yesterday he'd do things like wait outside a door to get in a shop with me, then suddenly randomly walk off quickly and go in another shop without saying he was going elsewhere. Then saying he was going for a wee and leaving me in a shop with the kids where the kids were buying/choosing things, and he came back half an hour later and he was dismissive when I said he'd been quite a while and I was wondering if he was ok. Or he'd be nice for half an hour and chatty then suddenly stop talking to me again, all the time with a smirk on his face. He went to bed early last night and didn't bother locking the front door, which is something he normally does each evening, then this morning when he got up for work, earlier than I needed to get up he just put the bedroom light on, not the lamp the main light, and walked out of the room leaving it on. I wouldn't mind so much if I hadn't have been up in the night with one of our DCs who was poorly, for 3 hours.

Sorry this is long, I just needed to vent. I've decided that now I am going to get myself more of a life and leave him to his pathetic little games, and try and make out I don't really need him that much anymore. If he's in a mood tonight I shall go straight out for a run.

Anyone got any tips in dealing with sulkers?

Leave them.

squeakytoy Mon 19-Nov-12 09:49:00

He sounds immature and it would drive me mad. I find the best way to deal with people who sulk is to ignore them and not feed the attention seeking behaviour.

TakingTheStairs Mon 19-Nov-12 09:50:19

Your 'D'H sounds like a prick.

Theblondebird Mon 19-Nov-12 09:50:42

VoiceofUnreason, I really don't want to leave him. I know that sounds pathetic but most of the time things are ok with us.

Squeakytoy, that's what I'm trying to do. This morning when he put the light on I just got up and switched it off. I'm trying to remain as calm as possible so he can't see he's riled me or upset me.

Theblondebird Mon 19-Nov-12 09:51:35

I feel bad as it was my fault the argument started but I was disagreeing with him over something rather than starting a row. I think he wants me to try to ingratiate myself with him constantly and really earn him being nice again

doctordwt Mon 19-Nov-12 09:56:54

What a pathetic little twat you are married to!

I think that once you focus on that, you'll soon get to the point where you genuinely aren't angry and riled, but start to pity him.

Start on that process by going out on your run, and make a couple of plans that don't involve him. And if he asks, tell him that since his big sulk you've actually begun to think you like it better when he's not around. Smirk when you tell him this, naturally.

Mr. Smirk thinks he has all the power at the moment (hence the smirks). What you want to get across to this pathetic little toerag is this. If he continues to act like an unpleasant, childish little wanker for too long, he's going to create an effect which he didn't intend - namely, to make you genuinely go off him. And once your get to that stage, he's on a rather sticky wicket, because he might not be able to persuade you that he's worth sticking with after all. Everybody has their limits. Warn him with a smirk that he might not want to push you too far.

TakingTheStairs Mon 19-Nov-12 09:57:51

The way he is treating you is very nasty.
You may have started the row, but he continued it and was horribble. Are these things not to be addressed? So if he picks a row with you, and you say nasty things to him then it's okay as you weren't the one that started the row?

The nicest thing I can think to say about him is that he sounds like a petulant child.

Anniegetyourgun Mon 19-Nov-12 09:57:58

I had one of those. I left the bastard. Mind you if he'd done that thing with the light I'd have bitten his head off...

AbigailAdams Mon 19-Nov-12 09:58:18

He sounds like a child. Really Voiceofunreason said it all. He isn't going to change. Speaking as the child of a sulker it is hell, never knowing what mood he was going to be in, walking on eggshells.

Oh and it will always be your fault, because you didn't agree with him/didn't do as he asked/didn't let him behave unreasonably etc etc etc. Sulking is a form of controlling behaviour, to punish you for having the temerity to speak out.

theblonde - sorry if I came across as blunt, but I don't understand why anyone would want to put up with that. Do you really think that's acceptable behaviour from a loving partner? Now, if you'd had a MAJOR row that resulted in a bit of not speaking for a short while, I could perhaps understand that. But you tell us sometimes these arguments are over minor things, which he decides to escalate into personal rants about you, which results in sulks and really quite obnoxious childish behaviour for 3 or 4 days but sometimes upto a MONTH???

That's not normal, healthy behaviour. And you know it isn't, or you wouldn't be here asking for advice. And stating that you are going to get yourself more of life - presumably things that don't involve him. Even though "most of the time things are OK".

OK, let me rephrase my advice. Tell him the way he treats you is unacceptable and you won't put up with it again and he needs to change. But I doubt he will. Still, if you're happy to spend many more years being treated that way, that's your choice.

Theblondebird Mon 19-Nov-12 09:59:04

Great advice doctordwt, thank you!

Amongst other things he has said to me that he doesn't want to hear anything that upsets me in life, so if my mum's annoyed me or one of the kids has acted up during the day he doesn't want to hear. I'm going to take this quite literally and tell him nothing about me any longer. I'm also going to be less easily contactable during the day and less amenable to fitting in with things he wants to do.

doctordwt Mon 19-Nov-12 10:00:20

'I think he wants me to try to ingratiate myself with him constantly and really earn him being nice again'

Yes, he does.

Which is nasty and abusive.

So you don't do it. You do the opposite, which is to treat him like you would anyone else who is beign unpleasant and unreasonable. You avoid them and thus minimise their negative impact on your life. When it's your husband taking this approach, you do the above at double quick speed. Why? Because why would you want to 'earn' your partner treating you with respect? If you have to do that, he doesn't respect you, and your relationship is a sham and a nasty joke.

I don't like the sound of your husband very much.

HilaryClinton Mon 19-Nov-12 10:00:56

His sulking is his way of bringing his bitch to heel. That's all he thinks of you a dog to be trained.
Zero tolerance is the only way. Let him know,preferably in front of others how pitiful you think sulking is and then just pretend he doesn't exist when he is being pathetic. No more "Are we doing X" you decide what you want and give him no opportunity to spoil it.

Theblondebird Mon 19-Nov-12 10:01:20

Thank you everyone.

I know it's not normal, healthy behaviour, but at the moment living with that seems preferable to splitting up. He is just like a petulant child and I do feel like I tread on eggshells a bit.

Problem is too that to everyone else he comes across as being wonderful and everyone, even his own family, tell me just how lucky I am to have him and what a good catch he is

Theblondebird Mon 19-Nov-12 10:04:05

when he's sulking too he gets stroppy whenever I say I'm going to do anything and makes me feel I'm doing the wrong thing and that I need to do something else to please him. For example yesterday he and the kids were having lunch and I wasn't hungry (wonder why!) and I said I was going to go off into a shop he hates whilst he ate and he just pulled a face, rolled his eyes and ignored me. So I went off. All day long if I spoke to him he just looked at me and didn't acknowledge what I'd said. He also said he's going to make a point of speaking to me badly more often as then I will realise just how nice he normally is.

HeathRobinson Mon 19-Nov-12 10:05:15

I don't think he's sulking.

To me, the basis of sulking is that you feel hurt. I have sulked and it was more of a protective reaction, shutting down to the outside world while you lick your wounds.

AbigailAdams Mon 19-Nov-12 10:07:28

Oh blimey, he gets worse. This man is controlling and emotionally unavailable (although I suspect he expects you to be emotionally available for him).

I don't see how it can be fine most of the time if he sulks for up to a month at a time. That is an awful lot of time when it isn't all right. I think you maybe deluding yourself there. Perhaps keep a diary to see how often this is actually happening.

Also.if you stop playing his game, which I don't necessarily disagree with, he may become more openly nasty as he realises you are moving away from his control.

How is he with the children during these sulking episodes? In fact how much does he do with the children at all? How is he when they hurt themselves for example? Does he do any of the "drudge" work?

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Mon 19-Nov-12 10:08:21

You really want your children growing up with this?

A smirking father who behaves like a total shit on family days out to punish their mum and keep her in line? You think they dont notice?
You think they enjoyed yesterday? Children are more perceptive than you think!
Most likely the kids played along, their little hearts breaking.

This is the role models for relationships you want them to have?

You need to address this issue.

He is a manipulative scumbag.

The worst part is, it is working.

He is telling you that he does not want to hear about your life, your childrens behaviour, and you think you are punishing him by complying? You are doing what he wants!

AnyFucker Mon 19-Nov-12 10:08:39

Those are some terrible lessons you are both teaching your children.

He acts like a petulant child, and you act like a doormat.

heath is right. This isn't sulking, this is obnoxious, calculated behaviour designed to wind you up.

blonde I feel very sorry for you that you would prefer to be treated like something he has trodden in, and with no respect, than be on your own. Because the likelihood of it ever improving is very low, you must realise that, even if you try what doctor suggests. Based on what you've said him, I suspect ignoring him will actually wind him up more.

Casmama Mon 19-Nov-12 10:10:31

I think next time someone says how lucky you are I would say "you wouldn't be saying that if tou could see the sulks he goes into- its hilarious and can last for days on end!"

AbigailAdams Mon 19-Nov-12 10:10:38

Really, blondbird he is so deliberately nasty and controlling. Going to be nastier to you so you appreciate the nice bits??? He is telling you exactly who he is there - an abuser. Classic abuser behaviour.

AnnaFurLact1c Mon 19-Nov-12 10:11:02

He's not sulking. This is NOT sulking. And that's a very minimising way of describing it anyway.

I'd describe it more as him taking delight in punishing and wrong footing you. And I'd understand this slightly more if you'd had a major disagreement over something.

AbigailAdams Mon 19-Nov-12 10:12:33

Also blondbird does he do this sulking thing often before family days out?

hillyhilly Mon 19-Nov-12 10:12:59

Wow at your last post, he's going to sulk more often just so you realise how nice he normally is? That's jaw dropping
I think your policy of disengaging is the only one if you're staying.
Maybe that would turn it around so he realises what a crap and lonely place sulking is
I just hope it doesn't have an impact on your kids as it sounds thoroughly unpleasant

AbigailAdams Mon 19-Nov-12 10:13:45

Anna is right btw it isn't sulking. It is punishment and abuse.

doctordwt Mon 19-Nov-12 10:13:57

Yes, I like your last post. I think that's the midset you need to get into, sadly.

He will pick up on it, you know. He will sense a change in you. If he asks, I'd be totally honest. You've had enough of the games and the sulks. Really enough -

'It's quite a scary proposition, isn't it darling? Sometimes I really think I'm getting to the end of my tether with it all. I do know that I won't live the rest of my life like this, and I do worry about the way my opinion of you is changing so drastically - that I'm beginning to see you as such a pathetic, childish person. Hmm, yes, very worrying for the future, don't you agree DARLING?'



doctordwt Mon 19-Nov-12 10:14:33

Sorry I meant last post as in the telling him nothing post!

(quick moving thread attack)

Casmama Mon 19-Nov-12 10:14:36

Sorry just read your latest post- this guy sounds deeply unpleasant - he is deliberately fucking with you to make you feel bad and has so little respect for you that he tells you to your face that he is doing it.
I too think you need to realise that he is emotionally abusing you - he is not stroppy and grumpy he is cruel and twisted and deliberately trying to break you down. Please think seriously about getting away from him for your sake and your children's.

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Mon 19-Nov-12 10:14:54

"He also said he's going to make a point of speaking to me badly more often as then I will realise just how nice he normally is."

He is here telling you he is nasty on purpose, and he plans to be even more nasty to you.

This in itself is the main reason to start divorce proceedings and get rid of him.

This is not love. This is quite the opposite.

doctor - from what the OP tells us about this man, I feel that the course of action you propose will escalate things. You're basically suggesting she plays her own form of games against his! Never, ever a good move.

Theblondebird Mon 19-Nov-12 10:17:11

Just to clarify, there has only ever been one month-long sulk and that was about 18 months ago when he was stressed at work. There was no argument or catalyst, he just started sulking for no reason. He wasn't abusive though, just awkward and stroppy. He does get the hump too if I'm ever ill. I usually dont' get talked to for a day or two after being ill.

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Mon 19-Nov-12 10:17:16

I deeply disagree with doctor.

For you to play into his little games, it means you are giving your children a very unpleasant home life.

It would be abusive and neglectful to your children to join him in his games.

doctordwt Do you have children yourself, or are you a juvenile young person who enjoy mind games?

Lueji Mon 19-Nov-12 10:17:19

I have to agree with the others, it's not sulking as such.

I used to sulk a bit, which is not great, but it was basically just not talking to the other person, and yes, because I thought I deserved an apology and I was hurt.

In no way I would try to hurt them on purpose and play mind games, as your H is doing.

It's clear that you not giving a reaction will push him more and more into provoking you.

You may need to confront him and tell him that if he's not going to act as someone who loves you at all times (yes, even when having a fight) then he might as well leave. Problem is, you'll have mean it.

TBH, ex used to be quite like this and it just killed the relationship.

Cluffyfunt Mon 19-Nov-12 10:19:13

You think your dc deserve to grow up around this?

He has told you he is going to be more abusive than he already is.

He is using your dc as pawns in his abuse of you and therefor, abusing them as well as you sad angry

Please read this book

Your DH is in there and it will open your eyes to his behaviour.
I doubt you are ready to pack up and leave right now, but you can start to protect yourself by educating yourself and getting stronger and hopefully more detached from his mind games.

Lueji Mon 19-Nov-12 10:19:27

He does get the hump too if I'm ever ill. I usually dont' get talked to for a day or two after being ill.

That should tell you all you ever need to know about him and how much he doesn't love you.

blonde he gets the hump with you for being ILL???? Please, go back to my first posting on this thread. Read it very closely. Then read all your postings to us. Then read mine again. Then read all the other ones that say this is abuse and that you should leave. PLEASE.

EmmaNess Mon 19-Nov-12 10:20:29

I would stop looking at his face, or looking him in the eye. This way, I wouldn't see the eye rolling and face pulling, and dickwad would be standing next to me, gurning his little heart out, to no effect, and looking like a right arse.

Be Lou, to his Andy. wink

Chandon Mon 19-Nov-12 10:20:49

These threads depress me no emd, really get me down.

Read back your opening post, OP, in the knowledge that a decent partner would do NONE of these things, none, apart from having an argument over nothing, that is the only bit that is "normal".

Him being a shite dad, unless he tries to prove a point, his sulking, his petty actions, his blatant disrespect for you, his bullying of you, his emotional abuse are all reasons for avself resoecting woman to start thinking of an exit route.

Really. I don ' t even knw where to begin here.

AnyFucker Mon 19-Nov-12 10:21:02

So, this man has said he is deliberately going to speak to you badly to teach you a lesson


I wouldn't try to play him at his own game, because it is likely he will escalate it. What then ?

I would disengage completely and start thinking very carefully about improving my life for the sake of myself, but mostly my children. If that means he isn't in be it.

HullyEastergully Mon 19-Nov-12 10:23:04

What an arseing bollock-face.

Seriously, just tell him to fuck off.

PeppermintPasty Mon 19-Nov-12 10:24:34

You say you talk to him during these periods, about normal stuff, and he does his stupid thing. But have you ever confronted him OP, and told him that it's not bloody acceptable? Month long sulks, one-day sulks, they're not normal you know.

What do you think he would do if you reared up on him and gave him what for verbally? You may not be that type of person, but this surely needs to be sorted, you don't have to live in a partnership like this, it must wear you down. He's a baby, a horrible manipulative, controlling baby.

blonde - OK, let me try another tack with you. How old are your children? Because the likelihood is that when they are of a certain age, he will probably do the same thing to them and treat them like this. Do you want that for them, even if you seem to be prepared to accept it for yourself???

Blatherskite Mon 19-Nov-12 10:26:04

Can we stop calling it Bullying? It's not bullying, it's abusive.

And you think you can make this better by being abusive back?


Blatherskite Mon 19-Nov-12 10:26:53

Sorry, I meant can we stop calling it Sulking - it's not sulking, it's bullying and abusive.

myroomisatip Mon 19-Nov-12 10:27:56

IMO your 'D'H is manipulative and abusive. He does not care for you one iota.

Much like my STBXH! I am sure that the day will come when you will look at him and see him for what he truly is and that will be when you realise you do not want to be married to him any longer.

larrygrylls Mon 19-Nov-12 10:31:31

I agree with NotQuint. Don't play silly childish mind games, especially in front of the children. They will copy you, so think hard about how you would like to see your children delivering sarcastic messages to you and their siblings with a smirk on their faces.

There is only one way to deal with something that you find unacceptable. Talk about it between the two of you, calmly, when the children are not around. Describe what he is doing, how it makes you feel and the consequences to the marriage should he continue in this way. Then listen to his response. It is possible that he has some strong feelings about the way you behave and that you also need to compromise. It is very very hard to accept criticism, even constructive criticism, so you both need to take a step back and listen to one another with an open mind.

Try to find a way where you can both move to a happier place. If the discussion merely becomes another point scoring argument (try hard to ensure this does not happen) then maybe it is time for counselling. Clearly, ultimately, if none of the above work, it may be time to think about separating. Growing up with point scoring parents is very depressing.

Theblondebird Mon 19-Nov-12 10:39:53

Oh yes he has lots of strong feelings about how I behave. I think he'd like to totally change me.

oldwomaninashoe Mon 19-Nov-12 10:40:40

Behaving like he does takes immense energy, and thought, and I hate to say it but it is done to control you.

How dare you be ill, it means it throws his "plans" and what he wants to do all out of kilter and he probably has to tow the husband/father line.

I wonder what his definition of "love " is?

I would seriously re-evaluate your relationship.
I was married to someone like this, and it was very wearing, and frustrating it sucked the joy out of life and I found myself walking on eggshells to try and avoid these moods. It is immensely childish behaviour, and he is setting a bad example to your DCs.

If you are prepared to live with it all well and good but I know I couldn't, and didn't.

AbigailAdams Mon 19-Nov-12 10:45:37

Talking isn't going to work. BECAUSE HE IS ABUSIVE. (Plus she has already done that and his response was to tell her he will be escalating HIS ABUSE). There is no "happier place" BECAUSE HE IS ABUSIVE.

The only happy place you will find is away from him, theblondbird.

PeppermintPasty Mon 19-Nov-12 10:47:34

Oh god it's depressing. He's horrible OP. I know you don't want to leave him, but why not? Serious question btw. I know you have children together, all of that, but this is your life. And this will remain your life FOREVER!!! He will also most likely get worse. Why would you settle for being so badly treated by someone who is supposed to love and care for you?

AnyFucker Mon 19-Nov-12 10:49:16

He'd like you to change into an obedient doormat wouldn't he ?

larrygrylls Mon 19-Nov-12 10:51:28


And you know this how? Because he sulks? Calling someone abusive on very flimsy evidence is pointless and devalues the term. It sounds like he behaves in a rude and childish way. But, of course, you have no idea what the OP has said to him or if she gives him the right to respond and listens to him. Maybe he feels that sulking is his only recourse.

I am not condoning his behaviour but what would you have the OP do? Not even have an adult discussion with him? Make no effort to change things and just leave? Of course it may come to that but that is not what she says that she wants, at least for now.

Talking may work. Counselling may work. Many things may work. He is not violent or financially abusive, he is a sulker and childish. People are capable of changing, plenty of relationships do improve rather than inevitably collapse. What is the downside of an adult conversation where the OP spells out exactly what she wants and needs from her husband in order to stay together? It may be just the wake up call he needs.

MordecaiAndTheRigbys Mon 19-Nov-12 10:52:06

Op I grew up in this type of house. Kids matter how old they are, they pick up on this. They probably spent a day out yesterday alternating between relief and fear. Don't kid yourself that they didn't. And they will never forget.
I can't tell you to walk from your relationship, no one can. But you need to take a break from him and examine what you get from this relationship.

At best he sounds like a childish little arse.

But he is displaying some quite nasty controlling behaviour.

If he really is worth the effort I would take him aside, sit him down and make him understand that his behaviour is making you very unhappy and also making you question your whole relationship. So it has to stop.

Good luck.

AnyFucker Mon 19-Nov-12 10:58:12

Larry, did you miss the bit where Op says when she tries to talk to him about how his behaviour makes her feel, he quite simply states he is going to ramp it up to teach her a lesson ?

larry, sorry but based on what the OP has told us in all her postings, he has crossed the line from being rude to being emotionally abusive. amazed you can't see that, actually.

LisaMed Mon 19-Nov-12 11:00:10

OP - you could change if you like. That would give him permission to behave worse, because you gave in to the last lot.

Why do you think this will ever get better?

AbigailAdams Mon 19-Nov-12 11:04:54

Yawn. theblondbird has already talked to him larry. Probably many times more than she has mentioned on here. Generally people post here because they have tried all the normal methods of communication that non-abusive people use and they haven't worked.

HandbagCrab Mon 19-Nov-12 11:04:59

Love it how op needs to rein in her theoretical bad behaviour but her dh isn't criticised for behaving like an arse larry In fact, she should take his criticism on the chin, change and then once she is fundamentally different she can possibly look forward to a sulk free existence at some point in the future. Lucky you op smile

Mumsnet is quite good I think in that lots of posters talk about their childhoods to illustrate that abusive behaviour between parents does have an effect on the children. I'd also say that life is too short and perhaps examine the reasons why you don't want to leave a person who has told you he will behave worse in order to make you more grateful for the times when he's not a critical, controlling arse.

Anniegetyourgun Mon 19-Nov-12 11:11:00

You're right, larry, the OP is a horrible person and the most decent thing she can do at this point is to bow out of her DH's life and give him the chance to find someone who is willing to change her whole self to accommodate him. Someone who is happy to be told what their opinions should be. Someone who is never ill. He deserves a blow up doll a partner like that.

And she deserves to be treated like a human being.

larrygrylls Mon 19-Nov-12 11:11:28


"Love it how op needs to rein in her theoretical bad behaviour but her dh isn't criticised for behaving like an arse larry In fact, she should take his criticism on the chin, change and then once she is fundamentally different she can possibly look forward to a sulk free existence at some point in the future. Lucky you op "

Love it how my post recommending a discussion where the OP gives him an ultimatum to change HIS behaviour (but does at least listen to his reply) is deliberately taken out of context. It is like a those West End theatre reviews "Brilliant Play" where the whole review was "Brilliant Play if you happen to be intellectually challenged".......

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Mon 19-Nov-12 11:12:36

He is definitely abusive, and my advice is to see a solicitor ASAP and sort out your legal position - most solicitors give a free half-hour consultation, which is long enough for you to inform yourself about the basics WRT removing him from the house and sorting out maintenance and contact. You need this information, because when you confront him he may well threaten to throw you out with no money, get custody of the children, etc etc and you need to know that it's all bullshit.

Because you can't live like this. You are living with someone who is happy to upset his own children in order to cause you distress, because he likes upsetting you. It makes him feel good to punish you and make you cry, because he is such a failure as a human being that the only way he can feel OK is by making other people unhappy.

And training yourself to ignore his abuse isn't going to work; he will escalate. Quite possibly to physical abuse of you because he is determined to make you submit to him and 'know your place'.

larrygrylls Mon 19-Nov-12 11:14:25

MN relationship advice can be summed up:

"He is abusive"
"Leave the bastard"
"Spy on him"
"Play him at his own game, regardless of the effect on the children"

Normal conversations, the give and take of real relationships, the concept that most relationships go wrong on both sides and can sometimes be salvaged. All that is forgotten in the excitable storm (along with the children). Oh dear....

AnyFucker Mon 19-Nov-12 11:15:59

Why do you hang around the joint like a bad smell then, larry ?

Cluffyfunt Mon 19-Nov-12 11:18:23

I think we all know why

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Mon 19-Nov-12 11:18:43

LarryGrylls: The best thing about MN is that it encourages and supports so many women to get rid of obnoxious and inadequate men, when the mainstream world keeps on telling them to eat shit 'work on the relationship' accept being raped by their husbands 'try harder in the bedroom' obey their lords and masters 'you don't want to be single, do you?'

Sulks lasting weeks, deliberate wrecking of family days out, threats to increase the verbal abuse, punishing the OP for being ill - this is not 'normal give and take in a marriage', it's domestic abuse and entirely unacceptable.

HandbagCrab Mon 19-Nov-12 11:18:49

larry if you read your post of 10.31 you can see quite clearly there is one short sentence about splitting up and the rest is about op changing, talking calmly, being the big person, whatever. Your short sentence about splitting up is followed with a statement about how awful point scoring parents are. The only point scoring parent from op's posts is the dh. Where was your advice as to how he should change or what he could do or how a caring loving husband and father should behave even if his wife has the sheer audacity to have a bit of a moan about a small item of dispute?

I left my stonewalling sulker.
Didn't want DS to think that was an appropriate way to behave.

larry - very, very few people suggested playing him at his own game. most of us said leave the bastard for, quite honestly, rational reasons. OP has said nothing in her responses to make those of us who said leave the bastard think anything different. sometimes normal conversations aren't possible. it is clear from the OP's original tale that this is one of those occasions. several of us also pointed out the possible effect on the children, so they were not forgotten. I agree, give and take is what happens in a real relationship. unfortunately, this is clearly not a real relationship.

larrygrylls Mon 19-Nov-12 11:23:31

From my post of 10:31.

Describe what he is doing, how it makes you feel and the consequences to the marriage should he continue in this way

you both need to take a step back and listen to one another with an open mind

Clearly, ultimately, if none of the above work, it may be time to think about separating. Growing up with point scoring parents is very depressing.

I am hardly recommending the OP to become a Stepford wife.

larry - the OP clearly stated this: "Amongst other things he has said to me that he doesn't want to hear anything that upsets me in life"

So, he wouldn't want to hear that she is upset because of his behaviour. This is why we have generally pooh-poohed your suggestion of discussing it with the man.

akaemmafrost Mon 19-Nov-12 11:30:24

This man is an absolute cunt. I am reminded greatly if the man I used to be married too. In fact I wanted to post "I didn't know my ex had remarried!".

You've been given great advice especially liked doctordwts offerings. So I won't add anything except he WILL NOT CHANGE. So don't kid yourself that "talking" and "explaining how bad it makes me feel dh" will work because it won't. I put up with 10 years of this kind of shit, I could have written all of your posts, in fact your OP made me shock so spookily similar was it to many days of the 10 years I spent with ex.

I'd get out but I can see you are not ready for that yet, please do what you can to protect yourself. I had a nervous breakdown in the end and still have issues affecting my MH now from being made to feel so worthless and unloved for so long.

The bit about not wanting to know your problems really struck a chord with me, my ex once said to me "I can't stand the way you look when you get bad news, all white and shocked" and he wasn't saying it in a "it hurts me to see you like that" way, he was telling me he despised me. The bad news he spoke of on two occasions was my sisters possible recurrence of cancer and my mum having a heart attack sad. It's no way to live. This man who is your partner in life and supposed to love you does not want to support you or help you and has told you this. Can you see how battering that is to your self worth?

akaemmafrost Mon 19-Nov-12 11:32:00

Piss off Larry you have nothing useful to contribute so do one.

Abitwobblynow Mon 19-Nov-12 11:32:21

Hi, this is emotional abuse and it is passive aggressive designed to get you to express the anger he denies, so he can then point at you and tell you off.

Go to counselling NOW. I really mean it, now whilst you still have a connection and a bond and not down the line when it is too late.

larrygrylls Mon 19-Nov-12 11:33:18


As I also said, if he refuses to discuss it, the first option is counselling. If that fails or he won't do it, LTB. I am merely advocating setting up a time for a rational calm conversation ahead of taking the above steps. If it cannot be done, the majority of you will prove to be right.

dequoisagitil Mon 19-Nov-12 11:33:20

OP, if the only way forward that you can see to a comfortable life together is for you to detach emotionally from him, doesn't that tell you something absolutely huge?

DumSpiroSpero Mon 19-Nov-12 11:33:22

Blimey - my DH is a bit of a sulker and can be a bit disinterested but he's got nothing on yours!

He's deliberately going to treat you badly so you realise how nice he is most of the time? WTAF?

If you really feel that you can't leave at the moment, you need to call his bluff every single time he does this.

My DH used to go into sulks for no apparent reason and I would be begging and wheedling for him to tell me what was wrong. In the end I got fed up with it (tbf his parents are very uncommunicative, stiff upper lip types so I think it's as much about his upbringing as it is about him being a stroppy git!) I just ignored it. I will ask once what's wrong and if there's anything I can do, and if he chooses not to discuss it - tough shit, I carry on with my life as if all is completely normal.

He now only sulks if we have genuinely had a falling out and not for anywhere near as long.

He's still a twat for doing it, but it's better than it was and I least I don't fell that he is 'getting away with it' as I don't let it affect me or my plans anymore.

Cluffyfunt Mon 19-Nov-12 11:34:40

The op listened when her H clearly told her that he was planing on treating her worse so she would appreciate it when he was 'nice'.

Her H has told her he doesn't want to listen to her.

Have you even read the ops posts Larry, or are you just here to keep us girls in check?

AbigailAdams Mon 19-Nov-12 11:39:00

Oh goody another helpful thread derailed by larry policing us wimmin.

Here is some constructive criticism for you. You have a problem with boundaries, Larry.

Just to say that I'm a bloke and we're not all twunts.

I think counselling alone would be a good idea for OP. Counselling together with this type of partner would be a dangerous route, I think. It would just give the H a lot more ammunition of 'things the OP needs to change'.

The blondebird,

re your comment:-
"I know that sounds pathetic but most of the time things are ok with us".

Many abusive men like your H can do nice/nasty very well but the nice part is an act which never lasts very long. It is also a continuous cycle. Abusers can be and are very plausible to those in the outside world.

Joint counselling is NEVER recommended when there is ongoing abuse. Such men can and do manipulate counsellors and make it all out to be the other person's fault. If you do have counselling you need to attend such sessions on your own and certainly not with him present.

Womens Aid as well can and will help you here; please do talk to them.

You cannot talk or reason with someone like your H; abusive men do not want to know. He also thinks that he is not doing anything wrong in the first place and as well actively enjoys seeing your discomforture. Your opinions and feelings mean a big fat zero to him, this is why he does not want to hear about any problems you encounter in life.

When I see the phrase "walking on eggshells" you may as well have instead written, "living in fear".

What do you get out of this relationship now?. What keeps you within this?.

This relationship is not fit for purpose because of the ongoing abuse within it; you and he should not be together now under any circumstances. He will just drag you and by turn your children down with him.

What do you want to teach your children about relationships - they learn from the two of you as to how relationships are conducted. This is not the legacy you want to be leaving them.

Abitwobblynow Mon 19-Nov-12 11:44:11

Larry, I would just like to tell you gently that you are applying perfectly reasonable scenarios of a healthy relationship between healthy people. People who are healthy care about the other person, listen to them, and think about them enough to adjust/negotiate. That is how is should be.

Except, this isn't a healthy person. This is a person who is controlling, projecting (he is without fault and it is Blonde who is the problem), who acts passive aggressively, who denies anger and projects it onto Blonde, and who RETALIATES because she has has THE CHEEK to raise some needs of her own/complaints.

Larry, please believe me when I tell you that your suggestions do not work with an abusive person. They do not want to face their faults or change, and will escalate any attempt to do so into a power struggle and punishment. There is nothing the spouse can do, to be heard or to be taken seriously. As Lundy Bancroft says, their desructive behaviour/abuse of you, is their ticket to running away from themselves.

I thought I would go to the trouble of explaining.

Abuse is about power and control - The blondebird's H will stop at nothing to have absolute power and control over her. He likes her in the cage of his own making.

larrygrylls Mon 19-Nov-12 11:47:08


Although this thread is about the OP, and not you nor me, I will try to take your "constructive" criticism seriously. What particular boundary do I have a problem with? Am I not allowed to post an opinion. Not only an opinion, but an opinion in line with what most professional counsellors would suggest, as opposed to a vitriolic "opinion" based on personal experience? Is this meant to be a "female space", maybe?

It is funny that I posted one comment, which was pretty neutral, the OP could either think "yes, maybe he is right" or "he has absolutely no idea" depending on her PERSONAL knowledge of her OWN relationship. And then 10 posters prefer to attack me than offer the OP advice. Sadly, I do have a weakness in that I respond to personal attacks that I should just ignore. If people had stuck to giving advice, then I would have posted ONE single post on this thread.

It is not me derailing this thread. Over and out.

QueenieLovesEels Mon 19-Nov-12 11:50:28

This is psychological and emotional abuse.

I would get out of this relationship.

If you don't want to then I suggest counselling as a couple.

I think he is a deeply manipulative character who is damaging to be around.

You could go all out and try to find ways of countering the behaviour but it is more than likely he will thrive from the attention and up the anti.

Every single time he pulls this stunt disengage. Don't talk it over with him. Don't have a discussion after it.Take the children out on your own without discussing it with him when he is behaving badly. Stay away with relatives and just leave him a contact number.

We are talking zero tolerance.

Don't apologise.
This may well 'work' well if there were no children witnessing this, however, I think that they've seen enough and you should show him the door.

I think you need to examine why you have tolerated this and continue to.

PeppermintPasty Mon 19-Nov-12 11:52:04

I think Abitwobbly has it Larry.


Joint counselling is NEVER recommended when there is ongoing abuse. Such men can and do manipulate counsellors and make it all out to be the other person's fault.

lurkingaround Mon 19-Nov-12 11:54:45

I think the most troubling part is that OP's husband is calculating enough to plan on treating OP even worse so she can appreciate how nice he is (when he is 'nice') even more. Frightening. Sounds a bit sociopathic.

I would say, tease out your feelings with a good counsellor.

I hope you find a solution to this.

HandbagCrab Mon 19-Nov-12 11:59:33

Yes larry your opinion just happens to chime with the view of a trained counsellor whist everyone else is full of 'vitriolic' personal experience. hmm

I disagree with your assertion that a trained, professional counsellor would give the op your advice as it is your opinion, not fact and I think it is very unhelpful that you are presenting your opinion as considered and others as not when this is simply not the case.

QueenieLovesEels Mon 19-Nov-12 11:59:39

A good counsellor will be able to call him on his behaviour and see through his rhetoric.

AnyFucker Mon 19-Nov-12 12:00:12

Individual counselling only would be recommended here


PeppermintPasty Mon 19-Nov-12 12:05:46

Are you still with us OP?!!

SugaricePlumFairy Mon 19-Nov-12 12:07:14

Dear God, he sounds like a nightmare to live with, how on earth have you managed to stay with him when he treats you so very badly.

He is a massive twat who is intent on causing you emotional turmoil!

Do you really envisage having to put up with this for years to come?

Abitwobblynow Mon 19-Nov-12 12:08:51

Queenie I went to one session of joint counselling, the therapist backed right away from him.

I said to him afterwards 'you let me down!' Therapist said, yes, I did. But his defenses are just simply too high

ie, there is no way on this sweet earth will he EVER acknowledge or own anything, ie he is too unhealthy to participate in joint counselling.

PS the therapist kicked my ass too, I heard him and worked on the issues. Therein lies the difference....

Spero Mon 19-Nov-12 12:11:43

Agree with everyone who says this is abusive and you must give serious consideration to ending this 'relationship'. My ex was also a 'sulker' and deeply unsympathetic when I was ill, probably because I wasn't available to meet his needs and was asking him to help me.

A man who loves you would never behave in the ways you describe. Is this really how you want to spend your one precious life? Are these really the lessons you want your children to learn about adult relationships?

You may not be ready to hear this yet, but I hope one day you will.

VitoCorleone Mon 19-Nov-12 12:12:16

What an awful situation, he sounds like a nightmare to live with.

My mum is a bit like this, step out of line or say the wrong thing and she wont speak to you for days/weeks she didnt speak to one of her sisters for 3 years! And she was a nightmare to live with, me and my stepdad constantly on eggshells.

I remember even from a young age there being tension in the house, id know that somethin was wrong then id fear that i would be next in line (i wasnt, not til i was much older anyway) it was awful, and even to this day i still walk on eggshells around her. There have been times whete ive thought about cutting her completely out of my life.

And your partner sounds much worse than my mum.

My point is, do you want your kids to feel like that? Because they will.

And more to the point, why should you put up with this behaviour?

QueenieLovesEels Mon 19-Nov-12 12:17:53

I was of the view that you would attend a joint session and then the counsellor may recommend individual counselling.

However reading this has proved food for thought.....

Rachog Mon 19-Nov-12 12:26:59

I agree with the leave the bastard brigade, however if you are not ready for that I suggest just ignoring him when he behaves badly. Take the children out for the day on your own. Visit friends or family, don't discuss with him where you are going. Don't try to persuade him out if it, just don't react at all.

BartimaeusNeedsMoreSleep Mon 19-Nov-12 12:36:24

One of my ex's was like this, but it's only on reading this thread that I've really twigged it.

I remember once when I was seriously ill with tonsilitis. ExP did not stop moaning once that I was ill "in case he caught it" shock

I remember spending one weekend huddled on the sofa as far away from him as possible so I wouldn't give it to him and apologising all the time that I was ill...and only at the end of the weekend did I think WTF? Why am I apologising for being ill? (and he didn't catch it).

Am blush to say I stayed nearly another year with him until other stuff just made it horrible being with him. I felt I always had to accomodate him and his wishes and walked on egg shells if he was unhappy until I worked out what was wrong so I could fix it.

I am now with DH who is the total opposite of controlling etc. DH's main wish is for me to be happy.

TigerFeet Mon 19-Nov-12 12:42:46

My dh used to be a bit like this, although not on this scale.

I sat him down and told him, calmly, that it was affecting my mental health and I didn't deserve to be treated that way. He had a choice - shape up or leave. He chose to shape up. I put up with it for a long time, stupid really, but when dd2 was born and dd1 was old enough to start noticing I decided that it was time to do something about it.

The difference with your dh, OP, is that when you try to talk to him he just escalates his behaviour. This is the difference (imo) between a man who has fucked up and is willing to try and fix it, and a man who's an abusive twat.

I won't pretend that everything's all rosy, I still have to pull him up from time to time, but the message now is that he either talks about what's bothering him, sorts it out himself so he's not taking it out on the rest of the family or just damn well gets over himself. He finds talking about things difficult, mostly due to the fact that his parents only ever talk about the weather and what happened on Coronation Street. He's realised that if he doesn't behave like a rational functioning adult then he will lose his family and he doesn't want that so he's trying.

If he's not willing to try then he's not showing you the love and respect you deserve and you need to get rid.

clam Mon 19-Nov-12 14:23:50

Am I right in thinking he will start being nice to you again when he decides he quite fancies a shag?
And what will you say/do then? Hopes it's 'you're having a bloody laugh, aren't you?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now