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Hw to deal with a DP who sulks?

(90 Posts)
Trinpy Sun 17-Mar-13 14:50:13

A bit of background: DH is 34, we've been together 4.5 years, married for 1.5. FIL sulks massively whenever he doesn't get his own way and MIL always justifies his behaviour and encourages their dcs to do the same. DH used to be as bad as his dad but through the course of our relationship has improved and now only has one minor sulk every 2-3 months.

He is in one today and it is very minor but its there and its annoying. He's at work today but last night he turned his back on me in bed and wouldn't show any affection (which is always a sign he's sulking) and when he left for work he wouldn't hug or kiss me properly. It might not sound much but for him this is quite cold. I've asked him if there is anything wrong and he's said no, but in a way that its obvious there is something wrong. I think I know the reason why he is upset but its, imo, nothing to get this worked up about and certainly not my fault, more to do with his own insecurities.

So, where do I go from here? Normally when he sulks I ignore his behaviour and do my own thing, but I just cba anymore. His problems stem from his parents putting him down, treating his feelings as though they were worthless and encouraging him to hide his problems. He is committed to changing and has matured so much since I met him. But after putting in so much effort to support him in making these changes I'm exhausted now and just wish he would stop behaving like this.

What do you think?

ThePavlovianCat Sun 17-Mar-13 14:55:59

It sounds frustrating for you. Does he ever apologise after his sulks?

Herrenamakesagreatwelshcake Sun 17-Mar-13 14:58:16

Well I can't abide sulking (DM was a terrible sulker) so I'd ignore as you are doing. If my DP kept doing it when faced with total disinterest from me, then I'd leave him.

Sorry, probably not what you want to hear! However I do think that this sort of behaviour erodes respect in a relationship extremely fast. I couldn't put up with it. Surely the important thing is not that he's improved a lot (although that is a nice fact) but the fact that you are finding him hard to deal with. That alone is justification enough for you to leave if you so choose. You won't get any prizes for staying with him!

ApplyYourself Sun 17-Mar-13 14:59:02

Well, if you have asked him what the matter is and he refuses to discuss it with you, there is not an awful lot else you CAN do.

So.. he is doing this 4 or 5 times a year? How long will he sulk for? Will he apologise afterwards? Is he open to trying to stop this childish behaviour?

Depending on the answers to the above, you can then decide what to do.

A minor sulk for a day once every so often over something trivial that he then apologises for... I could possibly deal with this. A stone walling for days on end with no apology would be a different matter.

And yes, the only way to deal with him is to ignore him and do your own thing. But only you can decide if you an put up with him long term

Madlizzy Sun 17-Mar-13 15:00:27

I'd be saying stuff along the lines of "FFS, if you've got a problem tell me, instead of sulking like a three year old, because I can't be arsed dealing with it. Come back when you can act like a real, adult, human being." and if he wasn't prepared to sort his face out, I'd tell him to fuck off.

Earlybird Sun 17-Mar-13 15:02:57

When he is calm, he needs to think about some alternative strategies to deal with upsets. Problem is, when he has a visceral reaction to something, sulking is what he 'knows' to do.

He will need to actively choose another way of responding when he feels upset, but it won't be easy/natural as he must 'unlearn' what is ingrained. (think of it like those of us who were smacked as a form of discipline as children, but know we don't wish to use that method on our own dc - so must work to come up with other ways).

A bit of CBT might help with this.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 17-Mar-13 15:03:21

"His problems stem from his parents putting him down, treating his feelings as though they were worthless and encouraging him to hide his problems."

Point out to him that it's been 16 years since he turned 18, parental influence is long ago and that he should have found a better way by now to express whatever it is he thinks he's expressing by sulking and which doesn't take it out on the people he's meant to be closest to. As SuperNanny would say... 'unassettable' (sic)

If he's committed to changing, great. If he's better than he used to be, equally great. But I think you now need to give him an extra shove by refusing to tolerate childish behaviour any longer, no more ignoring, no more letting him get away with it and no more excuses like copying in-laws.

ivegotaniphone Sun 17-Mar-13 15:04:24

Even though he only does it every 2 or 3 months he obviously feels it is perfectly ok to do that to you. He is also teaching your children, if you have any, to do it as well.

SanityClause Sun 17-Mar-13 15:19:35

DH used to sulk. He learnt it from MIL who used it to great effect as he was growing up. She has been known to sulk for months at a time.

I have just made it clear, over time, that it is ineffectual, childish, and reduces my respect for him. This is reinforced any time I criticise the sulkiness of MIL or our DC (who are also learning it's not a useful strategy in this household).

I can't remember the last time he sulked.

yellowbrickrd Sun 17-Mar-13 15:34:12

You've been very patient by the sounds of it, far more patient than most and it's not right for him to take advantage of that by carrying on with these sulks. He's had enough time to learn to say 'i'm upset about x' instead of rubbing your nose in it for days.

I agree with those above who say it's best confronted rather than ignored as sulkers get their power from people not daring to break through the wall of sullen silence.

If you think you know what it's about ask him directly 'is it about this?' If he still says it's 'nothing' refuse to leave it at that. Keep telling him how it bad it makes you feel - it shouldn't be all about him all the time.

badinage Sun 17-Mar-13 16:11:31

Yes confront it, don't ignore it.

It's unacceptable behaviour in an adult and a terrible example to children.

But by making excuses for why he does it, you're enabling him. He makes a choice to do this. Choices have consequences and people only learn to make the right ones if the consequences of making the wrong ones are painfully felt.

Trinpy Sun 17-Mar-13 16:26:38

Interesting. Thanks for your replies.

For the first 12-18mnths of our relationship he was stonewalling. The turning point came after he didn't speak to me for over a week. He didn't give me any indication of what had upset him.Now the sulking generally lasts a 1-2 days at the most. He always apologises afterwards but we usually have to go through this whole thing of talking it through, sometimes over hours, for him to understand his feelings and how his behaviour has made me feel. I think this has helped him enormously but it is emotionally draining for me.

When I first met him he had no idea his behaviour wasn't normal and it was a total revelation to him that women like their partners to be honest and open about their feelings. I think I was the first person to ever explain to him why his behaviour was not ok. He doesn't blame his parents for the way he acts, but its glaringly obvious to see the connection. He still has a difficult relationship with them as they are very manipulative and have a way of making him feel like he's still a child they can control, iyswim?

Often the things he gets upset about seem very trivial to me, but when he explains how the situation makes him feel the words he use remind me of his parents. For example, he will often say he is worried I think he is stupid or an idiot (which his parents have called him his entire life), or say that he felt small and vulnerable. He often worries about being taken for a fool. The only other ltr he's had ended with him feeling humiliated which I think adds to his worries.

When big changes happen in life, I think he worries about losing control and can behave childishly. When I moved into his house he worried that the house would get dirty. On a few occasions I found he had been attacking my possessions, but then try to hide that he'd done anything. For example, one time I found my book on the floor on the other side of the room from where I'd left it as though it had been thrown, but he denied he'd touched it. This died down after a couple of months and in the 2 years since he's not done anything like this.

About a year ago he told me he was thinking about counselling to help him through his issues with his parents. I suggested he ask his best mate (who's job involves some counselling) to recommend someone. Unfortunately, I think think the friend convinced him he didn't need counselling and that was the end of it. It is clearly still an issue though as one phonecall with his parents can leave him feeling depressed for days. He's unable to talk about his family with anyone without discussing all these problems and getting depressed again.

Sorry for the essay. Oh and no dcs.

Trinpy Sun 17-Mar-13 16:42:10

Sorry if i don't manage to answer everyone personally.

yellow I did ask him directly last night 'is it because of this?' and he said 'no, thats ok'. But I know it was this incident that triggered it because he was normal before that.

badinage I'm trying really hard not to enable his behaviour, which is why I've posted this really. I don't know how to handle this problem on my own. Its hard because I want you all to understand how he became like this. I'm a little defensive of him because he's my husband and I don't even want strangers on the internet thinking badly of him.

yellowbrickrd Sun 17-Mar-13 16:49:28

So you know what he's sulking about but he's denying it. That's dishonest and really quite crappy isn't it? He would rather keep the sulk going and keep you bending over backwards to understand, not nice. I understand you want to defend him but he's not helping is he?

Get the counselling on the agenda again asap. Where did you get the idea that the friend thought he didn't need counselling - from something the friend said or from your dp?

Perhaps he got cold feet? A counsellor isn't going to wear themselves out for hours like you do and be available 24 hours to pander to him. Sorry if that's harsh on him but it really is true.

yellowbrickrd Sun 17-Mar-13 16:54:26

Out of interest, how does he react when you need support? Is he kind and sympathetic? Would he sit and listen for hours if you had something you needed to talk through?

ASmidgeofMidge Sun 17-Mar-13 16:57:19

See, to me this reads as an attempt at control; seeking to have you walking on eggshells/trying to work out what's wrong etc etc. I would agree that he's choosing to do this - at some stage we have to take responsibility for our own behaviour regardless of parents/background etc. Is he choosing because he's getting something from it? Definitely get the counselling back on the agenda

TheSeniorWrangler Sun 17-Mar-13 16:57:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

badinage Sun 17-Mar-13 17:00:02

I really do understand that, but your later post just demonstrates that these are cognitive choices he's making. You've been patient enough to explain and spend hours doing it, why sulking is a bad choice. You've both identified where it comes from, but still he doesn't change and chooses this behaviour over a more adult one.

Because there aren't any painful consequences.

The consequences are felt only by you - either from being given the cold shoulder or by the tedious, emotionally draining post-sulk analyses.

Just to share something personal, my mother is a master practitioner in passive-aggressive sulks. She wouldn't know direct and honest communication if it introduced itself and asked her to marry it wink.

I knew in early adulthood that I never ever wanted to be like that so I made a definite choice not to be. When I had the occasional lapse early on in my marriage, H kicked me up the arse and rightly so. It's a house rule that people say what they want clearly and directly and if they are pissed off with something or someone, they deal with it without sulking. That doesn't preclude people having times of reflection and thinking. It just means that others don't have to suffer the consequences.

DistanceCall Sun 17-Mar-13 17:10:28

He sounds like a good man who respects you, but his childhood influences him more than he realises and it sounds like it sometimes overwhelms him and he reacts in the way which he learnt from his parents.

I understand that it is emotionally draining, but I think you are possibly the only person he can talk to about this. So you should insist that he get some counselling, because it's not his fault (I don't think he does it out of malice), but you should not have to put up with this on a regular basis. And be a bit patient meanwhile.

Trinpy Sun 17-Mar-13 17:12:58

yellow when he came back from seeing the friend he said something along the lines of 'I've spoken to x, she said I shouldn't let it bother me. And she doesn't think I need to see anyone about this I just have to react differently to them.' Basically, after being dead set on seeking help in the morning, by the evening he was magically cured.

He does support me when I need it and has been great recently when I've been worried about health concerns and possible redundancy. I do feel though that he projects his insecurities onto me sometimes so he has someone to blame.

I will discuss with him tonight about getting the counselling back on the agenda.

Wrangler Interesting point. I don't know how i would tell the difference though?

TheSeniorWrangler Sun 17-Mar-13 17:17:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Trinpy Sun 17-Mar-13 17:36:06

I don't know if that is what he's doing - or if it is its not working for him - because he only seems to get himself more worked up. Although he apologises and can explain why he feels a certain way, he struggles to get there on his own, like I said, we have to have these long conversations about it before he can get his head around it all.

But I will ask him about it.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 17-Mar-13 17:46:11

"He always apologises afterwards but we usually have to go through this whole thing of talking it through, sometimes over hours, for him to understand his feelings and how his behaviour has made me feel. I think this has helped him enormously but it is emotionally draining for me."

I think he's getting a kick out of this bit actually. Two days of sulking??? ... and then he gets you to listen to him bleating & whining on about his bloody feelings on top??? No wonder you're emotionally drained. He's incredibly childish and selfish.

You are not his therapist. Don't reward sulking with 'understanding his feelings'.... quite the reverse.

yellowbrickrd Sun 17-Mar-13 17:59:07

You will need to be very firm with him about the counselling Trinpy - I would be very hmm about x saying any of that stuff he reported back to you. I have never heard of anyone who works in counselling telling a concerned person that they 'shouldn't let it bother' them!

badinage Sun 17-Mar-13 18:35:47

There's a difference between someone needing time to reflect and analyse what they are feeling - and sulking, letting everyone know about it and making others' lives a misery in the process. The latter is just self-indulgent passive aggression.

Are you intending to have children? Because lord knows how you'll cope when you don't have the time or the energy to unpack these founces. You're right to tackle this now.

badinage Sun 17-Mar-13 18:36:05


Miggsie Sun 17-Mar-13 18:45:33

Sounds like he learned some terrible behaviour patterns when young and those are very very difficult to break - he probably wishes he didn't feel so shit but can't work out what to do.

I'd recommend he reads something like the transactional analysis books "I'm ok, you're ok". He obviously has made some progress but seems stuck again - he may need some therapy or CBT or something to replace his old crappy behaviours with newer ones.

It also appears his parents made him feel bad for having feelings, this makes someone really down and depressed - and makes you feel unworthy, so he's feels bad for feeling bad...which makes him feel worse. It may also be that he has realised his low feelings are due to his parents - that gives you guilt for thinking your parents are bad - coming to terms with your parent's terrible behaviour is very difficult - it feels like disloyalty.

I'd minimise contact with the parents.

Interestingly I was reading the "how to talk so a child will listen and listen so kids will talk" and it discusses the effect of heavy blame and criticism on children - your DH sounds like he has always been picked on for not toeing the line with his dad.

BeCool Sun 17-Mar-13 18:57:05

ExP was a sulker. It's unbearable. I doubt he will really change. Sorry you have this problem OP.

Trinpy Sun 17-Mar-13 19:13:02

You all speak a lot of sense. I do feel like his therapist. He uses his best mate like she's his therapist too and I'm surprised she isn't sick of it by now.

We do hope to have children and you're right that this needs to be dealt with before then.

Trinpy Sun 17-Mar-13 19:24:45

Miggsie thanks for the book recommendation. We have recently agreed that we would cut down on the number of times we visited his parents because we were spending hundreds on trips to see them (they live abroad) and we just can't afford it. Most phonecalls end with his dad hanging up on him and he's now learning that when this happens its better to distance himself rather than calling/e-mailing his dad straight away.

ImperialBlether Sun 17-Mar-13 19:38:53

I'm sure his best mate IS sick of him, but is too polite to tell him. Like you, she's living for the times when he's not like that.

Personally I wouldn't be in if a sulker was coming home. I'd leave a note saying "Decided to go out with X for the night. You have ignored me since X o'clock yesterday and to be honest I can't face that tonight. I'll be back at X o'clock tomorrow and if you're still sulking, please stay away until you are over it."

FairPhyllis Sun 17-Mar-13 20:00:49

Tbh I think one of the best things he could do for himself would be not to have contact with his parents. If he gets sucked into reenacting this relationship dynamic every time he talks with them - which then gets taken out on you - then it is not worth it.

And as for you OP I would be seriously considering the future of the relationship. Tbh if I met someone who obviously didn't understand what a normal relationship looked like, was a terrible sulker, 'attacked' my possessions (that's the thing that really worries me here) and made me endlessly talk through his sulking, that would be a non-starter for me. So I don't really understand why you wanted a relationship with him in the first place.

The sulking thing and the making you talk about it afterwards is about control, and controlling men often get worse in pregnancy or after having children, so there is no way I would be having children with someone like this unless he had done some heavy duty therapy to address his patterns of behaviour. At the minimum I would make therapy for this a non-negotiable part of having an ongoing relationship. But I think the chances of him changing are slim. Oh - and don't become financially dependent on him.

Trinpy Sun 17-Mar-13 20:26:04

Normally when he's like this I go out for the day, see my friends or spend some time by myself. Buuut..I just cba with that anymore. I'm staying in tonight smile.

When we first started dating I didn't realise he was like this. By the time I did I was already in a relationship with him, loved him, etc. After the stonewalling incident he said he couldn't believe what a twat he'd been and he promised he would never do that to me again. And he hasn't.

Does not seem likely that I will become pregnant anytime soon. And I control all household finances because he is crap at them, so will never become finacially dependent.

Right, so he's home about 10pm. What do I say to him??

FairPhyllis Sun 17-Mar-13 22:09:23

Well I don't know that 10pm is a good time to have a serious relationship chat with anyone. So I don't have any immediate advice. Although I would refuse to go through the ritual of talking it all through when he comes out of the sulk, and also make that the time when you make it clear the pattern has to stop. It is perfectly OK for you to decide you are no longer willing to put up with this.

If he won't change, you have to ask yourself, is this something that you're going to be completely sick of in a few years' time? Is this something you want him to teach children to do? Will it eventually erode your respect for him? What are the chances he may become more controlling if you have children?

Trinpy Sun 17-Mar-13 22:24:45

Oh my god. Reading back through these replies, I'm having a horrible realisation. Now I think about it, I realise the only reason he comes out of these sulks is because I make him. Because I really can't stand it when he's like this so I'm always the one trying to make things better. He's only managed to apologise without my prompting a handful of times. So how can I say he's changed? He's never had to because I changed to fit around him.

Oh god I'm as bad as my mil, aren't I? I've been enabling him to carry on with this behaviour. I can't believe I've only just figured this out now.

He's still not home.

badinage Sun 17-Mar-13 22:28:28

Yes that's exactly what's been happening.

So time for a change in behaviour from you and to point out the consequences if he doesn't change his. And mean them.

ivegotaniphone Sun 17-Mar-13 22:30:08

Op, if someone upsets him at work does he sulk with them too? Because if he doesn't, then you have your answer.

ivegotaniphone Sun 17-Mar-13 22:32:38

My H has always been a bit of a sulker and this escalated into all sort of unpleasant behaviour almost as soon as DS was born.

Trinpy Sun 17-Mar-13 23:02:16

I don't know whether he is like this with other people. He's still not home so I'm going to text him and find out where he is.

FairPhyllis Sun 17-Mar-13 23:07:22

Better to realise it now than 10 years down the road with DC and no income having become a SAHM, OP.

Pretty much the only thing I thought the relationship had going for it as you described it was that he'd improved a bit. But it turns out he hasn't at all. If you leave him to it, OP, and don't make him come out of it, how long will the sulk go on? Will you be back to being stonewalled for a week?

This is no way to live, OP. Take a look at his father. That is what you have married. Do you want your life to be like that?

Trinpy Sun 17-Mar-13 23:21:43

Well he's come home. He was late because he was helping a woman who'd been in a car accident. No idea why he didn't text or call to let me know.

He's acting like nothing's happened hmm.

badinage Mon 18-Mar-13 01:07:34

Do you believe that's why he was late home Trinpy?

My Dh tried the sulk thing on me when we first married, it used to make me feel very uneasy and insecure.
After tiptoeing about him for what seemed like forever I had enough. I didn't want to live that way forever.
When he'd go into a sulk for who the hell knows why and I didn't care, I used to make myself watch something funny on TV, I'd make myself a drink, get a snack and have fun watching right there in front of him and ignore his sulk, and laugh out loud. It used to piss him off something terrible and he'd hide out in the bedroom or garage. Finally he stopped bothering trying to control me with the sulking as I didn't buy into it and carried on my merry little way like it wasn't happening.

yellowbrickrd Mon 18-Mar-13 06:52:26

He's sounding more dodgy with every new post.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 18-Mar-13 07:54:33

"We do hope to have children and you're right that this needs to be dealt with before then."

It won't be dealt with because it gets him several hours/days of undivided attention. He's selfish/childish rather than working through his feelings. Makes perfect sense that he's no good with money. I'm glad you've realised that you're being used and that all your cajoling and persuading and offers to listen to his problems are counter-productive

This man won't change, unfortunately. If you stop giving him the attention he craves he'll find someone else's ear to bend. He already has a willing friend

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 18-Mar-13 08:09:16

And I really wouldn't blame his parents. He may have learned at some stage that the way to get mater and pater to pay him attention is to go into a mood and wait for them... like you... to jolly him out of it. He may regress to that behaviour when he visits them but it's neither an excuse for the behaviour or a good reason to drop contact. They probably find it as irritating as you do

Trinpy Mon 18-Mar-13 12:33:59

He was still denying there was anything wrong, trying to pretend nothing had happened until eventually he admitted that yes, he was upset. I told him everything I've said on here about how I don't think anything's changed and how its always me making the effort. How its emotionally exhausting for me to keep doing this and it can't go on. He kept blocking me out, changing the subject and generally making it all about him, which I realise now he does everytime I try to tell him I'm unhappy with something. So I let him finish and didn't say anything, then made my point again. I've condensed the rest of the conversation and made it like a script because its easier than saying he said/I said over and over.

me: but what I'm talking about isn't anything to do with what you're going on about. I feel like you're not even listening to me.
him: Ok, what's your point?
me: That I can't deal with you behaving like this anymore. You can't just keep withdrawing affection from me and sulking about everything that upsets you - its not normal and its exhausting for me. I need you to tell me if something is on your mind without me having to drag it out from you. If you can't do that then I think we should seperate.
him: So now you're threatening me?
me: No its not a threat, but I can't cope with this anymore. All day you've been at work, without a care in the world and I've been left stressing about this situation. How is that fair?
him: Ok, I'll try harder to change. But you need to change some things to. Lets make a pact.
me: No, I'm not changing anything this time.
him: But you know the things that upset me. If you stop doing them then I wouldn't get upset and I wouldn't behave like this.
me: That doesn't make any sense. Your behaviour is your fault, not mine. Something is always going to upset you. You can't expect me to tiptoe around you just in case I upset you. I can't live like that. And what if we have dcs one day? Do you expect them to be like that to? Everytime we argue about anything, I'm always the one who has to change. I'ev been walking on eggshells since we've moved in.
him: you make me sound like an ogre. When was the last time I even threw anything?
me: Isn't the fact you've thrown anything enough? I didn't want this conversation to go this way. I hoped you would listen to me. But from the start you have ignored me, interrupted me, talked over me and made it clear that you don't really care what I have to say. That's why I'm saying you have to change or we will seperate. Thats not a threat thats just what has to happen.
him: Ok, I understand. I'll change. But what do you expect me to say 'I'm hurt'. I'll sound like a girl. What if you laugh at me?
me: I won't laugh at you. If you want to think things over on your own then thats ok, but you need to let me know. Its never ok for you to punish me by withdrawing all affection and not telling me anything.

Trinpy Mon 18-Mar-13 12:38:58

Sorry for yet another epic post.

He said his mum has called him up on his behaviour before and told him he's becoming like his dad.

But the PIL are manipulative and controlling and have a load of their own issues. They have tried to manipulate me as well as dh.

LesserOfTwoWeevils Mon 18-Mar-13 12:58:45

You handled that really, really well, OP. flowers

send the child back to his mother

Trinpy Mon 18-Mar-13 13:20:42

thanks lesser smile

laptop she would probably love that. apparently when dbil is sick (like a cold or a stomach bug) he actually leaves his fiance for a week and moves back in with mil while she nurses him back to health shock .

MooncupGoddess Mon 18-Mar-13 13:28:39

What's he like in other ways, OP?

'And I control all household finances because he is crap at them' along with his comment that saying he felt hurt would make him look like a girl hmm makes him sound like a bit of a manchild.

just thinking out of the box here……do you have it in you to be a dominatrix?

cant believe i just posted that blush

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 18-Mar-13 13:45:34

Life lesson.... .you can't reason with a toddler.

(BTW the correct answer to 'Are you threatening me?' is 'Damn right I'm threatening you... what are you going to do about it? Sulk some more?)

TheSilveryPussycat Mon 18-Mar-13 13:47:57

OP I was well into my 40's before I could act my own age when relating to my DF&M, instead of regressing to about 17. (Asperger's family, I think - at least me, DF and DB).

I suspect the crucial thing he revealed was that he was afraid you will laugh. So if he tells you what's wrong, and it turns out to be something that seems trivial or daft to you, please don't laugh.

Trinpy Mon 18-Mar-13 14:19:48

hahaha laptop! I don't think I've ever tried blush

Trinpy Mon 18-Mar-13 14:22:22

mooncup, he's growing up at a much slower rate in some ways but he is mature in others.

Trinpy Mon 18-Mar-13 14:37:06

also I would never laugh at him if he told me something had upset him and I really don't understand why he would think I would.

badinage Mon 18-Mar-13 14:55:12

"I'll sound like a girl"

How revealing.

In his world, that's one of the most insulting things anyone could call him.

In your world (I hope) Trinpy, it's not a bad thing to be female.

You did so well. But I'm as pessimistic as Cog. His issues seem to run deep and that comment alone shows that he thinks women are weak and yet he seems to expect the ones in his life to pander to him; you, his friend, his mother.

Aren't you fed up of having to mother this bloke? I can't imagine this is doing anything for his sexual appeal.

Men who want mothering make for shit fathers too.

FairPhyllis Mon 18-Mar-13 15:30:05

See how he immediately tried to turn things around and blame you, OP?

He's not really on your side, is he? Wouldn't it be better to have a marriage where you are a team?

BTW, you know that 'throwing stuff around' is a warning sign of having an abusive partner, right? It's meant to threaten and intimidate you. That's why I was worried when you said he attacked your possessions.

Trinpy Mon 18-Mar-13 16:07:49

I think he thinks that if he does things he/others consider feminine then he will be ridiculed for it.

Yes I get tired of being the parent sometimes. However, when he has to - like when I'm sick or something has upset me (except if its him thats upset me) he can step up to the mark and support me.

And yes, I know the throwing stuff is a warning sign. I have some experience of abusive relationships (not me, but my best friend has been abused by partners almost non-stop since she was 16). When I saw the warning signs I called a domestic abuse helpline (can't remember which one now) and they said he sounded emotionally abusive and there was a possibility of physical abuse. Basically to get out because it was only going to get worse. But I didn't want to leave him for many reasons and after a couple of months the bad behaviuor stopped and didn't come back so I thought maybe I'd overreacted or given the wrong impression of what had been going on (I know how that sounds, don't shout at me).

i know I'm drip-feeding here, but its taken a lot for me to admit that this happened.

Earlybird Mon 18-Mar-13 16:10:45

It's good that you stood firm and let him know how serious things are. Next step: talk to him about counseling/therapy, so he has a clear path to get the help he will need to learn how to change.

TheSilveryPussycat Mon 18-Mar-13 16:13:45

OP I took it for granted that you would never laugh (although sometimes if it's trivial-seeming one could be taken by surprise). All I meant was that if you can get him to tell you what he's pissed off about early in the process, he might discover and realise that his fear of you laughing is unfounded.

badinage Mon 18-Mar-13 16:16:51

Don't worry about drip-feeding. Writing this all down seems to have been enormously helpful to you and hopefully you feel safe here to tell it how it is.

It doesn't surprise me that he can step up to the plate when you need looking after; he probably thinks that's a 'manly' task.

What bothers me more are his extremely old-fashioned views about women and their function in life.

What do you make of his late return last night?

MrsDeVere Mon 18-Mar-13 16:18:12

My OH was like this when I met him.
I fell into the trap of being manipulative to bring him round.
This resulted in several years of game playing. I thought I was being clever, I wasn't.
I was however replicating my parents relationship.

I also made the mistake of trying to placate him and find out what was wrong.
Conversations would go like this

Whats wrong
Are you sure
Is it me
Are you sure
But it must be something
Just tell me what I have done!
<pause while he thinks of something to blame me for>
YES it IS your fault

Fecking exhausting and terrible for self esteem.

Ignoring his sulking is good but it won't stop it if he is stuck in this behaviour.
I am not sure if I can give good advice but I found being totally straight forward and clear helped my OH to understand that I was not going to put up with it.

Things like
Ok, I cannot stop you behaving like this but I will tell you what I will do if you carry on doing this.

Not an ultimatum or a threat. Just being clear about what you will put up with.

You are not his mum. Its not up to you to fix him.
He is a grown up and he needs to sort out his own behaviour.

OH never sulks anymore. We have been together 23 years.

FairPhyllis Mon 18-Mar-13 16:28:48

Don't be ashamed OP. He is the one who doesn't understand how to have a relationship. You've tried to rationalise his sulks and tantrums because you're a normal, loving person and his behaviour is totally alien to you. But there's a point - which you may have reached - where continuing to rationalise them is actively harmful to you.

This isn't worth the risk. This isn't worth taking the risk of having children and him becoming physically violent again. What would he be like when all your attention is taken up with a child and you can't pander to him anymore?

I honestly wouldn't even bother waiting to see if he can address the sulking, because I think his behaviour is so deeply ingrained that it will only reemerge again at some point.

Trinpy Mon 18-Mar-13 17:02:55

Wrt him coming home late last night, I think he may have taken his time on purpose a bit. But I do believe his story about stopping to help the woman. I did ask him why he didn't call or text to say he was coming home late. His answer was 'well you didn't call me either!' Er, I wasn't the one who was late home hmm.

Telling him he needs to have some therapy is next on my list. I felt that that big conversation we had was enough for one day.

MrsDeVere - yes! That is exactly what its like! You're right, it is exhausting.

badinage Mon 18-Mar-13 17:07:23

That retort about you not calling him are the words of a child who's been caught out by mum.

Xales Mon 18-Mar-13 19:07:05

One of the best things I read on here quite recently was a woman who packed up and left the house while her H was sulking with her.

Shocked the shit out of him when he came home and his victim wasn't there to try and softly softly him out of his deliberate behavior.

You mentioned you feel you walk on eggshells. That is not good sad

Trinpy Tue 19-Mar-13 12:38:57

It happened again.

He said he would leave right now. I said he could stay.

I can't believe I'm such a pushover. I feel like a fucking failure sad.

badinage Tue 19-Mar-13 13:08:44

What's happened again. Another sulk you mean?

I'm starting to wonder whether something else is going on with him Trinpy. Are things a bit different this time to his usual sulks?

sassy34264 Tue 19-Mar-13 13:17:36

My dp did this. For years, we would have the 'what's wrong?' 'nothing' 'yes there is' dance.

I explained that it wastes days, when he eventually got around to telling me what was wrong. Didn't work.

Eventually i just said

me- 'what's wrong?'
him- nothing
Me- ok, nothing is wrong. therefore don't bother to tell me what is actually wrong in a few days time, because i have asked and you have said nothing, therefore you have invalidated your right to be in a mood with me and also i now no longer care what the reason is, so don't bother telling me.

that worked a treat!

Trinpy Tue 19-Mar-13 14:04:06

badinage - yes another sulk. He magically snapped out of it though when I reminded him that we'd agreed we would seperate if he did it again.

Basically, he gets upset with me for 2 reasons.

1) He thinks he does all the housework and I do nothing and we live in filth and I don't give a crap.

2) That we don't have sex enough/I don't initiate sex much anymore/when we do have sex he thinks I don't enjoy it/variations on this.

badinage Tue 19-Mar-13 14:07:15

So did the same pattern repeat? You trying to get to the bottom of what was wrong this time and then a long conversation about your faults and his upset?

Or does it feel different this time?

I'll come straight out with this. Is it possible he's having an affair and is inventing mythical failings in you as a wife to try to justify it?

Madlizzy Tue 19-Mar-13 14:13:35

Next time he says he'll leave right now, just say "ok" and let him do it. At the moment, he thinks you're not serious.

Trinpy Tue 19-Mar-13 14:29:08

Ah, I see where you're coming from now. No, he is not having an affair. No way. 100% sure. He may be a prize prick at times but he's not a cheater.

We were planning how we were going to spend the day. He asked me outright if he could have a h/job. God only knows why he thought that approach would turn me on. I said no, I'm not really in the mood atm. He pulled the duvet over his head and sulked (we were lying on the bed chatting at the time). He admitted he was sulking, I told him he was acting like a toddler and that he'd put me in an impossible situation where I had to stick by what I had said and seperate from him. We had a long discussion he offered to leave the house until I was ok with him coming back. I couldn't go through with it. He also admitted that he had been abusive and controlling towards me after we got married, which shocked me as I didn't think he had realised it.

Feeling very blush that I've told you about his schoolboy tactics to turn me on.

badinage Tue 19-Mar-13 14:37:25

You do realise that he knew you'd say no and that he didn't actually want sex don't you?

He was setting you up to fail, so that he could hold it against you.

Trinpy Tue 19-Mar-13 14:38:26

I did really want to say 'yeah I think you should leave' but I didn't because I always miss him like crazy when I don't see him for more than a couple of days. When he's not being a twat spending time with him makes me happier than I've ever been (and I led a very happy life before I met him). Also I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow for more tests and i want dh there with me. I could ask my mum or a friend if they could get time off work but its not the same. Dh is the only one who has been consistently supportive over this, gone to all the doctors appointments with me and its important to me that he's there tomorrow.

Trinpy Tue 19-Mar-13 14:40:11

yeah I knew he would say no. Thats why i said i'd failed/was a pushover in my previous post. Now he's going to think he can do whatever he wants and theres no consequences.

Trinpy Tue 19-Mar-13 14:47:46

Sorry, that should have been yeah I know he knew I would say no.

Too many n sounds.

Madlizzy Tue 19-Mar-13 15:07:20

You're not a failure, you know. You've been conditioned by him so you doubt yourself constantly. Your time will come where you feel strong enough to deal with it properly x

Trinpy Tue 19-Mar-13 15:26:58

Thanks. I feel like I'm making things worse because we're arguing more than ever. But I suppose thats only because normally I would smooth things over and say sorry, etc.

He admitted that he didn't even want sex earlier and he's done this before: asked me for sex when its obviously not the right time, like when I'm running late for work, or tired/stressed, or we've just arranged to do something else - but he doesn't want to do it either, he just wants to put me in the position where I have to say no. Then he complains that I'm always making excuses.

I would love us to have therapy as a couple because i have no idea how to handle this stuff and I feel like I'm out of my depth, but I'm worried that the therapist would take his side or suggest we 'compromise'. I know couples therapy isn't normally recommended in situations like ours. But I can't see clearly what I'm doing.

Madlizzy Tue 19-Mar-13 19:11:12

There are posters on this site who will be able to give far better advice than I can. I'd just say keep standing up for yourself and it may make a difference in his behaviour.

TheSilveryPussycat Tue 19-Mar-13 21:15:49

How about taking a leaf out of sassy's book and next time he tries it say "You know I'm running late for work and haven't time. So you know I have to say thanks but no thanks*."

Then continue leaving for work (or whatever it is).

*recommended if you want to keep options open, other phrases are available wink

Vicky2011 Tue 19-Mar-13 21:27:58

Trinpy please, whatever you do, do not have children with this whineyarsed loser; he will make their lives hell. Just like he's doing your's sad

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Tue 19-Mar-13 21:38:36

So he was consciously abusive towards you, admitted it and then keeps doing it?

Whatever his good points surely you deserve better...

badinage Wed 20-Mar-13 17:25:12

I don't think you should go near couples therapy.

I think you need to listen to what he's telling you and make a judgement about that.

He's admitted to being abusive and controlling towards you. He's admitted to wanting you to take the blame for refusing sex that he didn't actually want.

What are your thoughts today Trinpy?

FairPhyllis Wed 20-Mar-13 19:43:49

Oh FGS don't do couples therapy. It might be worth doing therapy on your own though to work out why you are staying in a relationship with someone who admits that he is abusive and controlling.

sassy34264 Wed 20-Mar-13 20:53:43

Might be worth having a look at this link and seeing how many of the traits he has.

After reading your last post, i would be running for the hills if i was you.

personality disorder

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