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Is it him or me?

(45 Posts)
TeeManyMartoonis Mon 20-May-13 18:34:24

First post... please be gentle and bear with me while I try and explain

My husband and I have been married for nearly 4 years. Ostensibly we are perfect for each other. I have had a few issues with certain things though.I don't feel he is ever romantic in the ways that would really make me happy. I have always said how things like flowers really make me feel happy and appreciated - I have said that being sent flowers to work is the apotheosis of romance. Despite this, I could count on the fingers of one hand I have ever got flowers in 6 years (and certainly none to work). Valentines Day - nothing. Our last anniversary - nothing ('I didn't think we would do anything after 3 years'). He later took me to a pub for a meal - I came back alone because he saw friends there. Wedding Day - nothing. Our honeymoon I booked, planned, packed for and paid for alone. He spent 2 weeks doing organised stuff (e.g. 2 games of volleyball a day, every day). He insisted on going for a swim every day at around 7am. When i said, at around day 4, that I was really unhappy, nothing changed.

The problem is I have been really clear and said that thoughtful romantic things would make the world of difference to me. He doesn't do them. So, wheareas before i thought just maybe he didn't think like that, now I just feel that he knows he could so so easily make me happy and he just doesn't. It is really making me miserable (he knows this - he watched me cry on Valentine's Day). He can be thoughtful in his own way - he bought a dress I was watching on ebay the other day.

Writing this down all seems so petty. But I just feel like I'm not worth the effort.

Sorry it it is really long.

KittyVonCatsworth Mon 20-May-13 18:49:12

It's often the understated things rather than the big gestures that make the biggest impact. I had a guy who did all the big gestures and turned out to be a total knob. Guy I went out with 2 years ago, totally emotionally stunted but suspect he was on the spectrum (not being offensive), liked routine, sex in bed only and after dinner etc etc, but totally surprised me by 'doing valentines day' and bought me a mug.

Still really good mates with him, and he admits that he just can't read emotional situations, hence why he doesn't do relationships, he finds it all so draining and feels he's a big let down. Not the case, he was the most loyal and caring (in his way) guy I know and I adore him (as a mate!)

Suppose what I'm trying to say is cherish the small things he does x

You need to have a look on the Internet for the 5 love languages, there's a test you can both do too - I'm on my phone at the mo so can't do a link.

I'd rather my DH mopped the floor and put the bins out than bought mr flowers any day - we use completely different love languages.

Anyway check it out, it's really interesting.

lookingbusy Mon 20-May-13 19:00:58

Did he buy you flowers before you got married? If he did, then you might have reason to expect him to carry on doing it. If not, then you would be very unreasonable to expect him to start.

People who are not 'romantics' feel awkward making the gestures you describe.

I suppose it wouldn't kill him to bring you home some flowers, but sending flowers to work is on a bit of a different level. I would die of embarrassment if I got flowers at work and wouldn't do it to anyone else. It's not me.

He may also feel that if he does buy you flowers he will just be doing as he's told rather than expressing his feelings. You, in turn, will know he only bought them because you told him to.

The honeymoon you describe sounds like bad behaviour on his part though, very thoughtless.

It is difficult and inadvisable to try to change people, and to try to change someone into a romantic is madness.

Thurlow Mon 20-May-13 19:12:29

It's a bit of both, I think. It's kind of like friends and family who don't make a fuss of birthdays, if you do - they just don't get where you are coming from. Both sides feel they are absolutely right in their opinions.

It's not unreasonable that you want these things from a relationship, but equally it's not unreasonable that he just doesn't think to do these things. He sounds like he is the kind of man who just doesn't get traditional romantic gestures; plenty of men are like that, I couldn't think of a single 'traditional' romantic gesture that my DP has made towards me. He is probably listening to you when you talk about this, but it's not really sinking in because the idea of sending you flowers at work is just not something on his radar, so he forgets it.

Can you think of less traditional 'romantic' things that he does for you, ways that he is showing you his love? Does he bring you tea in bed if you have a lay in? Does he do jobs with the house or car that you hate doing? Does he make meals that he knows you like?

Loulybelle Mon 20-May-13 19:13:20

The flowers at work thing just reminded of what a woman did to her husband.

Sent flowers to herself and called him pretending to think they were from him.

Anyway, Looking has it right, if he did before and hasnt bothered, then you can be annoyed.
If he never has, then thats the man you still choose to marry.

PenelopePortrait Mon 20-May-13 19:24:05

People have different ways of showing their love. My DH is not very romantic in the way you describe but he does loads of things for me (like drgoogle), he remembers what I like and buys it - usually food. His face when he shows me what he's got says more than words every could.

On the hand my DM's best friend, her XH used to put on a right show, flowers, anniversary meals, surprise birthday parties for her and then it turns out he's been shagging a woman up the street for bloody years - who knew?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 20-May-13 19:30:37

Well, one thing partners often say is, they'd rather do something that's spontaneous, they prefer not to be following another person's idea of what constitutes romance. So no matter how often you mention or drop hints, they will start to switch off.

I wonder where you got the notion of receiving flowers was a lovely thing to happen? Parents? Previous boyfriends? Media? Don't get me wrong, I love flowers, too. It puts a smile on my face when DH brings me some. But it's not your husband's thing.

Maybe your DH sees them as frivolous. Maybe he feels all gifts should be restricted to just Christmas day and birthdays. Maybe he thinks romance is to woo someone but once you're married, there's no point. Maybe he thinks you could get the ball rolling and surprise him with treats. Or possibly he is used to you doing the running? Is he selfish?

I bought and wrapped a gift for DH which I gave him on our wedding night. It never occurred to him to get me something, hey ho! But when our DCs were born, when we upped sticks and relocated, when our parents got ill and died, we were there for each other.

TeeManyMartoonis Mon 20-May-13 19:40:49

Thanks guys. Really helpful.
I of course know that flowers etc don't make a perfect husband. He does do things, every now and again.
He did it a bit before marriage. The thing is he looks like someone who would do these things. I think, naively I know, I thought he might learn to do these things (we married quite young). Maybe I need to work out what he feels comfortable doing and let the other stuff go.

MadBusLady Mon 20-May-13 19:46:09

From what you've written, it sounds like (a) he prefers the spontaneous stuff like buying the ebay dress to the set-piece gestures like sending flowers to work (have to agree with lookingbusy, it's not my idea of romantic at all!) and (b) you have totally different expectations of holidays. So far, so normal.

The only concerning thing would be if he was actually unpleasant about it. What does he do/say when you say you are unhappy with this?

MadBusLady Mon 20-May-13 19:49:47

x-posts. That sounds like a good idea. smile Maybe he'd be happy with eg bringing flowers home and scheduling romantic dinners on holidays, anything more "public" not so much?

ImperialBlether Mon 20-May-13 20:02:35

Do you get the feeling he'd do that for another woman if he was mad on her?

Who have you seen getting flowers at work? I've never known it happen at my workplace. I think most of us would see it as a sign of guilt rather than anything romantic!

Do you like him? Are you comfortable with him? Do you think he's the best man you could possibly be living with, apart from the lack of flowers?

pictish Mon 20-May-13 20:31:18

I think you're looking for something that doesn't really exist OP - like you've been reading Marie Clare too long.

No one gets flowers at work. Not really. It happens in films, tv programmes, and to those whose partners feel guilt, or want to show ownership.

pictish Mon 20-May-13 20:32:57

The thing is he looks like someone who would do these things.

How so?? I don't know what someone who does those things looks like!

ImperialBlether Mon 20-May-13 20:49:36

Like this of course!

pictish Mon 20-May-13 20:53:51

But of course! Silly me!

pmsl @ imperial

HollyBerryBush Mon 20-May-13 21:30:20

I despair, I really do.

MadBusLady Mon 20-May-13 21:34:36

WHY do I click on links?

TeeManyMartoonis Mon 20-May-13 22:15:54

Imperial - no, thankfully he doesn't look like that.
yes - I like him very much. I find somethings quite difficult - he is is very no-nonsense so sometimes I feel like I struggle. But other than that, yes.

Holly - sorry, am I being despaired at? Not quite sure why?

Thanks for the helpful suggestions. I have been really upset so trying to be light-hearted is not easy

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Mon 20-May-13 22:20:44

I think you have a romantic notion in your head that sadly he just doesn't. So you need to find out what he thinks is romantic and get him to do that instead to show how much he loves you.

TeeManyMartoonis Mon 20-May-13 22:24:06

Thanks Ilove - I think you are right. Maybe somewhere in the middle would be nice

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Tue 21-May-13 13:35:22

I hope you have better luck than I'm having at the moment. I have a whole other thread about that particular problem. sad

Dahlen Tue 21-May-13 13:44:50

Well I'm going to go against the grain here.

He abandoned you for hours on your honeymoon. He watched you cry, unmoved, on Valentine's Day. He left you to be with mates on your wedding anniversary.

That's not the actions of someone who simply doesn't 'do' romance - that's the actions of someone who doesn't really care, sorry. sad

Mumsyblouse Tue 21-May-13 13:55:18

It sounds like someone rather rigid and set in their ways, and perhaps not very considerate of your feelings although the dynamic where you cry and mope or leave the pub while he gets on with stuff could change- either by him or you.

I do think you need to read the 5 love languages stuff, it's spot on for differences in romantic communication, but I would also be worried by his lack of concern for all this. However, my own husband is quite fixed on his holidays and I do have to tell him it is my holiday too to get him to change- there's something about holidays that brings out his less flexible side, whereas day to day, he's quite easygoing about arrangements and responsibilities.

I am not sure what to make of this one- part of me thinks you are unrealistic and caught up in a white charger fantasy, and part of me thinks he does sound like a bit of a cold fish.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 21-May-13 13:58:45

Oh who cares about 'love languages'???? hmm OP if you want flowers and you say 'I want flowers' and you still don't get flowers you are fully entitled to be pissed off and it doesn't make you a hopeless romantic. The only language he seems incapable of understanding here is English.

Um yeah, I totally agree with Dahlen and Cogito

All this talk about 'men don't understand romance' or 'maybe he thinks it's romantic to take the bins out' -- I mean, if you are happy with that, then that's totally fine and no problem.

But you are not happy with that and you have told him so repeatedly and he still is not making any effort.

Can you imagine, if his boss told him, 'Look, overall you're doing okay, but there are a few areas where we're not happy with your work' -- do you imagine that he would just forget about it and say, who cares, overall I'm doing fine? Or would he put a lot of extra effort into the areas his boss was unhappy with, even if he didn't totally agree they were important?

Men don't fail to do things because they are men or because they are stupid or alien creatures or whatever. They don't do things because they can't be bothered, for one reason or another.

If he really has some serious objection to the things you are asking, then he should explain himself, not just keep disappointing you.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 21-May-13 14:44:06

He did it a bit before marriage. The thing is he looks like someone who would do these things. I think, naively I know, I thought he might learn to do these things (we married quite young).

I must be missing something.

If OP had written about their honeymoon alone I would have said goodness, what a selfish arse, nearly 4 years' on and she says she is upset about his lack of romantic gestures, specifically flowers, floral tributes delivered to the workplace, etc.

TeeManyMartoonis I apologise if I missed a bigger darker issue here. Please don't let yourself feel set aside or taken for granted. If your H thinks right, ring on finger, job done, and starts taking you for granted, of course you must make it plain you are unhappy.

TeeManyMartoonis Tue 21-May-13 19:00:09

Cogito thanks. sometimes that is exactly how I feel. He is very self-sufficient so rarely/never asks anything of me. But I know if he did I would do anything I could to do it. It seems this is not a mutual feeling

Dahlen your post made me cry because that's what I am worried about

dreaming a great and very apt analogy and yes, of course he would do those things

Thanks donkeys. I think you may have missed the bigger issue because I don't know whether it is there or not. I mentioned the honeymoon because I feel it fits into some sort of meta-narrative here where he just doesn't react.

These reactions are making me feel less like a spoiled brat but more worried about things.

sad

I can see why you are worried.

What is the rest of your relationship like?

ie, is he a good husband with just this one blind spot? or do you feel there are other issues?

I was struck, in your OP, that you said 'ostensibly' you are good for each other.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 22-May-13 06:33:16

"But I know if he did I would do anything I could to do it"

That's how most loving couples are. They take the trouble to get to know each other and like making each other happy. My current squeeze is motorbike mad and, whilst the things do nothing whatsoever for me, I know a motorbike-themed gift is always a winner. I'm one of those strange people that loves DIY so when he surprised me with a new adjustable spanner (oo-err missus! sounds a bit rude!!) I was thrilled but my girlier girlfriends were all very confused. (He does flowers as well but the spanner was inspired)

TeeManyMartoonis Wed 22-May-13 07:36:21

Thanks all.

Relationship generally -
Good stuff. We have fun together. He is very supportive of my career and me pursuing my own interests. We do things for each other like picking each other up late from going out. He does his share around the house. Sex is good. We want the same things in the future. We enjoy doing lots of things together and I think we both look forward to that.

Not so good. I know he doesnt 'need' me in the way I need him. Last year we had a very tough time and I had an emotional affair. I know how wrong this was and I know there is no excuse. I also know it was a symptom of things being rough between us, not really the cause. I felt shit about it and am in no way excursing it.

We talked last night and agreed to have some councilling. We love each other but we need to have a third party to help us. He says he is fine about the ea. I worry that his expectations of people in a relationship are just lower than mine

MaryRobinson Wed 22-May-13 08:02:18

There are a few things that say to me High Maintenance - it's a form of attention seeking.

Whilst the honeymoon would annoy me, my reading of the anniversary was that you were still cross and when his friends turned up: well maybe they were better company than you? Most of the other stuff strikes me as you having all these expectations that you foist on him.

Emotionally you don't come across as very self sufficient? Why did you get married so young, was it perhaps an expectation you had of him. The EA would strike me as another manifestation of the same problem.

The phrase "Apotheosis of Romance" really struck me, it's rather melodramatic isn't it- I'm not sure I'd want to be living in the apotheosis of anything. But it is premised on your happiness somehow being Given to you, and that the god damn bunch of flowers would make the difference. It won't because happiness fundamentally is intrinsic - the capacity for joy is a skill or ability or characteristic inside ourselves, if we can't be happy with ourselves, by ourselves, then no bunch of flowers, dreamy honeymoon or anything else will change that.

Springdiva Wed 22-May-13 08:33:12

Well, I'm not with you on the flowers. My DH orders me huge bunches of ridiculously priced imo flowers - what does that prove, that he can dial a phone number, give them credit card details and my address, and tell them to put 'missing you' or similar on the card, sometimes with my name spelled correctly. Goodness, it must take him all of 4, no maybe 5 minutes. And my DH expects me to kiss his x for it.

That doesn't show that he loves me, imv. But giving his time to cook me a nice meal, almost never happens, in fact never happens, or even bring me a cup of tea without being asked. That would mean much more to me.

But the other issues, too busy doing his own stuff, not spending time with you. Not so good. But tbh I don't get women who desperately want their DH to spend lots of time with them, as most couples have very different interests. Counselling will help you sort out your feelings I'm sure.

I really dislike the 'high maintenance' label, especially when it's applied to women with high expectations of a relationship.

There's nothing wrong with having high expectations. The things you are talking about OP -- spending a honeymoon together, sending flowers once in a while, remembering anniversaries -- are not some otherworldly, impossible to fulfil dreams. Maybe not everyone cares about them, and that's fine too -- but you are not totally unreasonable for wanting these things.

So you shouldn't feel bad for wanting them. The question is whether your husband can give them to you, so I think it's great you're going to go for counseling.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Wed 22-May-13 09:43:56

It sounds like the two of you are not 'perfect' for each other at all, in fact, it sounds like a bog standard case of basic incompatibility.

You like romantic gestures. He's not romantic. Neither of you are right or wrong, you're just not on each other's wave-lengths.

My DH is good at that sort of thing, flowers, romance, etc, but he has categorically never sent flowers to my work. hmm I would cringe with embarrassment if he did. I suspect most women over the age of 19 would, though am happy to be corrected on that point.

You can't turn a non-romantic into Don Juan, you just can't. It's way too forced and contrived if the big gestures don't come from the person themselves, and as such, totally lose any meaning or significance.

If this is that big a deal to you that you're in tears on Valentines Day, then you really need to examine whether this is the bloke for you.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 22-May-13 09:52:39

I have read on Relationships that an ea is not about the other person, more about how they make you feel.

I agree with you it was a symptom of things going wrong between you and your husband.

I wonder if things changed at all since that ea. It sounds like you are still yearning for something else.

Doesn't sound great to me, tbh. The issue isn't that he doesn't do the grand romantic gestures, but that he doesn't seem to care how upset you are about it. Especially if you've explained to him how important these things are to you. I mean, how hard is it to buy a bunch of flowers ffs?

Read what's been suggested up-thread and may I also suggest either a serious talk together or even some couples counselling? I think you are both at opposite ends of a spectrum and it would be helpful if you could move towards the centre a bit more. Acknowledge the romantic things he does do, and see if you can compromise on what you both feel comfortable with.

Oh, and here you go - everyone should get some sometime! flowers

Erm, if he's had four years of you whining and stamping and crying for flowers, maybe he's set in the pattern of treating you like a spoilt child. It doesn't sound like he's deliberately unkind to you, more that you are persistently nagging him to be someone he's not. My DS would like me to buy him sweets every day. Sometimes he cries when he doesn't get them. I don't buy him sweets every day because he doesn't need sweets every day; it doesn't mean that I don't care about his feelings.

Springdiva Wed 22-May-13 10:23:51

It sounds like it would be an easy fix, for him to buy you flowers, I mean you can buy the things on any garage forecourt, but maybe he will say that he feels you are never happy, or something, that nothing he does pleases you.

As suggested above put some time aside for a serious talk taking turns to have your say. And don't leave the seats until you both feel that you have said your piece.

Thurlow Wed 22-May-13 10:34:53

I agree that the term "high-maintenance" is not great, but OP I do think there is an element of that here. I'm not trying to defend your DH and people above have lots of advice about how you can try to communicate better and meet in the middle of both your expectations. But if you turn this scenario on its head...

"No matter what I do for him, it isn't enough. He always wants more. He wants me to buy him presents. I have to make a huge fuss of his birthday and our anniversaries and if it isn't exactly what he expected, he sulks..."

TeeManyMartoonis Wed 22-May-13 11:21:44

cods that is exactly how I feel, hopefully we can reach a compromise.

I think we fit very well, apart from this one thing. I dont want it to ruin us and I am trying not to blame anyone. I would hate him to live life as you describe thurlow. I want us both to be happy and if that cant be together then I think we need to face up to that together.

May I just say that I have never sulked or had a tantrum as a couple of you have suggested. I have always been grateful for presents or gestures sgb, I do feel that was a little unkind. Yes I am upset, but what upsets me isnt the bloody flowers it is the fact he cant seem to act on things. Thats all.

TeeManyMartoonis Wed 22-May-13 11:23:41

dreaming thankyou for your encouragement.

You're welcome -- I hope the counselling helps. Try to be really honest about what you want, and think about why it's important to you.

Your DH sounds kind of detached -- really, he doesn't care about the EA?

TeeManyMartoonis Wed 22-May-13 13:56:38

He was upset but he said he understood why it happened. He said it was a bit of a wake up call and he also said that he thought it reminded him that I am only human. So fforgiving would probably be a better adjective.

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