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What to do with a killjoy DH?(64 Posts)
DH never wants to do anything. His excuse is that we don’t have enough money to do whatever it is that I want to do, be it a holiday or a day out. There have been times when we have had enough money to do these things, admittedly things are a bit tight at the moment, but other people are in the same position and they still manage to have fun.
I am desperate for a family holiday, but he says no. He says we should be saving money for our future. Well, we haven’t had any fun in years, and we still haven’t managed to save any money! It’s not just money, on the occasions he agrees that we need a holiday, he says we should go and visit his parents who live abroad. They can’t stand me. I don’t want to visit them. Particularly as they have visited us 3 times in the last year.
We never have fun days out, we never go out as a couple, he never buys me anything. Yet we still seem to find the money for takeaways or alcohol. Or going to the local pizza place that he likes. That’s all we seem to do. I have tried explaining to him that if we gave up these things, we would have more money for other things. But he doesn’t listen.
We have 2 kids and their lives just seem a bit miserable. DH only has one day off a week and he seems to spend the whole day in a mood. Again, we never do anything fun on his day off. We’ll go to McDonald’s for breakfast, then maybe the local DIY shop, wander around the shopping centre, get a coffee, go home, get a takeaway… the same thing every weekend. I hate junk food!!!
I thought it was me, maybe I am just a miserable demanding cow, but this morning our cleaner who never usually speaks said: “Sorry to say this, but Sir is a killjoy. He is killing the happiness of everyone around him.” I don’t know what prompted it, as I said, she never usually speaks. But she’s right.
What can I do? I have 2 grown-up kids from a previous relationship who don’t live with us. And I am not being flippant when I say that me and my older kids had a better, more fun life on benefits than my current kids do with 2 parents working!
Is anyone else in this postion? How do you handle it? Thanks.
How old are your youngest two? I would just go without him. If you want to take your children on holiday, then just do it. He is your husband, not your keeper.
Would your older children like to spend time with their younger siblings? Get them to come along.
Get rid of the cleaner! If money is too tight to take your kids out, clean your own house.
Yeah, I have thought about us just going on our own... would it be really bad if I just saved up and booked something?
As for the cleaner, I work long hours. I also do a part-time job in the evenings and weekends and I tutor DS for an hour a day and the baby wakes me up 4 or 5 times a night. I can't do everything, I'm not Superwoman!
Ive gone onholiday alone , with dc's, without my dh before as he was busy with work.
You'd be surprised how many people do it!
Don't wait around for his permission to have a life. Stop asking for his approval and he'll soon change his attitude when he sees how much fun you're having
My XH could suck the joy from anything.
I lost count of the years when he made me worry incessantly about cash-flow and live as though I had nothing, only to announce at the end of the year that "we have had a very good year".
It was all part of abusive control. Kept me effectively penniless. All fed into a programme of emotional abuse. And he was banking thousands into accounts I knew nothing about!!
I never say LTB. But this time my advice really is .....Leave!!!! Its not worth waiting another 10 years, because they don't change and the prospect for later life is not worth contemplating.
I do not think you can actually enforce any change because at heart he does not think he has done anything wrong. These men do not change and have no interest in doing so. He gets what he wants out of this but what about you?. What do you get out of this relationship?.
I do not think at all you've been a miserable demanding cow but he has certainly. Such emotionally abusive types are also adept at making their victims think its all their fault as well. Where is all the money and how much access do you have to any of it?.
I would also think this is at heart about power and control; this man wants to live like this and is happy to do so. He is keeping you under his thumb.
Am glad the cleaner spoke up, you should take heed of that comment as well.
Feel sorry for your children, if you think their lives are a bit miserable chances are this is indeed the case. What do you think they are learning about relationships here?.
I would carefully consider your own future with this man because you have a choice re him and your children do not. I do not think there is any happy future for you at all if you chose to stay with such a person.
That sounds like my worst nightmare. His day off and you traipse round places he wants to go to starting at macdonalds. Bleurgh.
Book and take the kids on a weeks hol somewhere nice.
Then when you get back, scour the accounts to work out where the money is going, and work out what you are going to do about the rest of your life.
What? I'm not sure where you live, what I know for sure that round here there are plenty for free family days at different places. If he's saying you have no money, then try to do free/cheap things.
But.... I think from your OP it's clear that there is £ to do things he wants, just not things which are family things. That is sad, and I agree with the killjoy label.
Oh gosh are you me? I could have written your post word for word.
I struggled on for years and years trying to keep our 'happy family' together. But we weren't happy.
We separated earlier this year and since then me & the kids have had a ball . We go out all the time, just little stuff like nice walks, impromptu stuff, visiting people etc. I feel a little bit like I've deprived them of some 'fun' in their lives because we were always treading on eggshells when exh was here.
Not sure if you're at the stage of wanting to leave him yet, but if not sit him down, tell him how you feel, and then take the kids yourself. You can't hang back on this stuff, they aren't children for that long.
Unfortunately you run the risk of him saying (as mine did) 'I feel like I'm not part of the family any more' Well mine wasn't in the end, so now he's gone.
I think for now you should just go have fun without him. There's always free stuff to do with young kids.
I suspect in the long run you'll realise there's no point being with someone who doesn't bring any happiness to anyone. Life's too short.
Keep the cleaner, lose the Dementor.... Seriously, he doesn't even appear to like you very much, let alone love you. That's got to be a reasonable conclusion from behaviour where someone wouldn't want to go on holiday or spend leisure time with their DW. He makes excuses, he's unpleasant... I'd ask him straight if he sees a future in the relationship and point out that you increasingly don't.
Whhat Bohemian said...life is way too short to hand control of it over to a funsucker.
To be fair a McDonalds breakfast plus a takeaway is plenty of money for a day out. In my area there is a huge country park with free parking, soft play is from £3.50 per child and if I use vouchers I can do places like Birdland for £10-15.
It's about the mentality not the money.
To answer the question that's been asked a few times... we don't actually have any money. We fritter it all away on takeaways
Go have fun. But don't try to drag your husband along. Go do things on your own.
Yes, I think I just need to have fun without him. I think I am going to save as much as I can and try to get some more part-time work and save from that. I'll plan for us all to go away in the Easter Hols. I might book him a refundable ticket then - when the time comes - say "me and the kids are going on holiday, here's your ticket, come with us or stay home. Up to you."
Also, there is a salsa class that I want to go to. He likes dancing and I suggested we do this once a week then go to the small, quiet bar nearby afterwards for a quick drink. Just the two of us. He said "sounds OK." He is never really enthusiastic about anything ever, but I hoped he would be about this.
Looks like I might be going to the salsa class alone...
Takeaways cost a FORTUNE, we used to have loads of them and eat out a lot more before we had DS. Now we're desperately trying to save for a house and are really cutting back on these things. Yesterday we went to a national trust place (free entry for the three of us) had a cup of tea and a piece of cake in the cafe (cost £9 but we could have taken a packed lunch) and had a ball. Things don't have to cost a lot of money, it's the attitude that counts. DH has a slight tendency to be a bit 'oh we can't afford to do ANYTHING' because we don't have as much disposable income as we did pre-DS. However he is open to suggestions! Also there is nothing wrong with going away by yourselves. I've been away with DS without DH to visit people lots of times. A few days in a caravan somewhere is cheap and cheerful fun.
Men like this never change. Miserable bastards.
They suck the joy out of life and leave you thinking it is your fault.
But when you leave them and start actually enjoying life, seeing your children happy and seeing the mans same old miserable face, you will see that it wasn't ever you and that they are indeed just a miserable fucker.
Life is just too short.
Yes, go alone if he's not that interested.
I think what yo need right now is to have some fun, mostly with DC but some as an adult too.
That might bring you a new perspective on what mood you want within your home, and the impetus to make sure it happens.
You have a takeaway instead of cooking, right? I infer that he is the one who decides about the evening meal because you work long daytime hours and have an evening job too. So he just gets in a takeaway ... Is there any way (I know it's more work) you can change that, even sometimes, by sticking something in the slow cooker on a timer, or casserole in the oven on a timer, or even supermarket ready meals - all much cheaper than takeaway. I can see how takeaway every day would use up a hefty chunk of take home pay for a family.
Keep a spreadsheet for a couple of months showing what's coming in an going out. Split it into columns of 'necessities' - mortgage/rent, food, petrol, utilities. Then 'needs' - clothes, kids commitments, medical etc. the rest could be called 'squandered'- takeaways, alcohol, frivolities, sweeties. Just see how your income is divided.
If you can show him in black and white that instead of wasting stuff on instant gratification, saving up for a future treat would provide so much more satisfaction FOR the whole family.
Yob can only spend each £ once, you know. Budgeting is the key.
No, I'm a great cook, it's just sometimes we feel like a treat. But I would rather just have something from the cupboard and save the money.
Buy a treat-type cookbook? Or Spicery stuff?
But that only solves one issue.
Definitely go and fun without him!
I used to be in a similar situation to you and just went on holidays without him (sister and friend plus kids)
I've often taken the kids out without him. Lifes too short and I really believe that you have to try to give your children lots of happy times and lovely memories.
I had a long chat with dh and asked him what experiences he actually remembers from his twenties and early part of thirties? What fun and exciting things did he do in his life? He realised that he couldn't really answer with much.
I told him that our thirties were not gonna be the same and that I didn't want our children to have a dull childhood so I got his agreement and started booking days out and holidays.
I just told him in advance what we were going to do that weekend.
We did afternoons in the park, days out, weekend to Edinburgh and a holiday to Turkey after we had that chat.
Although he was reluctant to go on any of these trips, he did and admitted that he had a good time.
He's now a lot more willing thankfully though still not at a stage where he's as eager to go somewhere as me! I still take the kids out without him as he still doesn't want to go out as much as I do.
He's not an arse though. He's just content to stay home.
Is this about takeaway/cooking tips or a man who is so miserable and makes everyone around him miserable, so much so that even the up till now silent cleaner felt the need to point it out?
I'd decide that the next time he has a day off you are going somewhere. Doesn't matter where, except it's where you and the kids want to go...To the park for example.
Invite him to come with you, if he doesn't go anyway. Buy icreams with your takeaway money.
When he sees you having fun he'll join in, if he doesn't you and the kids will still have fun.
Maybe he's depressed and needs some motivation
Sounds like my x.
I never used to let it stop me though...that's why towards the end we were living separate lives. I'd pack a picnic and spend all day on a Sunday at the park with them. We'd return home with leaves and twigs and stones as a 'treasure collection', stories of hopping across streams, feeding the ducks, climbing up on big tree stumps and he wouldn't even flicker. He's rather have been sat in watching sport.
Even if you want to stay with him, please start doing the things you want to do. Don't miss out on fun with your kids. They deserve more than McDonald's and DIY shops and so do you!!!!
Does your cleaner really call your dh Sir?! . Anyway, you depend money on mcdonalds, alcohol, takeaways, pizza and the cleaner, how much does she cost?! Just the mcdonalds and the take away will be about £30 . You could save that money towards a holiday, or get an annual pass to a local attraction.
Do you live in the UK? Reminds me of my time overseas when people did spend their free time traipsing around shopping centres! Didn't have kids then but I could see how dull it would be.
Good advice so far. If you are a good cook and like cooking and hate take aways and want to save then it makes no sense at all to...be having all those takeaways. Save the money for a much more fulfilling family day out.
People who suck joy need to be shut out. They will bring you down (understatement of the year ).
Just go out without the fun vaccuum. There are plenty of things to do with kids for low cost. Mine loved going to the beach to search for treasures ( shells seaglass driftwood). Take a kite.
Local park for a picnic. Collecting conkers , train rides.walks. Local museums ( ours had a childrens area whrte they could craft etc).
Many councils have regular events, you just need to look for them.
How old are your dcs?
You really don't need to do anything extravagant for children to have fun. Like others have mentioned, just going to parks. beaches, walks, museums, Saturday morning cheap cinema.
You can get a family railcard (with Tesco vouchers if you have any) which is great for cheap train travel. If you book in advance you can get cheap Travelodge rooms for weekends away.
WishIHadAFunkyName, you give me hope. My DH is not an arse either, I think it was his parents drumming it into him that they were broke all the time when he was growing up
even though they are loaded that his default response now is "we can't afford it."
Though to be honest, if he works 6 days a week, he is probably knackered and just wants to chill on the 7th day (even God needed a rest).
Also, just because his idea of a good time (Mcdonalds, shopping centre, diy store) isnt the same as yours, doesnt mean his ideas arent fun. They are just different. Maybe you can comprimise and do his stuff one week, do yours another? Or combine things - eg Mcdonalds and DIY store in the morning then do something you like in the afternoon?
You say that your DH is a killjoy but you're OP also come across quite negative. Hope you can work it out.
his idea of a good time (Mcdonalds, shopping centre, diy store) and doesnt mean his ideas arent fun are mutually exclusive, sorry.
Although, to be fair, it's perfectly possible to have a good time even in a shopping centre in the right company. Some people just carry their own personal little storm cloud around with them. However, DIY store with kids? No. Just no.
You don't get a day off do you?.
Attitudes to money often stem from parents and his parents sound mean, this has transferred to you DH to being mean in spirit as well.
Your "happy family" is not really that at all is it?. Its sounds bloody awful actually, there is a massive power imbalance in this relationship and its all in his favour. You have no say here at all really.
I asked you what you get from this relationship now and you did not or could not answer. That suggests an awful lot as well.
Like many others here, I had one of those. Gradually my world and the world of the DCs got smaller and smaller and I got more and more miserable, eventually I found it hard to scrape together an ounce of joy even when it was days with just me and the DCs.
Two years on after he left to go and suck the lifeblood out of someone else, we are also having a great time. We have spontaneity, we meet friends, we muddle along without plans and costings and moans.
It can be really hard to reset your compass when someone has skewed it, but set yourself a goal - do one thing with the DCs before Christmas that would make you happy. If he wants to come, then he comes but if not sod it. Anything to save you from another saturday eating mcdonalds and looking at bits of wood in a DIY place. TBH he sounds as much fun as a sheet of plywood
OP my dh has got this attitude from his upbringing. He had such a boring childhood. He was an only child for years and his parents worked fulltime and just wanted to spend weekends with their friends.
As he grew older, he preferred to stay at home rather than see his parents friends. He's not really known the joy, fun and excitement that days out/holidays bring so doesn't understand it.
Oh, that's sad . Actually, my DH also talks about his childhood being very boring. He says all they seemed to do was wander around shopping centres. But that is invariably what we end up doing with our kids...
Well there you go!
I think I've got him to a stage where he seems to appreciate going out now just by exposing him to it more. He now says yes quite happily to most excursions, not always but often.
Good luck op! Time to just go for it
Well, I spoke to him last night. I told him we needed a holiday and I was just going to go ahead and book it. He didn't even ask where it was!!! He did say though, that he thought we were going to visit his parents (they live in his home country). I said if I wanted to holiday with people who hated me, I would go and stay with my ex-husband.
I am feeling pretty miserable about everything. I wish I could LTB. He's not a B actually, but I feel I am wasting my life with him and the kids are not having the life they deserve, either. Unfortunately it would be impossible to leave, so I have to make the best of it.
Why do you state it would be impossible to leave?. And yes he may not be a B (I disagree) but he certainly is a Dominator and living with one of those is akin to a nightmare. Your children will pick up on all the vibes even if those are not verbally expressed; they see how miserable you are.
I ask that as leaving is not an insurmountable obstacle (you left an ex H); besides which I think you and the children would be a lot happier if you were apart from Mr SoulSucker. All this man is doing is dragging you and by turn the children down with him.
What do you want to teach the children about relationships, surely not this for them to potentially continue with their own families?.
What was his response to your comment re his parents?.
I was with a man like this. He hated days out and holidays. I spent every bank holiday with the kids on my own with tears in my eyes looking around at all the other happy families. On the rare occasion he came out with us he was so miserable there would be an atmosphere.
We eventually separated and he left. Then he wanted to come back but tbh I could never forgive him for the years he spent opting out of family life. I am still angry with myself for putting up with it for so long.
It's not about spending money or not cooking or not having had days out as a child. It's that he is a miserable and selfish person and you are not likely to change his basic personality. I am much happier alone.
I had a very boring childhood. My parents are very routine driven and both worked full time. Mum would spend most of the weekend cooking and cleaning and ignoring us, dad would be sitting somewhere with the paper.
I try really hard not to let us slip into the same rut because I don't want my dc to be bored all the time like I was, or to be nervous or doing anything different.
Can your dh not see that he's perpetuating his childhood? And that it doesn't make sense to do that when he was bored and unhappy?
of doing anything different sorry!
Never mind a holiday. That's a bit pie in the sky right now. Do something this Saturday while you have the momentum with you. Maybe seeing you all traipse in glowing and happy afterwards will make him consider things.
I second the budget advice given above. He might respond to seeing it in black and white where money is and where it is going.
People who are killjoys often have deep seated reasons for censoring fun and imagination and take the moral high ground in defense of their boring attitudes. But usually, deep down, they are frightened of something. Like not knowing what to do in an unfamiliar situation. I think, OP, that you need to take control of your family's discretionary spending and reallocate it to things that are more imaginative. Your DH needs to be gently challenged to try out new activities.
Please don't get another part time job to save for a holiday! If anything reduce your work hours and give up the part time job you already have and just take the kids on a free day out, picnics, parks etc! They can be fun too.
If you work even more to save for a holiday at Easter, by them the kids will be bored to oblivion and you will have driven yourself crazy.
I didn't go on holiday until I was 18, my family couldn't afford it but we had a fun packed childhood with walks, beach trips etc.
Just look after yourself and spend more quality time with them. Let him live in misery if he wants but don't work yourself into the ground for six months for the sake of a week away which might be ruined by "sir" anyway
Thanks for all your replies, they are really helping me to get some perspective on this. DH's excuse for everything is "we can't afford it", but then it always has been, even when we were relatively well-off. And given two options in any situation, he will always choose the cheaper one, even if it ends up as a false economy, which it generally does!
It is almost like he is paralysed by the notion that we 'can't afford it...'
"It is almost like he is paralysed by the notion that we 'can't afford it..."
That is because he indeed is. That all goes way way back as well, his parents were and likely are this way inclined too.
Byut I have to look at you as well, why do you stay or is leaving too hard for you to actually put into practice now?. There are really no good reasons for staying in this, your children get taught the same crap as your DH was and look at how he has turned out.
My stbxh was completely driven by money too. He was terrified of the future and not having enough for it. Now we are splitting and half of everything is coming with me, he is beginning to understand that being a miserable and abusive arse is actually the most expensive thing he has ever done!
My mother has deep seated fears of enjoying herself and any pleasures that cost money, and they are deep seated in her family. She spends lots of money maintaining her house and garden, however. People can be quite odd about what they allow themselves to spend their discretionary income on.
Don't start with a holiday. Start with an afternoon out.
Tell your dh exactly how you feel and let him know that you want to start living an enjoyable life.
Let him know how unhappy and bored you and your children are. Find somewhere to take the kids this weekend (doesn't have to cost much. Check the weather and find something local) and ask him to come along. If he doesn't, go without him.
If he's really not a b then he'll compromise and make his family happy (and himself in the long run). It may take a while but if you're planning on staying with him then I think its worth it.
As other posters have said, days out really don't have to cost much/any money.
On nice days, go to the park/woods/beach.
On rainy days, go to the library/free museum.
Take a picnic or Thermos flask to save buying food/drink when out.
And yes, I wouldn't start with a holiday. Just say "This Saturday me and the DC are going to XXX, you're welcome to join us if you want to". And go and do it.
I think making a budget really is necessary for him. He obviously isn't thinking clearly if on the one hand he is fretting about not affording things but blowing off the money for takeaways regularly.
If he's not actually a selfish arse at heart just a man with a few arsey tendancies it could get him thinking logically
So I think I mentioned that there is a salsa class and I suggested to DH that we go once a week, then go to a local bar afterwards and share a bottle of wine and some tapas. I really felt like our marriage could benefit from spending time together, because we never do.
I asked him today what his enthusiasm was for the salsa/drinks evening, out of 10. He said 3 out of 10.
He does not care at all does he?. Such men do not change readily if at all.
What do you get from this relationship now?.
Please do yourself a favour and take the children out somewhere nice tomorrow; breakfast at Mcds followed by a trip around the local B & Q type place and shopping centre sounds totally depressing.
Don't wait around for his permission to have a life. Stop asking for his approval and he'll soon change his attitude when he sees how much fun you're having .
This ^ this is not an issue of money, I grew up dirt poor ,only ever had 1 holiday away in my life, but when my parents could we got taken to beaches, hiking in the countryside etc he is just selfish and doesn't seem to want to do anything!!
How is he with the kids generally, why is he in a mood on his day off??
My dp is a bit of a killjoy too. He doesn't want to go out and do things with me and the dcs. We go out without him. Every weekend I take dd2 out somewhere (dd1 doesn't want to come out with us very often, she'd rather meet her friends which is fair enough), whether that's swimming or for a walk or to soft play or the park. None of that is particularly expensive but we have fun. Then we come home and find that dp has been playing on his computer all day but has managed to do a couple of loads of washing and cook some dinner for us.
I would like him to come with us, but I'm not particularly bothered that he doesn't (mainly because he then gets on and does some of the jobs on our joint to-do list and I make sure I've done the ones I don't mind before we go). He doens't see the point of holidays either. He never had them when he was growing up, they just did some day trips and not many of them either because money was tight. I love holidays, cheap and cheerful is all we can afford right now but I still take the kids away. A couple of years ago I took my sis and her kids away with us too, we had 2 adults and 6 kids between us, it was loads of fun
except the day it rained so much the tent flooded and everything we had with us was absolutely drenched
Op don't take that too badly - my score for a salsa class would be similar as I'm a rubbish dancer and would hate it.
Is he willing to go?
Either just book it and drag him along if you think he may enjoy it or just go out for a drink and a chat.
if you drive, borrow a tent and go camping for a few days next time we get some nice weather
I agree with just dragging him along to the salsa class as Wish says. At least make him try it out before he decides he's not that bothered.
I also agree with HowlingTrap above 'don't wait around for his permission to have a life'. You seem to be bowing unilaterally to his desire to do very little on his day off. I'm not sure why he gets the casting vote on everything - does he earn much more than you so it has become a case of 'he's the main earner, he has to be indulged'? That has to change. As HW says, make some plans and tell him you are going, he can join you if he wants to.
There are clearly some bigger issues here about how you want to live and those need addressing. I would do it by setting an example. Start planning what to do at weekends, and cheerfully tell him what the plans are. If he says he doesn't want to go, just say 'OK, see you later', and go. If he suggests ordering a takeaway, say 'Actually, I'm thinking that the best way to save for a holiday will be to put takeaway money towards it, so that's what I'm going to do. You get one if you want, though, and I'll eat something we've got in'. I have a suspicion that if he has to ring for his own takeaway and is the only one eating it, it might make him feel a bit less comfortable with this option. Rather than make his decisions for him at this stage (that's what he's been doing to you) let him see that you have decided you don't want to live this way and you are going to change.
Give this a few months and see if he is at all willing to shift out of his rut. If not you have some more serious thinking to do. I don't think anyone should leave lightly, but I also don't think anyone (all right, very few people) should say 'I can't leave'. There is (almost) always a way, if it's really for the best. I think your cleaner has done you a big favour here.
On the practical front, agree with all suggestions about parks, local museums/art galleries etc. Weekend cinema matinees are cheap; Cineworld cheapest of all (£1 only if you book online - take your own snacks and you're laughing). Premier Inn do offers on rooms often - there are currently offers on winter rooms for £29, so you could get a family room and take the kids somewhere different for the weekend as a prelude to a whole holiday. Depending on their age, this is as often as good for kids - my DS is as excited by a day/weekend at the seaside as he is by a whole week's holiday.
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