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Finding DH really hard work.

(64 Posts)
matwork Wed 09-Jul-14 09:17:57

He puts up barriers, is negative, faffs about, sulks, and I feel generally makes things really hard going.

We are both stressed - dc2 is due in 2 weeks and we've got lot of thing we need to get done.

My problem is that I'm totally sick of being the only one who seems to think things through, or initiate them in the first place. He seems to need instructions for everything, or prompting or guidance or help. It's like he lives in a bubble where only he exists and is only allowed to think of the next 24 hours. There is no visible evidence that he can prioritise or plan or think things through properly.

We've discussed this over and over and nothing changes and I'm at my wits end.

I'm beginning to just feel like he's useless and that ironically I'd have more headspace and free time if we weren't together.

He can be a bit of a neat freak so sharing day-to-day housework isn't too big a deal - but everything else seems to escape him. Sure our towels are hung up nice and neatly in the bathroom, but our old car has needed selling for 2 months. He went to the bank yesterday to pay a cheque in and didn't pay in some cash that I need paying in. He thinks our council tax is £28 per month. We need to get new carpet for all of upstairs, he thinks it can just be ordered - no thinking through cost, the type, the width of the stair runner (though he would have a pernickety view on it if I didn't consult him), the logistics of moving furniture around 4 bedrooms so it can get fitted, the fact that the lead time will be approx the same as my due date and the logistics of having a newborn/heavily pregnant wife around whilst its fitted. DD has been at nursery for 18 months, he wouldn't have a clue how much it costs nor how it gets paid every month. He's pretty hands on with her on a day to day basis but ask him about whether he thinks we should increase/decrease her time at nursery whilst I'm on mat leave or put her in preschool and I'm greeted with a shrug. He'll complain we're low on food shopping but never sits and orders it. But will nip out to the shop to sort himself out with some lunch... The list goes on.

I've tried talking, crying, shouting, asking.... I've tried leaving stuff so he has to do it but it never gets done and sometimes it's important stuff (bills etc) so I can't let it slip too much.

I have to nag him to stay on top of his own work on top of workng 4 days pw myself (pre-mat leave). It's just never ending.

My real fear is that a leopard doesnt change its spots and that this is just who he is and my choices are to put up and shut up or leave..

I know 38 weeks pg is not a great time to be thinking about this but I'm so so worn down by it. I get that he's stressed about things too but living in his bubble isn't going to help and feels fucking unfair actually that he gets to stick his head in the sand whilst I'm running around being the only responsible adult in the house.

Sorry, rant over.

Pinkfrocks Wed 09-Jul-14 09:29:15

I sympathise because ins some ways my DH is the same over some things. I often feel I am the one driving everything practical, that needs doing on the house, but to give him his due he manages 90% of our bills online. This is mainly because when we married he had a his own home and I didn't, so all the utilities etc are in his name anyway. But- he never food shops unless I've thought of what we want and give him a list etc. and he never cooks ( both have been almost deal breakers for us.)


I think you are kidding yourself that life would be easier as a single parent. Some things might be but overall it would suck, for much of the time.

He's not going to change his spots but you can change how you behave.

Nagging hasn't worked- so stop it. If it worked you'd not be posting.

Why not make a to-do list and divide the tasks up?
Initially you might have to treat him like a child and set out the dates when bills need paying etc.

Same for the shopping- could you take it in turn to shop or do an online shop?

I know all of this sounds easy and obvious but you do have a chance to turn it round .

Basically you have to split all the stuff 50-50 or 60-40 and leave him to it. you might also have to be prepared for it to go belly up if he missed payments but it's perhaps a case of him having to learn the hard way.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 09-Jul-14 09:31:27

"My real fear is that a leopard doesnt change its spots and that this is just who he is and my choices are to put up and shut up or leave.."

If you're incompatible - which is what it sounds like - those are the broad choices. He's probably not going to change personality any more than you are.

thisisnow Wed 09-Jul-14 09:33:09

You have my sympathies as my OH is exactly the same. He won't ever change though I know he won't. If I want him to do something I have to leave him a list. The other day while I was at work I asked him to hang the washing out and he actually bought it in and folded it without me asking him to - I was actually in shock (normally he would just leave it out) shock

I have no advice really tbh just hope it helps you to know you're not the only one!

matwork Wed 09-Jul-14 09:40:50

Giving him a to do list can help in terms of getting things actually done, but, it pisses me off that its me who's got to write out the sodding list in the first place.

It has not crossed his mind once to get the old car in a good state to sell it, or put it on gumtree/autotrader/fb etc.

He sulks when I talk about jobs that need doing and hints that we never do anything fun. I've told him that I'm far too busy doing everything else to also sort out the weekend entertainment and that if we weren't so imbalanced we might have a bit more time for some fun.

He's got a real negative attitude and I just want him to be a bit more positive so that despite the fact that everything does feel like a chore, he's not being all doom and gloom about it.

I know he works hard, but it's like he can only do or think about one thing at a time, and gets in a tizz or sulks when more needs doing. I then have to sit and break things down for him like he's a sodding child. And whilst I'm doing that I'm outwardly being calm and patient when inside I'm screaming YOU'RE 35, FIGURE THIS OUT FOR YOURSELF, AND STOP MAKING EVERYTHING SO HARD.

matwork Wed 09-Jul-14 09:43:55

I don't want to live like this forever more. But I don't want to break up. We've got 2 children ffs (or will have shortly).

Pinkfrocks Wed 09-Jul-14 09:47:12

Giving him a to do list can help in terms of getting things actually done, but, it pisses me off that its me who's got to write out the sodding list in the first place

do you want to try things to help him change or do you just want to moan?

If you try to re-train him he may learn to do it himself.

If you don't try anything then nothing will change.

Men can't multi task- you ought to know that!

CeliaFate Wed 09-Jul-14 09:51:24

Pinkfrocks that's sexist nonsense. He's not a dog that needs training, he's an adult who's absolved himself of certain responsibilities because he knows his wife will do it for him.
OP, I sympathise to an extent dh is like this - my advice would be don't infantilise him. Don't leave lists, leave it to him to sort out and deal with any issues arising from it. Don't moan, don't step in, don't help.
When I go out for the evening, I give dh a 10 minute speech about "don't forget this, remember that,"etc. When he goes out he says, "Bye!"
Take a leaf out of his book and leave him to it.

Pinkfrocks Wed 09-Jul-14 09:54:59

It's not sexist at all- I'd say the same if it were 2 women or 2 men living together. I'm not saying it because he's a man. But there is plenty of evidence that men cannot multi task as well as women- so don't try to pretend that psychological differences don't exist cos they do.

Squidstirfry Wed 09-Jul-14 09:55:11

It sounds as though you get stressed out very easily and his laid back approach drives you nuts. The pg is probably adding to the stress.

Just because he doens't like to talk over all the ins-and-outs of carpet buying doesn't mean he doesn not think about these things. And these things don't have to be completed in military style detail either.

It sounds like you let yourself take the reigns on all of the detail in running the hhold, and so he has just allowed you to take over and then perhaps wonders why you get upset about having to do everything.

It sounds like you feel like you need to micro-manage every little thing but he is more content with letting things go with the flow.

You seem incompatiable so it's up to the both of you to accept these differences or not...

CeliaFate Wed 09-Jul-14 09:58:44

Men can't multi task is sexist and it's making the issue the OP's problem, not her dh's.

Pinkfrocks Wed 09-Jul-14 10:13:01

So what if it's sexist? It's still true. Men find it harder to multi task than women- read all the evidence. Doesn't mean he can't try.

TheFirmament Wed 09-Jul-14 10:28:31

This man is not "laid back", he's lazy, irresponsible and sexist – because deep down, he thinks it's ok for him not to bother, and for you to spend all your time and energy being on top of everything while he can just think of himself.

I have been there OP, DP has these tendencies and we have had many, many rows and also calm discussions about it. You're right that you can't change a person's personality, he won't become naturally efficient and responsible. However, I have managed to get my DP to change a lot in the amount he does and his understanding of how much there is to do.

The most effective thing I've done is to write down in exhaustive detail absolutely everything that needs doing. Include things he does too, perhaps in their own separate list. Under yours, write everything you do, including all housework, maintenance, admin, booking things, dealing with nursery, payments, birthday presents, remembering and planning when something needs to happen - everything to do with running your home and family that takes up your energy and headspace.

Then sit him down and show him. Explain that he needs to do his share and you and he can work out a fair split (taking into account how much free time you have. IMO if you have babies/preschoolers at home with you then that is your FT job and doesn't count as free time). If his jobs include for example, doing the dishes every day, then he has to do it. If he doesn't, drop one of your jobs, like cooking the tea. (You can still feed your DC)

Also, hand him tasks to do where you are OK with it going tits up. For example, this year I told DP it was his turn to organise and book a holiday (a complex task involving multiple campsites, hotels, ferry etc). No hand-holding, no instructions - after all if you don't need that, why should he? You could do this with the carpet ordering, for example.

In this case, DP left it and left it and I was getting worried, but he's now done it. Maybe it's not exactly as I would have but the important thing is he understands what life is like for me and just how much of a hassle these things are, and that he must share them.

DP has often wailed pathetically to me "but I don't know how to do that." I'm now completely no-shit on this matter. I say "Yes, there was a time I didn't know how to do that either. I worked it out, got advice, did it millions of times, hence my years of experience. Are you suggesting you can't work things out?" This hits home because he fancies himself as very intelligent smile

You can make this happen OP. No more Ms Nice Person. Stay calm, but spell it out and do not accept incompetence as an excuse. He won't be incompetent once he's had a bit of practice.

matwork Wed 09-Jul-14 10:31:24

But why should I be the only one who really thinks about things?? Why should it be that stuff only gets thought about because I write a list. He can see as much as I can that stuff needs doing.

We have lost the balance - I micromanage (because I feel I have to) and he sits back. We've discussed this and I've said I'll step back so he can step up but what happens us I step back and nothing gets done.

Recently we've made some big purchases that are long overdue and long-discussed. I've ordered/paid for them and not once has he mentioned anything about how it'll all get paid and he knows the joint account is only for bills. It's only when I mentioned this bloody carpet and said "if I end up paying for that too that'll be £4k I've spent recently on household stuff" and he looked like all put out! It's not even that I mind paying for it, it's more that he didn't even think of it.

I get that things are busy and stressful at the moment but him dragging his heels and sulking is making me resent him. We supposedly have common goals, the biggie at the mo, well for the last 8 months is obviously to get as much sorted before dc2 comes along - and I feel he's tried to make things as difficult as humanly possible.

TheFirmament Wed 09-Jul-14 10:38:34

Police officer
Air traffic controller

Jobs traditionally done by men, still done by millions of men, that men tend to get paid more for than women, and that require multitasking.

Men can multi-task. The reason the OP's (and my) situation happens is that society (including many women) sanction the idea that men are helpless twats in the domestic arena and women have to do everything. Lazy men can hang their hat on that and just choose not to think about or bother with all the crap.

And this is as much a mechanism that keeps women down as much as anything else. If you're ultimately responsible for the home and family above all else, then it's harder for you to work full-time, study for that degree, write that novel, etc. Don't underestimate what's going on here. I drudged along for years telling myself if I didn't do it it wouldn't get done properly. It was bollocks. It was really about my internalised sexism and self-esteem problems.

BrunoBrookesDinedAlone Wed 09-Jul-14 10:39:07

'I think you are kidding yourself that life would be easier as a single parent. Some things might be but overall it would suck, for much of the time.'

The thing is... I know two friends who have gone from a situation much like this to singe parenthood - admittedly one where a lot of emotional abuse was involved, which changes things completely. And... both are happier, less stressed, and wish they'd done it years ago.

Yes, they are busier. One has three children, one one child. But both say their lives, while being busier, are EASIER.

So - hmm.

It's probably a big influence on why I am very much a LTB kind of poster.

BrunoBrookesDinedAlone Wed 09-Jul-14 10:40:39

Oh and the multi-tasking stuff is shit. My DH is very good at multi-tasking. I believe it is connected to him not being a lazy misogynistic twat, myself.

matwork Wed 09-Jul-14 10:40:51

X-post firm...

I have tried a lot of this... He was supposed to book a trip to peppa pig world, we discussed this during our last row, and we've still not gone and have no plans to do so.

I quite often use the line "what would you do if I wasn't here?" when he asks how to do things.

I even put a reminder on his phone for him to do the gas and electric meter readings each month but he still doesn't do it and I have to remind him. We've had a £2k gas bill before because we never submitted readings so I'm really paranoid about this. And he was devastated at the time yet it still doesn't sink in that it's worth us keeping on top of this.

I've purposely not done a food shop for a couple of weeks and asked him what we'll have for dinner and we have fricking pizza or tortellini or something else that's simple and shit. And he'll just get one day's worth if food, it won't cross his mind to stock up on other bits.

I'm just cross with him today I guess. I know I've historically done too much do he doesn't have to do as much but it's really hard to break this - and I honestly feel like I'm trying but that it's not making any differentlce as he just pootles along thinking things happen by osmosis.

TheFirmament Wed 09-Jul-14 10:41:54

matwork yes much of the list will have to come from you, but that's because you've ben doing all this and you know the truth. The idea is to get all the tasks down on paper so he can see exactly what has to be done and wake up to it. From that moment on, the jobs are jointly shared and the responsibility is shared.

The list isn't a rota or instructions - it's just getting out in the open what actually needs doing – not just what needs doing now, but ongoing.

If you like, tell him this is what needs doing and sit down to write the list together. What can you both add that needs doing for your household? You'll add a lot more, but that's because of the inequality relating to who's been doing it.

TheFirmament Wed 09-Jul-14 10:44:47

matwork so much of what you describe applies to my DP too, but I have got somewhere. It;s worth a try. Ultimately though, I think him living separately is something to consider if he doesn't pull his finger out, and you should tell him that.

You could show him this thread?

smokeandfluff Wed 09-Jul-14 10:44:59

Can you have a chat with him?
He's possibly sulking because he feels you are nagging him constantly. My Dh takes nagging as a direct criticism and goes straight into sulk mode.
As he helps with the housework, he doesn't seem like alazy slob.
Everyone has different perspectives. My dh sounds similar but in an opposite way-he doesn't notice the house is a bomb zone, but would be organised as regards car selling/organising money.
Can you try and focus on his strengths? You say he helps around the house and with your dc-do you thank him for these things? Is it the end of the world if you don't get the carpet just now?

thisisnow Wed 09-Jul-14 10:47:04

I still don't think you can change someone I'm sorry to say that but I don't.

Literally I sent OH to the shop once and he spent almost half an hour deciding what soap to get as he wasn't sure which was better!

matwork Wed 09-Jul-14 10:49:41

That makes sense.

His reaction to To Do lists is "they just piss me off because it's impossible to get it all done". When I explain that that's life and there will be some ongoing things or some that can wait and don't need to be at the top of the priority list (again internally screaming that I shouldn't have to explain this to a grown man) he kind of flounces or rolls his eyes or sulks.

I've even showed him the urgent/important matrix to see if he might find that useful.... Talk about a bloody passion killer.

TheFirmament Wed 09-Jul-14 10:50:32

As he helps with the housework, he doesn't seem like a lazy slob.

The housework is not her job and he is not helping.

Also, housework is the tip of the iceberg. What about all the admin, organising, booking, buying, remembering. That is what takes it out of you.

You say he helps around the house and with your dc-do you thank him for these things?

shock The house is his house too and the DC are his DC too. He is not helping

It's OK to say thank you to someone for doing something domestic but not if it is one-sided. I will say to DP thanks for booking the holiday. But only because he will say to me thanks for cooking lunch etc.

It s not OK if you are saying thanks where the implication is that it should be you doing it and he's so kindly contributed 1%.

Lovingfreedom Wed 09-Jul-14 10:52:52

How about accepting that the list is your job and then you can give him all the crap jobs you don't want.

matwork Wed 09-Jul-14 10:53:21

I'm really trying not to pooh-pooh everyone's ideas but I have tried talking and have said I wish I could disappear for a month, unravel all the direct debits, and let him just get on with it. Not practical with a 2yo though!!

I've also, in the heat of the moment, and I'm not proud of it - that he feels like a deadweight sometimes blush and that I feel I'd have more headspace if I was single. I know this is a horrid thing to say but I kind of wanted him to wake up and realise how serious this is getting.

TheFirmament Wed 09-Jul-14 10:54:07

Again, it's not a to-do list and you can explain that to him. It's a list to make him aware of what has to be done and that you mainly do. This is important becasue as you say, he can easily convince himself that sorting out a holiday, or the carpets, or nursery payments etc, just takes a second or two and isn't a big deal. He needs to see it is all detailed, time-consuming, exhausting work.

The eye-rolling and huffing are aggressive. They are a way of trying to intimidate you into not bothering him with this crap. Spell it out. "Eye-rolling and huffing do not change the fact that you need to share responsibility for this home and family equally with me." Don't let things like that make you give in.

TheFirmament Wed 09-Jul-14 10:56:17

Tell him the truth.

Tell him it's easier when he's not around, that he feels like a deadweight because he just adds to the work and stress without taking any of the responsibility. Tell him his failure to man up and take responsibility for his home and child is a massive sexual turn-off. Not in an angry way, just explaining it.

Does he work? Ask hi how it would go down if he took this attitude to his work responsibilities. It's no different.

Pinkfrocks Wed 09-Jul-14 11:08:08

But how can you order a carpet or whatever for £4K ( must be a bloody good carpet!) and not discuss beforehand where the money will come from?

I don't get the 'his and hers' money at all- but that's another issue- we have a joint account and everything comes out of it and everything we earn goes in it, bar our own ISAs.

Part of you seems to think that he will read your mind, so you wait for it to happen and when he doesn't you get pissed off.

You need to communicate better and nee to say what you want- if you want him to cook and not serve up pizza then he needs to be told that.

matwork Wed 09-Jul-14 11:25:15

Carpet is yet to be ordered but is £2k so about half.

I earn more than DH, he's self employed and has money come in and out so it's easier to have it separately, then we proportion what goes into the joint account - ie paying 50/50 wouldn't be fair as such. We then give ourselves the same amount each to play with and what's leftover goes into savings. We then usually make big purchases from our savings - but - it's always me saying "how are going to pay for this?" and then reminding him to put his share into the right account.

firm thank you - I will try this. He is fairly clueless as to how stuff works and says he wants to do more and be the man of the house. Until the words turn into actions I'm still a bit cynical though.

squizita Wed 09-Jul-14 11:30:40

It sounds as though you get stressed out very easily and his laid back approach drives you nuts.


I think anyone would be stressed out by living with another adult who thinks council tax is under £30 a month shock and won't plan ahead. It must be exhausting.

My DH went through this (lived with parents for a while before moving in with me, basically regressed into 'other adult 'owns' the house and does the thinking). I had several very frank conversations with him. The first time it was met with sulking and refusal... when I showed him real examples ("In order for this to happen, I had to think about xyz, phone xyz, go here, measure that... doing the washing up is not enough...") he 'got it'.
Thankfully in our case it was just a bad habit. But it needs to be talked through and the OP shouldn't feel she's 'easily' stressed.

I likened it to having a teenager: yes, he does some chores but as an dult you need another adult to help plan/think about all the household management side too.

matwork Wed 09-Jul-14 11:31:42

And pin you're right in that I do expect him to now know. I'm sick of spoon-feeding him and we've been together for 12 years so I get frustrated when he doesn't get it.

None of this mattered so much before we had children but I've been frazzled since. I'm dreadful at finishing jobs and am a massive procrastinator, and leave things til the last minute so am by no means perfect - but - I acknowledge this and try to improve. It seems I do better under pressie but he cracks.

matwork Wed 09-Jul-14 11:32:44

Under pressure!!

StoneTheFlamingCrows Wed 09-Jul-14 11:41:03

Actually pink frocks there is plenty of evidence now that there is very little difference between men and women other than physical or social conditioning.

I am shit at multi-tasking and very good at maths. So there.

some light reading for you

We are all individually different, but there is no fundamental difference between men and women.

Pinkfrocks Wed 09-Jul-14 11:43:11

Your finances seem a bit complicated compared to ours. I'm self employed but all our money still goes into one account, minus about a third of mine which I save for my tax bill.
Our savings goes into ISAs so when there is surplus in the joint account or my own account we talk about which savings accounts it's going in.
We don't have this - pocket money' thing that some couples have- we trust each other to be sensible and if he wants something 'big' then we will discuss it as being affordable, and that gives me the okay to spend the same on me without feeling I need justify it- but he wouldn't mind anyway if they money was there.

I think it's quite rare for finances etc to be handled 50-50. I have 2 close friends whose DHs earn a lot of money- both 6 figures and one more like £500K annually- the wives do all the financial stuff and seem quite happy with that because they don't work and feel it's their role to do more at home.

In your case, you maybe need to accept that you are the practical one . Either you stop doing it, and face the fall out, you remind him well in advance and hope he will change when he knows how much this bugs you or you decide he's not worth it and divorce him.

There is also a difference between nagging and really sitting down with someone and saying you have had enough- and give some ultimatum.

Pinkfrocks Wed 09-Jul-14 11:46:08

stone- who said women were not good at maths hmm??

matwork Wed 09-Jul-14 11:53:15

pink with 6 figure salaries I suspect things are slightly less delicately balanced!!

My fear with putting everything into the joint account is that my salary will always keep it buoyant and DH will take his foot off. I'm adamant he could earn more (but lacks confidence in what he does and his pricing) and he sometimes, again, sulks about how hard it is drumming up business and will have quiet couple if weeks because he's been faffing/lazy and the proof is in the pudding in that my savings are steadily going up and his aren't.

Again I guess it's a way of demonstrating that things are unnecessarily imbalanced. All in the joint account and won't see the difference but I will feel it!!

Pinkfrocks Wed 09-Jul-14 12:02:55

If you cannot trust him to spend wisely, or work hard enough to put more into your joint kitty so you might run into financial problems, then you are living with a child- not a man.

Trust around everything is integral to successful marriages. If you feel he will take his foot off the brake then you have a parent-child relationship- plenty about that on the web.

My point about my friends' was not dependent on how much was earned but how happy they were to be the bankers and accept that their partners contributed to the marriage in other ways , which allowed them not to work, but the deal is they will do more than their equal share on the domestic front.

SemiSkim Wed 09-Jul-14 12:12:11

Just a different perspective on being a single parent.

My exH was fairly useless in the organising department and left everything to me when we were married. Since we separated and I'm not picking up any slack for him, suddenly he knows when parents evenings are, shops for DC food, sorts his bills, etc.

I have more free time and headspace as he now takes responsibility for DC.

However this is because he wants to be fully involved with the DC and be an equal parent (we have shared care arrangement). Also we are amicable despite breaking up for horrible reasons (his affair). We have set up systems like a shared gmail calendar for DC activities etc.

matwork Wed 09-Jul-14 12:33:50

It's not that I think he'll be lazy given half the chance, it's more that he is unaware of the result of his actions/inactions and the bigger impact those things can have - be it financially, practically, logistically or emotionally.

He is immature in his thinking and doesn't see that what he does has an impact on the rest of us. He opts out of taking control or responsibility, and I know some of this stems from his upbringing - his parents are very 'play-it-safe, don't get above your station, don't risk anything, better to not try than to try and fail'. This drives me insane and actually I think he feels like he wants to grab life by the nuts a bit more but hasn't got the foggiest how.

Pinkfrocks Wed 09-Jul-14 12:54:18

why don't you try couples' counselling where you can let rip in the safety of a neutral 3rd party- DH will hear you, and you may be able to formulate a plan for progress.

I can't help wonder why this is now a problem and you put up with it for a long time with DC1- and presumably you knew he was like this before and when you married? Did you ignore and think he would change?

SemiSkim Wed 09-Jul-14 13:01:43

It seems you have lost respect for him. Not sure how you get back from that unless you're both prepared to do the work - otherwise it just carries on until you get to the point that you explode.

By saying you do the work too - I mean are you prepared to take practical steps to help him get more organised or will this infuriate you further? In which case it does seem that you will end up separating in the longer term as you get more and more cross at his inability to step up.

SemiSkim Wed 09-Jul-14 13:07:40

By practical things, it is babying him to start with. Things like drawing up a task list and dividing it, putting organising systems in place (shared calendar, where paperwork goes, where stuff in the house goes), how often you sit down to review finances and agree joint purchases etc.

All this will be hard work with a new baby. I think you bed to consider whether you carry on as is while you have a newborn or whether you do something now. If you leave it for a few months, you need to have a plan in place for how you're going to tackle it (make the effort to resolve between you or separate).

In the meantime you are heavily pregnant and about to make the jump from one DC to two - can you organise any practical help so you're not relying on (and then being disappointed by) your partner?

EllieQ Wed 09-Jul-14 13:15:25

I'm not surprised you've lost respect for him - he sounds infuriating! Sounds like you already have two children and the new baby will be the third sad

Has he ever lived on his own, or did he move from his parents to living with you? How do his parents split household responsibilities - is he copying what he's seen in their relationship?

I must admit that I agree with pinkfrocks that if he has always been like this in the 12 years you've lived together, then you have implicitly accepted his behaviour by chiding to stay together and have children. If you've discussed and argued and shouted and cried, but his behaviour hasn't changed and you've just got on with everything anyway, then he's seen that no matter what you say, you'll just put up with it. From his POV, why should things change now?

Preciousbane Wed 09-Jul-14 13:15:50

I think when you do have your discussion you need to sit down and do it at a time when there is not a row brewing about these issues.

I get the feeling that tensions are running so high now that having a rational discussion will be really hard.

EllieQ Wed 09-Jul-14 13:16:01

Choosing, not chiding!

SemiSkim Wed 09-Jul-14 14:08:25

I think some of these issues only come out after you have DC. You can ignore or paper over the cracks when it's just the two of you living together, simply because there's less 'work' and usually more money to enjoy yourselves aswell as do the work.

When DC come along, the household work goes up. That's when it becomes obvious that one partner has been doing more and they pick up the extra work of thinking, organising, etc. With more family expenses to consider and often with less money coming in.

I don't think it's fair to say OP has accepted the behaviour - life has changed, she has changed with it and her DP has not.

Pinkfrocks Wed 09-Jul-14 14:14:11

I wonder if the OP is suddenly overwhelmed by the thought of the new baby and the impact it's going to have when DH is unwilling to do his bit?

OP I know you don't want to 'baby' him, but I don't think drawing up a list of what needs doing and talking it through amounts to that; it's what most people in house shares do for chores etc when someone ends up doing more than their fair share- human nature is to shirk stuff like this usually!

If you are not willing to try anything, but want to just nag and moan and think how awful he is, then nothing is going to change, is it?

As other people have said- choose a time when you are not angry and discuss it.

Put the ball in his court with the implications explained- ie late payments, bad credit ratings, blah blah- then leave him to it.

Whatever you do, don't give him his 'list' then continue to nag because he will then think he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't- so he may as well not bother!

matwork Wed 09-Jul-14 14:17:55

I think we'd both be up for counseling. Just fitting it in might be tricky with a toddler and brand new baby.

Why is it a problem now? Well time and headspace is more limited since having dd I guess. We used to rent a 2 bed flat so no DIY was required and I we would call the landlord if anything needed sorting. We now own a 4 bed house that needs redecorating and maintaining. I could manage to do everything before and now I struggle. I find keeping on top of things really bloody hard and don't feel that he's recognised that he can do things to help more. Instead I get the sulking or the barriers. I didn't struggle before so he didn't need to step up.

I'm more than happy to help him but surely there comes a time when he needs to take ownership of things himself. Eg - me setting up a reminder on his phone for the meter readings. He still needs to be nagged every month. Other than doing it myself, how else can it get done?

His phone was on the verge of stopping working so I upgraded it for him (added him to my account as this worked out cheaper). New phone arrived and it took him the best part of three weeks to sort out his PAC code to swap over to the new phone and end the old one. And when he did he got all flustered on the phone and I had to speak to the bloke on the other end to explain it. It wasn't rocket science and I'd told DH a gazillion times what a PAC code was and why he needed it, what he needed to say etc etc etc.

He's getting in a muddle with his business ingoings and outgoings so I suggested he opens another bank account to sort it. He didn't so in the end I did it for him. This was months ago and he's never used the account and still gets in a muddle. He's lost the new bank card.

It's exhausting.

It's the complete lack of ownership that does my head in. And surely until something clicks in his head about it all nothing will change. I'm just a bit worried about what it will take to get to that point.

I've texted him today (he can't talk on the phone) to suggest that he sorts the carpet which will mean he needs to take ownership of sorting it all. He seems happy with that.

matwork Wed 09-Jul-14 14:25:18

And yes I'm losing respect for him and have told him that too. He says he can feel himself getting sulky but can't help it and knows it's childish but still does it.

It's not so much the thought of the new baby, it's the thought of going back to work in a years time. I struggled massively during the 18 months I was back after mat leave round 1 - because it was all left to me. I asked him to not leave it all to me but he did and on several occasions I really lost my rag and honestly thought I was close to having a break down. That scared him but doesn't seem to have changed anything significantly enough. He says the right things but doesn't put them into action.

So anyway, this hoiseh

matwork Wed 09-Jul-14 14:27:13


This household list - how much detail do we go into? I feel a lot of the time he says something like "we've run out of hoover bags" so I say "get some more then" and he doesn't. So does "making sure we've got enough hoover bags" go on the list??

roaringfire Wed 09-Jul-14 14:29:45

He behaves like this as he can get away with it. There are no consequences to him, you'll do stuff in the end. It is utterly crap.

Sit him down again, tell him, and tell him how you feel. Tell him you'd be better off on your own.
Get one of those 'to do' Apps (if you have a smart phone) and then he can see what he has to do.

If things don't improve - time to talk again.

What a stressful time for you. But you are not alone, you only have to read the relationships board to see that.

I hope all goes well with the birth btw.

Pinkfrocks Wed 09-Jul-14 14:32:05

okay- it's quite obvious what is going on here now that you have given more detail.

You are parenting him.

Anything that will not affect you and the DCs directly, leave it!

-You do not need to parent him by setting up his phone or sorting that.
-You don't need to sort his bank accounts- he's an adult.
-I don't know why you need monthly readings of the utilities- set it up so you pay by DD monthly and you have to provide 1 reading each year so that the estimated use is accurate.

You were happy to do all of this when it was easy for you- now it's not but you expect HIM to realise. You've moved the goal posts and no one's really explained to him- he's playing catch-up with your moves and as you have a history of sorting his life out for him he is sitting waiting for you to do it again.

Just as much as you can't see why he can't change, he must be very confused over what you want because on the one had you are Mrs Capable Throw it All at Me , and on the other you want an egalitarian marriage.

VERY mixed messages.

You need to sort this but look at the history.

Pinkfrocks Wed 09-Jul-14 14:35:23

This is a serious question- does he suffer from ADHD or dyslexia? He shows many of the signs- disorganised, loses stuff, poor communication skills on the phone etc., flustered when dealing with people where he relies on auditory memory?

NatashaBee Wed 09-Jul-14 14:40:26

God, I feel tired and am clenching my teeth just reading through all this. Your partner is supposed to help and support you, not be an extra child to look after.

Pinkfrocks Wed 09-Jul-14 14:43:11

Me too- you need to step back and stop enabling this behaviour. But choose what you support him with and what not to.
Let him feel the consequences of his actions when it won't affect you too much.

You do see don't you that you have enabled all of this?

matwork Wed 09-Jul-14 14:46:14

Yes things gave changed. But not overnight and not without me warning/asking for more help. I know I've shifted things and haven't helped by taking on more.

Will be back later this evening. But thank you all - this is really helping.

Ps. We do meter readings as our bills really vary from summer to winter and we try to actively manage them. As I said we'd been stung before just giving an annual reading so more keen to stay on top of this. DH is totally in agreement - I just remember more than he does.

TheFirmament Wed 09-Jul-14 14:46:15

I agree with pinfrocks on this but I have also been there - I've been in the situation of doing everything and being resentful and exhausted, then periodically blowing up, only for nothing to happen. It was like that because DP knew that whatever I said, I would pick up the slack. He now knows I won't. Easier said than done of course, but it can be done.

I totally see how you can drift into this and only really face up to it when you have DC - that's what happened to me. It's not that I didn't know what my DP was like, it's just that it was easier to leave him to his own mess as I only had myself to look after. The kids, the larger home, the increase in admin - this is what you end up taking on simply because it has to be done and the other person ignores it.

OP I'm actually going to post you my list as I typed it. It's long, but even then there will be various things I've probably forgotten. It's up to you how much detail - here, things like buying hoover bags is covered in "household items shopping". The point is to get him to see what you actually have to do that he is currently thinking of as not that big a deal. Ask him how he would feel if this was what he had to keep on top of - all the time, non-stop, year after year, alongside getting his actual paid work done. Because, to an equal degree with you, he does have to. From now on.

food shopping list
food and household items shopping
Putting away shopping
Meal planning
Organising/paying for/keeping track of veg box and milk deliveries
meal preparation
Making bread
Making packed lunches and stocking school bag
purchasing children’s clothing and other things they need eg stationery
Organising clothing for the next season
laundry including clothes, bedding, soft furnishings
Taking down, washing or replacing, and putting back up shower curtain
repairing clothing and sewing on buttons
Name tapes or otherwise putting names in clothing
Stripping and making up beds
Clearing up after meals
Cleaning and clearing surfaces in kitchen
Cleaning and disinfecting sinks and draining board
Cleaning dirt off fronts of cupboards and appliances
Cleaning cooker
Hoovering kitchen floor
Hoovering other rooms
Mopping kitchen floor
General tidying rooms
Decluttering, sorting out clutter, re storing some and sending some to rubbish
Taking cups, crockery, bottles back to kitchen from other rooms
Cleaning windows and mirrors
Watering plants
Cleaning bathroom, bath, sink and toilet
Spring cleans/clear outs
Cleaning out /reorganising /defrosting fridge and freezer
Clearing out cupboards/tidying/throwing out old stuff
Collecting and taking stuff for charity
tidying garden
Decluttering and reorganising shed
Putting washing line up and down
Replacing bathmat and putting old one in wash
Hanging up towels so they get dry
Clearing out old shampoo etc bottles
Gardening with kids
Putting out recycling
Putting out bins
Emptying main kitchen bin
Emptying compost bin, cleaning out and drying
Emptying bins around house
Checking, emptying and cleaning out and drying bread bin
Putting bins out on street
Setting thermostat
Maintaining and fixing smoke and co2 alarms

Minor home repairs and fixes
decorating (painting, wallpapering etc.)
Clearing and preparing rooms for decorating and putting back after
Buying and making new furniture
Getting rid of old furniture
Preparing and putting up pictures
Organising and booking tradespeople
waiting for tradespeople (electrician, plumber, decorator, gardeners etc.) to show up
Dealing with them /rebooking if they don't show up

Maintaining/balancing/monitoring budget
Paying bills and one-off payments
Setting up/monitoring direct debits, savings and overdrafts
Car insurance
Home insurance
Dealing with household mail from banks, insurers, charities etc
Organising children's money / child trust funds
Filing and keeping track of household paperwork
Other small admin inc electoral roll forms, council tax, tv license etc etc
Major admin eg all admin/phone calls for moving house/arranging mortgage

Fixing/buying and setting up tv, computers and electronic things
setting up cables and electric extensions
Changing light bulbs
Replacing batteries in kids toys etc

Organising car maintenance and taking car
Dealing with ownership details when changing car

Organising babysitter when you want to go out
Preparing house, snacks, list etc for babysitter
Remembering to have money ready for babysitter

Organising Kids medical/eye/vacc/dental etc. appointments
keeping track of when appointments are needed
Taking the children to the doctor, dentist, etc.

Putting the children to bed
Getting children dressed in the morning
overseeing children’s chores
helping with homework

buying the children’s birthday presents
planning children’s parties and events, doing and organising invites

Dealing with invites to children's friends parties
helping children buy presents for their friends
driving children to/attending childrens parties
Taking children to lessons, friends’ houses, etc.
overseeing the children’s hygiene
finding and organising appropriate childcare - nursery and club
Maintaining relationships with childcare providers
Talking to / keeping in touch with teachers
Dealing with communications from school/nursery
Filling in school/nursery forms and returning paperwork
Dealing with orders for cards/photos for school/nursery
Booking tickets for school/nursery events
Organising / making / taking contributions for school/nursery events
Making /obtaining costumes for school/nursery events

Sending kids school/nursery photos to relatives
keeping track of extended family birthdays
buying /sending gifts for extended family members
knowing something about the families of children’s friends
arranging family / couple social events

Booking holidays and weekends away - campsites, hotels, shows, days out
Researching different options to check availability and suitability
Keeping track of bookings, tickets, location maps etc.

Writing and posting Christmas cards
Helping kids to organise/write Xmas cards to friends if they want to
Buying kids and family Christmas presents
Buying and keeping store of wrapping paper etc
Organising and helping kids to write thank you notes
Getting out and putting away Xmas decorations and lights

Organising Halloween treats and decorations
Making / obtaining Halloween costumes

WhatsGoingOnEh Wed 09-Jul-14 20:59:37

No wonder he's flustered, scatty and disorganised - he's probably really depressed.

Can you remember why you married him? Did you take him on as a fixer-upper?

dimsum123 Wed 09-Jul-14 21:30:40

You sound v clued up and on the ball and v intelligent. Do you think he is simply less intelligent than you? ie he 'can't' think rather than won't think?

matwork Thu 10-Jul-14 15:43:10

I have wondered if he's depressed.... Or if I am in fact!

I don't think he's any less intelligent, I just think we think in different ways, have had very different upbringings in terms of being pushed (me) or not (him). We used to balance each other out (I'd race ahead, he'd say take your time etc) but it's tipped too far to the extremes.

Thanks for the list firm - it's amazing to see it all written down, as there is so much that goes on in terms of running a household!

We had a talk/cry last night. I says that things are really damaged and we both need to fix them. We are going to sit down and talk about our strengths and weaknesses so that we can make sure we're using our good points properly and also supporting each other through our bad points. I will tailor that list to our family too. At one point we were talking about getting someone in to finish the decorating (previous quotes were too expensive) to have one job ticked off and he said "can you give me the number of a decorator then and I'll ring them?" I thought I was going to explode!!!! I said that that kind of thing was EXACTLY my point.... But I guess it shows just how much I have enabled this helplessness and basically taken control of everything.

So I think we know where our faults are... And to be honest, kind of have done for a long time, but figuring out how to move forward is the tricky part I guess. I need to somehow let go of the resentment I've built up for him (which he knows) and "delegate" more to him and he needs to take responsibility for his own proactivity. All sounds so much easier written down - it's making it happen which is the tricky bit isn't it.

Pinkfrocks Thu 10-Jul-14 17:34:34

When he was single, how did he cope?
When he lived with his parents did they baby him - or were they strict and made him feel under confident?

He just doesn't seem to 'get ' it from how you describe him.

ie- he expects you to find the phone no for a decorator? Or did he mean where was the number of the person you'd found before because he couldn't locate it?

If it's been like this for 12 years you are not going to have a new DH overnight!

It's going to take a lot of time and a lot of patience till he starts to understand what 50-50 means.

I know this is going back to the parent-child scenario, but seriously, I think you ought to give him say 3 tasks to be done from beginning to end ( mix of admin and practical stuff) and leave him to get on with them.

matwork Thu 10-Jul-14 19:13:29

He lived at home until we moved in together, though we backpacked for a while and he'd spent summers abroad with friends before we got our first place.

His parents style was quite laissez-faire. He helped out at home but I think his parents did pretty much everything. They weren't strict at all and he wasn't encouraged at school or career-wise, partly because they say themselves that they hated school. They've always just "got by" and I get the impression that they feel like life is something other people are good at, and they pulled the short straw (council houses, supermarket jobs) yet aren't bitter, just accepting that that was their destiny.

I think I've mentioned that he's good around the house from a housework point of view - and is in fact much tidier than me! He can cook and clean properly but sometimes lacks logic and thought in the whole thing - but I've learnt to let some of that go and let him get on with it...

He ordered the carpet today and told me over dinner that he felt really good doing it. The sad fact is that my controlling nature has shielded him from the real world as much as his own laid-backness has. sad I actually feel awful, I know he's been lacking in confidence but I've thought that was all down to him not ever stepping out if his comfort zone, but I can see that it's down to me too. He has so much potential and I'm cross with his parents for never helping him unlock it - and - now sad to see that I'm pretty much doing the same. I also know that it's not always someone else's fault and he needs to take responsibility for it too bit even just asking him to sort the carpet has given him a boost FFS.

I know things won't change overnight but we both want stuff to change which has to be a good starting point.

TheFirmament Thu 10-Jul-14 19:20:12

Of course it has felt good for him, realising that he has agency and can step up. I don't think you need to feel bad about that, or that you have micro-managed and done everything - because it did have to be done. You've both fed into the situation but I don't think you caused him being like this.

The discussions you're having sound productive. I would just say don't let it drop. Keep reminding him, in a kind but firm way, that you are going to share things equally and that he can take responsibility. You can now use the carpet as an example to show he can do it.

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