AIBU to not want to be my DH's life coach?(30 Posts)
It's my 1st time posting here, so a bit nervous. Hello!
Been married 8 years, have a DS who has just turned 4, and a DD who is nearly 2. DS is a complete chatterbox, talks & asks question from the second he wakes up to the second he goes to sleep DD is going through a clingy phase and will grab my legs and shout if I try to leave the room. I promise this is relevant info!
DH is an amazing husband, is lovely, kind, funny, great dad, helps with housework, works hard etc.. but lately he's seemed really dependant on me, or at least my opinion. I know this sounds like a strange thing to complain about, and I feel like I'm being a bit of a bitch for this winding me up
This morning, for eg, in the space between waking up and leaving for work (about an hour) he had asked me in quick succession, "What's the weather like?" (completely normal question, I hadn't been outside so told him to stick his head out of the window to check) followed by (and here's the problematic bit) "Do you think it's cold? Should I wear an extra jumper? Is my black coat better, or the grey one?" etc etc. then "I feel ill. When I do x it feels y and z. Do you think I should take some medicine? Which medicine is best? What do you think? Where should I buy it? Is it expensive?"
Now all this sounds really innocent, but on his day off it's pretty constant. "I hate my job. Should I change my job? What should I do? What should I have done about that meeting? What can I do about that phone call I have to make? Do you think my colleagues are pissed off with me? How can I study for my exam? Will you help me? I can't do it, can I. What would you do?!" Or, "Did you hear that story on the news? Why would that happen? Does that usually happen? Where did it happen" I don't know if I'm explaining, it very well, but it's not like discussing things, it feels like he wants my opinion on everything he says or does or might do in the future, and I don't know why but it's exhausting!
Am I being a selfish bitch? I really love it that he values my opinions, and believes I have the brains and energy to help him, but after a day of being talked at and questioned by a very talkative DS, followed around and clung to by DD, then hit with a barrage of questions and problems I have to solve, I just want to hide and cry and shout there's not enough of me to go around!
He really is lovely, so I feel terrible for feeling like this. I do love talking to him in general, it's just being followed around when I'm busy and asked loads of questions that is making me a bit twitchy. Oh, and he's started calling me "Mummy", it is freaking me out!
I think you should just do the right thing, for example:
Q: Is my black coat better, or the grey one?
A: The black one, much more in at the moment
Q: I hate my job. Should I change my job?
A: Whatever the right answer is [+ make him a sandwich]
Q: Do you think my colleagues are pissed off with me?
A: No, I bet they love all the questions
Q: How can I study for my exam?
A: By reading the material
Q: Will you help me?
A: Sure [produce a sandwich]
Q: I can't do it, can I?
A: Of course you can, you're brilliant, that's why I married you [offer him a sandwich]
Q: Did you hear that story on the news? Why would that happen?
A: Because sometime there are naughty people in the world who want to do naughty things.
Q: Do you think I should take some medicine?
Q: Which medicine is best?
A: Shut up medicine
Just read about getting him up in the morning. You're giving him the resources to get up by not getting him up, ie letting him deal with the consequences of not getting up, so it becomes in his interests to get up. And yes, you can feel like a cold hard woman but you don't need an extra child in the house. Well done.
I'm a coach. Frequent phrases in response to decision questions include "what do you think?" and "how would you start to find out the answer to that?". If the answer is "I don't know", I sometimes say "if you did know, what would you do?". Infuriating,
often sometimes, but it's about creating the wherewithal in someone to answer their own questions, rather than constantly supplying the answers.
I recently read "how to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk" (as recommended on here). The techniques, whilst aimed at children, are somewhat similar, and can be used on adults too.
I am strangely glad it's not just me then!
I might just adopt a set phrase, might go for "I'm not sure, but you are incredibly intelligent and I completely trust your opinion, so I'm sure you can decide by yourself." or somesuch bollocks. Might boost his confidence or irritate him to the point of not asking!
Just realised the other way I end up "mothering" him - he cannot get up in the morning. I have to rush between getting the kids ready, dashing up to shake him awake, dashing down to sort out the kids, back up, repeat 20 times before him waking up. It's ridiculous! I've told him I don't have the time or the patience, he's a grown man so he can wake up by himself. Then didn't wake him up (he has his own alarm clock, just ignores it) which resulted in him nearly being late for work a few times. The last few days he's been getting himself up, so that seems to have worked.
I feel conflicted, because I want to support him, but I can't support everything Thanks for all the advice, I'll try to have a proper talk this week and see if we can get to the bottom of things a bit better.
Always reply with a vacant look "dunno"
Also good for teenagers
my DH always has to know what I'm ordering before choosing for himself, be it take-aways or at a restaurant. it drives me nuts, I am not sure why, but it does.
YANBU to not want to be his life coach but OMG It sounds like he does need one - like his confidence in himself is almost entirely eroded...
could you try buying him a self-help book or sending him to a real life coach, he needs to feel that he can find the answers himself.. you getting angry with him isn't going to help (though totally understandable)
I had a boyfriend like this. If we were eating out he would literally ask, 'Should I have pudding?'
Try set responses for the ridiculous things - e.g. 'What do you think?'
And tell him that the clinginess/neediness/Mummy calling is having a disastrous effect on your sex drive...
littlemonkeychops We do talk about it now and again, but never seem to really resolve anything. He doesn't want to change the things that stress him out.. Maybe it's time for another talk.
Eldritch My mum once gave me great advice for calming my oldest when he was a very clingy, grumpy baby - distract him with food, boob or shiny things! Maybe I need to try the same tactic with DH?? Slightly worrying!
Sock, I do find that canoodling with him while my DH is doing the stressy talking thing lessens the stress and improves his ability to deal with things and retain information remarkably. Perhaps try that?
The calling you mummy bit is just plain weird, ick!!
But maybe his confidence has been badly eroded and he's stuck in an insecure nedy rut? Have you tried having a proper talk with him about it?
PomBear that's hysterical I'm definitely going to try that! I'm going to write all of those on my hand on his next day off!
Zigzag I don't think he'd be hurt, I think he'd feel guilty for stressing me out but he wouldn't try to guilt trip me or anything. I'd feel bad in case he thought it meant he couldn't talk to me about anything. It does all feel a bit desperate, and I know he gets stressed about his job but he loves it and doesn't want to change it so I'm at a bit of a loss for what I can say. We've talked before and I've said about finding a different job but he doesn't want to do that. Yet still he complains [grins]
Lottie Thanks, those are really good ideas. We've talked about it before and he does seem to know how to change but just seems overwhelmed or unmotivated. I'd like him to take responsibility for it as I think he knows what to do. I would like to be able to help him but there's only so much I can do
especially when I'm knackered
Dexys I would much rather be in this kind of relationship that one with a grumpy monosyllabic uncommunicative bloke, but I know what you mean about it getting under your skin. Once you've noticed it I'm sure it gets worse as well!
Eldritch I was crying with laughter at this - "he has started asking me to summarise news stories for him, so he doesn't have to listen to and absorb the TV news. He does this while we are watching the TV news" - I've had exactly the same thing ! Too funny yet incredibly irritating!
I don't even want get started on the "Where's my/Have you seen my <insert object I've never touched or even heard of>"
I have had to ask DH not to ask me (i) the time; (ii) the date; (iii) the day of the week. It was constant. He didn't even listen to the answer. He was even known to do it when sitting AT THE COMPUTER with all of that information on screen in front of him.
It has got better. He doesn't ask me the time more than once a day now. However, he has started asking me to summarise news stories for him, so he doesn't have to listen to and absorb the TV news. He does this while we are watching the TV news.
To be fair to DH he is a SAHD and has had his brain fried by DS and DD every day so by the time the 10 o"clock news is on he has lost the will to focus.
It sounds as though he's really stressed and is losing the ability to make simple decisions - a symptom of depression. Or, he's just got into a habit of thinking out loud without really considering how it imposes upon you. So, hard to know the truth from a distance.
I do think you need a proper conversation about what is stressing him at work and how he's going to deal with it. He needs to identify the issues, break the problem down and tackle it in manageable chunks, or it sounds like he might go under and become unable to do his job.
So I'm saying perhaps he does need a bit of life coaching, to push him to get back on track himself, he certainly can't carry on using you as crutch so as to pretend he doesn't have a broken leg.
*is one you are happy with?
I left my husband for similar reasons....and to be honest, I sometimes wonder if I made the right choice?
You need to decide yourself if this is the type of person you want to be with?
It can get under your your skin?
only you you if the if the situation
'"mummy.. help me!"'
Fucking hell that would freak me right out for sure.
But try to look behind the words, that he's looking to go back to a time when he was looked after and his life was ordered by someone else who'd make it all alright.
It's desperate isn't it? And it's good he's looking to you to shore him up, but it's just so unfortunate the way it's coming out.
Instead of saying it to him through a closed door you need to work out how you can reassure him without him regressing into being a 4 YO again.
Are you scared you'll hurt him if you say how it makes you feel? Does he lay it on thick when you have said something, which he could be doing without realising, but he's possibly using it as a ploy so you don't call him on it?
If you don't resolve it things will be much worse than they are for you, you'll end up shrinking from him and resenting him for leaning on you too hard.
Just start answering with random phrases, so "what's the weather like?" "magenta haddock"
What jumper should I wear?" "Frilly banana bicycle fish"
What's for tea? "Rocking all over the world" then hum the chorus loudly.
Say these things totally deadpan, as though you've given him a sensible answer, and if he says what? or pardon? say it again, in a patient tone as though he's not listening. Then walk off and start doing something/carry on with what you were doing.
If he calls you mummy, dial MiLs number and pass him the phone.
Or just LTB now before he drives you completely insane I would have seriously exploded by now I think, at the behaviour you describe, I just couldn't bear it.
Oh thank you so much everyone, I feel better for that and less like a bitch!
ILoveSalad That is so true! I kind of walk around in this fog of everyone else chatting at me, trying to work out what i was supposed to be doing! It is exhausting.
hiddenhome AgentZigzag It does feel a bit like he wants me to mother him actually which feels a bit.. icky.. He'll do it more when the kids are around, but he will follow me from room to room calling "Mummy! Mummy! Muuuuumyyy!" EXACTLY like our 4 yr old does! I've lightheartedly told him to cut it out, maybe I need to be a bit more shouty. He also does it when we're alone and he's feeling tired/stressed, he'll snuggle into me saying "mummy.. help me!" <-- (in place of a vomit emoticon) which I really can't handle and leap off the sofa, chuck the phone at him and tell him to call her if he needs her. I think he is really stressed about work, and I try to help him and talk things through but sometimes it is just too much. I think I made a rod for my own back when he applied for this job as I wrote his cv, did loads of interview role plays etc, took charge of the finances so maybe he just changed his perspective of me to this godlike saviour woman You're right, I shouldn't hve to act like his mum, it's natural for me to want to help him but I don't think this is healthy for either of us.
I did snap last night, just got the kids settled and heard him coming at me with the "muuuummmyyyy.." and just shut myself in the kitchen and shouted that I didn't know all the answers to everything, I wasn't his mother and could he please give me a second to myself. I then felt awful as he felt really guilty about stressing me out and apologised for always being so needy.
He started calling you Mummy??
WTF is that about?!
I am clearly less tolerant and understanding than you though. My DH gets a fair few 'I don't know everything' type comments before I eventually crack out the 'I'm not your bloody Mother' rant.
Tolerant/understanding or not though put him right asap about calling you Mummy shudders That is a whole other level of neediness!
You say it's just recently, he's not happy with his job and is uncertain what to do, perhaps has got into a bit of a routine asking for reassurance from you? DD1 does what ILove said and says far too many things out loud which should just be thoughts, and we have to remind her which should be which.
But this seems more about his insecurity, and that must be incredibly draining for you, it'd drive me fucking mad!
The calling you mummy is a bit odd as well, in what kind of situation would he do that? When it's just you and him and he should be using your first name?
The constant asking for reassurance is a bit like a child, is related to the mummy thing?
My advice would be to stop answering, you don't have to act like his parent just because he's treating you like you are.
OP, you should send him to me!
I am constantly telling DH to remember his packed lunch/take a warm coat/drive carefully if it's icy...... I try not to but it just blurts out....
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