AIBU to be scared about my marriage

(45 Posts)
OneSadMan Thu 26-May-16 14:36:52

New account etc and this will lack any detail about me (hopefully) since you never know.

I thought our marriage was absolutely rock solid until last week. I work from home and I am also a stay at home dad, my wife works. We've been married for over 10 years (I dont want to be too specific)

Last week, on the way to work, my wife noticed the grill was dirty. She hadn't had the best night's sleep but that's not unusual in a house with small kids. As she was leaving for work and saw that, she went absolutely mental and shouted so loud it scared the kids. She stomped out the door.

About 20 minutes later she messaged me saying she wanted to separate. For the time being I was to move her stuff to the spare room, and we would take it from there. I was devastated that a simple bit of housework might mean the end of our marriage. We have a cleaner and yes, the house could probably be cleaner but I do work from home during the day and we've never been clean freaks who expect a spotless house and we've been fine with this so far - it's not dirty by any stretch but sometimes there'll be an annoying job we maybe put off longer than we should. All the weekly childcare is done by me, but she does more at the weekends so she gets to spend time with them, this is her choice btw since she sees them hardly at all during the week.

We messaged back and forth a bit and the gist of it was that unless I did more housework we were getting divorced. She eventually retracted that and said she didn't really mean it, but I can't get past it.

I have spent the last week dwelling on it and the last few days have been especially hard. The house is not a tip, I need to do more laundry and putting clothes away and that's fair enough but I don't see that as something worth getting divorced over, surely?

She isn't an especially tidy person herself, and while I absolutely support her as much as I can in doing her job and then her just relaxing in the evening, I just found it astounding that she was willing to threaten me like that and then pretend a week later as if it hadn't happened.

And what if in that moment that she'd messaged me, I'd said "fine, I understand"? That would have been it. I just can't get my head around how little she must value things if she would chuck away our marriage over housework. I know it happensin some of those weird old fashioned relationships sometimes when the man works and expect his wife to do all the cooking and cleaning but if the roles were reversed and I came home and said "why haven't you cleaned the grill" and then said I wanted a divorce, I feel like a lot of support would be for her and I would be called a heartless bastard - which I would agree with!

How unreasonable am I being? Have any of you ever broken up with your partner over things like housework? I always tend to see the stuff I do to maintain the kids as being a pretty big chunk of the housework as it is, but now I am sort of looking over my shoulder and thinking "what will she see when she gets in that will make her think it's over? what job will I miss that might be the final straw?" but that can't be healthy.

In short I am scared of her and how she will react because I don't want my marriage to end. I'm also scared of how casually she dismissed something I found devastating and am still struggling to understand. It's really thrown me. HELP.

RebeccaWithTheGoodHair Thu 26-May-16 14:42:31

Seriously? She's the one with the problem. If she acts like this then why not call her bluff and shove her stuff (untidily) into the spare room?

But if, maybe, she's super-stressed at work or something perhaps there is a reason and it's a one-off. I don't know. I personally would give a bit of slack and allow that we all make arses of ourselves sometimes and need our partners to support us through the arse-time back to the normal time.

However I wouldn't be made to feel so worried and upset in my own home. That's not right and you shouldn't have to put up with that.

summerdreams Thu 26-May-16 14:44:55

I have no real advise just showing some support no person no matter what gender should be made to feel insecure in there own home.

00100001 Thu 26-May-16 14:51:39

I suspect that the grill was the straw that broke the camel's back.

She doesn't want a divorce because of a dirty grill-pan. We all know that.

There's something else going on, have a chat with her.

00100001 Thu 26-May-16 14:52:40

Explain to her that you're worried about her and what made her react so strongly. Sounds like she's been quietly building this up in her head (for whatever reason)

Inkanta Thu 26-May-16 14:52:56

There's probably more to it than the grill and housework. I wouldn't take her too literally on that. She sounds stressed to me. Try not to be afraid of her - it's important to talk on a level and find out what's going on. It may be emotional support that she needs.

If she continues to shout and be unreasonable you don't have to put up with that. Be strong.

OneSadMan Thu 26-May-16 14:56:34

that's the thing - I asked her today about it and she just said everything is fine, she was overreacting and she's very happy and loves me and everything should be back to normal.

but I can't get it out of my head. it's the fact she had time to THINK about it and said she had calmed down and decided this was what was for the best. if she'd just told me in the heat of the moment when she was furious that the grill better be cleaned or we were getting a divorce - no problem. we talk, we make up, I clean the grill and no more is said about it.

but she had time to think, was calm, and that was when she told me. that's what worries me the most. and now I am thinking "what if some better guy comes along" and then she's really got an excuse. I just can't stop worrying to be honest.

LineyReborn Thu 26-May-16 15:01:37

Well something's been building up in her head, and if you don't want to separate then you'll need to try to find out what that is.

Do you argue about housework? Lots of couples do.

TheSparrowhawk Thu 26-May-16 15:02:16

To answer your question, yes, I was one step away from divorcing my DH (partly) due to housework, but it was more because the housework was a major symptom of how he didn't listen to me or value my viewpoint in the relationship.

I don't know what's going on with you and your wife, but if she refuses to talk about it then you're totally stuck. She can't throw threats around like that and then stonewall you - it's extremely cruel and unfair. Rather than worrying, it'd be better for you to sit down with her and say very firmly that she either talks and tells you what on earth was going through her head or there's a serious problem.

RebeccaWithTheGoodHair Thu 26-May-16 15:05:03

Hmm, tricky. I can see both sides - I can lose my rag and say awful things (have in fact threatened to leave in the past) but to my mind once it's over and I have apologised then there's no need to keep going over it.

My OH though is different and does take things to heart so I have had to learn to control my temper b/c what to me is a flash in the pan (or grill ha ha) to him is a real hit to the solar plexus.

She (and me) are no doubt in the wrong but if, like me, she would feel ashamed of herself then wanting to go over it again and again would make her (me) feel defenssive and like I've said sorry what else do you want from me, kind of thing.

Does this happen often that you are made to feel this way? I can count on the fingers of a 3-fingered person the number of times I've done in 15 years, so if it's not a regular occurrence then I do think you might be better off letting it lie for the time being.

Two other things:

- could you risk leaving a mess and seeing what happened?
- or ask the cleaner to do a bit of a better job around the place?!

getyourfingeroutyournose Thu 26-May-16 15:09:37

You need to talk to her about this.

She was being very unreasonable to shout loud enough to frighten the kids and suggest divorce over a dirty cooker.
You sound like you have quite a bit of low confidence and possibly some paranoia in there that I can't figure out if it was there before or simply has occurred because of this situation but I definitely think something more than the cooker triggered all of this.

Things you need to ask her are "Is there something going on at work that she needs more support with?" "Does she feel like she can't talk to you about things like that?"
You also need to address your low confidence.

I could be reading between the lines big time here but if you have been feeling like she could "meet someone better" and is just waiting for an excuse to leave you for greener grass then that could be stressful for your relationship on it's own. I speak as someone who feels as you do and has low confidence and often is scared of a younger, bigger boobed woman coming along. It is tiring to constantly feel like your partner is scared of you leaving. To constantly have to show that to them and feel like they don't trust you can and will destroy a relationship. The only way to address that feeling (from my experience) is therapy of some sort. You can't rely on other people making you feel good about yourself (even your own partner).

LineyReborn Thu 26-May-16 15:10:39

Dirty grill pans can be a tipping point.

Was she expecting to cook on it later that day, in the evening?

I went round to OH's last Friday evening and he knew I was cooking us supper. I was faced with a filthy grill pan, cooker, trays. He did clean them but I felt sort of ... a bit disappointed. Like it was some sort of doom laden metaphor for our lives. But then I had a swig of his whiskey whilst he was washing up.

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 26-May-16 15:14:47

There's no chance she could be having an affair, is there? The blowing up over small things and wanting to leave and have an excuse sounds textbook.

Something is going on and it's not one grill pan.

A11TheSmallTh1ngs Thu 26-May-16 15:18:35

Housework is never just housework.

I'd be interested to know how dirty the house actually is and whether she ends up doing a lot of work despite you being a SAHD. Who organizes school stuff? Who buys and wraps gifts? Etc.

sportinguista Thu 26-May-16 15:21:08

You know a couple of years back I was shouting like this at DH and aT DS too. I was being bullied at work and it was horrendous, I didn't tell DH until I finally walked out of work and signed myself of sick with stress. I was so ashamed of not managing. It could be there is more going on.

I ended up leaving and was happier. I was happy the second DH just said, right you're not going back.

VestalVirgin Thu 26-May-16 15:23:44

Have any of you ever broken up with your partner over things like housework?

No, but I would. There's a pattern of women ending up doing most of the housework because they don't think it is quite worth ending the marriage over.
I don't want to be part of that pattern.

If the worst thing she threatens you with is that she'll divorce then ... does it matter who is being unreasonable here? Either she's unreasonable, then this will end in divorce and you are rid of her unreasonable behaviour, or you are unreasonable and need to do more housework, in which case you can do just that.

Actually, in your place, I would have replied "Fine, I understand". I always take what people say at face value if they have no motive for lying and/or believing the lie won't harm me.

squizita Thu 26-May-16 15:27:02

I suspect that the grill was the straw that broke the camel's back.

She doesn't want a divorce because of a dirty grill-pan. We all know that.

There's something else going on, have a chat with her.

What struck me the most was "OMG this person thinks their partner lost it over a grill pan, that is what is worrying him...and he was so literal over the furious text" Surely any adult would immediately think it was a sign of something else be it anger management, stress ... something!?!

Because in all honestly, that level of emotional denseness might actually be part of the issue. That might be the source of the rage perhaps (not justifying the way she dealt with the emotions, just suggesting why).

I'm not saying be a mind reader but I'm not even NT and I can see this isn't about a grill pan.

squizita Thu 26-May-16 15:29:22

Was she expecting to cook on it later that day, in the evening?

I work longer hours than DH and rows about the kitchen are always around this- when he forgets 'his' chores don't just affect him, and have to be done to some kind of schedule not just when he wants to.

She lives a regimented timed life with work - could there be a clash here that needs working on?

AdoraBell Thu 26-May-16 15:30:32

Definitely need to talk to her.

Are you two fairly well matched in terms of tolerance? My DH would like to live in a show home and almost pretend he doesn't have 2 teenagers and 4 fucking dogs, and I am not willing to make myself ill trying to keep everything perfect, fe.

Over the years he has had to accept that while he goes out of the house to work I facility him doing his job because if he had to leave at 2 each day to collect children from school he wouldn't get very far in his career.

Whisky2014 Thu 26-May-16 15:34:24

mrsterry ffs not everything has to go back to an affair!

Me and my partner fell out the other night because he didn't put the sodding sleeping bags away that were an obstruction in the hall and had been there for a few days. He didn't have dinner ready like he said he would, he didn't do any washing and a whole host of other things that would have just helped out a bit. So I got angry. I wasn't having an affair! It was just something that pushed me over the edge for 10 minutes.

He does minimal chores, will only see the need to do washing when his socks and pants are running low. Doesn't see the need to clean the bathroom once a week, doesn't hoover or cut grass etc. I have told him before things that really grind my gears (dirty dishes being left overnight and he will be too tired in the am to do them so I always come back to a dirty kitchen) just little things. During the argument he told me instead of blowing up all angry at him why not ask him to do these things. I fucking did! I said as I left the house "please put these sleeping bags away"...came home 3 hours later..not put away! So at what point can I get angry? I shouldn't even have to ask he never asks me to do stuff because I have already done the chores. Why can't he? He doesn't see it.

Yesterday I went home and he had done the washing up (hurray!) and taken in the washing from the line, put a new load on. Result.
Sometimes people say things they dont mean, I think if she says she didn't mean it then accept that.
Maybe talk to her and see if she is stressed, if you can help her and vice verca. it is not just a one way street.

Terrifiedandregretful Thu 26-May-16 15:36:04

What VestalVirgin said.

DontDead0penlnside Thu 26-May-16 15:36:54

OP, try reading this: mustbethistalltoride.com/2016/01/14/she-divorced-me-because-i-left-dishes-by-the-sink/

Pacx Thu 26-May-16 15:37:15

She thinks you aren't pulling your weight and she thinks that what she says can't and shouldn't upset you, would be my guess.

DH thinks that we aren't tidy freaks too. But actually he isn't, and I don't like living in a mess but find it extremely annoying that he never thinks to wash the car (for example). It never seems to occur to him that I do not share his views on how untidy and dirty things can be before they need attention.

Penfold007 Thu 26-May-16 15:38:22

There has to be a more complex reason than a dirty grill plan. Your W works full time, you are a SAHP, primary carer and work from home, you must both be very busy and stressed. How much 'housework' does she do?

EveryoneElsie Thu 26-May-16 15:39:22

Sometimes people have a meltdown and everyone suffers. Suggest she goes talk to a counsellor, and couples counselling.

Its not just the grill, the grill is the tip of an iceberg.

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