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Grumpy Husband- longish sorry(71 Posts)
I have been thinking about posting this for months but have tried so hard to be positive and get things sorted. I feel like packing my things and going. I married almost 10 years ago, on the whole we had a happy relationship, few dc's and life has treated us both very well.
The problem is my dh is getting progressively more and more grumpy and moody. He is so negative it is draining even our dc's feel this way and we have a better time without him. This is making me cry because I love him dearly and feel a bit traitorous posting about him.
I have tried to speak to him about his attitude, he says he is vey happy and it is me. I am an eternal optimist and a positive happy person as are our dc's. The oldest dc left home early simply because of dh's nit picking and grumpiness. If I try to even gently tackle this he becomes incredibly defensive. Mil has also noticed how bad he is getting as have friends. He does it more and more in front of family and friends.
He just moans about everything I ask him to do, for example at a party yesterday our youngest dc needed a drink, he was almost at the kitchen door when I called to him as he had forgotten her cup (I was feeding baby, dc in the loo) his reaction, in front of the other people was so embarrassing. Huffing and puffing, you would have thought I had asked him to make tea for forty people. The thing is he will help anyone else out. Later I went to fetch drinks and he called me back, I went and he said oh nothing getting you back for earlier. How pointless. I said to him you were helping dc not me, please stop.
Everything is so petty, I get in his way in the kitchen, I leave drawers open this annoys him, dc's talk to much, he is constantly muttering under his breath, sarky comments and general grumpiness. It is wearing me down trying to smile and just gloss over it all. It just seems that everything regarding us is too much trouble for him. Yet, he is not a lazy man and does do lovely things for us all. I know relationships are not perfect but all I would like is respect and a bit of positivity and smiles. His grumpiness is definitely starting to rub off on our youngest dc and he pulls her up on it! He does not realise it comes directly from him.
I have asked him if work is ok, no problems there. He just seems to have slipped into this old grumpy man mode, we are not even forty yet! It worries me because his df is exactly the same if not worse. Mil told me she wishes she had pulled him up on it years ago but she never did until years later. He changed a bit but their dc's were grown up by then. Even dh tells me how miserable his father was and negative towards him, you would think he could be different towards us. Our oldest dc said to me there is no excuse mum, he can break the mould and be different, he doesn't want to.
What do I do? I can't stand it anymore but when I write this it seems so petty compared to other peoples experiences, he doesnt hit me or hurt me, only with quite cutting comments. I have in fact been through a very abusive relationship many years ago which is where my optimism stems from, nothing could be that bad again. But putting up with a miserable person, day in day out is slowly bringing me down Any thoughts or advice on how to sort this would be so welcome.
I do not have a solution, except to calmly pull him up on it. I'm afraid lots of my friends have grumpy husbands too, not depressed or really stressed, just defaulting into grumpy moaning mode. I cannot live with constant criticism either, and this type of tit for tat is wearing.
It sounds like you have sat him down and asked what is wrong. I think, if you are seriously contemplating leaving, you should sit him down again and say 'I don't think I can go on like this, life is becoming too unpleasant for me'. Then explain calmly what you don't like, and every time he does it again, remind him of that conversation ('please don't say XYZ, that sounds very critical of me and I'm doing my best').
It can be changed, my husband is less grumpy and critical now, but he does need reminders (just as I need reminders not to go into my default shouty mode!)
And- don't apologise that this is not a 'serious' problem, living with a grumpy negative critical person is an absolute killer for a marriage, especially if you are an upbeat nice person yourself.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Have you tried to tell him to go to a GP? My father got like this in his 40's (really out of character for him) and it turned out he had a serious deficiency in testosterone. Perhaps its something like this?
I would definitely try some sort of counseling before taking the big step to leave him though, because it sounds like you had a good marriage before he became a grump.
Does he know your dc left because of him? Tell him! And tell him he's turning into his dad. It may make him more grumpy but in the long run it might make him take a step back and think.
That tit-for-tat behaviour (calling you back for no reason) left me gobsmacked. That and getting annoyed at you leaving a drawer open. You're a saint for putting up with it for so long. If he does it in front of others get them on your side. Sometimes being grumpy and moany turns into a habit. He may not even be aware that he's falling into this pattern so much of the time.
BTW, I say 'Oh shut up, you grumpy old git' - but that's to my ex
I have experience of this. it really is very tiresome and can grind you down to the point where you're desperate to leave. It is a serious issue and it sounds like you are doing a brilliant job of coping with it.
I agree that pulling him up every time is the way forward, if it's just become a self indulgent habit he needs to know every time you feel criticised, belittled or moaned at. The trick is being able to point out that hwat's just been said is unacceptable and how it makes you feel without getting angry and it descending into an argument. Point out calmly and then walk away. After a whole the penny may start to drop and you may see a change in behaviour, if not then maybe you walk away more permanently.
My dh as I split up because of his extreme grumpiness. After an awful few months of separation we got back together and went to couples counselling. The counsellor explained to us how dh was subconsciously turning into his grumpy father - apparently this is common after having children. Dh is trying to sort himself out (I'm changing too to try to help our relationship), and we are still together now.
Don't do nothing... get to Relate if you can. Make a stand. I wish I'd taken my dh years ago, but he always made out the problem was mine, not his.
It's not a petty gripe, it's serious subtle nastiness.
Hope he can sort himself out!
No advice but I could have written this!
It's got to the point in my house where I avoid even making conversation because I know I'll get a negative response to everything.
I feel my heart sink when 'd'h comes home early. My mood is instantly brought down.
His dad is the same , if not worse !
imagines massive run on testosterone supplies at local chemist.
'The counsellor explained to us how dh was subconsciously turning into his grumpy father " - this is interesting, wonder if this is a common thing. DH's Dad struggled to make ends meet, not the case for DH but he does act overworked and under appreciated.
bobinogs advice sound good.
Re the drawer left open, I get (in grumpy and critical voice) 'Is this mug/ paintbrush /bag /hoover / milk/ coat / chair etc here for a reason?' I presume to demonstrate my untidy sluttish ways
I would look into the process of divorce, what would happen, who would get what and then you have this at the back of your mind and, assuming it wouldn't leave you out on the street, you can ressure yourself that you don't HAVE to live with this and if you had to divorce you could. It might make things feel less beyond your control and upsetting.
Another one here who is living your life. In fact I thought one of my friends had posted on my behalf when I read your OP. It is so draining. I really wish I had an answer for you. FIL is awfully grumpy. Drives MIL mental. DH and I have recently spoken about the constant negative behavior, so watch this space!!
Thank you so much everyone for your prompt and thoughtful replies, you have kept me going today. Baby has been teething and incredibly grumpy so havent had a chance to get on and write anything, have checked and read though!
devonsmummy I hope you get some help from reading the advice here too Last year i reached the same point as you and stopped chatting being cheerful, dh asked me what was wrong with me. I tried to explain back then and his answer was he is moody because i am. I am not and never was. It is a vicious circle.I felt this morning as though there wasn't any point carrying on with dh but after reading all the responses I have been thinking- a lot.
I also watched dh today and he is exactly the same with middle dc. I don't think he realises why eldest dc left home, although once he did ask me if he had been too hard on her. I said yes at times he had, but I didn't really go into detail as dc asked me not to tell him everything as she worries about what I would have to deal with as his reaction is usually over the top. Somehow he always manages to make it my fault, I am critical, nagging etc. He doesn't feel appreciated, he is a crap dad and so on. I have never said anything like that and never would. Thinking about it now as I write he seems massively insecure but hides it with this unreasonable behaviour. His grumpy dad never spent anytime with him until he was old enough to go to the pub, so sad. I had the opposite upbringing.
He is describing himself really not me. When I have tried to defend myself or put my point across carefully and calmly he just will not listen. There is no emotional support from him at times when I need it so much. His father is exactly the same, as though something is missing. I have a group of fantastic male friends from work, one of whom I have known since childhood (dh thinks the world of them, they go out together too) who are supportive, kind and have their emotional sides switched on so I know men can be softer! I feel sad dh is missing this part. They have actually joked with him about being grumpy and told him to relax. He does listen to a point but is insistent that he is a very happy person! Dh is very intelligent and has a very good career, he used to be more respectful and we did have a good marriage and lots of fun too. As eldest dc got older he became more grumpy and picky. We are all girls not sure if that has anything to do with it!
I suppose he is a bit Jekyll and Hyde, personality wise, jolly and kind at work, moody and short at home. He seems to have the attitude that because he works hard, does nice things for us then he can behave however he likes. I work, look after the home and dc's but as I said to him tonight I try to make our home happy whilst doing it . This was after he had been short with dc (6 years) all day. I carefully asked him to stop as he was making her feel bad and he said he had had enough and it was ok for me to discipline her but not him. She hadnt done anything wrong! So dramatic. I wish he would just listen and look at his child.
He also seems to forget the dc's and I are actually four separate people, as I mentioned earlier when I have asked (nicely) for help regarding dc's, he acts odd. Today I said politely not to wiggle the baby after her feed as she will bring it up (reflux) he replied don't tell me what I can and can't do. It's not fair on the poor baby but he does it anyway then expects me to run for wipes etc. she was sick and today I didn't help him and left the room. I cannot be mute and never say anything or only speak when he feels jovial. I realised today this is not trivial and not petty. I think it is a control issue.
I am going to seek help for myself first after reading here, then tell him when I have my head absolutely straight and go from there. The saddest thing for me is we do have happy times and he meets up with eldest dc they go out together and are finally companiable. He loves us but to me it feels like he can't live with us. Our home is calm, clean and happy what more could he want.
Gawd just realised how much I have waffled! Sorry. I think I have had an epiphany after reading all your advice! And maybe a bit of
No you haven't waffled at all! But that long post was heart-breaking. You seem so nice and you're trying so hard
If you copied and pasted what you've posted and put it in a letter to him do you think that might help? <niaive but ever hopeful>
Whatever you decide to do, the good thing is you're recognising that this can't go on. I'll raise a glass with you Grump...Here's to a brighter future!
You sound like you have very low self esteem if you are prepared to allow this Type of behaviour from your husband towards you. Are you scared of upsetting him? Why must he be kept happy when he's the one upsetting everyone else?
In a marriage you have to be able to be honest and upfront with each other you've had children together for goodness sake! If you don't feel you can say it face to face, write it down and be with him while he reads it.
Tallwivglasses- thank you Good idea about the letter, I will definitely consider this. It is just so sad when you feel you are merely existing together. Dh tells me he loves me still but it is not enough. I want to be happy with him. I want us to be happy.The main concern is our dc's, eldest dc is so sensible she can see dh has issues and is prepared to put them aside to continue having a relationship with him. The little ones however may not be the same as they will only have known him as grumpy daddy. It's so hard but yes here's to a much brighter future thank goodness for mn and all you lovely people!!
Cybbo- I don't have low self esteem actually. Dh has gradually become more and more unreasonable. I don't like confrontation which is something altogether different. I have had it out with him but he doesn't listen, if you read up thread. It is difficult to sort things out overnight and having children with someone makes it even harder. People take time to change and yes he has upset everyone which is why I am on here actively seeking ways to deal with this situation.
I feel for you OP my DH is another dyed in the wool grump.. DH is grumpy with us and no one else who knows him would believe it. I pull him up on it constantly and he always blames me- I was being grumpy. I tend to deal with it by exploding every so often and warning him that I will not put up with it forever. We have been together for 21 years but there are times I want to walk away. He usually denies he was to blame but later admits that perhaps it was his fault.
He takes after his father who is grumpy and ill tempered. MIL never crossed him or called him on it, just learnt to ignore it. That is why, IMO, FIL is as bad as he is now.
You shouldn't have to put up with this. It will get worse rather than better. If his Dad was the same it will be partly genetic but mostly I think it is learned behaviour that turns into a really horrible habit. I constantly tell my DH how awful it is he can be more pleasant to his work colleagues than he can to me.
However, my DS is 4 and from he was a baby I told DH that I would not tolerate him being illtempered with DS and he isn't. I reminded him how horrible it was to have a badtempered father. Therefore DH's default setting with DS is amiable. Personally I would have real issues with your DH making the kids' lives miserable when he is around.
I really wish you all the best. Counselling is a good idea but I think he needs it not you. Come back and give us some tips how to deal with the grumpy.
I can kind of understand where Cybbo is coming from. My DP had a tendency towards grumpiness that manifested itself every now and again. And as much as I don't like confrontation I called him on it every time and refused to tolerate it or to tolerate him behaving like that to DS. My responses varied between "I beg your pardon, what did you just say?" which often shocked him into apologising to "I'm sorry you seem to be confusing me with someone who will listen to your bullshit. Grow up, act like an adult or fuck off" which I meant and he knew I did. It took a while but he doesn't behave like this anymore.
That you say he has a good career indicates that he isn't like this at work and that he wouldn't behave like it in front of his boss or senior colleagues if something irritated him. Which means he has self control to reign his behaviour in when he wants or needs to. Why he can't exercise that same self control with his wife and children and why they should suffer is something only he can answer.
How many of these grumpy gits take after their dads! How many of our sons will turn out the same? I'm shocked at how many posters have said their FILs are the same if not worse than their OHs. Why are they all so fucking grumpy? Are women, generally less powerful and more downtrodden of the sexes, just naturally more positive and cheery?
Sorry to hijack, Grump. <downs wine and meanders off to feminist topic>
Not sure that the behaviour you describe isn't veering more towards emotional abuse - constant criticism and put downs, gaslighting (denying), blaming you or DC, the nice 'front' to others outside of the home. I hope it's not the start of a slippery slope OP.
I second the advice to find out where you'd stand if you split up - information is power and I think this is what your 'grumpy' H is all about - power and control. YOu need to redress the balance quick before it goes any further.
Jeez. Why can't men just try to be kind to their partners?
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