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Anyone have a DP who's a really picky eater? (Long)

(219 Posts)
gail734 Mon 21-Jan-13 10:42:14

When I got married, I couldn't really cook. I was still living like a student and I was always on a diet. I'd never cooked for more than myself, so you don't exactly learn how to roast a chicken or bake a cake, do you? I was keen to learn though. Four years of rejected dinners later, I have to work really hard to reassure myself that I'm not a bad cook. My DH is an infuriatingly picky eater. Night after night, his dinner goes in the bin. Sometimes I'm sitting eating the same meal thinking, "This is nice." He'll push it around, eat maybe a third of it, then give up. He knows better than to say, "This isn't like my mum's", but that's part of it. Incidentally, I've had his mum's cooking and it really is awful. He's a 33 year old man and I once, when I'd identified a meal that he would eat, gave it to him every night for a week! (It was chicken, new potatoes and salad.) He ate it happily, night after night, then eventually he requested a change. I'm so sick of this and it causes arguments. He never cooks. I think it's disrespectful, if someone has gone to the bother of cooking for you, to refuse to eat it. I grew up in a kind of "clear your plate" home, whereas he would have been allowed to leave whatever he wanted. He'll cover his food in salt and pepper before tasting it, and also go directly from his abandoned dinner to get a packet of crisps, which I find outrageously insulting. When he comes home and asks, "What's for dinner?" I don't want to answer him because whatever I say, he'll pull a face. I have gone on strike, once. I didn't cook for a week. He lived on takeaways before apologising and meekly asking me to start cooking again. Anyone ever had anything similar?

Gennz Tue 22-Jan-13 20:12:57

Wow gail I think you need counselling, you strike me as a classic boiled frog.

I can perfectly well understand you doing more domestic work if your husband is working FT (though having discussed this with my DH I’ve been adamant that if I take a break from my well paid, interesting job to look after OUR (as yet non-existent) baby, I’d expect him home at 6 and bathing said child so I can have a glass of wine or go for a walk, not putting his feet up with a beer and chucking any dinner I make in the bin) – however, you as a SAHM doing all the domestic chores does not excuse your husband’s selfish and frankly bizarre behaviour.

Letting the house get into a tip when your wife is in hospital with your newborn child and then – WORSE – letting her “roll her sleeves up” and clean up after you? WTAF? That speaks to me of someone who is so grossly self centred that there is no room to care about anyone else. Plus the way he interacts with your baby sounds absolutely chilling. You can’t fix him.

Snazzynewyear Tue 22-Jan-13 20:35:54

Gail, no-one could say you hadn't tried. They really couldn't.

I can see you are not ready to take drastic action yet and I have some sympathy with ABitWobblyNow 's post. I think sometimes folks here forget that they are typing 'just leave him!' to someone who is only just becoming really aware of the implications of their situation, and that immediate marital break-up is just not realistic.

You've posted about 'getting him more involved with the cooking'. Not sure what you have in mind but I have two suggestions. One is to tell him you will cook him what he wants but he has to name specifically what he wants. None of this 'something bland' that you can then get 'wrong'; he has to say 'macaroni cheese with no salt/pepper and no cream' or whatever it might be. If he agrees, you do it and he still doesn't like/eat the food, then you've got a deeper problem: he just wants to find fault.

Second suggestion: say (with all the calm you can muster) that you've realised you take too big a role in telling him what to do with food, and you're not going to anymore. If he wants to eat crisps every night, he can. But he needs to take responsibility for cooking and buying his own food. So if that means he does a crisp run to the shops every night, so be it. It's wasting his time rather than yours which I'd see as an improvement. Again, if he starts to say that this isn't what he wants, again you have your indicator that actually, for him, this is all about disagreeing with you, whatever it is you have to say.

foreverondiet Tue 22-Jan-13 23:48:55

Stop cooking for him. Tell him you can't bear the waste so he can cook for himself and he can add the food he wants to the shopping list (or even better to online shopping order)....

Bogeyface Wed 23-Jan-13 00:35:05

Forever its the waste that would piss me off most. Presumably the OP shops for 2 but 1 of them chucks their food in the bin. There is no justification for that! Maybe she should tell him that she has added up his waste and it is 50% of their childcare bill when she goes back to work so she will be keeping his half of the shopping money to pay the nursery!

Abitwobblynow Wed 23-Jan-13 06:00:30

Wobbly, who's MN?

Is that the whole of MumsNet???? - Let's not parse, Leuji. My point is valid, and remains.

Lueji Wed 23-Jan-13 07:13:10

No it isn't, wobbly.

I haven't seen anyone angry here because gail hasn't left this man the minute she got the LTB replies. (I don't know about AF because the post is hidden)
We all know these things need to be processed properly, chances given, plans made.

However, patting on the back and simply offering a shoulder to cry on does nothing for gail and women living in these situations.

In this thread nobody is pushing for leaving now.
If anything, to stop pandering to this man and doing everything for him.

But, yes sometimes people need to be told that it's ok to leave, and the only sane option.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 23-Jan-13 07:18:24

Also: pot, kettle, wobbly. Your message is also "coercively" telling people what to do. Let others say what they will; you can't stop them anyway. If it's any reassurance, as you and I and anyone who has emerged from denial knows: an OP can only take in whatever she is prepared to take in, so it doesn't matter who shouts "LTB!" and who says "there there, poor love". The OP will take from all of those messages only so much as she is able to take in.

Abitwobblynow Wed 23-Jan-13 08:08:56

OK Hotdamn, if that makes you feel better, as long as you acknowledge the point that she can only take in what she can take in at that time.

So lets make that arena a safe one. The point I am making is: to tell someone what to do, to then get angry when they do not instantly do what you know is what is good for them, is to be part of the same abusive dynamic that they are in.

And am I saying we must go 'there there, poor love'? And does saying that, ensure women stay stuck? I don't think it does.

What we really should be saying is 'how are you? What do you feel/want?'. Give OP the space to find her voice. Gently point out that sarcastic cups of tea is still the same dance. Somebody pointed out fantastically that he doesn't care how the cup of tea is delivered - it got delivered so he gets his own way without caring about her - again.

In the field I am in we are warned continually not to get frustrated or overinvolved with people who take 2 steps back/get back into the cycle that abuses them.

Lundy Bancroft and Judith Herman also make this point. This is what abusers do: pressure her severely. Talks down to her. Thinks he knows better than her what is good for her. Dominates conversations. Believes he has the right to control her life. Thinks FOR her.

So we should not mirror these things. The only question we really should focus on is 'what do YOU want to do?' In the next 10 minutes, the next day, the next week, the rest of her life.

Abitwobblynow Wed 23-Jan-13 08:25:18

Lueji, - 'you should, I would, do this, why haven't you,' - is pressure.

Taking the pressure off is NOT enabling. It is giving her the space to think for herself, and find her own voice.

It is actually giving her the respect that the man never will.

When you have poured so much effort into a situation that does't respond, it is HARD to walk away from all that investment. It's hard.
An emotionally abusive man is like one of those Las Vegas slot machines. They intermittently give back a few quarters to get the hope back up again. Abusive and selfish men are very good at knowing they have crossed the line and offering up a little bit of hope/giving a bit, to get the invested woman hooked back in again.

And it is very frustrating to hear. But not as painful as the neglected uncared for person, suffers.

mcmooncup Wed 23-Jan-13 09:09:58

Hmmmm there is a difference in taking the pressure off and saying "oh I understand how hard it is, not many people do leave" bla bla.

I completely agree with what you are saying but your posts come across a little "it's really hard so we understand if you stay".

I don't think that IS the right approach. Just because something is hard doesn't mean you don't do it. Every woman should be encouraged to leave wankers like this. And we should absolutely point out, as SGB says, the Big Lie that is fed to women.
I know OP won't do it today, but MN certainly fast forwards this process for many women and that is just brilliant as far as I'm concerned. But you've got to hear how totally outraged people are at the behaviour you are putting up with as the very first step (this thread).

stargirl1701 Wed 23-Jan-13 09:11:32

Hi Gail. I'm on mat leave with a 4 month old baby. I am not, though, a SAHM. I'm on leave from my job to care for my baby. For me, this means that the arrangements that were in place when DH and I both worked full time are still valid.

We share the cooking. I do Mon-Thurs and DH does Fri-Sun. My DH was an inexperienced eater when I met him, like yours, and, again, it was his mother that had enabled that. He was willing to try all the meals I cooked and now has adopted some as his own. We have a cleaner as neither of us enjoy cleaning. I probably put on more loads of laundry than him but he normally hangs them up to dry. He normally stacks the dishwasher and I normally empty it. He shares care of our dd completely. Baths, feeds, nappies, trying to settle her, walking her in the pram/sling. The only area I feel is left to me is presents/cards. The issue is, other than me, he just doesn't care about buying & sending cards and gifts.

My MIL is horrified at our marriage. She thinks I should 'make him' do things or do them myself, e.g. Ironing shirts. I don't iron tbh and DH doesn't care if his shirts are ironed. In my mind that's up to him. If he wants them ironed then he'd do it. She cannot wrap her head round this.

At the core, I think this is about seeing a DH as an adult. My MIL sees her DH and her son as incapable so she does everything. I see my DH as an adult able to make his own choices. Her sense of worth is bound up in how things look to the outside world - ironed shirts, etc. my sense of worth is bound up in feeling like I am part of a special team. I don't care about appearances. I care about how I feel at the end of a day. A burden shared is a burden halved.

I think you are lonely OP. You wouldn't be more lonely on your own. In fact, I think you would be free.

akaemmafrost Wed 23-Jan-13 10:48:50

I think it sounds like he has ASD. I have a child with ASD, very high functioning and I believe his Dad does too. He was impossible to live with, not quite so bad with food but bad enough and I stopped cooking at all in the end. Never tidied etc.

I think he may have ASD because of these things you have said:-

Food issues
Difficulty with social interaction
No friends
Possible problems with practical planning.
Trouble at work because he goes slower than everyone else because he is checking and rechecking

People with ASD often have difficulties with practical planning. I tell ds to tidy his room and he can't, he just can't work out where to put things, in what order, what tidy means etc. I have to stay there and tell him what to do every step of the way. Or pile ALL the mess into one place then say "ok ds, now put these things in the right boxes and on the right shelves (all pre organised).

It doesn't mean you have to live with it I certainly couldn't, what you do patiently and with love for your child is often not doable for a fully grown adult. I had a nervous breakdown in the end but the constant "he's a selfish twat"! on this thread despite a few posters suggesting possible ASD is not particularly helpful I don't think.

Lueji Wed 23-Jan-13 12:00:27

you should,
I would,
why haven't you?

Is not pressure, FGS.

"Do this" is a bit, but that often is a way of giving advice.

Nobody is shouting at the OP, or telling her to whatever if she doesn't follow any advice.

Gail asked for advice. Many people put forward ways of dealing with this, and many said that it's not likely that he'll change and that Gail will be better off leaving him.

Please, wobbly, do let us know the correct way of giving such advice without putting too much pressure. Just make sure you also give that advice without putting too much pressure on us.

FireOverBabylon Wed 23-Jan-13 17:08:55

Gail, if you're sticking this out, a) get a cleaner and b) get him to acknowledge the damage he will do to his daughter's eating habits if she needs to eat food and he's not willing to try it before throwing it away.

It may be that he eats later than you and DD, for example, or makes his own meal, but he cannot be allowed to set this as an example for your daughter.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 23-Jan-13 17:16:09

The funny thing is, I'm not passive at all! I'm known as a bossy, opinionated person! In my own home though, I've given up.

I don't think people are steamrollering gail and if they were, she wouldn't have returned.

Plenty of posters have said in the past, I didn't like what you told me, but it made me think.

If you think someone crosses a line, press Report.

foreverondiet Wed 23-Jan-13 20:16:53

Mmm, yes the waste would drive me mad too. But I thought that if he prepared his own food, he'd only prepare food he wanted to eat so less waste.

I think OP a bit mad to keep on cooking for him for so long, don't get it...

I probably would speak to his mum and find out what he eats and then suggest a weekly rotation.

HansieMom Wed 23-Jan-13 20:59:59

I thought Aspergers too but did not want to say it. But Frost, with her ex and her DS with AS, knows how hard it is to live with.

ladyWordy Wed 23-Jan-13 22:06:18

I think this is likely, Hansie and akaemmafrost... however, he seems to have other problems too, and has no interest in changing. The latter seems to be the sticking point.
Gail, I can see you want to keep trying for the moment. Here if you need us. brew

PartTimeModel Thu 24-Jan-13 22:13:12

gail your H sounds completely and utterly joyless (in a nutshell).
I feel very badly for you and your DD - you both deserve so much better.
I hope you find a way out of this situation.

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