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Changing DH'S behaviour - can it be done?

(66 Posts)
Billysilly Tue 05-Mar-13 08:14:47


I want to vent at my dh's behaviour and ask for suggestions to change things.

I'll say at the outset I do not want to leave him. We have in many ways a happy marriage and two Dc who adore him.

He is however lazy and selfish and both things are getting on my nerves more and more. We have been together for many years and these have always been traits of his, however it has become more obvious since the arrival of our children.

Examples include constantly disappearing to take naps and only suggesting I take one if he happens not to be tired, I am expected to keep on going.

Getting up with Dc on a Sunday only, which is my day for a lie in. They are not good sleepers.

He is awful if he has to get up in the night. Shouting and swearing. He turns into a really horrible person.

I am currently away for a few days with Dc and I know he won't have done any housework or dealt with any laundry other than his own (he had to phone to ask how to use the washing machine)

While we are away he has taken a day off work because he needs time for himself. He has not thought at all about our parents going on holiday and who will look after our Dc I.e. me. My holidays are not viewed as time to recharge my batteries, only his.

Money - for most of our relationship I have been the main earner and have ensured we have enough to cover the bills and an equal amount of spending money. He is now the higher wage earner and Is now transferring random amounts to pay the joint account and keeping more money to himself. Some months he does overtime or gets a bonus but as a family we see little of this.

He smokes and claims he needs more money for this (don't get me started angry.

I have a separate account for birthday and Christmas presents which he refuses to pay into, although he does buy a couple of presents from his own account at Christmas for me and a few friends I wouldn't have a clue what to buy for. For my birthday he bought me a very expensive present from our joint account promising he would put the money back. He still hasn't 4 months later. I did not ask for this present but it suited his needs ( it was an iPad, he wanted me off the computer in the evenings)

Some of this is selfish behaviour, some of this is being unrealistic about money. He has a history of debt, now cleared but looks at our joint account sees plenty of money and then spends from it. We are consistently £200 - £300 overdrawn, not all because of him, but if he contributed a more reasonable amount and did not skim off the top we would be doing a whole lot better.

I realise I have probably set a pattern for this earlier I our relationship as I minded less doing the majority of housework and was happy to do the accounts but I feel resentful at the moment.

Warning bells should have struck when in our pre wedding chat to our minister he said one of the main things he loved about me was that I looked after him. Looking after me never seems to come I to the equation.

So, how can I improve things?

badinage Wed 06-Mar-13 01:07:23

Oh I don't mean give him any more years if he doesn't buck up. I mean that 20 year marriages are prime candidates for midlife crisis affairs and just because one hasn't happened yet, don't think it couldn't. Your husband sounds so uncannily similar to how a friend's husband used to be throughout their 22 year marriage - and yes you guessed it, he had an affair.....

I think you need to view this 'napping' in a different way. It's not necessarily about tiredness. It's about hiding. If he stays up later when neither you nor the kids are around, he gets lots of 'him time' without anyone breathing down his neck asking or expecting him to do jobs. It's a very manipulative way of carving out free time.

If that's true that he stays up late, unless he's going to give up these naps you could ask him to use the twilight hours to iron, clear out a cupboard or drawer, clean the fridge or oven; any non-noisy task will do. But generally it's far better for family life when everyone's operating to a similar bodyclock, most of the time.

Billysilly Wed 06-Mar-13 00:58:20

20 years is a lot of time.

Billysilly Wed 06-Mar-13 00:57:21

If things don't improve I would consider marriage counselling.

badinage Wed 06-Mar-13 00:57:03

No affairs yet you mean. Give it time.

Billysilly Wed 06-Mar-13 00:55:22

His dad does a fair amount of the housework now but worked away a lot when DH was growing up, so mainly DH, his mum and sibling.

No affairs, we've been together over 20 years.

crazycatlady82 Wed 06-Mar-13 00:54:07

Marriage counselling? Xx

ClippedPhoenix Wed 06-Mar-13 00:51:40

People like this don't need alternatives, they dont need to be given ultimatums that make us feel bad and act almost like them. They just need to go away.

badinage Wed 06-Mar-13 00:50:09

Aagh....not another mother being blamed for the ills of her son angry. Isn't there a dad figure that your husband modelled himself on, with predictable results?

ClippedPhoenix Wed 06-Mar-13 00:49:42

As for the nap business, why? Im with AF on this.

I have however fallen asleep on the sofa after a hard days work before bedtime very infrequently.

badinage Wed 06-Mar-13 00:48:32

does this mean that you dont ask DH to help but expect him to see what needs doing and he should get on and do it to the same standard as you do things?

Avante-garde though this concept might be, men are perfectly capable of seeing an overflowing washing basket, a dirty oven and a sink full of pots. Women aren't issued with 'special domestic eyesight' at birth.

So yes, it's quite reasonable of the OP to expect her husband to see what needs doing just as clearly as she does.

Back to the point in hand, this is human psychology 101.

When someone's entitled, selfish and highly manipulative, they will always let someone else do the jobs they don't want to and if they do grudgingly have to do something, they'll fuck it up so badly that they'll never be asked to do it again.

Worse still, if they know there'll be no consequences at all for their behaviour, they'll not only carry on, they'll get worse.

People like this are prime candidates for affairs because they feel so hard done by at the contempt and bitterness their behaviour engenders, they think they are entitled to an escape with some doozy who doesn't have to live with them and either moans about her own lazy husband or soothes his fevered brow in competition with his nasty shrew of a wife.

OP you'd be better off realising that this about respect and love. Men who are this lazy and selfish simply don't have enough respect or love for their partners.

Once that penny actually drops the pathway ahead is clearer.

So you tell him this is the conclusion you've reached. He might protest and claim otherwise but if you don't feel respected or loved enough, there's no point trying to invalidate your feelings.

Work on this a bit more because you do need to get to the point where if he doesn't show you more respect and love, you will walk. But once you threaten it, you've got to mean it.

ClippedPhoenix Wed 06-Mar-13 00:44:22

So you feel to blame then OP?

You and his mother have made him the way he is?


I'd put my money on the latter and her still having a huge influence on his behaviour. Mummy needs to butt out and her son needs to grow up.

AnyFucker Wed 06-Mar-13 00:09:09

Tell him to stop napping his life away

one of these days he will wake up from a yet another bout of ridiculously self-indulgent daytime shut-eye to find his wife gone, and he's 20 years older

fgs, these man-children do my fucking head in

how do you keep your temper and/or a straight face....never mind an ounce of respect for them ????

Billysilly Wed 06-Mar-13 00:06:22

He is a world class napper, always has been. Claims he sleeps better during the day than at night. On the whole I would prefer to sleep at night but after a bad night I would like the option of napping, instead of the assumption he will nap and I have to wait. He also often goes back to bed on a Sunday after my lie in which drives me mad as it wastes half the day.

Just spoken to him on Skype and tried the if you do this, I'll do that and he agreed without batting an eyelid. I think working on communicating my expectations might help.

I agree with the comments that I shouldn't have to explain what needs done but I and his mother to an extent have created someone who has never had to think about the running of the household and doesn't realise the amount of work it takes. I can't expect him to change overnight.

Today was a positive step anyway.

AnyFucker Tue 05-Mar-13 23:58:24

Who are all these people napping all the time ?

I napped when I had a newborn. That's what you do.

Once you are out of the sleep deprived first few weeks (or months if you are very unlucky), you grow the fuck up and participate in family life like a grown up.

Until you are about 80yo. Then you have another excuse to "nap"

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 05-Mar-13 22:41:43

I have a toddler who won't sleep. Napping is the only thing that stops me going postal. I could competitively nap if there was a team.

I do wonder if the napping is actually family life avoidance.

ClippedPhoenix Tue 05-Mar-13 22:39:01

I wonder who started this competitive napping?

I personally don't nap. If I did I wouldn't wake up again or I'd be a total pain in the arse for at least half an hour after my "nap" I also wouldn't get a good nights sleep due to pinging awake at bedtime grin

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 05-Mar-13 22:31:56

Hell no, Clipped I am not one of the 'bless him he's incapable of seeing dirt because he has a penis' brigade. I do think that taking some responsibility for your own self care is important too. As I say, it is rare that DH or I suggest naps to each other, we just nap.

ClippedPhoenix Tue 05-Mar-13 22:20:20

Forgive him because he is a man?


ClippedPhoenix Tue 05-Mar-13 22:18:31

Does she need to tell him?

I really think she doesn't.

Surely a kind and considerate person would actually know that you do things equally?

I have never got this, tell him business. Should you have to?

Should you have to tell someone that you're tired, can't they see it? and act accordingly?

It smacks of men being let off normal fundamental caring actions.

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 05-Mar-13 21:47:44

That is probably the case Clipped but a couple of things struck me in the OP.

"Examples include constantly disappearing to take naps and only suggesting I take one if he happens not to be tired, I am expected to keep on going." Why would he suggest she naps? I suggest I nap, DH suggests he naps. No one is expected to be psychic.

"While we are away he has taken a day off work because he needs time for himself. He has not thought at all about our parents going on holiday and who will look after our Dc I.e. me. My holidays are not viewed as time to recharge my batteries, only his." Seen by who? Has OP taken time off and told DH she needs some time to herself?

The money, presents and smoking OTOH sound like a selfish arse.

ClippedPhoenix Tue 05-Mar-13 20:00:10

In my experience men like this don't change. They may make an effort for short bursts at a time but they will constantly revert to their default arrogant selfish selves.

You will knock yourself out trying to "understand" and tell yourself over and over again that they aren't that bad and if you could just be better at getting across your needs blah blah blah, it will be ok.

Unfortunately, it won't. Over time you won't even know who you are anymore.

Someone in a happy fulfilling relationship would never utter "he's not that bad".

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 05-Mar-13 19:14:46

I don't feel my ExH's affair was my fault it was just an extension of his selfish me me behaviour.
I do wish I had been more assertive earlier and I feel that if we had gone to counselling with an independent third party to allow everyone to have their say it might have impressed upon him how unreasonable his behaviour was before it got to that level.

fromheretomaternity Tue 05-Mar-13 17:07:07

It does sound like you need to be more assertive about what YOU need. I'd start small rather than saying everything needs to change. So with finances - sit down, say you are concerned your finances are a mess, that you want to sort it out, and this is your proposal (eg limits on what either of you can take from joint acccount).

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 05-Mar-13 16:17:06

I'm sure he doesn't wait for you to suggest a nap or wait for you to ask how his day is. He says he is having a nap and tells you he is tired and had a rough day. Have you tried just telling him you are tired, you need a nap and could be do the dishwasher while you sleep?

The money and different standards (i.e. OK for you to share, not OK for him to share) that is much more intractable, selfish and worrying.

bingodiva Tue 05-Mar-13 15:42:04

billy you say
"Suzanne - no offence taken, I am indeed a control freak. I also hate giving others too much to do, but have high expectations of myself and how much I can do. If I can't achieve everything and very often I can't, I get frustrated and annoyed at D H for not helping. A pattern I'm remembering my parents playing out and my dad saying but she didn't tell me what to do."

does this mean that you dont ask DH to help but expect him to see what needs doing and he should get on and do it to the same standard as you do things?

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