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Really fed up with DH - mid life crisis type post - long

(355 Posts)
BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 19:08:38

So, DH has a long history of being a bit of a grumpy old sod at home more often than not when it suits him, and lying in bed at every opportunity (at the weekend it's usually more or less all morning, plus at least a 2 hour nap in the afternoons, plus slipping upstairs for a bit more of a lie down at regular intervals whenever I am not looking). I have pointed out he is doing less and less with us as a family, that we have become a very stereotypically gendered household in some respects, and that he might be depressed but he replies:

1. No he isn't, He is just tired.
2. He works hard and commutes to London (NB I also have a full time job and commute to London, he replies his commute is half an hour longer each way and I get to work from home sometimes).
3. He needs more sleep than me.
4. He does some of the washing and cooks once a week or so.
5. He earns more than me which makes his job more important to propping up the lifestyle of the family.
6. Two weekends out of three in term time he takes the older two to the local station on a Saturday morning to get the train to school (20 minutes there and back, then he goes back to bed).

(I have posted on here in the past about the rampant hypochondria linked to the lie downs, but luckily that has now diminished to more or less tolerable proportions since encouraged by MN I told him to man up and that there was nothing wrong with him, although he did strut about in front of our Christmas day guests with a thermometer thingy in his ear at one stage, so the hypochondria has obv not gone completely).

Now he lost his dad a couple of weeks ago, and the funeral was yesterday. I have been doing all the necessary propping up and wifely support that you would expect and which is only right. However his reaction to this is like an extreme version of his normal-lying-in-bed-complaining-all-the-time-not-doing-much-with-the-family. When his mum died a few years back it was also extreme. I think it's probably not an exaggeration to say that he copped out of family life for an entire year on that occasion (I remember speaking to relatives about it for advice at the time, I was so exhausted and fed up). I had five, repeat five bereavements of my own during the same period, including one of my closest, dearest relatives, but they were more or less ignored because he was so wrapped up in himself and his own grief.

I am really worried I am facing another year or so of doing all the heavy lifting for the family emotionally and domestically while he disappears into his psychological defence cave. I am not sure I have anything left to give. Over the last year or so I have felt suffocated by his moods and needs for lie downs, absolutely suffocated, and imprisoned in the house while we wait for him to wake up/get up/get dressed/get washed and join in. It's like we are all perpetually in limbo, and when we do get out, he's such a wet weekend it's no fun any more. I struggle to do the whole thing on my own as my mobility isn't the best.

He never volunteers to take the kids to the park, play with them or anything - if I don't nag him or do it myself the 3YO would basically spend all weekend indoors more or less entertaining himself, and the older ones would just sit in their rooms. He does however run around in a complete frenzy on a Sunday evening at 9pm in an attempt to find their PE kits and get them to complete their homework, at which time we are all completely frazzled frankly.

When he is at home, DH disappears off regularly and if he's not in bed, after half an hour or so he will appear and say things like 'well, I've tidied the kids's rooms/tidied our rooms/put everything away' very proudly, when the reality is that this is a 5 minute job stretched out to 30 as I have already usually spent the morning on domestic tasks, and he is actually multi tasking in the most inefficient way possible - dabbling about doing a bit of a job here, a bit of a job there, never quite finishing anything, criticising the way I organise the house. If he runs out of these pointless domestic tasks to occupy himself, that's when he goes off to lie in bed for a bit, rather than do something with the kids.

I have tried playing his lying in bed game as well, to see what happens, but basically the kids just end up rather neglected and start fighting, and he gets even grumpier.

I am really exhausted with all this. It is not what I got married for, tbh. I have just snapped at him and told him to 'see a fucking counsellor FFS' blush and while I apologised straight afterwards, he has now driven off in a sulk to get away from the house. I am not getting what I need emotionally from this marriage at the moment, at all.

Oh dear, what on earth do other people do in this situation?

AnyFucker Thu 04-Apr-13 22:35:43

christ, what a fuckwit he is

How do you stand him ?

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 22:38:08

AnyFucker, I think I am having to work that out at the moment. I was very happy before, I can't work out what happened really.

AnyFucker Thu 04-Apr-13 22:39:05

While you are working it out, he is having another kip while you run yourself ragged

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 22:41:08

He claims he is run ragged, and I am the villain of the piece if I suggest he's taking advantage.

Maybe I need to grow a pair. I don't know.

AnyFucker Thu 04-Apr-13 22:41:52

well, he would say that, wouldn't he ?

JulieCarp Thu 04-Apr-13 22:44:46

Ok am veering between anger on your behalf and wondering if he has some sort of deficiency .I dont know of any friends in 40s(guessing)that go to bed /lie in/nap all weekend.
I think he needs to see his GP and have a few tests - vit D /testosterone HB(anaemia) and take it from there.

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 22:45:47

Thinking about it, I am not even allowed to watch what TV I like. He runs through things he has recorded and eventually we always go with what he wants. I get bored and go on MN or whatever and he says the tapping on the laptop annoys him. I don't even really like watching TV, tbh.

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 22:46:05

He is mid 50s.

Tortington Thu 04-Apr-13 22:46:45

i think you need to both go to counseling.

Tortington Thu 04-Apr-13 22:46:54


BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 22:49:02

That may be so, Custardo, but at the moment I am so fed up with it all I almost don't have the energy to even ring them up.

Hassled Thu 04-Apr-13 22:50:32

His dramatics aren't really all that amateur, though, are they? He seems to have done a fairly professional job here.

Either Julie's on to something and there is actually something wrong with him, or he's doing such a number on you that you're struggling to see what's "normal" anymore. I'm sure you probably know which it is - but if you need to be sure, make that GP's appointment, go with him, list the ailments and the exhaustion and whatever else and see what comes up.

Simontowers1 Thu 04-Apr-13 22:50:46

Apart from wedge OP, what is this douche bringing to the party?

yellowhousewithareddoor Thu 04-Apr-13 22:51:38

Not sure I can help but wondering if I ought to go back to the Dr. I am almost your husband (I'm not, I'm a SAHM).

My husband is away a lot and I have 2 small children. When he comes home all I want to do is sleep. I am permanently exhausted. I feel guilty as he works such long hours and often comes home to a messy home. I'd hate for him to be thinking as above. I don't want to be like this, I want to be up swimming and out with kids and cooking more interesting things but I'm permanently exhausted and just waiting for next chance to sleep. I don't think until this thread I'd realised how bad that was. :-(

CelticPromise Thu 04-Apr-13 22:52:04

This sounds awful.

I think the bereavement thing is a red herring really. I know everyone copes differently but I lost my mum a few months ago and I have carried on doing the stuff I always do, because you have to. So have the rest of the family. He's coping with work and am dram so it's not that he can't function. As you say, you have coped with bereavement, you've had no choice!

Weekends in our house... wine and telly on a Friday night, Saturday meet friends/watch sport/take DS out. We have a lie in each. Sundays I play sports usually so DH brings DS to watch or stays at home with him. I'm better at getting us out doing things but DH isn't reluctant, just slower to get off his arse, probably because he works ft and I am mostly a SAHM. He does a fair amount of housework too.

Your H sounds like a dead weight at the moment. I hope things get better. I would be insisting on Relate and considering leaving I think.

Tortington Thu 04-Apr-13 22:55:20

i know from personal experience, that if you say something infront of a counselor in these situations - suddenly the stupidness hits you.

the stuff that you've done for years - I became embarrassed at my enabling, i know dh was embarrassed for his part.

loadsof things we all do on a daily basis and take for granted is not normal - saying it with a third party present really clarified that for me.

managing expectations is key though, i mean - some stranger can give you communication techniques, can helps some realisations but they don't fix anything.

i found it really useful just recognising how stupid i was and that actually all this 'stuff' was not how normal people acted.

and your DH ( forgive me) sounds very very strange

squalorvictoria Thu 04-Apr-13 22:55:31

Gosh, I remember one of your threads about his raging hypochondria and wondered how things were.

I really don't think he's going to change. Question is, how many more years of his selfishness are you prepared to endure?

AvrilPoisson Thu 04-Apr-13 22:56:02

Oh boffin, I'm so sorry you're going through this. I have name-changed to post, as I'm ashamed that I find myself in pretty similar circumstances, barring the bereavements. People on here think I'm so together, and such a strong supporter of equalities, but my husband behaves in a similar manner, and I have no idea what to do about it.

He does nothing within the home, though he does childcare/parenting, but only the practical stuff, feeding them breakfast, taking them to the park (obviously not recently!) supervising their play etc, none of the planning everything out, making sure it all happens type stuff (for example, he has never once in 8 years arranged childcare/after-school/holiday care for our children, nor organised their stuff for school- he wouldn't have a clue what to pack for them going back after Easter hols).

He has cleaned the loo once in the 7 years we've lived in this house, never the basin hmm He has never done any laundry- I mean honestly never put a load on in the 15 years we've had a washing machine. He rarely cooks, if he does, it's only preparing something I've previously cooked and frozen, or oven-ready type food, fish fingers and chips type thing. He doesn't menu-plan, or food shop other than essentials such as bread, milk, yoghurt- he doesn't drive so can't bring back a large shop, but he never does the online shop either. He doesn't do the school run of 4 miles, except on rare occasions when I have an early meeting; he has brought them home from school once. In short anything to do with home and children is left to me.

And the lie-ins... he will lie in bed until I get up with the children, and then stay there until I make him rise. He feels he deserves this because he'll have been up later the night before "working", however he is only working on his own 'projects', tinkering really, and that is interspersed by reading things, etc, essentially his own free time. He is a workaholic, and he does work incredibly long hours, which is how we got into this situation prior to having children, when he would work 16, 18, 20 hours a day, 7 days a week.
He will wander off in the afternoons, and I'll find him in bed 'resting his back' or his eyes hmm And he's frequently 'ill' necessitating release from childcare duties. He was very very ill with swine flu in the first wave of it, and it has had an impact on his health since, however he needs to rest-up even with colds, despite me and the children having the same cold.

I just don't know how to change things, and I don't want to LTB, as my children love him so much. If he's ever away for work (occasionally goes away for a week abroad) things are so much easier, but I do not see that life as a lone parent would be better, as I would still have to do everything.

I don't know the answer, but I just wanted you to know you're not alone. thanks

schobe Thu 04-Apr-13 22:58:41

I have PMT and this is making me enraged.

I would say do your own sleep graph and do the diary of what you do and what he does.

But then I realise that life is just too short. He would disbelieve and challenge either data set and produce his own 'evidence' that he is extraordinarily hard done by and hard-working.

Honestly, I just cannot get past the question of what grown up with children (and he has had at least one child for 15 years) thinks they can still have lie-ins past, say 9:30am, at the latest. And that's pushing one's luck and needs to be repaid with a similar chunk of time for the other parent to nap or have time to themselves later that day. I would say the same if you were a SAHM too, but he doesn't even have that as a spurious stick to beat you with.

I have posted before on threads which touch on depression (disclaimer: not bereavement though) and often been a bit flamed. I am a sufferer of depression (very serious at times) but I strongly believe that I must take full responsibility for it and it must impinge upon the emotional wellbeing of my family members as little as is humanly possible. If I'm getting too bad, I need to be told in no uncertain terms and then I need to deal with it.

If this means ADs, counselling, exercise, whatever, then I will try it as my family is actually more important to me than my illness.

AvrilPoisson Thu 04-Apr-13 22:59:52

Should have said- I work full-time btw, not a SAHM.

Charbon Thu 04-Apr-13 23:01:18

Believe me, I hear this story a lot and it's got precisely nothing to do with health (apart from unhealthy lifestyles) and more to do with an attitude of mind.

At its absolute core root is a belief that houses and families are women's work and that he as the only man, is the most important person in the household.

That's why he bores you with his sleep statistics, makes a meal of everyday work problems and feels entitled to absent himself from family work; because other people would benefit from it and not just him. The Am Dram stuff made me smile; the rapturous applause just feeds this.

AvrilPoisson Thu 04-Apr-13 23:03:10

yellow- the difference is you are working flat out, caring for 2 small children- they are very hard work. You should get your thyroid checked though, as that can cause excessive tiredness.

schobe Thu 04-Apr-13 23:06:29

Yes, the am dram thing is possibly a bit telling. He announced how thankful to you he was in front of an audience where they would all think what a great guy he was. Did he tell you that when nobody else was listening?

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 23:18:20

Interesting, no he didn't tell me that, he just announced the dates clash and I didn't get a say in what happened.

Avril, thanks for that. My DH is only doing organisational things if I insist on it, and he is starting to bring to it learned incompetence, for example he did not send the fax booking our holiday (although I made all the other arrangements) and he did not pay various bills having claimed to have lost the invoices and then forgotten. He puts it in terms of me 'forgetting' to tell him to do it.

SolidGoldBrass Thu 04-Apr-13 23:21:39

Look, it's perfectly all right to dump a man. It is not compulsory to have one in your life. If you've got one like this, throwing him out of the house means less work but you also still get money from him.

Having a man like this, self-obsessed whiny and lazy, sucks all the joy out of life for you and DC, who will be growing up aware that they 'mustn't disturb daddy' and that' Daddy is important and what he says goes.'

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