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Is my DH just thoughtless or what? Sorry long.

(84 Posts)
Moaningminny Mon 23-Sep-13 08:24:25

I know this isn't a terribly important issue compared to other threads here but I need opinions.
A bit of background- DH and I have had what you'd call a stormy marriage. I had doubts beforehand about our compatability and once we had kids things got worse in some ways mainly to do with differing styles of parenting. I stuck it out then once the DCs had left home we separated and I lived a single life for a while- to think about what I wanted for my next 30 odd years and whether DH was part of that.

DH was devastated that I may never have come back but I focused on his good points, came back and we started afresh. For a couple of years things were better and it was a sort of 'honeymoon' phase. He was thoughtful, brought me flowers and generally tried harder all round. But I set certain ground rules-my career had taken off and now that I was no longer looking after the kids too I wanted a more equal partnership with DH doing more around the house and sharing cooking etc.

I work from home for myself, so of course in between doing my work I'll do some cleaning, gardening, washing and so on. This cuts down on the work I can fit in of course and I'm only paid for what I produce. We have a very traditional set up where he comes in and finds a lovely meal on the table.

I am not happy with this and wanted some changes- I'd no longer iron his clothes but would wash them. I wanted him to make at least one dinner a week- weekends maybe- and do some housework- such as hoovering the stairs which I can't due to my back and lifting a heavy hoover.

But- here's the rub- he doesn't do any of this. I'd given him some slack recently as his mother is very ill and he's had to visit her ( long distance) so I'd managed the laundry for him.

He cuts the grass, puts out the rubbish, and that's it. I do everything else. He'll ask if there is any food we want when he goes into town at weekend. He doesn't offer to shop for and cook dinner.

I am getting increasingly angry with him, and the fact he is really untidy
doesn't help. A tiny example is he uses my shampoo which I keep in a cupboard in the bathroom. I always put it back after I've used it because there are too many bottles etc on the bath already and I have to move them when I clean the bath. Every single time- daily- he uses the shampoo he leaves it out. I remind him daily- he says he forgets.

We have ' the chat' about why I wasn't happy before and he promises to change.

If he read this he'd be shocked because he seems to think he is a good DH. They say divorces can happen over who left the top of the toothpaste and this is what I'm describing almost. I just can't see why an intelligent man gets it so wrong.

I know people might say just stop cooking - he's just make himself beans on toast- he wouldn't cook for me. I don't want a cleaner- there is no need with just 2 of us at home. But he's completely opted out- again- of anything at home.

AnyFucker Mon 23-Sep-13 10:08:03

arse as you have been told before, if you want to help the op and think she is being given bum advice direct your comments to her and counter it with what you feel is appropriate, rather than name checking others in a derogatory fashion

it's how a site like this works, and prevents petty arguments between posters that usually end up derailing a thread

it's basic stuff, mate, but you don't seem to get it

FobblyWoof Mon 23-Sep-13 10:13:36

I think the shampoo bottle is important because it's so trivial. It's such a simple thing with such a simple solution that it makes you question why he can't just put it away. This wouldn't be such an issue if it was occasionally, but it's everyday and does kind of prove he's not listening to you/dismissing your feelings. It would piss me off too, tbh.

Dahlen Mon 23-Sep-13 10:18:40

I think you need to read this book.

Housework is not trivial. Women (who do the vast majority of it) have been conditioned to think that complaining about it makes them petty. It doesn't.

It's not about the shampoo bottle, which is just an example. If that was the sum total of the DH's lack of contribution, of course the OP would be bonkers to get so uptight over it. But it's not. This is a man who doesn't have to go shopping, never cooks, never cleans or tidies, has his clothes washed for him and in return all he has to do is put the bins out once a week, cut the grass in the summer and the odd bit of DIY/car maintenance. There is a massive disparity in hours and effort.

The shopping is a particular bugbear. It's not just the time and effort to do the shopping, it's the planning involved beforehand - what you need for each meal, what you need to restock because you're running out of. I bet the DH doesn't even notice if that shampoo he's so fond of using, for example, is the last one in the cupboard.

I'm not at all surprised the OP feels taken for granted. I would too.

The thing is, even in 2013, it appears that women still do 80% of the domestic work even in households where both partners work full time. It's so bloody 'normal', nobody thinks to question it. But once someone has noticed the unfairness and tried to implement change, ignorance is no longer an excuse. If the DH did the vacuuming unbidden, cooked twice a week and alternated weeks doing the shopping, the shampoo bottle would cease to be an issue I'm pretty sure. This isn't about a difference in tidiness levels; it's about pulling your weight. The fact that the DH has changed nothing about his behaviour says a lot about what he feels he should have to do and how much he cares about his wife's feelings.

Twinklestein Mon 23-Sep-13 10:25:21

The shampoo bottle is symbolic of the fact that he committed to sharing cooking & housework & didn't follow through. The OP wants an 'equal partnership' but she's not got it. That was the basis of recommitment, so the terms have been broken.

Personally first I would insist on a cleaner, if you have health issues and housework is also impinging on the amount you can work & you want to earn more, that's fair enough. But even then you still have unequal division of labour because he won't be doing any cooking.

I would spell it out: 50:50 division of labour or you will have to reconsider your 'fresh start'.

Twinklestein Mon 23-Sep-13 10:26:03

xpost with Dahlen - agreed.

bonzo77 Mon 23-Sep-13 10:30:15

Following this thread with interest... I see myself so much in the OP. And my DH in hers. Only we are only 5 years into our marriage. I can't decide if the OP is being unfair or totally reasonable! Sorry. Not helpful! Going to get that book though.

arsenaltilidie Mon 23-Sep-13 10:33:38

AF 'as you have been told before'... told by who? Anyway did you even read the rest of my post

If cleaning is an issue then get a cleaner or relax the rules a bit.
As for the cooking, she doesnt have to.
DH does everything she asks without question but its just the cleaning thats an issue.
On the other hand, the OP sounds controlling with the 'approve', the shoes and the shampoo.

motherinferior Mon 23-Sep-13 10:37:55

Totally agree that housework isn't trivial.

Twinklestein Mon 23-Sep-13 10:41:13

The cleaning is an issue arsenal because the H doesn't do any.
If the OP stops cooking for him, she says he won't cook for her.
So what - they each make their own beans on toast? That's hardly a relationship.

Leaving stuff around the house that someone else has to put away is lazy and childish.

AnyFucker Mon 23-Sep-13 10:41:51

Housework is only "trivial" to those who take no responsibility for it, and believe it is their right for others to do it for them

Getting a cleaner just further lets a lazy partner off the hook. If you have separate finances, however, that could work. Using joint family money to pay someone else to do what he sees as beneath him, is an absolute piss take.

anon2013 Mon 23-Sep-13 10:46:01

Get DH to pay for a cleaner a couple of hours a week if he doesn't have the time/nature to do it. We had a problem similar to yours (I do everything) and we have a cleaner who does a couple of hours a week.

Twinklestein Mon 23-Sep-13 10:46:13

I totally agree that a cleaner fudges the issue, but as the OP doesn't really want a divorce, it's an obvious compromise. Absolutely he should be contributing a minimum of half the cost.

Twinklestein Mon 23-Sep-13 10:46:53

Prem post - and personally I think he should pay the full cost.

anon2013 Mon 23-Sep-13 10:49:23

Mine pays the full cost

TheBadCat Mon 23-Sep-13 11:09:30

I wonder what you are actually looking for with this thread OP? Rereading your OP, I can't see that you're actually asking anything. Do you want to know how others have dealt with a similar DH? Are you trying to consider whether your behaviour could change to improve the situation? Do you want to be told that you should stick it out? Or that you should leave?

It sounds like you actually know what you want to do here, but you are worried about leaving your husband over matters which might be perceived by others as trivial. It seems like you're looking for 'permission' here that your reasons are valid enough.

The truth is that if the reasons are valid to you then that is enough on its own.

JohnnyUtah Mon 23-Sep-13 11:19:22

You can't impose your own standards of tidiness on another adult in their own home if they ar every high and yiu dint both agree on it. I know, because Ihave tried. It just leads to resentment and I have had to stop. There are already bottles on the bath, what difference does one more (and one that is in daily use!) make??

JohnnyUtah Mon 23-Sep-13 11:19:53

Having said that, he needs to cook at least one dinner at the weekend.

Moaningminny Mon 23-Sep-13 11:22:55

Dahlen You've hit the nail on the head.

FWIW I don't want a cleaner. Neither are we in a position to pay £80- £100 a month for cleaning. I am happy to do some cleaning- 60-70% given I work fewer hours. I am not happy to do 100% PLUS the thinking about what we eat, finding time to shop ( in person or online) and then cooking it. It's not that I can't do any of this or have poor time management.

You are right that it's not about the shampoo- but to nit pick further it's my shampoo which I bought as a change, and it cost a lot, DH wanted to try it for his itchy scalp and of course I am happy to share. I keep it in a cupboard because the tray at the corner of the bath is full. Out of respect if someone uses something of yours then they should put it back where they found it. It's trivial. Yes 100% trivial. But it's symbolic of someone who behaves as if their behaviour has no bearing on other people. If DH did 50 % of housework, shopped, cooked, did his laundry, I'd overlook the shampoo - it's the proverbial straw and camel.

Lweji Mon 23-Sep-13 11:23:39

Ok, how about the reverse?

The husband could get angry that he has to take the shampoo bottle (why is it yours if he uses it every day?) out of a cupboard every day.
I would.

And he could get annoyed that he has to put his everyday shoes away every time.

I understand your problem with the increased work, but that's where he comes in. Hoovering and cleaning the bathroom could become his chores. And not go to the gym until they are done (it is good exercise anyway). Or he should pay for a cleaner.

I would spell it out: 50:50 division of labour or you will have to reconsider your 'fresh start'.

I just wouldn't get bogged down on shampoo bottles or shoes, but the bigger picture, which is who does the cleaning and other major chores at home.

Twinklestein Mon 23-Sep-13 11:24:33

But it's ok for the H to impose his own standards of tidiness...

At least one dinner eh?

Twinklestein Mon 23-Sep-13 11:25:19

Response to JohnnyUtah ^^

Moaningminny Mon 23-Sep-13 11:30:46

I feel it's getting bonkers me droning on about the blardy shampoo.
It's mine cos I bought it for me with matching conditioner! We don't share toiletries. Out of choice. DH likes 'his' brands, I like mine. He asked if he could try it ( and now uses it every day compared to my use of once every 3rd day.) Sure, I said , no problem. Just pop it back in the cupboard please. But he won't.

It's not about bloody shampoo- it's about me being a full time housekeeper and him messing it all up like an overgrown kid and contributing nothing after being desperate for me to come back after leaving him.

I thought that was obvious.

Lweji Mon 23-Sep-13 11:37:19

* it's about me being a full time housekeeper and him messing it all up like an overgrown kid and contributing nothing after being desperate for me to come back after leaving him.*

Yes, it is obvious, so not sure why you were complaining about shoes and shampoo. And apparently lose your rag with him over them.

Confront him about the major things.

More to the point, you gave him the opportunity, which he has missed. I think the decision should be obvious. Sorry. sad

snowqu33n Mon 23-Sep-13 11:41:45

Can't you get a blackboard and write on it each day what you want him to do that day? Like, Monday, vacuum stairs. Tuesday, decide Sunday lunch menu and write shopping list, check cupboard and bathroom to see if anything is running low. Wednesday, clean bathroom. Etc. Write what you are going to do on the board, too so he can see how it balances. He should cross the task off when it is done. If it isn't done, write it under the next days task.
Some guys have a housework 'blindness' where they can't see what needs doing and they don't know when or how to start. They love to do a grand gesture like buying flowers once in a while, but they can't get their heads around the day-to-day unending repetition that is the running of a household.
Set him tasks and show him how to do them. Many men his age were not trained by their mother how to mop a floor and don't know where to start. Show him what cloth to use for what. If he is the one cleaning the floor, he will move his own shoes.
Finally, don't expect him to do the tasks to the standard you would, especially at first. Praise any effort.
It sometimes seems like a man will do a household chore almost deliberately badly in order that you will let them off doing it again. Praise his effort and tell him he'll probably get better at it with a bit of practice and that any skill takes time to learn.
It takes at least 4 weeks to establish any habit.
If you really can't stand the way he does a particular task, take it off his list but substitute with something like polishing your shoes, any task you can think of. Be very specific about each task and when you want it done. Give him some say over who does which task. If there are tasks neither of you want to do, then outsource it to a gardener or cleaner. I used to get someone to pick up my ironing and bring it back done. There are lots of services available now. Maybe he could do the shopping online during his lunch-break at work and have it delivered.

If you both complete all your tasks for the week, then reward yourselves with a romantic meal out or takeaway instead of staying home to cook.

Dahlen Mon 23-Sep-13 11:53:13

I wouldn't go down the wihteboard route personally, though I think for a lot of people who don't want to get into a confrontation, the idea is very appealing. It could work for a teenager or a newly-wed couple, but not a grown man. The trouble is that it infantilises the person who is supposed to be following the instructions.

If the DH is an otherwise responsible adult who manages to hold down a job, undergo work-based training, and follow objectives, he is capable of working out how to contribute to the smooth-running of the household for himself. He is just choosing not to.

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