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How do you make little daily decisions without controlling or being controlled by a partner?

(130 Posts)
Contemplates Tue 18-Feb-14 22:56:19

Not huge decisions like where to live or which car to buy, but little things like where to keep the house plants.

I have a problem with my husband always moving things around (and he feels the same way about me).

Today we discussed whether to keep recipe books in the kitchen or the lounge shelves. I've put up with the books in the kitchen for about 2 years and they get used probably annually. But today I moved things off the windowsill and it was so lovely to see some space! When I mentioned the idea of moving the books back to the lounge I got a sharp "no!" and so if I really want to I clearly will have to do it by stealth (he won't bother to change it for a while and might even forget).

But I don't want to control him and don't want to be controlled by him! I just wish he didn't want to live in such a mess and expect me to as well.

Whenever I've talked to him and explained this, he's got a bit huffy and said he shouldn't have to do what I want. I return that idea back at him but he then gets huffy and seems to think its all one sided, and won't look at it reasonably.

So mumsnetters - do you have the same sort if skirmishes over silly little things and how do you decide who fairly 'wins'?

meringuesnowflakes33 Tue 18-Feb-14 22:57:52

No. DP has no interest in such things so I take all the decisions smile

justmuddlingalong Tue 18-Feb-14 22:58:35

How the hell do you both cope with the huge decisions?

sooperdooper Tue 18-Feb-14 23:00:22

I normally just do stuff and DH either doesn't notice or just nods, stuff like that doesn't need discussion surely?

YoureBeingASillyBilly Tue 18-Feb-14 23:01:50

Oh lord! I cant imagine 'where to keep the cookery books' ever being something i cared enough to argue about. That just seems so petty tbh.

Contemplates Tue 18-Feb-14 23:03:59

Funnily enough we agree on the big things a bit more. We hoes our car together and get round holidays by hosing a week each every year. We have a golden rule that we can't complain about each other's choice - but you see that was an outsiders idea and not mine, so he's more open to that!

It's the little every day things that are a problem and unfortunately he like so be involved with the little things but funnily enough only when it's decision making and never when it's housework haha shock

We can't move house as we can't afford to (but I'd quite like to).

Contemplates Tue 18-Feb-14 23:04:53

Those with partners they don't 'bother' don't know how lucky you are!

Contemplates Tue 18-Feb-14 23:07:23

Sillybilly - I agree it's petty. But when you stack it up with a bunch of others like it, it becomes a problem. Like I said I don't want to control or be controlled.

We discussed the cookery books as I know that if I just moved them he would have a hissy fit because he put them there 2 years ago. Or worse, we would fill the space with some other crap item he thinks suitable!

2rebecca Tue 18-Feb-14 23:10:00

Agree that I suspect in many couples one or both aren't that bothered about some stuff. My husband likes to be involved in interior decor stuff but prefers it if I just presnt him with a choice of a few wall paper or paint designs I like and we discuss the final selection together. We buy furniture together.
We don't shift stuff around the house without discussing it, maninly because we both work and have enough to do. I wouldn't want the recipe books in the sitting room though, I've always kept them in or near the kitchen.
It sounds as though you have to start making decisions (or compromises) on where to keep things and sticking to them rather than sneakily moving things around, he gets his way on some items, you get your way on others.
Stop playing games with the stuff.

Bluesandgreen Tue 18-Feb-14 23:11:20

Im not sure disagreements over that kind of thing count as controlling or being controlled. Both DH and I have differing opinion on all sorts of things, small and big, sometimes he gets his way, sometimes I get mine.

phoolani Tue 18-Feb-14 23:11:50

DP and I have a similar issue, not just with where to put house plants but extending to which house plants to buy ( 'those are beautiful!' 'Those are disgusting') and extending to everything, leading to everything being nothing either of us liked much. So when we bought our new house, we divided it. In my rooms I get to choose furniture, wallpaper, layout of plants, everything, and he gets the same in his rooms. Oddly, it's actually working pretty well 18 months in!

Benzalkonium Tue 18-Feb-14 23:15:12

Hmmm. Perhaps your fear of controlling behavior stems from more than 'the small stuff'

Contemplates Tue 18-Feb-14 23:16:44

Not sure what you mean Benzalkonium?

Offred Tue 18-Feb-14 23:18:05

Usually these things are not such hard work because in most relationships that are significant enough to be sharing a living space you are able to listen to each's reason's and make the fairest decision. However I can't imagine ever sticking with a relationship where I had to get others to mediate because my partner wouldn't listen to me or where we had to each choose our own holiday and have rules about going on it and not complaining or where cooking books and where they are stored is such a bone of contention! Sounds really hard work! What could you possibly get out of a relationship like this? What could make up for such unnecessary stress? What a waste of both your time and energy these silly things are!

YoureBeingASillyBilly Tue 18-Feb-14 23:24:25

How does he feel about compromising on the small stuff like he has on the big stuff?

Like selecting 2/3 books he reckons he will use the most to stay in the kitchen and the rest go in the lounge.

Fairylea Tue 18-Feb-14 23:30:32

We never argue over things like that.. I'm a sahm and dh works 50 hours a week. He couldn't care less what the house looks like or where I put things as long as he has clean pants and a cup of tea! I'd hate to be with someone who had an opinion about where I put things. I see the house as MINE!

dh will do diy with instructions smile

Things we argue about are more likely to be family related. Like my mum's pissed him off or we disagree over the way to handle a family dispute... even then it's very rare we argue.

Contemplates Wed 19-Feb-14 00:01:35

I suppose he likes to have the house how HE likes it. He takes an interest in that sense, but not in the hard slog upkeep, from a housekeeping point of view.

Benzalkonium Wed 19-Feb-14 00:02:08

Contemplates, I mean that I don't understand why you are worrying about where the books go as an instance of controlling behaviour. Where the books go is about listening, respecting others' opinion and compromising. If you feel These small things are a power struggle, then I am suggesting you think about control in the context of more significant things.

The fact that he is more open to ideas if an outsider suggests them would annoy me too.

Who wins? Nobody ever wins if you feel like it is a competition for who gets their own way.

Benzalkonium Wed 19-Feb-14 00:05:11

He likes the house a certain way, but you have to do the housework to keep it that way? that is controlling behaviour.

Offred Wed 19-Feb-14 00:05:44

So he wants you to do all the work in the way that he wants it done and will not tolerate anything else without getting angry? :/

Contemplates Wed 19-Feb-14 00:08:52

I don't see it as a power struggle. Or at least I didn't until he seemed to think I was trying to control by being the lady of the house.

Then I got to thinking how that he might be trying to control me with his accusations.

But I hate to be controlled so of course I am keen to make sure I am not controlling someone else.

And that's why I am finding it hard to put up with the daily grind of things how he likes them. So for example my kitchen windowsill is full of books, plants that don't fit as they're too big, 2 watering cans, salt and pepper shakers etc. basically a lot of stuff that doesn't fit/belong there.

I've moved the watering cans for example, explaining nicely when he argued, but they just got put right back.

So I feel like I live in a tip a lot of the time and am trying to find my way through nicely.

Contemplates Wed 19-Feb-14 00:11:08

Trouble is I am SAHM and he works full time. So he's got me over a barrel really re the housework.

Plus he argues that I'm being fussy that the bed needs changing or the floor mopping. I have to keep saying it's not MY standards, it's normal expectation and other people are the same as me.

AnyFuckerHQ Wed 19-Feb-14 00:15:35

Bloody hell, your relationship sounds exhausting

Contemplates Wed 19-Feb-14 00:16:01

grin YeAh

Offred Wed 19-Feb-14 00:17:13

It sounds abusive tbh.

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