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what can I do now?

(27 Posts)
chocoluvva Mon 14-Apr-14 22:56:00

Background - DD (17.5) asked me if she could stay home while we (and DS) are away for four nights. I said probably okay, but run it past DH when he got back. DH said out of the question - and "that's an end to it".

DD and I tried to persuade him to change his mind this afternoon. Admittedly, partly because I felt annoyed with him for refusing to discuss it. Partly, because he leaves most of the parenting to me - sometimes he will take a call from DD asking if she can stay out overnight, for example and he'll say to her, 'I'll ask mum, Chocoluvva, can DD stay overnight?" He tends to sit around ignoring me and the DC. He doesn't tell DS (15) to go to bed ever, ask about homework, ask what he's been up to etc

I should have told DD that I would discuss it with DH before getting her hopes up. She herself wasn't desperate to stay home. Though that changed once she thought it was a real possibility and she had thought about it more. She has explained her detailed plans - out at a party one night, out at friend's another night, 5 friends round one night, boyfriend round one or two nights. We know the friends and BF well. BF stays over here sometimes.

I understand DH's views - possible damage to house/possible trouble. I trust DD to be sensible - he doesn't - he informed me and her.

However, when DD asked him again today, as she feared, he got angry immediately, shouted, said I was an idiot and a moron and stormed off to the corner shop banging the door. He was soon back and refused to apologise for calling me an idiot and a moron as I was "an idiot and a moron" and now he not only didn't trust DD but he didn't trust me either as DD had clearly "manipulated me". To explain, we both used to marvel at other people letting their teens stay home alone, but now having experienced DD going to friends parties while their parents are away with no adverse consequences and DD being used to going out drinking and seemingly sensible (on the whole - she is still quite giggly and shy, still has quite an immature outlook on certain things) I have changed my mind. DD said she was wanting "cheap thrills".

I have said as little as possible to him since then without being too obvious in front of the children. I really really want an apology, but I don't know if one will come. It's not his style. I don't call him names.

Where to go from here? Sorry for the long post.

kalidanger Tue 15-Apr-14 08:00:19

Sorry you didn't get any replies and are currently stuck with me (child free!) but.... His reaction sounds out of proportion, and also sounds unusual. Is anything else going on in your relationship? Has be been behaving differently in general and has used this 'incident' as something to get angry about, when actually it's not about this at all?

Calling you names and not apologising has nothing to do with your DD's request, has it? Or is this a pattern?

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 15-Apr-14 08:23:30

Is this a typical example of how you normally resolve differences of opinion or is this totally out of character?

chocoluvva Tue 15-Apr-14 10:46:51

We rarely argue - not that this was an argument. He never inititates discussions. But name-calling is rare.

I was annoyed with him about something a few months ago and was hurt when he wouldn't discuss it. I tried to but he just said 'yada, yada yada' me and refused to apologise for that too.

I don't think he is happy. He finds his work stressful and feels "trapped" by having a final salary scheme. I've suggested he look at doing something else but he won't. He does nothing to deal with the stress - no exercise or outside hobby - except for occasional hobby weekend events. He eats very unhealthily - if I put a bowl of salad out on the table he'll have one lettuce leaf and one slice of cucumber. He is very overweight. He spends almost all his free time in front of a screen, sometimes reading about a specialist interest, often playing video games or watching tv.

I never ever nag him about this - or anything. Once DD asked him if he'd consider a diet and he just said he didn't think he'd manage.

Six months ago he was particularly withdrawn and snappy. I managed to drag out of him that he was worried about an ongoing work project. It finished a few weeks ago. Once he got going he talked about it at great length. I was sympathetic and supportive. However, in recent years I've come to realise that he has a jaundiced view of life - he advised DD that no well paid job is enjoyable or without a lot of stresses so she might as well pursue her ambition of doing training in a very competitive field with little job security. (which is fine by me - I wouldn't try to influence her though) I wonder - but wouldn't say if his feeling of being hard done by in general affects the way he deals with things at work, but I would never suggest that. And I only do very part time work, which I enjoy as I have chronic, though mild health problems.

He is famously uncommunicative - other people have commented on it. But he can be very witty and funny.

Recently, when both DC were out at dinnertime he came home to a dinner I'd made for us, didn't fancy it so cooked himself something different. Then he ate it on the sofa, despite me having set the table for the two of us, as usual.

I find him very hard going.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 15-Apr-14 11:23:11

Then I think you have to have a conversation with him. Tell him the behaviour was unacceptable and that you want an apology but also that you're conscious his outlook on life is becoming increasingly miserable and that he's more withdrawn. Frame it that, if he has a specific problem, you're willing to help provided he tells you what it is but that, if he chooses to say nothing, going around like a bear with a sore head (or stunts like eating dinner in isolation) will not be tolerated.

Hissy Tue 15-Apr-14 11:39:35

That dinner thing was fucking awful! How hurtful!

I think a serious chat is in order, and one where you make It clear that you won't tolerate being called such vile and abusive names.

If it were me, i'd veto the groups of people coming over to the house when I was gone. I'd possibly not be overly comfy with the boyf sleepovers either, but my ds is shedloads younger than your dd, so i'm not at that stage yet.

What you feel is appropriate should be what happens. If he's not an active participant in the parenting, I fail to see where he suddenly gets to chip in equally. That would piss me off no end.

But that's also because my DS dad has never lifted a finger and isn't involved at all in our lives. He once tried to make a comment, but bearing his leaving it all to me up till then, I told him his opinion didn't count.

When he pulls his weight he would be considered for equal say. Until then, as the one who is the main care giver, my say is what goes.

chocoluvva Tue 15-Apr-14 11:53:12

Thank you for your replies.

Hissy - on a poor day I feel annoyed that DH who not only doesn't do much by way of tell DS to go to bed, ask if he has homework, keep tabs on where he is (or sometimes even if the DC are in or out) but can be undermining - "DSH would you like to watch this film with me?" me, "It's a bit late" the film starts at 9pm and it's a school night, DH - "aww, Mum says you can't DS" etc. then just weighs in with no discussion whatsoever and was very angry at being asked, nicely to discuss the situation. But it's house too etc

Cogito - how do I manage to "not tolerate" his behaviour. At the moment he is acting as if nothing has happened, oblivious to my speaking to him minimally.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 15-Apr-14 12:07:44

'Not tolerate' means that you have to provide consequences to actions you don't like. What that might be is entirely up to you but, for it to be effective and taken seriously, it has to matter to him and you have to be prepared to follow through.

chocoluvva Tue 15-Apr-14 12:10:51

Any suggestions?

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 15-Apr-14 12:20:02

It depends on what you want. If recent events are making you question the whole future of the relationship, that might be a pretty big consequence to put in front of him. If better communication or dispute resolution is your priority you could say that, if you can't work out a way to manage things yourselves, the consequence could be referring yourself to counsellors.

borisgudanov Tue 15-Apr-14 12:28:37

I would let her stay on the house. Him on the other hand I would put out on his arse.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 15-Apr-14 12:32:26

I don't know how your PILs treated DH when he was growing up but I found I had to adjust my thinking when I had my own DCs, not to be "cool" but just making allowances for the times.

We didn't want to suffocate our DCs with rules for the sake of it but tried to gauge how ready they were to handle each new stage. There are chapters or rites of passage and of course we all feel apprehensive. But taking reasonable precautions and of course sticking to any consequences when they overstep boundaries is better ime than tyrannically dictating what goes on and then seeing them go wild the first chance of freedom they get later on.

Arguably if you have both made a good job of raising your DCs the question of trust shouldn't arise. After all DD would be stupid to jeopardise any gradual lifting of restrictions by immediately overstepping the mark wouldn't she.

The word your H has avoided by stamping on any debate is 'compromise', finding a middle ground.

As to the other issue, his use of words like idiot and moron, shouting you down, I think that's actually a bigger deal for me than the original issue.

When is this 4 night trip, the Easter weekend? I would seriously weigh up the pros and cons of going away with him in this frame of mind.

And talking of weight, letting rage get the better of him in a family discussion is a disgraceful example to set DCs, his extra weight has clearly affected his bp, when did he last get his checked.

chocoluvva Tue 15-Apr-14 15:06:55

I would love to go to a counsellor, but I can't imagine him agreeing to it.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 15-Apr-14 15:14:57

Then that's not a suitable consequence. You've got to find something that hits home. That may sound like I'm proposing you threaten him but it's more about asserting yourself, setting boundaries and showing someone how the future looks if they don't even attempt to reform. Right now he's complacent. Whatever he does, however he behaves, good old chocoluvva will be there regardless & things will carry on as normal. That complacency needs rattling a little

Hissy Tue 15-Apr-14 16:12:35

That's crap chocco! not only is he doing sweet FA, being out and out rude wrt the food/dinner etc (I'd never sodding cook for him again after that tbh), but he is also undermining you AND making YOU out to be the shit parent by making you the bad guy.

I think it's time to bring him up short and tell him to shape up (potentially in more ways than one) or ship out.

He's not taking you seriously, isn't engaged at all in the harmony/growth of the family, and ultimately only looks to want his own needs met.

Calling names, undermining parenting exactly as you describe, being disrespectful and rude, refusing the food and making an issue, refusing to allow you to do a good/nice thing, ruining your happiness are all traits you find in dysfunctional/abusive relationships.

I'm not saying he is abusive, but his behaviour is designed to wear you down and control every little aspect of your life and that of your DC.

That's unsustainable. What are your immediate thoughts when you think about the fact that when your kids are a bit older, they'll move out and you will be living alone with him?

chocoluvva Tue 15-Apr-14 16:50:22

He thinks things will be better when the DC have left. I think I'll be lonely.

Several members of his family have aspergers....

What I find most difficult is the thought that he probably never ever thinks about our relationship. He claims that he goes to work for me and the DC, but doesn't it go without saying that people work? What's the alternative - foraging for nuts and berries and living in a cave? He left a lower paid job that he loved after we had DC1. But he might have come to want a change anyway....

In many ways he's very easy going. Didn't bat an eyelid when I ran into another car. Until recently when the recession started to affect us he wouldn't bat an eyelid at me buying anything. Not that I made extravagant purchases but still.

He felt I was undermining him..... and tbh there are times when I should consult him and I don't think to. Eg DD unexpectedly brought her BF home last night at 11pm for a cuppa. They hadn't planned this. Then she asked if he could stay over (he sometimes does) and without asking DH I automatically said yes.

He barely speaks to DD's BF - not her first BF btw - I don't think he likes him. We met his parents at a school thing and walked back to our cars together, except that DH didn't talk to them and went on ahead for no particular reason. DD was embarrassed.

Hissy Tue 15-Apr-14 17:27:24

In many ways he's very easy going. Didn't bat an eyelid when I ran into another car. Until recently when the recession started to affect us he wouldn't bat an eyelid at me buying anything.

Apparently, that's NORMAL not to bat an eyelid. it's called allowing your partner the responsibility of an adult. Personally I'm not an expert on this, as my DS dad was abusive, but he would go batshit about stuff I didn't think was a big issues, but be perfectly OK when I was shaking with fear that he'd kick off over another.

Your H is rude. either that or as you say he has social issues. I don't think you will be lonely when your DC leave home. I reckon you will be murderous

Hissy Tue 15-Apr-14 17:28:18

You need to work out how much of this situation you can change, and if you can't whether you really want to live like that for the rest of your life.

You can't possibly be happy like this. what do you get out of this relationship?

Vivacia Tue 15-Apr-14 18:11:09

I think he's right about not leaving your DD at home, but everything about his behaviour is awful. I agree with Cog and wouldn't accept this.

chocoluvva Tue 15-Apr-14 19:47:37

Thank you. How not to accept it without issuing serious ultimatums?

Or giving him the benefit of the doubt re aspergers and trying to accept him the way he is.

Hissy Tue 15-Apr-14 20:02:12

The aspergers is a real consideration. How on earth does one go about getting that confirmed?

And then, as you say, what to do.

Perhaps if you sought counselling for yourself, it might help you feel less alone, and better able to see how you could develop coping strategies (if that is even the correct way forward)

chocoluvva Tue 15-Apr-14 20:25:48

I'd be amazed if he doesn't have aspergers - DS has it mildly, 3 out of the 4 cousins have it and the family are sure his DM has it. DH and his DM don't see that there is a problem though.

His DM is a difficult person too.

I have my foibles too, but I think I'm aware of them and often apologise - anxiety and a tendency to obsess about stuff then rant about it. I used to shout at the DC but I managed to stop that two years ago. I am much more laid back than I used to be.

I can't imagine how DH would learn to be more communicative or sociable.

Vivacia Tue 15-Apr-14 22:12:08

What would be bad about issuing serious ultimatums?

chocoluvva Wed 16-Apr-14 10:07:48

What would be bad about issuing serious ultimatums?

He would see it as 'making threats'

I can't afford to be divorced.

I don't feel I have the energy.

But I'll have to speak to him today. He's acting as if nothing has happened. If he feels guilty he's not showing it - he hasn't been doing anything useful round the house for example.

Vivacia Wed 16-Apr-14 21:10:56

Reading about how you live your life, I'm left wondering how you can afford not to divorce him. It would my drain my energy and happiness.

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