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Is this reasonable?

(28 Posts)
walkingonwater Mon 03-Nov-14 09:22:56

How would you feel about this?
I am resenting the amount of time DH devotes to himself but need some perspective. To give you some background, the last few years have been a bit stormy since the kids left home and I've seriously thought about leaving for many reasons. DH is adamant he doesn't want this and I believe him. However he seems unable to change his behaviour - he's a little OCD about things ( routines and unable to change behaviour) and on the Aspergers scale is not Aspie BUT he's pretty near the top of the 'normal range.

My grievances are that at home we have a huge backlog of things that need doing to the house including basics like sorting our paperwork and even him adding up his savings; he doesn't know how much he has ( just a rough guess) whereas all my savings are listed and sorted in a folder. I have told him many times that if he fell under a bus, I'd not know where half our money was as he has several accounts - the paperwork is here but not filed so it's clear.

Anyway- I digress.
At weekends because he wants to keep fit, he goes to the gym on a Sat and Sunday morning, has a wander round the town afterwards and a coffee and comes home about midday. Meanwhile I am usually changing beds and sorting things out at home.

He does say that if I want to do something he will forgo the gym.

My point is that this leaves us with hardly any time either as a couple, or to do things on the house. We have a backlog of decorating.

He doesn't seem organised enough to get to the gym after work, and he's also been away lately for 2 nights / 3 days every week with his job when he usually uses the gym at the hotel.

My resentment is that he seems unable to invest in our relationship- whether it's working on the house, managing his side of the paperwork or taking any responsibility for food. We agreed that he'd cook ( and shop for) one meal at a weekend and this doesn't happen. He asks me 'what are we going to have?' rather than buying something and cooking it.

Any ideas?

bitofanoddone Mon 03-Nov-14 09:28:14

Why on earth do you cook for him? Just go out and say you'll be back in time for dinner...

What are your interests? Why are you doing all the housework on weekends?

walkingonwater Mon 03-Nov-14 09:34:01

I work from - mainly but not exclusively- from home part time running a business. I've always done the bulk of the housework but started to put my foot down once the kids left home and my working hours increased ( due to my own efforts.) I tend to see my girlfriends for lunch etc during weekdays and I never go out at night and don't have any friends I could do this with anyway- they are all home birds, looking after their own kids or live too far away.
DH puts out the rubbish, does heavy work in the garden when needed, and loads / unloads the dishwasher. A major change for us has been him tidying the kitchen each morning ( loading dishes from the night before) rather than walking out to the gym and leaving it all for me. He does no housework at all except hoover the stairs because I've insisted as I can't carry a heavy hoover due to an op I had.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 03-Nov-14 09:39:02

I'd tackle the tasks in the first instance. If the paperwork needs doing, pin him down, book 'doing the paperwork' in the diary for Saturday/Sunday, get his agreement and then the gym has to wait.

Spending more time together should ideally be something he wants to do voluntarily without being manoeuvred into it. If you organised things to do together at the weekends would he participate happily or be annoyed that he couldn't go to the gym?

walkingonwater Mon 03-Nov-14 09:49:23

He would do things happily if suggested.I think the way to describe it is that I feel I get the dregs of his energy and time. He has a demanding job, which includes travel most weeks (UK) and overseas now and then. When the DCs were younger we had a trad marriage with me working p/t and him earning 10x as much as me. Now I've started working more - am s/e - and expect him to adjust.

He is dyslexic and finds organising his own time and life quite hard-and has a poor memory- though at work he is brilliant but that's because there are clear boundaries, work is timetabled, there are timescales and he's a manager so he calls the shots.

I get what's left of his time and energy. A few weeks ago I wrote him a long letter- rather than a rant- saying what I expected if we were to move forward and how unhappy I was. I pointed out that when we married I'd relocated, I'd changed jobs, I'd had to retrain and give up my profession due to a chronic health issue which still impinges on my life, that I've now carved out a relatively successful career again BUT he's worked for the same company since he left uni and had the constancy of me and my support all that time.

He is quite capable of cooking himself beans on toast or an omelette so he wouldn't starve if I wasn't here- but it's his total lack of connection with what I want - despite being asked- that is driving me insane.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 03-Nov-14 09:51:50

Sounds like you want very different things - you're asking him to make fundamental changes to how his life works and he might not be able to

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 03-Nov-14 09:52:41

How long have you been together and what kind of ages are you? I ask because, if you've had a long history of running things a particular way and got into bad habits like you doing all the domestic stuff or him disengaging at the weekends, adjustment is going to be really difficult to achieve and may require some outside intervention.

How would you feel about couples counselling?

walkingonwater Mon 03-Nov-14 09:54:07

So are you saying he can't change his behaviour ? I just want a marriage where we are more equal and not me still doing so much in the house - and him living like a single man some of the time.

walkingonwater Mon 03-Nov-14 09:57:10

We've been married 30 years and are late 50s.
I had counselling on my own and was trying to decide whether to leave. I chose to give it another go partly due to finances- I don't earn enough to live on- and am probably too old now to be employed in my former career.
I fail to understand how an intelligent man who supposedly desperately wants to make it work- and breaks down when I say I've had enough- cannot get his head round sorting paperwork and buying/ cooking food once a week.

Hurr1cane Mon 03-Nov-14 10:04:13

Ooooh... See, I understand where you're coming from. But I don't think either of you are innately wrong. It's just that you want different things as someone else says.

If he's back by midday on the weekends surely that is plenty of time for paperwork/ decorating?

I would go absolutely crazy if I didn't 'live like a single person' some of the time. So would DP. And by that I don't mean we sleep around or flirt, but we need alone time every week, and he doesn't do anything productive like go to the gym with his free time, he goes to his friends and gets drunk and stays there so as not to disturb us.

We still have enough time as a family and time to do the house jobs.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 03-Nov-14 10:13:59

I'm not saying he can't change his behaviour but a 30 year habit of behaving in a particular way is going to be tough to break. I'm not questioning his intelligence but his motivation appears to be poor, he seems to dislike change (same job for 30+ years?), he seems happiest in his own company and therefore he defaults back to his normal habits sooner rather than later.

If the idea of you leaving hasn't motivated him.... although you backed down from that so it's understandable if he isn't taking you seriously.... and you'd still like to see change then the last thing left open to you is to bring in outside expertise to help you find that better balance.

BTW If you did split up I'd be amazed if you couldn't live on the proceeds of the financial settlement plus your salary.

ChippingInAutumnLover Mon 03-Nov-14 10:22:43

Without actually being there it's hard to know whether he's being a disengaged lazy twat or if you are being a clingy controlling nightmare. Both sound possible tbh.

However, you aren't happy, so something needs to change.

Practical things are easily sorted. Get out the diary, book in specific times (together) to get stuff done (paperwork/ decorating).

Make a list, together, of who is expected to do what around the house so you are both clear and can discuss if it's fair/reasonable or not. Then stop being a martyr and 'doing all the chores while he's out at the gym', there's nothing to stop you doing other things.

You appear to have leisure time in the day while he's at work, so you need to take that into consideration as well.

Also, sort out what you are doing about meals, it is ridiculous to go to the supermarket to shop to cook for one meal.

However, you can't make him want to spend time with you or for him to arrange dates/social events if he doesn't want to. Essentially if you feel unloved and neglected there is nothing you can do about that! other than what you have already done. You have made it crystal clear to him how you feel. He's not going to change, so either you accept he is what he is or you leave.


Are you sure he is def at the gym? say he has been away and he has many 'accounts'is a normal thing for him to do.why has he the need for several bank accounts. Have you thought he could possibly be seeing someone else. He doesn't seem to be wanting to put effort in sad

Joysmum Mon 03-Nov-14 10:31:10

I've been through a little of this as I'd been a SAHM for 13 years then went in to study intensively and my DH then needed to pick up chores in addition to work.

My biggest lesson was that I'm an enabler. I pick up the slack and he doesn't realise there's a problem and is shocked there is as all runs smoothly!

So my advice is to only do housework at the same time so it's evenly divided time wise.

Likewise,whilst he's taking time out at the gym/down town then you take time out too.

Explain before you start doing this that this is what will be happening to highlight fairness in chores and leisure time and also that you fear that you'll both not have couple time because you won't be subsidising him anymore and there won't be enough time in the week to fit it all in.

Then you have to let things fall apart in the short term to prove your point.

walkingonwater Mon 03-Nov-14 10:33:13

Round- we both have several accounts. We have a joint bank account out of which everything is paid, and both our salaries are paid in ( except half of mine goes into another account for my tax and business expenses) a joint credit card and our own credit cards, we each have our own ISAs and stocks and shares. He also has an account for work expenses and a card to go with that. It's his ISA accounts and shares that I don't know where the paperwork is- somewhere in a huge pile in our study.

I am sure he is at the gym. Sometimes he asks of I want to meet him for a coffee afterwards.

I don't want us to be joined at the hip- that' s not me- and I like my own time for 'me' too. But I can't help feeling that the balance is a bit wrong because he's out of the house from 8-7 most days , away 2 nights every other week, and out two half days on a weekend.

DaisyFlowerChain Mon 03-Nov-14 10:35:45

Maybe he just doesn't want to change for you, not filing paperwork neatly is hardly a crime. You made it clear to him you were going to leave but then changed your mind mainly due to his salary. Why should he change when it seems to be all about you and not about him.

walkingonwater Mon 03-Nov-14 10:45:24

The point is that it's plain irresponsible not to file financial paperwork- because if the other person dies suddenly then the other spouse has huge problems whilst grieving trying to access the money. We have recently had this first hand within our family and have spent months helping them to find/ trace accounts that were old ,which is why for me it's a trigger.

DaisyFlowerChain Mon 03-Nov-14 10:48:00

Maybe people think differently but my first thoughts about my husband dying wouldn't be trying to access money.

You sound very resentful and don't seem to like him very much.

walkingonwater Mon 03-Nov-14 11:19:57

I think that's a bit unfair Daisy. I never said my 'first thoughts' would be about money in the event of his death. I'd be very well provided for through insurance and pensions.
It's irresponsible though for one spouse not to keep their paperwork sorted because - whoever goes first- it can be a nightmare sorting all of this out. He recently discovered he had an old pass book from decades back that had £4k in the account- not a lot of money but the fact was he'd forgotten he had it!
It's an example of him not engaging his brain in 'couple mode'.

Hurr1cane Mon 03-Nov-14 12:08:25

Wow.4k would be life changing for us!

Ok so yeah, you need to set a date for both of you to sit, with music on and tea and biscuits and sort through all the paperwork. It could be quite a nice cosy afternoon in winter that.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 03-Nov-14 12:12:19

Has he always been the same way but you've just been less conscious of it because you've had other things to do?

Madlizzy Mon 03-Nov-14 12:31:16

His dyslexia will definitely affect his organising skills, and that massively includes getting his paper work done. My dh is the same and I have to sit down and help him

walkingonwater Mon 03-Nov-14 12:43:12

He's always been the same but yes, I've been less conscious of it. Two things have changed - I am working more and need more space so I've been tackling the study throwing away old stuff and realised how much non-filing has been done over things he was supposed to 'own'. And how much he hoards things that are now defunct. I spent an entire day sorting out a carrier bag- a huge carrier bag- of old receipts he'd collected from everything from a Mars bar to old kettles. I don't think is normal or acceptable behaviour.

Secondly there has been a death in the family and we have had to help someone sort through years and years of unsorted paperwork and financial stuff.

I completely understand dyslexia - but the fact is he can organise himself at work beautifully- when there'd be outcomes if he didn't, whereas at home the impact is not so great, until I get utterly fed up with it all.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 03-Nov-14 13:12:47

Clearly the outcomes of being disorganised at work are more meaningful to him than the consequences of anything he does or doesn't do at home. As I said earlier, it's all a question of motivation.

But you say he's always been the same. I tend to think that making future plans based on the hope that someone substandard will change their core personality is not a good strategy. They either need really careful management and training, some serious rocket-up-arse motivational consequences, or they have to be told they are not a good fit, given their papers and wished all the best.

venusandmars Mon 03-Nov-14 13:33:53

It sounds like he's always been the same, and the two of you have muddled along for years and years, but now you are the one for whom things are different. That is going to be hard for someone to get their head around, particularly someone who doesn't really like change.

Can you tackle the things that are making you unhappy one by one, and then see how you feel? re the stocks and shares - as a pp suggested, make an arrangement to sit down with him and help him get organised with it, work as a team on it. If you want more help around the house why not get a cleaner - if you are working more and earning more that might seem a sensible place to start - even if it is only for the short term. If you want to spend more time together at weekends then make a specific plan to do something - he has already said that he will forgo his gym session if required. It doesn't have to be something expensive of wildly exciting, simply something that you can do together - a forging trip, an exhibition at a museum, a walk and a wintry picnic.

But it may just be that you have outgrown the relationship, and after trying all of that if you are no happier then you maybe need to think about leaving.

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