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Grumpy, moody, miserable husband.

(45 Posts)
BrainlessHaddock Wed 19-Nov-14 20:33:27

I'm sorry this is long: I need to get it off my chest.

How on earth do I cope with a moody man? It's driving me nuts. He has such a narrow emotional repertoire: neutral or grumpy-cum-tired. That's it. No joy, no excitement, no happiness. Often, he does make an effort when he's around the children, but that's the only positive thing I can say. He's always been somewhat like this, but it's horrendous these days. His job is genuinely really difficult at the moment, but he won't let me be a source of comfort to him when he gets home. I actually dread him coming home because he's either unhappy already, or I'm waiting for the next mood, and I can't comfort him or cheer him up. I feel uncomfortable around him a lot of the time. The job thing is difficult - he is doing everything he realistically can to move on from his job, but it's genuinely hard and for now, he's stuck.

And although he contributes equally to the household/parenting tasks, he makes everything a chore. We could relax and have fun sometimes when sorting our (young) kids out and putting them to bed, but he describes it as a 'hamster-wheel' and sees it all as a gloom-inducing chore.

It's partly about his day-to-day moodiness, but it's also partly about his beliefs about what's acceptable regarding how you treat those close to you. Being tired means - in his world - that it's entirely acceptable to be cold, grumpy, and uncommunicative. I think he doesn't fully understand that we all get tired, but we don't all become unpleasant every time as a result. (I do all the overnight dealing with the children, to ensure that he doesn't get woken.) I think he genuinely doesn't understand how unpleasant he is to others. I recall being shocked at how he spoke to his Dad (whom he massively respects and cares about). His Dad is an enthusiastic, Tiggerish people-pleaser, but my husband used to speak to him as though he was dirt. I pulled him up on this and he's improved. Sometimes he makes an effort with me, but it never lasts.

I was brought up by two mildly depressed parents, and I remember vowing at an early age that I'd avoid taking out tiredness/unhappiness on my family. Obviously I have times when I'm not my best, but I rarely take it out on others and when I'm fed up, he can reach me and cheer me up. But he won't let anything I do or say make him happier.

I put up with a lot in this marriage. I put up with the fact that he doesn't really feel comfortable having sex, so we don't have sex. So that means that
I'll never again have sex. I put up with his secrecy (eg if he's on the phone, he will always leave he room and will not tolerate me being within earshot). I am forced to tolerate the fact that we're not having more children because he doesn't want them. But I really struggle living with someone who often makes me feel so uncomfortable.

To give balance, he certainly has good points. He contributes equal labour to the household. He is faithful. He has strong ethics. He can occasionally be lovely. He is very supportive regarding a time-sucking hobby that I have.

He doesn't want us to go to Relate, before anyone suggests that. I tried going on my own but it was useless. Yes, he may well be depressed, but he won't go to a GP. Anyway, he's been like this for years - he's more congenitally dysthymic than temporarily depressed.

If you've got is far, thank you for reading.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 19-Nov-14 20:44:35

I'm sorry you grew up in a negative household with mildly depressed parents because it may be the reason you chose someone with similar traits for a partner. Set against miserable moods and no sex I don't honestly think any amount of household chores or fidelity really redresses the balance. You could hire someone to clean the house and they'd probably do it more cheerfully and less grudgingly

Decent people do not inflict their bad temper on those they are supposed to love. A decent person would offer to get treatment or go to counselling because they would value the relationship enough to make an effort. He sounds selfish.... Poor you and your poor kids growing up in a negative household.

Sidge Wed 19-Nov-14 20:45:54

I have no answers but I really feel for you.

It is soul destroying living with someone like this - it literally sucks all the joy out of life. He may be depressed but if he's unwilling to see a GP then there's not a lot you can do about it. And anyway being depressed doesn't give you carte blanche to treat people rudely, or with disrespect.

Have you considered a temporary separation? It may be useful to see how life can be without him draining it of all the happiness and light.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 19-Nov-14 20:53:53

BTW privacy is OK in a relationship but secrecy is a really bad trait. Put 'no sex', 'phone secrecy' and 'engineered bad moods' side by side normally and what you get nine times out of ten is a man having an affair....

cestlavielife Wed 19-Nov-14 20:55:49

You put up. If you want to but you don't...

You give him ultimatum . Get help go to gp or leave.

He will drag you down and destroy you and the dc.

Do something yourself to change things.

Who s he talking to that is so secretive ?

BrainlessHaddock Wed 19-Nov-14 20:58:03

Thanks people, for your responses. He's not secretive about his phone. I could pick it up and look through it if I so chose, but he doesn't want me to hear his conversations.

Sidge, I can't consider a temporary separation, I just can't. Life would be logistically, emotionally, financially, and physically tough. I need to find a way to make this OK. P

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 19-Nov-14 21:16:48

The only strategy with someone like this is zero tolerance. Strength. Make it clear that the behaviour is unacceptable and will not be indulged. Stop cheering him up, tiptoeing around him or encouraging others to do the same. So no telling the DCs to be quiet because Dad's in a bad mood for example. If you can't contemplate separation, live more separately. Develop a lively, happy social life with people you like. Be clear with him why you're doing this rather than expecting someone so self-absorbed to twig on of his own accord.

In short, don't play his game any more. Create a life that makes you happy and put the onus on him to straighten his face or be excluded.

I'd also strongly recommend you wig in on a few of those phone calls and check his phone from time to time. Eliminate the obvious

bimbobaggins Wed 19-Nov-14 21:17:09

I Have lived like this for the last few years. He was one of the most miserable , misery guts person i have met. We hadnt spoken for nearly 8 months and i suspected an affair. In the october school break he left me. Whilst it is just the begining of a new chapter i dont think i have felt this happy for many years. Just not living in constant miserableness is wonderful.

cestlavielife Wed 19-Nov-14 21:22:07

You can't make it (him) ok... You could do as was suggested live your life stop tiptoeing around him. Go off with kids for the weekend spend time with happy people.

He has the power to change himself. You don't. You can change your life. There is no sex so live as flat sharers and make your own life.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 19-Nov-14 21:23:55

Can you explain more about why life would be so much tougher if he wasn't in it?

Sidge Wed 19-Nov-14 21:32:55

That's sad that you think a joyless, sexless, moody, miserable and lonely marriage is worth staying together for.

Whatever the logistics of separation (and believe me, I KNOW how tough it can be!!) it is worth at least exploring the possibility of a life without him. He seems to bring nothing to the party that is positive, and life is too short to live like that. You deserve so much more flowers

TheFriar Wed 19-Nov-14 21:46:17

The thing is you can't make him happy, even if you could reach him.
What you can do is to ensure that you look after yourself and make yourself happy.
And then being very clear on what you are happy to 'put up' with and what isn't acceptable behaviour wise. If he goes over these boundaries, then a zero tolerance approach is the only way.

I can completely relate to the 'no divorce as I couldn't cope with it' I've been there. But be realistic about the amount of energy coping with that situation is taking out of you. Would it be really less than a divorce?

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 19-Nov-14 21:50:43

There is no way you can make this ok because he does not want to co-operate. This man is happy as he is and you are completely miserable as a result of his innate moodiness which likely also controls how your whole household runs. He has all the power and control here.

What do you get out of this relationship now?. What needs of yours are being met here by him?. What is really keeping you within this?.

We learn about relationships first and foremost from our parents, look at what they taught you here. What do you think you are teaching your children about relationships here; that this is really how couples behave in relationships. You're teaching them a lie and that a loveless marriage will become their norm too because you're showing them that currently this is acceptable to you.

nrv0us Wed 19-Nov-14 21:52:02

Sounds really horrible -- is there a chance anything would change/improve if he got a different job? I know it wouldn't solve everything, but it might give him (and you) a new start?

meandjulio Wed 19-Nov-14 21:52:42

I'd completely agree with making a life for you and the children that is fun. Apart from anything else, otherwise you will be dealing with depressed daughters-in-law/sons-in-law in the future, because your children will believe this is normal.

He's not comfortable having sex? has he been able to explain this any more than that?

whatisforteamum Thu 20-Nov-14 07:49:34

Reading between the lines the no sex,no more kids.coldness could be problems he is in denial about and hence made him depressed.Things are joyless when we feel depressed and there seems no end in sight.
Everyone gets tired and my "dh" used to really take his tiredness out on us.I always point out im exhausted and the teens ask me important things later when i can concentrate.
you say he is supportive of your it something you could not do for a couple of weeeks and go somewhere with him that you could both enjoy? It maybe enough to lift his spirits and get off the hamster wheel of chores repeat.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Nov-14 09:11:15

I don't think he actually wants his spirits lifting. If he did, he'd get a new job, see a GP or do something else concrete to improve his mood. There's a type of person who deliberately generates misery and he could easily be one of those people. What they achieve by creating a perpetual bad atmosphere is that others will tippy-toe around them trying to make them happy and lift their spirits.... it's a form of control.


It sounds like possible depression as i think it does affect sex drive sometimes as maybe if he is depressed he will not be feeling good about himself physically. Is it possible you could talk with him about going to the doctor to be checked?...

GoatsDoRoam Thu 20-Nov-14 11:09:38

Are you sure you want to be in this marriage? It's not giving you what you need:

- You wanted a life different to being with your parents. And instead you get a similarly moody partner.

- You want sex. He doesn't want to sleep with you.

- You want more children. He doesn't.

Frankly, these are all HUGE incompatibilities.

cestlavielife Thu 20-Nov-14 11:33:20

op says "he wont got to gp", either she gives him ultimatum to go to gp or leave, or she puts up.
it s a clear choice.

even if he goes to gp, it wont magically "cure" him unless he is honest with gp and really wants to change.

op read "depression fallout".

TheLittleOneSaidRollOver Thu 20-Nov-14 13:10:16

I can't consider a temporary separation, I just can't. Life would be logistically, emotionally, financially, and physically tough. I need to find a way to make this OK.

You'll never be happy until you sort out this ^

No-one can be happy if trapped.

Work out how to leave. See a solicitor. Work out benefits, child maintenance payments, child minding etc. Make it a genuine possibility with real steps towards it in your own mind. Remember, if he is miserable too, he might up and leave unexpectedly and then you'll have no choice but to do all that. You can give him a real ultimatum, if it comes to that.

Once you have a properly worked out exit plan, if you decide to stay, you'll most likely be much much happier because you won't be trapped.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 20-Nov-14 13:27:18

I don't blame you for being fed up with being the family cheerleader. He doesn't see any requirement to regulate his moods or put a brave face on things. To him it's perhaps what he'd call being honest - "Accept me for who I am, warts and all". That's not to say underneath it all he's totally insensitive. He probably feels he's doing his bit by earning a salary and providing for the family and sharing in some chores. Unfortunately he sees life as something to be endured rather than celebrated. Is that learned behaviour, a protective shield, from early disappointments?

If he finds demands of a young family stressful on top of the pressure of work it could account for the lack of intimacy and libido. That might be an area he thinks he can omit because in other respects he's right there, on the hamster wheel as he ungraciously puts it, acting out a role.

As he's terse like this with others it sounds like it's long ingrained so I can't see how you can do much about it without him agreeing to confront this.

MaybeDoctor Thu 20-Nov-14 13:29:03

He sounds awful.

Where's the tradeoff? Nobody's perfect and sometimes if someone has a character flaw there is something else that makes up for it, but I cannot see what you are getting out of this marriage.

The way I see it, anything you do to possibly support your relationship (eg. the costs of counselling or a temporary separation) is always cheaper than breaking up. So why not give a temporary separation a try? It might help for him to feel the loss of you all for a while? It is what I wish that I had done when my DH threw the 'not sure about the marriage anymore' curve-ball at me.

On the other hand, it sounds as if the marriage won't last forever - sooner or later you will get sick of this and you will have to go through those costs/challenges anyway. Why not do it now, rather than wasting more time?

stubbornstains Thu 20-Nov-14 13:35:01

My dad was like this, and he still is. He won't seek treatment for his depression, and allows his moods to make my mum's (and ours, when we were kids) life a misery. When I was a teenager I used to fervently wish she would LTB. She still regrets that she never did sad.

badbaldingballerina123 Thu 20-Nov-14 14:46:25

It's unfortunate that you won't consider a separation as your husband will be aware of this. I'm not sure what the barriers to separating are , but it would be wise to identify them and set about improving them so you are eventually in a position where you can separate.

People act as they do because it works for them. Your husband being unpleasant works for him or he wouldn't do it. His behaviour earns him particularly privileges and you unfortunately enable this behaviour. If you genuinely don't like this behaviour disengage from it. Don't cajole him , don't try to cheer him up and don't tip toe round him. Walk away from him or go out with the children. He's a grown man and shouldn't need cajoling and emotionally propping up like this.

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