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How much does your DH/DP contribute to your marriage?

(40 Posts)
prettyballons Mon 01-Dec-14 11:34:21

I don't mean money but other things.
I am increasingly fed up with what I see at DH's lack of interest in anything other than his work.
He gets a huge amount out of work - loves it- whereas I work p/t, having shouldered most of the child care over the years. DCs now adults. I still do 80% of the housey stuff- shopping, cooking, cleaning, garden, laundry etc.

We had a massive show down a few months back when I made my expectations clear because I was no longer happy to be the one taking control of everything domestic, except bill paying which he does online.

-He has no interest in decorating - I have to nag.
-He never thinks about Xmas presents for the DCs- I've done it all over the years and have done it for this year now. He's not even mentioned what we might buy them.
-He never did any housework until recently when I put a bomb up his arse and said if he didn't start doing XYZ chores that was it.
-He never suggests holidays because by the time he does it's too late in the year, so when we do go away it's all researched, planned and booked by me, and some years I just cannot be bothered being the one taking control.
-He has no friends so we never entertain or see anyone ( except my friends who I meet for lunch and days out.)

Is this 'normal' for couples or would I be better off packing my bags and either being on my own or with someone who put some effort into the relationship?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 01-Dec-14 11:40:23

It's normal for couples who didn't establish equality early on or review contributions periodically along the way. It's normal for couples where one is happy to coast along, taking the other completely for granted. I'm sure there are some people that stay married 50 years with this kind of dynamic... her tutting about how useless men are and him tutting about what a nag he's married to smile Whether it's acceptable or not to you personally is something only you decide. I wouldn't like it.

prettyballons Mon 01-Dec-14 11:48:18

Equality was very hard early on because he was travelling the world, nurseries were non-existent where we lived 30 years back as were family close by, so I had to manage. He still works a 50 hr week with travel away.

He's not totally useless- he's great at DIY ( repairs), but he's not what I'd call proactive about anything. I decide, then he does ( or not.)

I explode now and then, once I even wrote a very long and sombre letter which flawed him and he was in tears about my dissatisfaction, and he has managed to do some stuff since- his own ironing, cooking a meal at weekends and doing some cleaning .

Buying Xmas presents- is this just a typical man failing?
Holidays- again is the last minute thing a man-thing?

Hard to see the wood from the trees after all this time.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 01-Dec-14 11:54:55

Nothing is a 'man thing'. Not if you don't count Adams Apples and pissing standing up... hmm What you're describing is usually a combination of laziness and lack of motivation brought about by 30 years of 'why bark when you have a dog?' . If he doesn't do it, it gets done so why bother?

No need to explode but at the same time stop being the dog. Set up a weekly family meeting where the tasks for the week are set out, assigned to various people, agreed (very important) and the last week's tasks are reviewed. Sounds a bit contrived but, when dealing with lazy people, good habits are not just going to materialise out of nowhere.

If you don't want to try the management approach and would rather walk away... do that.

DHandhisghastlyhauntedfoot Mon 01-Dec-14 11:56:22

I know exactly how you feel. I exploded at DH the other day as I'm beyond fed up of feeling like the only adult in the relationship. I'm wasting my breath though because he won't can't change, it's ingrained in him, he was raised as a spoilt brat with gold coming out his arse and everything he wanted at a click of his fingers and never taught responsibility or how to pull his own weight, so unbeknownst to me I was fighting a losing battle from day one.

I sort all the bills, both the cars; renewing insurance, keeping on top of the tax, even checking the frigging oil levels because otherwise he'd happily just drive the car until the engine blew up. I do all the cleaning, all the cooking, all the DIY, everything.

He will never change. I've tried and tried. The only thing I can do about it is accept it or leave.

rb32 Mon 01-Dec-14 11:57:44

-He has no interest in decorating - I have to nag.

Many people have no interest in decorating, it's not a negative trait. If you really want to re-paint a bedroom or the hallway just do it! It's not something he's interested in and something you want doing.

-He never thinks about Xmas presents for the DCs - I'm afraid I'm guilty of this too. My gf just decides what she wants to get the kids, asks me what I think and buys them (or sends me out to!). Some people, including myself, have little imagination for this kind of thing and if you've been doing it for years would you really trust him anyway??

-He never did any housework until recently when I put a bomb up his arse and said if he didn't start doing XYZ chores that was it. - So he's doing it now?

-He never suggests holidays - again, maybe holidays are more for you than him? If he's not stopping you from booking where you want to go then what's the issue?

-He has no friends so we never entertain or see anyone ( except my friends who I meet for lunch and days out.) - Lots of people don't have friends. Does he stop you inviting people over or stop you seeing your friends? If not then you can't have a go at him for not having friends!

Sounds like you just don't like him much.

DHandhisghastlyhauntedfoot Mon 01-Dec-14 11:58:01

I also work part time so it's not like I'm in the house all the time. I probably wouldn't mind so much if that was the case.

Miggsie Mon 01-Dec-14 12:00:02

Actually people can change, but they have to want to - and also have a catalyst that makes them realise what they are doing cannot continue.

If you have someone who does everything for you - what is your incentive to change?

Most men are better at doing nothing and waiting for women to do it than women are good at issuing ultimatums and actually seeing them through.

DHandhisghastlyhauntedfoot Mon 01-Dec-14 12:01:18

And I can tell you that if this is how you feel about the relationship and the dynamics, the resentment will only grow as time goes on. I've lost a lot of respect for DH over the years and I can't see it coming back. Some men are selfish and lazy and unless you're a doormat there's no way you can be happy living like that.

123rd Mon 01-Dec-14 12:03:25

This sounds very familiar. hmm DH has absolutely no clue what we buy DC for bdays/Xmas. And when they are opening gifts he jut sits there with a nonplussed look on his face.
I do all household chores-only work outside of the home p/t. I get very pissed off with it. Ditto organising holidays, days out. Bloody snacks or a bottle of water when taking the kids to the park. If I don't do it, it doesn't get done. But then he happily moans when he gets to the park and snacks and drink don't miraculous appear.
I don't want to stop doing these things because the DC then Miss out. Although I do sometimes take things I know he doesn't like!
My DH doesn't have a stressful or demanding job. So he can't even blame that. He is incredibly lazy

DHandhisghastlyhauntedfoot Mon 01-Dec-14 12:03:53

Actually people can change, but they have to want to - and also have a catalyst that makes them realise what they are doing cannot continue.

I think it's true that some people can change, but some can't. Some may try and may well succeed for a time, but they will eventually revert back to character.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 01-Dec-14 12:05:35

@rb32..... the trouble with your philosophy is that it's not a partnership. Not team work. It's one person motivated to put in some effort for a nice life and the other just coming along for the ride. Emotional freeloading....

Even if decorating or buying gifts isn't your strong suit, not showing any interest or appreciation in the person taking on those tasks is insulting

prettyballoons Mon 01-Dec-14 12:12:01

rb I found your comments really annoying!
If I want something painted just do it- yeah, like I can manhandle ladders and reach high ceilings- which I can't ( due to a health condition which means no heavy lifting, ever.) I have BTW just decorated the lounge as well as running my business and doing everything else! (He did the ceiling.)

If he isn't stopping me buying a holiday; the anticipation is half the pleasure of planning holidays. Sharing the planning with someone.

You seem to have zero empathy.

You seem to be much the same as DH and I wonder how long your GF will put up with you hmm

He is not totally lazy and he was never spoilt. BUT he has different needs and is not into making the house nice, it's not important to him.

What I am saying is we have no fun together. Work seems to give him all he needs. The kids are not at home now- they are adults so there will be no family conferences about chores- just him and me.

dreamingbohemian Mon 01-Dec-14 12:15:02

I would focus on getting him to do more around the house and perhaps not worry so much about some of those things. I don't think it's so wrong to not be interested in decorating or socialising, as long as he is not telling you not to do it. The xmas presents and holidays, not so great, but perhaps get him to get more involved gradually. But stuff around the house, absolutely he should be doing more.

As your DC are grown, are you planning to work more? That would be a good way to shake him out of the current dynamic, which I agree is not really a surprise if it's been like this for years.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 01-Dec-14 12:19:42

You and he are the family..... My household consists of me and teenage DS. We have family meetings and discussions because otherwise it would be me doing everything and making all the decisions.

mariposaazul Mon 01-Dec-14 12:21:05

Can you contract out eg the decorating so you don't have to do it all?

operaha Mon 01-Dec-14 12:22:24

I made the mistake of commenting on a thread saying that I couldnt be with someone who didnt pull their weight and getting shouted at that it wasnt a LTB situation so Ill explain better.
Im divorced from a man who ok did pull his weight in terms of helping out but never without an almighty fuss and sighing and making me feel like shit.
That was my kids dad and even looking after them was referred to as "babysitting" angry. He was bad tempered and couldnt cope with his children.
I then spent nearly 5 years with a man who didnt do any housework or diy. I had to get another male friend to teach me to put up a shelf, decorate etc - made me miserable that he didnt want to make the house nice with me. He did cook though, empty the dishwasher occasionally. I hated it.

I am now with the man I consider to be forever and we have a fair division of everything and I think thats where I differed with the person posting. He is NOT my childrens father but he is very good iwth them (not adults but older teens) and he is very beautifully natured - no bad moods or passive aggressiveness- two things Ive suffered at the hands of my exes.

-He is much better at decorating than me and quite creative - things get done. .
-He has his own children to buy for but is also really considerate of what mine would like - his shopping is almost done and I havent been any part of it.
- We do fairly equal chores. We both work ft, him in a very physical job. I do more day to day pottering but he does all the washing, gardening.
-Holidays are generally my idea and me sorting them out but he is enthusiastic. His ex refused to go on holiday with him and the children so this is a new element to "family" for him.
-He has less mates than me, but hes embraced mine who all now count him as a good mate too. We socialise together and seperately with and without children.

ALL these things were non-negotiable before we moved in together.
It depends on what youre happy with but you dont sound happy! I wouldnt be either.
Was he always like this? Did you have children/move in togetehr knowing this? I am not being patronising - as Ive said above Ive had children and lived with 2 men that ended up being horrendous (and with the second one I moved in with and I knew we wouldnt be compatible so I am a complete idiot).

I dont have much practical advice other than TALK. If he cant see why youre upset then I think there are things that really need sorting for you.

notespeller Mon 01-Dec-14 12:28:20

He sounds like my ideal man!! If he is earning all the money and leaving you to kind of domestic stuff and only seeing your mates and not his I would be really happy if I was you.

But I am not you so if you are not happy with that then address it with him.

Good luck!

prettyballoons Mon 01-Dec-14 12:32:19

He has a lot of good points- he's placid, never moody, would do anything for me- practical stuff like checking my car before I do a long journey, great with DCs etc.
We have been married 30 years. The children were planned and came along after we were married.

The writing that was on the wall before we married was he didn't do a thing to his own house after he bought it ( on his own) and I moved in when we got married. He'd been in it for 2 years then.

We have tried to get people in to decorate and been let down by every single one over the last year- going AWOL last minute. But guess who found them online, sorted out days for them to come and quote? You've got it!

We've got a house worth £650K and he is not remotely interested in making it nice other than the bare necessities of maintenance.

But it's not about chores really- it's about me always feeling I'm driving everything and all he does is go to work.

To answer the question am I going to work more- I work for myself and some weeks am very busy, other weeks slack- the joys of being self employed. I am always trying to get more work!

dreamingbohemian Mon 01-Dec-14 12:32:22

Well I think that was a bit rude OP, rb had no way to know you have health problems and I actually agree with some of what he said. If your DH doesn't care about redoing the house, and you do, then I don't really see anything wrong in you being mostly responsible for it. Same with holidays and socialising.

I can totally understand why you feel like there's a lack of fun but in some ways that's more because you're incompatible, not because you're right and he's wrong on everything (although again, he is definitely wrong about the housework!)

dreamingbohemian Mon 01-Dec-14 12:35:04

x-post -- actually let me take that back a bit, have you posted about him before? it rings a bell, him checking the car before a journey

If it is you, I think the advice on that thread was that if you're not happy, to think about leaving, because it didn't sound like he would ever change

prettyballoons Mon 01-Dec-14 12:35:58

I didn't say he was wrong- my thread title asked how much other men contribute to the relationship, in every sense.

I don't have a 'health problem' as such but after an operation many years back was told not to lift anything heavy. such as ladders.

Quitelikely Mon 01-Dec-14 12:48:27

Dh works full time. I'm a sahm. He doesn't do Xmas shopping, isn't interested in the decorating of the house or rather choosing the colour schemes, does like to talk about where to go on hols but ultimately sees his role as the earner and focuses on that.

I have felt in the past that he is too focused on his job but I guess that's just the roles we have created for ourselves. He will always help out if asked and is more than happy to take the dc out if I need a rest.

It doesn't mean we are perfect but we definitely take things on board if the other isn't satisfied.

I don't actually think your dh is doing anything wrong as such but it's more that you want him to be different. It is hard to get a man with the complete package, if the love is there, the dc, the history I think it's worth saving!

rb32 Mon 01-Dec-14 12:56:38

prettybaloons - I'm not suprised you found them annoying, it's a point of view that's not yours! Me and my gf are fine thanks and are in fact getting married in less than two weeks.

However, she realises that if she wants the living room painted a different colour then, although I'll do the painting (she thinks it's a mans job and a woman could never possibly do it....though that's another thread!) it's not a passion of mine and I'll be doing it for her. She'll have to choose the colours etc I'll just help out the actual painting (which it appears your husband did too).

And again with the holidays, if he doesn't get very excited about them it's not his fault!! He obviously doesn't share the excitment of yours but you really can't blame him for that if it's not his thing. If, for example, he was into fishing and had a big competition in a few weeks would you feign excitement about the river population, the type of rod and fly he was going to use? Would you look online with him regarding the type waders would suit this competition? No, because that would be what he gets excited about and not you.

I can understand you want him to get more involved with the thing you want to do but if you want to have fun with him then it's got to be doing something you both enjoy.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 01-Dec-14 13:11:58

" if he doesn't get very excited about them it's not his fault!! "

If you're all going on holiday together (unlike your fishing competition example) then isn't it normal for everyone going on the holiday to show an interest? She's not his travel agent ffs.

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