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Is DH OTT or am I a spoiled Madam?

(28 Posts)
Puffpastrymincepie Tue 23-Dec-14 16:28:35

NC for this but a regular poster, 1st time or relationships.

DH has a demanding job with a lot of pressure.
When he's not at work, on holidays for example, he's the man I married 20+ years ago but the rest of the time he's short tempered & grumpy.

He's a great one for giving orders & expects me to jump straight to it. Basically treating me like one of his staff, who are paid to run round after him.

I work part time in a job that I love but that doesn't pay well. I'm happy to take on the bulk of the at home work because i have much more free time but I resent the constant criticisms. He wants things done, his way, on his time scale.

We have a very comfortable life due to his job, of which he often reminds me. He's not mean with money but keeps a careful eye and I do have to account for every penny. The fact that, if I wasn't in the background, raising our two teen DSs and doing all the domestic stuff, he wouldn't be able to do.

I think he is aware of his unreasonable behaviours but think it's part & parcel of the role and that I should just suck it up. His father is the same and my MIL just accepts but I'm not willing to be bossed around which causes rows.

Has anyone experience of this and how do you deal with it?

dreamingbohemian Tue 23-Dec-14 16:40:14

Have you tried to talk to him about it? What does he say?

I know when I am really stressed about work, it is difficult to 'turn off' that work mindset at home and not be micro-managing or snappy. But I do make that effort (and apologise when I mess up) because I know it's not fair and also that DH would not put up with it (nor would I).

If he's not willing to make that effort, then I guess you have some hard choices to make, because I don't think this is any way to live and it's setting a terrible example for your kids.

MeMyselfAnd1 Tue 23-Dec-14 16:45:05

Yes, the best way you can sort this is to get a job that allows him to dump him at any given moment and for him to be well aware of it.

You don't have to earn as much as him, just enough not to be forced to stay put is more than enough.

MeMyselfAnd1 Tue 23-Dec-14 16:45:43

Sorry, that allows YOU to dump him at annoy given time.

Puffpastrymincepie Tue 23-Dec-14 16:47:26

I do talk to him about it, normally when we're away, and he accepts it and apologises. Says he'll try harder to be kinder to us all.
He does have horrendous stresses at work, but so do lots of other people and I can't believe they're all grumpy.

He would be devastated if I even talked about separating. We've been together for years.
I just want my old DH back.

BackInTheGame Tue 23-Dec-14 16:49:31

Maybe you should try to talk to him about it at one of the times when he's his old self again. I can imagine if you bring it up when he's stressed and in 'boss' mode, he wouldn't take it very well. But if the two of you are having a nice time and you bring it up gently in a 'I don't know whether you've noticed you do this...' sort of way, then he might take it on board more and will hopefully start to change as he's more aware.

RandomMess Tue 23-Dec-14 16:49:48

I would set aside some time the 2 of you to discuss how much his behaviour and attitude is an issue to you.

I would ask him how much it would cost him to hire domestic staff to replace all that you do...

I would remind them that marriage is a compromise and if he isn't happy with the way you do x y z then he either does it himself or pays someone else to do it. If any of this relates to things that you just do for him - washing/ironing I would point blank refuse to complete it anymore.

BackInTheGame Tue 23-Dec-14 16:50:36

sorry x-post. Maybe if the stress of his job is so bad that it changes his whole personality he needs to think about a job change for the sake of your relationship and family?

CrazyBaubles Tue 23-Dec-14 16:50:49

I have been the child in this family. After lots of arguments about it, my mum left him. It was only for a few weeks and was meant to give him a shock. I was in uni at the time. For the first 2 weeks I think they both enjoyed the freedom - my mum enjoyed the peace and my dad enjoyed working whatever hours he liked with no pressure to plan ahead.
After that (this is what they have both told me), my mum began to realise the pressure my dad was under as the main earner (made more stressful as he is self employed) and set to work to tackle finances herself, which she had never done before. My dad realised that there's a lot of stuff he took for granted that he missed - having someone who cared enough to make a cuppa when he had a hard day, clean clothes and hot meals being provided, not to mention that when he had to actually go shopping he realised that my mum was more savvy in her choices and spent a lot less than him.

A Few weeks later, They we're back together properly and have been nicer to each other ever since. It was a bit dramatic but it worked for them!

I guess my solution would be to start with an honest conversation - and you could always include the MN ammunition of a list of how much it would cost to hire people to do the things you've been doing (childcare when the kids were younger, cleaner, taxi/bus fares, secretary etc...

RandomMess Tue 23-Dec-14 16:51:16


Sounds like he needs to find a way to deal with his stress levels because it's not okay to use you as his punchbag. See a relationship counsellor together?

cathpip Tue 23-Dec-14 16:54:01

I just remind my dh that I'm not a member of his staff, and if I was not at home doing everything I do then he would not be able to do his job which earns the large salary. He knows this so has stopped his mythering smile.

Puffpastrymincepie Tue 23-Dec-14 17:04:23

Thank you for all the wise words.

I do have a lovely life; happy job, great friends & lots of time to do my hobbies & sports. I think he's a bit resentful that I coast about having a lovely time. Which I probably would be in his shoes.

He did do some psychometric testing at work. The chap who lead him said "don't say you're doing all this for your family, because it's not true, you're doing it because you're ambitious for yourself". He agreed but thinks he thrives on pressure where as I disagree.

He's got some time off over Christmas so i think we'll go out for dinner & try and have a gentle conversation.

clam Tue 23-Dec-14 17:37:49

I would be pointing out to him, next time he gets bossy, that he appears to be muddling you up with staff, and would he like to alter his tone?

dreamingbohemian Tue 23-Dec-14 17:41:24

The thing is, gentle conversations while you're on holiday aren't changing anything. Of course he will agree to improve.

Do you ever call him on it when he's actually being grumpy? I know when I start being unreasonable, DH will pull me up on it right away, I say I'm sorry and check myself (and vice versa to him).

If he really is like this all the time except when you're on holiday (which does mean 95% of the time) then I agree it's worth thinking about whether he should find another job.

dreamingbohemian Tue 23-Dec-14 17:45:43

Also -- the only way he will really start to understand it's unacceptable is if you have zero tolerance for it. As soon as you start thinking 'he works so hard' or 'I do have a more relaxing life' then you are making excuses. If you tolerate it, he has no incentive to change.

Chocolateteacake Tue 23-Dec-14 17:47:23

What does he do about the stress? He needs to address that - he just can't keep working like a maniac, chilling for a few precious days, then getting back on the treadmill. You can in your 20s, even 30s but it is a sure way to a stroke!

If he is a driven personality then he needs to find a valve for outside of the office. It may keep him out of the home even more but if it helps him to feel calmer, that's essential. Marathon running? If he calms down, he will be better at home.

Puffpastrymincepie Tue 23-Dec-14 17:58:53

You're all so right. I do make excuses for him because he enables me to have this lifestyle.

I will try the zero tolerance approach, I'm not a push over but it's hard work battling.
The exercise approach is a good point, he's much happier when he's been playing sport. I might suggest a regular club.

Thank you for being kind, I thought you might be more judgemental of me.

Chocolateteacake Tue 23-Dec-14 18:07:22

Only you know what approach will work -the headbut of softly softly.

Guys I know like this are working like demons not only because they have a 'need' ( good old alpha male) but also because they are scared of failure/redundancy/ what will happen if they take the foot off the accelerator.

The job market these days is just crappy, and redundancies come in waves. There's always some young pup snapping at your heels, waiting for you to drop the ball.

Exercise is good because of the happy endorphins it releases, plus he is doing something purely for 'him', and playing in a team/competition gives an outlet for the competitive edge and someone to have a beer with.

Concentrate on having a brilliant break and maybe give him some runners from Santa!

RandomMess Tue 23-Dec-14 18:26:07

How about write down all the things you do for you and what they cost in time & money and what the impact is on family life when you do those things.

Ask him to do the same...

and then remind him that his ambition is for himself and what the cost of that is on the family...

It may help him see that he needs to make a positive choice about what to do instead - such as sport as well as some of the things you do are a "need" not just him providing you with a nice lifestyle.

Whether you are a lady that can afford to lunch or pop around for a mug of instant with a mate that need for human interaction is a genuine one.

WildBillfemale Tue 23-Dec-14 18:40:45

You need to learn the phrase 'Do fuck off dear you are my partner not my boss'

and mean it
(I'm not joking)

dreamingbohemian Tue 23-Dec-14 18:46:34

Frankly it doesn't matter whether he's supporting you or not. Being constantly rude and critical is unacceptable because you are a human being, full stop. It's even more unacceptable given you are a team and he loves you and he needs to set a good example for your kids.

He may be enabling your lifestyle, but if you are doing most of the home stuff then you are also enabling his. It's only because his contribution is tangible (ie money) that it gets valued more.

There's nothing wrong with being grateful to someone AND telling them they need to treat you respectfully. They are not mutually exclusive.

Joysmum Tue 23-Dec-14 19:02:45

We have a very comfortable life due to his job, of which he often reminds me. He's not mean with money but keeps a careful eye and I do have to account for every penny

Bad tempered I'd not be happy with and would challenge.

However I would not it up with being constantly reminded of how beholden of him I should be.

I'd also never be in a situation where I had to account for every penny. That's why we have separate accounts.

Puffpastrymincepie Tue 23-Dec-14 19:10:41

To be fair he's not mean, just likes to keep on top of the money. When I say account I mean not to loose the trail i.e. keep receipts etc.

He's basically a decent guy who has let stress get the better of him. I'm an easy target when he's tired and frustrated. Chocolatecake has hit the nail on the head and dreaming's comment about mutually exclusive is so right.

Thanks so much to you all, I've found it really helpful.

simontowers2 Tue 23-Dec-14 19:11:29

I picked up on that. Accounting for every penny? Wtf? Are you one of his children? This seems to imply that he doesnt trust you does it not? Each to their own but this seems ludicrous to me. Who does this guy think he is?

MehsMum Tue 23-Dec-14 19:19:57

OP, this sounds very much like my life - especially a few years ago when DH's job was even more stressful than it is now, we were less financially secure in a longterm sense (good income but not much stashed in the way of pensions etc). I was bringing up a houseful of DC, working part-time (VERY part-time) in a very poorly paid low-stress job. I did virtually everything round the house, the garden, the DC... DH was (usually) lovely on holiday, over Christmas etc but demanding, insistent and sometimes a total pita the rest of the time: wanting things done HIS way to HIS timescale. We had the odd blazing row.

His argument always was that the weight of supporting the family fell entirely on his shoulders - ignoring the fact that if he hadn't me at home putting in long days, he couldn't have had a family, and God only knew who would have ironed his shirts, cooked his dinner and booked his holidays.

These days, he is in a slightly less stressful role, we have had a long discussion about long-term finances (which reassured him hugely, I think) and he does lots of regular exercise. He is much more like the man I married, though I think the Grumpy Bugger phase did a lot of damage to his relationship with the older DC. It is hard to tell him this, though, and hard for the DC to see it too.

(PS I agree about ambition: DH was always driven, even when he only had himself to provide for, and knew he could do so, easily).

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