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I think my dh is useless. Are we doomed?

(220 Posts)
Klik Wed 29-Apr-15 08:25:30

I'm tired. Dd2 doesn't sleep for more than 3 hour stretches and is often up for 1.5hrs in the night. I'm breast feeding so having made a total rod for my back I feed her back to sleep.

Yesterday both DDs were grumpy/clingy/whiny/generally hard-going and I also came down with a cold.

Dh is primarily a "lovely bloke". Gentle, sweet, nice, not laddish or blokey IYSWIM but I think I just think he's useless.

Days out, holidays, finances, house admin, childcare, occasions, dinners are left for me to sort out. He does help around the house in terms of housework and DIY but the non-tangible stuff seems to completely pass him by.

I've told him (cried, screamed, asked, chatted) that I need more from him.

Since Sunday a series of really small things have happened and I just feel disappointed and let down by him. On top of that the long-term tiredness is really getting to me, and I feel shit with this cold. He doesn't seem to register just how much I'm struggling at the moment despite me telling him. He'll give me a kiss on the cheek and say something meek like "these are hard times, we'll get through them" and I want to scream "HOW? WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO ENSURE THAT?" at him. What I want him to do is say he's sorted dinner, or done the food shop, or whatever.

If I ask him for an extra hour in bed at the weekend, he'll take the DDs downstairs and think he's a fucking hero for giving them breakfast yet and plonking them in front of the tv while he sits with them on his phone and then there will be a huge great mess to clear up when I get up and everything will be a rush because we're simply an hour behind because I had the audacity to need more sleep.

I don't know why I'm posting really. I'm just really down about him and this useless thing is clouding everything he does so he kind of can't do right for doing wrong. Which I know isn't fair.

But the bit doesn't feel fair that I feel like I'm really struggling on a day to say basis and all he can do is give me a sympathetic look. I know he's not responsible for happiness but just once I want him to take control and attempt to come up with a plan of some kind to change/help.

When he poked his head in this morning to say bye and "have a nice day" I burst into tears and shouted at him "I am laying here wondering how I'm going to cope with all I've got to do today feeling this shit and tired and I seriously don't think it even registers with you, you just toddle off to work". He half-heartedly offered to stay home (which he knows is totally impractical as he's self-employed and would lose money) I asked what he would do "I dunno. Take the kids out or something". And I again I wanted to scream at him that isn't going to get done all the things I needed to be done today and instead told him "to just go to work because having you hear would be an extra fucking burden rather than a help". Not my finest moment.

I'm just SO cross with him for not recognizing how much I'm struggling at the moment. And for not doing anything about it.

He pussies around with his work too. For years we've been talking about him "really going for it" but nothing changes or happens despite how much I try to help/encourage/leave alone. I've also said to him if he doesn't want to "really go for it" then that's cool, just tell me so I'm not encouraging something he has no intention to do.

He zaps my emotions yet doesn't support mine. It's like having another more needy child rather than a supportive partner. I've said this many many times before but nothing ever changes.

I'm at a loss as to what I can do. I'm too tired, cross and resentful to have the energy to have the same old shit conversation again.

I want our marriage to work but he seems to think just turning up is enough rather than actively contributing.

newnamesamegame Wed 29-Apr-15 08:34:10

Yep. Can relate to all of the above. Particularly the thing about being a hero for giving them a lie-in which involves dumping them in front of the box. My H and I are separating and this kind of thing is one of numerous factors. He used to do exactly the same thing, let me sleep in until 8am or thereabouts and then spend the whole of the rest of the day saying "mummy's so lucky to have had a long lie-in" and then disappear to the pub mid-afternoon.

While four weekends out of five he would sleep for most of the morning without lifting a finger to do anything in the house and then snap if I asked him to pull his weight.

I think its very hard, once you've lost respect for someone, to get it back. If you can persuade him of the urgency of what he needs to do and the mountain he has to climb then maybe there's hope.

But he's going to have to do a lot of very very heavy lifting and frankly it doesn't sound like he's up to it.

newnamesamegame Wed 29-Apr-15 08:34:34

giving you a lie-in, not giving them.

Whoami24601 Wed 29-Apr-15 08:40:22

My DH was very similar to this (still is to a degree smile), but I found writing him lists works wonders. He genuinely doesn't think of things to do, so if I wanted him to do anything I had to ask. And specify exactly what is involved e.g. Getting up with DD is great, but part of that job is making sure the place is tidy and the washing up is done. Don't do it for him. If I get up and he's had a lazy morning, my first question is 'so are you doing this washing up then?' He sounds very like mine - willing and able but with no initiative! You just have to be like a parrot- repeat, repeat, repeat. It does get better. Don't get angry though (difficult as it may be!) just keep telling him. Eventually it will go in!

Klik Wed 29-Apr-15 08:42:29

I think that's it. I'm losing respect for him. I feel like unless I "threaten" him with splitting he's just not going to get the severity of how I feel.

Klik Wed 29-Apr-15 08:44:59

I have been more explicit over the years and it has helped but I'm SO knackered at the moment I can barely get through the day myself and just feel resentful at having to micromanage him as well.

PeppermintCrayon Wed 29-Apr-15 08:46:12

What I want him to do is say he's sorted dinner, or done the food shop, or whatever.

Tell him this!

prepperpig Wed 29-Apr-15 08:48:13

Hang on. You've got two little ones and you're in need of a lot more sleep. You're not doomed just because everything is getting on top of you.

Many of us have been there. I can recall lots of times when I burst into tears and told DH I need him to do more because I can't do everything. DH is fab, he does his fair share of the childcare, running about on school runs, stuff about the house but yes I was still doing more when you add in shopping, banking, organising school stuff, holidays etc. Ordinarily that;s fine because I'm quite a control freak and need to know things have been done but when you're exhausted it can very easily get on top of you.

DH didn't respond to "I need you to do more, I can't do this." He didn't know what to do and quite how to handle it.

He did respond well to, "today I need you to go to the supermarket on the way home from work and buy the things on this list and at lunchtime I need you to go to the bank, pay in these cheques and book the car in for an MOT."

And looking after the kids so that you can get a lie in but in reality just giving them breakfast and plonking them in front of the tv. Meh. Kids love being plonked in front of Saturday morning TV. It really isn't the end of the world. What is important is that you get the extra sleep you need.

Sod the state of the house, start giving him actual things to do which will help you and if you can, try to make a list of the things that really cause you stress so that you can look for ways to change them. With me it was the afternoon school run on two particular days which played havoc with my working hours. So I booked the DCs onto the school bus (initially as a trial but it worked). I then found I was spending time going out for bread and milk top ups when DH drives back home right past sainsburys and so it is his responsibility to check whether we will need bread and milk and get some on the way home if we do. If he forgets then he is the one to go back out for it.

You can do this.

Rebecca2014 Wed 29-Apr-15 08:49:26

Maybe a list of chores you want doing is the way to go? Or you could say to him "Today I want you to do this and this."

Or does he just refuse to do things?

prepperpig Wed 29-Apr-15 08:50:30

Cross posted. I know you don't want to micro manage him but he will get used to working together in this way and will hopefully start to do them without being told (which is why we constantly have more bread and milk in the house than we need!!)

prepperpig Wed 29-Apr-15 08:51:59

Harsh reality of the situation is that leaving your DH over this is not going to help you. Then its you on your own doing everything.

If you are going to leave your DH this alone is not a good reason to do so.

sockmatcher Wed 29-Apr-15 08:52:56

I''ve just ordered a book called wifework. I recognise so much of what you are saying.

It's the mental and physical exhaustion. When I had an operation I wasn't tired. The sleep under a GA was fab!

I was ill last week and he got a little taste of what I do to hold this family together Yet still things slip back..... It's no wonder I'm too scared to return to work.

MyKidsDriveMeBonkers Wed 29-Apr-15 08:53:22

I'm in the same boat as you. I've had 'the talk' with my husband - told him that I felt like his mother and it's hard to be the 'sexy wife' when I'm having to mother him a lot of the time. (One of his complaints was that I'm not affectionate enough...)

He's made a few small concessions to helping me out, but nothing major...

I was ill before Christmas and felt worse than I have in years - and still had to do school run, dinners, housework etc.... His answer when I had a rant about this?? Well all you had to do was ask for help!

When my dad died a few years ago he took one day off work to help with the kids (very young at the time), then I was left to juggle everything myself, whilst in the midst of terrible grief. His answer? Again, I should've asked him for help! We actually almost split up after this...

Unfortunately I am slowly losing respect and feel as if we're slipping down a horrible path...

The only solution I've been offered is that men like this only respond to instruction. So need to be specifically asked for help. Not the best solution but I'm slowly learning not to expect anything other than what I specifically ask of him.

Not sure if any of this helps at all, but if you find something that works, let me know too!!!

Lyinginwait888 Wed 29-Apr-15 08:54:21

Yes I recognise this too. We split in the end. I think I had a thread on here about him being a big baby. So wearing

He's everyone's mate, lovely bloke yada yada but no, he was like a third child. I tried loads of things. I imagine he'd say the same but in the end it was just all so impossible.

I cringe looking backbeat some of the learned helplessness he would display.

No help, but I completely empathise.

diddl Wed 29-Apr-15 08:55:57

Sounds like you need to tell him what you want him to do.

At the weekend, kids up & breakfast & that tidied away & then he takes them out for example.

My dad used to get up & take us out on a Sunday morning to give mum a lie in & of course he wanted time with us.

What do they have for breakfast that it turns into a huge mess??

NewTwenty Wed 29-Apr-15 08:56:38

If this is his second child he ought to be in the swing of things by now. My Dh is very capable and a minimalist in his inclinations (can also be very critical of those who don't meet his standards!), but he took a while to realise the pattern of things with our toddler e.g. that if you want to go out after lunch, changing the almost-dry nappy before lunch is not a time-saver as there will inevitably be a poo after he has eaten!

The only thing I can suggest is that you have 'set piece' jobs or routines - so that the task 'breakfast' also involves wiping the table and unloading the dishwasher.

Write a list or routine and take it from there...on the other hand, why should you do the mental work ?

prepperpig Wed 29-Apr-15 09:01:10

"Why should you do the mental work?"

Because at the moment it looks like its necessary to get them back on track and marriage/partnerships need to be worked at.

blessedenough Wed 29-Apr-15 09:02:54

I think we might be married to the same man! I have been there, done that.

With my hubby i find i have to have a massive to do list. He will help with the housework and is fab with the kids (tv and phone playing aside - totally get that!). But he has no idea of what needs doing, he cant or wont see it.

I have to tell him like a child - its draining but it works. For the sake of our marriage i had to find a way of being able to live with it. He had to agree to being bossed about if he wasnt going to take the initiative - i am bossy by nature and hate being told what to do, so it works for us.

The things i need him to are on the list. I also hired a cleaner we can barely afford it but i have a sort of work from home business and i was sick of giving up time with my kids to do housework.

I manage everything - birthdays, holidays, etc etc.

It came to a bit of a head again the other month - i never get any time off, so we have now agreed i get sunday mornings off - he takes the kids out and i get to do what i want - but for me only. I usually hide at the gym and sit in the cafe drinking coffee and reading the paper.

My hubby is the same with his career it drives me mad as i was much more ambitious in my career (which i gave up to be a sahm) and i just dont get why he cant do this for his family - hence my at home job which i wish i didnt have to do.

I love and adore my husband, we have the life i have always wanted but nothing is perfect, there is always a compromise and i guess this is mine - he is getting better however.

Sending sympathies x

Lyinginwait888 Wed 29-Apr-15 09:03:18

I've just re read my old thread. Very strange. Knowing that 4 years later all the advice didn't really change anything. We had other problems too, but it's grim isn't it?

pocketsaviour Wed 29-Apr-15 09:08:49

You poor thing, you sound at your wits end.

Are you giving yourself extra pressure? You said when you have a lie in that "we're simply an hour behind because I had the audacity to need more sleep" - what is it that you're behind with? Do you do a lot of activities at the weekend - if so, would it be more practical to cut down while the DCs are so tiny and you're so exhausted?

I think giving him specific tasks to do might be worth exploring, because while you should be able to expect an adult to use his initiative and think "wow maybe I'd better clear up this mess", clearly in his case you can't sad

Vivacia Wed 29-Apr-15 09:10:55

You do realise that this is a choice on their part? They presumably manage to do tasks at work without being micromanaged?

discophile Wed 29-Apr-15 09:20:49

Klik. I feel your pain. I experienced exactly this "treatment" from my partner before we split. I could have written your post. You really have my sympathy.

However, unlike other posters I think the LAST thing you should do is feel that you should take control for his part of the partnernship as well. If you start to make lists, plan, organise, and check the contribution he makes to the work in the marriage you are not solving this problem at all; you would be making it worste. He is not taking responsibility for his contribution to the marriage. You should not INCREASE your responsibility by starting to make lists for him and organise his day and his tasks.

Ultimately I was relieved to split from my partner who was treating me like yours is treating you. I have been a single parent for nine years. Though it is hard I don't have the soul-sapping burden of being treated like shit everyday by a man-child.

Klik Wed 29-Apr-15 09:26:46

Thank you all. Just dropped dd1 at nursery and had to fight back the tears when one if the workers asked me if I'm ok. Now back home and crying.

I do write him lists/instructions and he does respond well to this and seems to like having a job to do/complete. But it's the lack of thinking about anything or emotional awareness that really gets to me.

So for example, I write a list of about 5-10 dinners and base the food shop on this. I ask him to think up some dinners and he'll come out with stuff that requires 3 hours of close cooking rather than something that can be made easily at the end of the day with 2 DDs hanging off my leg. Or he'll suggest something the DDs won't like or with hard to find ingredients. So this winds me up and I stop asking for his input.

So aside from the practical stuff I feel my list would include things like:

- acknowledge how tired wife is by giving her a cuddle and taking care of something that she would ordinarily do (without asking for instructions)

- discuss a plan to do something to get dd2 to sleep better

- sit down and give some well-thought out, logical, practical solutions for the childcare nightmare we'll have when wife goes back to work full time after mat leave

- further to the above, work out useful ways in which to support wife emotionally when she goes back because she's dreading it as only wanted 3 days per week, not 5.

- investigate things to do, plan route, get suitcase down from the loft without being asked, get clothes ready, don't leave everything til the last minute and leave everything for wife to do etc etc for our upcoming weekend away.

- really look at wife, try and imagine how she's feeling and think of realistic and useful things that might make her feel better.

Surely most of these things are just a part of love and marriage or am I expecting too much?

Vivacia Wed 29-Apr-15 09:32:06

I'm tempted to say, "sit down and talk this through" but I get the impression this is something you've done more than once.

Do you have equal leisure time? When does he get to exercise or not be responsible for breakfast etc? Do you have the same?

Klik Wed 29-Apr-15 09:36:38

He just sticks his head in the sand and thinks if he just pootles along everything will be ok. I think he thinks I'm being dramatic about the tiredness and how being home with the children can nearly drive me crazy.

The messy breakfast thing. So Saturday night with dd2 was pretty bad. We were due out for the day on Sunday and I had an extra hour in bed whilst he gave the girls their breakfast (weetabix, fruit etc - dd2 is 9 months so any meal makes a mess). When I got up I still had to get the DDs dressed and sort out our travel plans for the day, get the snack bag ready, tell him to put the buggy etc in the car, just loads of stuff that he could've been doing whilst I was in bed. Instead it kind of negated any extra rest I'd had as we were then in a complete rush. Maybe I did expect too much for him to take the initiative and save us a bit of time / be extra helpful.

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