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DH is passive. I like to get things done. Cue fights <sigh>

(97 Posts)
SSDD8 Wed 20-Jan-16 14:12:25

I am so fed up of going round in circles with the same old fight.

I used to do everything around the house, but since last summer (and reading Wifework!) I've been stepping back a bit, especially on things that really should be DH's responsibility (such as sorting things out for his side of the family). So. Latest row has just gone like this:

- In late December, we found out some things had to be sorted for DH's DPs (that they can't do themselves). I would have got it all sorted in about 30 minutes of emailing.

- early Jan, I put a 'reminder' in our shared calendar for DH to do it. Didn't get done.

- last week, I ask DH if he will do it. "Yes" he says. Didn't get done.

- Monday, I asked him to do it yesterday and made him promise. Didn't get done.

- Today, I get annoyed by broken promise and his general inertia (with everything, he has to be told to clean the house etc, will never ever just get up and do it himself) and so brought it up again.

It soon escalated into a huge row. sad I told him he is passive, lazy, and I am fed up of having to do all the thinking and doing in the house. I said that how he puts things off has both embarrassed me (he never wrote his wedding thank you cards "I said thanks, why do I have to write a card as well") and affects us because instead of just doing X and getting it done, he puts it off until X has turned into XYZ and the thing that needs doing is even bigger. The problem is that his refusal to get things done often has negative implications for me too.

In return, he called me a martyr and a control freak and told me to 'go away' (charming! hmm). Mostly though, he just continued on his laptop - his passivity extends to not even making eye contact during a row discussion, because he doesn't like conflict.

I accept, I am very organised, I like to tick off my to-do lists and so the total opposite of him. Yeah maybe I am a control freak because generally my way of doing things is efficient and the best! wink I accept I will never change him or even understand him. What can I do to help myself let things go a bit more?

SSDD8 Wed 20-Jan-16 14:16:07

He is a classic ostrich - head in the sand about everything. I remember when we were first dating I praised how "laid back" he was to our friends. Little did I know he is actually horizontal! Even if an important form needs doing or phone call needs making then he will just ignore it until I tell him to do it. The little things I can just let go (or eventually do it myself) but the things that affect me, or have implications for me, or make me look bad by association if they're not done (as in this case) - drive me crazy. I genuinely don't think there is a solution though??

hellsbellsmelons Wed 20-Jan-16 14:17:49

You need to look up the word passive.
He is NOT passive.
He's a lazy feckin' arse!

hellsbellsmelons Wed 20-Jan-16 14:18:32

What is your situation?
Kids? What ages if so?

SSDD8 Wed 20-Jan-16 14:20:08

It's helping a bit just writing this all out actually, even if it is unsolvable and no one is reading grin I think I need to re-read Wifework a bit.

I am wondering if I am at the start of a path that might end up with an ultimatum ( a serious one) if he doesn't change. There are no DCs.

It is unrelated, but I am also frustrated by how we can't have a discussion. He retreats into his shell, like a tortoise, as though he is under attack. I have tried to explain that it's healthy to be able to discuss negative issues but he won't, or can't, have a back and forth conversation with me. He will say things like, "I don't know", or "do what you want", which does infuriate me even more. Then I get accused of "ranting" and says "I can't talk to you when you're like this", but if he would reply properly and have an actual conversation with me then I wouldn't get 'ranty' in the first place!

Wellthatsit Wed 20-Jan-16 14:21:16

My DH is ery similar and I have come to realise that it isn't being passive. It's being passive aggressive. Does your DH gets things done when they are important to him but procrastinate with everything else? I find the whole thing incredibly stressful, and my DH is very good at 'staying calm' in the argument then when I blow my top, he can then blame me for being unreasonable. It is horrible , and despite knowing I shouldn't, I end up being aggressive and name calling etc, which just makes me look bad and he can then play the victim.

Passive aggressive personalities have a problem expressing the anger. they are very repressed, probably due to their upbringing.

Wellthatsit Wed 20-Jan-16 14:24:46

Ah yes, the ranting thing rings true. My DH walks out, which makes me even angrier. He says ' What else can I do?' and I think ' well just flippin well argue the point. I'd rather he shouted back than shut it down'.

SSDD8 Wed 20-Jan-16 14:24:48

Cross posted, sorry! I think he is lazy, yes, and called him that earlier. His reply was, "I'm at work all day!", to which I replied, "yes, but that doesn't mean that the life admin doesn't need to get done. It doesn't mean that the cleaning and washing up doesn't need to get done".

He is very motivated with things he wants to do, and will apply himself if he finds something interesting.

Situation - no DC, renting. So in theory nothing that couldn't be walked away from, which I am sure will be the refrain. I don't know if I am quite THERE yet though. So if that is what anyone is going to say then maybe could you not, and give me some advice on how I could let go a bit and allow him to be responsible for his on (in)action instead? For example, if this thing doesn't get sorted then his DPs are going to be inconvenienced and probably upset. I don't want that to happen! They are really nice people! But I have done too much for too long.

I have already decided that as of today I will only ever be washing or putting away my own clothes. Baby steps!

gatewalker Wed 20-Jan-16 14:24:53

There is in part a solution - don't remind him, and don't do anything that's his responsibility to do if it doesn't impact you directly: as much as that might feel awful, handle it as if he were living alone without you. He'd have to do it then, and you wouldn't be there as a psychological and physical fail-safe.

The full solution is to stop what is, for you, an intolerable situation, and leave. That would put an end to it.

The majority of men still think, speak, and act as if their women partners are their mothers. The bad news is that it is pretty much unconscious, it is so deeply ingrained in our patriarchal landscape. The good news is that we women don't have to put up with that shit anymore.

Hillfarmer Wed 20-Jan-16 14:28:10

I don't know what the solution is OP, but he is turning you into a policeman...monitoring and policing his activity or lack of it. I am sure that you need to step back from that somehow. You've 'stepped back' you say since reading 'Wifework' - but it doesn't seem as if you actually have... it never gets to the point where he actually 'drops the ball' and suffers the consequences of his behaviour. I bet you step in before it gets to that - certainly you are reminding him on a frequent basis. It occurs to me that you need to step further and further back...stop the reminders and monitoring as well and then hold your breath. He is an adult. He is not reaping the whirlwind here.

I think he is seriously passive-aggressive and gets the best fun driving you utterly mad. Then he retreats and stonewalls. Nice.

SSDD8 Wed 20-Jan-16 14:29:14

Wellthatsit wow - sounds very similar. DH is very repressed. (Can I ask you out of interest what your sex life is like, is he repressed there too? Sorry if TMI smile) He doesn't like 'confrontation' and will go out of his way to avoid inconveniencing other people, even if it inconveniences us instead! I have so many examples of this. Is your DH like this too? How do things get resolved? I am going to say he stews for a day then slowly things get back to normal? Sorry for the 20 questions!

I am not suggesting for one moment I am lily white here. I probably am quite a control freak. But I would be more than happy to relinquish bits and bobs! But I can't trust him to get things done now.

hellsbellsmelons Wed 20-Jan-16 14:34:59

So his own DPs are lovely and he can't even be arsed to help them?
Leave him to it.
Let them know that you have left it with your DH to sort out and then they can chase him on it.

You are taking the right baby steps. Just keep doing that.
He needs to face consequences of not doing what his is supposed to so you need to leave him to it.
You are NOT his mother. That is something you need to tell him over and over and over again!

SSDD8 Wed 20-Jan-16 14:35:37

Yes, separating is the full solution and would put an end to it. It's probably a sign of how fed up I am that this option isn't off the table for me. It's very sad to admit that to myself. But god! I am not going to live life like this for the next 50 years! Not at all. But I don't think it's my next step just yet.

I think you are right, he hasn't dropped the ball, I am still being a safety net. i wonder if I piss him off with my, efficiency (if that's the right word), so him not doing it is a silent two fingers up at me. Like a rebellion. ???

I think I need a cup of tea, an hour with my Kindle, and to completely cut the cord from these tasks. And then see what happens. Does he pick up the slack? Or not? The problem is that sometimes these things implicate me too. It's hard to see something not get done when it affects me. The wedding card thing killed me. I am still so embarrassed by it.

SSDD8 Wed 20-Jan-16 14:39:27

Yes I do feel I am mothering him and to be fair I have wondered how much this is annoying him. What do they call it - co-dependent? He's being passive and I'm being bossy and it's a repeating thing but neither of us are happy?

One of us needs to change and I think for my own mental health it needs to be me!

gatewalker Wed 20-Jan-16 14:42:04

I think there's something here about a simultaneous desire for you to be his mother - and a resenting you for it, too, OP. That's the complication of the primary relationship re-enacted in partnership. It's either worked through, one way or the other, or it corrupts and destroys it.

Wellthatsit Wed 20-Jan-16 14:45:10

SSDD, yes to preferring to inconvenience us rather than someone else, and yes to hating confrontation. He freaks if I am too direct in public and thinks I am gobby. I am quite direct but I don't like upsetting people either, so would never say anything inappropriate.

But he is hyper sensitive to these things.

Here are his general traits:

procrastinate a lot if the task is boring or difficult

even when he does get around to it, doesn't necessarily tell me it's done

crisis manages (I. e. does things at the last gasp or does it bafly thend soends much lOngar fixes it than it would ha e take uF he haD dobe it propey first time.

accuses me of attacking or shouting if I get frustrated by his poor communication or when he let's me down or if I get irritated by him expecting me to take charge of things

stonewalls (won't discuss if its got heated). shuts down.

occasionally explodes with anger and does something extreme, like throws stuff or kicks a door (not extreme violence by some standards but for him it is)

He's not repressed in the bedroom though (so no complaints there, which is good).

Like you, I have tried really hard not to continually rescue him. It's hard but has to be done. Also, I am very specific with instructions if I need him to do something that affects me. A bit like I would talk to a teen or older child.

I accept he is ok with things hanging over him as long as he gets them done whereas I like to get it sorted quickly so I can forget about it.

if it's something I can just do (like getting the car MOTd) I just do it myself rather than wait for him and feel let down by his incompetence.

sorry if this is garbled. I am on the phone

SSDD8 Wed 20-Jan-16 14:46:25

Going back to "his DPs are lovely"...

Yes, on the whole. But I know there is some resentment there from DH - he has an exceptionally gifted sibling and he was always in their shadow - he told me about conversations he overheard when he was young (along the lines of, "isn't it a shame he will never be like XXX") and I can see how they would be upsetting for him.

Now however, certainly since I've know him, his parents have always appeared loving and kind, to me, to him, and to us. Of course you can never know the truth about a parent-child relationship. But yes there is some 'history' there, shall we say.

Hillfarmer Wed 20-Jan-16 14:46:36

It does sound as if you are formulating an unhealthy dynamic, but well done for recognising it. I'm not entirely optimistic about the future of your relationship though, sorry to say.

Worth reading this to find out what the future might hold if you have children with this man:

MorrisZapp Wed 20-Jan-16 14:49:02

You could be my friend. Her DP was also frustratingly inert, unmotivated etc. She is a very dynamic, organised person so they drive each other mad.

She went ahead and married him and now continues to bear responsibility for all admin and decision making. She has banned him from the kitchen as he just stands there, watching her and getting in the way.

He also has lovely parents, guess who'll be taking on all that extra admin and care when their health fades further.

People don't change. If you can accept your differences and live with them, then great. But if you're hoping it will change at some future point, I think you'll be disappointed, sorry.

Wellthatsit Wed 20-Jan-16 14:49:11

And yes, it is a silent two fingers up to you, because he is unable to properly express his feelings. He can't day 'Nah, I don't want to do that and I hate the fact you're making me do it', so he says he will do, but then doesn't.

Wellthatsit Wed 20-Jan-16 14:51:02

He also doesn't like being told what to do buy doesn't know how to assert himself so has learnt to avoid in a seemingly benign way. But it's far from benign, as you know. It is actually very damaging.

SSDD8 Wed 20-Jan-16 15:00:19

Well, sounds like they could be twins - apart from the bedroom bit. Feel like I want to get your number and compare notes and strategies! Have you ever considered leaving? Or do his good points make up for it? wink

You are right, he doesn't know how to assert himself, I don't think I have ever know him stand up for himself. One bizarre example - he went to play football in November and his friend borrowed his spare team t-shirt as he'd forgotten his. So a few days later, I said, "did you get your t shirt back?", "No not yet". Turns out that he sees this friend 2x a week but he doesn't want to ask him for the t-shirt back. I actually brought this up earlier, "that t-shirt was £60 why won't you get it back?!", to which his reply was, "I have already decided that I am going to wait until the summer [when that team will play again] and ask for it back then and I am perfectly happy with that! You are just a control freak because you can't accept my plan!"

Wait till summer WTH? Just send him a text and say, "mate can you bring my t-shirt when I see you tomorrow?" ???

Bet you we never get it back...

Wellthatsit Wed 20-Jan-16 15:03:11

Can I just add that I have been with DH for 25 years. He has driven me nuts at times but it's not the whole story. He does have good points too, and is very loyal and a hard worker re jobs and hobbies, is generous, etc. we share the same values about money, work, lifestyle etc and that allows us to have a good relationships despite the frustrations brought by the passive Ness about certain things. Maybe my DH isn't as bad as yours, but don't lose heart totally. You have begun the process of trying to get him to man up to these things a bit. And if other elements of the relaionship are ok, there is hope.

Potatoface2 Wed 20-Jan-16 15:06:41

its hard work....the last year i have given my husband more responsibility with getting things done, before i have done it all and have had enough....for the first time ever in the 24 years we have been together he had to get his parents christmas presents....he still phone me three time from twon to ask what to get!!...this week he wanted me to ring him to remind him to get pet food....i said 'who is gonna ring me to remind me to remind you to get pet food'!

Wellthatsit Wed 20-Jan-16 15:07:05

oops, cross post. He does sound more extreme than my DH, but with similar traits. the t shirt is a classic. I am always 'encouraging' my DH to speak up about work problems (and problems with volunteers he has dealings with through his hobby) but he won't. I keep saying that often people like it if you are assertive because they know where they stand. But I think he worried he will be aggressive instead, which would be bad.

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