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Can a passive man change?

(39 Posts)
PeppasNanna Sat 30-Jan-16 10:36:54

I've posted here reviously about Exdp.

We're seperated. 16 year relationship & 4dc. Asked him to leave as he wont do anything. Just sits playing games on his phone when hes not at work. Rarely helps with the dc/house/garden/decorating.

He's very passive. Literally totally disengaged from family life. Relationship non existent between us. Its been especially bad for about 2 years.

He moved out 2 weeks ago. This is the fourth seperation in 8 years. Hes begging to come home.

Swears hes changed, seen the error of his ways. I would love to believe him but don't /can't.

Mentally im exhausted from doing everything for everyone for so long. Im exhausted thinking about the situation. I dont know if I have the ability or energy left to work on this relationship.

Can they change? What should i do?

Any advice appreciated.

VulcanWoman Sat 30-Jan-16 11:05:31

Yes, sounds like he's not making any effort. Could you stay separated for a while and do date nights, if he won't consider this then he's not even trying. Have you considered counselling too?

Trills Sat 30-Jan-16 11:09:59

It doesn't sound like he is interested in changing. Or even that he understands why he should.

He wants to come home because that's the easiest option for him.

What's the best option for you?

AnyFucker Sat 30-Jan-16 11:11:42

The best indicator of future behaviour is past behaviour is past behaviour

In other words you would be a fool to give him yet another chance

AnyFucker Sat 30-Jan-16 11:12:17

Oops slight repeat get the gist

PeppasNanna Sat 30-Jan-16 11:26:15

I don't know what the best option is for me... Im so tired that im struggling to function. I feel pressured to make a decision by him & family members.

I feel like i want to run away most of the time!

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 30-Jan-16 11:31:07

Look at actions OP, words are cheap and they all profess to have changed. That is probably similar to what he said last time (and the times before) as well.

Ignore him and his family members aka the "flying monkeys" who have been manipulated by him to do his bidding for him.

There have already been 4 separations in 8 years; that fact alone should tell you enough is enough now. Its damaging as well for these children to keep on seeing such comings and goings as well, its certainly not done you any favours emotionally either.

AnyFucker Sat 30-Jan-16 11:31:25

You don't have to bow to pressure from anyone

Tell family members to butt out...they don't have to live with the lazy fuck

There can't be many things worse than being in a so called "partnership" and still having to carry everything. That is a lonely place to be. You might as well build a life on your own.

RiceCrispieTreats Sat 30-Jan-16 11:32:53

I feel for you. If you're feeling tired, pressured, and overwhelmed, then give yourself however much time you need before making a decision. You don't have to do it right this minute; he's an adult and can take care of himself while you get your space and gather your strength and thoughts.

As for your original question: people can change. But it's rare, and difficult, and takes a lot of time. Let him show you with his actions what kind of man he is. Not his words.

VulcanWoman Sat 30-Jan-16 11:37:39

Exactly, the old saying actions speak louder than words and all that, talk is cheap.

oldestmumaintheworld Sat 30-Jan-16 11:46:59

No, people don't change fundamentally. You say he is passive; I'm not so sure that lazy might not be a better word. He is disengaged from family life and you and that means he is only interested in himself. He wants to come back because it's safe and easy. He may be smart enough to know that if he is on his own he is going to have to 'engage' whether he likes it or not.

You are tired and exhausted and no wonder. You've been running around doing everything for everyone and he hasn't contributed a lot.

So maybe the questions you need to ask yourself are these:

1. Will I have to do more without him than I do with him?
(I suspect the answer will be no. Indeed you'll probably end up doing less because he will have to take care of the children at least every other weekend.)
2. Will I respect him less than I do now or more?
3. Will I have more time to think about me without him?
4. Will my children be better off without him at home seeing a poor role model of a father?

Only you can answer those questions, but if he says he's changed then let him prove it to you. Let him step up and be a man. Tell him he has to find somewhere suitable to live for him and your children for a year. During that year he has to have the children for dinner twice a week and every other weekend. He has to organise a babysitter once a fortnight, take you out and court you again. He has to go to counselling himself and after two/three months you have to go to counselling together. You'll know by then if he is serious or not. And if he is then good. By the end of a year you'll have rebuilt your relationship. If not, then you'll have had time to rebuild yourself.

VulcanWoman Sat 30-Jan-16 11:57:47

Only you can answer those questions, but if he says he's changed then let him prove it to you. Let him step up and be a man. Tell him he has to find somewhere suitable to live for him and your children for a year. During that year he has to have the children for dinner twice a week and every other weekend. He has to organise a babysitter once a fortnight, take you out and court you again. He has to go to counselling himself and after two/three months you have to go to counselling together. You'll know by then if he is serious or not. And if he is then good. By the end of a year you'll have rebuilt your relationship. If not, then you'll have had time to rebuild yourself.

Great advice.

bb888 Sat 30-Jan-16 12:01:00

It seems like you have given him plenty of opportunities over the years, and he hasn't changed. Why would this time be different.
I agree with the advice to let him show you that he has changed while he is living where he is, and then if he does manage to sustain a change and you still want to be with him, you can.

tribpot Sat 30-Jan-16 12:05:51

Four separations in 8 years is not good, and particularly must be upsetting for the children. However, it does mean you have extensive experience of this pattern - you ask him to leave, he does absolutely nothing to convince you he's changed, he begs, you let him come back and the cycle begins again.

So there is no reason to suppose that the begging is more than the accepted mode to move the cycle on to the next phase. He knows you've caved under pressure in the past, he knows that pressure works.

I was going to suggest a trial separation of at least six months, basically on the same lines as oldestmum has. Let him work at repairing this relationship, since he has apparently 'changed' and 'seen the error of his ways'. He therefore understands that his completely laziness is at the root of the problem and will want to demonstrate his newfound energy and drive to put things right .. right?

Intheprocess Sat 30-Jan-16 12:17:59

Oldest is right to say people don't change fundamentally, but I'd say most of our day-to-day behaviour emerges out of our base nature and is not who we are but rather a version of who we are.

So if DH is engaged and able at work he can be engaged and able at home too. You want the work version of DH. He doesn't want that, though, as his past behaviour demonstrates. You can give him another chance, but I'd say the problem is that he doesn't understand why you need a different version of him to the one you're getting.

Unfortunately, I suspect that DH isn't wanting family life enough to give you the active version of himself. It's easier to be a disengaged exDH than an engaged actual DH. If his prime motive for staying with the family is that it's easier to be lazy with you looking after him than it is to be single and looking after himself, then a genuine ultimatum will drive him towards leaving home permanently because it's the easiest thing to do. Requiring his input at home would make leaving the lazy choice.

I'd take the approach Oldest suggests, but step it up a level. He should find his own place and co-parent and work towards taking the kids half the time, taking them to nursery / school and managing half their extra-curricular activities. If, in six months he's showing that he can be work DH outside of work then let him back. Of course, by this point you may have decided you're all better off the way you are, which you'd be perfectly entitled to feel.

If DH is lazy, unreliable or difficult at work, I'd say the chance of positive change is pretty much zero. You're getting his base nature at home, and that won't change.

Fidelia Sat 30-Jan-16 13:04:12

As someone who divorced a passive aggressive man, I feel for you.

People don't tend to change their base nature if it works for them, and being passive must work for him somehow. Passive people can be good at saying the right thing, being really convincing, but actually changing nothing in the long term (some are good at appearing to change for a few weeks/months and then reverting back).

The only way it will work is if he makes lasting changes, so the strategy Oldest suggested is a good one. A caveat though: If you do tell him what you eed from him, don't lift a finger to help him do it. Don't give him lists of places to live/counsellors etc. When he asks for your help, disengage and let him decide whether it's important enough for him to work out for himself. He needs to know that he has to do this himself, and that you're no longer going to pick up the pieces for him. Because then he can choose whether to keep being passive or not. And you need to know that he was willing to make long term changes, without being parented.

Be warned though, he'll have spent a lifetime making himself into a passive victim who needs to be rescued. He will play the 'pity me' card, and you've been programmed by him to respond to it. It will take a lot of willpower to resist.

You may well find that parenting without him is easier. I've found that I know that things won't get done unless I do them, and I'm no longer having to wait on my Ex to do them. Also, I'm not having to spend time chasing him up etc. I'm calmer and happier, but it did take time to get to this point.

DespicableBee Sat 30-Jan-16 14:36:34

He sounds lazy and disrespectful,
I doubt he will change now if hes been this way for years

HandyWoman Sat 30-Jan-16 14:46:45

I think he wants to come back for the status the marriage affords him to family and friends and because he doesn't want to wash his own pants.

You could follow oldestmum's advice but I'd say it would be a long and expensive way of ending up back at square one.

You must be exhausted. Life without him dragging you down and draining your resources would be easier in the end. All these separations must have taken their emotional toll. Time to do something different this time. Tell him he needs to find somewhere else to live.

If he has any respect for you as an actual person and not as a domestic appliance and if he really is a fully functioning grown up - he'll do it.

Umeboshisensei Sat 30-Jan-16 15:02:02

Oldest's post seems on the button. The multiple separations must be exhausting and he has to understand you really do mean it this time. Sometimes dc are better off when the parents aren't together this seems like one of those situations.

PeppasNanna Sat 30-Jan-16 15:18:02

Thankyou for the replies.

I've told him to find somewhere more pernament (currently) on a friends sofa.

I said when i asked him to leave to find somewhere stable, as there isn't a quick fix to this situation.

I'm totally on my own with the dc. They are 14, 11, 7 & 2. The 11 & 7 yr old are Autistic. Both boys have ADHD/SPD/anxiety.

There are no school runs or activities. The boys are in Special school's. They are very difficult & challenging. We can't go to 'normal' activities, the oark, shops, have visitors or visit people.

I have dealt with everything by myself. The assessments (which were a nightmare & initially didn't diagnose the older child so we ended up at GOSH). The mainstream schools, the exclusions, the LEA, Camhs, CDC, E.P's etc...

I dont know if i have the energy to do counselling & i don't ultimately know if its worth it.

Exdp isn't realising that his behaviour in the past is all i have to go by & i literally am sinking in the responsibility of everything. I need to put the dc first. I need to be mentally well to look after them.

Dp doesnt 'get' any of that...sad

HandyWoman Sat 30-Jan-16 15:57:16

He's a fundamentally inadequate man OP. Sounds like my ex.

Like you my dc have SN and I dealt with ENT, SLT, EPs, CDC, crap SENCOs, you name it - all on my own. My then h by contrast, totally opted out of family life, and went around feeling very hard done by.

You'll never get more out of this man. Really your future is much brighter without him. I'm out the other side and I promise it is better. You can cope with everything life throws at you better by 1) living more authentically 2) less food to buy, fewer laundry loads, less resentment

Just keep telling your truth to your family. Come up with something succinct and repeat it ad nauseam to anyone who suggests you 'give it another go'.

How about 'ex dp doesn't have my back, and I don't want to grow old with him - he's had four chances and he's blown it.'

That's all anyone needs to know.

Start looking at benefits, council tax etc (are you getting DLA? Carers allowance?) And get building a better future.

crazyhead Sat 30-Jan-16 16:40:14

It sounds like you put an enormous amount of time caring for others. If you are to have a partner, it would be better if they were a more of a giver, who really took care of you. These men do existflowers

summerainbow Mon 01-Feb-16 07:10:05

I expected you DH will Autisticin some way which is way he ops out of famliy life mine was the same stood up in court aand said his kids were normal.
He won't change ever.
Tax credits with disable kids is a lot of money. Go it alone. Remember his family will have some of traits too.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Mon 01-Feb-16 07:15:25

If he doesn't get any of it how are you imagining he has changed?
You already made a decision, you decided to end the relationship. You don't need to change that decision. You won't feel less tired and overwhelmed by letting him move back and it's hardly fair in the children to keep flipping back and forth.

tribpot Mon 01-Feb-16 07:34:30

I wouldn't bother with counselling with someone who has let you and your dc down so profoundly and comprehensively over the course of more than a decade. I would tell him if he wants to and arranges it, pays for it and sorts out who will care for your children whilst you attend it, fine. Otherwise it is a waste of your most precious resource, your emotional energy.

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