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DH: Selective infantile behaviour

(214 Posts)
chalkychopstick Tue 16-Feb-16 07:58:09

Currently on holiday with DH and DCs but feeling like I'm going to need another one afterwards and not because of the DCs!

DH is an intelligent, professional person, highly respected by his colleagues, friends and family. However, for some strange reason, he will act like a silly child given the opportunity when nobody else is around. Around his family, a hands-on professional, efficient father- which he very much is at times and I love the grown up that he is around his parents.
When it's just us and the DCs, this just isn't the case, he becomes almost torment-like. Will make silly, loud noises for no reason, will ask me question after question after question, why are you doing this? Why are you doing that? Does the fruit go in the fruit bowl? Etc etc
I find it exhausting with the DCs too and it affects my mood, I struggle to enjoy myself and constantly having to remind DH not to ask pointless questions. By the end of the day I've little patience left and end up snapping and DH and DCs. I've told myself to lighten up, enjoy myself but then I thought, hey this is my holiday too- maybe I want to act silly and shun responsibility. Why does DH get to do this and not me?

I'm starting to think that perhaps DH is subconsciously trying to torment me? Or maybe I do need to lighten up? Last night, DCs were in bed and we sat on the sofa with a glass of wine, watching a film. DH decided to begin shaking his leg constantly, I asked him to stop, he did for a short time and then started briskly again, knocking my wine glass and spilling wine on the sofa. This ended in an argument- DH tells me it was an accident and 'can't help it' if he needs to fidget, ask questions and make silly noises all the time.
Thing is: he doesn't act like this all the time, I've never seen him behave like this infront of his friends or parents.
I dont want to badmouth DH her, but I guews what I'm looking for is coping strategies? I almost think DH is waiting for an irritated reaction from me. How can I cope with this better and perhaps get DH to stop being so child-like? I want to leave this holiday without feeling the need for another.

DoreenLethal Tue 16-Feb-16 08:01:58

How about 'you are behaving like a child. You dont do this in front of anyome else so it means you are choosing to do it in front of me. Any more and i am going to be seriosly rethinking this relationship. Just cut it out.'

PippaHotamus Tue 16-Feb-16 08:04:20

You can't make him stop. You can only decide not to take it any more, and get out of the relationship.

He sounds like a twat.

Twitterqueen Tue 16-Feb-16 08:05:50

I do think this is very odd. I don't believe I've come across this kind of behaviour before. is it some kind of 'relief' from his everyday life.

TBH I would be seriously disturbed rather than irritated (though that too, obviously). Is he exhibiting any other kind of mental distress?

The only advice I can offer is to be really, really direct and firm with him the next time he does something (and every time he does it), and tell he needs to stop it immediately.

firesidechat Tue 16-Feb-16 08:10:36

Do you think he has issues that he manages to control in front of others, but he doesn't with you because he feels more relaxed? I know that I am totally myself with my husband and probably do stuff I wouldn't be comfortable with others seeing.

Have you tried asking him why he does it? Are the silly noises in context or just random?

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 16-Feb-16 08:13:09

What do you get out of this relationship with him, how do you feel about him as a husband?.

Why do you want coping strategies?.

Your DH gets something out of acting this way with you and note also it is only with you. He is getting something out of it; power and control. He does this also because he can and I would call his behaviour abusive, he is trying to irritate you. torment you and drive you crazy. Its not a nice situation at all that you find yourself in (understatement) and I would think this has been increasing in both length and frequency over a period of time also.

Abusive people can also be very plausible to those in the outside world.

I think you need to consider something other than coping strategies because this is deliberate on his part. I would seriously think about your whole future within this relationship and consider your legal options going forward.

chalkychopstick Tue 16-Feb-16 08:13:14

He's a very laid back person to be honest, so perhaps he's channeling some sort of distress that I'm unable to see.
When he's making the noises and singing silly songs loudly and repetitively, he tells me he's entertaining the children, which leaves me feeling a bit guilty. But often, they don't really respond and will carry on playing with whatever they're playing with.
I've no issue with him singing, but first thing in the morning, to the same tune every time, singing one made up line repeatedly over and over again just drives me crazy. The best holiday I've ever had with him was with friends, there were no silly noises, no loud singing, he offered to do all of the cooking and managed to figure out where the fruit went. I think he just switches off and turns into a child as a means of switching off from responsibility. He must know his behaviour is a bit daft, otherwise he would do it infront of friends wouldn't he?

Doingmyheadin2016 Tue 16-Feb-16 08:15:21

I agree with pp there. When he relaxes, especially on holiday, he just wants to let his hair down sometimes. Don't we all do that occasionally eg silly voices, dancing around, messing about, winding up the kids, just general playfulness. Sometimes I think I don't do that enough.

I get that it's irritating but I would just ignore him.

firesidechat Tue 16-Feb-16 08:16:34

Real issues or not, I'm not sure I could live with that. It must be so irritating.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 16-Feb-16 08:18:09

No he is not "entertaining" the children as he puts it because they are not responding to him. They are carrying on doing their own thing.

Again I think his behaviour is deliberate and is all about power and control. He has also done this when they have not been around. Its also only directed at you and in turn now your children as well. He knows exactly what he is doing and he wants to undermine you completely here.

What do you want to teach them about relationships here and what are they learning?.

PippaHotamus Tue 16-Feb-16 08:18:13

Whether it's abusive or not, there's just simply no way on earth I could live with someone who did this.

Did he do it before you got married, before you had children?

WipsGlitter Tue 16-Feb-16 08:21:41

Sounds v annoying but maybe not worth ending a relationship over!

Point out the kids are not entertained or amused by it and you are just irritated so can he cut it out? Shame him out of it.

Do you think he thinks that's how dads behave - jolly and fun?

Actually I've realised DP goes this a bit - silly voices, repeating stuff. I just ignore it, give him the fingers or tell him to cut it out. He's quite a highly strung / stressed person though. It's a sign he's happy. When he's very stressed he doesn't do it.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 16-Feb-16 08:23:32

People can and do let their hair down on holiday and that is fine as far as it goes. My concern here is that he is doing these behaviours only in front of OP and not with any other adults.

DoreenLethal Tue 16-Feb-16 08:24:15

Don't we all do that occasionally eg silly voices, dancing around, messing about, winding up the kids, just general playfulness. Sometimes I think I don't do that enough

Well, even when on holiday with the nieces I can still find the fruit bowl. Strange that he can find it when other adults are in the room.

firesidechat Tue 16-Feb-16 08:24:20

I don't think that it is necessarily deliberate or abusive. It is daft and annoying though.

I know a leg jiggler. They can't help it and they aren't doing it to annoy anyone.

wallywobbles Tue 16-Feb-16 08:25:50

Id kill him. His kids will think he is an embarrassment soon if they don't already. He clearly can help it. He just enjoys winding you up.

chalkychopstick Tue 16-Feb-16 08:26:01

Genuinely, he never sang silly songs loudly and made silly noises before the DCs, if anything, he was the more sensible one of us! He has always asked questions, but with inquisitive DCs too, its unbearable at times and I'm sure he asks a lot more than he used to.
Yesterday, when I was cooking breakfast, he asked me if we were having beans as I was pouring a tin of beans into the saucepan. This was followed by, should I put a bib on the baby? Should I butter some toast or just leave it on the table for people to butter their own? Straight away, my happy mood began fading! Ive told him that I've no time to care or even think about insignificant details and I'd rather he didn't help at all than 'help' and ask a thousand questions.
Infront of his parents, he's very decisive and more focused, a huge difference than when it's just us.

firesidechat Tue 16-Feb-16 08:30:11

It sounds like he is abdicating all responsibility when you are "in charge". I could not stand that and it's very unfair on you op. I'm sure you wish you were on holiday with another adult rather than the big child he becomes.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 16-Feb-16 08:33:11

I reckon he was a lot different before the DC came along; some men do ramp up both the power and control antes against their spouse when children come into being.

He is controlling your reactions to him and I do think his actions are entirely deliberate and designed to put you on edge. What he is doing here is working for him (its worked in the scenario you describe because your happy mood has faded).

I doubt very much that simply telling him to stop will have any effect whatsoever. He can control this as well because he does not do this in front of others.

chalkychopstick Tue 16-Feb-16 08:33:14

I think the same fireside. I wonder how he will react if I become silly instead. I may try it and see. I've a feeling, he will begin acting responsibly. I'm yet to face them in the kitchen this morning having just got out of the shower, I may slap on my silly face and see what happens...

chalkychopstick Tue 16-Feb-16 08:34:26

Thanks Attila, things to think about.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 16-Feb-16 08:35:11

No do not do that. Do not stoop to his level.

PippaHotamus Tue 16-Feb-16 08:38:54

it's very unfair of him to have sprung this on you. You had no idea.

I think I would have to end the relationship - unless he cut it out completely, but that's unlikely isn't it.

It sounds like you are incompatible in some way. He either gets it and still does it to wind you up, or he genuinely doesn't get it and in that case he would probably stop if he knew you were thinking about jacking him in.

Worth a serious conversation I think at least.

whocaresanyway123 Tue 16-Feb-16 08:43:50

I think he's just relaxing and feels comfortable with the people he's with. If he can't act silly with his close family then where can he.
Sing with him and make silly noices too that may slow him down.
You'll be back in the real world soon with all the pressures in life which will bring him back to normal.

wallywobbles Tue 16-Feb-16 08:47:24

Put in earphones and ignore him. Don't answer any questions that don't need an answer. Tell him that from low on if it's a stupid question you'll ignore it. Or just ignore it til he gets the message.

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