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“Can I help you with anything?” Insincere, maddening behaviour.

(10 Posts)
Josian Sun 24-Apr-16 01:55:15

Sorry folks, I need to vent a bit. This last happened a couple of days ago but it’s stayed with me.

We’d both spent the day at work. I got home a couple of hours before him with children in tow. My afternoon was spent getting the children to do their homework, providing afternoon tea, catching up with housework, paying bills etc. He got home, sat down with his computer and headphones and proceeded to ignore me for an hour. Suddenly he noticed that I was busy. Cue “better look like I’m interested” thought process. He followed me outside where I’d gone to deal with laundry in between cooking and getting children organised, stood there and asked me if there was anything I’d like him to “help” me with.

To get to me he’d just walked past baskets of unfolded laundry, unwashed dishes, toys on the floor, his own shoes kicked off in the walkway, clutter everywhere, an unwiped dining table, hungry animals, squabbling children, ankle-deep lawn, and he was standing watching me do something I know he’s perfectly capable of doing.

It might seem like he was trying to be helpful. I know from experience that if I say, actually, can you – whatever – he’ll look confused, say a hesitant ok, and fumble about with whatever it is I’ve asked for until it really needs to have been done an hour ago and I have to take over. Or he’ll go and do it, sighing heavily the entire time to make sure I know he doesn’t really want to be doing something that’s obviously my responsibility, and carry on with his relaxation secure in the knowledge that he has “helped” and should have earnt some brownie points, while I continue being busy right up to bedtime.

So instead I shook my head without looking at him because I couldn’t bear to see the pretend helpful/concerned expression on his face, he went back to his computer content in the knowledge that he at least offered, and I spent the next hour in tears.

I’m not his mum. I’m not a housewife. Looking after every aspect of the household should not be my sole responsibility, and participating in it does not constitute “helping” me. I’m trying to be be strong and see this as independence training for myself, but there are times when it gets to be too much. I'm spending this weekend feeling very weepy and not able to cope with anything at all really.

Spandexpants007 Sun 24-Apr-16 02:06:41

Sit down with him and a list of chores and work out a rota together. How about alternating nightly responsibilities

Monday

DH - cook, wash dishes, bath kids,
Op - supervise kids down stairs, laundry, tidy house, toys away, story time

Tuesday

Alternate

Wednesday

Alternate

RudeElf Sun 24-Apr-16 02:10:12

Forget rotas. Tell him that he walks in, looks around and just starts doing! Like you have to do every day!

Baconyum Sun 24-Apr-16 02:10:18

Yes to rota

Also let him within reason do things to his standard even if not necessarily as good as you would do if it's good enough let it stand. (Must admit this was a mistake I made in my marriage, thinking I had to do everything as he never did it to my standard)

But also...Google strategic incompetence!

Josian Sun 24-Apr-16 02:22:07

Rotas don't work - sticking to them requires getting up to look at them and then acting on them. His very irregular shifts don't help.

Yes yes to strategic incompetence. He's so good at it that the only things he actually does are go to work (where, strangely enough, he manages to come across as quite competent) and lie on the couch at home with his computer.

It's not my standards that are the problem, it's the fact that things need to be done at all. I didn't say a word when he actually did a load of laundry and threw my good woollen coat and some crocheted tops in along with everything else. I quietly binned the ruined clothes and got on with trying to hold things together (minus my coat which I haven't been able to replace yet).

RudeElf Sun 24-Apr-16 02:27:28

Seriously, just tell him "you need to walk in, look around and get stuck in. I'm not your manager, we're on equal footing here, if i can see what needs done, you can too so just do it."

Josian Sun 24-Apr-16 02:42:39

RudeElf, I have had that discussion with him so many times I've given up. He nods and looks concerned - he's good at making the right noises, even taking my hands and looking into my face as he promises to do better - but they really are just noises. What was that thing Dr Phil used to say? The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour? He will never change, I know that, and I'm just marking time until I can leave. Usually I'm pretty resilient but there are various things going on in my life that are making it really hard to cope.

KoalaDownUnder Sun 24-Apr-16 02:45:26

Stick this on the fridge:

1. Look for things that are dirty/in the wrong place.

2. Clean the dirty things. Put the things in the wrong place in the right place.

3. Repeat. Don't stop until I do.

Point to the fridge every time he asks.

Baconyum Sun 24-Apr-16 03:13:25

Strike on doing his shit? Only do yours and dc's? I did this with ex, helped a bit

Spandexpants007 Sun 24-Apr-16 03:16:46

If you are thinking of splitting up anyway, can you just crack on with it?

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