Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Why does my husband give "politician's answers"

(37 Posts)
Yukduck Fri 06-May-16 11:54:58

I am NOT looking to divorce him ! I DO love him and have for over 30yrs of (happy) marriage.

HOWEVER my dh never answers the question I ask. I am only just becoming aware of this these past few years but I think he has always done it really. I ask straight questions like "I want to re-decorate the lounge, shall we have plastered and painted walls or stick to wallpaper?".
He responds with "if we plaster and paint I do not want a dark colour, and if we wallpaper the same really".
I get a good idea of what he doesn't want but not what he does want. I have asked him to actually answer the question I ask but this sounds rude and he gets hurt by my being so blunt as he thinks he has answered the question!
Is he the world's perfect husband (non confrontational and a perfect sounding board for my ideas) or is he the worst (frustrating and never gives me an idea of what he really wants).
If you compare him with your partners, how similar is your experience?

Slowdecrease Fri 06-May-16 11:57:20

Based on the example you've given, he sounds very even handed. Is he a libra by any chance? I am and its almost impossible for me to give an biased answer to anything. I usually answer everything with my opinion followed by 'on the other hand' . I'm not trying to be shady just can't help factoring in all the options, he may be the same?

Cel982 Fri 06-May-16 11:58:06

I don't think there's anything wrong with his answer, really - I'd interpret it as him not having a strong preference between paint and wallpaper, but preferring a light colour in either case. He's discussing it with you, not evading the question.

MyKingdomForBrie Fri 06-May-16 12:20:00

I would say 'OK, no dark colours, I think you're right on that point. As for the material, do you think paint or paper would look better?'

So acknowledge what he has actually answered then keep nicely rephrasing your question.

situatedknowledge Fri 06-May-16 12:24:07

DH is exactly like this. Also married almost 30 years. It drives me nuts, and he knows it, but really seems unable to respond in any other way. In fact, I sometimes think it is getting worse.

My problem is that after getting that response, I'd go off thinking he'd answered, then only realise he hadn't when I tried to figure out what we'd agreed.

HuskyLover1 Fri 06-May-16 12:27:58

ime, men don't really care about the decor, they just want the job to be over with.

OTheHugeManatee Fri 06-May-16 12:33:12

I think he's trying to tell you he doesn't really care if it's paint or per but has some views on the specific paint or paper whichever way you go.

It would perhaps be clearer if he just said that but it's still clear enough IMO.

Arfarfanarf Fri 06-May-16 12:38:30

Cut through it to what he is actually saying and clarify it

"so what you are saying is that you don't care whether it is paint or wallpaper, is that right? But that whatever we have, you want it to be a light colour? Is that what you are saying? So when you say a light colour, do you have any specific colours in mind, cream for example?"

My husband is a bugger for a)not answering the question you asked. b) answering with such a gigantic load of waffle that you wish you'd not asked in the first place and c) answering your question with a question.

Having a conversation with him is exhausting. After 18 years I am no longer polite about it.

wol1968 Fri 06-May-16 13:05:56

Well, if it's about the colour of the walls or the sofa, I'd guess that what he really wants to say is:

'I don't give a tinker's what texture of walls or shade of cream it is, I find interior decoration utterly tedious and wouldn't notice unless you painted the walls black and got a sofa in lime green and fluorescent pink (which would be a bit much). However, I can see you value my input and I feel obliged to express something resembling an opinion.' grin

If that's the case, don't badger him with endless questions as these can feel a bit pressurising, especially if (like me) you're not good with house decoration (can you tell I prefer beige/magnolia/white walls? - I don't need to think about it!) But if you can occasionally wave in front of him a picture that shows the sort of thing you have in mind, and say 'That's what I'm after', you should be covered wrt taking his preferences into account. Then get on with it.

YokoUhOh Fri 06-May-16 13:10:10

When DH and I have a conversation, he either 'canvasses' my opinion and then overrules me, or asks me question after question until I get the right answer whatever that is

I think I prefer you DH's way of operating! grin

pocketsaviour Fri 06-May-16 13:13:59

He sounds so laid back he's horizontal. I would find that quite tiresome. But unless he's doing it and then moaning afterwards that he never got a chance to give his views, I think it's a pretty minor sin smile

Arfarfanarf Fri 06-May-16 13:18:23

Oh yoko that reminds me of something my husband said when we were first together.
He reassured me that he would always take my opinion into consideration when making his decision

(On everything. Where we live. Childrens names. Jobs. House stuff... )

He said it in a way that was clear that he genuinely expected me to feel really good about it

When i had finished laughing i put him straight.

isthatpoisontoo Fri 06-May-16 13:21:37

My husband does this! Any practical question is answered with a statement about circumstances but no preference. "Shall we have new curtains in green?" Will get a rendition of window measurements. He also replies to simple requests like a glass of water with "I'll see what I can do," as if it's a difficult quest he might fail at. When challenged he often says the answer was obvious or implied. I have no solution!

Offred Fri 06-May-16 13:22:25

I think his answer is fine providing you are just asking his opinion and not wanting his input and he doesn't reveal after the things have been done that he had a further opinion that he hadn't expressed.

If you want his input I would just say so - 'so you aren't really bothered which but I'd like a bit of help with this job, don't really want to be solely responsible for all the decisions TBH'

If he's got secret feelings that is hugely annoying and I'd be making it clear that you aren't psychic and if he has something to say he needs to say it like a grown up.

ApocalypseNowt Fri 06-May-16 13:29:00

Stand husband in middle of room. At one end put a roll of wallpaper. At the other end put a tin of paint. See which he trots over to first.

You are welcome.

PenguindreamsofDraco Fri 06-May-16 13:35:12

I have no answers but am still laughing at "Is he a libra".

Slowdecrease Fri 06-May-16 13:38:48

I'll laugh at you directly if he is Penguin grin

DrMorbius Fri 06-May-16 13:42:29

Nearly 30 years married here. When my DW says i want to re-decorate the lounge, shall we have plastered and painted walls or stick to wallpaper?

In my mind my answer is "I couldn't care less, cover it in newspaper for all I care". But I have learned not to articulate my thoughts. So I will give a carefully crafted response that makes it sound as though I give a toss, but at the same time an answer that requires zero percent of my precious brain power. An answer such if we plaster and paint I do not want a dark colour........ would be perfect.

Chlobee87 Fri 06-May-16 13:44:42

I think he sounds quite cute! This is like my DH. It occasionally grates on me, but it's just because if he hasn't got any strong feelings about something one way or another, he would rather that I have whatever I want. If it's a serious decision or it's something he actually does have an opinion on then he will always speak up. Do you think your DH gives proper answers when it's something he's really interested in or it's important?

Dellarobia Fri 06-May-16 13:44:58

My Dad who was a civil servant for 40 years (now retired) is a bit like this. Maybe it rubbed off from the politicians he worked for!

TheNaze73 Fri 06-May-16 13:49:09

I agree with morbius It's very difficult to have an opinion, when you genuinely don't have one. Soft furnishings, wallpaper, coving whatever.... Really don't care. More than happy to buy the materials & to do the job though.

EustachianTube Fri 06-May-16 13:55:31

All the 'don't really care' answers are equally irritating to me! You do care, you wouldn't like it if it were painted black for example.
My DH is a nightmare for not wanting to get involved in picking colours and then critiquing the end result. Grrrrrr

YokoUhOh Fri 06-May-16 14:13:08

arf how even-handed of him, how magnanimous, how did you get so lucky? grin

I'm relatively gobby so I pull him up short: why are you asking me when you've already decided the outcome? Never mention this matter to me again.

DrMorbius Fri 06-May-16 14:14:23

Honestly Eustachian in my case I don't care.

EustachianTube Fri 06-May-16 14:19:53

Fancy this then drmorbius ? grin

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now