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We're bickering constantly- how do we stop?

(24 Posts)
NickNacks Mon 22-Aug-16 12:47:53

Been together 14 years 3dc, both work full time, me from home, he's a shift worker. Life is busy as it is for everyone.

The bickering is constant and draining. I'd say we're both at fault and in a vicious circle because it's turning in to points scoring. I hate it but don't know how to change.

LesisMiserable Mon 22-Aug-16 12:53:38

You have to talk about it, acknowledge you're both to blame and decide on a strategy. Whether that is to both get up tomorrow morning forcefully believing the best of each other and conducting yourselves as though you absolutely believe the other person only wants good for you and anything else is accidental then so be it. Do it until it becomes habit. Every time you feel like bickering choose either silence, compromise or compliment.

NickNacks Mon 22-Aug-16 13:03:50

Would that involve holding my tongue when I really need to say something?! How do you say something negative without it coming across as critical then? Clearly we have issues!

LesisMiserable Mon 22-Aug-16 13:11:25

In a word yes. It would involve holding your tongue at that point in time. Then deciding later whether it is something you really needed to say or was it just tit for tat bickering. Obviously you both have to adopt the same approach it can't be one way.

RedMapleLeaf Mon 22-Aug-16 13:13:43

How would you feel about starting with conversation (at a calm moment!) that goes something like, "I've noticed that I've been sniping a lot, saying unkind things. I want you to know that I've realised I do this, and I am going to make an effort not to do this because I don't like being in that kind of a relationship"?

HermioneJeanGranger Mon 22-Aug-16 13:16:25

You need to decide what arguments are worth having, and that will involve having to hold your tongue occasionally. It's really easy to fall into the trap of sniping at each other and moaning about everything to the extent that it becomes habit.

What do you find that you bicker about?

RunRabbitRunRabbit Mon 22-Aug-16 13:17:34

Depends what you are bickering about. If you are annoyed at the way he breathes and he is annoyed at how you wear your shirt collar then that's one thing. If you are annoyed that he is hungover all the mornings and he is annoyed you won't make the DC be silent when he is hungover then that's a different thing.

headinhands Mon 22-Aug-16 13:19:50

Yeah point scoring is poison to your relationship. Do you cuddle/kiss much? I think you need to be saying many more nice things than critical to have a happy relationship.

NickNacks Mon 22-Aug-16 13:21:01

Well at the moment we arent speaking so i could start that conversation but not now.

We bicker mostly about 'who does more'. The main problem being that we have very different routines and patterns due to our work so one will be busier than the other at some point and it's very hard not to feel hard done by when youre the one doing 'everything'.

HermioneJeanGranger Mon 22-Aug-16 13:25:52

Well, it sounds like you need to sit down and talk about it. Not speaking to each other is just as bad as constant bickering!

Do your routines make it possible to split chores equally? Say, you're responsible for the mornings and he's responsible for evenings? Or you could each have a list of things to do each week that's split 50/50? It sounds like you really need to go back to basics here.

MrsNuckyThompson Mon 22-Aug-16 13:30:38

So, we are dreadful bickerers. I'm with you and I just CANNOT imagine being able to hold my tongue when he says / does / doesn't do something silly. But it is a lot easier to do that if you know he is trying just as hard... We have been making a concerted effort recently and I sometimes know when I've said something, am waiting for the barbed reply then can see my DH just decide to let it pass. And inwardly I'm thanking him for not taking the chance and starting (or allowing me to start) the latest bickering match. So I try to do the same for him.

We got to THAT stage by having a 'team meeting' every week. It's hard with kids, I know (we used to do it during nap time, it's now either after bed time or during tv time). We both try to bring to the table things that might have annoyed us that week, or where we thought we'd had to bite our tongues. It's amazing how talking about things like that AFTER the event can really help - the anger, frustration and heat is gone and it is so much easier to see the other person's POV. The team meeting sounds really contrived, but after a few weeks of sticking to it religiously we found it started to really work - we were cutting each other some slack and being kinder.

Good luck. I know it's not easy. Sometimes it feels that everyone else is in this perfect marriage and you're just scoring points off each other. I'm pretty sure it's not the case, but try to remember that you love each other and be kind.

NickNacks Mon 22-Aug-16 13:34:47

We have done that and when we're both on it, it works well. He does the food shopping, i do the laundry, he does his share of cooking and I clean up, he does bedtime if he's here and i do it when he's not (obv). I do every morning because he's either at work or sleeping due to late shift.

It goes wrong when things happen like i cook, he won't think to do the clearing up (we have a dishwasher!) so i end up doing both or reminding him/asking him to do it all evening. And i can't just leave it until he does because i am a childminder and the house needs to be presentable for the next morning. Then we'll get in to bed and he'll want sex and wonder why i'm not up for it.

NickNacks Mon 22-Aug-16 13:36:09

I should point out that this is my side and he will have many things that he does that i'm shit at remembering.

TheNaze73 Mon 22-Aug-16 13:48:54

You need to raise it & converse about it, at a good time. One if you needs to be brave & break the cycle as otherwise it'll spiral

ChopsticksandChilliCrab Mon 22-Aug-16 13:51:10

Suggestion- load the dishwasher together and leave other bits to soak for the morning. Wipe the surfaces. Then it will only take a few minutes. This is what we do and it never seems too arduous.

I think you need to share the jobs out and then let each other get on with it. Don't micromanage. Be pleased when DH is having a rest, and make sure you get a rest.

HermioneJeanGranger Mon 22-Aug-16 13:52:09

Have you tried leaving it? Not until the next day, but not continiuously reminding him and just ignoring it So long as it's done before bedtime, does it matter what time?

RunRabbitRunRabbit Mon 22-Aug-16 13:56:22

A long time ago we gave up on "one cooks, the other washes up" It always ends up being unfair.

Now we do: one does the cooking and cleaning up ("helped" by children), other one does something else entirely.

NickNacks Mon 22-Aug-16 14:16:08

Yes i have tried leaving it. I end up rushing round before starting work (like this morning!)

NickNacks Mon 22-Aug-16 14:16:54

But his argument will be that he was at work yesterday and I wasn't.

HermioneJeanGranger Mon 22-Aug-16 14:31:23

So he thinks that working is a get-out clause for not doing housework? What does he think should happen on days where you both work? hmm

NickNacks Mon 22-Aug-16 14:37:04

Yes i guess he does. He woukd disagree he thinks that but actions usually suggest otherwise.

On days we both work I do it all because I have mindees to feed. Occasionally he will cook a roast on a week day he isn't working for us and them. I clear up because it's mindees' mess. Sometimes we eat something different to the children and he will cook and I will clear up the second meal too.

HermioneJeanGranger Mon 22-Aug-16 14:42:56

Sounds like the bickering is because he opts out of housework tbh. I can understanding you clearing up after the mindees as that's your paid work, but once the evening starts everything should be as close to 50/50 as possible.

If you work and he has a day off, don't do anything that isn't childminding related. If he asks why, say you've been at work all day so he needs to do his share now. His response will tell you all you need to know.

It sounds draining though sad

Heathen4Hire Mon 22-Aug-16 14:43:08

My DH tries to score cheap shots for all his little grumbles. I either give him "the look", ignore him, or tell him to piss off. He cooks, does the shopping and does a bit of housework. I do everything else. Biting your tongue is a good tactic. Is the grumble worth fighting for? If not, say, piss off and leave the room. I also work shifts, I know what it's like, trying to divide everything so each person is happy. Often the housework or laundry isn't done for days but really, despite his whinging, I really don't care. It gets done eventually.

TheSockGoblin Mon 22-Aug-16 14:53:21

Aside from sorting through the housework and who does more issues which obviously do need to be addressed it;s also worth considering other areas.

Like when was the last time you told each other nice things? When you said thank you to each other and told each other you appreciate what is done?

Although I don't think ignoring a situation where you both think it's not equitable with things like housework is the way forwards, it's amazing how much good it does to make a conscious effort to focus on the positives about each other.

When all you focus on are the things that irritate you about each other it's really hard to let things go, to stop resentment and to feel intimate.

So in my view it helps to have two areas to work on - the issues about housework but also making sure you both are making an effort to actually remember all the positive and lovely things you love about each other. So bloody easy to forget when stressed!

(Me and my partner have been sending emails to each other the last few days to say one thing we love and like about the other person. It's been really nice and I feel close to him again after a month or so of a lot of stress. smile)

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