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DH keeps forgetting to do things I ask him...

(55 Posts)
Autumnalleaves Wed 07-Sep-16 19:43:46

After a bit of perspective on an argument with DH. Appreciate that this is not exactly in the realms of the cheating/ abusive Hs often discussed on this board, but it led to a big argument for us, so....

DH relatively often forgets to do something I've asked him to do. This has been going on for years, but examples from the last five days:

He was going to the supermarket. I asked him the pick up a birthday present for my nephew we were seeing the next day from the shop opposite the supermarket. When he got home, I asked him what he got and he'd forgotten. He went out that evening to get it.

Before he did the supermarket shop, I asked him to get a particular drink from the superrmarket for some relatives who were coming over later, that I know they like. He forgot. He went and got them at the last minute just before the relatives arrived.

I arranged for something to be freecycled. The thing came with a couple of accessories, which happened to be stored in a different place in our house than the main thing. I asked him to give the person collecting the main thing the accessories too (as promised in the post on freecycle). He forgot. I arranged for the woman to collect them again.

So these are all pretty trivial examples, but it happens so often that it's left me feeling that he basically doesn't care about things I ask him to do. He can't be bothered to remember them, and so it feels like he can't be bothered to listen to me or do some relatively simple things for me - it honestly feels like he doesn't care about what I want, or place value on me, if he can't be bothered to do these small things.

I find it mentally exhausting to have to check up on whether he's done every small thing I ask him to do, and frankly feel I'm not his mother and should be able to trust him to do them. He has a perfectly responsible job which he appears to do well - how come he can't remember simple home-related tasks. It's more wifework that I could do without.

I said this to him and he completely flew off the handle (totally out of character). He said I was being very unfair, and that I needed to get a sense of poroportion and perspective. These were small things, he rectified most of them, and they don't matter. He just forgot and it's totally not showing he doesn't care about me. He was very busy on the particular day in question (he works part time and that day was one of his SAHD days) and I'm not grateful for all the things he DID do that day, it's hard for him to remember everything.

He is usually a very calm, laid back person, but this turned into a mega argument. I was quite shocked at how it turned out.

So, am I being a complete control freak who is making a huge deal out of trivial matters? Or should he just get a grip and do the things first time? I wondered whether it was something to do with the Five Love Languages - I haven't read the book, but from what I read on here and that website, I wonder if I set great store by 'acts of service' being an act of love, and he totally doesn't get that, and doesn't find that meaningful love language to him.

I'd be really interested in others' perspectives.

Saddaughterinlaw Wed 07-Sep-16 19:51:32

Interested to see the replies as it sounds like you're describing my husband 😂

Autumnalleaves Wed 07-Sep-16 19:58:34

Do you find it immensely annoying, or do you just laugh and let it wash over you?

Northernparent68 Wed 07-Sep-16 20:03:13

Does it matter ? He got the stuff in the end

I have to say maybe he thinks your being controlling, I'm sure a man who posted on here saying his wife had forgotten to get a card for his nephew and drink for his relatives would be told to get them himself

Autumnalleaves Wed 07-Sep-16 20:12:27

Yes, he says he got the things in the end. After I asked him about them (he didn't remember he'd forgotten them).

I don't think it's particularly controlling to ask someone who is going to a shop anyway to get a couple of extra things while they are out (one in the shop he's going to anyway, the other in the shop next door)?

Believeitornot Wed 07-Sep-16 20:15:11

My dh is forgetful. I got quite upset and explained why I found it upsetting. However something like remembering to buy stuff - why not write a list? I'd forget!

Dh is a bit better and I give him written reminders which helps a bit.

But I do get pissed off when he remembers football fixtures but not stuff I've told him. He has said that things like school drop off times he doesn't need to remember because they're "my job" hmm

NiceCardigan Wed 07-Sep-16 20:16:32

This sounds just like me. I have so much going on in my head if dh gives me an extra request I'll probably forget. Nothing to do with love language whatevers. If I write a list I'll probably remember but that's if I remember I've got a list with me.

GinIsIn Wed 07-Sep-16 20:17:20

My DH does this ALL THE TIME. Drives me mad, but I know he can't help it- he isn't doing it on purpose.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Wed 07-Sep-16 20:19:51

How often do you ask him to do stuff for you? How often does he ask you to do stuff for him?

Yes, your examples sound trivial, but the present and Freecycle ones would really annoy me if I were him. In both cases, it was your responsibility but you passed it on to him, like his time weren't as important as yours.

That combined with him flying off the handle when you complained, makes me wonder if he feels like you value his time less than yours. Or that he feels that you are trying to control his choices about what he does with his time, when actually he is just as busy as you.

You sound a bit like my SIL who has loads of ideas about how things should be done, e.g. the juice and freecycle, but these always result in more work for other people, usually on a schedule that she decides.

She complains about people not caring when they don't remember obey her requests commands She also polices what people do to make sure they did her the favour she wants followed her dictat and gets annoyed if they went off plan. It is seriously annoying.

Myusernameismyusername Wed 07-Sep-16 20:21:02

It's not the same but my DD is like this and I don't think it's intentional. She just struggles with retaining the info then getting distracted.
I think it's annoying but he has to go do it a 2nd time so the main person he puts out is himself. Get him a little notebook and write things down. Or text him a list

TendonQueen Wed 07-Sep-16 20:21:03

I can see both sides here. What's the balance of responsibilities like for you both? Do you both work part time and split the parenting, or what? Who generally does most of the domestic tasks? What about the 'wifework'?

DoreenLethal Wed 07-Sep-16 20:27:21

Does he forget stuff at work? I am guessing not.

Why are you reminding him all the time? Next time he forgets something don't remind him. See it play out.

Dolphinsanddinosaurs Wed 07-Sep-16 20:27:35

My DH is exactly the same. I generally ask him to make a list these days, which mostly solves the problem. He is very laid back, and just not good at remembering details. I have made a conscious choice not to get too worked up about it, as I know I am far from perfect and he puts up with me.

Resilience16 Wed 07-Sep-16 20:32:19

Three things that struck me here.
If he is forgetful and you know he is forgetful then text him a list or a reminder.
If it winds you up that much then maybe do it yourself.
The flying off the handle could be because he knows there is a problem with his memory and he is secretly worrying about it. Looking back, my dad's dementia started off like this in his 50s.

bolognaadvice Wed 07-Sep-16 20:34:41

My ex H used to do this all the time.

Counsellor asked him if he often forgot things at work. He said no and when probed it came out that he remembers work things as important but didn't see the things I was asking for as important. Idiot.

My needs weren't important to him at all.

Happily divorced now.

Autumnalleaves Wed 07-Sep-16 20:39:54

I agree I didn't manage to get the nephew's present in good time, and it was basically my nephew, so my responsibility, but thought DH could pick it up, only slightly out of his way.

On the freecycle thing, it was something I organised, but I guess I felt I was doing it on behalf of the household (getting rid of old crap), so it didn't feel too bad to ask him to help (the person said they could collect it that day, I was at work but he was at home). Maybe I just should have arranged for her to collect it when I could be there?

I am honestly reading and taking posts seriously though. Trying not to be too defensive!

On the balance of responsibilities: I work 0.8 FTE, with a two hour commute three days a week (1 hr commute each way) and in a bit more of a senior and stressful role. He works locally, 40 min total daily commuting time (20 mins each way), 0.6 FTE, in a role he is good at and enjoys but doesn't find stressful.

We are generally quite smug about how well we manage to divide responsibilities: he does a very decent amount of household stuff, I do too, and we have clear responsibilities (eg he almost always does the weekly shop, I buy all children's clothes, birthday party presents for friends). So he definitely pulls his weight on the things we've agreed are his regular responsibilities.

I think I do possibly feel that I am terribly busy and important with my job (and I have a team which I tell to do stuff and they do it!!), and he has a slightly easier ride, so can manage doing the odd thing for me. I also earn quite a bit more, and do question myself as to whether that makes me think my time is more important, but I really do support him doing the job he loves and is good at.

He has something very seasonal to do with his job which means for 8 weeks a year he is very busy indeed (think working from early morning to late at night, and weekends), and I try to be really supportive by, eg, taking over his usual chores, doing more of the child-wrangling etc etc. Maybe subconsciously I feel he owes me one on that, and I actually resent it a bit...?

Autumnalleaves Wed 07-Sep-16 20:45:18

[i work 4 days a week but only have the commute on three days a week]

RandomMess Wed 07-Sep-16 20:53:46

I would feel hurt as I would feel that what I said wasn't important enough for him to listen properly and absorb what I was saying...

I bet he wouldn't do it at work!

We all forget things occasionally but that is a fair few times in a short space of time.

BombadierFritz Wed 07-Sep-16 21:03:22

tbh I forget stuff dh asks me to get all the time. at least your dh goes back out to get it. i'd see it as
you forgot
then I forgot
so now its your turn to go get it

BombadierFritz Wed 07-Sep-16 21:06:39

thinking about it, for me at least, you are right, I am not that bothered so dont make much effort to remember. mind you, have to remind me loads about some things too - usually unimportant things they could really do/get themselves

Joysmum Wed 07-Sep-16 21:19:42

I used to get het up about about this with my DH too.

I assumed it was just with me because he has a pretty high powered job. Turns out as time has gone on, he's like this at work too but he's so good at other aspects of his job he's been promoted a number of times.

So, I let it go. Nothing terrible happens, even though it's annoying. I don't get stressed and life is better. I'm very well organised, and he's great at crisis management (which I'm not) so things work out ok.

Helmetbymidnight Wed 07-Sep-16 21:22:59

I am like this.

It's because I find this stuff boring blush I do sort it eventually though, usually.

BadRespawn Wed 07-Sep-16 21:57:44

I think you are being at least slightly unfair here, OP. Whilst I can appreciate that feeling like you have to constantly check up on your OH can be frustrating (particularly if you yourself are also stressed or behind schedule), the critical point here is that he made the effort to correct his oversights; I think it's not a case of 'putting less value on your requests' as much as good, old-fashioned absentmindedness. It's probably irritating, but it doesn't sound sinister, calculated or malicious.

PiSeas Wed 07-Sep-16 22:37:23

bologna has it spot on. My DH is the same and it frustrates me no end. For us it's the lack of respect. He doesn't forget things for work but when I ask him to do/grab something then 9 times out of 10 he forgets immediately.
I've suggested list writing for him but why? Why should we have to basically mother our DHs? Mine is mid forties... a director in a company and has his own company which he's made a success of... so why do I now need to make bloody lists for the few and far between things I ask for?
It grates. I feel your irritation.

Bountybarsyuk Wed 07-Sep-16 22:50:55

My husband asks me to do stuff, half the time I remember, half the time I forget. I work extremely hard and things fall out of my head quite a bit. Has he just had a bad run recently? If he went out every time to solve the problem, it's more likely he's forgetful or slightly overwhelmed (I note you think working part-time and being at home is easier than what you do)- he's not doing it deliberately as it's making more work for him to then do it later.

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