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Some men want to seem 'under the thumb'?

(70 Posts)
Mom2Monkeys Fri 04-Nov-16 08:53:33

I have a theory, based on my experience with some boyfriends and DH, that some men choose strong women because it suits them to give the impression that they are under the thumb.

I am a strong, confident woman who has opinions. However, I'm not a loud or vocal person. What I really want is a man who is the same - a 50/50 relationship with someone who will tell me what he wants, stick up for himself and discuss things so that we will have interesting conversations and compromise together, etc.

However, I've noticed that in public my DH likes to occasionally play the role of 'being under the thumb' in front of his friends. I do not find this funny. He will give the impression that he is 'not allowed' to do certain things or that I'm the reason for him doing things or not doing things. It is complete nonsense.

To give a recent example: My DH plays football some weekends throughout the winter for a team that's far from where we live, so he's out most of Saturday. As we have a baby and a toddler, and he works long hours all week, I am with the children all week and I do find Saturdays hard. However, I understand that football is really important to him and I have my own musical hobbies that I attend, so it balances out.

Every year he umms and ahhhs over whether he wants to continue to play for the team. This year he has booked in lots of weekend activities and moans that he is 'not going to be able to play again' those weeks. So I told him to keep the whole of Oct/Nov/Dec/Jan free where possible. The things we've got booked in are HIS things that could be moved.

There has been one weekend when I said 'no' about him playing football - when he had worked until 10:30pm on two week-nights and I was exhausted. So he has now latched on to this, and is acting as if I am not keen on him playing football. I even said at the time 'make sure you play next weekend', and he claims he didn't hear me and has already cancelled it (even though we have nothing on).

Today I was annoyed when he said he was 'surprised' this morning when I was expecting him to play this weekend. I don't know why he'd be surprised as (except for one weekend) I have been very encouraging about him playing football, told him to move things so he can play and specifically said he should play this weekend. He has also started saying 'We agreed....' and 'We need to decide' about whether he plays football or not. As far as I'm concerned, 'We' have not agreed anything. Whether he plays football has nothing to do with me. He needs to decide for himself and I do not want to be blamed for whether he continues to play or misses matches, where it's been his decision.

He talks like this in front of our joint friends (not just about football), and I can see their disapproving looks. I have come to the conclusion that it suits him......

bluecashmere Fri 04-Nov-16 08:57:11

My ex did this. He was a dick. It's disrespectful.

Simonneilsbeard Fri 04-Nov-16 09:01:33

He sounds like he enjoys playing the victim and having someone to blame. He's making you the bad very odd!

Katisha Fri 04-Nov-16 09:03:42

Having seen this in action with a colleague who likes to seem as though it's his wife who makes all the running and he has to go along with her, I think it's to do with his inability to own decisions. He has huge fear of missing out, and if he can attribute a decision to someone else, and it turns out not to have been the best decision, then he can rationalise it wasn't down to him.

Myusernameismyusername Fri 04-Nov-16 09:07:44

Katisha is spot on I reckon!!

Potplant Fri 04-Nov-16 09:08:18

My ex used to do this too. He blamed me for having to give up rugby, when the truth was he just didn't want to play anymore. His friends probably think he was a poor hen-pecked man with a dragon of a wife who never let him out.
The reality was that he would just do whatever he wanted anyway.

TheNaze73 Fri 04-Nov-16 09:09:31

It's definitely him & not you.

A DW, that encourages hobbies & doesn't resent them with PA etc & acknowledges that people need time with their same sex friends is exactly how it should be.

He sounds like a tosser & is using you as a defence blanket? I think you are the opposite of what a lot of partners are in reality & I'm wondering if he is, like he is based on his previous experiences? Doesn't make it right, you'd think he would be acting like he'd struck gold.

Myusernameismyusername Fri 04-Nov-16 09:09:55

Also I think this is to do with this whole nice guy complex some people have where they like to think they 'make huge sacrifices for their family' which just ends up making things more bloody complicated with the tooing and froing. I think guilt is usually part of this behaviour, doing something for himself clearly plays on his mind It might be seen as selfish so it's almost easier to make everything your fault and your decisions

msrisotto Fri 04-Nov-16 09:10:26

Yeah I've had that where they use you as a convenient excuse to get out of something, fucking weird

Simonneilsbeard Fri 04-Nov-16 09:13:55

My teenage daughter used to do this when she didn't really wana do things with her mates ..she'd say 'my mum won't let me' . Is this the adult version of that? If you can call it adult! Maybe he just doesn't want to play football and it's easier to blame it on you than say no.

Getmoving Fri 04-Nov-16 09:14:04

I know the exact thing you mean. I think a lot of men do it. It's a play act. I've seen men do it a lot in mixed company.

AnyFucker Fri 04-Nov-16 09:14:33

It's emotional laziness, isn't it ? Pure and simple. Using you to cover up for his own inadequacy.

ravenmum Fri 04-Nov-16 09:17:08

How does he react if you point out that you do not want to be portrayed as a dragon? Does he again make himself out to be the victim, this time of your "twisting his words" or similar?

Smellslikeoranges Fri 04-Nov-16 09:25:00

I had an ex who did this. Luckily he did it so much that all his friends saw through it. It's a coward's way out of avoiding confrontation imo and pretty misogynistic too as it's accepted in some company that women are a pain in the arse and you have to humour them (for what reason?). Although how to deal with it? That's a whole other issue.

Touchacat Fri 04-Nov-16 09:28:28

My DH does this a little bit, more the jokey stuff in front of people. I always call him out on it there and then and put him straight. He will always reply with 'I'm only joking' but he doesn't get how irritating it is to be made out as some controlling wife when I'm not. If he does any DIY which he LOVES doing btw, then he makes out like I'm putting him to work on weekends. No, actually I'd rather us be spending time as a family, not you fucking about with door handles or curtain rails is whatever.
I think it stems from his parents relationship where his mum is very much the decision maker and organiser, and his sisters relationship is the same and so in DH's mind he wants to model that. Or something. I don't know really.

Matchstickbox Fri 04-Nov-16 09:30:46

Mine does this in jest too.
Well in jest with friends but also uses me as an excuse not to do stuff with his mother. Very annoying and I sympathise.

Kidnapped Fri 04-Nov-16 09:43:33

God. If the company is organising a big night out with men and women, you will always get a couple of blokes say "Oh, I'll have to see if I can get a pass for the night" with a little smirk on the face.

As if her indoors is a totally unreasonable harridan who could easily veto his night out, the poor lamb.

It makes me have zero respect for them. They could easily say "I'll let you know by Monday".

JoJoSM2 Fri 04-Nov-16 09:50:54

Yeah, sounds like immaturity - avoiding responsibility and/or confrontation. He just shifts the blame onto you and portrays himself as a poor victim. It's pretty nasty and unfair on you to make you out to be horrible when you're not.

Mom2Monkeys Fri 04-Nov-16 09:57:13

I pointed out to him that he is painting me out to be the 'bad guy' to others all the time. He said he feels guilty about going out on a Saturday because he knows it's hard for me to have the kids again. He said he doesn't enjoy the game because he's thinking about how hard it is for me.

I know there is an element of truth and caring in this (it is harder for me, but I'd prefer him to do it than be miserable without football), but that comment ennoyed me as well. Now I feel guilty for making him feel guilty about going.

He nearly made it in football when he was younger (played for a Premier league youth team) so I wonder whether he doesn't want to admit that he is 'giving up' on it or too old for it (late 30's).

category12 Fri 04-Nov-16 10:23:41

My ex would do this. And also act like I spent all the money he earned, despite him being the spender and me earning half the money.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Fri 04-Nov-16 10:24:04

Idiot. In our house, it boils down to logistics. Nobody gives anybody permission or asks for it. Except for French onion soup, because of the farting.

Myusernameismyusername Fri 04-Nov-16 10:24:05

As I suspected, it's guilt projection!
Much easier to blame you for his guilt isn't it

LittleOyster Fri 04-Nov-16 10:48:16

I have a martyr husband like this. We've set aside three nights a week for him to see friends/play sport but he never, ever does - just complains endlessly about how empty his life is. It's very passive aggressive and has a lot to do with needing always to be the good guy in the eyes of others, I think. On some level, it pleases him to be seen as a victim. It's now clear to me that my husband resents me greatly, but doesn't have the balls to say that directly, so satisfies his dislike of me by portraying me to his friends /colleagues etc as a life-ruining bitch. Needless to say, I'll be leaving this relationship at the first opportunity!

Potplant Fri 04-Nov-16 11:07:23

op - mine was the same with rugby (although not to that level). He didn't want to play week in and out anymore but didn't want to say because rugby was his thing in his younger days. so he went down the 'she won't let me' route. This was before DCs so if he wanted to be out all day on Saturday, fine by me I had plenty of other things to do.

Why it was better to have a controlling wife than just say 'no, I don't think I'm going to play next season' I don't know.

Kidnapped Fri 04-Nov-16 11:11:17

It is really odd, because I don't think it has the effect that they think it does on others.

When the couple of men at work say that they need to ask for a pass to go out for an evening, I think most people think "Christ, what a knobber he is" and not "Oh, the poor chap he must have it so hard at home". I think they are really lacking in self-awareness.

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