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.

Other half's obsessive tidying is driving me nuts!

(30 Posts)
user1482877314 Tue 27-Dec-16 22:55:03

Hello, I'm new to mumsnet and in need of advice please.
I have been with my otherhalf for six years and we have two young children together (aged 3.5 years and 16 months). He is driving me nuts as he is more concerned with living in a show home rather than raising his children! He never sits and plays with the kids and is forever moaning about them making a mess. He hates seeing toys around the house and seems to spend all of his time tidying up/putting toys away. I'm sorry if it seems like I am being petty but I just want him to join in with his family rather than washing up/hoovering/ bleaching the bloody toilet! He spends so much time moaning about the state of the house (our house is actually very clean and tidy considering we have two young children!). He describes it as living in a dump-its not a dump, there's just kids stuff (toys, high chair, pram etc). He spent Christmas constantly tidying up. As soon as the kids opened a present, he was finding a storage place for it rather than showing an interest/playing with it. I feel like all the playing/ giving my children a childhood is all down to me and I'm exhausted. He doesn't even take them out anywhere-not even the the park! He would rather be cleaning?! I'm getting so down about this as I think our children deserve more.
Any input would be great. Thank you.

Naicehamshop Tue 27-Dec-16 23:01:55

He sounds as if he has some quite serious problems op...! I know that this isn't very helpful but his behaviour isn't normal. Have you tried talking to him about it?

PsychedelicSheep Tue 27-Dec-16 23:09:27

Ugh I can't bear this sort of anal behaviour. He's obviously got OCPD type tendencies and I'm sure it all comes from anxiety about not being in an environment which is how he needs it to be or worries that without 100% order things would be in 100% chaos, and I'm not without empathy for him but god people like this are just so fucking dull 😣

If he won't acknowledge he's too excessive and be willing to attempt to compromise or try and work through things in therapy then you have zero chance in things ever being different. Personally, I could not live with a man like this.

user1482877314 Tue 27-Dec-16 23:10:27

Thank you for your reply. I'm forever telling him to leave the tidying and come and sit with his family but he accuses me of telling him what to do? I can handle him cleaning/tidying but not when he could be playing with his children instead. He did set up our son's new racetrack earlier but insisted on hoovering the carpet beforehand. I just don't know how to handle it as he bites my head off whenever I tell him to chill out!

bibbitybobbityyhat Tue 27-Dec-16 23:14:54

I'm sure he's biting your head off because he feels defensive - because he knows deep down that his behaviour is abnormal and damaging to his children.

He needs to have a course of something like cbt or nlp. He needs to change because you and the kids will just resent him more and more and end up leaving him unless he can overcome his compulsions.

I don't know how to go about bringing this up with him though. It is really difficult. Maybe threaten him with an ultimatum?

sansoucitherednosedcariboo Tue 27-Dec-16 23:16:58

He can come and clean at mine if he wants - be delighted to have him! Joking aside, he may be suffering from an illness and should see a GP. Meanwhile, try to let him be. He may not be able to help himself and is likely already extremely anxious.

PsychedelicSheep Tue 27-Dec-16 23:25:52

Why should she let him be when his behaviour is affecting the rest of the family? I think he needs an ultimatum too, a gentle one maybe but still. You need to assert your own boundaries here, it is NOT acceptable for him to be biting your head off for making reasonable requests that he spend time with his family.

user1482877314 Tue 27-Dec-16 23:25:59

Thank you for all of your replies. It is a tough subject to discuss with him... I know he will acuse me of being over dramatic. I feel like it's been going on for so long that I don't even know what's normal anymore?! Like I had to work Xmas Eve so he had the kids all day... He shipped them off to my parents for three hours so he could clean out/rearrange the kitchen cupboards??? The more I am thinking about it, the more it's upsetting me. It's not normal is it sad

PsychedelicSheep Tue 27-Dec-16 23:34:13

That's pretty fucking far from normal!

You need to have a calm discussion with him, don't let him push it onto you and get sidetracked, the issue your talking about is him and his obsessive behaviour. He will no doubt get defensive but you have to keep going until he discusses it sensibly before you'll get anywhere near a solution/compromise.

sansoucitherednosedcariboo Tue 27-Dec-16 23:41:46

This type of behaviour is indicative of an underlying problem. Perhaps a mental illness. It is not "normal behaviour". I'm not qualified to diagnose and even if I were, I couldn't do so without meeting your OH. Your frustration is totally understandable but clearly, discussion isn't improving the situation but rather aggravating it.

PsychedelicSheep Tue 27-Dec-16 23:49:06

So if she shouldn't discuss it then what should she do? He won't 'see a GP' off his own back if he's still denying there's a problem.

PsychedelicSheep Tue 27-Dec-16 23:52:37

I am actually qualified to diagnose some axis one mental health disorders, although I wouldn't over the internet obviously! But it's still his responsibility to deal with it which will most likely require professional support.

sansoucitherednosedcariboo Tue 27-Dec-16 23:53:05

Okay. Google "obsessive cleaning" / "obsessive compulsive disorder" and see if that helps you to understand what might be going on with your husband. If his behaviour fits the criteria listed, or most of it, you will be able to get the help and support you both need.

sansoucitherednosedcariboo Tue 27-Dec-16 23:55:38

I am NOT trying to diagnose your husband but I do want to help as it's clear you're both suffering.

SorenLorensonsInvisibleFriend Wed 28-Dec-16 00:05:53

Unfortunately I can identify with this thread very much from the side of your partner. My poor husband has to deal with me getting twitchy about surfaces and tidying and cleaning, and I sometimes have to check myself to make sure I do play with the children enough. It's only this year I've come to realise that I have quite the case of OCD. And I had the classic reaction from friends of 20 years saying, "you've only just realised? Seriously?!"

For me, it comes down to feeling out of control. If I'm feeling low or depressed - or out of control - I take it out on the flat, trying to make that perfect. I don't feel confident or any good at playing with the babies (2 and 5) and feel I achieve more and feel better about myself if I improve our surroundings. But I am trying to fix the situation and find a decent balance! Reading with them is something I feel more confident with, so that's a more relaxing activity for me. Is there something he can do which he can feel good at? I'm sorry for your situation.

PsychedelicSheep Wed 28-Dec-16 09:17:41

There's a lot more to having OCD than being a neat freak though. Its a mental illness which can be incredibly debilitating. There is often an element of magical thinking, and almost always an underlying theme of responsibility for the safety of others so like 'if I don't clean this thing then my family will get sick and die and it will be all my fault'. It's pretty much the 'all my fault' belief that drives the compulsive behaviours.

I suggest you look for a CBT therapist Soren, who can explore things with you in more detail if you think you might have it and want to get better.

ChuckSnowballs Wed 28-Dec-16 09:43:19

He definitely needs help as he is missing his children's childhood behaving in this way. The above website should help maybe find some answers or help for you.

user1480613212 Thu 29-Dec-16 05:31:57

It's a form of mental illness, he needs support & professional help OP.

RiceCrispieTreats Thu 29-Dec-16 05:44:23

It's a mental illness. He needs to be the one to seek help though, and it doesn't sound like he is ready. You may need to give him an ultimatum.

abbsisspartacus Thu 29-Dec-16 05:49:57

My old neighbour went through this she refused to live with him in the end they had another child together he moved in for a week to help she threw him out again!

scaryclown Thu 29-Dec-16 06:49:16

Two of my friends are both like this and were in a relationship it was great! They think i'm weird if i leave a strap undone on a bag, and once complained i was turning their house into a pigsty because i put my bag down in the kitchen. Her friend was also like this and they used to have 'keep up with the jones's conversations about how intolerant they were of mess. Another of my friends is like this ..only they allow clutter..unless they are drinking.

I don't think its memtal ill health at all. just a preference on how they want to spend their lives. people who have cleaners can be even worse. Another pal has an almost lifestyle magazine interior downstairs..partly because it reflects on her business.. but again she likes to put a lot of time and care into a seemingly simple tidy house. I quite like it, but I find the time and attention needed means i only feel like being all efficient and minimalist perhaps one or two days a year.. The happier i am, the more i love and have the energy for tidy shelves and organisation..the more unhappy i am the more often i go out and distract go figure!

I used to have a pal who's dad wouldn't even let a cup stay in a sink until say a meal is over.and its sensiblile to wash it then ....

sandgrown Thu 29-Dec-16 07:08:16

DP is a bit like this. I used to let the kids open all their presents on Christmas morning and sit in a sea of wrapping paper for a while then tidy up later. DP is always hovering with a bin bag and presents are tidied away the same day (so boring) He also lines up all the tins in the cupboards to face the same way. I have a constant urge to mess them up !

Believeitornot Thu 29-Dec-16 07:41:07

I don't think its memtal ill health at all

OCD is a mental health condition.

Yes there are people who like being incredibly tidy. But people like the OP's DH are not just people who want to be tidy.

Op, was he like this before you had the dcs?

PsychedelicSheep Thu 29-Dec-16 09:25:20

There's not enough there to say it is or isn't OCD. It could be OCPD which is much more ingrained and harder to treat (and to live with!). Or it could be just who he is and not a 'disorder' at all. I still think an ultimatum is probably necessary if you want him to change though.

babyapril Thu 29-Dec-16 09:31:36

scary confused

Join the discussion

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

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: