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Wife who cannot answer Yes or No to any question

(275 Posts)
Stewart2017 Tue 17-Jan-17 21:01:26

Sounds trivial I know, but my wife just cannot (will not) answer yes or no. Ever.
And it turns minor disputes into big arguments daily. And needlessly.

Example tonight - kid kicks off bad behaviour with mum, it's getting very aggressive and I run upstairs quickly to deal strictly with young teenager. Kid continues on at me, and my wife then criticises me for causing issue!

Clearly untrue, and son seizes on this and torments and name calls me. I ask my wife is she genuinely thinks it was my fault, and I get a "don't know" or "you are ruining the night" when I feel the opposite.
Aggrieved I keep asking calmly does she really think it my fault, and asking for a yes or no to clear up any misunderstanding.

We then argue while kid laps it all up and laughing. This is no way to act in front of kid and why on earth am I being blamed.
She just will never answer a straight question. No matter how basic.

This is daily. Earlier today I asked "shall I pick up milk when I'm out?"
She'll answer "mind phone your Dad"
Yeah I will. But do we need milk?
She'll answer after about 5 attempts at question "I don't know"
Shall I come back inside and check fridge?
She'll answer "just go!"
OK, but do we need milk yes or no?
..... and on and on.

Sounds trivial writing get it down, but it is driving me bonkers.
She is intelligent and holds down a decent job. She not ill or anything.
Just seems utterly bizarre that no matter the question she cannot answer clearly. Ever.

Butterfly2020 Tue 17-Jan-17 21:05:59

Have you told her that she does this?

It's definitely very odd, does she relate to the kids this way too?

anametouse Tue 17-Jan-17 21:09:08

Maybe she is scared of giving you the wrong answer? You were also in the wrong to demand a yes or no answer from her in front of your child

Bluntness100 Tue 17-Jan-17 21:12:16

Why keep on at her in front of the kids when you know she won't do it? That's not ok. Sit down and talk about it, she's clearly struggling with decision making or communicating and it sounds like you're bullying her into answering. Why didn't you just go check the fridge, if she doesn't know she doesn't know.

Scarydinosaurs Tue 17-Jan-17 21:13:24

Do you think the issue is more the situations surrounding the questioning, rather than her answers?

First example- she may not have wanted you to intervene, best to check with her before you weigh in.

Second example- she obviously didn't know, why didn't you just check yourself?

FatOldBag Tue 17-Jan-17 21:13:31

You sounded like a complete fucking arse during that argument tbh. And when you start describing your oh in terms of they "never" (or "always") do xyz it's generally a really bad sign, showing contempt. Get some couples counselling, or a divorce.

LivininaBox Tue 17-Jan-17 21:16:13

Well in the first example you give, you sound like a bit of a bully. She already told you she thinks you caused the problem didn't she?

And the second example, why can't you just look in the fridge yourself?

You sound annoying.

Mum2jenny Tue 17-Jan-17 21:19:03

If I asked my dp if we needed milk, he wouldn't have a clue. Either look in the fridge or buy it anyway.

bumpertobumper Tue 17-Jan-17 21:20:27

Sounds like you need counselling together to sort out your communication issues.
The lack of a yes/no must be infuriating. Does she realise that she does this? Is she the same with friends and family? What does she say when you talk about it?

You know you shouldn't have argued in front of the kid, does this happen often? In this case you both lost any authority.

For me, it really annoys me if I am telling one if the children off and DP gets involved - it feels like he doesn't think I have enough authority to deal with the situation by myself. But the flip side is that when he is telling them off I stay out of it ( as that is what I would prefer), but he wants me to jump in and back him up.
I realise this is not directly relevant to the main point of your post, but is the part that resonates with me...

Bitofacow Tue 17-Jan-17 21:21:33

My DM does this. It drives me mad.

Me: should we do/buy/watch x?
DM : what do you think? Or - if you want to?
Me: but do you want to?
DM : if you want to

I remember my parents having arguments like the one you mention. I was relived the row got me off the hook but despised her weakness for not just saying yes or no. Not nice of me, but it is how I felt.

It feels like if someone else makes the decisions it's their fault not hers. If there is no milk it's your fault.

I'm sure there are reasons, my DF was an strong character, perhaps she was intimidated, I just know it made me very determined not to be like that.

Quartz2208 Tue 17-Jan-17 21:21:50

With the milk why should she know why cant you check it yourself. If I was busy doing something and my husband asked me I might say I don't know and expect you to answer. If you continued to hassle me rather than figuring it out yourself I would say just go because I wanted it to stop

As for tonight were you really asking it calmly and even if you were a continuous question like that can be intimidating

It partly sounds like she is scared to give you a direct answer because of your response. None of it here gives the impression that you see that perhaps she felt I don't know was the path of least resistance I.e. Yes you have made things worse but I know if I say yes you will get upset and say you were only helping and no is a lie

Naicehamshop Tue 17-Jan-17 21:22:57

It sounds a bit as though you are pressuring her for an answer. I know it seems a bit odd that she can't give you a direct answer to a straightforward question, but I know from experience that if you do feel under pressure simple things can be hard to deal with. Do you get angry? Are you raising your voice when you speak to her? Why ask her the same thing over and over again - five times, I think you said... I would tell you to look in the bloody fridge yourself!

HeddaGarbled Tue 17-Jan-17 21:26:49

Oh dear, that does sound a bit odd but it's difficult to tell what's going on from what you've said.

Clearly the two of you have communication problems and the children joining in and making things worse is a real problem.

Asking the same question over and over again does sound a bit bullying. Think Jeremy Paxman and that famous interview where he asks a politician the same question over and over again. Excruciating. But it does sound like she's being evasive - can't work out why.

Firstly, you two need to talk without the audience of the children. Tell her how you feel but try not to be accusatory and critical. Something like, I feel we're struggling to have proper conversations and to agree about how to handle the children's behaviour. Then shut up and listen, really listen to what she has to say. If that gets you nowhere, maybe you need to look at some relationship counselling or maybe even some family therapy.

Also do some reading about effective communication and bringing up teenagers.

Moob Tue 17-Jan-17 21:27:47

Me "have you picked anything up for tea tonight or shall I get something?"

Wife "I went to the co-op this morning, they had a special on washing powder so I picked some up"

"What about food for tonight?"

"Oh, I got ham for the kids packed lunches"

Does my head in.

"Did you organise a sitter for Saturday?"

"I phoned deb but she is busy"

10 questions later it turns out her mum is free.

CondensedMilkSarnies Tue 17-Jan-17 21:32:13

My ex was a bully . I was terrified of giving a straight answer to his interrogation questions because whatever I said would be wrong .

Testificateman Tue 17-Jan-17 21:32:58

Sorry Stewart, I really don't know why people are attacking you over this situation. Yes, you shouldn't have argued in front of your son but, it sounds like it wasn't totally your fault.
I would suggest sitting down with your wife and try talking to her. She might have a lot on her mind at the moment or, she might have doubts about the marriage.
Oh, and as for you being called a bully and a fucking arse, if it was the opposite way round, you would get a totally different reply. No need for such remarks when someone is looking for help and advice.

ScruffyTheJanitor Tue 17-Jan-17 21:33:11

Sounds like my gf.

Me: what you want for tea
Gf: I don't know

Me: where shall we go today?
Gf: I doing know,
Me: shall we go to the city?
Gf: if you want
Me: shall we stay in
Gf: if you want

Me: what shall we watch on Netflix?
Gf: I don't know
Me: how about Daredevil?
Gf: if you want

Me: shall I kill you by bludgeoning or with a shotgun?
Gf: I don't know
Me: how about feeding you to a school of very hungry piranha?
Gf: if you want.

At this point my head implodes upon itself.

I have no solution, but I do get to choose what we eat, where we go and what we watch, it works well.

tigerdriverII Tue 17-Jan-17 21:33:17

If my DH was haranguing me in front of DS, I would walk away and refuse to engage. You sound like a dog with a bone.

Re the milk: well you could have looked! You again sound as if you're pressing for an answer in a fussy way.

I know it's frustrating if someone can't give you a clear answer. If you're wife isn't ill/depressed then perhaps she's treading on eggshells?

SallyInSweden Tue 17-Jan-17 21:33:43

What answer were you looking for? Yes! Of course she thinks it, but like a normal person doesn't want to have that row with you in front of the child.

You are really coming across in a very browbeating manner. Sorry but you do.

PollytheDolly Tue 17-Jan-17 21:38:20

Is it me then or why doesn't she just answer the bloody question. He wouldn't ask again then. Would infuriate me.

Seriously, she can't answer if they need milk?

Naicehamshop Tue 17-Jan-17 21:39:07

Browbeating is the exact word I was looking for!

Scruffy - I imagine your girlfriend stopped listening to you some time ago.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 17-Jan-17 21:42:26

Seriously, she can't answer if they need milk?

I agree confused

titchy Tue 17-Jan-17 21:42:55

Maybe wife was heading off to work and OP was stood by the fridge!

How about apologising for undermining her in front of the kids and make sure you don't do that again. Then discussing the issues you clearly have with the kids and back her up when you can rather than give your brat of a teen the chance to laugh at his mum.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 17-Jan-17 21:44:57

Sounds trivial I know, but my wife just cannot (will not) answer yes or no. Ever

Sounds utterly bizarre.

mrssmith79 Tue 17-Jan-17 21:46:57

DH is terrible for this, it's infuriating. Obviously this is mumsnet and you're in the wrong though (on account of your penis).

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