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Constant tit for tat crap with DH

(10 Posts)
systemofafrown Fri 03-Feb-17 18:24:22

DH and I keep on having tit for tat arguments. It usually takes the same form. I remind him to do something or ask him not to and he rakes up something random that I apparently have or haven't done. I cant say anything critical as he just attacks back and then I feel ashamed for getting drawn in and snapping back or getting angry (I'm the fiery one) whilst he skulks away silently and victorious as the reasonable one!

Background: DH helpful in the house with maintenance etc, but leaves destruction in his path. Im often reminding him to tidy up after himself and Im not perfect, but feel im the only one striving for 'clean and tidy' at times. He will begrugingly do housework but will make resentful comments as if it's not his job. But generally he just fails to tidy up after himself.

Today's episode unfolded as follows:

Me: "Babe would you mind putting the raw chicken container straight in the bin, so it's not sitting on the side waiting to go in the recycling box until tomorrow? I've mentioned it a few times before." (Especially gentle about this as DH hates criticism and I don't want to argue as I remove the container myself).

DH: "How about you try to remember to put a new bin bag in the recycling bin since you've forgotten to do that!" (Clearly annoyed by my request.)

Me: "If you noticed I'd forgotten why didn't you just put one in? I cleaned the sink this morning after you left it disgusting and covered in grease with rotting food in the plug hole but haven't mentioned that. I just cleaned it up myself to save arguing."

DH: "Then you could have not mentioned the empty yoghurt pot I left in the lounge last night and just cleaned that up yourself too."

Me: "There's a difference between me needing to clean an unhygienic, disgusting mess that youve left straight away and your rubbish lying around the place because you're too bone idol to put it in the bin yourself. I'm not tidying up after a slob." (Me starting to lose all sense of reason and getting angry)
Me: "Don't bother staying in tonight, since we clearly can't get along."

Silence. Not speaking.
I feel like rubbish. DH looks like the reasonable one as I've lost my cool.

How can I avoid getting drawn into this?

TheSparrowhawk Fri 03-Feb-17 18:30:43

Divorce him.

DietAdviceNeeded Fri 03-Feb-17 18:32:36

Oh Christ, I'm glad I live on my own!

RobinBankz Fri 03-Feb-17 18:38:28

Lol sounds like me and my DH. Is your relationship healthy otherwise though i.e. do you move on swiftly after bickering and have a laugh together? If not and you're just miserable then I think there must be something deeper than just getting annoyed at housework things.

gleam Fri 03-Feb-17 18:42:24

Did he put the chicken container in the bin?

Going forward, when he says about the recycling bin, just say something bland about not knowing you'd forgotten. If you're feeling generous, you could thank him for putting one in (if he did). And then, crucially, return to the chicken container.

If he doesn't put it in then, he will look like a dick and you will be the calm, reasonable one, imo.

It must be exhausting to live like this.

MrsBlennerhassett Fri 03-Feb-17 18:42:31

well two options
leave him
or
be the one to stop it escalating.
after 'how about you try to remember to put a bin bag in the recycling' just walk away and dont engage.
I think you are feeding and giving justification to his anger. If you had just walked away he would find it difficult to have any justification for his bad mood and would have to realise on some level that he was being shitty. As the argument escalates he can give himself permission to be angry.

Id try this and see if it has any effect because it could reduce his bullshit dramatically.
Obv hes in the wrong getting so defensive and tense so its up to you whether to put any effort into resolving the issue but if you do want to i think you are gonna have to be the one to do something.
You could also try (even though he doesnt deserve it) just replying with a compliment or something nice, every time he makes a snippy comment.
It will either wind him right up and make him look shit which could be quite enjoyable lol or it will thaw the tension and make him less defensive.
I know its not fair that you have to put effort in when hes not but sometimes when you get trapped in these sort of dynamics someone is going to have to do something to get out of it. The goodwill and kindness here is gone for whatever reason, I bet you are both secretly hoping that one day the other one is gonna turn round and be nice and appreciative and loving. So maybe try just being that one?

Hermonie2016 Fri 03-Feb-17 18:43:48

Oh grief,

It's not good when you start to call him names so you need to step back before then.
Are you fundamentally incompatible about tidiness? It seems you both try to win when for the relationship sake you should both try to let stuff go.

Costacoffeeplease Fri 03-Feb-17 18:48:43

Just don't get sucked in - 'I'm not talking about the recycling bin liner, I'm talking about the chicken container' with a hmm face

Or LTB because I doubt he'll change

systemofafrown Fri 03-Feb-17 19:55:11

Robin: we have our ups and downs but generally, we have a good relationship. Daily stresses definitely add to our irritation with each other in general. Now and then we go through a phase where we keep on bickering and other times we're ok.
He's v laid back and me more intense, but I'm not a 'neat-freak' or anything like, I just like things to be clean and tidy to an acceptable standard. I don't think I ask an awful lot in comparison to some wives. I'm not perfect as I've pointed out, but is anyone? Does that mean I'm not allowed to point things out because I forget things or get things wrong from time to time too?

Costa: I like your idea of bringing it back to the chicken container. It will take an awful lot of focus for me not to get sucked in, but I think if I keep doing that, it could stop the cycle.

SlankyBodger Fri 03-Feb-17 20:26:23

Costa's idea is great. I remember years ago reading something similar on MN; dh and I were in a phase where he would turn everything round to focus on me, so I tried it. I can't remember what my criticism was, something like yours. The exchange went something like this:

Me: Darling, please could you remember to put the breadknife away.
DH: I do try, and anyway, I wish you'd rinse the sink when you pour tea away.
Instead of it escalating, I said
We can talk about that later, right now we're talking about you putting the breadknife away.
DH: but you do this
Me: Yes, but right now we're talking about you and the breadknife.
DH: .......... <tumbleweed>

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