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What do you think about my husband's behaviour? I need outside perspectives

(163 Posts)
MaxwellAndPeterson Mon 10-Apr-17 10:04:13

For balance, he's great 70% of the time: texts me every day to say I love you, buys flowers and thoughtful gifts, is supportive, is brilliant in a crisis, we laugh a lot, like the same things, enjoy going away together, days out, etc.

No children by mutual choice and we've been together 20 years.

I'll try to be as brief as I can without drip feeding!

He's fussy and obsessive. He places huge importance on 'things' - furniture, decor, clothes, etc. If something gets knocked, he inspects it, often with a torch if he can't see any damage with his naked eye. Then he'll quiz me: do I think it's damaged? Do I think it's stained? Do I think it's ok? That's if he has had the accident. If it's me who has done something, he goes on and on and on at me or he'll lecture me about it about the correct way to do the task to ensure no accident.

He can't stand losing things and will spend hours and hours systematically taking the house apart looking for something he has lost. He once emptied all the outside bins and checked every single piece of rubbish, including rotting food, looking for a hair comb that had cost £4.

He always blames me for anything that gets misplaced. Likewise, he always blames me if anything is damaged, even natural wear and tear.

He is very untidy and I am fairly tidy. He has clothes and shoes on all three bedroom floors. Despite this, I have found several items of mine seemingly thrown or kicked around. E.g. a pair of my shoes that I had left stood upright by the bed were both on their sides and in the middle of the floor, as if they had been kicked. He denied he had kicked them and when I pressed him, he said he had merely picked them up and moved them because they were in the way.

We share a car. If I've last driven it, he always sighs loudly when he gets in and needs to adjust the seat. Likewise, he sighs loudly when the car stereo comes on and it's on one of my music albums.

If we fall out, he refuses to discuss it. He acts huffy, gives me the silent treatment for a few hours, or pretends nothing has happened. If I try to discuss anything, he always denies he was in any way in the wrong, or he minimises what happened, or he shuts me down as fast as possible.

He is generally bad mannered and acts irritable with me. He can't stand saying please or thank you to me. If I say something and he hasn't heard me, he will sigh and say 'What' in this bored tone. He demands information from me, rather than asking nicely. E.g. 'where is the car key?' in an impatient snappy voice.

He leaves dirty pots out on the counter where I prep food, so they're in my way and I have to move them in order to make a meal - when when I've emptied the dishwasher so he could put them directly in there instead. He denies doing this specifically to annoy me, but he continues to do it, even though I've asked him not to many times over many years.

He can't stand me asking things of him. For example, if he's gardening and I ask him to cut back a branch while he's got the tools on the go, he'll tut, sigh and get irritable and say he hasn't got time.

I once asked what time he would be ready when we were going out somewhere, and he snapped 'Why?' And 'you're pressuring me'.

If he's taking the dog for a walk on his own and I'm staying in the house, maybe because I'm feeling rough or am staying in to cook dinner, he refuses to say 'bye' to me - he just walks out of the house. But he always says goodbye if he's going to work or out with friends, etc. Likewise, if it's his turn to take the dog in the garden for a wee, he leaves the door wide open next to where I'm sitting so I get cold while he's outside, rather than pushing the door to.

There are millions more examples, but I'm trying to keep this from getting too long! Generally, I get this underlying sense of power games and control from him, but because his MO is to deny, deny, deny, or to minimise anything I bring up, or to refuse to discuss anything with me, I have no idea.

DesertSky Mon 10-Apr-17 10:09:05

Some of it sounds like he may suffer from OCD, but I can't help but feel you've listed his every flaw i.e., leaving a door open when he goes into garden - nobody is perfect!

Grimnews Mon 10-Apr-17 10:12:24

Yeah as above, I can't help but feel you've listed his every flaw, some of which sound relatively average.

The particular hoarding/checking for damage issue sounds like a mental health thing, possibly OCD but I wouldn't want to diagnose.

DesertSky Mon 10-Apr-17 10:15:03

Seriously, reading back the obsession over damaged items - sounds like a psychological thing - perhaps he was blamed for breaking something/harshly disciplined as a child?
The rest just sounds like normal MAN stuff!! Poor bloke, give him a break. I bet you have many annoying habits too. Like I said nobody is perfect. If you are trying to make excuses for why you shouldn't be with him perhaps you need to look deeply at the relationship and whether you still love him? Otherwise it sounds like you are just nit picking OP.

AntiGrinch Mon 10-Apr-17 10:19:16

My ex was like this - not fussy about things, he wasn't like that. But the other stuff.

I couldn't stand it. I have no idea whether this is "objectively" unreasonable behaviour or not but I hated it.

For full disclosure: I come from a different culture which is a bit more shouty and voluble than his and he absolutely hated any heat at all in my voice. He (in my eyes) massively over-reacted to me getting a bit arsey and annoyed (about anything); perhaps I was massively over-reacting to his dismissiveness and rudeness, which I found very very cutting, far worse than getting a bit heated when annoyed about something.

So in short, I have no idea.

LesisMiserable Mon 10-Apr-17 10:20:13

You both sound extremely highly strung.

Moussemoose Mon 10-Apr-17 10:21:12

It's not the 'thing' the pan or the shoes it's the 'game' that is annoying.
The subtext, the sigh that implies he is winning and you are losing the game in his head.
My DP plays games like this. I put up with it because, like your DP, he is mostly lovely and we have kids.
However, I am getting to old to play juvenile games my patience is wearing thin. One day I might just leave him if he leaves the sink full of his crap wen he knows I am cooking.

HalfShellHero Mon 10-Apr-17 10:21:12

It sounds like a combination of OCD behaviour and bad manners it's sounds tiresome OP I feel for you.

MadameCholetsDirtySecret Mon 10-Apr-17 10:28:13

It is not normal 'man stuff'. He is a pig. He is disrespectful of you, your needs and possessions.

MaxwellAndPeterson Mon 10-Apr-17 10:28:49

Oh yes, definitely I have annoying habits too.

I know no one's perfect, but I'm finding it very hard to separate the normal everyday annoying habits from what's not so normal. Because he stonewalls me all the time, we've never discussed anything about our relationship, so my perspective is totally skewed.

Do you really think it's normal to throw and kick my stuff around?

There are many many rules that he has set for me which I have to follow in order not to upset him, and I do them because I know it bothers him if I don't. For example, putting cutlery in the drawer a certain way. But if I've told him over and over that something bothers me, and he continues to do it, such as leaving pots specifically in the place i prep meals, then is that normal too?

WellErrr Mon 10-Apr-17 10:30:56

You sound like you're both incredibly irritated by each other.

BreakfastAtSquiffanys Mon 10-Apr-17 10:32:12

Most of the second half of your post describing his faults just sounds unimportant, but the general bad manners, irritability and lack of please and thank you would be very wearing.
Just because your married to someone doesn't mean you can be rude to them.
Occasionally when I say ask Mr Squiffany "do you want a cup of tea?" he'll go "uh-huh" signifying yes. The correct answer is yes please or no tea gets made.

MsGameandWatch Mon 10-Apr-17 10:34:03

The rest just sounds like normal MAN stuff!! Poor bloke, give him a break. I bet you have many annoying habits too. Like I said nobody is perfect. If you are trying to make excuses for why you shouldn't be with him perhaps you need to look deeply at the relationship and whether you still love him? Otherwise it sounds like you are just nit picking OP.

Sorry this is bollocks.

He sounds like he perceives you as his little dumping ground for life's frustrations and without being hurtful he doesn't sound like he likes you all that much and wants to make sure you know about it and what a saint he is for putting up with you and your unreasonable infringements on his life. How anyone can say that it's just a man thing and you're highly strung for having a problem with his spiteful nit picking is utterly beyond me

MaxwellAndPeterson Mon 10-Apr-17 10:34:39

The obsession thing. He had a bad childhood - his older siblings were all treated better than him, both monetary wise and emotionally. His dad was a sulker who would go in moods for weeks on end, never did anything with his wife and children - he just worked obsessively until the day he died. His mum silently suffered and never said anything. But she also treated my husband badly and acted like she didn't actually like him when he was a child.

AntiGrinch Mon 10-Apr-17 10:36:10

"But if I've told him over and over that something bothers me, and he continues to do it, such as leaving pots specifically in the place i prep meals, then is that normal too?"

Again, I don't know about normal, but I know that my exP REALLY resented being asked to do anything, however small. It was as if asking him to do something was a form of criticism, or challenge. One of his responses to being asked to do something was to launch some criticism back at me (unrelated and not new - just something he could pull out of his bag of "HER FAULTS" that he could launch back in a retaliatory strike - even though my asking him to do something, nicely, was not actually an attack)

Another thing he could do was just ignore it.

it was, I think, something to do with power for him. Like if he (for instance) didn't move or use certain personal things of mine, which I asked him not to so I could find them in a rush in the mornings, he was .... relinquishing some kind of manly power over the house to have full access to everything in it.... or something?

I don't know.

peaceout Mon 10-Apr-17 10:40:51

sounds like a lot of passive aggressive behaviour from him
I would play him at his own game, eg don't follow his rules but deny that you didn't follow them.

Really this kind of stupid shit...it's very hard to get someone to just be straight with you after years of passive aggressive power games.
I would never go back to cohabiting!

MaxwellAndPeterson Mon 10-Apr-17 10:42:32

AntiGrinch, yes that's it exactly. I get a sense of resentment from him, like he feels like he's being told what to do or he's being criticised. That's why I think he's doing these things - so he can feel like he's in control.

MaxwellAndPeterson Mon 10-Apr-17 10:47:09

He does this thing where he'll start a conversation, then as I answer him, he'll leave the room so I either have to follow him out or I have to shout so he can hear me. If I carry on in the same tone of voice, he'll sigh and say 'I can't hear you'.

LizzieMacQueen Mon 10-Apr-17 10:51:05

What kind of work do you both do? Is it people facing?

For some reason in my head I'm imagining a couple of scientists here so deep in their own work that they're oblivious to those around them ( not that I have someone like that in my family.....)

ClemDanfango Mon 10-Apr-17 10:51:07

It sounds like he thinks you're some annoying little fly he has to swat away from him so he doesn't become distracted by what's important- himself and his needs.
I wouldn't put up with that, do you want to stay with him? Seems pointless when he only truly cares for himself.

peaceout Mon 10-Apr-17 10:51:44

Make no mistake you are being manipulated, he is 'gaming' the relationship

happypoobum Mon 10-Apr-17 10:52:44

It sounds to me like you are fed up with each other. Maybe it's time to call it a day?

peaceout Mon 10-Apr-17 10:55:48

he'll start a conversation, then as I answer him, he'll leave the room so I either have to follow him out or I have to shout so he can hear me. If I carry on in the same tone of voice, he'll sigh and say 'I can't hear you'

Then don't follow him, don't carry on talking, ignore him and do something else
Don't follow him around like a servant/lost puppy
treat him as if he is the lesser being

MaxwellAndPeterson Mon 10-Apr-17 10:56:39

I'm thinking of having some counselling on my own to try and sort things out in my own head. There's really no point asking him to join me because he'll just deny and dismiss everything anyway.

Yes, I'm very fed up and starting to think about leaving.

BreakfastAtSquiffanys Mon 10-Apr-17 11:00:12

He does this thing where he'll start a conversation, then as I answer him, he'll leave the room so I either have to follow him out or I have to shout so he can hear me. If I carry on in the same tone of voice, he'll sigh and say 'I can't hear you

That's bloody annoying.
He seems to do a lot of sighing. I hate sighers

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