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Am I mad to end my marriage because he won't put the bins out?

(428 Posts)
toastandjamplease Wed 19-Apr-17 09:30:16

Hi all,

Namechanged to protect the innocent! Apologies that I think this will be a long one but don’t want to dripfeed! I have been married just over 20 years. We have 3 DCs, all high-school age. We both work FT, although my husband works much longer hours than me with lots of travel. My OH does most of the taxi-ing on weekends, taking kids to football on Saturday mornings etc. He also cooks on the weekend and takes care of everything IT-related. We have a cleaner who keeps the house just about under control.

However, everything else is done by me. That is, all the school runs, after school activities, laundry, shopping, most of the cooking, DIY, day-to-day tidying etc. I have always done more than him but things have fallen even more on me as his job has involved more and more travel. He is supposed to do the laundry when he is here but does maybe 1 load in 10 and only when I ask him to put the wash on.

We recently moved house, which has brought things to a head. It is not massive but has a large garden and it quite remote. It was very much my choice and I cannot tell you how much I love where we live now. But it is too much for me to do all the above single-handed. I have told my husband (repeatedly) that I cannot do this any more. I work 40 hours a week on top of doing pretty much everything around the house and garden and I am exhausted. More than anything, it is not just the practical side of this but the emotional. That is, I feel like though I am constantly looking out for everyone yet there is never anyone there to look out for me. If I forget to do something, it just won't get done.

At Christmas, I told him that I couldn't do this anymore and unless he started showing a bit more support then I would be asking for a divorce. I gave him a couple of very clear examples of what I mean. First, he has never changed the beds in 20 years of marriage. I told him that makes me feel like he takes it for granted it’s my job and is demeaning. Second, in the 3 years we have lived here, he has never put the rubbish out – it seems like even the laziest husbands talked about on here “do the bins” and he won’t even do that. Last week, I forgot to put the bins out so (of course) the rubbish didn't get collected. I am so sick of being in charge of practically bloody everything. At Christmas, I told him that these things are like little snapshots of how everything is left to me. In effect I was giving him a couple of very simple things he could do to show that he was listening to me. But, since then, he hasn’t taken the rubbish out once or changed a sheet.

My husband works very hard, he earns a lot more than I do, and he is a very generous person. We bought this house because it was what I wanted, it is not his thing at all but he wanted me to be happy. He is brilliant in a crisis. We agree almost entirely on priorities re. the children and I would say that he is a great father, but I know that part of being a great parent is setting a good example to your children and I think we are both setting a poor example – him by being lazy around the house and me by being a martyr about all things domestic!

Given how I have laid out my stall, I feel like he is giving me no choice but to tell him this is over. But it feels like such a drastic step. In particular, it will mean selling the house and probably moving much closer to the kids’ school. The kids will be fine with the move (I think) as they will be nearer friends etc. but will be heartbroken about us splitting up. In practice, he spends half the year away anyway so I’m hoping in practical terms I can keep things on an even keel for them. I feel so awful about the whole thing but it’s like he’s given me no choice - I have told him how I feel and he has demonstrated time and again that he will not value what I do around the place or help in any of the ways I have asked him to. Since we moved house, the argument has almost moved beyond what is fair to what is possible – I just cannot do it anymore.

So, I guess I am looking for reassurance on a few things. I am terrified we’ll all end up worse off in every way and it will all be my fault as I’ve allowed this situation to develop but am suddenly saying no more! The questions I keep turning over in my head are these:

- Am I being reasonable to divorce my husband because he won’t put the bins out (and take on other things around the house)?
- Will the kids understand why these things are such a big deal or will they blame me?
- Will I get over selling this lovely house to move somewhere cheaper and more practical? I can hardly bear to think about it but it will have to be done.

Any thoughts would be welcome. I haven’t spoken to a soul about this is RL and am terrified of what I think I’m about to do... Thank you!

MrsChopper Wed 19-Apr-17 09:36:50

I do get why you feel the way you feel byt uf you love your husband I personally feel that divorce is a huge step. By the sound of things he has a lot of good qualities.

Could you not go in strike for a while? Stop doing his laundry etc? Or go visit family and let him run the household? The penny has obviously not dropped for your husband.

NotAPuffin Wed 19-Apr-17 09:36:51

It's hard to judge without knowing more, but you say his work hours are longer than yours and he's away a lot, so it stands to reason that you should be doing more of the day-to-day stuff.

As for the bins, in all honesty, it makes sense for one person to be doing it all the time. Otherwise there's a danger that each will think the other has done it, and it won't get done. DH and I have jobs that are 'ours' and things feel more under control that way. We each know what we have to do and get on with it.

I think it's unfair to complain that maintaining the house and garden is too much for you when it was your choice of house, to be honest.

Do the two of you have similar amounts of leisure time?

MrsChopper Wed 19-Apr-17 09:37:13

Sorry for typos!

Chillyegg Wed 19-Apr-17 09:41:44

Erm as a single parent yabu. If you got divorced youd be doing it all any way by your self but struggling emotionally and financially. I wouldnt divorce someone over this tbh i think couples counselling may be needed.

Vegansnake Wed 19-Apr-17 09:42:52

Perhaps the move to this remote house wasn't a good idea? It will be lots of driving gettingyr children to their friends and to their school...a friend of mine did this,moved away to a remote ish place .lovely house.but 3 teens ,all with part time jobs,she dosnt get much time at home as she is driving everywhere for everyone....I expect if you move to an easier house ,yr problems with be solved,as he won't need to help out.....after 20 yr of marriage,they don't change...not in my experience anyway..but mine does plenty round the house ,mainly because I am a lazy cow,and absolutely won't do more than my fair share..so no resentment here....try doing less,if you don't want to move,and leave stuff to other people to do...if they don't do it,oh well,the world won't end...

MakeItRain Wed 19-Apr-17 09:43:10

Are there other things you can try before splitting up? Counselling? Getting a cleaner/gardener and or housekeeper? What about your children, do they help around the house? It does sound frustrating. My ex gradually did less and less round the house and garden until it was practically all left to me and it was so depressing. Oddly enough, now I live without him and do everything myself none of it's a bother! Maybe because it's not his awful mess I'm dealing with.

Eatingcheeseontoast Wed 19-Apr-17 09:44:11

I really thing reading this that you could do with getting some counselling together. I can see why you feel at the end of your tether but divorce seems a little OTT. You'd end up doing everything on your own.

christmaswreaths Wed 19-Apr-17 09:44:38

Could the kids not help more? High school age they could be putting the bins out, etc?

ElspethFlashman Wed 19-Apr-17 09:44:54

I think it sounds like a massive massive overreaction. It's not like he's just sitting around on his arse. He spends half the year away and I'm sorry but the parent who is there 52 weeks a year is always going to be the primary caretaker.

DraughtyWindow Wed 19-Apr-17 09:45:41

If you were on your own you'd have to do everything, all of the time. Trust me, it's bloody hard work.
Do you love him? If he works long hours he's probably exhausted too!
What effort do your children make around the house? Why can't they empty the bins and do some laundry? Why not sit down with your family and design a rota together?
If you're considering divorce there must be an underlying issue that you're not disclosing. How well do you communicate with each other?

Thephoneywar Wed 19-Apr-17 09:46:12

Together you bought a lovely new big house, one that you wanted and he didn't. Now you want to kick him out, even though he earns a lot more than you and works longer hours and is away with work a lot, because he doesn't change the bed or put the bins out.

DoItTooJulia Wed 19-Apr-17 09:47:03

What did he say at Christmas when you told him how you felt? And what's with the bins-is he at home when they need putting out? As in is it possible for him to do it and he is choosing not to? Where is he while you're doing it?

DebiNewberry Wed 19-Apr-17 09:47:27

Counselling! It sounds as though you've got in a can't see the woods for the trees type situation. There are so many solutions to what seems on your op to be practical problems (that are making you feel overwhelmed and undervalued) but you need to work them out together.

Teddy6767 Wed 19-Apr-17 09:48:24

I also wouldn't divorce over this when it sounds like, ultimately, your husband is a good person. I think it's fairly typical of some men to just not think when it comes to things like changing the bed sheets. That doesn't mean that you have to put up with it though, but divorcing him seems very drastic.
Could you set up a rota for you and he (and the kids) to all muck in each day. That way he can't hide from his responsibilities and will have to take ownership if they don't get done

Mumsnut Wed 19-Apr-17 09:49:13

Up the cleaner's hours, maybe? Mine changes beds and does the washing. Also ironing. If money isn't an issue, reducing the domestic pressure on you without transferring it to him might help.

On the other hand, if he is genuinely lazy rather than wiped out from travelling, getting more domestic help would just paper over the cracks. Everything would then come to a head at retirement.

ijustwannadance Wed 19-Apr-17 09:49:15

You have 3 high school age children. What do they do around the house? Why can't they change their beds, put out the bins or help with housework.

If you don't live your DP the divorce him but from your op it doesn't actually seem that bad. You already have a cleaner and the house YOU chose.

Joysmum Wed 19-Apr-17 09:49:46

Tbh I think it sounds like both your lives are too full. If he's doing a lot more hours than your 40 and is away a lot that doesn't leave a lot left over for anything else (although you still say he's very good at weekends). What time for hobbies or relaxing does he and you both have? What time do you spend as a couple nurturing your relationship?

He's done his best to please you by agreeing to move to a house in a remote area that is not him.

You've got 3 older children, what do they do? With 3 older children doing chores, plus you, your dh and a cleaner there should be more than enough manpower to keep you all going. I have one dd who works and has chores and is more than capable of stepping up on the busy weeks. You've got 3 kids to share the load!

Personally I think it's time to consider simplifying your lives to make it easier to cope with. It reads to me like you've got your priorities wrong and this is the result.

FenellaMaxwellsPony Wed 19-Apr-17 09:50:12

I am sorry you're struggling, but I do think YABU - the house was your choice, and it does sound like he does a lot domestically considering he works much longer hours and is often away, and you have a cleaner. Where are your DC in all this? If they are high school age why can't they help?

Lweji Wed 19-Apr-17 09:50:43

I don't mind having the same tasks done by the same person.

I think the question here is whether you end up with similar off time or not.

ChopsticksandChilliCrab Wed 19-Apr-17 09:53:34

Your DH doesn't sound a bad man, he doesn't have much free time and in the free time he has he doesn't prioritise the jobs you would like doing. I think you need to step back and let things go a bit. You have a cleaner so things can't be that bad- how about upping the cleaner's hours and asking them to do the beds and bins? It would be a lot cheaper than selling the house and getting a divorce. Then make a list of everything that each of you does and discuss it. Also get the children to help, they sound old enough to be pulling their weight at home.

ChopsticksandChilliCrab Wed 19-Apr-17 09:54:27

Cross posts! Lots of similar ideas have been suggested while I typed so slowly!

blueskyinmarch Wed 19-Apr-17 09:54:55

I actually couldn’t get past 3 high school age children. Why on earth are they not doing chores? They can take out bins, do laundry, change their own beds, cook, clean etc. I understand your gripes about your DH but you really need to get those teens on board or they will just end up like their DF and expect everything to be done for them.

Seeline Wed 19-Apr-17 09:56:40

It does seem very extreme for what otherwise appears to be a good relationship.

Give him another chance and put it in black and white. Devise a rota - cover all jobs and include all the family.

Put it up somewhere where everyone can see it (or have several copies). That will mean that everyone will know exactly what (and how much) needs doing, and who isn't pulling their weight.

CoolCarrie Wed 19-Apr-17 10:03:28

Ffs you are very lucky to have a gardener and a cleaner, so up their hours, get a calendar on the wall and mark out who does what, and when, get the dc to help out.
Your husband sounds set in his ways, but count your blessings.

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