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Outside perspective and advice wanted

(38 Posts)
user1495201219 Fri 19-May-17 16:09:37

Hello all, long term reader first time poster.

Been partner 3 years, living together for the past 2. DP is fantastic - intelligent, kind, outgoing and incredibly beautiful.
For the 2 years we've lived together, I've done all clothes washing - I organise what needs to be washed depending on colour, fabric etc, then I wash & dry and fold DP's clothes to be put away. I also clean the house - tidy, vacuum and mop floors. I do all of this for a number of reasons; I like the flat to be clean & tidy for both of us and I know DP hates doing it.
My Mum was very strict regarding cleanliness and this has undoubtedly rubbed off on me - when I lived with her I was instructed and told what and how to clean. I think this too has made it less of an effort for me to do the majority of the cleaning as I'm used to doing most of it myself.
Today I came home at lunch and found 3 day old pile of washed clothes that DP assured me was going to be put away this morning, the bed was unmade with a wet towel thrown on top and the room generally looked like a bomb hit it. In the living room, an empty used bowl of cereal (with cereal & milk beside it) and an empty coffee cup.
I texted DP to say I was upset, apologies were given etc and then DP sent a voicemail about being stressed with a work project. I felt DP was trying to justify and told DP this.
When DP came home, I was hanging washing out to dry. We have a tradition that if you come home and the other person is there, the person who came home has to come and say hello & kiss the other. DP did neither of that so I thought "fuck it!", finished what I was doing and went to the bedroom. DP came to the bedroom and said sorry.
I didn't throw my arms round DP and say "I forgive you, my love!" I said I was upset and DP responded that they were too.
DP had taken umbrage when I said it makes me feel DP doesn't give a shit about me and that I feel DP mustn't have any respect for me, going on all the previous repeated actions. (this comment was in the initial texts)
DP starts saying I need to have empathy, that DP is stressed due to work project and I shouldn't be so tough. I respond by pointing out I've been pleading with DP to just do a tiny little for at least a year.
Our main issue is communication during arguments. We very rarely argue but when we do it is usually a disaster. I feel that anything I say is taken as a personal attack by DP and it descends into a "you did this, this and this" etc.
DP has told me that when we argue, I change. Supposedly I become cold and unfeeling, my voice changes and DP feels unable to talk to me.
There may be truth to this. My Mum has had the biggest influence on me and I have some of her best & worst traits, I imagine. She is authoritarian and can come across quite stern (my siblings and I used to call her Stalin!) I don't say this to make her out to be bad as she's generally a fantastic mother & person. In contrast, DP's Mum is more laidback and less focused on rules so we had very different upbringings and discipline.
DP when upset cries and shuts down - won't acknowledge me at all and ignores me. Usually I end up comforting DP and we both calm down but this means we never speak about what's going on!!
So today, instead of comforting I told DP I was going to go and wash some dishes for 5 or 10mins and then when we're both calm we should talk. DP accused me of being even more unfeeling than unusual and that I should be more empathetic. I left the room and went to collect myself.
A few minutes later, DP left the flat without saying anything and has texted to say will not be home tonight as can't stand to see me or be near me right now.
Where DP has gone, God only knows.
So, I'm sat here typing a novel telling strangers as I've no one to tell in real life.
I love DP completely, I know that for sure and this type of thing only happens every now & again. I feel that when we have arguments we need to be able to communicate how we're feeling properly. I believe DP thinks I become too cold, unemotional and 'logical', for want of a better word, whilst I feel DP needs to calm down, manage emotions and have a more adult approach.
Am I at fault? Am I being an asshole? I searched for couples counselling in my area, would they be able to teach us ways to manage these situations? I'm not deluded, I know we'll have arguments in the future and I don't want this pattern to keep repeating. I don't know how game DP will be for counselling though.
I would love a family with DP and am sure DP would be a fantastic, loving parent. Nevertheless from what I see from my siblings, being a parent is hard and fucking stressful and I worry about what will happen if DP is stressed and acts in a similar manner with children.
Any and all constructive views, thoughts, criticism and the like welcomed but please don't just barge in and call me an asshole without offering any advice. And apologies for the length, evidently being succinct isn't one of my strong points.

noseyparker123 Fri 19-May-17 16:16:30

Long response cut short but basically it looks to me like you tried to tell him how upset you are about him leaving all his crap about for you to tidy up and he has somehow managed to turn it around back on you and make himself seem like the innocent victim. He's not showing any respect for you here you are not his mum or a cleaner. I'd leave him to sulk and I certainly wouldn't be backing down doesn't sound like you've done anything unreasonable to me

Racmactac Fri 19-May-17 16:17:21

So he's working full time and told you he's on a project that stressing him out and you're worried about a bit of mess

What are you going to do when you have a toddler wreaking havoc and not complying with your strict tidy rules. I think you need to let go a little but maybe counselling will help to deal with arguments.

ChicRock Fri 19-May-17 16:22:10

You seem to have gone to great lengths to avoid telling us if your DP is he or she which always makes me hmm but either way you need to unclench a lot or you'll never survive having a toddler.

PollytheDolly Fri 19-May-17 16:27:29


The way you communicate and argue goes back to your different childhoods.

Nothing will change otherwise.

TheNaze73 Fri 19-May-17 16:35:17

You sound like a very highly strung coil.

You may be incompatible by the sound of this

user1495201219 Fri 19-May-17 16:39:41

Racmactac - My partner works part time in the evening during the week and volunteers on Thursday, Friday & Saturday mornings. I work a 32 hour week, with Fridays evenings off normally. I wouldn't say I have strict tidy rules as I do all the tidying. I just want DP to put clothes away instead of leaving them sitting for 3 or 4 days and to put a used bowl and coffee cup in the sink.

TheNaze73 - In general, I'd say I'm very easygoing it's just being confronted again and again and again by something is draining. What I'm asking for would take less than 5 mins every day, it's not like I'm asking DP to do the cleaning and washing and to do it to my standard, just to help me out a tiny bit

MartinaMartini Fri 19-May-17 16:48:04

I think you hit the nail on the head in that you had more of strict upbringing that your OH. You clearly want things done your way.

You don't sound 'flexible' tbh, intact you sound a right nag. Can you not cut some slack or chill out a bit? If your relationship is in need of counselling over some washing not put away and some lax washing up, it doesn't boad well for the future.

Adora10 Fri 19-May-17 16:50:43

Nothing wrong with wanting a clean and tidy home esp if you have a toddler; he does nada and that's not fair.

We all have busy times at work, he's using that as an excuse but basically he sees the domestic side of life your job; I'd not be having kids with a person that thought this was work for women only.

Adora10 Fri 19-May-17 16:52:31

Having said that OP, perhaps you are guilty of causing him to think this way considering you took on the role as chief domestic cleaner and washer.

shittestmumintheworld Fri 19-May-17 16:56:07

Well you should never ever come to my house - 3 days of washing not put away? Try 3 weeks!

TheSparrowhawk Fri 19-May-17 17:06:57

Threads where the OP obscures the gender of the people involved are so FUCKING tedious.

blankface Fri 19-May-17 17:08:58

Get your DH to read this.

user1495201219 Fri 19-May-17 17:10:30

Reading this back and reflecting on it all, I'm starting to think I was OTT about it all.
Normally when I come home and am presented with the same old scene I mutter to myself for a few minutes, smoke a cigarette on the balcony and then forget about it. Today, however, I felt so exasperated and texted DP to say so.
To be honest I can survive the untidiness, it won't kill me, so what I need help with is the communication and how to get things resolved. Does anyone have any advice about what to do in those situations when DP feels unable to communicate and I am frustrated that we're not communicating? To be clear, there is no violence or intimidation or anything like that on either side when we have these episodes.

user1495201219 Fri 19-May-17 17:14:00

shittestmumintheworld - if you ever go on holiday for a week, give me your keys and I'll come and clean the house and launder all your clothes for you. As long as there's a radio and some hobnobs! grin

user1494949919 Fri 19-May-17 17:54:28

It's never ideal having these discussions or trying to address issues when one or both parties are stressed, however that's often the way it pans out.

In this case I'm a little concerned about if the stress was actually a factor in your partners sloppy behaviour, or just another way to avoid owning their sh*t.

Just reading this post throws up so many red flags. Your partner appears to have some major bad habits which seem rather manipulative - firstly turning around the situation to play victim when you pulled them up on something that they did wrong; then the game-playing with not acknowledging you when they came home when you were hanging out the washing; also leaving without saying goodbye or how long they would be gone to seemingly punish you.

And those are just the things that have happened during this episode.

You have also mentioned their habit of seeing your attempts to resolve issues as a personal attack and countering with "you did this and this". Then there is turning on the tears and then stonewalling you when you try to communicate further, and putting you in the position of having to put your frustrations aside to calm them down rather than gaining resolution.

I suspect many of us have some pretty grotty interpersonal habits when we feel cornered, but no one should have to put up with them.

Counselling might be a good step to take but tread carefully - not all counsellors are made equal.

In terms of issues to address it seems you are struggling to be heard when you speak about certain issues in your relationship i.e. keeping the house clean and tidy and your partner is using manipulative strategies to avoid hearing you and taking responsibility for their share. You need to figure out how you can stop giving your power away when it comes to things that are important to you.

Also if you are concerned about being cold when you talk to your partner you might need to work on being warm, maintaining connection but NOT letting your partner use this connection to manipulate you out of fulfilling their responsibilities.

I wish I had some books to recommend. There's a whole cannon of books on dealing with manipulative people out there but they might be a bit too heavy-going for your situation...

Hermonie2016 Fri 19-May-17 18:00:14

You maybe emotionally mismatched, not right or wrong however if you fail to successful deal with issues the relationship will fail.

I would recommend The Dance of Connection by Harriet Lerner, suggest you both read it.I think you are at the relationship stage when different styles appear and if conflicts are not resolved resentment grows.

RichardSimmons Fri 19-May-17 18:02:07

Does anyone not get that OP is the man? Not that it makes a difference.

RichardSimmons Fri 19-May-17 18:03:01

I've never heard a woman refer to her partner as "beautiful."

Naicehamshop Fri 19-May-17 18:06:40

Do NOT blame yourself op. Yes, you sound a bit clenched but I'm not surprised in the circumstances.
Read what noseyparker said up thread - he or she has totally hit the nail on the head.

thethoughtfox Fri 19-May-17 18:17:18

Suggest he cuts down on volunteering so he has less stress and more time for his work stuff and more time to do his share at home.

user1494949919 Fri 19-May-17 18:17:25

RichardSimmons either the man, same sex relationship, or final year Sociology dissertation on Internet Chatroom Perspectives on Gender and Housework...

Isetan Fri 19-May-17 18:18:35

Surprise, surprise, you enable a dynamic where you act like your DP's skivvy and are now upset when they've come to expect it.

user1495201219 Fri 19-May-17 18:20:20

user1494949919 - Thank you so much for your post, I really appreciate how thoughtful and well written it was.

Two things you said in particular stand out,

"You need to figure out how you can stop giving your power away when it comes to things that are important to you. "


"Also if you are concerned about being cold when you talk to your partner you might need to work on being warm, maintaining connection but NOT letting your partner use this connection to manipulate you out of fulfilling their responsibilities."

Regarding the former, I can't think of anything to do. Not doing DP's chores seems both petty and pointless. As for the latter, I thought removing myself from the room and giving space whilst affirming I wanted to talk was a sensible thing to do.

As I said before, this type of situation has happened on less than a handful of occasions. Apart from this one issue we have a great relationship and not only am I sure of my love for DP, I am confident and secure that I'm loved too.
I feel that I need to work on how I come across and present myself in these situations. I'm worried I'm aping the disciplinarian manner of my Mum. I don't feel like I'm talking down and lecturing DP when this happens but it might be coming across that way.
Having said all that, I do believe DP needs to better deal with their response too.

FauxFox Fri 19-May-17 18:23:11

Gosh this relationship sounds hard work sad you both must be on eggshells - you because any disagreement or criticism results in your partner crying and drama llama-ing about how 'cold' you are, and your partner because leaving s cereal bowl can trigger such an out-of-proportion reaction from you. Your response tells me that you are not fine with the status quo of you doing all the laundry etc,you are just doing it grudgingly until your feelings of resentment burst out - not really fair on your partner if they thought you were happy doing it and sudddnly they are a lazy bastard who doesn't care about you because they left the house in a mess. I hope you sort it out but it might just be that you are not suited sad

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