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Struggling With Partner(22 Posts)
Been with my wife for a long time. Married for half of it. Two kids for about a third.
All the while I've found it difficult to cope with differences between us in terms of day to day tidiness, and vocal snappiness/ anger.
If I walk through the house and see something laid on the floor not where it's meant to be I pick it up and move it - especially if it lives in the direction I'm going. I stick it in the washing bin or move the washing to the machine. I put shoes on the shoe stand. Etc etc etc. I feel like I'm doing this every time I move from one room to another.
OH will leave something laid on the floor for a week or more, seemingly oblivious (toys, kids clothes/shoes, her clothes/shoes). She does do superficial cleanups every one or two weeks after which we'll have an hour or so where I don't have to pick something up - but then the situation returns.
(She has some chores that she takes responsibility for and keeps totally on top of them. She doesn't do nothing by any means.)
I work from home and my office is used to dump stuff in. Which I tidy. I often find my wife's shoes vaguely thrown in front of the 'office' door.
It isn't - but it feels more and more like a smack in the face saying "I don't love or care about you."
Then we come to the anger. She says it's frustration I'm hearing in her voice but I come from a background with few raised voices. If something slightly annoys her or is something she disagrees with, the feeling I get at her response is one of disdain, dislike, sometimes hatred even. It makes me feel very sad every time it happens so I go to some lengths to avoid situations that lead to it but often fail to do so.
I've started to feel deeply unhappy about it all. I genuinely believe she does love me but each time this happens (and now with kids of course it's more often) I can feel myself getting more and more unhappy. If I try to bring it up I think she feels like I'm nagging and hence out comes the frustration voice/face and down I go.
I absolutely don't want to leave I love her to bits and I think a separation would be hideous on the kids who I also love dearly.
The frustration voice is starting to be applied more and more to our eldest (6) also - who seems more resilient than I do but I can't stand it when it happens and inevitably have to say something which leads to anger.
I'm absolutely no saint of course and in response to anger I do sometimes get angry back. And I'm not Mary Poppins when it comes to cleanliness.... she's great in so many ways and I suspect if she was with someone else they probably wouldn't be so affected by what sound like such petty things now I come to write them down. I'm not entirely happy with how my life outside my relationship either so unsure if that's what's really going on.
But if I can't talk to her about it without an argument ensuing and she won't change (do people ever) and it's making me so unhappy and I can't leave because I love her and my kids and just don't know what to do. I feel like I'm going to break.
Have you tried asking her why she's angry? I mean in a genuinely open way and with a willingness to listen properly to the answer?
On the flip side my dh is similar with regards to untidiness but I've learned to try and let it go. Just because my likes are for a very tidy home doesn't mean he has to be forced in to being the same as me. I pick up the same trainers 3/4 times a day and put them in shoe box - who is to blame here? Me for repeating an action that totally frustrates me that I don't really have to do or him for just absentmindedly kicking off his trainers.
Also the frustration in her voice and face ... I'm in two minds with this - my mum was very passive aggressive and it had us all on egg shells - not very pleasant. But you said your son doesn't seem to mind - so maybe you are very sensitive to perceived slights now as clearly her untidiness is making you think she is doing it on purpose to upset you. I have to be very careful with the tone of voice I use with my eldest DD and it pisses me off as I basically have to speak in a bloody sing song voice otherwise she thinks I'm picking on her or bring patronising - which I'm not! Just what she perceives
Yes. Often. And I am genuinely willing and able to listen.
Various answers come depending on general mood in the house. They tend to be angry answers telling me I'm wrong.
I've asked a lot over the years - probably sounds/feels like nagging now.
they tend to be angry answers telling me I'm wrong
Well for sure. We've established she's angry and presumably if she's angry with you there must be something / some things she thinks you're in the wrong about.
But what are they? And if you listen to them properly and imagine that the roles were reversed (she's you, you're her), would you be angry about them too?
I think you need to change your priorities. Priorities are relationships, kids and wife
The mess is something you live with when you have kids. As long as it is not dirty or harmful, so there is a limit.
I remember tidying up one room while the kids undid another, it was endless when they were growing up and so it's better to accept it will be so.
Maybe you can both agree a cleaning schedule for the both of you. Or hire a cleaner if it is so important to you.
If you come back from work and start moaning about the housework I can understand that she goes bezerk. I would feel that you are a total jerk if you start picking things up from the floor as I would experience it as a patronising put done about what is not done.
It's not just the kids mess. It's hers too. If it was just the kids stuff I'd be fine I think.
I try to just get on with tidying it up all the time but it's causing these growing feelings of being unloved. I can't shake it. It's getting worse and I don't know what to do.
Things just start to pile up as soon as I stop.
I work from home so it is the environment in which I work. I don't particularly like my job but I have to do it to make ends meet. I can't get any other job that pays what this one does without relocating which none of us want to do.
Despite that, can't afford a cleaner at the moment.
And I don't moan about it while I'm doing it.
Just now and then things boil over.
The angryness is a separate issue. This occurs on and off all the time. I don't hear what she says the first time. I say something and she doesn't hear me. I misunderstand something she's said.
It's all a cause of frustration to her that leads to a non calm/understanding response.
I mostly ignore it but it's breaking me.
I am just wondering why tidy house= being loved for you?
You know deep down it has got nothing to do with it.
Me and my ex made the compromise that the lounge would be the tidy room, so if someone turned up we could have one room ok. Kids were not to brings their toys in.
So it was where I could gather a bit of peace of mind. Maybe that's achievable for you?
I would try to find a compromise that works for you both.
Interesting that in posts where the sexes are reversed women are told that a husband's unwillingness to tidy after himself is a sign of disrespect and a lack of love. Wives are told to stop picking up dirty washing and to leave washing up on his side of the bed. Why not here?
Totally agree with Velvet. There have been so many threads where the roles are reversed and the answers are so different. The angry person would be called emotionally abusive. The untidy person would be called disrespectful to their partner. Why should OP put up with his DW dumping her shit in his office?! Why should he be constantly tidying up after her?
I have to admit that the OP's focus on the tidying rather gave me the impression that this might be his sole or main contribution to the day-to-day running of the household (?)
It's not "tidy house = being loved". It's not that at all.
I ask that my office is kept tidy as it's where I work. This is completely ignored. I have to tidy her stuff (boots and shoes) up in it - where it's been chucked in or at the door.
I'm not representing the situation very well. She does do tidying. She's busy and works hard.
It sounds to me OP as if you might both feel as though you are not being heard / having your needs taken seriously (I'm completely speculating about your DW but when people are chronically resentful that's often a reason why)
Would you be up for couples counselling?
Running the household... I don't think it's massively unbalanced. I do all clothes washing/drying (she puts away), solid fuel heating, bureaucracy, garden and childcare as I'm available (not working) to do so.... and (I feel) much of the day to day tidying.
She does a lot too though including big tidy ups every week or so.
I am just wondering why tidy house= being loved for you?
You have to ask this?
It's disrespect. Especially if she is messing up his working space as well.
You all know about the 'my wife left me because I left my mug by the sink'
It's basically saying, I don't give a shit about you. You clear it up if you don't like it.
It's NOT OK.
So OP. This is breaking you.
Would she agree to couples counselling/therapy?
Would she agree to properly sit down and talk about everything. Both of you putting all your card on the table and coming to an understanding / compromise on issues?
She needs to understand you are basically at the end of your tether.
Could you have a couple of days break away from each other to really think things through?
You can't check-out of family life for weeks but a couple of days rest-bite from it all might be good for both of you?
Or maybe she wants a bit of time away from it all.
A couple of days with a friend for her might do her the world of good?
But you can't carry on like this and you know it.
You need to tell her that and take it from there.
I ask that my office is kept tidy as it's where I work. That sounds entitled.
Then tidy it yourself, put it in your routine or lock it once you have finished your day's work.
I second counselling as a next step. And soon. Address it carefully with her, it always feels a bit like an attack no matter how overdue and right a step it is. Tell her you’d like to look into it (find someone with a good rep, nearby, right price) particularly BECAUSE she and family are so important to you. Then do it, and book in and tell her the time & date. And be there, on time, regardless.
She’s deeply irritated but not telling you why, you’re getting deeply resentful and out of strategies. One more stress and this family could blow apart. Now is the time to get the professionals in.
I second a couple of good days with a friend! Can make a world of difference!
Agreed that she needs to know how strongly he feels about it, and that couple counselling would help.
Put a lock on your office door. Tell her it is your work space and you need it to be meds free.
If she doesn't like it then she needs to stop dumping stuff in that room.
Also, get a cleaner and de-clutter your house.
Focus more on activities with the children than buying them things that will inevitably need to be cleaned, maintained, tidied away.
Simple things that remove the problem over time.
Counselling. Yeah maybe. Scary. She'll feel attacked, criticised.
She's used to living in an untidy house, did so in childhood... it feels disrespectful to me but it's like she literally doesn't see it at all. So from her point of view she's not being disrespectful at all.
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