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marriage in BIG trouble - dh always grumpy, I'm fed up of it, he thinks I don't love him anymore, can't get through to him..

(31 Posts)
cuppa Sun 28-Jun-09 06:57:03

Dh is a stroppy arse, he gets the hump about everything. He's always shouting at the kids, v. impatient. Once he's calmed down he is really rational & great and insightful. BUT only after he's been really grumpy and horrible. He'll moan we'r taking too lang, meal time are a nightmare.

TBH I'm fed up of it. He gets me & the kids down. It really feels like a 'him' and 'us' situation.

Every row at the moment is about this. tbh he hreminds me now of my really bullying step dad when I was a kid.

Problem is he just now doesn't hear me. He doesn't seem to try to stop being grumpy. He just hears'oh, you hate me, you're sick of me, it's you and the kids together and me, he's even started asking if he should leave.

I don't want my marriage to end. He has always been a stroppy arse but at the same time fun, loving, clever, wise. But now he's just stroppy all the time. it's much much worse. But if I ever speak to him or have a go at him about being to hard on the kids he just gets angry and says i'm only ever having a go at him about his behaviour, but never seems to try and change.

DO I just accept living with a shouty angry grumpy arse? Clearly how I'm handling it is all wrong as it's not having the desired affect - him being less grumpy - and is just driving him away.

It's not a happy home.
2 nights ago we went out for a meal. One of our dc didn't like what we got him. Dh went on and on and on really badgering him (he's 9). he wouldn't stop when I pointed it out, ds in tears at the table, still wouldn't stop. So i went for little walk with ds who was really hurt and angry. He wouldn't come back to the table and wouldn't play, and I was so pissed off I went home with him. Dh furious and saying I was large part of the problem. Maybe I am, but I can't stand his badgering bullying gurmpy stroppiness all the time.
We went shopping yesterday for new stuff kids needed. We'd said they could have an ice cream. Only been there short while when he realised how late it was, went off on one about them having ice cream too close to lunch time, how everything takes so long, I said well with kids it just does take time, we hadn't been there that long, maybe half an hour. I feel like he's always fed up with us. He feels I'm always having a go at him. It isn't a very happy home at the moment How do I change it??????

purepurple Sun 28-Jun-09 07:13:30

gosh, he sounds like my DH, the grumpy old sod (mine, not yours)
He is a lovely, kind, thoughtful, generous, considerate man most of the time . But bloody hell can he moan. I do tend to just give him a wide berth when he is in one of his moods, but that tends to create more tension. He thinks I have stopped speaking to him, he goes all huffy, then we row, then we ignore each other until one of us starts speaking.

The kids have recently complained to me about him and I agreed that he was miserable sometimes and just to ignore him when he is like that.
Except DD told him of our conversation grin. But he offered to help me with tea on Friday as he told we what she had said. He said he is not grumpy, he has just got things on his mind.
Like you, cuppa, he reminds me of my dad,
who could be a bit bullying at times.

Maybe you should choose your moment and tell him how his moods are affecting you and the family.
Or get the children to do it grin

HappyWoman Sun 28-Jun-09 07:32:19

Oh dear - you do have a problem.

I wonder why he says 'shall i leave?' Have you ever said ok to that?

Do you think he is looking for a way out of the marriage but is too weak to talk to you? If you told him to leave he could be the victim and not feel guilty about it, which is why he is wanting you to take the guilt.

You need to calmly state that no you are not happy with his behaviour and that you are prepared to leave him for this - clearly it is upsetting your dc and whoever it is you should be protecting them from this sort of treatment.

Only he can change the way he is - but you need to let him know that you will not accept his grumpiness any longer.

bigchris Sun 28-Jun-09 07:39:32

why is he so unhappy? does he like his job? he sounds a bit depressed tbh
i'd sit him down and tell him what the problem is and the effect it is having on the kids
then i'd give him a time limit and if things hadnt changed suggest counselling for him

bigchris Sun 28-Jun-09 07:39:32

why is he so unhappy? does he like his job? he sounds a bit depressed tbh
i'd sit him down and tell him what the problem is and the effect it is having on the kids
then i'd give him a time limit and if things hadnt changed suggest counselling for him

conniedescending Sun 28-Jun-09 08:00:00

Is he frustrated with the way you parent and that's what is causing his bad temper? Very frustrating if you are the parent who always lays down boundaries and constantly in that role. If the other parent takes up the comforter role it makes it even harder so he becomes more angry and fed up as he is constantly the disciplinarian and you become more of a protector which then amkes the whole thing worse.

Instead of talking to him about his behaviour try talking about both your behaviours as its something within the family dynamic that's causing this.

ABetaDad Sun 28-Jun-09 08:59:06

One way to alleviate this issue is to establish clear boundaries about which parent has responsibility for what. You need to share out the roles though as conniedescending says.

For example, I decide food, shop and cook everything in our house. I consult but after that it is my responsibility and the kids get what they like but there is no appealing to DW for something nicer.

Shopping with kids is a nightmare and tend to play two parents off. What we do is DW takes them shopping say for their new clothes and I go and do the other shopping at the same time. That way trips are shorter and kids know who is in charge.

Dad always being disciplinarian while you always nurture will lead to the kids always appealing to you about his disciplne and then DH feeling undermined. Works vice versa too.

In all these situations, some private time alone and also some private time together (without kids) is essential so each of you can restore yourselves and also restore your joint relationship. Making time to talk and for you to explain why how you feel and for him to explain why he is so grumpy would be a big help.

Sounds to me like it is a fairly recent phenomenon and he is a very good DH for the most part. Maybe something has gradually got on top of him at work as bigchris says. Maybe you have also become quite grumpy and short without realising it sparking off each other? Kids have a way of manipulating parents in clever ways to get best advantage. You both need to have a united front and always defer to the person who you have agreed is taking the lead role in a given situation.

mamas12 Sun 28-Jun-09 11:40:22

Oh dear I do sympathise this is a terrible situation to be a buffer between you and your dc.
Does he take them out on his own or spend any time alone with them? Because that might help for him to make their own 'rules' on how to be together so to speak.
Otherwise yes you do need to confront him in a calm manner and explain that this has got to stop now.
It almost sounds like family phobia, not wanting to be at table and not wanting to shop with them.

WhenwillIfeelnormal Sun 28-Jun-09 15:54:05

Cuppa. When I read your post, a shiver went down my spine. I could be WAY off the mark here, but it was like reading about my DH a year ago. He too had always been a bit grumpy but last year for a few months, this became appreciably worse. It turns out he was having an affair.

His grumpiness was stress and guilt-induced and we had many disproportionately angry outbursts. When he went for counselling, the examples he often gave to the counsellor (of his anger) related to my daughter's table manners. Family mealtimes were a nightmare you see, during this period. He would either shout at our DD throughout, or stare into space and totally disengage.

The counsellor told him that in a period when his life seemed totally out of control, he had a need to bring control and order to the simplest of things. The fact that he couldn't even control our DD's table manners made him incredibly angry. Of course, all the stress was self-inflicted.

He is a much calmer, even-tempered man now and one of the conditions of my staying with him was that he got counselling, not just about the affair, but about the way he controlled his stress and anger.

If any of this resonates, sadly I am going to advise you to do some snooping before confronting him. I didn't snoop at all. I did what I thought was the adult thing and sat my DH down about his anger. I also had a few suspicions too. I got an outright denial of any affair and an admission that his behaviour was stress and work-related. He promised to change - he didn't at all - and then in an unrelated incident, I found out about his affair. I know he would have continued denying it to the hills until I'd found proof.

Sorry if this worries or shocks, but a lot of us on here reported the same behaviour in our DHs.

cuppa Mon 29-Jun-09 08:50:35

wwifn, I wouldn't be surprised but I don't see how I could snoop. His phone is password protected and I can't access it - it has always been this way due to work, not a recent thing. I don't see how I'd ever find out. And yes, I can see asking outright would just lead to a flat denial

We argued the whole weekend. I have cried all weekend. We had big argument on Friday. On Saturday had massive argument and I took the boys swimming and left dh here.
Big argument when got home.

SUnday started with big argument, followed by frosty silence, mild thawing followed by HUGE argument and spearate beds last night

I feel he's always bad tempered and grumpy, he says he feels attacked and an outsider. I asked if he had a secret agenda saying should he move out as in him wanting to go but wanting me to make him like some of you have said.

He complains I don't ask him about his work and don't know about it and he wants to talk about it, and he is right, I am crap about that. Does everyone talk a lot with their dh/w about work? But, he also doesn't offer it. He complains he knows more about something I do, but then it's all non-solicited, ie I just chatter on about it and tell him without him asking ifswim.

It's all a mess, and I have wondered if he's having an affair, but I really don't know how I could find out.

Thanks for being there.

happydaisy Mon 29-Jun-09 09:14:58

i completely understand the dinner time situation. i've always longed for "family meal times" but tbh they generally end up in nightmare situations. dh wanting tv on but not what the kids want to watch. kids not wanting what they're being given to eat and arguing about eating it. dh getting more and more stressed. it led to me having problems eating which i'm still having, i have to eat very, very slowly so that i don't choke on my food. dd is getting the same way and i know that its my behaviour making her like it. no idea on the affair front - never had to face that one before - i think my dh would be too lazy to bother!!

WhenwillIfeelnormal Mon 29-Jun-09 09:27:38

Cuppa. You poor thing. You can't go on like this, it must be awful for you. I'm relieved you weren't mortally offended at my suggestion, but sad that an affair might be the case too.

There are lots of things you can do - and other MNetters will surely help with their own snooping tactics. You can: open his paper bills (but if these are missing, it's a clue), register him for online billing, try to hack into his phone by guessing the password (often bank pin numbers, dates of birth etc.) You could completely hide the 'phone so that he's unable to have it one day and then come on here with the make/model number and ask advice about getting into it.

You could claim your phone is out of charge one day while you are both out and innocently ask to borrow his (invent any requirement for an urgent phone call) and watch his reactions very carefully. If he puts his password in to unblock it, try to watch what the pin number is and also, very breezily, ask "what password do you use for that?" Also look in diaries and laptop files for the password. Most innocent spouses wouldn't worry at all about their OH knowing the password to their phone, after all.

Another good one is (when he is at home) ask to borrow his phone so that you can use it while you are out. Again, you are looking for signs of panic at the very suggestion.

You could search his car for evidence of a second phone too. Check bank/credit card statemements for unusual expenditure/withdrawals.

If he has a laptop or you share the PC, interrogate this while he is out/asleep. Check the history for sites he has visited and if an E mail account comes up, chances are that's the account he's using for messages.

I'm sorry if this all sounds so cloak and dagger and deceitful, but I have this awful fear he's doing a number on you. Men often behave in this way (criticising you and the DCs) to justify their appalling behaviour. They convince themselves that you have only got yourself to blame for all this and it's a horrible mind game - and as Abedelia said on another thread, is one of the hardest things to forgive in the aftermath.

Saying you don't ask him about work is bollocks imo. Saying he feels like an outsider is probably because HE has made himself an outsider because of his extra-curricular activities. This has nothing to do with you.

For your own sanity and peace of mind, do some checking and gather your evidence before confronting him with it.

I'm so very sorry you've had such a shit weekend. If he is up to something, you will feel so angry about this behaviour, but I'm afraid it's entirely consistent with the script many men follow when they are in the midst of an affair.

Do post again, cuppa and don't hesitate to ask for further help with getting evidence and also coping with your feelings.

cuppa Mon 29-Jun-09 09:46:31

it's a blackberry and not use friendly so don't even know how to use it, it is complicated and I think due to work password changed frequently. i have looked at his history and think he has 2 mail accounts, but I don't know the name or the password so the only way to get to it would be to ask him.

I think the only way to get evidence is to ask him, so in other words, I can't. feel sick now

WhenwillIfeelnormal Mon 29-Jun-09 10:00:03

Click on the pages shown in the history and see if you can go straight into the account. If it asks for a password, click the forgotten password link and give your E mail address (or his, if you know it) to get an E mail response.
Delete all history and E mails too.

Google blackberry and learn how to use his make/model.

So sorry you feel sick. If this is too much, just say so, but I hate people to be in the dark and being made to feel that all this is their fault.

muffle Mon 29-Jun-09 10:03:31

I do think you can take a stand against the bad-tempered and critical behaviour to some extent. Don't ask or discuss, but tell him: "It is not acceptable to be so grumpy and unpleasant and critical of your family members - it is hurtful and cruel and spoiling our lives. I will not tolerate it. If you do it, I will stand up for my DC and I will ask you to leave the room and if you won't, we will leave the room." And do it - not in a dramatic or manipulative way, but say "DH is being angry but you have not done anything wrong, he is just in a mood. We can go and eat in the front room (/etc.) until he feels better". If you are going on a family outing say "I expect you to behave with decency to me and our DCs and I will pull you up on it if you don't". You can't stop him being grumpy but you can tell him straight down the line it's out of order - no excuses accepted. Also tell him he does have a choice - he can change his behaviour and become more acceptable to you all, he doesn't have to be like this. You also want to be clearly giving the message that he is out of order to your DCs and you will not take this lying down - otherwise they will see you as a doormat - harsh but true (from experience as my parents had a relationship like this).

Re an affair, I think these wise women may well have a point, sorry. Could you ask any of his friends or work colleagues? You may be able to tell something from their reaction, even if they don't want to tell you.

cuppa Mon 29-Jun-09 10:06:57

don't know any of his friends or colleagues and have never had any contact with any of them

muffle Mon 29-Jun-09 10:21:06

He doesn't have any friends at all that you have met? Does he go off to spend time with them separately, or do you think maybe he doesn't have any?

cuppa Mon 29-Jun-09 10:45:32

he's got a couple of very good friends who live a long way away so only sees seldomly, one I don't get on with so he'd never tell me anything and I don't know his number and he famously never answeres phone anywayhmm. new in job, so never met work colleaugues (mind you didn't from last work either anyway)

copycat Mon 29-Jun-09 12:12:55

Hello cuppa. I'm sorry to read your thread - it must be so miserable for you all. In fact DH himself sounds like he is extremely unhappy and stressed and you and your DC are on the receiving end of his bad temper sad.

Have you tried speaking to him alone and lavishing him with sympathy and understanding? He may not deserve your compassion but it's just another approach "poor DH you are obviously really unhappy, sad, stressed. I love you and want to help. I'm sorry if you think that I haven't been supportive/understanding/forgiving. Our arguments must make you sad too. What can I do to make things better for you and us? Is there a problem at work? Are you unwell and worried about something health related? Do we have financial problems that you haven't shared with me? If you are just fed up with the way I parent can we discuss how we can find mutual ground? Do you think you might be depressed darling ... (or feeling guilty because you are having an affair darling hmm ) Shall we make an appointment with our GP or a marriage counsellor? ..." Maybe text him at work and say sorry for arguing yesterday, hope he has a good day blah blah Sometimes it's worth backing down a bit and taking a softer approach - wave a white flag in his direction; marriage shouldn't be a battleground and perhaps he may open up a bit.

Good luck cuppa I hope things improve for you and him.

lostinthecitylover Mon 29-Jun-09 12:28:21

it was like this between my exh and I. FWIW it's worth he wasn't having an affair AFAIK but he is a 'ladies man', narcissistic and a workaholic.

TBH I never really got to the bottom of why he was so grumpy and I also felt it was seriously affecting the dcs.

Ironically he has moved on quickly to a new p and has become enmeshed in a very family oriented situation (which he always said he hated) and they appear to be OK but when boys come back from being with him they always say he is grumpy.

He didn't seem to want to participate in our family life. Family meals were a nightmare.

I see what you say copycat about being soft with him etc and of course marriage shouldn't be a battle ground but it sounds as though ops h is making it like that but really why should she do that.

I did try that with mine but it was like banging head against brick wall - he wouldn't go to gps for help with depression and would not come to relate.

I also think that many men do get increasingly grumpy from mid 40s onwards.

lostinthecitylover Mon 29-Jun-09 12:29:06

sorry to sound so negative btw

cestlavielife Mon 29-Jun-09 12:36:51

"DO I just accept living with a shouty angry grumpy arse? "

no. do as muffle says: "tell him: "It is not acceptable to be so grumpy and unpleasant and critical of your family members - it is hurtful and cruel and spoiling our lives. I will not tolerate it. If you do it, I will stand up for my DC and I will ask you to leave the room and if you won't, we will leave the room." "

you can offer relate etc.

you could ask him what is wrong.

you can start setting boundaries - give him ten minutes a day to moan and get things off his chest?

he can take responsibility for this - sure we all get stroppy have bad days get snappy at kids - but we have to learn to recognize it and deal with it.

"he's even started asking if he should leave.

say yes - please go away for a fortnight and sort out what is wrong and what you want.
if mid-life crisis he needs to address it...

muffle Mon 29-Jun-09 12:44:21

Yes I agree with that too actually - tell him yes, why not, a break would probably do you all good and he can think about why he's so grumpy and aggressive.

My DP can a bit of a grumpy old git btw especially when just woken up, but there's a difference - he knows he is, he knows it's bad and we laugh at him. There is not a horrible atmosphere because I take the piss out of him (gently not nastily) and if he is grumping I say "oh dear, daddy is a grumpypants this morning" and it's made clear to DS that I'm not scared and it is most certainly not DS's fault, but DP's. The same goes for me as I get PMT and if I snap or grump unreasonably I will most certainly be pulled up on it. It might be one way to handle it although I know that can't happen overnight and you need your DH on side to make that work.

muffle Mon 29-Jun-09 12:47:29

I read an article recently btw about men becoming grumpy old f*ckers as they get older and more set in their ways and less tolerant, while women are more likely to get a "second wind" as they get older, and be open to new things and be more flexible. I think your DH has a more serious problem than this alone, but it's something else you could try talking to him about. I think if you very much make it "oh dear, you have this issue that we need to sort out" that is better than if you let him get away with making out it's other people's fault because you are all pissing him off. It's his problem.

WhenwillIfeelnormal Mon 29-Jun-09 13:04:15

Copycat's advice is good, Cuppa and it's worth a try, but all I would suggest is that if you're willing to take the softly softly approach, follow it up with looking for other clues.

6 weeks before I found out about DH's affair, I sat him down and almost to the letter, said what was in copycat's post. I got protestations of love for me (I don't just love you, I adore you!) and an admission of how stressed he was at work. He cried and so did I. He seemed genuinely horrified that I had made a link between his behaviour and the possibility that his feelings for me had changed in any way. One of the things I said to him was "You're just not into me at the moment are you?"

I got him to agree to see our GP if things didn't improve after our impending holiday. I followed up with lots of loving and caring because I felt genuinely sorry for him. I made huge efforts to ensure he had a lovely birthday and despite having an enormous workload myself (with running a business and two DCs), generally went the extra mile.

I didn't act on my gut feeling at all (apart from asking him if there was someone else, to which he laughed and said he was flattered that I thought anyone would be interested) and carried on with my life. But the clues were all there, if only I'd known. The following week, I was doing a major work presentation and there was no good luck message, the eruptions continued and started to happen in his workplace too - and he was absolutely foul on holiday.

I berate myself to this day that I never once snooped and trusted what he was telling me. It is still a source of major hurt that he duped me like that and that I was all sympathetic and caring. Like all these things, some of what he was saying was the truth. He did hate his job and it was causing him enormous stress, but the far greater stressor was the fact that he was leading a double life and had got himself into a relationship with a very demanding woman and he couldn't see a way out of it, without the most enormous fall-out.

So, try Copycat's advice, cuppa, but don't trust too blindly.

And ultimately, all the other advice about you not having to tolerate this angry behaviour is spot on. But be careful about telling him to leave too. It could be just the excuse he is looking for - and will then tell himself that this was your decision to end the marriage.

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