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(30 Posts)
bargainmad Fri 02-Oct-09 13:07:44

It feels like I’ve got three children, my husband and 2 sons (aged 11 and 14). We all know what boys are like, they need constant prompting to do everything and can’t see beyond today. The problem is my husband is the same.

I have to think about everything in the house – finances, shopping, holidays, homework, social life, birthdays etc etc etc. My husband just sleepwalks through life to the point I am wondering if he’s got Alzheimer’s! He will do things but constantly has to be prompted and doesn’t remember anything.

If I’m late home from work he has to ring me to find out how to start the dinner, like a child. I have to text him with instructions which is ridiculous and I refuse to do.

The other week I forget to order razors for him with the weekly shop which gets delivered. He went to the shop to get some and I went with him to get a couple of things and he forgot. He then went out and bought some I would never in a million years buy as they are cheap and nasty and they cut his face to pieces – the point is he doesn’t even know what razors he uses.

I have to prompt him to invite his mum and dad round, prompt him to go out with his friends (once every few months) as he can’t be bothered and one in particular is always in touch with him.

When bill letters come in he never opens them as he says I take care of all that and have it all on direct debit.

We’ve been married 17 years and I really can’t imagine life with anyone else but our relationship is going to go drastically downhill if I carry on having these negative thoughts about him, thinking he’s stupid and a dimwit half the time.

I think it’s all coming to a head as I’m 40 next year – maybe I’m having a mid-life crisis.

I wish I could think isn’t he great and he’s done this and that and look up to him but I can’t, I am constantly getting annoyed. I work three days a week so the way I see it our lives are the same for 5 days. He runs his own small business with three other men which isn’t especially stressful and he doesn’t work more than 40 hours a week.

We have quite a good social life but guess what – it’s me who organises everything. We went to a concert last week and had a meal out at a lovely romantic restaurant but the shine is taken off it because I know it wouldn’t have happened unless I had arranged it.

Our sex life is good until I go through phases like this, which is increasingly more often. When it has gone downhill in the past when our children were smaller it was me who was contacting the well woman clinic to discuss it, me who was going to sex shops to buy things to spice it up and me was buying the sexy underwear.

I am not obsessed about DIY as neither of us like it and I am certainly not obsessed about having a show house but things get left for months or years when I know other wives would be nagging their husbands. I don’t nag and he has even said he is lucky as he hears what everyone else says about their wives.

I’m not big into birthdays and presents really but all I get is stuff from Au Naturel or Sainsburys!! If I want anything decent I have to tell him directly what it is so I’d rather not bother as it’s not the same.

On the plus side we have never had any issues with money and he is good with the children. We do get on well but if I carry on feeling resentful like this things are going to go down the pan.

The only thing I feel I can do is say I want to have an empty head for a month and leave everything to him.

CybilLiberty Fri 02-Oct-09 13:15:29

Ok what practical steps can YOU take to make life easier for you? Because you won;t change him, not now, after 17 years of doing everything for him. You have to stop making his forgetfulness YOUR problem, like reminding him to go out with freinds and buying razors.

Let him make HIS mistakes and forget. All the time you tell him , he doesn't have to think .

I think you shuld talk to him about financial responsibilites. In lots of homes it is the woman who does this job but dh does extra elesewhere, like the food shop.

Go out with YOUR friends. Tell him you want to go out with him but he's got to organsie it, then sit on your hands and let him do it.

MorrisZapp Fri 02-Oct-09 13:38:51

Cybil is spot on. If he cuts his face to ribbons becuase he can't buy himeself good razors then let him. If he only socialises when you remind him to then stop reminding him - it isn't your problem.

fwiw, not everybody does everything as a couple. My DP and I have separate food cupboards (yes that's a bit extreme) and we do our laundry separately too.

You don't have to carry this guy. Look after yourself and your kids, nurture your own friendships and stop expecting anything from this guy in the organisation department as you will be disappointed every time - why put yourself through it.

I used to have a DP who refused to take responsibility for getting up in the morning - it was my job to set the alarm for a ludicrously early hour (so he could go jogging, or similar fantasy) and then lie there in the morning hitting the snooze button every ten minutes for an hour so that he wouldn't be late for work. Then he would get up and shout 'where are my socks' etc.

I look back and laugh at this - why in the name of arse did I let somebody turn me into their mother like that. Totally ridiculous.

My ex was a decent guy, I'm sure your DH is too but he won't change unless he absolutely has to, and if this has to involve some difficult or embarrassing situations then so be it. It's his responsibility to look after himself.

herbgarden Fri 02-Oct-09 13:45:48

I agree...he needs to take responsibility for himself and more for his family.

As painful as it might be, allocate some things for him to do and then let him do them HIS way. If it's not quite your way you might have to live with it for a while.

I do a lot about the house and all my DH does (in my eyes) is work and do some childcare at the weekend and I work part time and have two small Dc's. When we were both working full time I and he would leave a lot to me, I used to go on strike sometimes and he'd come to realise that unless I did things, they didn't get done and maybe he needed to participate a bit more in the running of our lives.

Just as an aside and I may be totally off the wall, is this something which has got worse significantly recently? Has his mood changed at all or anything happened ? You obviously know him best but he's not depressed or anything is he? I know my DH has gone through periods when he's got very down and any ability to do anything other than his job goes out the window completely...

bargainmad Fri 02-Oct-09 13:56:19

He went from his mum to me at the age of 24 and I don't think his mindset from then has changed at all.

My youngest son made a comment that made me really think last week. He was putting some plates into the dishwasher for me and wanted rubber gloves. I said stop being daft it's only food. I asked him what he was going to do when he is older and has his own house.

He said "I will have a wife. Dad doesn't cook and making cheese on toast isn't exactly difficult is it!".

I don't think I realised what example I was setting for my children. I certainly don't do everything and I don't go round picking up his clothes off the floor and stuff like that but I do the majority and as I said think about EVERYTHING to the point where I am bogged down by it all.

But, I would never mow the lawn or do the hedges or put the bins out - I see that as my husband's job and wouldn't do it. I know plenty of women who have to though as their husbands/partners don't see it like that.

At the end of the day I feel like I would like a man to take care of me and I feel like I am taking care of myself (although not completely financially as I work part-time)

I even have to point out things like the alarm system at the back of the house isn't working (and hasn't been for 3 years) and there is easy access over our back fence for burglars. I feel this is the man's job to think about this and protect his family but as I have said he sleepwalks through life with an empty head.

Am I expecting too much or being unreasonable or too old fashioned?

RealityIsAnAuntie Fri 02-Oct-09 13:58:07

Message withdrawn

RealityIsAnAuntie Fri 02-Oct-09 13:59:15

Message withdrawn

MorrisZapp Fri 02-Oct-09 14:03:57

Good point reality. I see it in my work so often - men dying very quickly after their wives. They simply cannot run their own lives without their wife doing it or telling them what to do, and they go into terminal decline.

You aren't doing a guy any favours by allowing him to live like a baby. He will be lost, confused and unable to cope if the day ever comes that for whatever reason, you are no longer there.

bargainmad Fri 02-Oct-09 14:05:13

I know it will drive an even huger wedge between us when the children get older, as early as say 7 or 8 years time.

You hear of an awful lot of people getting divorced in their forties/fifties now and I've got a feeling this is why. A lot of women are very dissatisfied with their lives even though everything looks great from the outside.

I can go from loving him to hating him and saying the most awful things to him in 24 hours. He doesn't know what's hit him sometimes when I get started.

Things will have to change. I used to call it the 6 monthly kick up the arse. It's now happening at least every few weeks so I think things have come to a head.

LauraIngallsWilder Fri 02-Oct-09 14:05:55

Reality - my dad is like yours too! Also went straight from being a treasured mummys boy to marrying my mum
They have been married 40 years and he drives my mum crazy!

My dad was an only child with few friends and family (if any) that he knew and visited so he had very few opportunities to learn about 'stuff' tbh

Now that we know my ds has Asperges we have realised that my dad has too - which explains a lot but he is still hopeless and frankly very difficult to live with

Sympathies to you Bargainmad - I agree try to sort this out now or you could end up like my mum or Reality's

cestlavielife Fri 02-Oct-09 14:15:28

yes you do sound a bit old fashione d - he does the lawn hedges alarms (or not) you do the rest....

as you have realised what sort of example are you setting your boys?

as otehrs said, let him make his own mistakes, buy the "wrong" razors... is his face adn his responsibility.

you dont nag but here you are feeling quite resentful...

i did a lot too for my ex as he couldnt be relied upon, where it impacted on me the dcs i did it...i often joked it was like having an extra child... in the end it got too much and he was controlling me in ways i never even realised. also whatever i did he complained and moaned and criticised - and had furious rages when things were not as he a bit different.

presumably your husband is so laid back he just takes it all in his stride and couldnt care less?

is it enough he does lawns, hedges bins? clearly not... unless he contributes in other ways and you both happy.

you cannot change his behaviour - only he can - but you can change yours. so stop doing everythihg, start with one thng a week, give him the topion to do somehting about it or not. how he does it - eg buys "wrong " razors - dont criticise him. is his body.

get the boys making simple dinners once a week - teach them to make pasta, whatever.

go out once a week and leave them all to fend for themselves.

cestlavielife Fri 02-Oct-09 14:19:00

oh dear - "I can go from loving him to hating him and saying the most awful things to him in 24 hours. He doesn't know what's hit him sometimes when I get started. ""

how does he react then?
how does he feel?

how do the boys feel when they hear/witness this?

goes back to same - you cannot make him change his ways - only he can; but by changing your behaviour - stop doing some of the things you do; let go of some of your resentment about the type of present you get; and make it clear - he might think about changing and taking responsibility - or not.

Miggsie Fri 02-Oct-09 14:22:05

My friend's grandparents had a relationship like this..she did everything, to the point when, in her 90's and dying of cancer Granny was still getting up in the morning to make the tea as he wouldn't/couldn't.
She never got a rest, not once, even when dying.

After she died, he went into a decline and had to be put in a home.

Do something now or this is your future.

And yes, you are setting your sons a terrible example and setting them up to do this to 2 more women (or live in squalor with them bringing you their laundry when they come for Sunday lunch).

Meglet Fri 02-Oct-09 14:26:24

My ex P was like this. I had to do almost every-bloody-thing, bills, car, garden, put bins out, get workmen to do house repairs etc. When I told him I was not going to pick his clothes up off the floor and put them in the wash basket anymore he just went back to work on the monday with dirty jeans from the previous week as he was incapable of getting them washed , this happened week after week as he couldn't get it into his head to put them in the dirty wash basket angry. He was good at building stuff from Ikea though hmm.

Seriously, nip it in the bud while you can / if you can (my ex just wouldn't change). Life's too short to be someones PA while they put their feet up. He's setting a bad example to his kids.

purplepeony Fri 02-Oct-09 18:33:55

My DH is like this and I don't know what to do- it makes me wonder if I should be here.

He cannot cook anything - he always asks if he can help with dinner and last week, trying again, I asked him to chop some cabbage; first question from him- how much? 2nd question- how do I cut it- ( he was cutting the leaves into huge pieces as he thought it would shrink during cooking.)

We have a half- done bathroom- had to replace a knackered loo- and have not done the rest or even chosen it. been like this for about 2-3 YEARS. (It is a family bathroom, not our en suite.) Have had plumbers in to quote- all arranged by me of course. He has made no effort to choose the suite, or even mentioned it in the last few weeks since they came. I can do this myself and I will, as always- but feel it's all left to me.

All Xmas and birthday cards/presents are sorted by me- for our DCs- and every holiday we have had in 25 years.

He does DIY very well, but only the really essential things.

Decorating is off his radar unless I nag.

any answers?

purplepeony Fri 02-Oct-09 18:35:26

Oh- and he asks me to choose his clothes for him.
This is a man who got married at 30 and lived alone for 12 years before that hmm

Sourdough Fri 02-Oct-09 18:51:35

I could have written the OP, right down to the 'forty next year'!

My DH has absolved himself of any responsibility/duty to the home or family. He works hard but loves what he does and, in my book, hard work means doing a job you hate. We have zero social/family life together. When he's home he's 'off duty' and can't even do for himself, never mind anyone else. To make matters worse, I also work for him as his secretary. Am I a total glutton for punishment?

Rant over. Just empathising.

ADifferentMe Fri 02-Oct-09 19:59:54

Another one here - except we've racked up 26 years together. I obviously have to take some of the responsibility for letting it continue but I think it did take root when I was a SAHM - however, I've been back at work for many years.

He is basically a good man (with a dash of alcohol abuse, financial mismanagement and shagging around letting him down rather). I also do the 6 month kick up the arse but it's needed on a daily basis now. I have tried explaining to him what he needs to take over but it just doesn't happen - phone calls don't get made, the kids never get to the dentist, bills don't get paid...

I asked him recently what it would take to make him happy - the answers were more money, more holidays and more sex (to be fair, there's been no sex for two years).

I'm just a seething mass of resentment at his living an entirely separate life to me and the DCs (both in their teens). I'm pretty sure my marriage is over but don't want to ask him to leave until DD1 finishes GCSEs in June. It terrifies me that once the girls have gone, I'll be left looking at him snoring on the sofa without having lived my life to the full, so I think there is an element of mid-life crisis in this rant. He's 10 years older than me and it shows more than ever now.

Like many others, he went from mum to 1st wife back to mum then me. His mum thinks any issues in our life are my fault and has the view that everything should be MY responsibility (including visiting her, sorting her finances, remembering her birthday etc).

Not helpful to you at all, but at least you know you're not alone!

Lifeisforliving Fri 02-Oct-09 22:13:52

My husband and I have been together for 22 years, married for 15, we have a DD. DH works full-time myself part-time but he seems to think as he's the main 'bread winner' it's my responsibilty to do everything else.

I do the school run there and back, I look after our DD needs, clothing, entertainment, homework, heart to hearts etc.

DD and I get together in the living room whilst DH is happy to mess about on his computer all evening, downloading movies and music. He goes to the gym 4-5 times a week, out with he friends every other weekend sometimes out for the whole night. He never has meals with us unless we eat out or at family gatherings. The only time we see him is when he needs the bathroom!!!

When we're out with friends (which is rare) or at work functions, he displays himself as being the true'family man', who provides for his family and participates in family life. However, as soon as we return back home we rivert back to seperate rooms/lives. It's like he's a lodger...

I've spoken time and time again to him about his lack of family being, promises are made and broken within weeks. DD often mentions that DH doen't know what's going on in her life. I feel like a single parent, the pent up resentment is affecting all aspects of my life especially and more importantly our DDs.

I'm 40 next year and refuse to continue living like this, I've given him 22 years of my life and I don't think he deserves anymore. I've had enough...

OMG I've gone on a bit haven't I?... Sorry

Sakura Sat 03-Oct-09 01:25:12

I am reading this thread in earnest and wondering whether my marriage will make it. I wonder what example I am setting my kids, but they are still tiny so I will make a promise to myself to do less. From today I will:
1) NOT pick up his pyjamas or jeans or whatever and put them away/in the wash.
2) go out at least once a month and "let them fend for themselves" as suggested above.

To be fair, my DH does do more than the husbands on here. But he is lacking in other departments. I am a very tactile person and DH isn`t- he is from a culture that expresses very little emotion (Japan) and I find this incredibly difficult.

I do think that the things we fall in love with about our partners are the things we end up hating. For example if you loved your partners "laid back" attitude, it comes to bite you in years to come. Or if he`s a "creative" type, this can be fascinating in the early years, but in time you begin to find that this creative personality type has difficulty dealing with the day to day.

SolidGoldBrass Sat 03-Oct-09 01:37:15

ADM: I'm not surprised you don't want to have sex with someone whose presence in your home is one big chore for you.
I am amazed at what some people put up with for so long.

piprabbit Sat 03-Oct-09 01:58:19

Bargainmad, your husband is capable of running (however casually) his own business. So there's no reason why he couldn't be capable of taking responsibilities at home too?

I know that others have said that he won't chnage after 17 years - but I think he deserves a chance, especially if he is currently blissfully unaware there is a problem.

Sit down with him and talk about the problem, how it makes you feel. Ask him if he could take responsibility for certain tasks, and write them down as he agrees to them. Tell he that you have no intention of nagging him, but that from hereonin the responsibility of completing the listed tasks rests with him. Set reasonable deadlines together, so you are sure you are both on the same wavelength. Agree to revisit the list in a week, a month, whatever - you can then tick things off and add new tasks. In fact, you could include your sons in this, so they get to see how responsibility is shared in a family, and so they have their own task lists (will also make it harded for DH to wriggle out of).

If he will not talk, or actively refuses any responsibility, then I think you have a real problem.

piprabbit Sat 03-Oct-09 01:59:01

sorry, harder not harded

purplepeony Sat 03-Oct-09 08:26:56

ok sakura you took the words out of my mouth; I liked my DH because he was laid back and now it drives me to distraction. In many ways he was the opposite of my previous boyfriend, and that was an attraction initially. But you are right- certain "attractive qualities" have their downside.

CybilLiberty Sat 03-Oct-09 08:39:56

Lifeisforliving I think you need to start your own thread to get some advice on your situation, didn't want it to go unnoticed.

My friend is in the same situation as you exactly but has decided to stick with it. I'm not sure if that's the best option .

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