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Please come and talk to me about my dh... are we toxic for one another? Or am I worrying unduly... I just need to chat.

(8 Posts)
Fedupandhouseproud Wed 11-Nov-09 20:58:50

Regular but Nc'ed...

Dh and I have quite a rocky relationship at times, both of us are feisty and quite opinionated, and since having the dcs I've realised that there are many things about him that I don't like, and I believe the feeling is mutual.

The first thing, and I believe this to be the foundation of our problems, is that our parents played very different roles in our families as we were growing up. I came from a family where my parents were both high achievers, my mother quite independent - financially and emotionally - from my father, and very strong and vocal in her opinions.

Dh's parents played a much more traditional role, almost to the extreme though, whereby his mother brought up four children almost single-handedly, didn't work, was completely devoted to motherhood (and also very martyr-like) and very subservient to my fil.

Dh and I have real black spots in out relationship, and the worst are:

When I don't feel as if he's pulling his weight round the house; I sometimes feel as if I do everything - with a demanding p/t job on top of the school run and a pre-schooler at home on days off. Granted he has a physical job (as a builder) but still, I didn't choose his job for him, and he had / has? the potential what with a degree etc under his belt to do other things that are less tiring, but still...

Whenever I do anything that's slightly 'about me'... this is a tricky one but is actually the real reason for my unhappiness... for example I went out to buy a new dress earlier this week as I'm going away for a weekend soon. He was really annoyed at this, saying I buy too many clothes, and that while he was working I was out shopping (I tried to explain that I stole a couple of hours out of a packed week to go but he wasn't prepared to listen)... he gets cross whenever I buy clothes, and even though I buy them out of my 'own' money (one of the reasons why I went back to work was to have more financial freedom) and put masses away into mortgage overpayments, pension, joint acct etc - I keep about 7% of my wages to spend on myself yet still dh seems to have a problem with it.

Another thing is that he seems to really resent me having a cleaner, who I have for 2 hours a week and she really helps me in that it's one thing I don't actually have to think about, but still I know he'd rather we didn't have her (incidentally I only got a cleaner when I started work and her wages therefore come out of 'my' wages).

Some days I actually wonder if I'd rather be on my own without someone breathing down my neck checking my emails and getting funny about me spending money on myself and going away for the very occasional (like, once a year) weekend with friends...

I'm beginning to feel trapped and a little claustrophobic in our relationship and I just don't know where to go from here. He is a great dad (nicer and more respectful to the dds than he is to me I feel), and at heart I know he's a good soul, but he's turning into such a dour old f*ker. He also gets really possessive, to be honest (yeah I know I'm going to sound big headed) I am quite attractive and I do seem to get quite a lot of attention from men. Dh hates it, even though I never do anything intentionally to cause his paranoia.

Sorry this is so long.

Fedupandhouseproud Wed 11-Nov-09 21:32:41

bump... any advice would be great.

InMyLittleHead Wed 11-Nov-09 23:32:28

I don't really know what to suggest but didn't want to leave you unanswered. From what you've said money seems to be the real problem... you say you only spend about 7% of your wages on yourself - maybe it just seems like more to him. Could you calculate it properly and show him?

Neither of you seem to be completely satisfied with what the other person does... Maybe you could suggest spending money on things you do as a family and see how he reacts to that. Is it just you spending money on you he resents, or spending money full stop?

Hard to know what to suggest, you clearly have differences over some issues. But they don't seem totally irreconcilable.


CelticStarlight Wed 11-Nov-09 23:43:22

I'll be honest, you sound quite mismatched with regard to expectations, dreams etc. I have to say that the lack of financial freedom would be a complete no no to me. I have been off work due to ill health for a while so my DH is currently the sole wage earner in our house, but there is no way he would comment on what I buy for myself out of 'his' wages - let alone comment on what I buy out of my own wages when I am in work!

As I see it, we are a couple and money decisions are joint and fair, I wouldn't start spending all our money on handbags and lipstick but I expect to be able to buy things that I need/want within reason and he has the same financial freedom.

It sounds to me that the financial problem is part of a wider problem of control and possessiveness. Reading your texts and emails is not on for a start. I really think you need to sit down with your DH and explain to him that his jealousy is his own problem, that you have no intention of straying but if he continues to push you into a corner, allowing you no financial or other freedom, then your marriage is in danger. Marriage is supposed to provide the stable base that gives us the confidence to spread our wings and fulfil our dreams, not a prison in which our needs are trapped and stifled.

Good luck, but I think you need to be firm but fair with your DH.

lizzy6 Wed 11-Nov-09 23:59:55

Have you thought about going to Relate to discuss your differences?

SolidGoldBangers Thu 12-Nov-09 00:05:20

It does sound a bit as though he wants a 'wife' eg a domestic appliance who is obedient and puts him first, rather than a relationship with a human being. I think it probably is a good idea to present him with figures that demonstrate you are not recklessly spending money the household budget can't afford in case the root of his attitude is worry about money given the economic situation (even if it is, that doesn;'t mean you have to live a complete horsehair-tampon miserable life of self-denial). What does he spend his disposable income on?

MorrisZapp Thu 12-Nov-09 12:48:24

Aye, what does he like to spend money on? Maybe you could both agree that a certain amount or percentage of your 'own' wages could be used for whatever you both personally choose.

If you're overpaying your mortgage then you're clearly in a solid financial position so he's got no reason to moan.

I guess if you really want him to change then you have to do/ say something to make him realise that you might leave if things don't get better. Sounds like he has a pretty easy time of it at the moment and he won't want to change unless he absolutely has to.

Fedupandhouseproud Thu 12-Nov-09 22:47:14

Thanks for all your answers, they've all been really interesting. Sorry I haven't got back sooner, I thought this thread may have been destined for the unanswered pile!

Well I spoke to dh this morning about it. I said that I felt his attitude was unfair and making me resentful. He was actually very reasonable, saying that he was sorry for his foul mood over the last few days but he's been stressed and lying awake thinking about work - he's got some big projects on ATM. He said that sometimes when he comes home tired, hungry and with a million things going through his mind the last thing he needs is to hear that I've been out shopping (grin).

I also explained (again) that a very low percentage of my salary goes on myself and that one of the reasons for me going back to work was not only for my own freedom but also for greater financial security of the whole family. I was lucky in that I could take five years off to be a SAHM, but we were always broke and our mortgage was interest-only. I also reminded him that going back to work for me was not an easy decision, and there are days when I look at all my SAHM friends going off running together every morning, playing tennis etc... so it is nice to buy some kind of tangible reward for being back at work all day and never having a day to spend at my leisure!

He rarely spends money on himself, but that's because he hates shopping. He does spend quite a lot on sporting things though, he bought a mountain bike a couple of years ago that cost £** hmm. Perhaps I should remind him of that, oh and also the snowboarding trip that cost £** where he left me alone with an ill three month old and toddler for several nights... grrrr....

He says he wouldn't wish to be married to a martyr. He knows he'd be awful if he was married to someone who isn't as strong willed as me, because he'd walk all over them. He does need someone to stand up to him and I think that was one of my main attractions (it's a mutual thing though, I need someone like him to keep me in check too) but sometimes I think, maybe due to his upbringing, and the fact he's married someone so unlike his mother, that he's confused about what a woman, and a man's role should be.

Anyway, I'm off to bed now. Thank you again for your replies. Congrats if you've got this far smile.

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