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Anyone been to Relate

(28 Posts)
northernruth Fri 02-Sep-11 09:43:10

Sorry to put this in here rather than "relationships" but my reason for wanting to go is about share of the domestic labour and the constant rage I feel at DH for not stepping up and my ongoing disappointment in myself for what I have turned into.

Anyone been to relate for issues over division of labour etc/ who carries what burden when you both work etc and how did it go?

I'm just finishing a sabbatical from work and dreading the rows etc that will ineveitably ensue.

Lio Fri 02-Sep-11 10:54:15

I went to Relate, sort of about this (feeling duped with regard to my expectations of marriage and family life). I went on my own: dh offered, but I wanted to figure out on my own what I was so angry about – I'm not very analytical, but thought this type of 'managed' conversation would help, and it did. It was good for helping me separate out my tangle of thoughts and gave me constructive ideas for talking to dh about my feelings and expectations. If you have the money, I recommend it as a good investment.

sunshineandbooks Fri 02-Sep-11 11:11:18

Sorry you're feeling so down about your marriage.

Unequal division of labour is one of the most common reasons marriages have trouble. How well it gets dealt with through Relate depends on how unequal things are between you and your DH, why that is, and how enlightened the counsellor is (most are pretty good).

A man doesn't have to be a sexist pig to fall into the trap of expecting his wife to do more than her fair share. Society is geared up to it, especially once children come along. It's more than likely that you've both drifted into this and it became established long before you started thinking about how it made you feel. By then the patterns are well entrenched.

Where Relate may help is allowing you to articulate to your DH why his lack of help makes you feel so disrespected and unappreciated and why it's so unfair. Because it is unfair.

How that makes you feel about yourself may be beyond the remit of a Relate counsellor though. One who is not pro-feminist (I don't mean anti-feminist BTW, just not pro) may concentrate more on your own personality and choices. This is always useful and very valid, but it can sometimes place an unfair burden of responsibility on you by failing to recognise that our societal structure makes it 5x harder for a woman to prevent her own identity/needs/wants being swallowed by the other partner in a marriage. In a unfair situation the onus is on the person behaving unfairly to change, not the person being unfairly treated to force change. Though it's always good to stand up for yourself of course.

If your DH is a good man, he should want to change once he is aware of your feelings.

northernruth Fri 02-Sep-11 16:12:48

Thanks for the replies. Thing is, I think he is aware of my feelings at the moment, he just thinks I'm being unreasonable. He does more than most of his peers so he thinks I have it easy - on the other hand the one friend he has whose wife is more demanding than I am is often described as being "pussy whipped" by their circle of mates.

edd1337 Fri 02-Sep-11 16:16:10

often described as being "pussy whipped" by their circle of mates And who will be having the last laugh when his "mates" end up miserable and lonely, or divorced?

sunshineandbooks Fri 02-Sep-11 16:28:01

TBH that doesn't sound promising. If he socialises with people who consider being fair the same as 'pussy-whipped' (which is in itself a sexist, disparaging term) you might be facing an uphill battle I'm afraid.

I hope it doesn't come to it but you may have to think long and hard about what you're ultimate sanction is here. If you've made it clear how you feel and he still refuses to change, you are left with no option but to conclude that he considers you much the same as a domestic appliance and has no real respect for you. sad

Under those circumstances I'd want to leave. That sort of lack of respect has a bad habit of extending into other areas of your relationship and will result in your self-respect being eroded and your mental health suffering.

I'm sorry if that's sounds horribly pessimistic. Hopefully he's just fronting it out and will change when push comes to shove. You could try presenting him with this little gem.

edd1337 Fri 02-Sep-11 16:30:48

TBH that doesn't sound promising. If he socialises with people who consider being fair the same as 'pussy-whipped' (which is in itself a sexist, disparaging term) you might be facing an uphill battle I'm afraid.

It's funny really, when the tables are turned these so called "real men" actually don't like it when they become the "whipped one"

northernruth Sun 04-Sep-11 22:28:40

sunshine I do have to say that he doesn't agree with the men who use those terms. But he is surrounded by that influence albeit intermittently.

God it's so depressing. I was always so militant and when we moved in I did nothing for him, how does it come to this? It's insidious

northernruth Sun 04-Sep-11 22:29:34

BTW that article you linked to is great - if only we could have seen a change in the last 40 years. Depressing again!

HereBeBolloX Sun 04-Sep-11 23:22:48

You could buy a copy of Susan Maushart's Wifework, read it yourself and then ask him to read it.

It really crystallised in my mind, that this housework thing is not petty and niggly and naggy, it is about the core values of a relationship- how much respect each party has for the other. Lots of men simply don't get this, and lots of women simply don't realise that this is what's eating them because although they feel it, we're all conditioned to assume that any real discussion about housework is about something petty and trivial, not something that is absolutely germane to the relationship between a couple, so they feel guilty and stupid and ashamed of being so bloody trivial, when other women are being beaten up/ cheated on/ insert abuse here and all they're worried about, is that he won't run the vacuum over the house and put the laundry out as often as he should.

If he doesn't get it when he reads that, then he's probably never going to get it.

It was also the book of the month in feminist book club this month btw, if you want to have a look at it.

Sometimes reading a lot around the subject you're going for counselling about, is very useful. But sometimes not, so good luck either way.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 05-Sep-11 07:37:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dittany Mon 05-Sep-11 09:12:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

northernruth Mon 05-Sep-11 13:55:39

Stewie I saw that Wifework mentioned elsewhere on here (discussion thread?) and am going to get it.

Dittany I am currently on sabbatical but I took the time out to look after our daughter, not to increase my share of the "burden"

In terms of housework, the bulk of it is done by our cleaner, but I have responsibility for paying her, leaving out bedding if it needs changing, leaving out ironing for her. Anything extra that needs doing in the week between her visits I would generally do (cleaning toilets/ mopping kitchen floor, cleaning hob etc)

I am the only person that cooks from scratch - he will cook a meal but generally this would be something like heating up chilli or spag bol or curry from the freezer (basically reheating a meal that I made in the first place). He will always wash up when I have cooked.

A lot of my issues are around his inability/ unwillingness to do the little chores round the edges that don't take long but nevertheless grind me down when I am left to do them all the time - an example is emptying the dishwasher, i reackon it takes me all of 3 minutes start to finish but he will hardly EVER do it, he will open the door, see it is full but clean and leave his dirty pots on the side. He says he intends to "do it later" but then of course I come to put a cup in whatever, sigh, and empty the damn thing. It's the same with almost anything eg, emptying the kitchen bin (he will do it if I ask but otherwise will keep shoving more in the top), putting a new loo roll on the holder (he'll leave it on top of the cistern), even putting his towel in the wash (the one he is using at the moment stinks and I'm buggered if I'm putting it in the damn wash basket for him).

When we moved in together we each did our own washing and ironing, after a few months of him leaving all his washing for 3 weeks then doing load after load and my house being full of laundry I agreed to do the washing and he do the shopping. This was in the days before internet shopping. Now he does a Tesco shop once a fortnight if that (online), forgets most of what we need unless I have written it on a list for him, and generally does it at a time when he can use it as a reason/ excuse not to participate in the childcare. Whereas I fit the washing (one load a day generally, washed and hung out to dry then put away) around my "normal" responsibilities.

He is supposed to be home to bath DD at half six but often texts me at 6.25 to say "just leaving". He has a demanding job but will use it as a moan when actually I will have had a 12 hour day by the time I get to sit down (he leaves at 8.15, while he baths DD I generally clear up her tea things and then I read stories and put her to bed, I then come down and cook our tea)

I am going back to work in November and it will make things harder but at the moment I feel like if I don't go back I won't have a voice.

northernruth Mon 05-Sep-11 13:57:07

Oh and the other main issue is that anything that belongs to DD is seen as mine - to the extent that he won't put her clothes away after the cleaner has ironed them (she doesn't do all the ironing btw), and he will often leave DDs breakfast things if he's given her breakfast - clear away his plate and cup and leave hers for me to do.

garlicnutter Mon 05-Sep-11 14:21:11

After your last two posts, I think he is taking the piss. It's a great idea to see a relationship counsellor; if you get a good one, it may revolutionise your marriage and will clarify your ideas and expectations around your personal life.

Wifework is also good, imo, chiefly for highlighting issues that many don't realise are issues, iyswim.

In view of your imminent return to work, I'd suggest looking at paying for daily help. When if he cavils at the expense, point out the obvious.

Good luck, and I hope you land one of Relate's finest smile

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 05-Sep-11 14:23:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

northernruth Mon 05-Sep-11 16:29:08

I am relieved that you don't think I'm whinging as a lot of my mates think that I have it easy (blokes who do nothing let alone their own ironing). I am reluctant to pay for daily help because yet again it will get him off the hook - getting a cleaner has meant he has managed to avoid using the mop for the last 15 years.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 05-Sep-11 17:11:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

msrisotto Mon 05-Sep-11 17:15:03

He is taking the piss. I'm surprised your friends think it is acceptable too!

northernruth Mon 05-Sep-11 17:16:52

Thing is he thinks he does care about me - this weekend's argument was because I casually referred to myself as a slut in conversation (tongue in cheek obviously) - her got really upset that I talked about myself in "those terms" in front of "his friends" - I have a fairly promiscuous sexual history mostly due to being single for long stretches of time, and I'm not ashamed of it, and he dislikes it if I refer to it in company.

I realise how controlling that sounds.......

garlicnutter Mon 05-Sep-11 17:39:44

It does rather. Oh dear.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 05-Sep-11 17:56:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 05-Sep-11 17:56:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

northernruth Mon 05-Sep-11 20:15:09

Oh dear. He is a good man, I am sure of that, and a good father to our DD. It's just that it's all got a bit lost along the way - he works to hard and I guess that the marriage is what has slipped.

sunshineandbooks Mon 05-Sep-11 21:01:48

You are thinking so hard about this you're considering Relate and have taken to posting on the Internet. This is clearly important to you and you obviously have a strong commitment to your marriage.

Now ask yourself what your H is doing. He's in the same marriage as you.

Is he worrying? Is he seeking solutions?

Why is it your responsibility to (a) spell out the problem (just the fact that you're unhappy should make him want to listen to you and get to the bottom of things) and (b) to fix things.

Where's his input in all this?

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