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Can't cope with Partner's high standards

77 replies

Oneofthethreewitches · 13/04/2011 10:45

Please help me, I feel like I am beginning to lose it. Sorry its so long.

I have a 6 month old son with my partner and a 6 year old daughter from a previous relationship. Met my partner about 4 years ago. When I met him had my own v modern house and had successful career. I was financially independent, had a great cleaner and everything was good. He moved in quite quickly and DD now calls him Daddy.

We outgrew the house and bought a Victorian house that we both liked knowing that it would need quite a bit of work done to it. The mortgage is at a rate that we can both afford. We knew that we wouldn't be able to afford to do up the house quickly because we don't have that much extra money.

At the time of the move I was 6 months pregnant with DS. DP is useless at DIY, works 12 - 13 hour days and can't really do anything around the house in terms of improving it because he isn't home. We got a professional in to do DS's bedroom - replaster, paint etc. He found fault with the plastering but no one else can notice it (plaster is a tiny bit bumpy on a small section of the ceiling). He spent significant amount of time in the room looking for other flaws. Asks me if I will paint over miniscule cracks in the plaster.

I am good at DIY, a great cook, good at cleaning but absolutely hopeless at tidying up. I try to do too much and the mess just gets bigger. Up until the week before I had the baby I was climbing ladders, painting, sanding etc. I was also working in my proper job.

Had DS by C-Section and he was 10 lbs 2oz. After baby was born I continued with the decorating but with less mobility initially. Had my mum come and stay for relatively long periods of time to help me with the baby because I couldn't move around easily in the beginning or take DD to school etc. My mum also stayed so that I could go to work and take DS with me to breastfeed. I am self employed and need to work to stay solvent. DD at a private school and have to pay her fees. Have the sort of job that allows me to work when it is financially worthwhile. Did 10 days work over the first 4 months of DS's life.

When my mum was at the house DP changed dramatically. Became huffy. Kept asking me when she would leave. Found minor faults with bits of DIY I had done. My mum is fantastic at running a house - everything v. clean, great food, brilliant with the baby . . . He kept asking why I couldn't have his mum come and help. Explained that after a C-Section need your own mother in the house (my mum is a retired nurse). My mum sensed the atmosphere he created and told me that Partner reminded her of protagnist in Diary of a Nobody.

Have no gone back to work but it is taking a bit of time to build up. Went back early because got fed up with him assuming that I am responsible for everything in the house. Have a nanny who comes to the house on the days I work away from home otherwise I am at home alone with the children. We don't have a cleaner at the moment. He leaves at about 7 am and comes home between 7 and 8 pm. When he comes home he goes on a tour of the house inspecting. It drives me crazy. Last night he came home and said hello to DD. DS already in bed. He went upstairs saying he needed to get out of his work suit. When he came downstairs could sense he was huffy. I was preparing dinner and clearing up kitchen. Asked him what was wrong and he said that I had left the cupboard doors open and he nearly banged his head and I had left a wet towel on the floor of DD's bedroom. Clarified that in fact I had left wardrobe open, that there was absolutely no danger of him banging head whatsoever (it was a complete lie) and towel was left by DD without my knowledge after her bath.

I went absolutely crazy with him. Told him that I expect him to be positive when he comes home. That it is impossible to be perfect. That I have far too much to do with the baby and DD on school holidays and my own work and that it was graceless of him to be huffy/grumpy because of something so small. He is just so petty I don't think I can cope with the next 20 or 30 years with him. I need someone with some spirit of largesse. I told him I am sick of him being so petty. Can hardly bring myself to speak to him. AIBU?

OP posts:
feistychickfightingthebull · 13/04/2011 11:35

Yadnbu, he seems like he is looking for an argument. Inspecting the house! What a bloody nerve

Sidge · 13/04/2011 11:40

I'm not excusing his behaviour but I expect he feels somewhat redundant at home so is overcontrolling to compensate.

You appear to have no need for him, and moved your mum in after your baby was born effectively 'replacing' him. You say she was brilliant at running the house and looking after the baby; despite his long hours where did he get a look in?

You're supposed to be a partnership but despite him working long hours and (I assume) earning decent money does he have any input into the family? You seem to make all the decisions and do the bulk of everything, admitting yourself you find it all a lot to cope with, so how can you get him more involved? You need to find a middle ground here I think.

jeckadeck · 13/04/2011 12:01

My DH went through a similar stage after my DD was born. It was incredibly annoying and it led to a series of huge rows, culminating in me giving him an ultimatum basically to be more positive and less critical of me or he was out (its my flat and his name isn't on deeds or mortgage. I appreciate not as easy for everyone.) He wasn't actually inspecting the house, not quite as bad as that, but just finding fault with incredibly petty bits of home cleanliness/arrangement after coming home from work etc, when he wasn't so much as changing a nappy himself. Since the ultimatum he seems to have come to his senses and the criticism has been significantly reined in. I'm not seeking to justify it I think its incredibly selfish and I came quite close to ending my marriage over it but I do think that men sometimes go through something roughly equivalent to PND after the birth of a child but don't have the ability to label it as such, let alone the support networks that women have. I think its fairly common for men to have a period of a few weeks when they turn into neurotic freaks and a lot of them probably grow out of it. I would say front it out don't take any shit -- but also make it clear that you understand he's going through a fair bit of stress too. I think you may well find that it will pass.

thebody · 13/04/2011 12:16

i agree totally with ratspeaker.. this seems to be a potentially dangerous attempt to undermine you,pehaps keep you down and reassert his authority over you..

I would also worry about his affect on your dd as she gets older..

do your friends like him? whats his relationship with his own family/mum.. do you get on with them?do you like him??? really???

you are solvent, sensible and able to cope on your own... time to go to relate.. bugger him swanning off to his psychologist all the time..

and for the record my dh wouldnt f.....g DARE swan anywhere looking for faults.....hes my friend and we cope together... thats what you deserve love..

Mrswhiskerson · 13/04/2011 12:23

I'm sorry you are going through this , fwiw you sound amazing he is extremely lucky to have you .
Maybe he does feel a bit redundant, some men get like this when they don't feel needed but it does not excuse his behaviour for one second , nspectimg the house is disgusting and the fact he let yo decorate after a c section is pretty bad too,like I said before you sound amazing I couldntget it together to make a pot noodle after ds was born .
Do you have much time on your own together ? Maybe a nice nigt out you could both have a proper talk over a meal but if he blames you or lectures you in anyway I would issue a ultimatum maybe kick him out for a week so he can see what life is like without you .
It seems like he knowshow great you are and feels insecure about it therefore is undermining you at every opportunity , he needs to deal with it you do not have to put up with his crap for the sake of his ego .
Hope your ok and mumsnet is a great place to vent and get advice ,take care

Rillyrillygoodlooking · 13/04/2011 12:25

DH doesn't inspect the house, but can be highly critical in times of stress, and when he is just being plain annoying. He has also stated that he will never, ever let up on telling me about the housework until he "doesn't have to anymore".

When DS was born (by EmCS, after 15 days in the hospital), on the exact day of the six weeks passing when you are not supposed to exert yourself, he said "are you planning on doing any hoovering?" While I was getting over quite a stressful time, ie, the hospital thing, having a new baby etc, he kept telling me to be more tidy, and helpful hints on how to do this.

Last weekend (DS is now 3.5), I wanted to clean the car, because the roads are very dusty where we live and I couldn't see out of the back window - DH starts getting really huffy and saying that I haven't cleaned the bathroom, and why am I playing about with the car? The week before had been very stressful at work for DH and I am seeing a pattern of stressful situations followed by lots of lectures about the housework.

I now tend to stay quiet until he has finished what he has to say, continue not saying anything while he conducts both sides of the discussion (he tells me what I would be saying so he can continue the argument), and when it subsides I ask him what is stressing him out.

Obviously if your DH is seeing a psychologist and doesn't want to talk about it then it is a bit of a difficult situation, but after many years of kicking off in the face of DH's obssession with my lack of housework, I am finding that keeping quiet/ignoring seems to work slightly better.

I hope that things improve for you. I find arguments about housework the most soul destroying. BTW I really YDefinitelyANBU.

StayFrosty · 13/04/2011 12:26

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ladysybil · 13/04/2011 12:30

as everyone else said, he can do it himself, or lump it. as your baby grows older, you will only get busier and busier. keeping the place looking like a magazine spread isnt and shouldnt be a priority

Changing2011 · 13/04/2011 12:37

I couldnt love a man who criticised my housekeeping or thought it was his place to point out my faults - domestic or otherwise.

Oneofthethreewitches · 13/04/2011 12:45

TotemPole - he works for a bank in the city as a project manager.
NJE - he doesn't have problems at work although he keeps telling me he doesn't have the "bandwidth" to do x and y. He was desperately unhappy in his last job.
Ratspeak - I think his point would that I often leave wardrobe/cupboard doors open and it grates on him.

OP posts:
thebody · 13/04/2011 12:51

I am amazed by the fortitude of some posters...

Rillyrillygoodlooking..... isnt your dh supposed to be your friend for gods sake does he talk to male collegues or friends like that???? arnt you a team?? why stay quiet and let him walk all over you???

you sound a bit like my mum.. now in 70s living with my critical, bullying, carping, occasionally slapping dad... if you let bad behaviour slide it gets worse... dominaion becomes a habit.. so does submission

helpful hints on tidying my arse... tell him to do it himself or shut up...

oh and the stress thing NEVER EVER an excuse for continued bad behaviouir imo.. my dh and me both have stressful jobs, he is frequently abroad and I have to cope with 4 kids alone while working full time.. whats wrong with taking a deep breath before letting rip.. your ds will take note of dads behaviour and maybe feel thats how he should treat women...

sorry but your dh sounds like a pig...and so does the dh of the original poster...

Oneofthethreewitches · 13/04/2011 12:56

OMG - thank you all for your posts. I am wondering what to do next. This is my first ever post. Do you think I should show him this thread?

OP posts:
thebody · 13/04/2011 13:02


if you do show him please also tell him that my bathroom needs a good clean and is he available.... silly sod

Becaroooo · 13/04/2011 13:07


scottishmummy · 13/04/2011 13:08

what a boorish bully,looks for faults,and picks fights.going inspecting to pick fault really is controlling and argumentative. and quite frankly not a regular thing to do.making up lies to support his nit picking is awful

time for a cards on table discussion. you both work,both under pressure. him exerting additional pressure and tension about domestic minutiae is not on

is he like this as a personality - overall critical and picky?
how do you want this to resolve
is he capable of changing

scottishmummy · 13/04/2011 13:09

only show him posts if you feel it is constructive,not if it inflames situation or makes you more of a target for his ire

SusanneLinder · 13/04/2011 13:15

Stress does funny things to people! I live with slobs but become overcontrolling and hypercritical OCD mare myself...lol. I have just read the riot act to my family re state of the mess they have left . I am not that bad really,quite a nice person actually, but I get stressed and want to control "something"

If I go too far,DH has a "word". Or a "kick up the ass" (not literally).

However if this has been normal behaviour over the last 4 years, and he is always this critical and moany, then maybe he just is a tube, and needs to be told to cool it,or be shown the door.

You will know the answer to that one best if you have been with him for 4 years.

Changing2011 · 13/04/2011 13:16

Susanne - OP has not long had a baby (and major surgery) and he is nit picking to ridiculous extremes. And also showing little concern for her welfare (can you hoover? one day after six week limit on lifting and bending etc). He is beyond critical and "stress" does NOT excuse it.

Rillyrillygoodlooking · 13/04/2011 13:19

the body thanks for your post, sorry to highjack OP but i did want to reply.

I did just get on and clean the bathroom when DH had a pop at me, and then he followed me in there with the children to carry on at me. Then I did completely blow up, as I used to do every single time. And then DH just said "I only mentioned cleaning the sink", tells me I am aggressive and he isn't because he doesn't shout. He doesn't see that aggression doesn't have to mean shouting. And then I am the one shouting in front of the children because I can't bear it any more.

OP, perhaps I gave the wrong advice. I only said stay quiet (but perhaps what I mean more is discuss without shouting) because it seems that no matter how the situation starts, the one who does the shouting never comes out of it well.

And we have discussed many times over, in rational grown up terms, but it still goes to shit, and I find it hard being with him sometimes. The thing you said about putting up with it for 20 to 30 years really resonates with me.

I will stop posting on this discussion because I am just being selfish. As I said, I really hope you sort things out. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job.

forehead · 13/04/2011 13:20

OP , i think you need to talk to him first and let him know that you are nothappy with his behaviour and you are not going to stand for it.
I would be totally pissed off if my dh did this to me. He wouldn't dare.Men only do what they know they can get away with. Nip it in the bud right NOW, before things get worse.
You've just had a baby fgs, you shouln't have to put up with this .
BTW, he sounds ungrateful to me . My dm helped my dsis out when she had a baby, my bil was bloody grateful, because he knew that my dsis felt comfortable with her mother . When your dh gives birth, then he can ask his own mother to stay.

twolittlemonkeys · 13/04/2011 13:21

I agree with diabolo. And I'm predominantly a SAHM (work a couple of evenings)! If I worked FT and DH did that, we would have some serious talking.

scottishmummy · 13/04/2011 13:23

what precipitated him see psychologist?
was it self referral or did some one compel him?
Is he on any medication?
presumably is legit BPS psychologist
have their been any significant life events for him recently
is he always like this or this a change in mood, and behaviour

SusanneLinder · 13/04/2011 13:25

Changing2011-no I agree with you,he is being a prat,but wondered if he is always like this or has something changed recently.

probably my background in MH that makes me look at both sides. Grin

RogerMelly · 13/04/2011 13:27

you are not being unreasonable at all, it's as though he thinks you are superhuman :( I think most peoples partners work 12 hour+ days too (I know mine does) but they tend to udnerstand that you have had a full day too and don't act like a bloody dictator when they come home. He really needs to buck his ideas up and I think alot of peoplehave been very helpful on this thread. I hope you are okay

elliott · 13/04/2011 13:28

He sounds stressed to me, I suspect the root of it is adjusting to having a new baby. How much does he contribute to childcare - how hands on is he with his son (is this his only biological child? Remember he is new to it and you are not) Did you discuss much how things would change with a new baby? How did you envisage the division of work, domestic labour and childcare?

Stress often brings out the worst in people. He sounds as though he is willing to look at himself and change. I do wonder a bit though whether you are perhaps someone who appears very capable and as though they have got all the domestic side under control. Could you give him responsibility for some of the domestic stuff? And really let it go? Could he work less so that he can actually be an involved and engaged father - pretty tricky under the current scenario when he will hardly see the children except at weekends. He sounds pretty disengaged from family life tbh and I imo that's not a sound basis for a loving and equal partnership.

(I'm not trying to condone his behaviour btw - it does sound pretty unreasonable. However I am assuming that there is also another side to the story and also that basically you want to be together and work this out. Or are you actually finding it hard to love him?)

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