I need advice/direction/help starting a difficult conversation.

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Shari, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I have griped about husband a million times, and I'm sorry. I love the man, but he is one lazy dude.

    I am utterly ashamed of my house. The recliner we replaced 2 months ago is sitting 3 ft outside the door. With 3 pairs of his boots sitting in it.

    You can not set anything down on the counter in the kitchen. Last night, he fixed fried steak and I probably swept up a cup of flour from the counter, floor, and stove. He splattered tea from his water jug all over the counter, floro, and kitchen table putting ice in it and just left it.

    Only the 2 recliners in the living room are sittable. The couches have laundry in varying degrees of folding in them.

    Over the weekend, any time I was not here, he was on the computer or in front of the tv. Tonight, I got home from work, and he's on the computer. I folded laundry and started to get ready for a meeting tonight, and he meandered to the bedroom and turned on the tv and folded half of a short load of whites. I left to go get cat litter, was gone 15 minutes, came back, and the whites aren't folded, he's sitting on the bed watching tv; he starts folding again.

    He took a shower to go to the meeting, and now he's in front of the tv again.

    The area beside his chair has 3 weeks worth of papers he's looked at and tossed on the floor, plus every glass, soda can/bottle, plate, etc, that I haven't dragged back to the kitchen.

    I do my best to do what I can and let the rest go, but I am embarassed and ashamed of this place, but there's also no way I can keep up with it by myself. If one of you came to my door, I would not let you in. And I might be able to tolerate it better, but he gets so mad at the kids if they don't put stuff back/away/etc.

    I have to go out of town tonight and exMIL is taking Wee in the morning to school. husband is taking him to her house because he doesn't want her to see the house, either.

    I'm tired of living like this. I've talked, but I may as well be talking to a brick wall.

    I think the screens are the first of the problems. I can't get rid of the internet, I need it for work; I can get rid of the tv, and have not paid the dish bill...but how do you start a conversation like this...I don't think he has ANY CLUE how many hours he spends in front of them.

    Or am I just such a witch that I should live by myself...?
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think it would depend on what I thought the cause of the problem is. Admittedly, I cannot cook without making a mess in the kitchen- just like you described. However, I do clean up my mess. As far as being sloppy around the house and just letting things pile up while I lose myself in things like TV and computer- well, I can easily do that when I'm depressed or feel I have stress or problems that I don't have a clue how to solve. It's an escape- not a good habit, but definitely a sign of feeling weighted down with no solution in siight. When I don't feel that way, this doesn't happen.

    So I'm wondering if you think there's something like this going on with him? Not that it would make it excusable or acceptable, but it would effect how I dealt with it. Or, do you think he has never been in the habit of picking up after himself and just expects that you'll take care of it all because he thinks it's your job and not his repsonsibility? My ex was that way- and that's part of the reason he became my ex. LOL! (I'm not suggesting that for you- I had plenty of other reason, too)
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Is he depressed?

    What would happen if you did clean-ups as a team, say, Saturdays from 10-noon? "You take all the cans and papers to the recycling bin outside, I'll do a load of wash and wash the kitchen floor, and then we'll go out for coffee."
    Like that ... ?

    Was he like this b4 you married him?
  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    He's depressed. AND... it sounds like you've been to MY HOUSE!!! :rofl:

    You are not being a witch -- I go nuts about the mess here, too. It builds and builds in me over time, and the I let loose and everyone hustles to help tidy up. And then the next day they're back to their slovenly ways. I try not to care too much. I remind myself that most of us have issues in this house. That I can't do it all so it's not my fault. And that some times I just have to look the other way. But it does eventually get to me. I tell you, when I was single, my place NEVER, EVER looked anything close to the way my house looks most days now. Unless you count moving days. :tongue: Then I married a difficult child and gave birth to two point five more. The rest is history. I also try to remind myself that some day, the kids will be gone and I'll just have husband and myself to worry about -- and husband is getting more and more trainable as the years (and medications) sink in.
  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Just sending lots of hugs.

    husband's "office" - used to be OUR computer room - is a DISASTER.

    I throw fits on a regular basis. Every so often, when I have had it up to THERE, I'll pile all of his stuff into a box and put it in the office.

    Some of the boxes are still there.

    As long as I can live with it, I do... And then I go on a cleaning spree that makes him feel bad.

    Otherwise? Just hugs.
  6. tawnya

    tawnya New Member

    You can come live with me. I've always said women need a "wife". I'm sure we could get along fine. I don't throw my dirty underwear in the hall on the way to the hamper. I ACUTALLY put my dishes in the dishwasher when I am done. etc.etc.

    My guess is that there is nothing wrong with him except he is a slob like my "husband". and....you can add easy child to that, too.

    I cannot let anyone in my house either, and it makes me sick. I think both of them could be on "hoarders". Yet, they don't care who comes in or what the house looks like.

    Anyway, the offer stands, LOL.
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I hear you, Shari. I'm ashamed of my house, too. Hubby's idea of cleaning is to make random piles of things and put it all in brown paper grocery bags. I can't keep up with it myself, and since most of it needs to be sorted before I can toss it, I can't get Miss KT to pitch in. The kitchen is a complete disaster, partially renovated, floor torn up, stuff stacked down the middle...and I need to vacuum everything, there's enough fur on the floor to build an entire zoo.

    Though I've talked to Hubby and to Miss KT about cleaning up after yourself, and helping me get stuff sorted and tossed, and they both agree and promise to do better. And then the next day...back to the same old same old. When I've truly had enough, I scream, and then there's a flurry of activity that gets us nowhere fast. If you find a good way to motivate consistently, please let me know.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hubby's idea of cleaning is to make random piles of things and put it all in brown paper grocery bags.

    Hey, that's MY organizational method!!!
  9. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Hire a maid and take it out of his allowance.

    Money always talks.
  10. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I have a lot of trouble keeping up with my place. I got to the point where I was ashamed to let anyone in the house. Luckily, I'm able (with some scrimping) to hire a cleaner.

    They come every two weeks and it is a huge relief to me--well worth the money, in my opinion. I would take this out of his accounts (assuming he has them) as opposed to taking them from household money or worse yet, from your accounts.
  11. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    On this topic...I just tripped over a small plastic bin full of motherboards and other random computer parts. I smashed my foot, and stepped on several thousand sharp pieces of metal. I am seriously POed right now, not to mention being in pain. Feels like those sharp little things went clear to the bone.

    There's gonna be some serious cleaning done this summer, and no one's gonna like it but me.
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I have had this conversation with husband from time to time. What's uncomfortable is my husband after I'm done "talking" to him. But, that's us.
  13. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hey Shari,

    Let me ask you a question first. Has husband always been a slob or is this new?

    I only ask because my sister went through this with her husband. Her husband was a mess when they met. His parent's house was a mess. My sister knew.

    So fast forward like 10 years and two kids later. She blows.

    Can't take the mess anymore.

    Works full time and doesn't have time to clean up after him.

    Not good for the kids.

    He was shocked.

    Why? Because she never said anything in all the years they had been together. Now he wasn't a bad guy, he just didn't notice. He was raised in a messy environment where they cleaned only when company came. He was a manly man - not really his job to clean right?

    When he realized how much it bothered her, even though it hit him from left field, they hired a maid to come once a week.

    My sister was happy, he was happy, but they also could afford it.

    My lesson here....if he's always been this way, you can't really blame him (not that it's right to live that way). If it's new behavior, then something might is going on.

    Listen, marriage is a partnership. If you need him to step up to the plate and help around the house, ask. Don't be afraid to be honest with your partner. You'll see the true caliber of his commitment to you when you speak from the heart.

  14. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Shari, it does sound like your husband is depressed. That said, you've been shouldering most of the load for a long long time.

    I would cover the following points with him:
    • You're worried about his health and his mood. He seems not like his old self, and you miss the person he used to be.
    • The changes you've noticed are: <list the sloppiness, unfinished tasks, etc. as illustrations of how he's changed, rather than as his "failings">
    • You've been trying to help him by taking on more and more, but you can't manage it all anymore.
    • You need him to sort his head out and/or pitch in around the house.

    Then you should decide what you are and are not willing to put up with, and come up with a plan for how you're going to handle matters.

    Here are a few of the strategies I use:
    My husband has a tendency to hoard, and to start projects that will languish for years. He piles things, and cannot walk by a clear flat surface without putting something on it. If I let him, he would have the kitchen counter so cluttered that you couldn't put down a dessert plate. (In fact, while he's been looking after the house as I recover from surgery, that's EXACTLY the state of the kitchen counter AND the rest of the house). husband knows that, if something is left out on a counter, floor or other "public" surface (i.e. not his desk) for more than a day, I will put it away, give it away or throw it away. So if it's important to him, he makes sure to clear it up himself, otherwise he knows it will be gone. Often, he doesn't miss it once it's gone.

    husband recently started stripping the wallpaper in our family room. I asked him repeatedly to make sure he was prepared to finish the job before he started. For 1 week I lived with one corner stripped, all the furniture in disarray and a ladder in the middle of the room, all with no progress beyond the initial corner where he started. So last weekend, I told him that until he's ready to continue, he can put the ladder away and put the furniture back. I can live with the wallpaper disarray, but I can't live with the junk everywhere and the furniture all askew.

    I just box him in. He's learned that if he strays beyond my tolerance I will do something about it and he likely won't be happy about it. So, he's learned to either take care of his own stuff or not to complain when I take care of it my way.

    Hope this helps a little.

  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Gosh...I didnt know we all lived in the same house! Im the problem in mine though...well not just me but my entire family is messy except for Cory! Now that he is back he is chasing after us with a broom and a trashcan...lol. He announces loudly to me when its time for me to go wash the dishes..

    At least my house has been clean for the last several weeks. Want me to send him to you?
  16. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I WANT CORY!!!!! Me me me me????? PLEEEAAASSSEEE???

    Yeah... you know, teamwork would be good but...

    Actually, Trinity's ideas for the conversation? Nice. I like. I think I'm going to try them.
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hmmm....Cory and Onyxx together...I can just see that.
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    LOL....Cory says just say the word and book his flight and he will make rounds from house to house cleaning up. New job! difficult child cleaning crew...lol.
  19. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    When Cory gets done at STeps....he can come here! I'll even go pick him up....it's not that far! If he comes soon....he can sleep in difficult child's room as it's not being used at the moment except by Cloe who misses her boy.

    I am not Martha Stewart and have never claimed to be. I love having a clean and organized house but I hate getting/keeping it that way. Plus....and husband would be mortified to know I broadcast this on the net...I gave up a few (or more) years ago. Depression, frustration....whatever it was it was difficult child related and I simply gave up. The dust bunnies have colonized, you could play Tarzan with the cobwebs on the ceiling....it's horrible. I have tubs of clothes in the front room that migrate from sorted for Goodwill to needs sorted because the "keep" clothes have socialized and mated with the Goodwill stuff. Or.....difficult child went through it looking for stuff to wear even though it's all either my stuff of husband's that wouldn't fit difficult child in a million years. The kittens love the enclosed porch they live in. It's a hide and seek heaven. It was relatively orgainzed at one point. Then, difficult child 1. went "shopping" out there and 2. "moved out" for a week once taking all of his stuff. When he came back, he simply dumped the majority of things on the porch. With him gone, I"m slowly taking my house back. I'm going to have someone come help me clean and get this place back in shape. I'm tired of living like this too. Fortunately, my "helper" is my cousin who also is not Martha Stewart. :tongue:

    Anyhoo....sorry...didn't mean to hijack, just wanted you to know that reasons aside, you're not alone. As for your husband....you've gotten good advice. If he hasn't always been like this, something's up. If he has..tell him you've had enough and you can't live like this. There are X number of people living in the house and X number of people are going to get it whipped into shape. However, I have second dibs on Cory!!!
  20. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Y'know Janet, that's not a bad business opportunity there.

    Professional organizer. Not so much just the initial cleaning up, but reorganizing people's stiff so that they can maintain. And he can offer a follow-up service for when they backslide.
    Charge a flat rate or an hourly fee depending on how much work and time are involved, and he's off and running.