More talking...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by witzend, May 27, 2008.

  1. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    On Wednesday when I got so mad at husband for sabotaging me yet again, and he thought I was saying I wasn't going to care about this particular thing, and I meant I wasn't going to care enough to ask him to be a partner in our marriage anymore. He told me at the time "I want to talk to you about this". I was so mad that I told him it would have to wait. We agreed to talk about it yesterday.

    Now mind you, husband does the dishes after dinner. This is his chore and he does it. He may or may not also clean up the kitchen at that time. He also feeds the dogs. About half the time he gives them water.

    In the Pacific NW, our lawn grows pretty steadily from March to July when it gets too hot. It still grows, but only in patches unless you have a good irrigation system, which we don't. I must always ask husband to mow the lawn. He usually doesn't edge it. I know he hates mowing the lawn, so I am always certain to tell him "Thank you" several times, and to tell him how much better it looks. The same thing with any little project that I finally nag him enough to do. I tell him thank you and how wonderful it looks and how nice it is to have it done.

    So, during our "talk" yesterday, husband tells me that he would appreciate it if I would tell him "thank you" for the things he does around the house. I reminded him that I do. He admitted that was so, but said that he needs me to "give him an 'atta boy' for the things that he does" so he will feel more appreciated.


    He agreed that it was not fair of him to not follow through on the things I ask him to do, or to not complete the job. He understands that it frustrates me when he does that. He says that the reason he sits there and says nothing while I am trying to talk to him about how to work it out is because he is afraid that he will say the wrong thing. I reiterate that there is no wrong thing to say, if he would just have an opinion on anything or participate in any way then I wouldn't have to guess.

    I also explain to him that in reality, he "wins" every disagreement we have because he rarely does what I ask, and when he does I have to finish it so I don't ask again. Then he shuts up and leaves me having a discussion with myself which ends up with me getting upset until he finally yells something along the lines of "OK - I'll never do anything again other than exactly what you told me to do!" and I feel bad about hurting his feelings (not anymore!).

    He seems to think he has been working really hard on not doing that since February. I remind him that he has done it 5 times in the last two weeks. But, of course, it his reason is that I nagged him about not doing something he promised to do. I remind him that he told me he would do something and then didn't. That I invested a lot of time in planning and discussing with him, sometimes even making a list or making him make a list so that there couldn't possibly not understand what I was sking him to do and all I have ever asked is "how can we make sure this doesn't happen again?" And he won't participate in the conversation on how it won't happen again, so he wins. It didn't get done, I finished the job myself, and I won't be asking him to do it again, whatever it was.

    So, the "talk" only reinforced what I already knew was true. I've been wasting my time trying to find a way to get him to do anything for me because he isn't ever going to change. No matter how many times he tells me that he wants to do what I ask and to keep me happy, he doesn't want it enough to change anything about himself. The only one who can change here is me, and all I can change is my expectations of him. And, as I mentioned in Adrianne's post on General, I am always the one who needs to apologize.

  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Disclosure** I have never been married.

    This just seems like the way I would handle it.

    Problem - husband does not do the things you ask him to do.

    Solution - hire someone else to do it.

    Everyone is happy!

    Well maybe not so much husband if he feels bad that he did not get to do the task. That is best case scenario because next time you ask him to do something you start with 'should I hire someone to do x for me? or are you going to do it?' If he is going to do it - give him a deadline. If it is not done - hire someone else.
    Oh and the money you had to use means husband can't get X when the time comes he needs something.
  3. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    There's no money for that. There's enough money to do it ourselves or go without. He doesn't actually get anything big for himself, because he never saves up enough money from his budget to buy anything. We already both took a cut in our budgets because he wouldn't help around the house with cleaning without it being a 5 day long ordeal of my asking him saying he would do it then not following through. So we hired someone to do it for us. His choice.

    Of course, I have offered that he is welcome to hire someone to mow the lawn out of his personal budget. That didn't go over.

    I'm just not asking him to do anything any more. He's not an idiot. He can see that the grass grows. He can hear that the toilet is leaking. He can see that things are broken around the house. I give up.

    Besides, for him it's not about whether he does the stuff or not, it's about being in control. He wins. He's so in control he can live in a sty just like he did when he was a kid.
  4. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Can you not ask about the lawn AND not stress about the lawn, too? If you can, that is certainly a good idea. If it will start building inside you that it is not getting cut, then the not asking sort of hurts you, too, just as asking has.
  5. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi Witz! I'm so sorry that you're going through all of this. Between husband and the MS, things have got to be driving you absolutely crazy!

    That being said. I think husband gave you something to thing about. It's very interesting that he's afraid to reply to you because he's afraid to say the wrong thing. There are books out there about "constructive fighting" that set ground rules to keep disagreements just that - a disagreement rather than a confrontation or full blown fight. I remember they had rules about "off limits", taking a break, how to phrase things, etc. I'm not trying to upset you, but I've got a few thoughts in my mind that I'd like to spin your way. Please know that I wouldn't try to offend, I'd be extremely upset if I thought that I added to your burdens rather than add a little insight.

    Is there a chance that husband could be going through some sort of depression? How did he handle your diagnosis? I know that this has been basically been going on throughout your marriage and in the past you were able to deal with it, but could it be your level of tolerance is not what it used to be? I laugh every time I read your quote about the "perimenopausal bear".

    I know it could be a stretch, but maybe he's lost. A week or so ago, you had posted the home center story. I laughed because it sounded so much like me and my husband that it was almost poetic! But you walked out the door ready to rip veins out with your teeth, and he was totally clueless about what he'd done wrong.

    A different angle could also be that he's got some sort of ADD or other diagnosis that has never been looked into. He could have some type of anxiety disorder or something else going on. He's an over-achiever at work and chronically underachieving at home, so it sounds like he's trying to keep it together where he has to, and lets it slide at home. If he screws up at work, he's disappointing everyone. If he screws up at home, you'll still be there for him.

    Again, I'm just trying to see if it might merit looking into and I pray to God that I didn't hurt your feelings. But I'm thinking both of you are hitting a "stress wall" at the same time and it's impacting the two of you.

    Take care hon! It does get better!

  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I totally agree with you. But, I have spent 12 years being mad about the lawn not being mowed & about him not doing it. It's just one less thing to be mad about if I don't expect him to do it. So, can I not be mad? No. Will I have less things to be mad about? Yes. And that's something I can work on changing again.

    I'm not giving up one more cent to pay someone else to do what this lazy selfish man won't. Period.
  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member


    He's diagnosed with Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. We've been every which way around how he can work on this. That's on him. I can't do it for him.

    Constructive fighting is a wonderful idea. Also something we have worked on in therapy for three years. The problem being, the person who sits and doesn't say a word wins. It disgusts me that he feels this is a fight that someone has to win instead of a marriage that two people get to be happy in and support each other in.

    He's known about the MD since before we were married. He ignores it now just the same as he did then. It's just more painful to me now that he ignores it because when I was 22 it wasn't that big of a problem for me. Now it's a big problem and it still doesn't bother him.
  8. 'Chelle

    'Chelle Active Member

    Sorry, but it's one thing that bugs me when dhs expect an "atta boy" "thank you" and "way to go" when they do things around the house. Just wondering how many you get when you do things around the house? Yes once in a while they should be told you appreciate what they do to keep the household running, but reciprocation is important too. These are things that are part and parcel of daily living in a house with a yard, they are chores that should be shared, especially if both spouses work. I don't remember who said it or where I read it - but it was about a husband who did pretty much nothing to help out around the house, then after repeated requests, actually dried and put away the dishes. He looked at his spouse and asked for a thank you. She was astounded and wondered why she would thank him for doing more than nothing, something that he should do as a matter of course, and something she'd done pretty much every night of their marriage without a thanks. It's how I feel with my husband sometimes.

    My husband is much like yours in this area. I've asked him why I should have to ask him to do things, he can see it needs to be done so why not just do it. If I ask him too often I'm nagging and he gets mad. Eventually if I get mad enough I end up doing it, and resentful that I had to once again do his share of the household chores. The lawn I'm able to just ignore. He will finally cut it when it's mid-shin LOL. I refuse to do it.
  9. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Ditto, ditto, ditto.

    husband complains that I don't 'thank him' for things he does around the house, which is VERY minimal. In fact, it's just mowing the yard after he decided to fire the yard guy who came free with the house we're renting. Then complains that I don't do anything.

    Ok. Who washes your clothes all the time? Who cleans the kitchen, loads/unloads the dishwasher, trims the bushes, cleans up after the birds, washes the bedding, cleans our 3 baths, mops the floor, buys groceries, goes to work, washes our doors, baseboards, blinds, drives easy child here and there, makes phone calls for HIS clients, DJ's events that I don't want to do, pays the bills, plans and cook meals, clean up in the morning after his late night snacking, monitor easy child's school, vacs the house, empties trash, etc? Do *I* get a thank you? Nope.

    What makes it worse is when I go on strike. I just refuse to do anything that is not directly related to me. I eat, I clean up my mess. My gosh. You should have seen my house yesterday. It was a tornado. husband is running around yelling, being frantic. I just picked up the car keys and left.

    I drove to a park about a mile away and just sat in the car for a couple of hours.

    Today is frantic cleaning mode. (I think he knows I'm not happy. You'd have to be a moron to not figure that out.) Fine. Clean. But, I'm going to work to enjoy the company of people.

    (Sorry for the vent.)

  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Sorry, but it's one thing that bugs me when dhs expect an "atta boy" "thank you" and "way to go" when they do things around the house. Just wondering how many you get when you do things around the house?

    Ohhhhh, yeah!!!! In one way it peeves me, because it's stuff I do in the normal course of a day and never get a word of thank you, yet he expects a major pat on the back. In another way, I just chalk it up to the Men are From Mars syndrome. If I really want kudos, I make husband get up and walk around the house and/or yard with-me and show him what I did. It is very forced but it's better than nothing. :(
    I think it's a very common occurence.
  11. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Well! You got me there! Seems like Mr. husband needs a little help in the "get up and go" department. Do your laundry, wipe your spot at the table, make your dinner, vacuum in front of your chair, make your side of the bed, clean the toilet (seat only - you HAVE to sit on that part), clean the bathtub (but spill shampoo AFTER you get out of the shower), and if you have a dog put some "droppings" on the air filter of his car.

    Oh, and if he asks you "what's wrong?" just look at him.

    There - I think I've done my duty!

    Super Squirrel - AAAAAWWAAAAAAAY!
  12. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I like Beth's idea.

    I'm sorry Witz...I wish I had some answers. Any chance you can remind him that those vows said "in sickness and in health"...and remind him that things have changed in that arena?

    The book is called Self Matters, and I can not find my copy, tho I'm still looking. I'll go buy one to send to you, tho, if it will help.

  13. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I understand your exact plight! It's frustrating to say the least. I give up! It's just too stressful to mad like that and feel like the marrige is one-sided. Not only do we go to work, but then our 2nd job---one that is much harder by the way---takes all our remaining energy, and then some. So many women I know are in this same scenario. At the moment, and every night, my kids and husband wreck the kitchen making tons of snacks and leaving a giant mess. Whenever I clean one, another comes right along.. In between that, more cleaning and laundry. It would be one thing if anyone was nice to me, but they all want me to do is leave them alone. The only time they talk to me is when they want something! My husband actually expects me to thank him for him doing something for himself. I have friends, activities that don't include my family, and I get great satisfaction out of those things. I highly suggest something along those lines.-Alyssa