My husband can't decide ANYTHING! When we got to be friends while working together, I waited and waited for him to ask me out, but he never did, until I finally gave up and asked him out. (BIG mistake!)
The specific problem I'm facing is this: We live in City A, and he works in City B, about 30 miles away. He has a challenging job, involving lots of driving during his day. I work in City A, about a mile from where we live, but we hate our house. I've told him I am willing to rent a new house in City B, and take the long commute myself, but, since he works there, he has to find a place for us. The rental agencies are only open business hours, and he won't do anything then, even though he's out and about, and permitted to do personal errands. I can't get from A to B and back on my lunch hour, so I can't do anything. We gave notice last month, but still haven't found a place. I ask him, what do you want to do, and he says I want to move, but we won't commit to finding a place. We looked at one place, but he would not commit to it until after someone else had already moved in. I am afraid we're going to be homeless. I don't want to stay here, but feel so helpless because of his passivity.
I worked yesterday and he didn't. We cooked dinner together but he spent the evening watching tv, while I did dishes and cleaned up the living room. He had promised to do the dishes, he put the dishes in the dishwasher but didn't feel that doing the dishes included the pots and pans. He left those for me. He's out of his antidepressant but not his ADD meds, and I'm beginning to wonder if this passive, stare-at-the-wall guy is who my husband really is. I think he should be able to rise above his depression the way I do my mobility problems, and just get on with life. I take no step without pain, but he still thinks he should be privileged to do nothing except work, while I work, go to school and do all the housework. (and find a home in a city where he works)
How do I get some activity out of him, or should I just give up and do all the housework no matter how much it hurts, because his job is harder than mine? How can I get him to make up his mind about finding a house?
I wish I could tell you there
Submitted by Clarity on
I wish I could tell you there is a way to inspire any action. After working 9-5, my husband does not seem to be motivated to do anything for anyone else but himself. Been like this for almost thirty years. I would recommend creating your lifestyle in a way that is easiest for you. He'll most likely just go along. That's been my experience anyway...
Passivity and Household Chores
Submitted by nrparents on
I have 20+ years experience with the passivity, and it has gotten worse, not better. My life consists of getting up and waking up my son while my husband snores because he refuses to set an alarm. Try to get my son to the bus on time, he is ADHD also, he and my husband chat like there is all the time in the world; try to make sure his backpack and school stuff are together, while my husband doesn't check and homework, etc. is often forgotten. Then I drive an hour to work and work full-time, while my husband stays home unemployed. I get no call and little communication/coordination. My son calls me to find out what is happening after school, not his Dad who is 10 minutes away from school. I come home and immediately start cooking dinner, often not knowing what we will have and no input from my husband. He says he is "working" on an all commission job with no takers so far (surprise, surprise). I get no help with dinner unless I ask, and I have quit asking. He has started doing dishes fairly consistently, which is new. Then I must change the laundry, the cat's litter box, wrap Xmas gifts and take them to be mailed, finish the Xmas cards (my husband "helped" with a few but we ran out of stamps and he has not offered since. I printed the address labels and all he had to do was stick and sign. He argued about signing and then took a break to rest his hand.) I then change the trash which is smelling in the kitchen, the recycle is overflowing, vacuuming hasn't been done, paperwork and mail sitting in the basket from last week. I pay bills online--most of the household ones, I split the finances years ago b/c my husband kept losing credit cards and does not keep them in a wallet.
Do you get the picture? Does anyone else live like this? We are going to see a counselor tomorrow and I am hoping he will help my husband find a way to move out, and soon.
Do you feel like you are
Submitted by ccompton on
Do you feel like you are living in a cartoon house? Where everyone is in slow motion and you are on fast fwd? that is how I feel. As I am walking out the door in the morning on my way to deliver 4 kids 3 different places, my husbands thinks it appropriate to have 1 of the kids come back in and turn off their bedroom light. I want to scream! Thank goodness he has a job with so set time to come in or leave - but I do. He doesn't get it!
My hubby is undiagnosed ADD. I am diagnosing him (hehe). He is so much everything ADD that I have read or seen. Our son is ADHD, recieves treatment and is doing great. My husband, on the other hand, refuses to acknowledge a problem & lately, makes fun of me for suggesting that there is a problem.
try to be firm but realistic
Submitted by arwen on
Sueann, I used to get a lot of this with my husband too. Even though my husband was brought up by his mom to pitch in with chores on an assigned routine basis when he was a kid, and also did assigned chores in his fraternity during college, he never had to think about doing household chores to simply take care of himself, so he never acquired the habit of considering them. Once he finished college and began to work outside the home, he began to emulate his father's model, where the female partner did all the chores and the male partner worked outside the home. Since I was also working, I absolutely refused to accept the role he had unconsciously assigned me. We did a lot of negotiating and the division of labor became more equitable (remember, in the early years of our marriage, my husband's ADD was "in remission"). But later, when his ADD began to reassert itself, it became more and more of a problem again as he became more distracted, more forgetful and less able to set any goals, even short-term, and unable to plan. During this time, I took over the responsibility for the stuff that absolutely *had* to be done correctly and on time, like paying bills, and nagged and pestered him as necessary to fulfill the less critical responsibilities. When he was diagnosed and got on meds, the situation improved again, I think because we'd already established the principle previously and it wasn't too hard for him to return to that modus operandi -- but it was definitely not as good as it had been early in our marriage.
He uses his PDA heavily to help him keep track of his responsibilities, and he almost always appropriately fulfills the routine ones like putting the garbage out on pickup day, or walking the dog, without me having to say anything. When he runs low on clean clothes, he does his laundry. But the less routine kinds of things, like putting a new toilet paper roll in the holder when he's used the roll up, are a lot more spotty. And with his SAD, we grapple with this problem much more in the winter than the summer. Basically, with the less routine stuff, I find I have to tell him to make an alarm about it in his PDA. Once I do that, he can follow through on his own. It took several to establish this fairly reliably, but I'm the determined, persistent type, I hate to give up on something that I really believe is achievable.
I've found that it helps quite a lot if I let my husband unwind from work for a period of time before expecting him to help with any chores. Of course, that can lead to an entire evening glazed in front of the computer or TV, if nothing is done to interrupt that. During the times we have struggled with this tendency, I've utilized wind-up kitchen timers or alarm clocks (since these are not electric, they can be ported to anywhere they are needed) -- I'll ask him how long he thinks he needs to unwind, set the timer for a little longer than that, and let him chill. When the alarm goes off, I may need to tell him that he needs to get moving on the chores, but mostly he responds appropriately to the alarm on his own. Sometimes, when he is really struggling, he'll turn off the timer and then get distracted before getting to the chore, and forget to go do the chore! During these periods, I utilize multiple timers set 5 or 10 minutes apart -- the second one is actually for me, to remind me to check that he's engaged in an appropriate chore. The timers make it less personal, and he can't get mad at me because I always give him more time than he asked for -- and if he says he thinks he needs just a few more minutes anyway, I'm always willing to "snooze" (reset) the alarm for a mutually agreed on time-- ONCE. We handle other breaks the same kind of way.
I know some non-ADD spouses will feel that my husband is still enjoying an unfair advantage, and I can see that viewpoint -- he is definitely getting more down-time than I am. But the reality is that he just doesn't function at all without sufficient downtime, and what good is that? I haven't found any alternative *that produces a better result*. I'm a pragmatist -- I want the best results I can get. That doesn't mean that the means don't matter to me -- they certainly do. But frankly, if I demand that our efforts should be 100% equal, our marriage would not be able to survive. This is the best I've been able to do and keep as close to an equal division as I can manage.
As far as the offering to help goes, my husband does offer to help if he perceives me really struggling with something. But that requires him to notice that I'm struggling -- for that to happen, my problem has to be so obvious that the entire neighborhood already knows about it. I used to be a "drama queen" about it, so that he would notice, but I found those behaviors began to spill over to other parts of my life, which I really didn't like, so I've gone back to behaving normally and resigned myself to the fact that he's never going to be that aware. That's something I can live with, because my husband is at least willing to help if I ask for it. If I tell him "I have x, y and z to do and I can't get them done on time without you, I could really use your help," he's usually willing to pitch in. This willingness is partly due to an often generous impulse, and partly due to years of discussion and negotiation about what chores need to be done when and why. Over time, I've managed to get across to him just how much work I do, by showing him and describing my task lists, by being tired and irritable when I've had to overwork -- and at times when he is constantly saying he's too tired, by stopping working myself, indefinitely, and let him see everything that doesn't get done (this isn't viable during the school year with kids, but can often be accomplished during their summer vacation).
As far as finding a place to live is concerned, you may want to consider what result you really want. I'm sure when push comes to shove at the eleventh hour, your husband will find a way to find a place to live. But because it will be so late in the process, it will probably be a *lot* less than ideal (I speak from experience here). I don't think it will be helpful to your husband's progress for you to take over the task of finding a new place to live, but perhaps the optimal result would be achieved by you both working on it together.
Good luck, I know this is such a tough time for you, I will continue to pray for you.
Thanks for the reply, Arwen
Submitted by Sueann on
How'd you get so smart, anyway? Your advice is always so good, but being physically limited myself, sometimes it sounds just too exhausting.
Anyway, that post was months ago, and we "punted." Our landlord wanted to keep us, so he cut us a deal on the rent, and we have basically decided to stay here. He just isn't willing to do the work to find a new place, so I guess we'll be here forever. And I hate this house, but I can't MAKE him find us a place, and I don't want to commit us to a place without him seeing it, even if I could find us a place in a city 30 miles away.
woops -- thanks Sueann
Submitted by arwen on
Sorry!!! I saw Sunny1's new post on this topic, and started backtracking the thread and somehow completely missed the earlier date on the original post -- sorry to be untimely, and very sorry to hear that your relocation situation did not resolve very well for you.
It's very nice to hear from you and others that my experience and ideas may be useful to other folks who are in the same boat -- I'm sorry they can't benefit you as much, because of your mobility issues. Believe me, I understand that very well, I have a couple of chronic problems that put constraints on my mobility as well, normally not too seriously, but every so often I end up stuck with no mobility at all for a week or more, and it really does have a significant impact on the relationship with my husband in addition to being terribly depressing at these times -- fortunately for me, this has only been a problem in the last few years, so it did not inhibit my ability to address problems with my husband when we were trying to hold our marriage together.
I've been very lucky in a variety of ways -- I was brought up by the most organized woman on the planet, was a girl scout in a camping troop for many years where I learned to be resourceful, I'm extremely fortunate to have an excellent memory (less so in recent years as I age, I'm afraid), and I'm persistent and analytical by nature -- and trained to be even more so by my career. So I was blessed with a great "toolbox" to work from, and learned fairly early in life that there are *lots* of ways to skin that cat -- and not to quit until I was quite sure in my own mind that I'd exhausted the possibilities. I never thought I would be bringing these skills to this kind of problem, though!
It is really gratifying to me that all the misery and grief my husband and I went through is good for something -- I have always believed wholeheartedly in the common interpretation of the biblical parable of the talents, that we are under a moral obligation to use our abilities rather than bury them, and I've sometimes felt I haven't done a good enough job of using them to best advantage.
I know about physical limitations
Submitted by phoenixgirl78 on
And the women in my family have a long history of doing too much rather than making their spouses help out. So I'm fighting against it. Still, it's hard. I grew up watching my mom do all the chores. (Seriously, we joked that my dad's idea of dusting when he blew the dust off the mini statues he bought. It never occurred to him to go and get the duster and do the bookcases while he was at it.)
I am never quite clear how much of the passivity of guys is because of society and how much is the ADD. As I pointed out to Tim once, you'd never hear, "Omigosh, your wife cooks?! You are soooo lucky!" or "Wait, your wife does her chores without being reminded?! Wow, does she have a sister? Haha." And yet men are practically given awards for pulling their weight around the house.
We're still working on this issue in my house (see my latest forum post about how my husband basically endangered his life last month by stating his opinion). But I'm hoping to find a fair balance. Especially given my physical limitations with chronic fatigue. But I'm afraid that asking too much will cause him to shut down and not want to do anything. That said, it's not fair that he has that option. It's a balancing act, I guess. I like Arwen's idea of having a timer. While Tim's not working, though, that hardly seems fair. But maybe a set time every day for him to come home and do one chore. Actually, yeah, I like that idea...
NOt doing anything around the house
Submitted by MelissaOrlov on
Melissa, we've done this in
Submitted by tazangel36 on
Melissa, we've done this in my house, and the amount of resentment and anger has drastically dropped, the affection has soared...
Basically, our system is simple: I have a small list of chores, separated by day, posted on the fridge. When we get home, hubby scrubs the pots I need, I cook dinner, he sets the table, I clear it, then we do the kids' bedtime routine. Once the kids are asleep, hubby does the dishes and straightens the kitchen, while I do the 1 or 2 chores for that day w/ the timer set. It's not perfect, but it works for us, and the house is slowly coming to order.
I blame both of us for the cluttered state of the house. His ADHD makes it hard for him to notice what needs to be picked up; my depression makes it hard for me to muster the energy to do the picking up. But since we've both started receiving medicinal assistance, things have gotten much better. If anyone wants my simple cleaning schedule, I'll be happy to share!
Submitted by phoenixgirl78 on
We're working on a system where he has one chore a day. He can pick which chore he feels like doing. The last week or so has been uneven because we've had a lot of distractions. But I'm hopeful that it will end up working. He certainly seems happier with the more defined parameters.
phoenixgirl78, I've learned
Submitted by tazangel36 on
phoenixgirl78, I've learned that my ADHD hubby & son do much better with well-defined parameters. If I give vague directions, or things that need to be interpreted, they both fall to pieces. But knowing exactly what is expected of them, and being able to fulfill that, makes them both much happier, and instills in them a sense of "Hey, I can do things right!". This is why I've given the hubby only 1 chore that is his, he is fully responsible for the dishes. He knows that sometimes I'll need his help w/ something else, but the state of the kitchen falls squarely on him. (Mostly since he loves to bake, and is a slightly messy baker...)