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(5,125 posts)
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 12:53 PM Jul 2023

Need to vent.

My husband is mostly THE BEST.

I have been depressed and so has he. His is more physical depression, sleeping a lot and being defensive. Mine is feeling alone in the struggle to keep our life together balanced. I feel like (and have SOME objective documentation that I do A LOT more around the house than he does even though he works from home and I have been working outside the home and having to put in overtime.)

I am refraining from saying the things that "I need to say" because I know he won't take it as I mean it, but will get passive/aggressive.

SO I went in another direction and bought us tickets to one of our favorite singing groups as an early Christmas present and sent him off to get us a hotel in the area. THIS is meeting one of my personal relationship goals with him (spending quality time together away from the chaos) AND bringing something positive/constructive into our weekend.

I don't know what to DO about what I need to say.

He is an adult.
I make dinner even though I am exhausted after work.
I wash dishes also.
I am OK with those two things.
There are things he does that contribute and take some of the stress off me.

BUT I am NOT feeling it is my job to pick up his messes on the table when we eat and I am not wanting to feed him if he's going to keep this up. I am NOT the damn maid.

Should I just pick up his messes and be quiet?
Should I start leaving a bill for services rendered?
I HAVE already told him it is not a restaurant, I'm not the waitress and he is capable of taking his dishes to the sink, trash to the trashcan and recycling to the recycling bin. He does this EVEN WHEN HE IS HOME ALONE. He leaves his messes for me to pick up.

He hasn't always been this way.

Intellectually he agrees we should both pick up after ourselves, but he goes into his distractions so much that he is clueless and does NOTHING around the house unless I basically make a list and make him pick something to do. AND I have to do at least 75% of the list to his 5%.

Our insurance covers mental health like therapy, but not couples therapy. Sigh.


25 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Need to vent. (Original Post) TigressDem Jul 2023 OP
Have you given him an ultimatum? True Dough Jul 2023 #1
What I "think MIGHT work" is to tell him the toll it is taking on me. TigressDem Jul 2023 #6
Wishing you the best. multigraincracker Jul 2023 #2
Thanks. TigressDem Jul 2023 #7
Much like Mr Lake tho he does pickup and dishes. LakeArenal Jul 2023 #3
I have told him I am going to print out a list. TigressDem Jul 2023 #8
He's a tough case for sure. LakeArenal Jul 2023 #10
Sometimes. TigressDem Jul 2023 #14
I have just one idea. MLAA Jul 2023 #4
I like that. TigressDem Jul 2023 #11
He works from home.. Deuxcents Jul 2023 #5
For some reason he sees me cooking for him as "love" so I'm ok doing it most of the time. TigressDem Jul 2023 #12
He has sometimes been willing to do laundry. TigressDem Jul 2023 #15
After 62 years snowybirdie Jul 2023 #9
For most of 35 years that worked for us. TigressDem Jul 2023 #13
Our insurance covers mental health like therapy, but not couples therapy. 2naSalit Jul 2023 #16
Maybe. TigressDem Jul 2023 #17
This is very disrespectful toward you. It sounds like the thing that is bothering Scrivener7 Jul 2023 #18
Funny is he doesn't remember it the way it happens. TigressDem Jul 2023 #20
Years ago, I told husband who kept asking what I wanted for Christmas that I wanted a WIFE! Attilatheblond Jul 2023 #19
What is interesting is THIS man has been the BEST for around 35 years. TigressDem Jul 2023 #21
Time for a medical check up, maybe? Attilatheblond Jul 2023 #22
I'm honestly hoping that getting good sleep will be a start. TigressDem Jul 2023 #23
I would call a family meeting. HeartachesNhangovers Aug 2023 #24
We did make a list in June TigressDem Aug 2023 #25

True Dough

(17,212 posts)
1. Have you given him an ultimatum?
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 12:58 PM
Jul 2023

Maybe it's time to let him know you cannot go on with this existing living arrangement and if he doesn't start pulling his weight around the house then you're going to move out and start over?

If that doesn't motivate him, then perhaps it is something you should consider.

Wish you the best either way.


(5,125 posts)
6. What I "think MIGHT work" is to tell him the toll it is taking on me.
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 01:22 PM
Jul 2023

When I feel ALONE in this housework, I fight myself doing it. AND when it keeps going and going I don't let myself turn it on him, I turn it on me and get suicidal.

Then I remember I've told him that and he just acts like, "Yeah, it's all my fault."

I grew up getting angry and then cleaning and blaming everyone around me... we all did that. It was like musical chairs. Whoever was it played that game as "the only one whoever cleans around here" during their spin around the circle.

I went out and got paid to clean house to stop the cycle.

Hubby and I used to have a list and each of us put our initials on it and did our fair share.

At one point we hired a maid too and that was nice.

SO I just told him, WE NEED TO DO A LIST AGAIN.

He says he IS trying to balance work/self care and working on the list.... but realistically, that's bunk.

I will print out the list and if he wants credit for doing work, he needs to put his initials/date on it.

It works at Mc Donald's with first time working teens and we are at least that mature, I hope.


(32,593 posts)
2. Wishing you the best.
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 12:58 PM
Jul 2023

Might be a good idea for you to find a good therapist. Learn how to cope and get some input on how to deal with it.


(5,125 posts)
7. Thanks.
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 01:24 PM
Jul 2023

Main problem is I am doing contract work so I have no sick time, so I have to take non-paid leave, pay my co-pay and then it's only "for me" not couples therapy because for some reason our insurance doesn't cover that.


(28,779 posts)
3. Much like Mr Lake tho he does pickup and dishes.
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 01:01 PM
Jul 2023

I just pick my battles.

I state clearly about something and see what he does. One thing at a time. Over and over.

“Move your shoes out of the doorway.”
Then I repeat quietly over and over til it gets done.

His passive aggressive thing is to roll his eyes behind my back. Just enough so I see it.

But the qualities of humor, intelligence, political ideals, choice in music and supporting the big stuff like moving to Costa Rica outweighs any of the little shit.

PS I annoy him too. I’m just not passive aggressive like him so all I get is an eye roll behind my back.


(5,125 posts)
8. I have told him I am going to print out a list.
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 01:30 PM
Jul 2023

We did this 2 weekends ago and he did a few items.

BUT if I make it so he has to show his initials/date to get credit and he sees that I AM BEATING him, his competitive nature will kick in.

ALSO I think I will put a $$ evaluation to each chore and if we aren't at a 60/40 split, I can do more but not all of it.... then that amount will come off what I normally put into the mutual for weekly expenses and he will have to cover it if needed.

I have to find ways to make it "worth it" to him.


(28,779 posts)
10. He's a tough case for sure.
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 01:36 PM
Jul 2023

What if you did just quit? Let the groceries sit on the counter. Dishes pile up.

It won’t be any worse than Mr Lake’s apartment in 1973 will it?

I guess I knew what I was getting into, now that I think about it.


(5,125 posts)
14. Sometimes.
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 02:13 PM
Jul 2023

I did leave some of his stuff sit for awhile and he is able to simply ignore it.

I think if I put things in black and white and start billing him for services if he wants to treat me like a maid, that will be the stick.

Carrot is reminding him we are both adults and the goal is to work together. When that happens, we are both very happy and proud of ourselves, historically speaking.

I think I will also write up what to me are "adult" behaviors and what are "childish" behaviors and volunteer to quit some of my "childish" behaviors if he will do the same.

I've been chatting a bit with him while he was on his way out today and he's agreed to the list.

When I mentioned that there is something going on internally with him that I can't figure out, he denies it.

He mentions that both of us have things that are higher priority and the other person is less responsive.

SO I know he always feels he has to remind me to check my balance and deposit money into the mutual. BUT he knows I get paid sometime on Wednesday via direct deposit and is on me first thing in the morning about it. TECHNICALLY, he used to wait until my official payday of Friday. But I started paying earlier as soon as I knew I had the money. SO it's like he HAS TO NAG ME to make himself feel important or like he is doing HIS job of managing our finances.

I MIGHT be able to offer and exchange with him that I won't nag him to pick up his own messes after himself if HE backs off until Thursday (a compromise of the earliest and latest time of possible payment to mutual) on his desire to manage my personal responsibilities. I will give him 24hours before I put a post it on anything I feel isn't my responsibility to manage.

I think it has to be about approach. Making it less heated and more respectful and supportive.


(17,217 posts)
4. I have just one idea.
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 01:15 PM
Jul 2023

Instead of having him pick a chore, list out all the chores and assign him 1/3 for starters showing the remaining 2/3rds are yours. Keep them the same so there is no doubt which chores are his. Do not do them for him. I wouldn’t even remind him. Another thought, start serving his meals on paper plates and don’t throw them away for him. See how his appetite is with dirty paper plates all over his side of the table.

I really wish you the very best and it sure sounds like something has to give for your well being.

Edit: I was thinking my suggestion above might be naive/unrealistic/uncaring given you said he was depressed. Maybe the first step is to continue to try and get him to see a therapist/psychiatrist alone to address the depression. My sister suffers from depression and sometimes finds it very difficult to do even the smallest of tasks.


(5,125 posts)
11. I like that.
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 01:36 PM
Jul 2023

I've got a list and I am going to modify it 60/40. He has already agreed several times that a list is a good idea.

We went down to minimal dishes so they HAVE to be washed and I am ok managing that part of it.
BUT if he can't get his own stuff to the sink, then he doesn't get served the food I prepare.

I AM even more depressed than he is, because he has NEVER been suicidal and I've had many years of therapy and support groups, so it's mostly about finding ways to get both of us past this impasse.

The reason lists work is that they are impartial and we each have our part to play and can support each other, encourage each other.

My main goal is to get us working together instead of locking horns over details.


(15,991 posts)
5. He works from home..
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 01:20 PM
Jul 2023

While you’re in traffic on the way home, he could start dinner or clean up…ask him. He could be more considerate and self sufficient but it seems like you’ve been doing the load and he’s comfortable with that. Ask/tell him what you want before your resentment gets any worse. I hope your plans for quality time together works out well


(5,125 posts)
12. For some reason he sees me cooking for him as "love" so I'm ok doing it most of the time.
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 01:51 PM
Jul 2023

We bought a slow cooker so I can start something up before I leave for work and on our list I have "set table" and "clean up" as options, so I guess he thinks I can do those things ALL BY MYSELF all the time....

I put place mats on the dining room table and we are using a laptop to watch our shows so he winds up with his arms over those while I am trying to set the table, SO if I put one or the other on him (probably set the table) then he may decide it's easier for him to get the laptop set up before he puts dishes down.

IDK. I guess it's about showing process and functionality.

In MY MIND, the place mats on the table are for putting dishes and food down. SO it makes sense to me that he sits at the 3rd chair to configure the laptop and turn it around when it's ready. I stated that. He won't do what I ask.

So I switched our eating space and he is using the same passive/aggressive tactic there. His work laptop is at the dining room table. He's got the other laptop at the coffee table.

IF I come up with a system that is clearly communicated, it's like he HAS to rebel, and believe me, I get that. I am a rebel myself and I have to use all kinds of positive mind games to get myself to do what I need to do.

IRL he obeys all the other rules. It's only with me that he feels he can pull this shit.

I guess, I should feel honored in a strange way because that means I am his safe person.


(5,125 posts)
15. He has sometimes been willing to do laundry.
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 02:36 PM
Jul 2023

The last load he started, he left there so it's sour and the extent of what he will do is put in wash, keep checking it and get it to the dryer. Our washer tends to go out of balance a lot.

So I am redoing that load and will need to put all the clean laundry away.

MAYBE he might bring the dirty clothes down. IDK.


(5,210 posts)
9. After 62 years
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 01:36 PM
Jul 2023

I've found its best to just ask. Ask for help and a better division of duties. And my sweetie responds when I say thanks. But that's us.


(5,125 posts)
13. For most of 35 years that worked for us.
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 01:59 PM
Jul 2023

He's angry because my son lived with us and didn't pay rent and did damage and is out of the house now living large and in charge and wanting us to "be proud of him" for all his "hard work" to get his new place set up and his job going well.

We haven't even really been thanked for making that possible. So I swallow my pride and separate both issues and give him kudos and ask for him to get the rest of his crap out of my house. I am ready on that front to move the things in our den out to a storage facility and pay one month's rent and tell him if he doesn't pick it up/make arrangements after that I will authorize the storage facility to auction it off.

So lately no matter what I do my mild mannered hubby is passive aggressively throwing wrenches in my plans or half-assing his assistance.

Like, he will bag up the garbage/recycling and put it on the back deck for me to carry to the alley on my way to the car.

AND I have been asking. All I get is lip service and partial help.


He is a smart man.

BUT depression makes people delusional. He is Manic-Depressive, so I have to be careful and not push too hard or we will be in completely different territory.


(86,233 posts)
16. Our insurance covers mental health like therapy, but not couples therapy.
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 02:58 PM
Jul 2023

Try individual therapy for both of you, that can be a work around if you tell the therapists how you want to approach the therapy. There is as much individual work each of you can do to help relieve the stress. SO have the insurance cover you for the individual therapy for depression, if the cause is couples issues, then that's what the focus could be.


(5,125 posts)
17. Maybe.
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 03:02 PM
Jul 2023

I have to take time off without pay and pay my co-pay for the session.

He won't go by himself.

There is NOTHING wrong with him.

I might go back to 12 step support groups. Sliding fee by voluntary contributions.


(50,881 posts)
18. This is very disrespectful toward you. It sounds like the thing that is bothering
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 04:48 PM
Jul 2023

you most is that he leaves the kitchen messes for you even though you have cooked the meal and even for those meals he eats while you are out of the house.

I would simply leave those messes where they are. Don't clear his dishes. Clear only your own. Let them pile up at his place at the table. Just don't clean them away. If he wants to sit down to the next meal he'll have to clean them up.

Women hate the idea of doing this. They don't want to live with the mess. But all you would be doing if you did it would be exactly what he does ALL THE TIME.

We would all love to have someone to clean up after us. But those people are called mommies, and spouses shouldn't be expected to fill that role.


(5,125 posts)
20. Funny is he doesn't remember it the way it happens.
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 11:55 PM
Jul 2023

I've been cleaning up my messes and leaving his, but either he is confused or he's gaslighting me.

My Grandma used to have such clear intention of doing something that she thought she had already done it.

I cleaned up my mess and left his several nights in a row and cleaned his up in front of him in order to set the table for the whole of last week. The stuff he left on the other table I left for 3 days straight.

When I told him tonight that if I didn't get some help in making simple routines for us to function that I would probably wind up killing myself because I have spent more hours talking myself off a ledge in this last year and these last few months than I have for the rest of my life, he wondered why I felt that way. I've BEEN asking for his help and keep getting push back and sideways behaviors.

He assured me today that HE DOES pick up after himself consistently according to him.... but not lately. And his having all his stuff everywhere so I can't make things work was in evidence because I DID leave it out and got his attention and "permission" to establish the dinner table as a tech free area only for our food.

He acted like it was ME that left my stuff at the table and I have been putting mine away pretty much as soon as dinner is done.

I'm going to buy post it notes and we can leave them out so each of us can ask for help without making a big deal about it. Also it goes to proof/evidence that someone asked and someone complied.... or didn't.

Things are somewhat clean tonight. He did trash and recycling. I did dishes, cleared the dining room/living room and did laundry.

I'm going to ask him to set the table tomorrow and initiate us BOTH taking our plates to the kitchen. If we do it at the same time and it becomes a routine then he will likely remember it correctly.

IDK his Mom is in her 80's and having delusions from some of the pain meds they gave her.

Life is what's happening while we're making other plans. So we will see. But I do feel he's finally taking me seriously.


(2,102 posts)
19. Years ago, I told husband who kept asking what I wanted for Christmas that I wanted a WIFE!
Sun Jul 30, 2023, 08:45 PM
Jul 2023

I had asked a small favor, that he pick up our car at my work place, a block from his, after work. We were having a little Christmas pot luck so I needed to take the car that morning with my contribution. We both normally walked to and from work.

There was going to be some 'Christmas cheer' with out pot luck supper and I DO NOT drive after one drink, period.

But the (then) spouse refused to walk the one block to pick up our car and drive home, instead walking the 8 blocks home and leaving our car at my job. He had already refused tp come to our pot luck, unlike all the other spouses.
This after I had attended THREE banquets related to his job. I had to make evening clothes for each banquet because we would be at the head table as he MC-ed all three banquets and we didn't have enough income to allow for buying lots of fancy clothes.

When I walked home from my job's pot luck, leaving the car in the parking lot, he was rearranging all the furniture in the house.

I snapped. Told him what I wanted for Christmas was A WIFE! Then I went on to list all the things HIS wife did around the house in addition to working outside the home just like him. Lord knows he didn't want to interrupt watching sports on TV to help around the house or care for the offspring.

He became enraged and charged me, but backed down when he realized if he lifted a hand against me it would be the end of him. He stormed out and stayed out all night. I called a friend to scout around town for him, to no avail. He walked a couple miles and checked into a hotel. Called his mommy on me and complained how mean I was. She listened and told him he was a jackass and to go home and apologize. He was furious at HER after that. Note, she also worked all her adult life, so knew the score.

Ten years later, we divorced. Life was better alone, and I did a lot of work on ME. Met the best man ever and life with him was amazing. Empathy and support is a better thing to base marriage on.

If you are not being heard, not being supported emotionally in a marriage, it is not a marriage and you deserve better!


(5,125 posts)
21. What is interesting is THIS man has been the BEST for around 35 years.
Mon Jul 31, 2023, 12:04 AM
Jul 2023

His shit head behavior is recent.

We had a lot of stress over the past 10 years and we got through it, but my son and his family stayed with us and wrecked our house basically. So moving back upstairs has been a huge adjustment and grief for both of us.

I've been doing a lot of the heavy lifting and he doesn't think about it because it isn't in paper on that list and I don't tell him that I carried ALL the groceries in and put them away, you're welcome. We shop in bulk so stuff is heavy. We were going shopping together just so he could help schlep things in and made it a day out with a few fun stops here and there.

But our weekends have gotten busy so we've done some divide and conquer to get it all wrapped up and I've been having to do overtime on the weekends some times AND his Mom has been in the hospital this week, so that distraction is taking it's toll on both of us.

I used to go to 1-2 self help meetings before Covid AND church. That kept me with my nose in my own business and feeling better about myself without needing a lot from him. I need to get back to that I think, but it's hard to start it up again.


(2,102 posts)
22. Time for a medical check up, maybe?
Mon Jul 31, 2023, 12:24 AM
Jul 2023

Thinking his mom being ill may have triggered some old stuff for him?


(5,125 posts)
23. I'm honestly hoping that getting good sleep will be a start.
Mon Jul 31, 2023, 12:41 AM
Jul 2023

He is able to sleep during the day and now that he's open to "guidance" in helping me, I might get better sleep too.

We had a lot of issues with my son and family living here and also a cat that was 22 years old and liked to climb over our heads to get to her food at night. She passed a few weeks back so getting actual sleep is a new good thing.

As far as his Mom, several family members have stepped up to take some of the extra work involved.

What was odd is that I'm pretty sure the Hospital was giving Mom Tylenol with Codeine. It's pretty typical for major pain after a fall, but most people can handle it. She got transferred to a transitional care place and they are giving her ONLY Tylenol and her episodes lessened and are pretty much gone now.

I think he got sidetracked and distracted and is not wanting to own up to his stuff..... BUT is willing to change his ways.

Not up to me to make him be honest with himself about what happened as long as he's honest going forward. If it takes paper lists and post its to make that happen, so be it.

24. I would call a family meeting.
Thu Aug 3, 2023, 01:09 PM
Aug 2023

Tell your husband that you need his help because you're starting to feel overwhelmed by the overtime at work, plus the chores at home.

Hopefully, without any more prompting he will volunteer to do more around the house. If that happens, great! But don't leave it as a vague commitment on his part to do more - tell him you'd feel better if you knew exactly what chores each of you is going to be doing (obviously, you want to have developed a wish-list ahead of time so that you actually get the relief you need). Then negotiate the specifics.

If he isn't sympathetic enough to volunteer to do more, then present what you think is a reasonable distribution of labor, and negotiate something specific.

1) Make him sympathetic about your problem before you talk about the details. 2) Get a specific commitment about chores!

Hopefully it doesn't come to therapeutic intervention. Distribution of labor at home is something that almost all couples/partners have to work out.

Good luck! Stand up for yourself, but be civil about it.


(5,125 posts)
25. We did make a list in June
Sat Aug 5, 2023, 06:14 PM
Aug 2023

So he's done some here and there, but it always seems to come with some passive aggressive behavior.

On my drive home from work Friday we were talking on the phone. I have a hands free option. He said he was going to clean his mess up before I got home. AWESOME!

I had thanked him the other day for some clean up he had done.

I've explained to him how I am trying to set up certain areas for specific tasks and the dining room table is to only be used for us to eat together.

I moved him and his laptop(s) to the large coffee table in front of a very comfy love seat. So that he can leave it set up and still leave the dining room table open for when I get home to make dinner.

Everything went well until I said this.... "If you will the the ice cream, I will clean up the dishes." I waited and waited. I told him I couldn't wait any longer, so I would get the ice cream. I took my dishes and brought him ice cream. He left his dishes. They are still there.

I guess I need to ask him if he only heard the second part.

Because THEN the passive aggressive behavior came. I was very tired and went to bed early because I had to work today.

So he started coming in the bedroom and talking to me. He might be going deaf or just selective hearing going on.

I restated that I am in bed, sleeping because I have to work tomorrow. "OH yeah, I forgot." He said.

Then somewhere around 2am he comes into bed making a lot of noise and movement so my bladder and I went to the bathroom. I came back into the room, he said he needed the light on to put in some eye drops. So I turned on the lights. Figuring that he would put in his eye drops. He did. Then turn off the light. Sometime after 3am the light was still on. I tried to go sleep on the couch, but I'm a side sleeper and it just doesn't work. Around 4:30am I came back to bed and sort of slept.

I pushed work out to 9am instead of 8am and then went shopping on my way home and carried in all the heavy groceries except one bag with apples and a 12 pack. He and I discussed how I am doing all this on an extreme lack of sleep.

He's obsessed with AI art programs and is on his phone non stop.

He was ALWAYS the one who would keep up a routine and it was ME that was the oops I forgot, damn it.

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