Bickering with DH over Stupid Things - HELP!

Updated on January 27, 2009
M.O. asks from Barrington, IL
5 answers

For the past year or so my husband and I have been very "disconnected". I am a SAHM of two young children. He commutes about 2.5 hrs a day to work on the train. When he gets home at night, he's so happy to see the kids, eat dinner and hear about their day and play with them before they go to bed. He is an excellent father. After the kids go to bed he hardly says "Boo" to me. He doesn't ignore me, he just watches t.v. or geeks on the computer. When he does talk, it's pretty much only about work - BORING.
Now I understand that all I talk about is the kids. And all he talks about is work. I've made SOO many suggestions over the past year or so about "date nights", or a bowling league, ANYTHING to give us some time together doing something. He never seems interested and doesn't want to "waste money" on the activities, sitter, etc.

I feel like I am losing my best friend. I am not content just living through this "phase" of life. I don't expect us to spend lots of money or life the carefree lifestyle we did before kids, but I am so stuck in this "Mommy" rut.

To top it all off, we argue and bicker over the dumbest things. His Dad recently had a birthday. I keep making suggestions on what to get him. Every answer from my DH was "no", "he won't use that", "don't bother", etc. THIS IS HIS FATHER and he gave no input, no help in getting a present, not even something small from our kids. Finally, I stopped asking, bought him some "Grandpa" books, a card, worked with the kids to make cards and MADE MY HUSBAND help the girls wrap everything while I went to the grocery store to get food for my in-laws who were coming over. Later he thanked me and said it was very nice of me and that his Dad seemed happy.

I don't think my husband is depressed. I think he is just turning more into his father - introverted, doesn't ever go out to do "fun" things, quiet guy. I think my husband thinks this is what "marriage" and "fatherhood" is/becomes --- BORING, GroundHog's Day, wake up, go to work, come home from work, see kids and help them to bed, watch t.v. until his own bedtime.

HELP ME! This is not the guy I married. We use to rollerblade, play basketball, bike, go out to dinner, meet up with friends every holiday, etc.

I am so sad. I miss my husband. I miss my best friend. Any time I try talking with him about this he just sighs and says, "Not this conversation again."

I don't know what to do to get him back. I don't know what to change so that he realizes this ISN'T what marriage and family life need to be like.

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answers from Chicago on

I've been through what you're going through and I finally had to realize that I had to take the situation into my own hands. I can't change HIS attitude, but I can change my own.

Sometimes when I'd approach him with the problem of not being close it turned into another problem. Either I was "complaining" or "forcing him to do something" he didn't feel we could do. It's like telling someone you want a surprise party! Or telling someone you wish they were more thoughtful. It's not thoughtful if it doesn't come from them.

First I stopped moping about it. I stopped talking and complaining about it because that just made it worse. Who want to hang around a complainer?

Then I started to get interested in him. Like REALLY interested. I wanted to get back into communication and I knew it would take some coaxing. Sometimes he didn't want to talk, but I didn't get mad. I just granted him the right to not want to talk. I tried to talk to him about positive things that we both agree with. If he was in a bad mood, then I'd approach him in that emotion (but not directed at him.) I'd say "boy your boss is really something!" or whatever. Try to be on HIS side. Gradually he opened up again. I planned fun stuff, started to take responsibility for making the house look nice and myself nice too.

You didn't get down where you're at overnight, so it won't change overnight. You just have to first grant him the right to be who he is. Then you have to be on his side and BRING HIM UP. Realize he may get angry before he gets happy...but that's NORMAL and in the RIGHT DIRECTION.

I'm not saying take it if he treats you bad. I'm saying be the solution...because someone has to and he is not doing anything.

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answers from Chicago on

I am sorry that your DH does not want to invest in a date night once in awhile. Could you swap babysitting duty with another family to save on the cost? Could you have family watch the kids once in awhile?

I agree that date nights can get expensive, but so worth the money in the long run. How about putting the kids to bed, and having a date night at home. Make a nice dinner for 2, and talk about things besides the kids, and work.

Good luck.



answers from Chicago on

I was in a similar situation before as well. I think what the others said is good. I think he is just beat and at the end of the day he needs his "me" time. I don't think it's personal, but he is prioritizing you at the bottom and I know that hurts. I tried the same things you did, but my husband said I was always "nagging" him. So, I just tried to pick a few days a week and just gave him his "me" time and tried to not interrupt him at night. The other days, I tried to talk to him and tried to do fun things with him that I thought he may be interested in. That worked ok, but not great. Then I tried acting like it didn't matter to me that he was home, I just went about business as usual. Then, after a few weeks I talked to him and told him a lot of the things that you mentioned in your note. I told him that I knew he had a lot on his plate and that life is rough when you have little ones. But, I told him we needed to spend some more quality time together and that we needed to do marriage counseling. I think when he heard this he realized things really weren't good and that I was serious about our marriage and things changing. It helped that I understood that he had all these things pulling on him- kids, work, etc- and that he just needed some time alone at times. But, I told him he needed to prioritize me as well. I also joined some moms groups and stuff to help me get out more with friends. Slowly over time things got better and we are doing great. It took many years of me being depressed and beating myself up over it before I finally got through to him. His parents were the same as your husband's. But I think it is truly that he is beat and needs his "me" time and he really doesn't mean anything against you. Of course, you should talk to him about this as well and ask him what you can do to help change things. You may not like what he says, but you need to try to change, and he needs to try to change too. That is why a marriage counselor would really help. They help you learn how to communicate effectively and see each other's point of view. Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

I'm sorry for what your going through. Husbands seem to have their own way of how they think life should be! I do know they hate to be nagged, find a posititve way to spin what you want. (not saying your nagging- mine says that to me on occassion). Can you just spur of the moment plan something, set it all up and force him into some fun? I know you want alone time, but maybe even to start with a family trip to a zoo or something, get him out... Get fun as a family, then subtle works on you two?! I once had someone tell me she has candlelit dinner with her husband at 9pm every night, once the kids were in bed. They had family dinner as a whole, but didn't eat, and saved their food & conversation for later. Maybe you could do a suprize favorite sweet for valentines day in this fashion? Start small... Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

I read the other two posts and those are encouraging you to draw him out a little more. He needs to see a version of this note and know how serious you are. He quite possibly is so tired at the end of the day from his workday, commute, and food he might eat that perhaps all those things seem a little overwhelming to him and you on the other hand are charged and ready to go. It's sad and you sound like you are both young enough to really make some changes. I was going to give some opposite advice, like letting him know you really mean business and you decide to go rollerblading on your own or something but sometimes that backfires. So i still think he needs to see this letter with something edited. You are not attacking him you letting him know you miss your best friend. And that is sad. You are really giving him permission to be the fun nice person he used to be. I think he will begin to understand that. Good luck!

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