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Being told what to do

(46 Posts)
Houseseller Fri 11-Jun-21 09:27:51

Good morning, I could do with a bit of practical advice please. Before I start I would like to say I care for my partner very much but constantly being told what to do is getting me down. It doesn’t matter what I say or do he has an opinion on it. If I cook he tells me how to do it or suggests I do it the way his late wife did it. Whenever he sees me eating I get the comment “not eating again”. ( I am a reasonable weight so don’t see his problem). We have grocery deliveries which he insists on checking before I place the order. Just this morning I was cutting the top off strawberries for my breakfast and was told how I should eat them. There are loads more but don’t want to bore you all. I answer back but then he takes the huff. I am currently reducing steroids which I have been on for 2 years so I’m a bit intolerant at the moment. I like a peaceful time so any help in coping will be welcome.

Oopsadaisy1 Fri 11-Jun-21 09:31:25

I think you’ve had a ‘peaceful time’ for too long and now he’s treating you as a child or a doormat.
Answer back and let him get into a huff until he realises that he has to change, not you.

Unfortunately you can’t live up to a perfect late wife, so you need to put your foot down (with a firm hand, as we used to say) and tell him to button it.

Sparklefizz Fri 11-Jun-21 09:31:54

He is very controlling and is unlikely to change. I thought my ex was controlling but your partner sounds worse. Sorry to be pessimistic but I think this behaviour will wear you down in the end..... if it isn't already.

Marmight Fri 11-Jun-21 09:33:55

Good grief! If my late DH had started that nonsense (he wouldn’t) I’d have had something to say!
I think I’d start doing the same back to him and treat it as a joke. He might get the message. If not, just spell it out.

CafeAuLait Fri 11-Jun-21 09:34:14

When asks to check the grocery list can you say you have it under control? If he tells you how to cook something, can you tell him you have it under control? I'd just give neutral responses to tell him you are capable. If he says 'eating again' I'd just say, neutrally, 'Sure am'. He tells you how to cut your strawberries, "I know how I like them." He wants you to do it like his late wife, "this is how I like to do it."

That sounds exhausting, suffocating and undermining. I wouldn't accept it.

JaneJudge Fri 11-Jun-21 09:36:46

Are there any carers groups near you? it does differ by area but we have a very active group that run a variety of 'things' (art, yoga, counselling, cafes etc) It might help if you have contact with people in similar situations. It isn't an unusual scenario, it is about lack of control and the shifting of roles within a relationship.

Also do you get a break from him at all? Could you see if there are any schemes where someone can come and sit with him - like crossroads- whilst you get out of the house and do something for yourself? (I'm assuming here you cannot leave him alone, if you can start going out for an hour a day to do something for you)

Peasblossom Fri 11-Jun-21 09:38:55

Stop ordering the groceries and cooking! Hand it over to him. Then it can be done the way he likes.

Just go “Mmmm?”, smile and carry on eating your strawberries the way you like.

Or move out 😬

Redhead56 Fri 11-Jun-21 09:39:45

If he is not happy with how you do things food prep etc tell him to do it for himself. Has he recently retired does he always spend time around your ankles in the kitchen? He sounds like a nagging old hag to me. I would verbally put him in his place then take myself out for a bit of space. You are not chained to him get out the shackles and do you own thing.

JaneJudge Fri 11-Jun-21 09:42:25

I have just realised you aren't his carer, so apologies for my previous post!

Doodledog Fri 11-Jun-21 09:43:47

Can you get the message across using humour? If your husband is retired from a managerial role (I'm making assumptions here, I know!) it might be that he is used to being in charge and it has become second nature.

When we first both retired, we were both used to being in charge at work, and it took a while to get used to it. I think my husband was worse than me, although he may well have a different point of view 😉. I used to laugh when he started supervising me, and tell him not to worry, I would put it on the time sheet, or that HR had told me that whatever I was doing was in my role descriptor. He got the message quite quickly.

lemongrove Fri 11-Jun-21 09:44:17

It sounds as though he is anxious ( controlling things in his orbit is his way of doing that.) I would let somethings go and only challenge things that really bother you.

dragonfly46 Fri 11-Jun-21 09:45:21

Oh dear if you care about him do what I always do.

Wait until you are both in a good place and both feeling together then gently mention that sometimes you feel undermined when he tells you what to do. Don't say it in a critical way but open up a conversation about it. He probably doesn't realise he is doing it.

I used to get very stressed going on holiday and got quite bad tempered. My DH told me it was ruining all their holidays so I stopped doing it. I wasn't aware.

Houseseller Fri 11-Jun-21 09:48:38

Jane judge, my Partner is very fit and active, wants to do everything, he keeps telling me he is a team player. We are together all the time as we are both retired. Unfortunately I developed encephalitis 2 years ago so unable to drive and dodgy knees makes walking painful. ( he has looked after me very well). I try and laugh at him but he tends to go silent. I don’t feel I am being abused but stifled.

JaneJudge Fri 11-Jun-21 09:49:49

Can you ask him to go out whilst you have some female friends over? sad

Peasblossom Fri 11-Jun-21 09:51:06

Thinking about it he might not realise how bad he is. Every time he does it, write it on a post-it and stick it on the wall.
Preferably somewhere he can’t avoid it, like over his computer.

You can tell I’ve had to deal with this. 😬

Baggs Fri 11-Jun-21 09:53:19

That's a good idea, peasblossom.

Atqui Fri 11-Jun-21 09:56:01

I wonder how long you have been together. If it’s a fairly new relationship the excitement may have masked his irritating habits. He sounds like a control freak and if you do everything together no wonder you are feeling stifled. Is the relationship really worth it?

Blossoming Fri 11-Jun-21 09:57:45

I try and laugh at him but he tends to go silent

Laugh at him more often, it will give you some peace at least. When he questions your decisions point out it’s the 21st century and women are allowed to vote. If he says ‘Eating again?’ ignore him.

ExD Fri 11-Jun-21 10:00:42

Perhaps he feel's control is slipping away from him and this is a way of feeling on top of things? He feels good when he's getting a response from you and you've allowed him to take this bossy attitude without realising. Very easily done.
But, be kind, can you find a few things that he can really control? I don't know you so can't suggest anything - maybe ask what he thinks about holidays, politics, fish and chips, dogs, the garden?? He's involved himself in your world because he's nothing better to think about.
My DH took a trip to Aldi for dog food once, then started lecturing me on how much I could save by shopping there (I do sometimes) so I asked him to pick up a few groceries next time. It took a while, but he made so many mistakes (sour cream instead of fresh, near sell-by date for bananas which went 'off') he gave it up and stopped criticising my shopping methods.
He feels he needs to be in charge, but not in your department, so find one for him perhaps?

Houseseller Fri 11-Jun-21 10:01:49

We have been together 10 years living together 5 years. Sometimes when he starts I get a cold tingling sensation going through me which is not nice. I think he is OCD bordering on the aspberger syndrome. We are both in our late seventies

25Avalon Fri 11-Jun-21 10:04:55

Can’t you just agree with him and then ignore it and continue doing your own thing? If he says you are eating strawberries the wrong way (fgs) say ‘yes I know’ and just continue eating the way you always do. Btw I find chopping the tops off strawberries strange as there is wastage. First saw this by friend of dd at dd’s hen party but kept my mouth shut!

Do the grocery order and ask if there is anything he would like you to add, and make sure you do the adding and then you are in control.

When cooking just smile and hand the pan over and ask him very sweetly to show you how to cook it. Then b*** off and leave him to it!

Don’t get mad. If he says eating again say “yes, I’m eating for two” . Perhaps I should say ‘try not to get mad’!

Urmstongran Fri 11-Jun-21 10:05:25

‘Eating again?’ Sounds passive aggressive to me. Have you gained weight since being on steroids? Most people do. Perhaps he doesn’t like you a bit chubbier these days and thinks shaming you into assessing your food intake is ‘helpful’.

Communication is key here. As his attitude is bothering you it needs to be discussed. In depth if need be.

There are complex issues at play here. Your semi-dependence on him, his referencing his first wife (why? she’s not relevant to your relationship!). It depends how upset you are and how strong you feel after your ill health, as to how much you’d like to dig deeper on this issue. Only you can assess the level of distress or annoyance you feel.

Good luck, whatever you decide is best.

Peasblossom Fri 11-Jun-21 10:11:22

I’ve had an even better idea. My OH tends to do it in fits and starts. Next time he has a bout of it I shall blow up a balloon every time, write on it and put it in his study. 🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈Then he can fight his way through them!

Seriously, it is very grinding down. My OH does try not to do it and does repent until it gets the better of him again. At the moment the pluses outweigh this irritating habit. Because that’s what it is.

But he knows that I wouldn’t hesitate to leave if I really wasn’t happy.

Casdon Fri 11-Jun-21 10:40:32

Is it ‘being together all the time’ syndrome? Lots of people have really struggled with all the lockdowns, as there’s nobody else to talk to for a lot of the time, and that amplifies getting on each other’s nerves. I know several men who have started going to Men’s Sheds in recent weeks, and have benefitted hugely from outside conversation with other men in a similar position to themselves. It might give him something else to think about.

Ladyleftfieldlover Fri 11-Jun-21 10:46:56

Why are women still putting up with this type of thing? If my OH behaves in a way I consider upsetting or annoying, I flipping well tell him! Don’t you think the days of the silent little woman are long gone!