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How do you change a man’s behaviour (light hearted- I think??)

(130 Posts)
petunia Thu 04-Oct-18 10:21:54

I have lived with my other half for over 40 years, most of them being married. One thing I have learnt in that time is that a man will only change his behaviour if he wants to change. No amount of begging, pleading, shouting nagging, cajoling, talking etc will make him change.
When we were both working full time, and had small and then larger children, most of the housework fell to me. It was easier that way. The pile of dirty clothes left by the side of the bed would never make it to the laundry basket if I hadn’t shoved them there after tripping over them every day to make the bed. Exhausted by the treadmill of work and childcare, I put forward the suggestion of a cleaner. He rubbed his chin, looked thoughtful for a moment or two then declared it was an expensive idea and couldn’t we just carry on doing it ourselves. I nearly broke a rib or two laughing at that one. When I wasn’t laughing I was dreaming of how I could stab him with the carving knife and make it look like an accident (that is a joke by the way)
We staggered on with me asking him to do this task or that, and he would do it after a fashion. So the ironing would be done but not put away. Or the request to bring the washing in if it started to rain resulted in just that. The washing, bungled together, often with pegs still attached, dumped on the nearest chair. Often still damp. Each time it happened and I asked why didn’t he put it in the tumble dryer or fold it and put it away was met with “but you didn’t ask me to do that”. Or shopping was short of vital ingredients but heavy on the crisps and beer.
His reasoning was that as he does all the DIY, he should have lighter housework duties. Fair enough but it’s not like he spent every free moment with a spanner or paintbrush in his hand.

Fast forward twenty years. Now, in the house without children, he has scaled down his housework responsibilities and has accepted a list of weekly tasks. There are his “jobs” and I do the rest.
Currently our kitchen has recycling items on two work surfaces and two bins full in the expensive kitchen with built in recycling boxes. The rubbish in the general bin is overflowing and beginning to pong. But as it’s Thursday and he empties the bins on Friday....... His clothes from yesterday managed to find their way to the washing machine, but not in it. The work surface has teaspoons trailing tea and splodges of milk after he made various cups of tea. Crumbs from breakfast add to the scene.
As he is last out of bed, he makes it. Nearly. With covers vaguely dragged approximately on top of the bed. His chair is surrounded by newspaper, notebooks, crumbs and remote controls (we have 8-dont ask). I think he does his jobs poorly so that I give in and take over. I have just paused in this thread to empty the bloody bins so it’s working. And it’s still only 10.15.

So 40 years on. Nothing’s really changed. Endless rows and nagging didn’t work. Asking, begging and pleading work on one occasion but then needs repeating. I once tried leaving the housework. Oh dear, disaster. Me and the children scrabbling around for clean clothes amidst a sea of clutter.
I think I have scaled down my expectations as low as they can be. What is the answer? Any ideas?

MiniMoon Thu 04-Oct-18 10:33:59

I have none to offer. It's the same here. DH will empty the bin, but never puts a new bag into it, that job is always left to me. His washing gets as far as the utility room, but not into the machine (he does know how it works). Dishes left on the worktop above the dishwasher, or in the kitchen sink, never washed up.
He is a very good gardener, and we have compliments from passers by about it, one lady said it looked like a botanical garden!
I don't think I'll ever get him to do housework, I've stopped trying.

GrannyGravy13 Thu 04-Oct-18 10:48:33

When we both worked with children at home I seemed to do the majority of everything, apart from the morning school run which Husband did. I did have a cleaner once a week then and she was a god send, we would have lived in a hovel and by midweek have no clean clothes.

Husband retired 2 years ago, and I must give him credit where it's due. We probably do housework 60/40,me 60 as he doesn't iron or put things in washing machine.

He does transfer from washing machine to tumble dryer, only towels and sheets, as he is not sure what clothes are safe to tumble.

He always empties bins and recycles.

He notices,when we are low on bread, milk, butter etc and goes out to replenish stocks. Can cook well and offers at least once a week to do so.

We do have a cleaner, I now I am fortunate, we have a gardener for the heavy work.

I am not proud to admit this but he still drives me mad at times.

KatyK Thu 04-Oct-18 10:50:16

Mine is very helpful, keeps the garden nice, shops and will do any housework I ask him to so I shouldn't complain. However, when he washes up, he never cleans the hob, he will take the last of something out of the packet and leave the empty packet in the fridge/cupboard. Minor things and after nearly 50 years of marriage, I have learned to put up with it. His major attribute is that he's put up with me for all these years.

paddyann Thu 04-Oct-18 11:12:07

is he my OH's twin? The piles of clothes are very familiar and the dripping teaspoons.I dont nag ,never have .I ask twice if he doesn't do it I just do it myself,its quicker and less stressful than moaning constantly.I do blame his mother though and she admits its her fault.
I was very irritated about the package that sat in the hall to be taken to the post office.It sat there for a week ,then it moved and I thought he had taken it but no,it was in the car .Yesterday I discovered it in the garage ! Apparently he didn't think it was anything important and would take it next time he was going to the PO .I'll make sure I tell his sister her birthday presents was late because her brother couldn't find his way to the shop.
Just in case you wonder ,I dont drive and the PO is a few miles away .

Jane10 Thu 04-Oct-18 11:18:47

I really can't complain about my OH. His standards are higher than mine! He is a bit of a mindless hoarder but it's manageable.
I remember my mother saying after my Dad died how sad she was that everything was always how she had left it. No messy kitchen to tidy. sad

Luckygirl Thu 04-Oct-18 12:10:28

My OH's filth/chaos/rubbish threshold was always much higher than mine, so he would be moved to do something about it long before I would even notice it! He still tries his best, even though he is so poorly, and empties the dishwasher.

I have just employed a cleaner for 2 hours a week to keep the chaos down - we have attendance allowance now so that seemed a good thing to spend some of it on.

stree Thu 04-Oct-18 12:27:15

I bet they all leave the lid up as well,

Auntieflo Thu 04-Oct-18 12:32:22

I think that all the aforementioned chaps, have been rolled up together, like leftover pastry, and then mine has been cut out with a chap shaped cutter from the proceeds.
(Actually he's not that bad really). and I wouldn't change him for an upgraded model.

paddyann Thu 04-Oct-18 12:45:48

me neither Auntieflo he's my life and I wouldn't be without him .

Lynne59 Thu 04-Oct-18 16:57:23

What you're describing sounds familiar....I've been with Him Inddors for 40 years, (38 married), and he only does any tasks if he is asked to - hanging washing out, emptying bins, opening curtains, etc. He, like many men, can't seem to see when something needs to be done.

He works full-time, Mon-Fri, and I work 2 days a week. I was very unwell last week (had to have paramedics here) so he took 3 days' holiday to "look after" me. Those 3 days consisted of him making his own meals (I didn't want anything), doing his own washing-up, and hanging out some washing. He also made me a few drinks during the day, and he fed the cat. That was it.

As soon as I felt a little bit better, I did the hoovering, ironing, polishing, shopping, etc., etc.

My 2 sons (in their 30s) are quite different, thankfully. They have got their own places, and do the housework as well as go out to work.

Is it a generation thing?

bikergran Thu 04-Oct-18 17:12:47

Mine came "pr-programmed" (he had been married before lol)

Greatview Thu 04-Oct-18 17:41:49

I asked by dearly beloved
What am I to you?
He said you are a domestic goddess
Through and through

So I wrote him a list
And he agreed with what it said
The cooking, washing cleaning and a well made bed

I said that this is a partnership
And to this he did agree
Then I asked what he like for that evenings tea
His reply was anything my darling is alright by me

So for the next seven days
Or it might have been eight
I gave him single cornflake
On a tiny plate

On day nine or maybe it was day eleven
I thought I had died
and simply gone to heaven
He took the list and crossed off
The washing, bed and linen

And now we have a partnership
Im over joyed, I am singing
Half a dozen cornflakes
It feels like a new beginning !

sodapop Thu 04-Oct-18 20:50:06

Love it Greatview made me laugh.
We share the chores and if I am honest my husband generally does more than me. He does offer to help people though and is often busy doing that rather than doing things at home. I see my glass as half full and concentrate on the positives, only occasionally gritting my teeth in exasperation.

Willow500 Fri 05-Oct-18 07:29:10

Greatview that's very funny grin

I've had mine for 47 years and don't really think he'll change now. He does put his washing in his wash basket and make his bed, he will wash up if we've had visitors but has no idea how to use the dishwasher or the washing machine. He doesn't cook although when he lived on his own overseas for 18 months he had to learn - fast. He does leave his 'stuff' about such as the pile of paperwork on the table at the side of his sofa as well as on his dressing table, his excuse for this is he no longer has a desk, he leaves his coat on the back of the dining room chair and shoes in the hall - we have places to put both of these. He doesn't 'do' gardening but will cut the grass if I nag ask nicely. But he does work long hours, would go to the ends of the earth for me and the family and I wouldn't change him really!

Teetime Fri 05-Oct-18 09:17:53

My DH was captured by aliens when he retired and returned to me house proud and now in charge of all the housework and ironing leaving me with the cooking and kitchen cleaning. I dont know what happened but it did. smile

GabriellaG Fri 05-Oct-18 10:10:57

Get divorced, stay single, have a partner, live apart. grin

Theoddbird Fri 05-Oct-18 10:12:03

Why do women stay with men who expect to have everything done for them. I suggest not doing their clothes for a start. Put them in a bin bag for them to do themselves. If they can't do yours properly why should you do theirs?

spookygran Fri 05-Oct-18 10:16:35

Since my husband retired I have only 2 jobs cooking and washing everything else,and I do mean everything, is done by him. I try to do things and I'm told to sit and rest, and take it easy. Its annoying and frustrating as I feel redundant. I have illnesses but am capable of doing things but I'm not allowed. So be careful what you wish for. It might come true.

Coconut Fri 05-Oct-18 10:16:37

After having 2 sons and 2 ex husbands, I think it’s inborn in men to just sit back and let women take over ! Yes, we are too capable for our own good, multi tasking and turning our hands to anything and everything. I told one of my grandsons that he made Nanny extra work by not tidying his room, his response “ but I thought ladies liked housework” 😖 ! You are right, we will never change them, that’s why I’m happily single and would never marry again unless he was a domestic god of course !!

GabriellaG Fri 05-Oct-18 10:17:22

Your OHs threshold (tolerance level) is lower if he takes action before you do.wink

Yellowmellow Fri 05-Oct-18 10:19:23

Get a cleaner in....and make him responsible for paying her....worked for me lolxx

J52 Fri 05-Oct-18 10:20:30

I seem to have struck gold!
Mine got back from a few days away yesterday lunch time, bringing yummy delicacies with him. By the time I’d got back from my girls lunch, he already done his washing and put it on the line.
He does an equal share of housework, but is not very good at ‘corners’!
I couldn’t live with a man who expected me to wait on him and do all the ‘Women’s Work’.

missdeke Fri 05-Oct-18 10:22:53

I cured my lot of not putting washing in the bin, if they didn't put it in the bin it didn't get washed, I simply refused to collect dirty washing from anywhere but the washing bin.

olliebeak Fri 05-Oct-18 10:23:05

Not sure if this is any help - but regarding the teaspoons/drips etc when making cups of tea/coffee ................. I keep everything for making hot drinks on a tray next to the kettle. There's a mug with some clean teaspoons in it (the odds 'n' ends ones, NOT the matching ones); there's a small ceramic dish (once held pate) that is where we place used teabags (eliminates the placing in binbag with the ensuing drips) and there's a sugar bowl. All this leaves plenty of space for a couple of mugs to make the drinks in. It works really well for me - I don't mind emptying the teabags a couple of times a day, when I make a coffee - and we no longer get that yukky trail of splashed tea marks all the way to the bin.

My daughter was so impressed that she also does this now (mind you, she took one of my trays to do it with!) - and it also keeps spilled sugar/milk on the tray when her kids 'make a brew' for her.