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Anyone have a tactful way?
Old 07-31-2019, 06:26 AM
  #1

Okay, let me start by saying we are all teachers here so we know that we answer 10,000 questions a day. We get decision fatigue. So, when I get home, I don´t like having to think for people. My kids are 18 and 14. I don´t have to think for them. My husband on the other hand is a different story.

Let me start by saying he works A LOT, has a stressful job, and is out of town a lot more than he is home. Itś always been this way since we met about 10 years ago. He also has always had to work a lot because of child support from his previous marriage and health insurance, etc. So, I´m on my own a lot with my kids and Iḿ used to doing everything and handling everything.

The issue is, that when he is home, itś like he literally wants me to think for him. Heś constantly asking me stuff like he is incapable of making a decision or figuring anything out for himself. Thereś nothing wrong with him, this is obviously a learned behavior. He was divorced and single for 7 years before we started dating, so he clearly survived on his own.

I usually just answer and go on but Iḿ getting fed up. I do not know how to say ¨think for yourself because itś driving me insane....

He will get up in the morning and ask me what there is to pack for lunch....ummmm look in the kitchen like I do. He´ll constantly ask me where stuff is. I don´t know, look. If he happens to be home at dinner time and I´m not, he´ll start dinner, but he wants me to tell him exactly what to make and where the stuff is.

These kicker was last night. I was so tired from summer school, daughters practice, PMS, whatever. I had made chicken tortilla soup in the crockpot. It was IN THE CROCKPOT. There was shredded cheese and tortilla strips to put on top on the counter. He literally stood behind me while I dipped my bowl of soup, then wandered off into the living room. I walk out with my bowl and tell him I am going upstairs because Iḿ exhausted. He meets me at the stairs and asks ¨Whatś that?¨ Itś the tortilla soup I made that you watched me dip out. ¨What do I need to do?" You need to get a bowl, spoon, dip yours out, and put the toppings on it..!!!!!!!!!!!........:ma d:

Y´all, what the???? I almost lost it. Are you really telling me you need me to tell you how to dip soup?

Does anyone have a tactful way to have a conversation without coming off as a total B? I do not want to think for him. I´m going to blow up if I keep having to. Again, there is NOTHING wrong with him that he can´t think for himself.


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Old 07-31-2019, 06:32 AM
  #2

Wow. We had a similar set-up for most of our marriage (absentee husband/dad), but that is over the top. I am certain I would be a total B about that!

Sidenote: it took me a second to figure out what "dip soup" means. Texas?
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Old 07-31-2019, 06:39 AM
  #3

Might be wrong, but could he just be so totally stressed and finds comfort in acting this way at home, even though he is an adult and knows that you are equally stressed? Is this just his way of coping with it all, reverting back to his child level, where he's "not on the spot" to be making even the smallest decision?

I feel for you, it must be like having another child in the house!

I remember my dad acting like that after he retired. His excuse for not making his own lunch? He'd tell my mother that "he didn't know where she kept all the things needed to make his lunch." Uh …. there is a room in the house called the kitchen!
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Old 07-31-2019, 06:42 AM
  #4

!!! Zia, all I meant was he had to dip it out of the crockpot....... Is that weird?

I don´t honestly mind doing everything when he´s gone. I was single with 2 kids when we met so itś not like I wasn´t used to it. I just don´t want to think for another ADULT!
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Old 07-31-2019, 06:50 AM
  #5

Truthfully, I don’t think there is anything wrong with him asking what there is to fix for lunch, unless he does all the shopping and cooking. It would be easier than looking (yes, I know you aren’t looking for easier) and figuring it. I know I can pretty much recite what the options are without looking at any given time, because I put it all in there. Much quicker than anyone opening containers and drawers trying to figure it out.

The soup thing, though is a tad over the top. I can see my dh doing that when he was needing his own attention, or when, even though he was standing right there when I did it, he was not paying any attention to what was actually going on in the kitchen. My guess is your dh has had your attention when he comes home and was hankering for it last night. I would try to let it go, thinking that you are just overtired from heading back to work, unless this happens every single time he comes home....

Then arrange a nice break for the two of you with a glass of whatever you drink and just tell him what you need from him. It has always sounded to me like you two have that kind of relationship.


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Old 07-31-2019, 06:52 AM
  #6

Just guessing. It might be his way of having a conversation with you. Maybe he wanted you to serve him as you served yourself. Maybe he knows you’re soon disappearing upstairs with yours. Maybe he wanted you to sit with him and eat together. I’d talk with him about it.

I was doing something similar my last year of teaching. DH was already retired. I’d come home exhausted, visit with him a bit, and go upstairs for my water therapy (a long soak in a bubble bath). I’d often start reading or watching TV a bit upstairs and just stay there. I realized it was time for a change when DH half-jokingly referred to me as “the woman who lives upstairs.”

Good luck, Claire.
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Old 07-31-2019, 06:55 AM
  #7

Quote:
Zia, all I meant was he had to dip it out of the crockpot....... Is that weird?
It's not weird; it's just a phrase I'm not familiar with. I'd have said serve or maybe ladle the soup.
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Old 07-31-2019, 06:57 AM
  #8

I calmly ask my dh a question when I get irritated. It's like the classroom student who has been shown what to do but still wants his hand held. "What have you tried?" "What do you think you should do next?" I think sometimes that people act like your dh because they just want to engage in small talk and be with you.
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Old 07-31-2019, 06:59 AM
  #9

I am tired and stressed and had cramps right now, and had just gotten home from driving in traffic both ways to dd soccer. So, yeah short fuse. Since he is gone so much I do all the shopping, bill paying, banking, etc. basically everything except the yard and stuff he does when heś home.

I do see your point about asking me instead of going to figure it out. He always does that. Or calls me in the other room to ask me where something is which he could easily figure out. The soup thing was extreme. Thatś why I was just like in shock and awe.

I guess some could stem from being gone so much and not as familiar with stuff in the house like you said. It definitely could be attention. I am really busy and don´t have much down time even when he´s home.

Anyway, I held my temper but I know I used a totally b** chy tone when I answered.

Maybe I should try to be more understanding due to the circumstances. I guess it really bugs me because my children are basically self sufficient (except obviously my 14 yo still needs me to drive her everywhere) but itś my husband wanting me to be his brain.
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Old 07-31-2019, 07:03 AM
  #10

Amiga you´re probably right. And I usually get his when I get mine, etc. I was just done. We do not get a lot of time together. We had just gone out together to dinner on Monday night when he got home though, so I don´t usually just ignore him.


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Old 07-31-2019, 07:05 AM
  #11

Could it be that because he spends so much time away from home he feels a little out of place? May be he just doesn’t want to rock the boat and mess up your routines.
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Old 07-31-2019, 08:08 AM
  #12

I get it. My DH used to come home late and not be able to find dinner in the oven so he'd make a sandwich or whatever. Finally figured out he didn't want what was waiting for him so he just made what he wanted.

I might start doing Love & Logic with him and tell him his choices are tortilla soup or whatever he wants to make on his own.

Is he preoccupied a lot? It sounds like he might be thinking of something else some of the time.
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Old 07-31-2019, 08:09 AM
  #13

I'm not married, so take this with a grain of salt. I can see how that would get on your nerves. Could you bring it up at a time when neither of you is frustrated and just explain how you spend a lot of your work day answering simple questions, and it can be draining to continue to do this at home? Not sure if that would upset him or not.
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Old 07-31-2019, 08:13 AM
  #14

My husband does this and he's retired! Maybe find a time when you are not tired and explain that you answer questions all day so you would like him to try to figure things out for himself rather than automatically ask you. Yes, I think it is learned helplessness. Use some of the examples you used here so he understands what you want. Good luck!
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Old 07-31-2019, 08:44 AM
  #15

I understand how you feel. It is hard to come home exhausted and having to deal with a needy DH.

Quote:
Maybe he wanted you to sit with him and eat together. I’d talk with him about it.
This was the first thing that came to mind for me as well. The others have already given you great advice to talk about it when you are both rested. Both of you have very stressful jobs, so it may be good to take out some time to have a real conversation. He may not even realize that he is acting like a needy child. Conversely, you may find out what you could do to make the situation better for both of you.

I hate to say this, but it could be worse. A good friend of mine has a husband in the Navy. When he is gone for six months she is in charge. She is very independent and does everything, from working full time and driving the kids to soccer practice to complicated home repairs. When he gets home, he wants her to be the wifey who needs to be taken care of. They have been on the verge of divorce several times and are going through counseling.
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:33 AM
  #16

Nod and say

" you can figure that out"

It is his way of communicating

With my granddaughter I will tell her, "use your brain! You can do it!"

Not everyone can understand mental fatigue. The smile and the nod can help.
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:48 AM
  #17

I can totally see where that would be annoying. It would drive me insane, too. However, at the same time, I do think it's somewhat normal/human nature. He may just be asking to ask, for conversation or out of habit. I know I ask questions like that a lot (what's for lunch/snack, what are you doing, is anything good on tv, etc.). I don't really know why I do it, but your post certainly brought attention to the fact that I do it. A habit to break!
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Old 07-31-2019, 10:01 AM
  #18

Except my DH is home so what's his excuse? I laughed my butt off about the soup because my husband wold have done the exact same thing! When DH has his days off (he's a cop so his hours are weird) and it's his turn to cook dinner, he wants ME to tell him what to make after I've taught all day. The nights I make dinner I never ask him what to make.

We've been together for 21 years though so I admit, I'm a smart alec about things like this. My usual response is just "REALLY"?

Sometimes I think guys just want to play helpless!
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Old 07-31-2019, 10:12 AM
  #19

My recommendation is to spell it out for him like you would your students and then just let it go. Let it be a "quirk." Otherwise it will drive you nuts.

My DH considers anything having to do with food "my job." Food has always been my job so he seems to have actually no intuitive ability to feed himself, despite being perfectly capable. I can't really complain, because that's the way we've chosen to divide responsibilities. I learned over the years that I just have to be very clear with DH to tell him "you are on your own for dinner tonight," or "I have made x and you can find it y, but we're not sitting at the table tonight so help yourself when you are ready." etc.

If I'm not clear, he wanders around waiting for me to put food in front of him. However, if I'm clear, he happily gets his own.
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Old 07-31-2019, 10:24 AM
  #20

MKat....your description is cracking me up.
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Old 07-31-2019, 12:19 PM
  #21

About the tortilla soup-- that's a little different for some people. If there are toppings or added ingredients.put in as it is served it could be a little confusing to some people. Maybe he needed reassurance he understood how to fix his bowl.

My husband is a truck driver, and at one time was gone for a week or two at a time. Back then, I took care of things, including the shopping, and worked a job. When he came home, he didn't always know what food we had and he didn't want to just grab something to eat for himself in case I had plans for it, especially if it was for the kids. Back then, we were both fairly independent, but we depended on each other for certain things. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do it, but I treated him like a king when he did come home. I waited on him hand and foot. That included fixing his plate and making his meals to take with him. I really stressed myself out, and there were times I felt like I let him down. He did not feel that way, but he appreciated what I did for him. I realize not everyone does things that way, but I felt like if he made the sacrifice to work away from home, the least I could do was to make being home feel extra special.

Currently, I have more time than I ever had when the kids were home. My husband is out for two days at a time, then is home for one day before going out again for two days. He finds time to shop with me. He has to because I don't drive due to a seizure disorder. He is very familiar with the groceries in the house. Since the kids are on their own, he doesn't have to worry about saving food for the kids. He usually packs his own food to take over the road and a lot of times makes his own iced tea to take with him. He even cooks breakfast on Sunday mornings before church, and occasionally makes dinner if he wants something in particular.

Our relationship has grown. We are closer than we've ever been
It's a treat for me to be waited on, or for him to do for himself. My point is sometimes in life we all appreciate being waited on, especially when we are tired. Yes you were tired, but it would have only took a minute to dish out your husband's soup and just a few minutes to sit with him and enjoy each other's company while you had dinner. I'm not saying that would be the right thing to do. What I'm getting at is for my husband and I, spending time apart while he was away working could have put a distance between us in our relationship. Spending time together doing the little things like eating together helped each of us to feel appreciated and loved. It helped us not to grow apart. Had we continued to be very independent during our times at home, I don't believe our marriage would have been very strong. You both might enjoy being independent when he is home. Some couples are very happy that way.we weren't.
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Old 07-31-2019, 03:00 PM
  #22

I would just say something like, "I trust you. I know you'll figure it out. My brain is tired."

However, know going into it that if he does it his way and you don't like it, and you say something, it'll be the last time he does it on his own.
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Old 07-31-2019, 03:36 PM
  #23

I'll be honest - I wouldn't be able to be tactful. I'd probably be either silent, passive aggressive, or just plain rude.


My dh is pretty self sufficient (it took me a long time!) except when it comes to technology. He will ask me how to do everything. And my answer is always "google it" because that's what I do. It's gotten to the point where if he asks me one thing (that I know will lead to many many others) I just give him my "google it" and leave the room. I think he's finally starting to learn because he recently got a new phone and sat there mumbling for an hour but didn't ask me anything!
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Old 07-31-2019, 06:00 PM
  #24

I feel your pain! I asked DH and DGS tonight what they wanted for dinner. I had worked all day in my classroom and I was spent. They both said they didn't know and wanted to know what I wanted. I said I wanted a nap, but I would settle for someone else making a decision. Pizza for the win! (My suggestion!!!)
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