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I do all the work in the relationship. Is he using me or are we just too different?
We have been together for 5 years. We love each other but we are both not happy anymore.
We moved in together after 2 years. He was constantly at my place anyways, so I thought it's just fair if he moves in officially and starts doing his fair share of housework and paying bills. It was nice at first.
I started realising that I do most of the chores myself. If I didn't put the bins out on bin day, no one would. I started to feel resentful and to not enjoy being intimate any longer. I told him that I don't want to be the one doing all the work and it got a bit better afterwards for a while. Still, there were so many things that were left up to me. I was working 40-55 hours a week. He only did 40.
Last year we went on a big holiday. I did all of the planning and organising (working out the route, booking hotels & transport, day trips). While I enjoy planning holidays, it felt strange to do it pretty much by myself. When I mentioned to him that I do all the planning, he asked: "But what do you want me to do?"
I have been looking at buying a house and doing a lot of research in the last 3 years. I have also been working very hard to be able to save.
At first I was believing that we would get a house together, but due to him not showing much interest in the topic and his inability to save money, I eventually bought the house by myself. The deal was that it is my house but our home and that he will only pay very low rent, in return for helping me with renovations.
Eventually I got frustrated because again he was not showing much interest in anything. It was meant to be our home, not just mine! I get enthusiastic when I have a great renovation idea or find a great bargain but when I run it by him, he only points out the downsides. When I told him that I finally bought the flooring materials, his first reaction was : "Oh no, you should have bought 10% extra for offcuts, not just 8%." Small things add up.
On the bottom line, I put a lot of time and effort into things (holidays, home, tidying up) but he hardly contributes anything. I ran out of energy.
Are our personalities just not compatible, me being someone that is constantly trying to improve myself, the house, my fitness VS him being more passive? He doesn't have any plans for his future either. He is a good person, but he is not coming from a very 'sophisticated' background.
Am I asking too much, is this just the way he is? Are all men like this? Or is he using me and I am just being a complete fool?
Dear Strong Woman,
Welcome to Beyond Blue and well done for reaching out.
I must say that on reading your post, I found myself thinking "I SO know what you mean by that!" My (now Ex) husband was quite a passive kind of person too. At the start he was all 'gung ho' about things, but then bit by bit, he just seemed to slowly step back further and further from any involvement in making plans or taking charge of things in any way. Except to lie about, and be selfish with money, that is.
He would do some of the practical things around the house sometimes, but as far as communication went ..... let's just say it was BAD. He had only four topics that he would talk about and even then he did not ever seem to engage in, or understand general banter, let alone talking about the deeper issues. And he NEVER discussed anything emotional. Ever.
A few years into our marriage, I began to learn about Aspergers Syndrome (because I was working in the Disability field) and began to realise that perhaps he has Aspergers Syndrome. He, of course, did not want to know about it, and it just became one more thing that made our relationship harder and harder. Of course there's more to the story, but yeah, basically we just couldn't communicate properly at all.
Relationships are hard and take work. And it takes both people to work at the relationship, and themselves in keeping it alive. And a lot of people (perhaps women as well as men) tend to become quite 'comfortable' after a time and feel that they can stop doing what they were doing in the initial attraction stages of the relationship.
One thing that I have found very helpful over the years, is those 'Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus' books. They helped to explain a lot of things about the different ways in which men and women think and feel. Maybe you could try getting one of those books to read, for some helpful hints and tips?
Maybe too you could think about getting some counseling? Do you think that might help?
I don't know if I have helped at all or not. I do hope I have helped a little bit?
Anyway, take care. I'll be thinking of you. xo
Dear Strong Woman,
It seems like you are a lot more mature and ready to move on with life than your partner is unfortunately. I bet he has some amazing qualities but you can't force or wait for someone to grow up with you and build a life together.
I truly think that he has to either put some hard ground effort into making you a priority and sorting out his life or you need to think if this is worth it anymore. Maybe even go to some counselling together if he would be open to it and you think it could be beneficial to your relationship. Or even as a first step, brainstorm with him ways you two can do activities together that are mutually enjoyable and that he would show interest in! Especially during this pandemic you can do gardening or paint or just anything to spend productive time together
As far for the job and having no plans for the future he may just be scared or uncertain about what he wants but definitely start a conversation to see where it ends up going
I also think if he honestly shows very limited interest in you and life in general he definitely should see a councillor or even go to head space as he might be depressed without knowing it 😞
I just hope you do work this out and know you are worth being interested in and having a partner who values your time and effort. You aren't his mum who should be doing everything for him, you are his partner so try remember that as you deserve to be loved
xox hope this helped
I truly feel your frustration. I can relate in a number of ways.
At the 5 year point, it would be incredibly tough to face the question 'Is this relationship going to work?' Another question which can be quite torturous is 'Can I live with excusing my partner's behaviour for the rest of my life?' Personally, I find that last one to be perhaps the toughest question of all. If the answer is 'No, I can't excuse his behaviour', then the grief faced in ending the relationship will be challenging (esp if you love this person). If the answer is 'I'll try' then you can keep the relationship but face the pain of sacrificing parts of yourself.
Facing my 50th birthday this July, it's taken me many years to rise well above the person I once imagined myself to be (outside of depression). Over the years, my husband has not changed much. While I have rediscovered the curious excited adventurous child in me, I have also discovered my husband has little interest in being an enthusiastic playmate in the way of life. He's a fiercely loyal nice guy who has always worked hard to financially raise his family to opportunities (for which I am deeply grateful) but generally that's pretty much where the raising stops. His standard phrase when he's challenged to rise to different ways of thinking or doing things (such as adventuring) is 'That's just not me'. I have been deeply thoughtful and caring in the ways I have tried to inspire him as well as giving him an occasional 'tough love' wake up call but not much changes. My 17yo daughter said to me recently 'Mum, you could not possibly try any harder than what you already have. It's time to stop. He's just unreasonable'. She's a young sage 🙂
I relate to the intimacy aspect SW. If the thrill of the relationship is really only in the bedroom then basically what we're left with is a sexual partner not a life partner. If we're more so after that 'soulmate' connection then the bedroom side of things can begin to look unattractive to us. When we want more than this...cue the resentment.
From my own experience, I believe if a partner has absolutely no interest in evolving within the relationship, it's going to be a frustrating relationship and perhaps a bit of a lonely one.
As Isakwinsor suggests, consider the possibility of depression. You could also consider that your partner is simply not as energetic as you. Are there mental or physical influences in play or a combination?
Sorry to hear about your problems. Relationships are difficult and usually worth working on. I've been married for thirty years I got the same way some years back. Only woke up to myself when my wife started to withdraw from me. I sought help for my mental health issues. Things are better now. His lack of interest in things and negativity might be something you's could look at .men generally hide any issues they might be having.
I don't wish to throw a "wet blanket" on what has been said up to this point; but have you considered what will happen if things don't turn out between you and your partner.
Like you, I worked hard and contributed everything to my marriage. In the end, the marriage failed and I was left fighting for my fair share of the property settlement.
Should your relationship fail (I'm not saying that it will) you will find that the family law court will reward the spouse that did the least and punish the spouse that did the most. I base that on my own personal experience. The house may be in your name; but that will mean nothing during a property settlement in the family law court.
Just a little something to keep in the back of your mind! I hope everything works out for the best.