Absent-minded Hubby?

mrsmaddogJune 2, 2008

Background- DH and I have been married 3 yrs. He has a large extended family,mine is tiny. We attend dozens of social events for his Mom, sibs, nieces and nephews, etc. Every major Holiday is spent with HIS family. I have given up trying to plan something for just US/kids. My MIL will trump me every time.

For the past year, I have had ONE date planned, a wedding reception, for one of my two cousins.The wedding was out of state, and only immediate family was invited. This will be the first event on my side of the family since OUR wedding.(He chose our wedding day, BTW.) As the date approaches, I have had to remind DH several times that any plans for summer must work around this one. We just sat down and scheduled summer activities for church and our anniversary two days ago, so this one date should be fresh in his mind.

Last night his sister came up to us and started talking about a great idea she had for an event revolving around MIL's wedding anniversary (FIL died many years ago.)SIL and BIL would like to renew their vows on that day. Great idea, very romantic and sentimental. Here's the problem: MIL's anniversay is on the same day as the reception. DH stood there dumbfounded when I said we already have plans for that day! He was totally oblivious, said I confused him when I said "wedding" instead of reception. He suggested we could do both, as we wouldn't need to leave for the reception until 4:30pm. The problem is, if there is a ceremony and luncheon, DH as usual would be up to his neck in setting up and cleaning up.Very seldom is there any event that he does not end up doing the majority of the work. I know we would end up late and tired. We also have to be up bright and early the next day, for church activities we do each and every Sunday.

I have chronic health problems, and really need to pace myself-which he sometimes forgets.I cannot handle two big events in one day, and he knows this.

Adding to this situation is the fact that DH's kids stay for only 5-6 weeks in the summer, and he tries to schedule too much into this timeframe. See my "workaholic Husband" post for further insight into my problem. I can predict the outcome of this over-scheduling, as I have seen it before. Everyone, including DH, ends up crabby and no one has a good time. I do not want to go to my cousin's reception tired and in a bad mood. I do not want to be staring at the clock at SIL's event either!

I feel bad because I think my SIL felt put off. It really is a good idea, I just felt like DH was blowing off the plans we've already made, or ignoring my response when he suggested we could do both. The fact that he acted like this date was wide open really ticked me off.

I guess I feel like MY plans are always decided by HIS and his family's.

Just venting and feeling frustrated.

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It does sound like your plans are always decided by them/him. And, I don't think he's as absent minded as you think; I think he's one of those that would rather have his family mad at you than mad at him or both of you. I would have taken control of the situation and just said "no way can we do both - did you forget about my health?" I don't really think your in-laws are the problem, but rather your husband.

I would put my foot down from time to time and do what you want for holidays. You need to have a long talk with him about this. I can't foresee that it will get better only worse. It's very disrespectful to be treating you this way. I know it may not really seem like that big of a deal but it sounds like there is no consideration of your feelings ever with holidays and I wouldn't doubt this disrespect carries over into others aspects of your lives too. He's either with you or against you...

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 4:35PM
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Yep, take a stand, nicely but firmly. And go to your event by yourself if necessary.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 5:19PM
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You're going to have to come to a new understanding with your husband about this stuff some time. Why not now? You've already got a pattern established. Breaking it is only going to get harder as more time passes. I agree with Carla about the real source of the problem being your husband, not his extended family.

Unless there's some huge undisclosed paradigm buried in there, there's no big deal about missing a gathering or two. Gird your loins and wade in.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 5:19PM
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I think you should go to your event, on your own.

You had an agreement with hubbie to go to that event, he has gone back on that agreement. He has tried to compromise, tried to please everyone, by suggesting you go to both. But that will not work.

He is trying to please everyone, and you just cant do that. He needs to remember that his domestic situation comes first...

I have been a "pleaser" and it gets me in more trouble !

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 8:14PM
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it is typical for a man, not remembering any dates or appointments and then trying to make sure that everyone is happy BUT what it usually means that his wife or GF will end up unhappy. but he would make sure that his family is happy though. it is my pet peeve. I would absolutelly go to your event alone. he can stay with his family. these kind of stories happen every so often with my SO and me. It is somehting I HATE with passion.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 9:25PM
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Thank you all, I think you are right. We ended up arguing about how I upset my SIL's plans, and how we should have waited a few days to tell her we had a previous engagement. She was so excited about this idea and I guess I really ruined things for her.
My answer to DH was "Why use pretense by saying we'd go home and check our calendar, when just the night before we had to go through it scheduling other events?" Knowing my SIL and MIL, the event would be carved in stone within two days, and then I would be the bad guy.
As far as this kind of one-sidedness goes, yes it happens in other aspects of our marriage. It is my own fault for going along too often, even when I did not want to. I came into the marriage eager to please my DH, and forgot about my own needs for a little while. Now there is a major upheaval whenever I say NO.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 12:05AM
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And how upset is your SIL that she queered YOUR pre-made plans?

This is bad news. Now agree with popi and Scarlett...go alone if you have to.

You're being dumped on. This should not pass. Not impressed with this husband.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 8:58AM
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You mustn't think that you ruined things for her...she ruined things for you. Look at what you're dealing with now. You really need to put your foot down a little more and not let him take advantage of you...

And, go alone... hog wash... you've been going to his family functions for years... you shouldn't have to explain why your husband isn't there or sit in a long car ride by yourself. He owes you big time, you've planned this occasion months in advance, he's going with you. Don't give him an out and let him win. I bet he secretly doesn't want to go to a long wedding with your relatives and is happy there is something else he could do... (Come to think of it, my husband often has mysterious golf tournaments whenever a wedding comes up -- don't most men try to get out of weddings- LOL) Tough do-do, he's going to the wedding!

There wasn't a death in the family... even in different circumstances... a planned wedding trumps someone talking about renewing their vows... It may be a fun idea, but it wasn't discussed with you in advance and it doesn't work for you and your husband so end of story. They can plan it for another day, or leave you guys out of it. Seriously, take some control of your life and quit thinking you are the guilty one. You've done nothing wrong. Have him read this posting.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 10:41AM
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Carla- Thanks, you are right. My SIL is a very sensitive woman, always takes stuff personally, yet has no problem speaking her mind about other people's behavior/choices.
Sometimes we bite our tongues, because she might flip out. To see her so excited and happy about something is rare, and I guess that is why hubby wanted to go along for a day or two.
Well, sorry. I can't stand this whole fake niceness/closeness/friendliness anymore. Everyone will agree to do whatever MIL/SIL wants so as not to hurt her feelings, then act like spoiled brats during the event. Especially SIL in question. There is always some kind of quarrel or upset feelings. Even DH has asked, no, BEGGED his Mom to not have so many events, because they are demanding and not enjoyable. Helping prepare a meal and set up for 15-25 people on a weekly basis, then having to clean it all up on your only day off from paid work, while still having volunteer work to do, is exhausting. It is also annoying as H3ll when one sibling never does the work, arrives last, leaves first and always has an OUT, which she is allowed.
SIL is the youngest, and had a different father. Sometimes MIL and older half-sis gang up on her regarding her own child! They treat her like she is still a child herself. She and her H along with my DH end up with the majority of the labor. Yes, I help, but less now than at first, and I am not sorry for that. I cannot physically go at full tilt from 7AM until 8PM, which is what goes on if we eat there on Sundays/ major holidays. The more we do, the less half-sib does, and the more MIL finds for us to do! I am starting to see a theme here...
When I look at it, I guess I can see my SIL's need for an event FOR HER. A lot of events revolve around half-sis and her now adult kids. Very little is done for DH or his kids. (They have always been treated as lesser due to MIL's hatred of their Mother.)
I don't expect any special treatment for my kids, or me for that matter. I just want the right to decide where I eat some Sundays, and on my Birthday/Anniversary/Holidays once in a while!
I have told DH I feel like I am expected to plug myself into the traditions, and never create our own.I sit there and feel like an extra arm attached to DH's body. I am basically a guest by default. If I had living parents, I suppose I could use that as a legit reason to beg off, but since I don't- I am antisocial or too possessive of my DH.
I was and still am really looking forward to the reception, as we would be guests and have fun,unlike our own wedding where we did 85% of the work.(DH and I and our kids set up and cleaned up the hall, plus made the favors and arrangements. I also picked up the fresh flowers and was in charge of getting 4 of our kids to the wedding. SIL designed and printed the invitations.DH and I paid for the catering.)
Ugggh-Thanks for sharing my rant!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 12:58PM
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I hear ya! My DH also has a large and close family, and we end up hosting 80% of everything here at our house since our place is the largest. But, at least they all get along and pitch in, to some extent.

In this case, Hubby owes YOU, and needs to attend this event with you - cheerfully! If HE can manage two events in one day without getting exhausted, I'd let him go solo to the SIL event, provided he has a STRICT timetable so his participation in that event won't infringe on yours. In other words, if he gets home late, you will go without him and he will be IN THE DOGHOUSE big time.

That said, there's no reason you can't be cheerful and encouraging to SIL's plans: "What a great idea! How wonderful! I do so wish I could go, but I've already made firm plans for that date." And Hubby needs to back you up on this one: "It simply wouldn't be fair for me to bag out on Wifey for this event. Look at how many of our family parties she's gone to for me. I owe this to her. Of course she'd understand -- but I owe it to her to be there for her the way she is always here for me.""

And next gathering, to the shirkers: "Hey Sis, why don't we both go gather up those stray plates and bring them into the kitchen? Bro - Why don't you wash while Hubby dries?" As long as you can say it with a smile, you'll be amazed at what you can get away with! ;-)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 2:10PM
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Holly gave some excellent comebacks.
Time for serious talk.
New rules!!! He asks what?? Tell him you are a family and it's going to start now of doing things as a family.
First on the agenda is not every holiday will be with his family as it has been with all the work being done by a few but everyone else having a good time. Why not decide Christmas Eve or Christmas day is you, he and the children - no one else. Take each holiday and note famiy, his family, or friends. Then decide on holidays to spend with his family, no more full days as a holiday at his family's. If the dinner is at lunchtime, you will get there ahead of time to help but not do all the work. Then have the dinner, help with clean up and leave by such and such time. This has been going on for ____ years and this is the end of it. No more. If he insists spending with his family, hope he has a nice time.
Why go every sunday? Why spend your anniversary with them? Have him take a hard look at his schedule and what can be done where he spends time with the children one on one and then some events where you as a family take part. Go have a picnic on a sunday, go for a hike, go to the zoo, or a movie or something everyone will enjoy.
Well MIL will get upset and she wants ______!! Well, people in h@#l want ice water but that certainly doesn't mean they're going to get it.
He is the head of the family and needs to be there for his family, not a rug for his momma to walk on.
SIL is upset. Most people, renew their vows on their wedding date, not someone else's. Call her and tell her you are sorry but you already were committed to your cousin's wedding. However, as most people do renew their vows on their wedding date, you would be able to help with the plans then. It is their special day, not a day to keep MIL busy.
My heart goes out to you. It either changes now or what you have been doing is a good indication of what your future holds.
I kept my mouth shut, believe it or not, till I'd had enough of the pleasing momma game. I was tired of being told what to do, when to do, and how to do. At inlaws house, I go get the girls and told my husband, in private, we were going home. He could come with us or continue to hang on to mommy's apron strings. That was the changing point. I no longer did most of the preparing of the meal nor all the clean up. I started saying things like L___, you can do such and such since I'm doing such and such and went down the names both for preparing and cleanup. Mouths fell open and I just said that I wasn't going to be the only one doing work, they would be eating too.
Best of luck.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 12:23AM
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Mrs.Maddog you need to live up to your name. Notice that your SIL is sensitive so people bite their tongue to keep from a tantrum.You need to be just like her. As the years go by I notice that the whitchy women seem to get their way all the time and people are afraid to cross them. Men leave wives who are too nice all the time--so that can't be the reason we are so busy being agreeable.
But if you are not prepared to be like your SIL, then try another tactic. It will work because nobody else in the family is using it--sit on the couch because your ankle/wrist/migraine is acting up. You would love to help, but golly just can't. But you can make suggestions.
My son had a girlfriend like that once, and she used to sit on the couch with a blanket for gosh sake. Considering she was one of the Hawiian Suntan models it was amazing to hear the pathetic "poor me, I would like to help" routine. But people would bring her something to drink, etc.
My conclusion is that being cooperative, healthy and nice is much overrated.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 4:32PM
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LOL, I do have my "Mad" moments, but I tend to keep my frustration bottled up around these people. I genuinely have health issues that cause me to forgo some activities. You can always spot a fake, because they are never too sick to have fun, just too sick to work. I have learned to balance things, take breaks, and stopped apologizing for something I have little control over. I was terrified my own wedding day would be one of times I'd end up in bed-and not the good way, ha.
I often wonder if there is some underlying childhood issues causing this family drama. DH has started consulting me before accepting invites to MIL's, although right now she has suspended the weekly dinners. It isn't the first time, and it will only last until her kids feel guilty and ask her to start them up again. *Chuckling to self*

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 5:47PM
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"DH has started consulting me before accepting invites to MIL's,...."

Well, there's a beginning! Good on ya!

Keep that ball rolling. Your own self and your own family is as important as anyone else's. If DH has begun to get that message, perhaps a better balance is on the way.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 3:28PM
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My conclusion is that being cooperative, healthy and nice is much overrated

Have to agree witches always get everything, nice women don't. as you can see I am not having a good day..lol

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 2:20PM
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I don't think setting reasonable personal/family priorities is being "witchy".

You may be having a bad day, but your brain's working OK.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 2:32PM
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I am often accused of being selfish when I expect family/couple time. Yet, I am not supposed to be gone in the evening when DH finally comes home, after he's worked, run errands for MIL, helped out at the church, whatever. So MY schedule should revolve around all those things, but his shouldn't revolve around US. Seems fair, right?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 2:48PM
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Is there some sort of Tarzan/Jane thing going on here? I agree with you that a different balance would be better. Appears to me that he's having a harder time coming to it than you are.

Households can operate well all kinds of different ways but there does need to be some agreed-to/not-complained-about mutuality about it. What do you think is the likelihood that he can acknowledge that? What kind of interactive household would he like to be a part of? Obviously neither of you are satisfied the way things are running now.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 3:40PM
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I think he honestly wants to spend agreed upon time with me/kids, but cannot say no to his Mom, his clients, our pastor, or others. He knows I am always gonna be here, and don't usually hold a grudge. He has gotten better, and does remind all these peoples he is no longer single, and cannot just do whatever/whenever. I know for a fact this is one reason why our pastor dreaded our marriage. The fact is his business has made him less available, but others blame it solely on our marriage. TOO BAD. So sorry the man has a life...

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 4:04PM
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I reminded myself of the 9PM phone call from a new family at church, who needed help moving a heavy piano into the house, and were given DH's cell #.(By our pastor.) When we got there, the WHOLE U-haul was full, and the piano was behind everything else! Thankfully, the pastor also contacted one of the deacons, so DH had help. 9PM. I kid you not. It could not wait until morning, as the truck had to be returned! Don't get me wrong, but sometimes people act like DH is the only man capable of lifting/transporting any object over 25 Lbs, and as if his family is somehow last.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 4:37PM
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Sounds like a priority thing that he's having a hard time adjusting to. Nobody can do everything....nobody. Choices have to be made. Balance must be achieved so things can work. "Others" can think whatever they want. This is your marriage and your home. People-pleasers always get used. Pastors and in-laws are quite famous for this -- a common and very old story. I'm more sympathetic to business considerations because that provides your economic base but balance is needed there, too. Do you think he can adjust/balance better over time?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 4:42PM
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My sister and brother-in-law ended up leaving their church because they were always the ones being called to help out. They're good, good people who have a hard time saying "no" -- and the causes were always worthwhile. But darn it, others have to pitch in too.

Sounds like your pastor needs a little talking to! He's supposed to be supporting your marriage, not undermining it.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 5:32PM
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Sweeby-Hah! My sentiments exactly. DH truly respects our pastor and always said yes to any request no matter how ridiculous or ill-timed. Boiler goes out on Sat. night, call DH. Need a tire fixed, call DH. Someone needs a moving truck and free labor, call DH. Now, this is okay within reason, and MY problem is that there's no reciprocation. We moved all of my belongings with just our kids. No one offered to stay and help cleanup after our reception, heck the pastor and his family didn't even stay for the reception! He asked his assistant to say the blessing for the dinner! We aren't good enough for some things, you see. I have many reasons why I personally do not like the man, most because of how things played out during our courtship and wedding.I also see how taken for granted some folks are, including my DH, and others are given public accolades for so much as pick up a piece of lint off the floor. He put his own son's engagement and wedding in the bulletin several times, but not once was ours announced, except quickly from the pulpit.
This topic could start a new thread!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 6:10PM
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Ya know, just because someone's affiliated with a church doesn't necessarily make them a good or moral person. Some people I know (I won't say 'friends') seem to regard their church's teachings as a set of rules similar to the tax code. In other words, that there are loopholes and exceptions and that it's perfectly OK to ignore the 'spirit' of the rule so long as the 'letter of the law' is adhered to. These are the folks who routinely beg for forgiveness every Sunday for Saturday night's transgressions -- every Sunday for every Saturday. Then they think they're 'good with God' all week because they've confessed... And the only people who have ever defaulted on (interest free) loans Hubby made were "good Christians" who "thanked God" for my husband's help. They seem to be giving all the credit to God for hearing their prayers, and none to Hubby who actually helped them. Never again.

I'd be surprised if your husband isn't also feeling a bit burdened by all of this.

Could you sit down together and try to brainstorm a solution? One thing my husband and I did a few years ago that has been very helpful was to make a cirlce graph representing all of the hours in a week, then divide that circle up into where we thought our time should go to reflect our priorities. How much time to work? To the children? To running errands? House- and yardwork? The church? To couple's-only time? It was enlightening. And it helped us get closer to where we wanted to be. Not perfect, of course, but closer.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 12:52PM
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Sweeby- we know of a family that has gone from church to church with their perfect little family, milked the congregation for various needs and ministries they were "called" for, and borrowed money for one thing and used for another. They also never repay anyone. The husband was my DH's friend, and before we got together, the wife used to call/write DH to complain about her marital problems, and started acting inappropriately towards DH. She started backstabbing me the moment she met me, and even tried to discourage DH from marrying me once it became obvious we were serious. Now, I jumped DH quickly and told him it was wrong to have these talks with this woman, regardless of our relationship, and as soon as he saw her getting googly-eyed for him he should have told her to call a lady from the church! Probably from day one! I also told him HE should have told me up front how this woman felt about him, because it made me suspect that he enjoyed the flattery and flirting. I called this woman after they duped someone close to us, and left our church, and told her I knew about her "crush" and the phone calls/letters, and had proof and that if she continued calling/writing, I would inform her husband. I abhor violence, but I sure did feel like smacking the tar outta her!
(Oh, YES, DH knows he wasn't 100% innocent, and why.)

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 5:35PM
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May be mistaken, but from your additional posts I'm sensing some festering going on here. Nobody likes the feeling of being used. Makes you feel rotten whenever you think about it. Users, of course, are regularly satisfied. I do hope you are able to bring this thing to a more satisfactory level for both your sakes.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 4:03PM
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This is my first post on the forum. My wife spends a lot of time talking about washing machines here. I don't want to start a fight but do want to offer a different side to this.

I could be considered absent-minded as well. I try to keep my calendar updated (the old saying "tell me and I'll forget" really applies for me). I normally have a lot going on in my head(hey...that hamster wheel may be rusty, but it still turns). If I am without my calendar, I would easily agree to something that happens on a scheduled date. I believe most guys have a one track mind (no...it is not just about sex either). If I am thinking about something...that is all that is on my mind. If my wife throws something at me while I am thinking about something else, it is tough for me to remember. I have to stop what I am doing and refocus.

Come to think of it, that may be one of the reasons guys think women are all over the place in conversations. Women are much better at keeping about 20 things on their mind at one time. If a guys is on a mission, you have to refocus him. If you shift his focus, the last thing on his mind is pushed way back into cold storage. It is not that I don't care, I can focus on one thing.

I was also taught to make a decision and follow through with it. I try to involve my wife in decisions. It seems like she can spend hours picking out a jar of mustard. I feel like I have a goal and must accomplish it quickly to move on to the next task.

I don't try to make my wife angry. I do my best to make everyone happy. I know that is impossible but still try. She would agree that she has to be a witch to get me to do what she wants. I will let you know...it does not work. She does get her way but it builds resentment. I don't like being told what to do.

My impression is many (not everyone one) of the guys you are talking about try to be nice guys. They are trying to help others and do good. I was once taught to use "I" messages. I feel ______________ when you______________ because____________. Telling a guy "I feel neglected when you spend so much time with everyone else because I would like to spend that time with you like we had already planned." A lot of the women I know try to sugar coat it and use some secret code. I don't always get those subtle hints. If the message is simple and to the point, I get it right off the bat.

I hope I did not make everyone angry in here. I always appreciate a friendly reminder about a future event...and often. I would rather be told 20 times ahead of time than yelled at once for forgetting. I NEVER intentionally do things to get my wife angry. Most guys will pick (it is a childish thing...I know) but don't want a wife angry at them. That is never fun.

Oh...one more thing. My mother once told me a story of an old man. The guy said the worst day of his life was the day a pregnant woman got up to give him her seat. We like to feel important...and we like to feel like we can make the entire world a better place. I feels great when someone makes us feel important..attractive...or like a hero. When a women "flirts" with me, it does feel good even if I would never act on it. I like to feel important and desirable even if it is just an illusion.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 12:23AM
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