30-Somethings - Help with an unhelpful husband... (long, sorry)




shoeless
02-16-2011, 05:56 AM
Hi there

I'm fairly new here and sorry to jump in with a really big one, but I'm struggling a bit at the moment. I can't seem to get my husband to understand how negative he can be, and how badly it affects me. I know he's only trying to help, but it's just NOT helping... it feels like he takes every opportunity to remind me how many times I've failed before and how rubbish I've been in the past, and I'm just not sure what to do about it. He really doesn't do it to be nasty he's just trying to get me to think about why I'm going to succeed this time where I haven't before, or to be prepared for obstacles when they come my way, but I just can't get past the constant reminders of how I've failed in the past.

My belief in myself is pretty tenuous at best, and I think he thinks that by saying these things he can redouble my determination, but actually what he ends up doing is just making me doubt myself why should I succeed this time? Why will I be better? Why won't I just get drunk/stay in bed/not bother going to the pool? I really don't know, and the more I think about it the less I believe that I can actually do this.

I should point out that none of what he says is abusive, it's not like that he's not spiteful. For example, if I say I'm going to an early morning exercise class at 6:45 he'll ask me what time I've set the alarm for, then when I say 6 he'll say 'well you know you can't just hit snooze again'. Or if I say I'm going to try a new exercise (recently I've been doing BMF and I totally surprised myself by loving it just went for my 3rd session in 2 weeks this am) he'll say 'great, but you do realise you have to actually GO for it to work?'. Not huge comments, but all the time, constantly. It's not totally limited to losing weight, either this morning I got up and went to BMF and then to the doctors to get an appt for today, then I came home had a shower, made him breakfast and lunch. Then I went to the living room and before I'd gone anywhere near the computer he said 'what are you doing now?' and I said 'planning our meals for the week and then I'll make a shopping list' and he said 'on Facebook?' as though he assumes that I'm just wasting time and never do anything productive. It's just completely unnecessary, hurtful niggling. I could go on, but I won't sport with your patience! ;)

I'm kind of at the end of my tether with it, but I'm genuinely not sure there's anything I can do about it. I've said to him that I find it hurtful and counterproductive, he says he's not being negative it's just the way that I'm hearing it. He has, and does, tell me that he's proud of me with the BMF thing for example, he says he's really proud of how hard I'm working. But this doesn't cancel out the other times for me, and for whatever reason it's the negative stuff that sticks with me.

Am I being oversensitive?

Sorry this is so long...

X


chris313
02-16-2011, 09:03 AM
It's not easy when a spouse doesn't understand that those types of remarks are counter-productive. Unfortunately, some men just don't understand that not making comments about your weight loss is the best road to take, unless they are positive comments. If you've already sat him down and explained how hurtful and discouraging his comments are and he hasn't stopped commenting, then you just have to prove him wrong. Let his remarks go in one ear and out the other. Your best defense against his negativity is to keep going in the right direction with your healthy eating habits and exercise. As you continue to lose weight and strengthen your mind and body with exercise, his comments will eventually stop because you are proving him wrong.
His comments can only stop you from achieving your goals if YOU allow them to. Don't give his words power by falling into the same trap over and over again. You are your own person and have the right to be the best person you can be.
In time, I'm sure he'll turn the corner and be your number 1 supporter!!
Keep on going!!!!! :hug:

kaplods
02-16-2011, 09:11 AM
My husband is much the same. He offers far too many suggestions of help (he doesn't like a taste of his own medicine though. I rather effectively showed him what it was like one day. He still didn't entirely get it "I'm not really like that, you're exagerating." Maybe I was a little to make a point.

Even though he got the point, he can't help himself from giving "helpful" advice, even to his guy friends. I started watching what other guys do when he does it. Most of him either say "yeah, yeah" (and then ignore him) or they say "shut the bleep up."

So it's pretty much what I do now. I either say "thanks for the tip" (and then ignore him) or I say "shut up, you're not helping" (usually with a smile).

Sometimes I even tell him what I want him to say, and make him repeat it.

We both still miscommunicate in ways that the other thinks is naggy or pushy. We try, but it's really hard to have any involvement in another person's life especially on loaded topics like weight loss (my husband is a lot less sensitive about his weight loss though than his relapse into smoking).

I don't know if hubby or I will ever really "get" the difference in communication styles. I speak "man" a little better than he speaks "woman," but I don't think either of us will ever be fluent enough to avoid conflict over miscommunications.


Bac0s
02-16-2011, 09:14 AM
He may think he's actually being supportive (lol). I would just sit down with him and tell him you need to feel supported by him in this endeavor, and he can do x,y, and z to make you feel that way.

badassey
02-16-2011, 10:16 AM
I struggled with this with my boyfriend. The past few (okay, like 6) times I've tried to diet, it has lasted a few days or maybe a week. And then eventually I'd fall off the wagon. When I'd start again, he'd make comments like "So is this the same diet as last time?" or "I thought you were going to the gym today" - simple things that I knew shouldn't bother me - but they did. And being an emotional eater, when I was upset about the comments - I'd do exactly what neither of us wanted me to do - I'd fall off the wagon.

Before starting this diet journey I am on now (which I swear to God, HAS to be the last one!) I sat him down and said "I know you love me. And I know you want to see me succeed. I know you want to see me happy and confident. But when you make comments that you think are helpful - comments that, to you, are just a comment. They enter my brain and explode into all of these negative thoughts and insecurities about my failures and why I'm not good enough. I appreciate your help and I know you just comment because you want to see me succeed. But I have listened to everyone else's comments before when dieting and it never worked for me. This time, I'm listening to me. And I'm doing things my way - and I AM serious about it this time. I understand that you don't want to see me fail (again) and you want to help me and to motivate me. But I need to do those things myself. When (and there WILL BE a "when") - when I need your help, I will ask you. And you can help me - because I know you want to be there to help me. But for now, just pretend everything's normal - that I am not dieting. I am learning to be accountable for myself. I can check up on myself. I do not need you to hold me accountable because this time is different. And I will ask for your helpful comments when I need them."

I mean obviously I didn't say it exactly like that... but it was to that effect.

I hope that helped! I know how it feels. It sucks knowing they mean well but it just makes you feel even worse.

Good luck! :hug:

astrophe
02-16-2011, 10:30 AM
I don't know what to say.

In those shoes, I would feel micromanaged and I would tell him to cut it out. I may even start going "Beeeeeeeep!" whenever he started on the micromanage talk. Just to drown it out.

You say you have already told him these things aren't helpful. Have you told him what IS helpful to you? Maybe he just needs a "job" to do or a way to feel included in your process (that doesn't make you crazy.)

Maybe he can do some veggie chopping to save you time. Or pick up one of your chores to free your time up for workouts. Then he's showing his support in tangible ways?

GL!
A.

evinsmom
02-16-2011, 11:40 AM
I had some problems with my husband when I started my diet. The first week was a little crazy because it was such a lifestyle change. My husband would say "If you are going to act b___chy, then you need to get off this diet". (We have open communication like that, I just told him to shut up and leave me alone) After over a month on the diet, he has actually lost about 10 pounds because of the change in the food that I cook. At the dinner table now, he and my son congratulate me every time I lose weight (I weigh in twice a week) We do highs and lows at the table and my high or low on weigh in days are what happened at the weigh in, so this allows for me to brag or complain, and then we talk about what I can do to change or better my progress. It has really become a family affair, and they both know how important this is to me.

NiteNicole
02-16-2011, 01:06 PM
It doesn't matter if it's how he says it or how you hear it. It hurts your feelings and he should put your feelings over his need to express his every passing thought.

I would tell him - I realize you don't think you're doing anything wrong, but it hurts my feelings. I am not your child, I am your wife. I don't need constant reminders or advice. I can handle my business. You need to stop before this becomes a major stumbling block in our relationship that I CAN NOT GET PAST.

One of the WORST things you can do in a relationship is set up this kind of nagging parent/rebellious child situation.

shoeless
02-17-2011, 05:13 AM
Aw, you're all lovely!

We had a bit of a barney about this yesterday, and I think finally he's accepting that the support I need from him is actually not as all-encompassing as daily comments and the like, and actually that he just needs to let me get on with it. I think the thing that he was really struggling with was that he felt he had to help *in some way*, and thought that was the best way to do it. (fail!!) ;)

It does seem finally to have clicked though, which is good, I just hope it stays this way.

thanks so much for all your advice ladies - I have to run off to work now, but I'm definitely going to be re-reading and will post more specific replies later. :)

X

Jelma
02-17-2011, 12:06 PM
I know how you feel, my boyfriend was the same way when I started Weight Watchers in September. In the past I talked about losing weight, would start a diet or exercise plan and not stick to it. After a month or so he realized this was not like the other times, I was actually doing it!

Still, I swear we fight more about food than anything else, it is so ridiculous. He constantly wants to go out to dinner whereas I want to stay in and cook. It drives me crazy. It isn't like I am a terrible cook either.

I know it is tough but stay focused and determined. Sometimes men think they are being helpful but they are really just driving you crazy :D

Hopeful8
02-17-2011, 02:53 PM
He's your husband, your life partner, best friend, and most important support system. The only advice I can give to you is to talk to him and really stress how much it's bothering you. He may not have any idea that the suggestions he's giving to you are not the type of suggestions and support you are after.

Once you talk to him his behavior and comments should change. Good luck.

shoeless
02-18-2011, 07:39 AM
Thanks everyone! Somehow he's finally realised that it's not being helpful (I don't actually know what's instigated this sudden change - it's not like I hadn't said it to him before!) But whatever, he's really making an effort not to say anything that could be taken as hurtful, and I can really notice the difference!! I've also started making an effort to accept his compliments graciously (I'm terrible for counteracting compliments with 'oh no, I'm really fat' or whatever, which isn't helpful either!) so, so far we're doing really well.

Thanks so much for letting me vent, and thanks for your advice. The weight seems (touch wood!) to be coming off again after a 2 month stall (I lost 13 lbs CC on my own, then bounced around the same four pounds for 2 months) so hopefully this is a good sign...

I started WW to see if that would get things moving again, but for obvious reasons I haven't told him just yet. He's off to Africa for work at the end of next week for two weeks - hopefully when he gets back he'll see a difference and see that I'm committed, and then I can tell him about WW.

Thanks again for listening. :)

XXX