General chatter - Venting a Smidge

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09-13-2013, 05:58 AM
So I need to vent a bit (as if you can't already tell by the title :p)

My fiancť and I have been together for over 8 years now. He proposed when we were together around 3.5 years, so itís a long engagement. Iím not in any hurry to get married, and neither is he. Weíll do it when the time is right I suppose (now that Iím losing weight, Iím more inclined to wait until Iím at goal and maintaining so that I can feel good about wedding dress shopping).

Well it was just his 37th birthday, and I realized that this past year and maybe a bit more, he seems really focused on recapturing his childhood. Heís a big Transformerís nut, and loves to get all the collectible masterpiece toys, and look for the original toys he used to have as a kid, etc. I get that this is a passion for him, and I grudgingly accept that in every room of my apartment there are going to be robots strategically placed so that he will find them while doing some boring chore and get distracted.

As he gets more and more focused on this hobby, however, heís losing touch with the things that are really important. Like being an adult, and being responsible. He made a small effort to lose weight which turned into excuse after excuse as he went back to his old eating habits. His truck needed to be inspected back in 2010 (it needs about 2k worth of work, including a new windshield and a bunch of engine stuff for it to pass), which means that if he ever wants to drive somewhere in the daytime he takes my car (with or without my permission). He keeps claiming that the website to update his registration keeps getting an internal server error, so again he continues to take my car for things because he doesnít want to get a ticket for out of date registration (which in turn will also then be another ticket for the out of date inspection). He only cleans or does any chores when it benefits him (like if he wants to make food for himself, heíll clean whatever mess is in his way), but then leaves the mess he creates for me to clean up. He obligingly will offer me some of whatever heís cooked, knowing that Iíll turn it down because itís not something I would eat on my meal plan (and I feel angry when he does thisÖ.why canít he cook a meal that I can actually eat? Why am I the only one who can seem to cook on the healthy end of the spectrum?).

When I calculated the cost of what he spent on his hobby this year alone, he could have not only paid for his truck to be fixed, but he could have paid for our annual Las Vegas vacation, which we didnít go on this year because he said ďwe should save for the weddingĒ. I have to remind him numerous times to pay the bills he is responsible for, but if I ask him when the release of the next masterpiece collectible will come out, he can tell me the date, the toy, and all the little special details that justify the cost of it being over $100.

I love that he is still a big kid, I donít want that to change. I love that he is a gamer, I love that he is soft-hearted, I love that he is caringÖbut I donít want to be his mother. I want him to accept the responsibilities of being an adult, I want him to understand that sometimes we have to do the things we donít like before we can do the things we do. I want him to move past the mentality of ďI can buy whatever I want, itís my money!Ē, and realize that the money he is spending needs to go to the necessary responsibilities before it can be spent frivolously. I donít want him to balk at spending $30 on chicken breast, frozen veggies and rice that will feed us for a week, and yet have no problem dropping $60 on 3 Delmonico steaks and a few cans of sliced potatoes that he can fry in a pan of butter which will feed him for one day (quite literally he will eat 2 steaks during the day, and take the third for lunch on the night shift).

I appreciate you gals and guys letting me vent! It feels better to have typed this out and gotten it off my chest. Iím in this odd middle ground between happy and unhappy, and Iím trying to do what I can to get the scale back towards the happier side of things. I know I need to talk to him about these feelings I haveÖit wonít be a fun conversation, thatís for sure. Iím wondering if this is some sort of mid-life crisis type of situation? I honestly donít see him growing out of it, thoughÖat least I should be happy he isnít looking at buying some Knight Rider replica for a new car instead of something practical. At least, I sure hope he isnít looking for a Knight Rider replicaÖugh /facepalm

09-13-2013, 08:30 AM
Oh boys and their inevitable reverting back to a kid-like state. This sort of behavior is very typical in men I think because deep down inside they just want to be taken care of. But don't we all? All I can say is that marriage will definitely NOT make things better. If this stuff doesn't get fixed now I'm sorry to say that it will deteriorate in a marriage.

Start off with the facts. The fact is that people will treat you exactly the way you let them. Are you really cleaning up after him? Are you really not saying something when he buys cans of potatoes (yuck!)? As you move into a new healthier direction he seems to be rebelling against you because guess what, he doesn't want to change with you. This is the type of thing that warrants a very serious discussion lest it leads you to derail from your betterment.

Think of your home as an organization, and you're the CEO. An organization needs to have a mission, it needs to have rules, it needs to have guidelines of operation, it needs to constantly revise its budget and address problems. Right now it sounds like you and your man don't have a common goal, and you're each moving in random directions. When you want to spend money he feigns interest in saving up for a wedding. But when it suits him he spends money on frivolous things. How can that work? If it were me I'd sit and express my concerns (which I would have written down) and listen to his concerns. Then come up with a plan to make things better. Is it wrong to come up with a list of house rules? No, absolutely not. Rule #1, clean up after yourself, plain and clear on the fridge, agreed to by the both of you. Put the burden on the rule itself, don't let it become a personal thing of "he must not love me if he's not doing the dishes" because that's rarely the case... he's just being lazy and letting you clean up after him because you're letting him get away with it. Men are simple. Put everything in clear and LOGICAL terms and he'll respond.

09-13-2013, 03:35 PM
Years ago I had a boyfriend that I was living with and while our problems were vastly different and my list of things that would have to change to make things "right" were quite a bit different, I had the same problem. He refused adult responsibility and we had an uneven partnering.

I showed my list of "house rules" to a good man friend (who knew both of us) after working so hard on them in a futile attempt to make things right and he looked at them without expression, handed them back to me and said something along the lines of, "Do you really want to spend your life with someone that needs these things written down for him? Is that the best that you can do for yourself?"

It took a few weeks of that comment festering and rolling around. I understood that I had done 80% of the work on our relationship and I had cut that man a lot of slack because he was beautiful, deep, artistic and intellectually interesting but I saw no real changes from day one even though we had plenty of "talks". I moved out and that was that. He moved on to some other woman that did 80% of the work. He still isn't married though he'd be about 60 by now. I'm glad I cut my losses.

You will eventually have to have that conversation, gauge the possibility of your fiance ever changing and then decide whether you want to live in the situation for the long haul. No judgement. Some women are happy taking care of men, doing the heavy lifting I just wasn't one of them.

Best of luck to you. I really do understand.

09-13-2013, 04:04 PM
I don't think it is inevitable all men revert but it sounds like you have some distinct problems. No one wants to have to take care of their SO as if they were a child so hopefully you can get things fixed.

1) Do you have a joint savings account? If not, you might want to start one and have both of you agree to set aside a certain amount every month for various goals including a wedding.

2) I believe that a budget is in order, you guys can set one out for each of you and your personal items including personal food items can come from that budget. His collections would come out of the personal budget.

3) You may also need a grocery budget which is set at a certain amount, which means other items come out of the personal budget. This would be hard but you will have to figure out how best to do it so that reasonable basics are part of the budget and other things aren't.

Overall, I wouldn't expect him to change much but at least figuring out budgets might help a little.

09-13-2013, 05:24 PM
That's unfair vintage. While I agree that you shouldn't have to hold anyone's hand and constantly remind them of their responsibilities trying to work things out is not a bad idea. I have to write everything down! I make to-do lists for hubby a lot and he loves it because he'd forgot his head if it wasn't screwed on.

09-13-2013, 05:58 PM
My husband and I have to spend a great deal of our time negotiating and reminding each other of agreements we've reached. Usuallyit's almost like contract negotiations. It can be frustrating and annoying, but it's better than the alternative.

We both have child-like hobbies and interests and want to be the irresponsible, impractical one, but instead we negotiate and divide responsibilities according to our interests, likes and dislikes, pet peeves, talents, and priorities.

Communication is the hardest part, because we both tend to think the other should just do what we want without asking, because the other should "just know by now."

Not going to happen. Hubby is still going to leave dirty dishes everywhere when he gets sucked into something, is still going to forget the Internet bill until we get a warning letter, and I'm still going to have a messy craftroom and forget to close the kitchen cabinet doors.

He's going to have to remind me to feed the cat. I'm going to have to remind him to change the litter box, and we're both going to have to work together to prioritize and balance responsibility and fun.

If one partner is doing most of the work and the other is having most of the fun and is not willing to negotiate), there may be no way to resolve the conflict.

Personally, I LOVE notes, charts and checklists because they're more emotionally neutral than nagging and arguing.

Also, I have short-term memory issues (as part of my fibromyalgia, but also part of my personality), so putting it in writing helps me with follow-through.

Hubby and I are fairly well-matched (though we each think we're the more responsible one), so the frustration (usually) is bearable.

Still sometimes our "contract negotiations" are more like hammering out a Peace Treaty between warring nations.

09-13-2013, 06:25 PM
My sweetie and I had some similar challenges. We compromised in ways that some people disagree with, but we're still going strong after 13 years.

When we initially moved in together, we also pooled all our money in a joint account. However, he has two children from a previous marriage and I have no children, and we had full custody at the time and his ex-wife wasn't paying a nickel in child support. The result was that his income and my income ended up going disproportionately to his bills, and some of the huge ones were for his kids. Not for their upkeep, but for their entertainment. Soccer, Hockey, Basketball, Boy Scouts and all the assorted gear that went with it. I got to where I resented that he had no problem using my income to pay for his kids' entertainment but wouldn't ask his ex-wife to pay her child support. We had a big fight about it and ultimately we agreed that it would be best to keep our money separate. We still split the chores and the bills, but his income is his, mine is mine. Lots of people have told me that's a mistake, but it works for us.

In any case, something like having a his, hers and joint accounts might be helpful on the money issue. Or flat out go to his/hers accounts and decide how you're going to split the bills. Since he sounds irresponsible, it might be best for him to pay YOU and you pay the bills. That's not uncommon in marriage for one person to handle all the bills, so it's not really like being his mom. You would just be the money person in the family.

But in all honesty I'd see him helping out around the house as equally serious, and I have no idea what to suggest there. I'd have a conversation with him, but in my experience people don't tend to change a lot so even if he agrees to help out more I wouldn't expect it to last more than a few weeks. There's a few ways you could address this. One- if you guys split your income, you could ask that your share of the bills be reduced to make up for the maid service you provide. You could hire Merry Maids or another cleaning service to help out (but it doesn't sound like his spending habits leave enough money for that). You could try rotating chore lists...but again, in my experience they don't work for long. You could just decide that this isn't a deal breaker for you and live with it. Or you can decide it is a deal breaker and move on.

09-13-2013, 06:32 PM

I have nothing against writing things down if that is what needs to be done. If you reread what I had to say, we had those conversations, many, many conversations. Things weren't going to change by my writing things down in an all comprehensive list, a point that my/our friend so clearly saw. It wasn't unfair at all. What was unfair was him expecting me to continue to do almost all of the work in our life together.

If the OP will be happy in her situation as it is, if written rules help it change for the better, it's all good but and here's the crux, she isn't happy with the situation as it is wholly, she's pulling the load and has become this man's mother essentially.

This quoted part is the crux of the message to Buff, the rest was my story: You will eventually have to have that conversation, gauge the possibility of your fiance ever changing and then decide whether you want to live in the situation for the long haul. No judgement. Some women are happy taking care of men, doing the heavy lifting I just wasn't one of them.

We don't need to have more misunderstandings between us which pretty much started with my first or second post. Clearly we are very different. I don't call you out on things (and I could) and I'd appreciate the same. I really am trying to be helpful here and in my other posts. Give me a break please.

09-13-2013, 06:39 PM
Thanks everyone!!! :hug:

I don't mind being the more responsible one in the relationship most of the time, I've been that person most of our relationship already and I know it's something I can deal with long-term. I think what happens, though, is he gets sucked into something and I become the ONLY responsible one, and that's where I get frustrated. I'm not superwoman, and I enjoy certain things as well, and I can't always enjoy it when I have so many responsibilities to worry about.

We do not have a joint account, and the reason is I do not want his frivolous spending to drain us dry. I'm sure he would be careful when using that money at first, but I can see him finding something he really really wants that he can't find at that price anywhere else and he may never see it again, blah blah blah, and just decide to get it.

As far as the food budget goes, that is something we need to work on. I cook about 95% of the meals we eat, and therefore I do most of the grocery shopping. I will ask him to pick up some things at the store on his way home from work sometimes, but when I do that, that's when I find he goes and buys a ton of food that he knows I can't eat. He tells me my food is boring, my food is plain, that there's little flavor, that there's little variety, and that's why he feels the need to buy steak and cupcakes and donuts. I'm the type of person who can eat almost the same thing every day and be fine, and I find there to be plenty of flavor and variety in what I cook. This could be just as much my problem as it is his.

I like the idea of charts and notes...that's something we've never tried and I'd be interested to see how he reacts with it. He doesn't much care for my nagging or pestering, so I wonder if writing down chores and things that need to be done will have the same response or if it will make it easier for him to say "I need to do this."

Thanks again everyone :hug: definitely good to get some different perspectives :)

09-13-2013, 07:14 PM
Well I think a joint savings account, which you don't touch except for certain things might save you some headache. I think everyone should have 'fun' money in which their partner does not question their expenses and I think if each of you set aside that budget per month, as well as dumped some money into a savings account, then you might feel better about his spending habits.

Edited to add: Wanted to extrapolate a bit - if you are worried about him spending money from the joint account, you can set it up (via agreement as well) that he can direct deposit into it but that you will be the only one to take money out of the account and you'd set up his name with the account. I have this for a few accounts with my husband and I since I manage our finances. His name is on the account, he does direct deposit into the account but he personally never touches the account.

Also, this is an opportunity for you to help him. You can look at all of your expenses (joint) and things you need to save up for including his truck issues. You can have him have a spending budget depending on what discretionary funds are left and as well as have him set aside a certain amount for his truck. That way for instances if he gets $50/month of fun money and wants something that costs $200, he has to save but can't touch the money saved for the truck. You can also look into the envelope method for this as well.

09-13-2013, 07:16 PM
We don't need to have more misunderstandings between us which pretty much started with my first or second post. Clearly we are very different. I don't call you out on things (and I could) and I'd appreciate the same. I really am trying to be helpful here and in my other posts. Give me a break please.

???? Huh???? I didn't know we had a misunderstanding or that we have clear differences or what you're referring to when you say you "could" call me out on something... Am I missing something here? All unsaid was its not fair to poo poo the idea of writing things down. As it has been revealed it was not something the OP tried and its worth a shot. I did read your story and I probably neglected to make the following comment: I can definitely see why your friend made that observation considering how much work you had already put in to that relationship, it was a good call. I just didn't want the OP to think it was a worthless cause to sit down and write things down because it didn't sounds like they had gotten to that point yet that your friend so clearly saw.

This is conversation, plain and simple, you can call me out on whatever is bugging you because it sounds like you're upset with who I am or something I may have said elsewhere, can't think of anything we've disagreed on thought.

Furthermore, I ain't perfect, just putting that out there. My husband still lived with his parents when we got married, he's pretty much clueless about anything. Making the bed, cleaning up after himself, dishes, even taking dishes to the sink when he's done eating. It's pathetic. He claims "working a lot and having no time" but in the real world you can't just clean the dishes in the weekends, it's just something that's gotta get done either way even when there's no time.

09-13-2013, 07:16 PM
When hubby and I had a super tight budget, we even made a "game" of the chore list, by deciding how much "fun money" was in the budget and then assigning a dollar amount to each chore, so that added all together it came to that amount.

If you keep separate accounts he would have to pay you for the chores you did from his account and you would have to pay him from yours.

This worked really well for us at first, but we had some trouble agreeing on "fair" exchange values. Still, we both did a lot more chores when we "paid ourselves" for them.

We've recently begun talking about doing so again, because we have some big expenses coming up, and are going to have to ration "fun money" very tightly. Having to work hard to earn it (while reminding ourselves it's supposed to be a fun challenge and not a battle) ofyen helps.

09-13-2013, 09:18 PM
I came from a very similar situation.

I am only saying this from my own experience, but if I had it to do over again, I would have either postponed the wedding until things were straightened out, or I wouldn't have gotten married at all to my husband.

What was childish, endearing and slightly annoying when we were dating became a very, very big deal in real life adulthood.

My husband was spoiled, sheltered and overprotected. We dated for over 3 years before we were married. Before we were married, he had a job, helped around the house and seemed to have no problem with responsibility. After we were married, he couldn't hold down a job, wouldn't wash a dish, never cooked for himself or me, didn't pay any bills and contributed almost nothing. I did all of the work and he kept on shirking his responsibilities.I went from being his wife to being his mother almost immediately. It was my responsibility to do everything. Then one day, I had had enough. After trying for a very long time to get him to grow up, I told him that I wanted out of the marriage. That was the first time I got his attention. He got better and did mature a bit, but by the time that happened, I just didn't care any more. I had already lost too much trust and respect for him.

I am here to tell you that unless your fiancť grows up, you are going to be exhausted and resentful.

You may think that bearing most of the load will be okay but years down the road, it won't be. You deserve so much better than what he has to offer.

09-13-2013, 11:03 PM
sigh... so happy to be single right now! :hug: Hugs to all you gals working it out in marriage. I'm not sure I'd have the patience - which is probably why I'm not married! ;)

Just my two cents... From what you described, I wouldn't marry him. My mother always says "You can't change a man. What you see is what you get!" She had one that didn't change... and now, as an 80 year old widow, despite bearing 3 kids (of whom I constantly remind her), she regrets marrying my dad.