Layabout husband- 3 years in a tore-apart home. - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-21-2015, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Layabout husband- 3 years in a tore-apart home.

I have never considered divorce until now. The issue of laziness is at a breaking point. My husband and I have been married 12 years and we have two children 11 and 5.

I was the primary breadwinner and quit my job and am starting two related new businesses that I can do from our home. My husband works in a construction field and gets the winters off; he is very handy and does our home and car maintenance. We bought a home four years ago that needed some interior work. My husband said he could do the repairs needed. We like being self-reliant, and I have always been there to help him if he lets me know ahead of time and often even if he doesn’t. This winter, not having a job outside of the home, I can help him whenever he requests it. Three years ago he began a major project in the home that he expected at the start to have been completed that winter. He worked on it with a nice pace in the beginning, but slowed the pace. Three years later it still not done and he is always going to “work on it today” but rarely does. My house is tore apart and I do not have the skills to fix it myself. My first week after I quit, I did not do anything business related and made myself wholely available to being his partner in finishing the house project (we have worked fine together on other projects); instead he chose to watch television and never took me up on my offer.

He has the skills, the tools, and the time and doesn’t do it. I am sick of living in a tore apart home. I never know what to respond to the curious inquires of my neighbors, friends, and family as to what is holding the project up. Our children are following suit with this lay-about attitude. It’s obvious we have different expectations of what our family responsibilities are (what we expect of ourselves and from our partner); he has rejected my requests for counseling. So going DIY family counseling I realize that while I can not make him or our children not be layabouts, I could be a better wife/mother. I have been a more attentive wife/mother over the last year, hoping in part that this would help improve his motivation to finish this project. No change.

Maybe the project really is too much? Be the change you wish to see in the world. So I called a contractor to provide an estimate two weeks ago, he said it could be done in 5 half-days with two guys. My husband is beyond upset at me for having a contractor look at it, and is it adamant that I do NOT hire a contractor, that he will “take care of this” and yet there is no progress two weeks later he has spent maybe 4 hours on fixing it up.

It's even hard for me to work on my new business when I know he is just napping instead of working on fixing our broken house.

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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-21-2015, 05:51 PM
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Re: Layabout husband- 3 years in a tore-apart home.

Hmmm... You could tell him that the contractor is booked for February 15th, so he's got until then to get it done. But if you use a contractor as a weapon, you'll just be pissing off someone who doesn't deserve it.

At some point, though... You need to deal with the root causes. And that may involve a boundary about the counselling. Why does he refuse that?

C
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-21-2015, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Layabout husband- 3 years in a tore-apart home.

He is a staunch "do it yourselfer"... He doesn't need any help from anyone else. While I agree he is a strong person and can do many things, he is delusional to think that at times he does not need help.

He does not need help quitting smoking... he has tried numerous times without any aids and still smokes.
He does not need help changing his diet, he can fix his health on his own... he buys soda, chips, cookies, and other treats weekly.
He does not need help budgeting... he carries a growing credit card balance.
He does not need help finishing our home... our home has been tore apart for 3 years.
He does not need help being a father... our oldest child shows daily signs of disrespect and disreguard for the family.
He does not need help with his marriage.. his wife is contemplating divorce.

I am not pointing this out to belittle him, I am illustrating his resistance to change. I have never asked him to be perfect, but when I hear talk that things will change and years go by and there is none... I don't have much hope.

Three days before the contractor came, I told him I was going to have a contractor come over and give us an estimate he was very angry and told me to cancel it. I said I would not. He forgot about it. I reminded him that the contractor was coming 15 minutes before the contractor arrived (as he was still undressed at 1:00pm). I have never seen him so angry nor have I ever fear for my life until those moments. When the contractor rang the doorbell we were both by the door. He told me to tell the contractor to leave. I said I would not. He bellored out a bear-like "F#K U", and went to our bedroom. I opened the door. Nothing happened to the contractor. After he left, our 5-year and I could feel the tension even though my husband stayed in our bedroom. No words were spoken. "I'm scared for you mom." He said.

My husband said that he has never felt so betrayed in his life.

I am rather resolute that we should not have to live in a tore up home. If he wants to continue to live that way and keep saying he'll finish it and I want to live in a finished home and one where people do what they say they will do, then we have irreconcilable differences.
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 12:44 PM
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Re: Layabout husband- 3 years in a tore-apart home.

Oh Dear...project block.

This is a ***** and it doesnt help to be nagged for it.
Whats worse is the longer it goes, the worse the block gets.
Pretty soon the project isnt about the project any more, it's a reflection of your self worth.

I hate project block.
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 12:49 PM
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Re: Layabout husband- 3 years in a tore-apart home.

So, how close to separating or divorce are you? Have you talked to a lawyer?

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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Layabout husband- 3 years in a tore-apart home.

I have not talked to a lawyer yet. We are not a rich family. Our house is our only asset worth anything monetarily.

I have formulated an exit strategy, where I will go, I have straighten out my finances and created a post two-income budget, set up things so business assets are excluded from table, what I willing to give (custody-wise, sale of our house).

I have set April as my ultimatatuim deadline (the project must be done before he goes back to work).

I understand the nagging thing. I have never ever wanted to be a nag and I think my lack of 'nagging' over the first two years contributes to the problem because it has given the appearance that this dragging the feet behavior is acceptable.

The tore apart home is very unsettling to live it. I don't care that we don't have a kitchen table or furniture in our living room (partly because we are waiting for the project to be done). It that it looks so disruptive that you can't be comfortable in those spaces + hallways. Tears me up when he says at the beginning of the week that X will get done (and I let him alone or say when I am available to help (no nagging)).. and then Saturday rolls around and there has been no progress. It is not unknown to him that I do not want to live like this.
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 02:49 PM
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Re: Layabout husband- 3 years in a tore-apart home.

If communicating does not work, what realistic options do you really have? If you did direct, open, communication, then it is on him that he does not listen. If you told him how the relationship and the lack of a relationship is causing your love to fade, then actions are your only recourse. At this moment in his life, he is not marriage material. It is good that your starting to separate your life from him. Just keep taking care of things on your end, and start detaching. Arguments and conflict will get you nowhere, and it will only cause more resentment. Just take care of what you need to do to get your life in order.

I am such a tree hugger because it gives me wood!
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 04:57 PM
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Re: Layabout husband- 3 years in a tore-apart home.

"Never felt so betrayed." - Projecting much?

He betrays you with every promise broken.

In the 'traditional' violent/abusive relationship one controls the other with fists and threats. Regardless of the means and whatever inner demons, it's all about the perpetrators having their needs met.

Sadistic needs clearly aren't at the forefront of your hubby's needs. His need is to sit on his arse doing fůck all while you do everything.

His promises have you meeting his needs the same way a smack in the eye gets needs met in those other relationships.


While his methods and needs may be different to the 'traditional' abuser (for now) he shares one thing with the majority of them - a HUGE narcississtic streak (ego).

Your list of the things he can and will do, if or when he feels like it - the man is a legend in his own mind.

While you tolerate him, buy his promises, hold off on the 'nagging', finance the home and do the day-to-day work around it you're about perfect for him.

You don't mention what arse-bound hobbies he has that run up his debts. Is he buying expensive DIY stuff - buying into his own legend?

No matter. Mostly, I just want you to recognise the narcissism, the 'legendary' self-image, and what happened the ONE time you actually did something (beyond an empty threat) that shattered the illusion.

The contractor provoked him into behaviour that frightened you and your kid. Why? Cuz he threatens the illusion of the legend.

Here's a guy who can and will fix your home in no time at all. He's a legend-buster - a huge dose of reality your hubby has been distancing himself from.

It may not be sex but, for your hubby, a 'fixer' that'll please his wife is a psychological threat akin to him catching you in a compromising position on the kitchen table. The legendary God of DIY, usurped by a pretender to his throne. Hence, the ferocity of his hissy fit.

You need to be on your toes here. The contractor is no threat at all to somebody who isn't delusional. Plenty of hubbies would be glad to see one for a major project.

You need to watch out for this quick leap to rage. His marital status will be a part of his legend and you're also enabling his laziness and the fiction that he is a co-provider. You leave and you shatter his delusion.

Can't repeat it often enough - past violence, or lack of it, is not an accurate predictor of future behaviour. His reaction to the contractor is a big red flag to how he'll upscale to meet a genuine threat to his 'image'.

Seems you're half way out the door already. My advice is to keep on going and be vigilant regarding his potential to be very dangerous when you threaten his ego.

Just out of curiosity - and it may help you see another similarity with the 'traditionally' abused,, isolation - have you (because you're embarassed) and him (because he can't be bothered) effectively banned outsiders/friends and family from the home? I doubt he'll want others remarking on his lack of progress.

Anyways, good luck with your own progress.
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 06:58 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Layabout husband- 3 years in a tore-apart home.

A month has past with virtually no progress... maybe 3 hours of work on the project each week. The rest of the time cooking (which is good), surfing the internet, napping, smoking, or watching television.

He has been coughing a lot lately. He had quit smoking from 1/1 till about 1/20. In that time he said how much better he could breathe, but went back to smoking. His breathing has gotten even worse than before. This weekend he got up from a chair, starting cough, and couldn't catch his breath between coughs. He passed out, crashing to the ground. He was unresponsive initially. He fell on something on the way down, and his eye was covered in blood (it hit his temple). "It was no big deal!" he says. He has never passed out before. He will not go see a doctor (his blood oxygen is about 90% on average), and will not stop smoking.

I had set a family budget to help us through these tight times (I am starting a business, and he is off work for the winter), I kept our food, utility, and fuel budget the same as it has always been. He chose not to participate in developing the budget. He agreed to the budget. Come the end of January, we have no money and its my fault! He ignored the budget and overspend hundreds.

Yesterday I told him I reminded him I love him and that I need him to make healthy choices to help keep our family together.

The only response was the shock as I was suggesting that our family was falling apart. He napped for several hours after that.
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 09:32 AM
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Re: Layabout husband- 3 years in a tore-apart home.

Sounds like there is more going on here than simple block.
He needs to go see his Doc.

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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 04:34 PM
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Re: Layabout husband- 3 years in a tore-apart home.

He needs a wake up call. He doesn't feel that the marriage is in dire straight, he doesn't feel that smoking is that bad for him (or for the finances), he doesn't feel that his health is in that bad a shape, he doesn't feel that the house being torn up is that big of a deal, etc. It sounds like you've tried to relay to him that these issues ARE major problems, but the point is that he just hasn't gotten it. He doesn't agree that they are big problems that have to be addressed.

The bigger problem however is the mere fact that he believes that he can simply disagree with you on all of these issues, or debate/argue them with you at all. Here is the reality, if the wife is saying, "I'm unhappy in this marriage, I think we have a problem" THEN THERE IS A PROBLEM. His natural reaction might be to try to explain it away ("But I am a great husband! I put food on the table, I've never abused drugs/alcohol, gambled away our money, never gotten physical with you or the kids, I do nice things from you pretty often, I'm always kind to you, etc.") because he probably disagree's with you, but the mere fact that you believe there is a problem, means there is a problem, and that can't be argued away. IT CAN'T be argued with.

I think it's natural in many ways for men to feel that they can and should fix anything. That a situation either is or is not a problem, and you can always make a case either for or against. This isn't the type of problem that a case can be made against. Even if he is literally the most perfect husband on the planet, if his wife is unhappy and feels that the marriage is in trouble, then there really is a problem!


I got all of that from the reaction you described him having as a result of your alluding to the possibility that the family could be falling apart. That means he disagrees with your position, and thus doesn't feel it merits much of a response. After all, if the marriage really isn't in trouble at all, then there really is no need for a response right? That's the key right there, I'm telling you. Ultimately this is what he needs to understand...

...Unfortunately, often times the only way for someone like this to "get it" is to deliver a painful "wake-up call." Perhaps in the form of asking him to move out for a while, filing for divorce, requesting a separation, packing up and leaving, etc. Why? Because the message that delivers is that he can disagree all day long if he wants to, but now he'll see that doing so is absolutely going to cost him his family. He might get angry at first, feel betrayed, but after a short time if he cares he will see what his choices really are.

I would suggest, before it gets to that point, that you try to sit him down one of these days and really be as DIRECT as possible with him about your concerns. Be specific and honest about how bad the situation has become. Don't shy away from painful words or try to go easy on him. I mean something like, "We need to discuss some very serious issues that have been adding up for a while and are now putting our marriage and family in jeopardy. If our family is going to survive intact, which I certainly hope it can, I am going to need some pretty big changes to take place here." Then go into each issue, using "I feel" statements as much as possible. Discuss the ongoing home remodel situation first. You acknowledge that your bringing in the contractor hurt his feelings because you know it made him feel enormously disrespected, but that the goal wasn't to disrespect him but rather to send the message that you are desperate for the project to get done and wanted him to understand that. You might point out how you do not respect him any less for struggling with smoking and healthy eating, because most people experience similar struggles, but also acknowledging that all of his efforts thus far have failed, so it is time for him to reach out for some help in achieving those important goals. See, it's ok to soften the blow a bit by affirming the things that are important to him (that being your respect for him), but you still have to deliver the painful part clearly as well. At the end, you want to acknowledge that all of these choices are his to make, but if he can't start making the right choices soon, then because of your ongoing feelings of dissatisfaction in the marriage, you'll have to start making decisions on your own as well.

In some ways that might sort of feel like a veiled threat, but really it's just being honest and forthright with him about where you stand. If he can't make these changes, you really genuinely are prepared to file for divorce and move on, and he needs to know that. He has to understand the consequences of his choices for him to be able to make them effectively.

I hope this helps some...

I confess, I tend to write the way I imagine I would speak if the discussion were happening in person. That means that I tend to ramble a lot, illustrate extensively, make used of a lot of analogies, etc. I apologize after the fact for the (likely long) length of my posts.
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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-02-2015, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Layabout husband- 3 years in a tore-apart home.

cdbaker, thank you for your words. I feel I have already done everything you have spelled out, with no acceptable progress. This afternoon, after working all day and finding that he had done no work on the house (he woke up at 10AM, had a nap at from 1-3pm), I told him very clearly that this issue of no progress on the remolding is a breaking point issue. That he will lose his wife by spring if its not done. He angrily started working on it.

I don't care that he was angry. While I wish it hadn't come to, that he started working shows me he maybe wants to keep the family together.
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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-02-2015, 05:26 PM
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Re: Layabout husband- 3 years in a tore-apart home.

Stick to it though, if you back down he will do it over and over.

Also spending the money that is needed to feed his children is up fathomable to me. It's very selfish.
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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-02-2015, 05:36 PM
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Re: Layabout husband- 3 years in a tore-apart home.

Maybe he just has a low work drive. Have you tried more non-work related cuddling?
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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-02-2015, 05:39 PM
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Re: Layabout husband- 3 years in a tore-apart home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fameflower View Post
cdbaker, thank you for your words. I feel I have already done everything you have spelled out, with no acceptable progress. This afternoon, after working all day and finding that he had done no work on the house (he woke up at 10AM, had a nap at from 1-3pm), I told him very clearly that this issue of no progress on the remolding is a breaking point issue. That he will lose his wife by spring if its not done. He angrily started working on it.

I don't care that he was angry. While I wish it hadn't come to, that he started working shows me he maybe wants to keep the family together.
Yep, stick to it. He needs motivation. I guess you gave him some.
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