Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Husband Always Forgets Our Plans”

My husband and I have a problem with communication – specifically his memory – and it’s really starting to affect our relationship. I will ask him a favor or request something of him (example: I asked him recently if we could have a “family day” with the kids soon). I give him all the details he may need, like the day, the time…whatever needs to be said, and he’ll think it over and will agree to help. But then when the time comes, he backs out of whatever it is I asked for his help with, claiming I never asked him to help or claiming I did ask but wasn’t specific enough so he “didn’t know what I meant.” For example, I said I needed his help carrying heavy bags of soil to the garden and asked if he was free to help carry them Wednesday after work. But then Wednesday rolls around and he insists I never specified which day, which might be plausible, except for the fact that I remember specifying Wednesday because it led into a conversation about how he was going out to play cards on Wednesday and wanted to know if I’d need his help for very long. He doesn’t remember any of it!

I don’t actually think it’s a memory issue, but I can’t prove it isn’t, and I don’t want to have to start writing up my requests officially and having him “sign” them, just to prove he agreed to something. I’m feeling like I’m not in a partnership with him, but I have no defense against his “not remembering” all the time. It’s not a big issue when we’re talking about things like carrying bags of soil, but it’s a HUGE issue when it starts getting in the way of requests like, “Can you make dinner tonight because the kids have been driving me nuts and I need some time to myself.” He’s allowed to say “not tonight,” but it sucks when he agrees and then doesn’t follow through. I get my hopes up and then am let down. Any suggestions? — Married to Mr. Forgetful

You begin your letter saying you and your husband have a problem with communication, and that is exactly what it boils down to. I know you think you have little to no responsibility in this issue — that it is “specifically” about your husband forgetting things that you told him — but that’s not how I see it on the outside. What I see is a woman who doesn’t feel that she’s in a partnership with her husband and, instead of communicating THAT to her husband and all the reasons why she feels that way, she has set out to somehow “prove” that she and her husband are on opposing sides (twice in your letter you use the word “prove”: once in relation to proving that you are right and another time in relation to proving that your husband is lying). It seems maybe YOU have forgotten something: that you and your husband are on the same side… or at least should be.

In a partnership, both parties are working toward the same goal. Maybe the paths you take and the strategies you implement to reach the goal are different, but the goal should be the same. In your partnership with your husband, what is your goal? To feel close? To continue strengthening your bond? To equally share the burden of running a household and raising children? I think you need to sit down with your husband and start a State of the Union conversation, defining — or re-defining or reminding each other of — your shared goal/s. And then discuss what you each need from the other to support those shared goals. I suspect that, for you, you need your husband to be more present and more active in planning (like why are you solely responsible for planning a “family day,” and why do you need to ask him to be present for it as a “favor” and then worry that he’s going to forget?!) and maybe more active in some of the household labor. You need to listen carefully to what he needs from you, too.

Another part of supporting each other in reaching your shared goals is being proactive in helping your partner deal with challenges you know him to have. So, you know he has a problem remembering things (or, at least, that is the excuse he uses when he doesn’t commit to an activity he said he’d be present for). This is pretty easy to fix. Get a wall calendar, hand him a pen, and watch him write down “family day, all day” on the date you’ve both decided will be designated for all of you to do something fun together. Then, spend a few minutes over family dinner or when all of you are together talking about what you’ll do on Family Day. This will help firm the plans in you husband’s mind, keeping the event in the forefront, as well as build excitement for everyone. A few days before the day remind your husband. And keep reminding him each day so he can’t use the excuse of forgetting. If you’ve already told him in your State of the Union discussion I want you to have with him that you need him to be more present in your family life, this should be a top priority for him.

If, after lots of planning and reminding, he blows it off, you have bigger problems than his memory. And if you resist handing him a pen and asking him to write the date down in the calendar because you think you shouldn’t have to or it doesn’t feel right somehow, you are more committed to being on opposing sides than supporting your husband’s role on your side, and that’s certainly a bigger problem than his memory, too.

I suspect, without more details or knowing the two of you at all, that you two have gotten a bit lost in the demands and responsibilities of working and raising kids and have maybe forgotten to prioritize your relationship. If this is true, put that on the calendar, too. Get a babysitter and schedule some regular date nights. Practice gratitude for each other and what you each contribute to your lives together. Get in the habit of saying “thank you” — “Thank you for cooking dinner tonight so I could rest,” “Thank you for working hard and financially contributing to our household,” “Thank you for clearing your schedule so we could spend the day together. I had a lot of fun and hope you did, too.” Showing appreciation, explicitly expressing your needs, and striving to meet your partner’s needs are key to supporting and reaching your shared goals. Setting up your partner for failure or basically waiting for him to make a mistake, when it would take only a little effort to help him avoid said mistake, just so you can prove how uncommitted he he is to your shared goals, does not. Good luck!

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy​(AT)​dearwendy.com.

56 comments… add one
  • avatar

    moe May 23, 2018, 8:23 am

    The thing that struck me was that it seems that in all the examples she gave, SHE was the one who chose what she wanted done and when she wanted it completed. If she had said, for example, “I’d like to spend more time with the family. What day do you think would be nice to do something fun together?” Then it feels less like a mommy telling a child what to do and more like a couple make decisions together. With chores, to say, “OK, seems this place is getting out of hand! We gotta’ get things in order! Do you want to do [whatever] or [whatever]?”

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom May 23, 2018, 8:57 am

      I was thinking the same thing. She comes up with things that he agrees to and then blows off. I think I would start with more mutual buy in from the beginning. Ask if there is anything fun that he’d like the family to do in the next month. Or maybe suggest that each member of the family pick one fun thing to do as a family over the summer. If he still doesn’t “remember” when it is done as a family and he gets as much input as anyone then I think he is already on his way out of the marriage. All of his “forgetting” is a way of not being invested, of not caring, of not being bothered. Nothing says I could care less than not caring.

      LW Does your husband have a lot of activities that he does on his own? More than the time that he invests in the family? Is he trying to be a single man who happens to have a wife and kids?

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  • avatar

    ron May 23, 2018, 8:57 am

    The guy seems sort of lazy.

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    • avatar

      TN May 23, 2018, 9:06 am

      Indeed, although my first thought was, “gaslighting.”

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  • avatar

    Fyodor May 23, 2018, 9:23 am

    I think that there’s definitely an element of passive resistance going on there. Like he doesn’t want to do this stuff and is afraid to say no so he agrees and forgets about it.

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  • avatar

    Essie May 23, 2018, 9:29 am

    This sounds like a mix of selfishness and immaturity to me. Most of the things the LW says he “forgets” seem to be chores – cooking dinner, lugging heavy stuff. Well, except for family day, but even then, I suspect there was something else he’d rather do with the time. So to get out of it, he sort of gaslights her and claims she never asked, never specified a day, etc. This is something a 12-year-old boy does to get out of mowing the lawn or helping mom with the dishes.

    LW, I like Wendy’s idea of having a family calendar. It’s impossible for him to claim he doesn’t remember or didn’t know about something when it’s posted right there on the kitchen wall.

    And if this seems to be a case of him checking out of family life a little bit – he’s got his own stuff he likes to do and he’s leaving the work of maintaining the home and taking care of the kids to you, that definitely calls for a conversation ( I like “State of the Union”). Not a big confrontation – don’t let it get to the point where you’re exhausted and resentful and furious – but like Wendy said, more of a how can we work better as a team talk.

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    • avatar

      ktfran May 23, 2018, 9:47 am

      I think it’s really off that the LW has to schedule a family day… like, wouldn’t that be something both partners wanted? To spend time with each other and the kids? And cooking dinner so she can get break? Or helping carry heavy stuff? Come on. That shouldn’t have to be planned…

      So, I can’t really tell if the LW is trying to micromanage their life and he’s tired of it, or if he’s just not interested in family life. The “state of the union” conversation is definitely appropriate. Voices on both sides should be heard and considered.

      Honestly, this relationship in its current state doesn’t sound that great to me.

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      • avatar

        Fyodor May 23, 2018, 10:05 am

        I think that there’s a difference between a family day and a “Family Day.” I get the impression that she had specific scheduled “family day” activities, etc

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom May 23, 2018, 10:33 am

        It depends on what the family day involved and if that was anything he enjoyed doing. If it meant a day of doing something he hates while being micromanaged nonstop I can see him avoiding it. If it was something he truly liked, done the way he liked then I don’t get it. There isn’t enough information here to tell which way this is tipping. We know she suggests or plans of pushes things and he agrees only to bail. If he doesn’t want to do something he should at least be honest and say he doesn’t want to do it. If the soil is to make a new vegetable garden that she will then want him to help tend and he doesn’t like growing vegetables I can see him not wanting to help carry the soil. If the soil is for something she will be doing on her own and the only help she needs is to carry the soil then it should be no big deal.

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      • avatar

        ktfran May 23, 2018, 11:21 am

        I still don’t buy it on the family day. You’re telling me that you’d pass on activities with your children because it’s not your thing, even if it’s something they really want to do? And if it’s something you truly despised, why wouldn’t you say so and suggest something else the family can do together? Like hey, I really don’t like riding bikes in this humidity, why don’t we go hiking instead? Or this indoor thing that sounds fun? The impression I got was that she needed to schedule something so he’d actually participate. And the reason I got that impression is because he won’t even help with dinner when asked? I mean, come on. Unless he’s working on some big house project or major chore or working until 8:00, why can’t he help make dinner one night?

        Of course, we’re only reading her side. Maybe, as some have mentioned, she’s a perfectionist and likes things done a certain way and he’s tired of her standards. Or maybe she does micromanage and he’s sick of it. There’s not enough info. to tell.

        They’re probably to the point now where they need a marriage counselor.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom May 23, 2018, 4:55 pm

        We don’t know whether the kids want to do what she has come up with. I’ve seen parents come up with “fun” things that they try to cram down the throats of their kids and it is a miserable time. It really depends on the family dynamic and what is being chosen and if it fits the family.

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      • avatar

        saneinca May 25, 2018, 12:40 pm

        If the father refuses to spend any time with his kids, what can the mother do other than schedule a day of activities ? If he offered an alternative day or alternative activities, surely she would have mentioned it.

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  • avatar

    JD May 23, 2018, 9:33 am

    I am still baffled how you need to plan a day to carry some dang soil. WTF. Hey babe, before you go to cards can you help me carrying this stuff from my car? Obviously it is more than that but I somehow and stumped on that simple concept.

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    • avatar

      Northern Star May 23, 2018, 10:18 am

      Yeah, that one was just weird. I don’t have to “schedule” time for my husband to help me with a minor chore. I just say, “Hey, babe, I’ve got these bags of soil in the trunk, can you help me move them before you go play cards?”

      Same for dinner making, honestly. Why aren’t they both participating in this stuff? Is the wife in charge of all household or child-related activities, or what?

      He sounds like a super lazy “partner.”

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      • avatar

        JD May 23, 2018, 10:26 am

        I am in charge of all household, cooking, cleaning, etc but my husband still helps me when i ask, and does the few things I cannot do (carrying heavy items, etc) without asking. He’d do even more if i asked but I don’t since I am not working and he is. He also cooks or orders a pizza on Friday and Sat nights (usually grilling now that it’s warm) to give me a break from cooking every night.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark May 23, 2018, 11:40 am

        Or she CONSTANTLY over plans everything. I’d be like — “can we talk about this after you actually get the dirt, bitch?” This seems micromanaging and controlling in the extreme. I’d probably tune it out pretty fast even if it was 1990s Jude Law treating me like this.

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      • avatar

        JD May 23, 2018, 11:50 am

        Mmmm 90s Jude Law.

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      • avatar

        Fyodor May 23, 2018, 11:53 am

        Who can forget the scene in Gattaca when he made Ethan Hawke commit to a long, incredibly tedious, set of “family day” activities.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark May 23, 2018, 11:55 am

        I’m being flip here — but Seriously! Who the fuck plans out days in advance what day they need somebody else to carry a few bags of fucking dirt? I simply don’t get it.

        PS. (And yes — THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY Jude Law’s hotness will simply never again be equaled.)

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      • avatar

        Northern Star May 23, 2018, 12:05 pm

        People whose husbands apparently fight them on every single chore they’re ever asked to help with. She sounds tiring, but he sounds like a lazy-ass lump.

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      • avatar

        Vathena May 23, 2018, 12:07 pm

        “Who the fuck plans out days in advance what day they need somebody else to carry a few bags of fucking dirt?”

        Somebody with a husband who’s checked-out af and never around/always “forgets” to do his share of the household tasks?

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph May 23, 2018, 5:39 pm

        Agree the thing with the dirt is very odd. I’m a planner by nature and we have kind of a busy schedule, so I might look at my schedule and see “ok Wednesday is the best day for me to swing by Home Depot and pick up that dirt i need” but I would expect when I pull up with a car full of dirt for my husband to help me unload it without me scheduling it in advance.
        Even if she hadn’t mentioned it in advance, when she said “hey can you help me unload that dirt?” he shouldn’t have been like “but you didn’t tell meeeee” he should have changed into a crappy t-shirt and gone to move some dirt.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom May 23, 2018, 5:44 pm

        Their entire dynamic is strange and sounds dysfunctional. It is hard to tell what is happening besides the fact that he gaslights her. We can’t tell whether he does nothing or whether she over schedules everything. Is he lazy and has he already moved on from the marriage while still living with the family or is she over scheduling and overbearing. If someone was constantly scheduling me I would get annoyed but at the same time I do expect and assume that my husband will jump in and do things as needed. She gave examples but it is hard too tell what is going on.

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    • avatar

      anonymousse May 23, 2018, 1:05 pm

      I have to agree with BGM about the Talented Mr. Jude Law.

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      • avatar

        keyblade May 23, 2018, 11:34 pm

        I liked him his has a good ole’ southern boy in Cold Mountain. But I’ll away’s primary be a Damon girl.

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      • avatar

        keyblade May 23, 2018, 11:39 pm

        Sorry, I’ll start reading before hitting submit more.

        edit: I liked Law as a good ole’ southern boy opposite of the gorgeous Nicole Kidman in Cold Mountain. But I’ll always put Damon first.

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    • avatar

      K May 24, 2018, 11:45 am

      That’s exactly what I thought regarding the soil…that should be a “hey, can you help me for 10 minutes” sort of thing. A helpful partner, unless they’re in the middle of something important, should say “Sure!” and help them.

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  • becboo84

    becboo84 May 23, 2018, 9:36 am

    I actually disagree with Wendy a bit on this one… it sounds like your husband is completely gaslighting you. You should absolutely try some of the suggestions above (getting more “buy in,” wall calendar, etc), but if those don’t work over the next month or two, I’d schedule an appt with a marriage counselor, stat. No one likes doing chores around the house, and my guess is you’re doing the vast bulk of them without him asking, so he should step up to the plate when you occasionally need assistance.

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    • avatar

      JD May 23, 2018, 9:40 am

      I agree. He sounds like he isn’t interested in being a partner or helpful part of their household. He sounds like my 15 year old who complains about so much as putting his own dish in the washer.

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    • avatar

      _s_ May 23, 2018, 10:28 am

      Yeah, usually I’m with Wendy but I’m more with becboo on this one. There are two possibilities – either your husband is a gaslighting asshat, or he really DOES have memory issues (I doubt the latter, since he can remember poker night). I would be insisting on both a full medical checkup to test for dementia/memory loss AND an appointment with a marriage counselor.

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  • mrmidtwenties

    mrmidtwenties May 23, 2018, 9:37 am

    If he is really this forgetful, some of it to me sounds forgetful by choice, you could try sending him calendar invites on his phone, my girlfriend will do that for me sometimes for activites definitely need to be in my calendar

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  • Pheebers

    Phoebe May 23, 2018, 9:38 am

    If she’s stressed enough to say so and ask for help with dinner, (and why does she have to cook dinner every night, anyway?) he’d better have a darn good reason for saying no.

    I don’t know for sure, but I also suspect she likes things done a certain way and can be critical when it’s not done right. The kind of person who criticized the way her husband changed the kids’ diapers, so he eventually gave up and let her do it “better.” Same with cooking, etc.

    For some reason I’m really hating their relationship.

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  • avatar

    Hannanas May 23, 2018, 9:47 am

    … do you guys do any fun stuff together?

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  • avatar

    Northern Star May 23, 2018, 10:42 am

    This seems simple: Can your husband remember poker night with his buddies? Tasks he has to do for work? Scheduled maintenance on his car or truck?

    If he’s conveniently forgetting only the stuff you’ve asked him about, like help with household chores or Family Day… well, there you go. He doesn’t feel like he needs to help with the house or want to spend time with your children.

    Those other things are important enough to him to “remember.” Your family’s needs are not. Pathetic.

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  • avatar

    jilliebean May 23, 2018, 11:00 am

    He’s doing this on purpose. I’m sure of this. My ex-husband always forgot family stuff but NEVER let things slide at work, so for him it was that he forgot what he wasn’t really paying attention to. The big difference: he totally admitted that he was flaky with things like this, and accepted full responsibility and didn’t get mad when I reminded him of stuff; in fact he would change his (new) plans accordingly if he had promised to do something but then forgot. I got around this problem sometimes using email, electronic reminders, and shared calendars with reminders. Annoying but necessary.

    Also I used this forgetfulness to my advantage sometimes, like “Don’t you remember you agreed to take my mom somewhere on Saturday?” when in fact he never agreed to that, but then would assume he had agreed but forgot. Evil, I know 🙂

    Bottom line: this guy sounds passive-aggressive and, like others said, not a full partner in the marriage.

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  • avatar

    Bacon Mistress May 23, 2018, 11:11 am

    I dont usually disagree with Wendy but I do this time. The husband sounds lazy and removed (by his choice) or like he is deaf but is trying to play it off.

    My suggestion would be to take him to get a hearing test/ memory test (whatever that may be) from a doctor. If it comes back his hearing/memory are fine it is time to sit down and have a serious conversation about how his actions are affecting the family. And if he continues to prove that he doesnt want to be a functional part of it, then stop planning things with and doing things for him. A therapist may be in order at that point. It depends on how much you want him involved.

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  • avatar

    Smalls May 23, 2018, 11:32 am

    I’m inclined to believe that this is intentional forgetfulness, as well. The line that stood out to me was “…or claiming I did ask, but wasn’t specific enough, and he “didn’t know what I meant”.”

    So why didn’t he ask what you meant if he wasn’ t sure? And because he wasn’t sure, he just didn’t do it? He’s resisting, he’s just not outright telling you “no.”

    My husband grew up in a family dynamic that made him really resistant to what he perceived were “orders.” Early in our relationship, we had to iron it out. Me asking “can you do this”–however innocuous and necessary the ask–triggered that reaction. So we worked on how we communicate in those situations. He worked on managing his reactions (because honestly sometimes you just need to say hey, could you please do this) and I was mindful about how I made requests. This barely ever comes up as an issue anymore – we both balance the workload and if I ask something of him, it’s no big deal.

    TL;DR – The state of the union idea is a good one. Honest communication is key.

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    • avatar

      Lisa May 23, 2018, 1:28 pm

      OMG I dated a guy like this, and I could not deal. He wanted to be asked nicely to do everyday chores “honey can you do the laundry today.” But these were things I did without ever being asked. But if he lifted a finger I had to ask almost beg, and then he wanted accolades for what he did. No freaking way. NEXT.

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      • avatar

        JD May 23, 2018, 5:14 pm

        I had an employee call me mean and quit over the same. Apparently “hey Jane can you grab those files and put them in the bin” is not appropriate because I didn’t say please and thank you. She’d worked for me 2 days and I had praised her repeatedly for picking up on things fast. Sorry kid I don’t have time to coddle you, I’m your boss, just do it. Good riddance. Found Golden Spoon applications in her desk drawer. Ya cause that would be better than someone not saying please and thank you every time they spoke to you. Enjoy that babes.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom May 23, 2018, 5:36 pm

        I had to look up Golden Spoon application to see what you were talking about. I didn’t realize there was a chain called Golden Spoon and thought Golden Spoon was referring to some type of Golden status.

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      • avatar

        JD May 23, 2018, 5:56 pm

        Delicious frozen yogurt. Mini is 80 calories and I split it with hubs for an occasional treat. Darn it. Now I’m craving that.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom May 23, 2018, 6:07 pm

        It sounds yummy!

        I think golden spoon sounded so much like silver spoon I was imagining some young coddled person who felt like they deserved a special status just because they were so golden, whatever golden might be.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark May 23, 2018, 11:43 am

    Does he routinely smash up his car and cellphone? Does he narcissistically keep everybody waiting? Sounds like the poor man has ADHD!!!

    😉

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    • avatar

      ktfran May 23, 2018, 11:54 am

      This, and your other comment are cracking me up today. Much appreciated.

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark May 23, 2018, 12:00 pm

      He needs to be tested. Seriously!
      .
      Oh, wait.

      He’s not also some lifetime slob, too, is he? Scratch the need for testing… as that was the other essential ingredient to inspire seventy or so sympathetic comments.

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    • avatar

      Vathena May 23, 2018, 12:12 pm

      Lol, I thought of that letter too! Honestly, if LW had mentioned anything like that, or if the husband seemed AT ALL concerned about forgetting things (instead of just gaslighting her) I would think that might be a factor. The key to me here is, he gets defensive and angry about “forgetting” things. If he were apologetic, or if he seemed to care how it affected his wife and kids (as the other LW seemed very concerned about how it affected her husband), my opinion would be different – and LW probably wouldn’t have written to Wendy.

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark May 23, 2018, 12:15 pm

      Eh, if somebody expected me to remember exactly what day of the week I would spend several minutes carrying dirt, I suspect I’d quickly forget as God knows said planner will be fucking only too happy to remind me…

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    • avatar

      anonymousse May 23, 2018, 1:06 pm

      Perfect.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse May 23, 2018, 1:13 pm

    He has selective memory issues. His behavior sounds like a 12 year old’s.
    My guess is you’ve enabled this bs in some way, perhaps mommying him (since he won’t even be responsible dinner if you’ve had a bad day) or constantly scheduling minor innocuous tasks that take a few minutes at a time. Just ask him in the moment.

    And get a calendar.

    Is he a good father? Equal partner? Communicative with you? From what you wrote he sounds like he’s seriously got a foot out the door.
    When he forgets or refuses to take over dinner responsibilities for one night, what do you do? Just make the dinner? Because I’d grab my car keys and say, “Have fun making dinner with the kids, I’m going to [you favorite restaurant!]”

    What a jerk.

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  • avatar

    Lisa May 23, 2018, 1:26 pm

    I think she may be dealing with a husband who suffers from functional fixedness, and unfortunately those guys are hard to fix. To start out for whatever reason many men don’t like to be told what to do, or even to be asked , they need to think whatever it is that they are doing is their idea. But guys that have functional fixedness need to feel their own pain in order to do anything. So wife says honey can you do the dishes, husband never does, and wife does them. It’s working for him, so why change it? People that suffer from FF are not motivated by the pain of others. Mostly because they lack the emotional intelligence to understand that while what they are doing could be upsetting to their spouse, because it would not be upsetting to them. So they blow it off entirely. They see it as nagging. Particularly when the husband is the main breadwinner, they think “I give her a nice car, a nice house, support her and all she does is complain, any other woman would love me.” Since they believe the spouse is being unreasonable they dismiss her outright to the point that they do not even hear what she is saying and that is dangerous. In order to fix this or at least try, he need to feel his pain. So here is what I suggest ask him to do a chore you would like say cook dinner and when he does not don’t do it yourself. I know it’s going to be hard. In fact leave the kids with him and go out to dinner on your own and keep doing it. Eventually he will feel his own pain and if he is going to change he will. Deal with the forgetfulness in one of two ways. Record the conversation, or send him a text and make him respond that he agrees. Send follow up reminders to him , put it on his calendar, so when he says I do not recall that you can bust out the tape! I know it sounds extreme but it usually works and if it does not, then go do whatever you had planned with the kids on your own.

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    • avatar

      anonymousse May 23, 2018, 4:03 pm

      That’s not what functional fixedness means.

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      • avatar

        anonymousse May 23, 2018, 4:08 pm

        Regardless of how strange religious-based marriage advice sites use that term, that’s not the correct term.

        Mental set makes better sense, especially in your my pain/your pain example.

        But I trul you don’t think he actually has either of those things, he’s just a lazy DB.

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    • avatar

      JD May 23, 2018, 4:10 pm

      Functional fixedness is a cognitive bias that limits a person to use an object only in the way it is traditionally used.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom May 23, 2018, 6:03 pm

    I wouldn’t jump in and do whatever it was he had agreed to do. If he was supposed to cook dinner and he forgot I would say something like I guess you’ll have to scramble to put something together or I guess you can make peanut butter sandwiches but I wouldn’t do it for him. Leave him to figure it out on his own like you would any other adult. If he can’t help carry the bags of dirt then leave them in the car and then let the other things that would end up being carried in the back of the car snowball. So if the dirt didn’t come out on Wednesday and you were going to pick up groceries on Thursday then tell him you can’t get the groceries because the dirt is filling up the car and so he will need to pick up the groceries. Don’t jump in and do this for him. If he then doesn’t pick up the groceries tell him he will need to figure out what to cook for dinner because you can’t cook what you planned and he will need to figure out the kids lunches. He needs to experience how one thing not done can lead to other things not getting done.

    I’d get a joint calendar that sends text alerts and then confirm with him before you put something on the calendar and then he can’t forget or at least he can no longer complain that he forget. We have a calendar like that in our email and we’ve combined calendars so we both get alerts from each calendar. I set my calendar to send two alerts, one comes a day in advance and one two days in advance because I don’t check messages constantly and some alerts came in after I had checked things for the day. I like the double alert. Figure out a system that works for both of you.

    Try to not schedule your husband too much. Some people like schedules but some don’t. I get tired of having all of my time scheduled in advance. I want some free time, some down time. I also want to be consulted and to like what goes on my schedule. I resent anyone who tries to force me to do things I don’t like. I would rather get up and if it is a nice day on a weekend pick something that fits the day. It could be anything from going to the coffee shop to going to the beach but it needs to be something I feel like doing on that day. I don’t want it scheduled in advance. Things like birthday parties were always scheduled in advance in our family but fun family days out were spur of the moment. It depended on everyone being in a good mood and everyone feeling like they wanted to do the activity. I think that often it works better to do one thing instead of trying to schedule an entire day. The fun thing could be going for ice cream or for a bike ride on the bike trail or going kayaking on the river but it needs to appeal to everyone because if anyone is whining through whatever it is the day is torture for everyone. If you would like to do something that does take all day, like going to an amusement park, ask him if he would like to do that and if he says yes ask him to pick a day that works for him and then see if it also works for you. Remember that it is okay to not want to do something big that takes all day. It can get really miserable if kids get tired and hungry. If your husband’s experience of “family days” is that they are tediously long and end up with whiny, crying kids and a good portion of it is miserable don’t push to make him or the kids do it.

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    YepThatHappens May 24, 2018, 8:43 am

    My husband has trouble remembering things fairly often. Things that have helped: shared calendar with event notes, shared list app (we use Wunderlist but there are several options), using online shopping options to cut down in forgotten items, nightly quick conversations about the next day’s plans. It also seems to help if I share the reasons behind a request. “Hey, could you pick up a present for X on your way home?” is more forgettable for him than, “Hey, could you pick up a present for X on your way home? that birthday party is Saturday morning and Friday after work is ——, so we need to get it today.”

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    saneinca May 25, 2018, 12:50 pm

    The LW’s husband sounds like my roommate from college days. She would never clean anything on her own and if I asked her to clean, she would be like you are not my boss.

    I used to be so irritated with her that I could breathe peacefully only after I moved out. Heard she went through a couple of divorces in a decade. I was not surprised.

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