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Somewhat OT - Mexican stand-off with DH over cleaning

bd-sm's picture

Hi STalkers!

Happily disengaged, and looking for some general advice when it come to a DH who is very recalcitrant in regards to doing anything around the house (Skid mess and otherwise).

DH has VERY traditional gender beliefs, and thinks cleaning is 'emasculating'.
He works three days a week, I work 5 + lots of overtime and am very definitely the primary breadwinner of the family.
We've gotten past child rearing/bathing and feeding the skids being 'women's work', but the only way to get there was to take such a gigantic leap back that he was left to choose between feeding, clothing and bathing them himself or letting them starve. Effectively I had to completely remove myself from the house for the entirety of his visitation time for months. Painful, frustrating and very inconvenient, but we got there in the end.

However, playing chicken with the cleaning doesn't seem to be working quite so well.
I've been very deliberately only cleaning up after myself for the last 2-3 months, and leaving skid and DH mess even though it drives me crazy.
Skid bedroom is so revolting that I honestly think child protective services would revoke his custody if they saw it (But thankfully I can just shut the door on the room - Not my monkeys! Frustrating that it's too filthy for them to play in there so they spill out into the rest of the house, though).
I'm not sure if the fact that we've reached crisis point means that things are about to start getting better, but DH has started throwing out perfectly good kitchenwear and replacing it rather than washing it. Replacing it out of the joint account, might I add, then coming to me in a panic at the end of the month because he's spent the rent money.
I'm very frugal and anti-waste, and throwing out dishes and mugs rather than putting them in the dishwasher because you've left them so long they're yucky and you don't want to touch them makes me want to hyperventilate.

Should I cut my losses and stop playing chicken with the mess before we end up any further financially behind, or would quitting now be stumbling at the last hurdle and making months of not being able to have anyone over for nothing?

daphne_40x's picture

Personally, I would keep separate checking accounts since your dh is financially irresponsible.

And no, I would not quit now as it will show that you don't really mean it when you set boundaries.

Lastly, traditional gender beliefs do not include having your cake and eating it too like a lot of non domestic stay at home moms. I.e. it suits them if they benefit from not being the heavy lifter financially and not having to lift a finger in the household.

CANYOUHELP's picture

I suggest buying paper products and not giving in to this manipulation. A separate account is definitely in order, as well. You will have to wait this gentleman out again.

Icansorelate's picture

he finds taking care of his children and home emasculating, yet he does not find being underemployed and you being the primary wage earner emasculating?

Take away his access to joint funds and tell him to grow the f up.

FieryEscape's picture

Exactly ! This manbaby needs to grow up and clean up after his brats. I'd go ballistic if someone decided that throwing out perfectly good things and buying new ones instead of washing them was the smarter choice. He is an idiot...a lazy, selfish twit.

notsurehowtodeal's picture

Hire a cleaning person and charge it to his account.

What does he do with all of his extra time? The situation you have described is ridiculous.

notasm3's picture

I would kick his worthless ass to the curb and make a better life for myself - alone or with a new partner.

I DESPISE these worthless POS men who can't stoop to do "women's work". And even more so when they are leaches who don't want to even do the "man's work" of providing financial support.

This man is a total USER/LOSER.

bd-sm's picture

Best example ever, from urban dictionary:

A no-win/no-lose situation - the poor man's mutually assured destruction.

There's a 19th Century story in Mexico that illustrates the Mexican Standoff very well. Two horse carriages going in the opposite direction entered a narrow street and met halfway through. Neither could move forward, and each insisted that the other back his horse carriage up. Each sent servants for food and water, and both stayed firm for several days, until the authorities made both of them back up.

Last In Line's picture


Separate account for your money. Put only your portion of household expenses in the mutual account. Let him figure out what to do when rent is due and the money is gone because he spent it on crap.

Put all the remaining kitchenware away. Purchase paper/plastic products.

Horrific kid rooms: if the door shuts, shut it. If not, throw away all the stuff keeping the door from shutting, then shut it.

Last step: reflect on life and determine if this is really how you want to spend the remainder of your days.

bd-sm's picture

"Separate account for your money. Put only your portion of household expenses in the mutual account. "
That's exactly what we have happening - the joint account is meant to be only for rent and bills. Way back in the early days, I fought very hard for this. Had no idea how grateful I would be for my insistence once I found out what dating a man with kids is like - I only protested at the time because buying each other's christmas and birthday presents out of mutual funds seemed very unromantic. Thanks, Past Self! *high five*

"Let him figure out what to do when rent is due and the money is gone because he spent it on crap."
I don't know if I can take the game of chicken that far, or how to without cutting off my nose to spite my face, as it were.
I get evicted too if we don't pay rent, and left with a big stain on my record as an individual. Letting myself get evicted when I do have the money to make up the shortfall just on principle would be scary.

Cover1W's picture

I had a little chat with DP early this summer, kitchen remains clean or I pack away all the kitchen items and replace with disposable. So far so good. Although every item I recover from the general living area by me is cleaned, dried and put into a box in the pantry. No one cares that I am only one cleaning then no one gets to use the stuff again.

Go disposable.

AmIWicked's picture

Did you marry my ex-husband?

Twice in our 18 month marriage, every single kitchen item was dirty. Pots, silverware,...he ate off a Frisbee once instead of washing the dishes!

He had started stacking them on the floor because there was no more sink/counter space.
We got bugs.
We got mold.
Our apartment stunk as soon as you walked in the door.
He also didn't do any other housework like laundry or bill paying.

Ex husband worked less than 20 hours a week, stayed up late and played video games all day with his free time.
One of my jobs started at 4am and he constantly woke me up with yelling comments at the video game playing.
I was working two jobs because the one didn't have insurance and getting my bachelor's degree. (Told me right after our honeymoon he had flunked out of college right before our wedding.)

"Boys" like this don't grow up.
This is flat out irresponsibility and immaturity. NOT emasculating.

CANYOUHELP's picture

A Frisbee, seriously... now that is hilarious....I know it wasn't back then, however. But, did make me smile this morning. Glad you are out of that too!

bd-sm's picture

Careful, he's two women's ex-husband, you might not be joking!

I've watched him serve himself and the skids cereal in plastic cups rather than washing bowls.

Powerfamily's picture

Funny how he feels emasculated by picking up his and hos brats mess but isn't man enough to go and get a better/2nd job to be the main earner.

I'd be getting tough with him and have a no hole barred conversation about how he has 3 choices, either man up and start out earning you, get over him being a 'man' and clean up the home as he is the one only working 3 days, not you. Or him and his brats can find a new home because you are not doing for him.

And as for taking money out the bill account then he needs to replace it and he will no longer have access to that account. As not only is a kept man he is also a thief because he is stealing from you as he knows your fear of be evicted will mean you will always replace it.