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42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband and I have such frustrating conversations over mundane things. I know....welcome to the club!

This is a minor rant but I seriously want to change this pattern.
I will give you the most recent example.

When I got a cell phone my husband refused to get a family plan because he felt that he did not need one. Adding, of course, that they were stupid etc.

Well, over the years, if my husband had to travel with our son and without me for long distances, I have insisted he take my cell phone "just in case".

This has been Ok. I always felt that it was a small sacrifice and only happens once a year or so.

But about 2 months ago my husband got a night job on the weekends. At first he wanted to borrow the phone because he did not have his security card and had to call security to let him in. As soon as he got a security card then he would not need the phone any more. When he got his level one card he continued with the phone because "there could be problems" until he got his level 2 card. I thought this was reasonable. But now he has his security card and he refuses to leave me the cell phone. It drives me crazy because
A. It is mine
B. My phone numbers are stored in there and some numbers are unlisted
C. On Mondays I have to drop my child off at school and if I hit a train (about 3 times a week) I have to be able to call and let work know I will be late. It is not a problem to be late - I just need to be able to call. He has the phone all day on Monday because he is coming off his Sunday shift and I won't see him until later that night.
D. I bought the phone for MY security and I don't have that if he has my phone.

Any way, I have suggested several times that he needs his own phone but he has ignored my hints. So today I asked him if he really NEEDED the phone because I wanted to have it because I would be out and about with my son and would have to make calls later. Just for the night. It was the first time I have asked him to use my phone on the weekend since he got his job.

Instead of just admitting that he needed his own phone he put up a big fuss. Arguing strenuously that I don't need the phone overnight and can't I just write down the numbers I need etc.

Of course I gave him my list of reasons (a-d above). But he just argued harder. Very irritating because he did not want to get a cell phone in the first place.

To my mind he should have said "oh, I am sorry, I did not realize you needed your phone. Of course I will get my own"

It was obvious he thought I was being selfish and silly. He gets that look on his face like I am nasty bug he cant wait to squash. At that point I just said "look, take the phone tonight. But you have to get your own phone" and used a tone that makes it clear the sharing has gone on long enough.

Of course it is a small conversation. But it is one of many and these little incidents really put a bad taste in my mouth.

I don't think I am silly at all. I loaned him the phone for a short period and it has turned into a semi-permanent arrangement.

How can I break this pattern? Is there a way to get him to? I use my most reasonable and careful language and I never just spring it on him. I have been saying "gee, if you need the phone every night perhaps you should get your own phone" casually for a while now. I have also pointed out that pay as you go phones are cheap and inexpensive to keep etc etc etc.

Is there a way to break these cycles? They are a huge part of why I feel so frustrated and fed up. If there is something I can do from my end to keep them from happening I am all for it. I will do anything!

Thanks for the ear. Suggestions are appreciated.

8 Posts
Before I give you a real response, may I ask you a
couple of questions?

#1 - Can you reasonably afford two phones? In
other words, is the reason for his point of view
arguably that you can't afford it?

#2 - When do you have these irritating conversations?


42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The phone - yes, we could afford another one. He only turned down getting a phone because he felt that he did not need one. Now he needs one and he has decided mine will suit him just fine.

When? We have these conversations all the time. To me it is a matter of respect. He should not assume that it is OK to take my phone indefinitely. He has also "borrowed" my headphones (that I use for research) and commandeered them to the point I just bought a new pair because I was always having to ask to "borrow" my own equipment. He also did the same with my camera. It was a very expensive gift from my mother. He "borrowed" it every day for a year saying "I'll just use yours". If I said it was not OK he got bent out of shape about it. Telling me "well, its not like you are using it or anything"
I have had tell him NOT to drop dirty rags from oil painting on my pillow. Why do I have to even remind him that oil paint does not belong on the bed?
And to please not use my bath towel to mop up kitchen spills. (its always MY towel - why not get one out of the cabinet?).

The point is, he does not show simple courtesy and asking him to be respectful by reminding him of boundaries only results in an argument. If I press the issue I am "selfish" and "unreasonable".

Ok - so there it is. The whole can of worms. That is it wide open. I got going and did not know when to stop!

To make matters worse I spent years thinking I WAS unreasonable. It has taken me years to realize that it was part of a larger pattern of disrespect. I should have realized the pattern when we moved into our house. He spent weeks literally standing in my way and blocking my passage through the house. I would have to ask him to move out of the way so I could get into the kitchen or bathroom.

Although I now recognize that he is disrespectful as opposed to just being hurt about it all. I still wonder if there isnt something I am doing wrong.

When you train dogs it is often the technique that is counter intuitive that yields the best results. Perhaps marriage is the same way. Perhaps there is a technique that I am missing.

What do you think about this?

8 Posts
Get him a cheap track phone, it can cost as little as $13 and $7 a month, tell him it is a gift.

Hi pigpen

I like this solution, but you've got bigger problems
than a phone, don't you.

So let's take a quick look at these.

#1 - It sounds like you make a big effort (a lot of big
efforts) to be accommodating and understanding. This
doesn't appear to be reciprocated.

#2 - It also sounds like he has issues with you
succeeding. Now I don't know this to be the case, but
if money's not the issue here, then why does he need
your headphones and your camera. Why not just go out
and buy additional units for his own needs?

#3 - It sounds like he doesn't communicate in ways
aimed at peaceful resolution. Rather - and I say this
without being a fly on the wall, so I could be all wet,
yes? - it sounds like he communicates in ways designed
to manipulate - to get you off his back and to give him
what he wants at the same time.

This, of course, undermines your ability to give
freely, as well as your ability to trust him to play
fairly with you.

I'm not real big on the whole notion of "fairness"
being the ultimate value, but it does have a place.

Help me help you by answering this question: What would
happen if you just got two of everything from this
point forward?

I'm not saying that you should do this. I'm simply
trying to understand him, you and the dynamics between.


104 Posts
So what would happen if you left your phone (or camera, or headphones, or whatever) somewhere by 'accident'? Would he buy himself one then?

8 Posts
Hi again,

As can be seen from the number of posts I've made here,
I'm the new (one of the new?) guy in this sandbox.
Hopefully, I don't come off as "holier than thou" or a
wet blanket, and I certainly don't intend to ruffle
feathers; apologies in advance if I do.

I advocate against meeting "game playing" by one's
husband or wife by playing games yourself.

Most such problems relate to communication and trust.

You can really only be responsible for yourself and
hope that your husband joins in responsibly as well.
You can also set up REAL (again - I don't recommend
gamed) consequences in the event that he doesn't
respond responsibly within a certain time frame.

These are matters for you to decide.

You most certainly have a right to expect some common
courtesy and decency from the man who supposedly loves

Communication can be incredibly difficult if your
husband doesn't want to communicate in a trust-building

My recommendations will almost always be that you think
about what you want thoroughly. Then figure out how to
approach the subject with your husband, including your
opening comments, the "right" time if there are better
times than others, and so forth.

And then I would almost always preface it with
something like this:

"Honey (or whatever term of endearment you use), I've
got a problem that we need to discuss. When would be a
good time for us to do it?"

By letting him pick the time, it helps YOU see whether
or not he's going to play fairly with you. If so, all
to the good.

But suppose he says, "Never." Then you've got some
decisions to make, yes?

Or suppose he picks a time that you both know is next
to impossible for you to be there. Show a little
patience and remind him of that fact. If he won't play
fairly, then again you've got decisions to make, etc.

I don't want to go into all the possible scenarios. You
should be able to tell if your husband is playing
fairly with you or not. That's what I would be
striving for: mutual effort to make things work between
you. That's not a lot to ask for in a marriage - and
yet it may be everything.


42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, I guess there really isn't anything more I can do.

I have done the talk thing. That has turned out badly. I have bought him his own stuff. He isn't satisfied with that because to his mind if the wanted object is in the house then there is no need for another. Then it becomes a fight about money and suddenly I am unreasonable and selfish.

I really dont like this.
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