Post # 1
How do you deal when you are very detail-oriented and your fiance/husband is a total scatterbrain? I try and I try to do the i-dotting and t-crossing for the both of us, but inevitably I fail and it just seems so futile. I feel really frustrated right now.
As examples, in the last 1.5 years he’s lost (separately, not all at once) his work badge (very important, this was a big deal), his keys, his wallet, his social security card, his good winter coat (that got lost when he put it on top of his car and drove off), his dress shoes, two pairs of headphones for an iPod he had had for 6 months, and god knows what else. Some things we’ve found, others not.
I try so hard to make up for him, but something always seems to slip by and it’s killing me. The latest saga is getting his car information converted over to the new state we moved to six months ago. I’ve been bugging him to do it when I did (twice…once to move and once to change my name). He’s doing it now only because he got caught by the DMV of the other state and they’re canceling his license next week. When the DMV snafu started, he did not check online to see what documents he would need until the morning he planned to go. He then discovered that he had to apply for a replacement social security card (since he had lost his), and so today he came home with a printout from them—that does not show the number. So he’ll have to go back tomorrow. Sigh.
The thing that bothers me the most is that he seems to have no inkling or not to care that he could help fix all of this, if he wanted to. He needs to be more careful. I am detail oriented only because I make a point to be. I just wish he would try harder to get on top of things. I want to help him but he doesn’t want my help. I try to idiot-proof his life, but a girl can do only so much (for example, I made him a duplicate housekey that’s in a magnetized case in his tirewell on his car for when he locks himself out of the apartment…whereas before he used to call a locksmith for $50 a pop several times a year. This gesture he liked.).
It hurts me that he does not make more of an effort, if not for himself then at least for me. I know I’m probably being too controlling but some of this stuff is important. It’s clear to me I can’t live our whole marriage like this and I don’t know what to do. Help?
Post # 3
Put this in a note to him. You spell it out pretty well.
Post # 4
In every relationship we deal with compromises for the betterment of being together. Can you deal with all his idiosyncrasies or is it a deal breaker if he doesn’t shape up? Only you can answer that. Over the years I’ve gotten used to my SO’s uniqueness of doing the dishes, (which involves doing the dishes that are only in the sink and being completely oblivious to the pots and pans on the stove), or not recycling bottles because he doesn’t want to rinse them out. Rather than focusing on the frustration it gives you to have to "bail him out" of his messes, try to focus on helping him solve it, (like you did with the duplicate keys). Some people are just not good at being detail-oriented. In your man’s case, maybe getting him a really nice valet so he can dump his "stuff" in one place, (which will help him learn to leave his things in one place). In the end we love our other half no matter what type of shortcomings they have. And being their better half, we do what we can to support them, even if it’s dealing with their less-than-ideal habits.
Post # 5
He may make small improvements, but I doubt he will drastically change & be more like you, which it sounds like you want him to be.
My Fiance and I are similar. He forgets things I ask him to do all the time, like forgetting one crucial ingredient for dinner, so we can’t have it and have to make another trip to the store the next day instead (my schedule is crazy busy, so these little things add up). I’ve found making lists HELPS but does not solve everything. I am SUCH a planner…I try to focus though on the *balance we bring each other…sometimes I need his carefree attitude, and sometimes he needs my structure…sometimes he seems careless to me, and sometimes I am an anal nag…can you view it in the big picture? What are some of this other traits that you like?
Besides the monetary impact of him losing things, does this really have an impact on you or is it just frustrating? For example, the DMV thing is HIS problem to deal with. If he can’t change the forgetfulness, I would definitely ask him to NOT involve you in the following drama. For example, say, "I’d rather not hear about the DMV xyz, because you are stressing me out. If there is something I can do to help, let me know, otherwise, I’d rather not talk about it."
Oh, and if "misery likes company", I have a related story…my man moved to TX about 3 yrs ago…I kept nagging him to get a TX drivers license, and he wouldn’t. So, we’re going to get our marriage license soon, so he finally goes…RIGHT BEFORE new years, so then they won’t see his (temporary) id as valid, as there is no picture, LOL…it was annoying to me, but luckily he didn’t mind me laughing about it and I moved on & enjoyed my night.
Post # 6
My fiance could have written this post. I’m similar to your husband, and I know he gets frustrated. Our brains definitely work in different ways – he’s so organized with everything, and I’m very scattered and lose things. I even have the phone # memorized for the cc company for when I lose my credit card. In the end I get things done, but sometimes it just takes longer…and I have the attention span of a gnat. He has lots of patience with me, and I’ve actually gotten a lot better since being with him. I think he’s rubbing off on me and I am trying to take him more into account. I don’t do these things on purpose, but eveytime I forget something or lose something, the stress and time end up affecting our time together. It’s a process!
Post # 7
I think you need to sit him down and explain (very calmly and nicely) why this is an issue. My Fiance is very similar to yours only mine hs started to recognize that this is an issue and he is working very hard to correct it. Like your guy, he loses things constantly (including his license, his work stuff, his Nike+ kit, his keys, his wallet, and we had the exact same DMV situation. I can go on and on) and I’m the one that typically fixes these things. But one day, I stopped and told him why I had an issue and why it was a problem. He listened, agreed, but it didn’t really sink in until he couldn’t leave for work one morning because he lost his keys and his ID card and I wouldn’t find them for him. He had a big meeting and was searching frantically for them. I looked at him and told him, "this is what I’m talking about. You need to think about these things and keep better track. I can’t always do this for you." He promised me he’d try to do better if I’d help him find them, so I walked over the where his jacket was and picked up the jacket and there they were, right where he left them. After that, he has started to do a lot better. He has a routine for his stuff now and follows it.
Things aren’t perfect and we still have some issues with him forgetting from time to time, but I can pick up the slack there. I’ve had to realize that he will always be forgetful but I love him for other reasons and you know, I have a better a memory and am more organized so he doesn’t always need to be. Just know, you aren’t going to change him. He will only get better if he wants to.
Post # 8
whoa..i seriously thought i was the only one. haha
ok, so my Fiance and his absentmindedness and sometimes lack of things that i consider common sense drives me crazy!
he is better about things now because we did have a heart to heart about this. i didn’t nag, complain, nor get irate in this conversation. it wasn’t an easy conversation because he didn’t know it was bugging me that much, but he was completely understanding. in the end, we came up with a few systems to make things better. he also emphasizes more often now how he appreciates all that i do for him. and sometimes, as frustrating as his cluelessness can be, a simple appreciation of your efforts makes things better.
Post # 9
Okay – you know what? He’s not going to change. If you married him thinking that he would, you were wrong.
Both my husband and my father are the same way. It’s part absent-mindedness, and part that it’s just not important to them. When Darling Husband loses something, he will just say "It’ll turn up." He generally doesn’t even make an effort to look for whatever it is, untill he really needs it. He has a beautiful $1200 dress watch that was once lost for almost a year. He has driven off with his wallet (which contained all his credit cards and quite a bit of money) on top of his car; luckily some kids brought it back. He has no idea where his social security card is. He has had two replacement drivers’ licenses in the past year.
But you know what? Most of the time it’s not my problem. Just like it’s not your problem. If he wants to spend whatever money is allocated as "his" on a new pair of headphones every other month, how does that affect you? If he has to make three trips to the DMV before he gets his license straightened out, it’s his time wasted, right? You’re only going to drive both of you crazy by insisting that he be just like you. And I’ll bet that there’s a good side to his personality. In our case, while I’m organized to the point of OCD, my husband is really, really laid back. And that’s good – because if we were both as uptight as I can be, we’d make each other miserable.
I would recommend that you do two things. First, whenever what is going on with his inattention to detail doesn’t really affect you – let him deal with it himself. It doesn’t sound like he is expecting you to solve his problems, so let him do it on his own. After all, you’re his wife – not his mother. Second – when something does affect you – make sure he knows that THIS ONE THING is really important and has to be done. My husband is really good at accomplishing the things that I have let him know really have to be done. But the key to this is to pick your battles carefully. Only a few things are really, really important. If you really choose them carefully, you can get him to follow through. If the list just goes on and on, he’s likely to do very little about it.
And finally – as my husband likes to remind me – he’s not perfect. Obviously. And that’s okay, because neither you or I are perfect either. Trust me (because I’m like you) your OCD insistance on knowing where everything is drives him just as crazy as his lack of attention to the whereabouts of his belongings drives you. But he loves you anyway. Over time, maybe you can both change a little – he can be more responsible, and you relax a little more about it, and you’ll both be lots happier.
Post # 10
My fiancé is just as scatterbrained. It’s insane. Normally it’s no biggie, I don’t mind helping him, but when it does become an issue, I find it important to calmly discuss this with him. The problem is that he makes the most rediculous excuse for his "notwithitness" — he says that’s just how he is, that it’s not like he can change that part of him! Isn’t that insane?? He’s dealt with ADHD and hypoglycemia all his life, so he claims that this is the reason he can’t make this kind of change – he can’t try harder to PAY ATTENTION when he REALLY needs to! A couple of months ago, he left the burner on the stove on! All day! When we got home, I couldn’t help but be irate with him for not being more careful. Things like that are dangerous! He still claimed that’s in his nature, and it’s not something that he can change, or knows how to change. I told him it’s normal for things like this to be difficult. In this situation, I recommended we put a little note on the back of the door saying "turn off the stove!" – little things like that can always help refresh one’s memory, in an innocent way! He’s still skeptical, and is negligent to agree with me that a person CAN become less scatterbrained.
Has anyone else dealt with such resistance to help for absentmindedness?
Post # 11
hah, story of my life, altho mine isn’t as bad as some. he’s good at not losing things, except his keys. How I don’t understand, cuz there’s only about 50 keys on the same set of rings!! But after a little searching they always turn up. He blames it on the fact that he doesn’t carry a purse like me, so he doesn’t have a central place for everything. the other ladies have given good advice, pick your battles with him or he won’t want to change at all. Their stubborn like mules I tell ya!! (haha as he’s sitting next to me giving me the look. telling me he’s a bull not a mule!) As has also been pointed out, there are probably things about you that he finds absolutely annoying, but he loves you anyway. Just like you love him. If you sit with him and make it known that importatn things need to be done in a timely matter, hey even rewards for good behavior and not forgetting something he normally would may make him less forgetful.
Again with the animal references – you CAN teach a dog new tricks if your consistent!
Post # 12
Oh my god, your post mirrors my life. I can’t even tell you how many times my fiance has lost his keys, it’s in the double digits (in a two year period). He’s also his wallet, clothes, sunglasses, jacket pieces to suit – I could go on. He forgets to take his laptop to work sometimes, forgets appointments, we went to a wedding and he FORGOT HIS PANTS – I call him a goldfish because he is so easily distracted. He swims around his little bowl and forgets. He even managed to wash (and subsequently, destroyed) the receipt to my engagement ring the day after he bought it, which we needed as a key piece of relationship evidence for our visa applications.
I have tried making lists for him, leaving things in obvious places so he doesn’t forget them. Sometimes he’s good for a few days but then it’s all down hill again (probably because he ‘forgot’ our conversation). I think the key is that I am super organized so I make sure things don’t fall through the cracks. And how can you not find a guy hilarious who forgets his pants! Although I am sure I won’t think he’s so funny when he ‘forgets’ our children…
Post # 12
morningstar: I felt like I was reading my own thoughts! My husband is so all over the place that he loses things on a daily basis. His car is always an embarrassing mess. His garage looks like a bomb went off in it. I would love to use the garage for some storage, but can’t because things are such a mess out there. He’s constantly losing his sunglasses, so I went as far as buying him a backup pair. People may sayd that it’s not my problem, but it is my problem because we share a bank account, so when he loses stuff and we have to replace it, that’s money taken away from paying our other bills or money taken away from savings. We often swap cars based on who is driving the furthest for meetings that day and it is so embarrassing when I pull up to a meeting after he’s driven one of our cars. It’s usually got crap strewn all over the place with sticky coffee stains everywhere. Also, he’s always late and I’m always waiting in the car for him to get out of the house. He’s always lolligagging around and wasting time, even when he knows we have to be somewhere important on time. I’ve asked him a million times to check traffic prior to us driving somewhere, but he always waits till we get on the freeway and by then it’s too late, cause we’re already stuck int he traffic jam. Not to mention, it’s also very dangerious for him to be looking at traffic while he’s driving. He recently rearended someone when I wasn’t with him. He was texting and being totally irresponsible. He didn’t even tell me about it till he came home with a rental and I inquired. So it cost us a $500 dedcutible, car rental, because our ins only covered part of it and he went and rented a huge Yukon instead of an economic car, so every couple of days we had to put $100 of gas in it for 2 weeks. The car that was in the shop was our Prius, so we are accustomed to $40 of gas every 1-2 weeks. Our car insurance was already sky high prior to the accident because of his ticket for running a red light. I was on him everyday about taking an on-line traffic school corse to make sure it doesn’t go in his record, but in the end, he waited too long and missed the deadline. I don’t know what to do. I feel so sad & frustrated about everything. I often times feel like he’s a major liablity to us and I don’t want the rest of my life to be this stressful. I want to have children so bad, but I am 99% sure that he will eventually forget our baby in the car seat and God only know what would happen then. I can rely on him to finish even the most simple tasks correctly. If he does the dishes, he’ll always leave the pans on the stove and something in the sink. Jobs are never 100% completed and never done to the best of his ability. I call him “Mr. Half-asser”. He’s a really nice laid back person, but all this is really starting to wear me down. We’ve only been married 3 years and I often times have missgivings about marrying someone who is so irresponsible. For all you engaged people, if your fiance’s scatter brain causes you stress at lease once per week, you really should rethink if you can deal with the frustration for the REST of your life. I’m a very easy going person, but very aware of my actions, so I tend to be more on top of things, but his forgetfulness, makes me uneasy and I feel like it has changed who I am. I can’t be easy going and relax, because I constantly have to think for the both of us. I always tell him that I feel like his mother, but I want to be his wife. I’ve begged him to think more and be more aware of his actions, but it’s always the same with him. I’ve gone from laughing about it to wanting to cry about it. Please help! Is it worth leaving the marriage over?
Post # 13
suzanno: If you and your spouse share your money equally, it does effect both people. Also, if he’s busy running around looking for things and replacing lost items, that takes away from other productive things he could be doing, therefore his spouse has to pick up the slack. There’s no way to say that it does not effect the spouse. I know because I live through this on a daily basis myself and it feels like you can never catch a break. Just when you think you’ve completed your own to-do list, he’s created a situation that you need to help with because the loss of that item may effect you both. Easier said than done I guess…