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Dr. Rossi
Dr. Rossi, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4627
Experience:  PsyD, LPC, CHt
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My husband, with good intentions, starts projects & doesnt

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My husband, with good intentions, starts projects & doesn't finish. If I bring it up, he gets furious! I would like to just hire someone to complete the job, as you suggested to another frustrated wife. I'm perfectly willing to do this, but he threatens that if I do that, he will never do anything for me (the house) again. He says I'm unappreciative & impatient. I've waited 10 mos for him to finish the kitchen & 6 mos to finish the bath. Should I hire someone or wait frustrated indefinitely?

Dr. Rossi :


Dr. Rossi :

You've waited for such a long time already and he gets defensive if you say something to him about it.

Dr. Rossi :

It may be better to hire someone at this time.

Dr. Rossi :

For whatever reason your husband is not following through.

Dr. Rossi :

If he's already accused you of being impatient, you could let him know that you'd rather see things completed in a timely manner and hire someone for the job.

Dr. Rossi :

You can point out to him that this will allow him to do whatever else he has to do.

Dr. Rossi :

There are many reasons due to which he's not finishing his work. ADD, feeling overwhelmed, etc.

Dr. Rossi :

In a way, the time he takes to complete something can be seen as a way to feel in control.

Dr. Rossi :

He may not even realize that this is what he's doing.

Dr. Rossi :

What do you think?


I think he definitely needs to feel in control. That's what he always says that "I can't control him" and that "any effort on my part to make things happen" in a timely manner (hiring someone, for example) will just "backfire" and cause exactly the opposite response that I'm looking for. I don't know how to resolve this without causing him to withdraw and follow through with his threat to never do anything for me again. I don't know how to make him realize that I'm not impatient or unappreciative. If he asks me to do something, he gives me a deadline and says, "if you don't do something by this date, I'm going to (insert xyz).". If I do the same, he says it's manipulating and will damage our relationship. I feel so helpless and controlled because I don't want to upset him, that I'm now just furious with him. This shouldn't be a power struggle, I just want us to be fair to each other. Hiring someone without his blessing will be war. how do I get his blessing? or should I just go ahead and do it, knowing he will be angry and hope he gets over it?

Dr. Rossi :

It seems that he gets easily upset at you for pointing things out. If you're to hire someone, that may be another scenario for him to get angry over. You really are not the one causing his anger. It is his choice. You could find a smaller project first that you hire someone for the job. Let him know that you value his time and would like to do something w/ him if he wants to instead of him spending time on the project.

Dr. Rossi :

He could decide to see that as an opportunity to relax and have good time w/ you or get into a power struggle and become angry. And you are correct. It should not come to that.

Dr. Rossi :

If there is a family member that could assist him w/ any of the projects you could propose that. Maybe his ego won't feel as bruised as if it was help from a stranger.

Dr. Rossi :

You don't want to wait indefinitely.

Dr. Rossi :

You should not have to. This is your home as well.

Dr. Rossi :

You have to have control in what gets done when it comes to your living/comfort

Dr. Rossi :

If this issue had been going on for quite some time, then you'd have to do something about it as it does not seem that he would do it.

Dr. Rossi :

You just have to weight one scenario where he gets upset (when you ask/remind him to finish the job) with anotehr( hiring another person to do it)

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I know you tried to answer me as best you could, but he thinks I've blown this out of proportion and that it's ridiculous that I spent money to get a professional answer and that I didn't get a solution to our problem. From what I gather from your answer, I only have two options:
a) hire someone and take a chance of him being furious and never wanting to do anything for me again, therefore robbing him of the opportunity of feeling useful
b) waiting indefinitely for him to decide when or whether or not to finish the projects, feeling more and more frustrated and angry all the while and just let him have the control he obviously needs at the expense of me feeling like I don't have a voice in our relationship.
Neither one of those things work for me...sounds like a lose/lose situation. I was hoping for something more of a compromise. He's smart (but stubborn) and feels manipulated, even though it's not meant that way when I say "I value your time and would like to hire someone to free up your time to do something fun together" or anything of that nature...believe me I tried. I want to make sure you get paid for your time, but I'm not totally satisfied with the answer since I don't feel it gave me a compromise option that I'm looking for that will leave us BOTH satisfied. Maybe there isn't one...

The solution would come from you. You were asking what to do- should you hire someone or "wait indefinitely." You've already waited for quite some time correct? What you decide to do in the end would depend on 1)what you can tolerate 2) whether or not you hope that he will see reason in what you ask of him 3) if you're able to deal w/ his emotions regardless of what you chose in the end. 4) what you want to finally happen

I've opted out of the question so anyone else can offer their feedback.

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Dr. Rossi, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4627
Experience: PsyD, LPC, CHt
Dr. Rossi and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

Hi! You know, to give you the best answer, I think I should ask you a few questions first that will help define the problem and the situation.

I've read your question and Dr. Rossi's answer and your follow up. While Dr. Rossi's answer is excellent in giving you the practical options, it was helpful to hear from you what you are truly looking for: a way to find some middle ground here.

Your say he's very proud, but it seems like we're dealing with something more than that: his pride seems to be covering real sense of low self worth: he's hyper-sensitive to anything that might be a negative statement about him. This is rarely limited to one area, like being asked to do a task. Is this a general problem? How else does it show itself in the relationship?

Is he aware of how super sensitive he is?

Would he be willing to work on his hyper-sensitivity in therapy? Or at least in couples therapy with you?

By the way, are there any mental health issues?

Are either of you getting any treatment right now? If so, what type? How is it going?

If not, when was the last treatment? What type of treatment was it? Was it helpful?

Any extra information that will help, feel free to share.

Dr. Mark

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