What's new
  • Guest
    As per our long standing policy of not permitting medical advice on the forum - all threads concerning the Coronavirus will be locked.
    For more info on the coronavirus please see the link below:
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html

Wife absolutely refuses to give me a say in home decor.

I'm fortunate that my wife is pretty good at decorating. She keeps up with what colors are in style, walks through model homes occasionally and doesn't do anything that isn't generally appealing to most people. So in terms of decorating I let her take the lead on that one. I'll get involved, and generally have some input, if there is a home improvement project involved as we do this stuff ourselves instead of hiring everything out. In doing it ourselves we tend not to change things on a whim and pick things that are more timeless.

In terms of the appliances on the counter top I get the convenience thing but we have lots of countertop space and have exactly one appliance on our counter top, a coffee maker. Everything else is in the cabinets. The cabinets have nice pull out sliding shelves so everything is easy to get to. Knives are in in-drawn knife blocks. We both don't care for clutter at all so while I appreciate the convenience of having everything out it wouldn't work for either of us. You don't see high end homes with cluttered counter tops. They might take a few commercial/industrial material ideas from a restaurant setting and incorporate them but it's not usually about convenience.

I don't know much about your wife's decorating style or about the designer she's chosen. The point here is maybe to include other things in your kitchen like some sliding shelving or possibly some cabinet improvements to make your cooking related tasks more simple.

A successful marriage is about communication and compromise. It's all about picking your battles. For instance, maybe you just need an area/room of the house that you can do whatever you want with. My father in law has what he calls a man cave. It's kinda hideous with crap all over the walls but it's stuff that he likes and enjoys. Maybe the decor she chooses isn't your thing but if it makes her happy then it is what it is. Only you know whether or not you are happy with this person, or if you want to be. Maybe you want to compromise on some things to make her happy and maybe you don't. I get that it sucks but maybe some more functional kitchen adjustments, that aren't out in the open, might make you a both a bit happier.
 

Doc4

I'm calling the U.N.
Moderator Emeritus
To be fair, she didn't know they were heirlooms when she got rid of them and she was apologetic when I explained to her that was why I was mad about it.
Well, that makes me fell a lot better about your situation ... we're not dealing with a situation where she intentionally tossed stuff that she knew meant a lot to you.

And you and she talked about this ... communicated ... that is very good.

I guess that put her in the mindset that the things we didn't get rid of had just slipped through the cracks; but I can't presume to know.
Dunno what's in her mind unless you ask.

It happened more than once and from my perspective, that's the kind of mistake you don't make twice
I keep making the same mistake over and over until I somehow find out it actually *IS* a mistake. So I guess the question is ... what (if anything) did you do to bring the situation to her attention in between those occurrences?

FWIW, there are things I still do occasionally even though SWMBO hates it and I know it. Not "intentionally" but just absent-minded. She hates the front door being unlocked after I get home from work; I hate her slippers being left in the middle of the landing by the stairs to the basement when she goes outside from the back door at that spot. We've each made that point to the other "enough times" that we each "ought to know" ... I've never intentionally left the door unlocked but occasionally I get distracted and "$h!t doesn't happen". She still leaves her slippers out where people can trip on them more often that I'd like ...

Well, I'd say try more and better communication with her. That may or may not need a professional to assist. One thing I recommend is looking into the "extreme ownership" concepts of Jocko Willink. (Spoiler alert: it's not about being "extreme" but about being responsible for the solution and finding balance and nuance.)
 
A general statement here not really directed at the initial question, probably worth what you paid for it, but maybe someone else can relate or maybe it even helps someone else out.

As I get older I'm finally learning not to sweat the small stuff so much. I don't want to be the grumpy old guy yelling "Get off my lawn". I used to think that everything in life had to be perfect. If it wasn't what I thought it should be then I allowed myself to become frustrated. In my twenties and thirties I was incredibly frustrated all the time. With a bit more wisdom I now understand that everything is never going to be perfect and I'm not perfect either. I can be a bit of a perfectionist and people aren't always going to do things the same way that I would. This past year is a perfect example of that. I've had to adjust my expectations over the years. In doing so I'm much happier and I sleep well at night.

Think of it this way. Metaphorically, we go through life with a backpack on. The anger we harbor, the stress we carry, the dislike for particular people, and anything else that upsets us in any way, goes into that backpack as weight that we have to carry around. Pretty soon that backpack gets pretty damn heavy and isn't so easy to carry anymore. Your order was messed up in the drive thru, something broke or didn't go as planned, you don't get along with some of your family members, pretty much anything that causes you unrest. The world is full of stupid people that we have to deal with. It's all weight that we choose to carry around. This stress causes other issues like heart disease, a weakened immune system and who knows, maybe even cancer.

We have to learn to forgive people and to let things go. To communicate better and to be more easy going, because honestly, in the large scheme of things, most of what we consider problems doesn't really matter all that much. In doing so we remove some of that weight that we were carrying in that backpack, we sleep better at night and we are generally happier. Sometimes, we find ourselves arguing with people but in the end it doesn't really matter who is right and who is wrong. I've been the bigger man and apologized for things that I didn't believe were my fault at all. I didn't do it for them, I did it for me, because I earned some peace for it. In doing so, I'm able to let that stuff go, to not carry that anger anymore because I choose not to. Happiness is a choice and we have to choose to be happy. Life isn't supposed to be that hard, life is absolutely amazing, and it's supposed to be enjoyed.
 
A general statement here not really directed at the initial question, probably worth what you paid for it, but maybe someone else can relate or maybe it even helps someone else out.

As I get older I'm finally learning not to sweat the small stuff so much...
+10,000 to everything you just said. The closest thing to wisdom that I've read in this thread.
 

Esox

I didnt know
Ambassador
We have to learn to forgive people and to let things go. To communicate better and to be more easy going, because honestly, in the large scheme of things, most of what we consider problems doesn't really matter all that much. In doing so we remove some of that weight that we were carrying in that backpack, we sleep better at night and we are generally happier. Sometimes, we find ourselves arguing with people but in the end it doesn't really matter who is right and who is wrong. I've been the bigger man and apologized for things that I didn't believe were my fault at all. I didn't do it for them, I did it for me, because I earned some peace for it. In doing so, I'm able to let that stuff go, to not carry that anger anymore because I choose not to. Happiness is a choice and we have to choose to be happy. Life isn't supposed to be that hard, life is absolutely amazing, and it's supposed to be enjoyed.

Hell yes, drop that bag! Carrying baggage around is an anchor in life that stops forward progress. Shame I didnt understand that until I was 49. A largely stress free life is a wonderful thing.

You might find this interesting. Ho’oponopono.
 
From many of the posts in this thread, I am kind of glad that I have never married or had children - that I know of.

Sorry @SliceOfLife, with my history I cannot offer you any meaningful advice.
 
Man, I feel really sorry for you. You guys should be equal partners but it seems more of a master and slave situation to me. You should not have to put up with all that crap. I wish you all the best and I am sorry I can't give you any advice on this. My marriage is just totally different from your situation. I am a lucky guy and I wish you'd be too. Don't lose yourself man.
 
A general statement here not really directed at the initial question, probably worth what you paid for it, but maybe someone else can relate or maybe it even helps someone else out.

As I get older I'm finally learning not to sweat the small stuff so much. I don't want to be the grumpy old guy yelling "Get off my lawn". I used to think that everything in life had to be perfect. If it wasn't what I thought it should be then I allowed myself to become frustrated. In my twenties and thirties I was incredibly frustrated all the time. With a bit more wisdom I now understand that everything is never going to be perfect and I'm not perfect either. I can be a bit of a perfectionist and people aren't always going to do things the same way that I would. This past year is a perfect example of that. I've had to adjust my expectations over the years. In doing so I'm much happier and I sleep well at night.

Think of it this way. Metaphorically, we go through life with a backpack on. The anger we harbor, the stress we carry, the dislike for particular people, and anything else that upsets us in any way, goes into that backpack as weight that we have to carry around. Pretty soon that backpack gets pretty damn heavy and isn't so easy to carry anymore. Your order was messed up in the drive thru, something broke or didn't go as planned, you don't get along with some of your family members, pretty much anything that causes you unrest. The world is full of stupid people that we have to deal with. It's all weight that we choose to carry around. This stress causes other issues like heart disease, a weakened immune system and who knows, maybe even cancer.

We have to learn to forgive people and to let things go. To communicate better and to be more easy going, because honestly, in the large scheme of things, most of what we consider problems doesn't really matter all that much. In doing so we remove some of that weight that we were carrying in that backpack, we sleep better at night and we are generally happier. Sometimes, we find ourselves arguing with people but in the end it doesn't really matter who is right and who is wrong. I've been the bigger man and apologized for things that I didn't believe were my fault at all. I didn't do it for them, I did it for me, because I earned some peace for it. In doing so, I'm able to let that stuff go, to not carry that anger anymore because I choose not to. Happiness is a choice and we have to choose to be happy. Life isn't supposed to be that hard, life is absolutely amazing, and it's supposed to be enjoyed.
Very well said. You are absolutely right. I am in my early 40's now and it has only been for the last 5 years or so that I have started to see that most stuff does not really matter in the grand scheme of things. What matters is happiness and good health.
 
Very well said. You are absolutely right. I am in my early 40's now and it has only been for the last 5 years or so that I have started to see that most stuff does not really matter in the grand scheme of things. What matters is happiness and good health.
I too agree with the addage "don't sweat the small stuff". But to a point. The issue this man is facing is the complete and total lack of respect from his spouse. Respect is in no way "small stuff". In fact, it's the essence of a healthy and happy relationship. Not seeing that gives this woman license to continue to walk all over him. It's not enough for her to just apologize and say she wasn't aware. Someone else said that if she doesn't realize what is hers and what is yours and doesn't have the common courtesy to ask about stuff that isn't hers before tossing it, that is the pure definition of lack of respect. I'm sorry, but "don't sweat the small stuff" doesn't really apply here. We are well past that. Actually, he is. I'm sure he has more to add to the discussion. Certainly there may be some assumptions being made here, but without the full picture, assumptions are expected, so long as those assumptions don't lead to conclusions. I'm sure there is more to come.
 

oc_in_fw

Contributor
A general statement here not really directed at the initial question, probably worth what you paid for it, but maybe someone else can relate or maybe it even helps someone else out.

As I get older I'm finally learning not to sweat the small stuff so much. I don't want to be the grumpy old guy yelling "Get off my lawn". I used to think that everything in life had to be perfect. If it wasn't what I thought it should be then I allowed myself to become frustrated. In my twenties and thirties I was incredibly frustrated all the time. With a bit more wisdom I now understand that everything is never going to be perfect and I'm not perfect either. I can be a bit of a perfectionist and people aren't always going to do things the same way that I would. This past year is a perfect example of that. I've had to adjust my expectations over the years. In doing so I'm much happier and I sleep well at night.

Think of it this way. Metaphorically, we go through life with a backpack on. The anger we harbor, the stress we carry, the dislike for particular people, and anything else that upsets us in any way, goes into that backpack as weight that we have to carry around. Pretty soon that backpack gets pretty damn heavy and isn't so easy to carry anymore. Your order was messed up in the drive thru, something broke or didn't go as planned, you don't get along with some of your family members, pretty much anything that causes you unrest. The world is full of stupid people that we have to deal with. It's all weight that we choose to carry around. This stress causes other issues like heart disease, a weakened immune system and who knows, maybe even cancer.

We have to learn to forgive people and to let things go. To communicate better and to be more easy going, because honestly, in the large scheme of things, most of what we consider problems doesn't really matter all that much. In doing so we remove some of that weight that we were carrying in that backpack, we sleep better at night and we are generally happier. Sometimes, we find ourselves arguing with people but in the end it doesn't really matter who is right and who is wrong. I've been the bigger man and apologized for things that I didn't believe were my fault at all. I didn't do it for them, I did it for me, because I earned some peace for it. In doing so, I'm able to let that stuff go, to not carry that anger anymore because I choose not to. Happiness is a choice and we have to choose to be happy. Life isn't supposed to be that hard, life is absolutely amazing, and it's supposed to be enjoyed.
A most excellent post. About 5 years ago I finally decided that I didn’t want to be that grumpy old man. I still get irritated from time to time, but most of the time I decide that I am going to have a good day, and not let stupid stuff stop that
 
So I was married 2.5 yrs ago. Moved into her home, turned mine into a rental. She has a HEAVY handed "Paris" theme. All the cheap chinese "Paris" pieces of decor you see at places like TJ Maxx and homegoods. I don't really care. I'm not particularly interested in home decor. But here's the thing. I'm a former chef. I have a LOT of kitchen equipment I use and need. Most of it is stuff that belongs on the counter. Most of it gets veto'ed for not matching decor... so every time I cook, I must dig out an entire kitchen of instruments, set them up, use them, clean them, and store them. Again, I dealt with it.

Over time, the few pieces of decor I left out (mostly gifts or family heirlooms) have gone missing. Given away, thrown out or sold without a word said to me until I asked about them.

During quarantine, she was bored and so decided to redecorate the second floor of our home. She asked me what I wanted. I told her the things I'd do. She told me what theme/style she wanted. Basically paint everything white and then use copper, glass and vintage wood accent pieces. I like copper, glass and wood (not thrilled about white, but whatever) so I started buying pieces of actual vintage copper cookware and glass and wooden decor. She got mad, told me to leave it to the Interior decorator (oh she hired an interior decorator who has been paid literally THOUSANDS of dollars to decorate two rooms... one being the kitchen).

So, she and the decorator buy several EXTREMELY poorly made Chinese light fixtures with cheap/bad wiring. I had to fix the wiring and install them... these fixtures cost hundreds of dollars each. Another ~10 G's spent on a new couch (similar to our old couch but white instead of grey and smaller) and various tables. And finally the decorator comes back for a final install of art pieces/decor.

She literally bought virtually identical pieces to everything I had bought and my wife got upset about and made me get rid of. The decor is 90% the same as what I had bought for <$200... she won't even tell me what it cost, but I'd guess, minimum $5000. There's three vintage carboys (giant glass bottles for beer brewing). I found these SAME items for $10/... she said no... I asked what the decorator charged her (again, for the EXACT SAME THINGS SHE REFUSED WHEN I SUGGESTED THEM)... she won't even tell me.

Now I assume this is partly my wife telling her what I like and trying to get a nice compromise in the decor... but buying cheap chinese "retro" pieces instead of actual vintage pieces that are made well... and paying dozens of times as much for them is not a compromise in my eyes.

So... I find a piece that is exactly what my wife wants for $10-50... suggest it to my wife and am told "I'm paying a decorator to buy this stuff, stop looking for it"... then the decorator (billing $100/hr) finds the same pieces, but cheaper and crummier for hundreds of dollars, buys them and tacks on a fat finders fee... and suddenly my wife LOVES them.

Case in point... part of the decor is half-dead Rosemary... everywhere. I have THRIVING Rosemary plants on the porch that for three years I've tried to get my wife to let me put inside the house... absolutely not. Decorator, goes out and buys half dead ones and charges god-knows what for them... and now they're not only fine to be in the house, they're a vital element of our home decor. I'm not kidding Rosemary every direction I look.


Anyone been in a similar situation? Is there some trick to getting a wife to not implicitly assume you know nothing about home decor and that paying some kid to tell her what looks good is better than actually deciding what you like for yourself?
I actually had mostly the same experience. My wife would refuse to compromise on houses and swore that she would begin to work, so I bought a house I could not afford on my own. Once we signed for it, she opted not to work.
I too am a chef and she promised the kitchen was mine. The kitchen was designed for a chef and I couldn't wait to get the knives up, the pans hung, the pro appliances out. Well, upon move-in, and after cleaning the apartment we moved out of because she couldn't be bothered, I brought out some pans. She told me that everything had to stay hidden because it was an open kitchen. I reminded her that our deal was that the kitchen was mine. She said people don't want to see all of that stuff out. It was pretty much par for the course; in retrospect she seemed to change every time she got her way. I could go on.
I am divorcing her, needless to say, and it is brutal. But it was never a partnership. I can't tell you how I felt coming home to a beautiful new house that she had taken over. She is now living in it and I now have an apartment.

You have far bigger problems to tangle with than home decor. She clearly does not respect you, yet is spending loads of money on whatever she feels like, plus she refuses to share information with you. She also clearly still sees it as "her" home. The money would be better spent on marriage counseling although based on your tale I'm not sure that would help. Your story hit a nerve, thus my post.
 
This is honestly the impression I got. It doesn't surprise me that this is a thing. Her choices and behavior strongly implied something like what you suggest was at the root of this redecoration.


Thank you everyone. I appreciate the opinions and insight.

I've brought it up with my wife a few times, but I am not particularly tactful I suppose. I generally approach it from a cost perspective (as I mentioned, I don't have particularly strong feelings about decor beyond the lack of functionality in our kitchen... but spending thousands of dollars on "interior decoration" is insane to me)... which offends her. She grew up wealthy, I grew up poor. She pays $300 for a hairdo, I pay $8 for a student to cut my hair. There is a big disconnect on these issues, and I get the feeling she views my position on these things as a character flaw on my part... which always puts this conversation on a bad footing.


I left my career to return to school at her request (didn't like me working chef's hours) and contribute very little to our home financially consequently, so she's obviously viewing it as her spending her disposable income... meanwhile I'm borrowing money to pay for my school, and I don't feel it's right to bring up that the $20k she spent on interior decor because she was bored could have prevented us having to take on student loan debt... but that's another issue; and will resolve itself once I graduate and have a real income again (less than a year out now).

There have been some times bringing it up accomplished something. She bought a set of copper pans for $800. I got her to return them and bought the same pans for <$200. But mostly it just irritates her. She takes it very personally, and often 'misremembers'... claiming that the decorators purchases were made only because I didn't contribute towards the planning and purchasing (which is completely false, I spent months finding things and either being told not to buy them or having her insist I return or otherwise get rid of them). Almost every time we have a discussion about it, I leave with the idea that resounds the "Key Messages," Atlantic59 mentioned above almost exactly. One statement she's repeated is: "You don't know what looks good, (The decorator) went to college for it".

It's completed at this point, anyway. But I don't doubt that we'll redecorate again eventually; and I'm hoping that at that time, as I'll be a more significant financial contributor to our household budget, I'll have that additional weight in my arguments that I didn't have this time; but I'm wondering if maybe I approached the discussion entirely wrong to begin with.
Get out now. You may not see it because you are in so deep, but she is controlling. You have changed everything for her at her request, and she gets you pans? Get out.
 
Lots going on here. The one thing in your story that really disturbed me is she thought it was okay to get rid of your stuff. I'm not going to lie, that kind of disrespect is something I don't stand for. I would have walked out that door. Her lady bits aren't magic. One woman's bits are just like every other woman's bits.

Other than that, if she wants to decorate her house, I say let her, but don't pay for it. Let her pay for it. If she doesn't like that, just scooch back into your house and give her exactly what she's asking for, you not around.

If she wants to do it her way no matter what, let her do it her way. Once she looks around and realizes she's all alone with just cats and debt it may just dawn upon her there are consequences for choices.

When it comes to decorating the house I let my wife do it. Doesn't bother me. She isn't spending a bunch of money, and isn't trying to coordinate the silverware with the curtains.

She doesn't throw away or get rid of my stuff. Same as I don't throw away or mess with her stuff. She respects me and I respect her. Do we agree on everything? Nope, but we aren't trying to cut the legs out from under each other. We may disagree on how to best get something done, but that's the thing, we want the best outcome.

Also, if you have to hire an outside agent to help you decorate your home, something is wrong. You either know what you want your home to look like, or you don't. As far as furniture, get something and stick with it. Don't get cheap Ikea throw away crap. Get the good stuff that your kids can use after you pass.
 
From many of the posts in this thread, I am kind of glad that I have never married or had children - that I know of.

Sorry @SliceOfLife, with my history I cannot offer you any meaningful advice.
If I were in the West I would be the exact same way. Too much downside for very little upside getting married in the West. At any given moment you can lose more than half because of any reason she can come up with. Not saying it happens to everybody, but the ability for any woman to screw you over is there. It's about self protection of your assets.

You have to look at marriage as a business. If your partner lies, cheats, steals, and then decides to leave the business after contributing very little and still takes a majority of the business assets, plus any future earnings, you wouldn't take on that partner. You'd have to be retarded. Then why would you do that to yourself by being in a marriage contract?

Sex? Sex is easy. You can get that anytime you want, and cheap. And I don't mean ladies of the night either. Karen is desperate after 30, and gets more desperate after every year. She'll do anything for a date. Heck, you can probably date Karen and her sister Suzy in the same week going to the same Applebee's for dinner. The really smart women married young, don't have a lot of past baggage if any at all, and the kids are her husband's. Not a lot of those out there anymore. Lots of cat ladies these days.

Companionship? Become a Mason, a Moose, Elk, or go down to the Legion or VFW. You'll probably get much deeper conversations and real friends. Mean while with these kinds of organizations you're actually able to do things that help your community without virtue signaling.

Not saying all men are great and all women are bad. There are some really crappy dudes out there and there are some really great women out there. But you have to play the odds.
 

Doc4

I'm calling the U.N.
Moderator Emeritus
Not saying all men are great and all women are bad. There are some really crappy dudes out there and there are some really great women out there. But you have to play the odds.
It's not a simple linear issue of where each are on the straight line between "good" and "bad". That's part of it but far more it's about personality compatibility. Put simply, the key to a successful marriage is finding a girl who can put up with your $h!t, and you can put up with hers.

That doesn't always mean " birds of a feather" ... it means meeting the expectations of the other. Simple example: two women, one of whom wants an "equal partnership marriage" and a fulltime career and maybe one kid ... the other wants a take-charge husband and to stay home raising a big family. Two men, one looking for an "equal partner wife" with a career and little interest in kids, and the other looking for a stay-at-home wife who wants lots of kids. None of these people are particularly "good" or "bad" ... but you can see one set of marriages that will work out a lot better than the other set.
 

shavefan

I’m not a fan
If I were in the West I would be the exact same way. Too much downside for very little upside getting married in the West. At any given moment you can lose more than half because of any reason she can come up with. Not saying it happens to everybody, but the ability for any woman to screw you over is there. It's about self protection of your assets.

You have to look at marriage as a business. If your partner lies, cheats, steals, and then decides to leave the business after contributing very little and still takes a majority of the business assets, plus any future earnings, you wouldn't take on that partner. You'd have to be retarded. Then why would you do that to yourself by being in a marriage contract?

Sex? Sex is easy. You can get that anytime you want, and cheap. And I don't mean ladies of the night either. Karen is desperate after 30, and gets more desperate after every year. She'll do anything for a date. Heck, you can probably date Karen and her sister Suzy in the same week going to the same Applebee's for dinner. The really smart women married young, don't have a lot of past baggage if any at all, and the kids are her husband's. Not a lot of those out there anymore. Lots of cat ladies these days.

Companionship? Become a Mason, a Moose, Elk, or go down to the Legion or VFW. You'll probably get much deeper conversations and real friends. Mean while with these kinds of organizations you're actually able to do things that help your community without virtue signaling.

Not saying all men are great and all women are bad. There are some really crappy dudes out there and there are some really great women out there. But you have to play the odds.
You know who likes marriage most, in the U.S.?

Lawyers.

Don't get me started on the racket that is divorce. I've never been divorced but I know some people where it's ruined theirs, and sometimes their childrens' lives.
 
Top Bottom