Husband is fighting me EVERY step of the WAY - aaarrrrgghhh

Itza Gonzalez
August 18, 2019

I am SO tired of seeing my house in disarray - bad enough that things were delayed while my husband looked for a "better" price from painting contractors and I had a hard time deciding on the paint colors because this was "too bold" and that was "too dark". I cannot move on to other rooms because the family room needs to be finished BUT every time a decision is made or something is purchased he complains about the style or price, asks me if we "need" this and criticizes the choices I make. Example - trying to but items for my downstairs powder room - he spray paints the mrror and the light fixture and puts it up - it looks disgusting

Comments (59)

  • skmom

    Sounds like he needs to see an example of your final vision and then work backwards from there. That helps answer the “do we really need this?” because you can point to the final picture and say “yes, this is integral to the final outcome.” This is where a designer can help with a mock up of the final space. Personally, I’ve never worked with a designer but I have used inspiration photos on houzz to help communicate what I hope the final design will resemble to my hubby... my hubby is always very involved in the design process with anything we do with our home. Fortunately, mine has excellent taste, but sometimes he can tend to go in wildly different design directions if I don’t reign it in a little and try to keep us on target. In years past, I’d go right along with him, but houzz has been helping me narrow things down and keeping me on track towards a look we are both liking more and more.

  • kulrn

    Maybe you can see if he is willing to post a room on this forum and get outside pro/non pro opinions. We are really good at giving suggestions! And shopping for bargins :-) Kind of like a go between!

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  • PRO

    It's STILL a relationship issue ! He seems not to be listening, or has snapped shut the purse.

    You need to state your misery, that he is NOT living there alone, and if he doesn't at least give you courtesy of budget and meet you half way?! He WILL be soon there all ALONE.

  • Itza Gonzalez

    Advice here has been amazing! Without input from fellow members we would not have even gotten this far. I did go to someone for help and discussed what we needed to freshen the space up (really not much because flooring, furniture and paint were done) , she was amazing at incorporating items that my husband and I agreed upon and making alternate suggestions when he objected to something. These are the mock-ups she put together. My husband knows we don't have to get EVERYTHING - after a conversation this morning he confessed that since we have a dog that sheds, and he is the one that cleans up after it (it's his dog) he prefers not to cover up the floor because he can just use a swiffer....

  • misa

    Agree with posters above. Present your ideal design/idea pictures, list wants/needs, talk out ideas, colors, vision and then Budget and agree to meet half way on design. Allow veto per person. If you want to spend the money maybe a designer to help put everything together?

    I think many spouses cannot imagine the end product ( even with presented pictures ). Its the change and/or loss of control that seems to paralyze them and unfortunately ends up frustrating, hurting the other party.

    Good luck!

    Itza Gonzalez thanked misa
  • lindacottonwood

    My Mom use to say " The problem is never the problem".

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  • Itza Gonzalez

    Is there anything I could use instead of the area rug? Or perhaps get a smaller one he can "swiff" around? Size recommended was 7.9 by 9.9

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    If you found a designer your husband likes stick with them and forget getting another 100 ideas from strangers. I have been married for 55 yrs and honestly when I want to change something I just tell my husband what I am doing I don’t ask if he thinks its a good idea. A lot of men do not like change so I go ahead and he likes it .You know the saying easier to ask for forgiveness than permission I think it works in many issues in a marriage.

  • Itza Gonzalez

    Patricia Colwell Consulting Sounds good but would perhaps a smaller rug - just under the ottoman work? It would be a good compromise... one of them is available in 5'1 by 7'6

  • Robbin Capers

    Why is a Swiffer the only option for floor cleaning? Plenty of people manage to have both a dog and a rug. Even a too-small rug has to be cleaned so that isn't solving the issue. Get a vacuum, maybe even a robot one so then nobody has to complain about it.

    Itza Gonzalez thanked Robbin Capers
  • M

    I am a huge fan of the cordless Dyson vacuum wands. Over the years, we have added several to the house, so they are always in reach. Makes a huge difference with kids (we don't have pets, though). I'd imagine, in your situation this type of vacuum would have the same convenience as a Swiffer, but work on a rug.

    The downside is that the better models are quite pricey, and the cheaper models have limited battery life. You do get a good discount from the manufacturer, though, if you already own other Dyson products. Also, if you check on, you can sometimes wait for sales.

    As far as rugs are concerned, you should also explore what professional rug cleaning costs in your area. If you do that every couple of years, maybe you don't feel quite a bad for the rest of the time, when it isn't cleaned perfectly every day.

    Itza Gonzalez thanked M
  • Itza Gonzalez

    He is permanently partially disabled and home all day, he does the daily maintenance housework - not gonna argue there... he uses the vacuum too, just not on area rugs, especially if not recommended for the type of rug - sometimes he pulls that dang swiffer out at least three times a day .... this weekend I told him to stop obsessing.... doesn't always help.

  • M

    he uses the vacuum too, just not on area rugs, especially if not recommended for the type of rug

    Just curious, if you don't use the vacuum on the rug, then what do you use to clean the rug? The only other option that I am aware of would be to hang it outside and hit it with a paddle. Works great. My grandparents used to do that. But that's hard physical work. I don't know anybody who does that today.

    And of course, you can wash it professionally. But if you think that hitting the dirt out of it is hard, then you should see how hard it is to wash a rug properly.

    Itza Gonzalez thanked M
  • Gcubed

    Maybe getting a Roomba (I think there's a version that is good for animal hair and floor/carpet) may be a good compromise. It will allow hands-free/time-free cleaning of the floors and then you can have the rug. I remember your prior posts- these mood boards look nice and seems you have come a long way in "ideas" from where you started.

    I also rarely ask my husband for ideas- they don't like change or care for design- when we moved, my husband's only cares were that the shower had a good water stream and that the TVs worked and were his choice. All else was up to me!

    Itza Gonzalez thanked Gcubed
  • Itza Gonzalez

    M Carpet sweeper and professional cleaning when needed. Gcubed UGH - moving the TV is ANOTHER dilemma - have not won that one yet.... skmom EVERY decision in my home has to be agreed upon - when we first got together, we dined on patio furniture for years because we could not agree on the style of the furnishings is what it is, mostly cultural issue as was mentioned by JAN MOYER (and Jan is right on point with most of what she said) it has gotten worse since he has not been able to work - so I know there are other issues about losing control and all that BUT, in the meantime, I need to get this room done - anyone have ideas for a suitable ottoman that I can offer as an option to the area rug - I am cross eyed from googling.

  • lindahambleton

    Could you paint a “rug” on the floor ?

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  • Karen

    How about a rug-upholstered ottoman for a nice bit of pattern and color, on top of "bare" floor? Check out for some possibilities and ideas. (I'm not affiliated in any way with the company - I am considering a purchase myself!)

    Itza Gonzalez thanked Karen
  • kulrn

    Get a rug from or When on sale they are very affordable. Most rugs are heavy enough to run the vacuum over easily. I keep a "granddog" sometimes, and the bare floors get more hair on them than the rug, so maybe weekly rug vacuum, but almost daily bare floor sweeps! I do like the rug in your mock up!

    Itza Gonzalez thanked kulrn
  • Itza Gonzalez

    Karen That is exactly what I need - if I can't find something more reasonable (in light of the budget) we may have to make our own. I will have to search for inexpensive used rugs and have my husband make it He's pretty handy. lindahambleton floor was just put in so painting it is not an option.

  • Itza Gonzalez

    kulrn both of the rugs in the mock ups are from Rugs Direct and not expensive at all - been there done that not going the expensive rug route again.... I may just order them and have him see IRL and just cover my eras when they arrive ... he still would probably prefer a large coffee table size ottoman ...

  • Lisa

    It seems as if these items are very important to husband. Why not let him do what he wants? Is an ottoman or rug worth all this agita? Why are you getting all stressed? It's only furniture and decor. Move on. He's not the only one obsessing. He's the one home all day. Ask yourself why you're digging your heels in over furniture.

    Itza Gonzalez thanked Lisa
  • hazelcraddock

    "It's his dog"??? I sense a little resentment there :) My DH doesn't care about clutter or color - he really doesn't even notice, whereas clutter and off colors make me tense and unhappy. So I have to decide what is important to me and tell him or figure out a way to bend a little in his direction. Let your partner know that your surroundings - the colors, texture, balance, visual stimulation or serentiy of your thoughtfully designed and decorated home - keep you recharged emotionally and give you happiness. Feelings he probably gets from his dog. When you are both happy, you can be happier together.

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  • tqtqtbw

    ^^ I agree. The key points are that he is the one home all day and he cleans up the dog hair. I can see him prefering bare floors and slick textures, like leather. If the house is in disarray, take a look at what may need to be removed, rather than added to the spaces.

    Do the budget before shopping. Maybe he has financial worries/concerns that he hasn't voiced to you. My father kept my parents house repaired but did not remodel, especially after he got sick. His fear was that my mother would be left in a financial bind.

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  • Kim Weaver

    moving the TV is ANOTHER dilemma - have not won that one yet

    Another thing.... Please DO NOT think this in terms of winning and losing. A marriage will not work if you "keep score" It is all about compromise, sometimes the more you give in the more you get. Let him make the decisions if he is so invested in it. Not all men are!

    Itza Gonzalez thanked Kim Weaver
  • Cheryl Smith

    I really like the last rug you posted and the art. I think they will look great together. The rug will really help tie things together and feel more put together and comfortable. I really recommend the Dyson stick cordless rechargeable animal vacuum. If you have hardwood floors get the one with a "fluffy brush" swiffer is easy and I love hardwoods But I like area rugs to define a space. they also give a softer place underfoot for both you and the dogs. A softer place for them to lay. I love hardwood floors partially because I CAN have rugs to bring in color and pattern. I think once everything is in place you both will love it.

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  • Cheryl Smith

    I think He is obsessing if he's using a swiffer more than once a day

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  • Itza Gonzalez

    Buddy is a great dog - smart and sweet, he's a rescue and has anxieties and traumas. He gets run of the house and maybe he is a little spoiled - but nope, it is clear to all, including myself, that he is not my dog - he is very much my husband's faithful companion.

    The house is in a disarray because we have gotten rid of furniture, removed items from walls, taken down wallpaper, moved dining room stuff and kitchen stuff into the living room, made up boxes for Goodwill that haven't quite made it out of the house, Perhaps, I am obsessing some - but guys - I work full time, and after I get home, make dinner and clean up, when it's time to relax I really want to be comfortable in the room. hazelcraddock thank you so much - you said it best " clutter and off colors make me tense and unhappy" as do things that look unfinished. I don't feel I'm digging my heels in, but I NEED "color, texture, balance, visual stimulation" as was mentioned above. I can and have compromised, that is why some of the decisions have been so difficult. I didn't mean to make it sound like I needed a "win" on the (MY) TV dilemma. I dislike visual clutter - papers out, wires dangling, disorganized pantry shelves, shoes by chairs - those TV wires dangling under the TV drive me nuts and the awkward furniture placement that has resulted because of the wall chosen for the TV (by him) also drives me nuts - will I die - nope - will I go on and on about it - nope - will I ever be okay with it - nope. What I want and need is everything in it's place and for us both to be happy with it. That is why we have a "design dilemma".

  • tqtqtbw

    BTW - I like the dog, the chair and the drapery fabric.

    Itza Gonzalez thanked tqtqtbw
  • PRO

    How about YOU maintain the floor? Which must include appropriate vacuuming of any rug, any size or your money is down a drain. Same goes for upholstery : )

    Do not get a Dyson. All carpet makers say no, they will suck a nail from a floor. Get an easy to push , bagless, and keep it CLEAN. The more rug? The less he will need or want to polish floors .

    Somehow, his anger at being disabled, is resulting in this power struggle. He envies your physical freedom? Who KNOWS?

    This is not about clutter, or wires, or rugs. " The tv location llocation all of it. It's a passive aggressive soft punishment. Get some help together, as I am guessing. Therapist , and interior designer in that order : ) Both will be mediators.

    Itza Gonzalez thanked JAN MOYER
  • pink_peony

    I stopped reading after Patricia said she has been married 55 years because that is worthy of a congratulations. @Patricia Colwell Consulting!!!

    Itza Gonzalez thanked pink_peony
  • decoenthusiaste

    Have you looked at Specially for kids and pets and you throw the rug in the washer if it gets stained. My guess is that your terminology may be turning on his resistance. Sometimes the term "projects" might make a man think you're expecting him to take on all these projects himself. Is there a room on your project list that can be considered solely yours? If so, do that room to your taste first and see if he has complaints about it. If not, then offer to move on to another room; make sure it is one that will take minimal investment and fewer decisions. Pick two options for each purchase (yourself) and present him with only two choices. Make sure they are choices you can live with. Then if he complains about the selected product when it arrives, you can put the blame for the choice on him. Be sure you take his taste and needs into consideration as you select the choices you'll give him input on. My mom did this with my dad when they built their forever home. Unhappily, one of the choices she gave him on drapery color was too close to camouflage green, and you guessed it; that's the one he chose. She always regretted that she let her desire to offer something that would appeal to him get her stuck with a color she didn't really like with the other fabrics/textiles.

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  • katinparadise

    I was going to suggest the same as Jan. Let your husband know that you feel the area rug is important to the overall design and tell him you'll be happy to be the one that takes care of the rug and the room it's in. Until recently, we had two dogs, one of whom just passed. The compromise that my husband and I made is that I would keep up the vacuuming in the living room, DR, and bedroom and he would do the sweeping in the family room, kitchen and breakfast room. It works well for both of us and I get the area rug I want in the room I want it.

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  • PRO
  • PRO

    Its called stop whining and get help in . Get an interior designer who can listen to BOTH of you. She will combine the functions with the aesthetic and the budget. She /he will listen. You both must do the same.

    Itza Gonzalez thanked JAN MOYER
  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC

    Wow as a designer I would run far away from this project. Not interested in being a marriage counselor.

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  • SapphireStitch

    I’m a picky, opinionaged woman married to a picky, opinionated man so I feel your pain, Itza. My husband is educated and employed in an art-related field and that adds another level of complexity.

    I don’t have answers for you about the specifics of your decor, but I have one strategy to share that works for us. We each try to stay out of decisions we don’t feel strongly about. Now, that requires both of us to be really honest and flexible because it’s tempting to care a lot about every detail! But honestly it’s impossible to care 100% about every detail without getting pretty anxious and frustrated, and it’s nice to share the decisions so each of us makes our mark on the decor.

    As an example: we recently had a bunch of exterior work done on our house and have some hardscaping that will be done this fall. Over the course of making decisions we gradually worked out who cared about what. We both wanted input on the roof color and that was an easy agreement. I felt more strongly about the siding color and the door color, while he cared a whole lot about some picky details about replacement windows. When it came to the garage door, I was tired of thinking about it and when I looked at his top choices I felt I could live with any of them and I told him that. He had a specific style that appealed to him and it makes him happy.

    Anyway, every relationship is different and this might not work as well for y’all, but maybe it would help.

    Itza Gonzalez thanked SapphireStitch
  • Itza Gonzalez

    Lots of great advice and all of it appreciated. he has had a say so in every decision, down to the throw pillows. If he says he doesn't care but vetoes my choice I will ask him for input.. Will back off on the area rug, will take him shopping for an over-sized table/ottoman for some interest and color. The ugly spray painted mirror and light fixture in the downstairs bathroom still looks gross and it ticks me off EVERY time I use the bathroom but I will switch it out as soon as Iget something decent from Home Depot as Patricia Colwell Consulting says better to ask forgiveness than permission he will eventually agree that it looks better. JAN MOYER I would maintain the floors but "the princess and the pea" chick has NOTHING on his sensitive feet, he will declare they are not clean enough and bust out the swiiffer. Diana Bier Interiors, LLC not only is he not interested in marriage counseling (trust me we have tried - he bales) sometimes it is so tense in our house you can cut the air with a knife. I said I have been married for over 35 years, I didn't say it was easy or without compromise. I'm older and tired and I guess more than a little cranky -My dad used to say "no es lo que jode, es lo seguidito que lo haces". Very apt but difficult to translate. Roughly translated it means It's not that your a PITA, it's how often you're a PITA. No one has died yet and no one is going to die either. It isn't THAT big a deal. SapphireStitch great advice and many good points.

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC

    "This is the Design Dilemma forum, not Dr. Phil, nor Facebook."


    I've got some advice for younger contractors out there. You need Dr. Phil lessons, believe me. You don't drill a faucet hole without her approval. His opinion means nothing unless you feel like doing the same countertop twice.

    I love these kinds of guys. Always looking to beat up contractors and subs. Then it blows up in their face when the hacks start hacking or don't show at all. Now he's got to call Joe's Wife Removal Service. We remove your pi$$ed-off wife from your a$$. We don't bid. Ever. You will be humble, grateful, and pull out that checkbook. I promise not to tell your fishing and golf buddies.

    I can't count how many times this has happened.

    If you were drinking at the bar and told your buddies "Geeze guys, she painted the living room green. Green!" They'd be obligated to pull your man card, as they should.

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  • Itza Gonzalez

    Joseph Corlett, LLC yep....I have stories ... about recessed lighting and tile work ... not going there though. Just wanted to acknowledge what you said.

  • M

    Oh, it works the other way round too. If I am not happy with what the contractor did, but I am a little too shy to tell him to his face, I simply claim that the wife sent me. Works each and every time. Every contractor knows that you cannot ignore She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed. And I have weaponized this knowledge.

    You have to pick your battles though. Can't do this too often. So, better reserve it for times where you really feel strongly about something, even if others would consider it a minor blemish. Doesn't happen often, but every big remodel has one or two of these.

    Itza Gonzalez thanked M
  • Jennifer Hogan


    I have no idea what the dynamics are in your relationship, but it sounds like your husband is used to getting his way and that the compromise is generally you compromising.

    This is not unusual, especially for those of us who are old enough to be married for 35 years. We were raised in a generation where our mothers didn't have a lot of options. The men were the major earners and moms stayed home with the kids or may have had a job, but one that paid far less then their husbands. Keeping your man happy was a survival skill, but as divorce became more acceptable, this often back fired.

    My mother used to say that wives tell their husbands how handsome they are and how smart they are and how hard they work and thank them for the little things they do at the same time wives are also telling their husbands how old they are getting, how many gray hairs they have and how much weight they have gained. Wives go out of their way to take care of their husbands, buying their clothes, planning and preparing the family meals, taking on much of the child rearing and house cleaning tasks. Wives don't expect a thank you for doing this - it is what you do when you love your husband. It is part of being a good wife and mother.

    30 years down the line and he expects his clothing to be laundered and his meals to be prepared and looks in the mirror and sees the image you have painted - handsome, brilliant, wonderful in so many ways, and then he looks at his wife and thinks - what am I doing with that old, fat hag. He doesn't even think about saying thank you. You have told him far too often how much you enjoy taking care of his needs. He's doing you a favor letting you pick his dirty laundry off the floor.

    Of course he will bulk at the idea of marriage counseling - he is perfectly happy with the way things are. He bulks and you bend.

    You may want to consider going to a counselor or life coach that can help you balance the power in your relationship. You may be lucky to have a good man who works and earns good money and has a been a good father to your children and has stood by you in difficult times. Your husband may also be lucky to have a wife who works a full time job, has birthed and mothered his children, has cooked and cleaned and cared for him and his family and has stood by him in difficult times.

    From the tiny pieces of information provided you may need help learning ways to negotiate compromise. When you wanted your room painted and he wanted to find a less expensive painter you could have given him a time frame in which to work. " I have scheduled the painters to come 2 weeks from tomorrow. You have 10 days to line up someone else to come in and paint or my painter will be doing the job."

    If the painted light fixtures and mirror piss you off every time you see them take a sledge hammer to them. Tell him you just couldn't help yourself. It pissed you off and it was either take your frustration out on the light fixture or explode, so you removed the object of your frustration.

    If he is digging in his heals about decorating the living room give him a choice. I am going to have a space that brings me joy and allows me to relax in the evening. I can decorate the living room and you and I can spend time together in the evenings or I can transform the spare bedroom into a sitting room just for me and you can sit in the living room and I will spend my evenings in my sitting room, but I am not willing to sit in a room that causes me stress and anxiety or makes me unhappy.

    Itza Gonzalez thanked Jennifer Hogan
  • Kendrah

    You both need to have a serious conversation about your income, budget, savings and how much to spend on your interior renovations. It sounds like money is at the root of this disharmony. Nothing is worth ruining a marriage over - not money or home decor. Talk about the big picture. Work that out first. Then deal with the design of your home.

    Itza Gonzalez thanked Kendrah
  • Jora

    Concur with Jan. This is a relationship issue. I don't know you, or anything about your marriage, but from your posts it seems that your husband is intentionally objecting to your choices.

    Is he upset at you for something completely unrelated to the remodel/design, and disagreeing with your choices as a means of getting back at you (subconsciously that is)?

    Like Dr. Phil says "'s never really about the toilet paper."

    Itza Gonzalez thanked Jora
  • PRO

    God bless Dr Phil

    Itza Gonzalez thanked JAN MOYER
  • Itza Gonzalez

    God BLESS each and every one of you - and I don't mean in the Southern "Bless your heart way" either. Truly may you all be blessed for taking the time to respond to this post and offer such wonderful advice and insight. Jennifer Hogan that is wonderful input and I may be looking for a sledgehammer in the garage in the near future, and I concur "'s never really about the toilet paper."

  • apple_pie_order

    Please post an update when you are ready. I agree that "It's never really about the toilet paper."

    Itza Gonzalez thanked apple_pie_order
  • Donna W

    My husband and I are going through a remodel project currently inside and out, surprisingly we are on the same page about many things and compromise with each other on some things. He was even open minded with me hiring a designer who he happens to like and just during a consultation with her, she gave me a resolution for a design dilemma which added $4000.00 to our cost but it resolved an issue that was driving me crazy and he went along with it. Now for the bad haha. My husband knows a good deal about construction and is a bit of a perfectionist, however he insists on doing some of the work himself and was insulted that I questioned his abilities, so I had to remind him of the 3 projects he did at our investment property where the first 95% was great and the last 5% was not and made it look like a hack job that irritates me. Right now he has a team of professionals at our home so hopefully he will do the right thing.

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  • Olychick

    I didn't read all the responses, so maybe others have suggested this....sometimes it's just easier to ask forgiveness instead of permission. I'd just do what I wanted and let him figure out how to get over it, but that's me. He's not being reasonable and it's difficult to compromise with unreasonable.

    If this is new behavior, and it sounds like it is, your suggestion of dementia (early stage) might be right on the mark. See if he'll get a check up and let his doc know about behavior changes. If that's what's going on, it's not going to get any easier for either of you. Good luck to you.

    Itza Gonzalez thanked Olychick
  • Donna W

    Oly chick, I like your comment " sometimes it's just easier to ask forgiveness instead of permission." My husband always forgives I think I will take your advice on that.

    Itza Gonzalez thanked Donna W
  • lizziesma

    It might be worth getting some counseling just for yourself. You may learn more about yourself and amp up your confidence level. We’ve been married 48 years, I often had to work around hubby’s preferences. Now he just says yes dear, insists on sitting on upholstered pieces before buying, and has found golf. Not God, golf, which gives me quiet house time. That and no pink walls!

    Itza Gonzalez thanked lizziesma

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