David and I have been plodding on with trying to make this work. Trying to fix the communication problems, his inability to just tell me what’s on his mind.

Last night I cooked dinner then went out to go to the first class of a weight loss programme I’ve started. That was the last meal I’ll be cooking in some time so I cooked for both of us. When I got back I found that David had gone out without doing anything about cleaning up. Trying to remember the things we’ve been learning about communication, owning your emotions, not blaming, I tried to explain without any anger what I would like to happen. I.e. that he tidy up after himself and not just leave dishes on the side.

He did not react well to this, maybe not as badly as he might have done previously, but it was the same old irritation, the hostility. I asked whether there was anything wrong and he said no.

This evening he came home not in a great mood and made passive aggressive comments about the fact I’d loaded the dishwasher and left the clean plates on the worktop. I tried to explain my reasoning, that I was trying to avoid falling in to my old habit of just doing it all, hut he still seemed irritated.

So I left it a while, then wandered over to him and was going to say that I thought we should start the evening over with a hug. I got as far as “David?” And got snapped at again. So I left the room.

I don’t see what I’m doing wrong and if it’s something else that has irritated him then I wish he’d just say. I can’t stand all this macho “there’s nothing wrong” shit.

Is it because the dishwasher is an old argument so brings back former ways of behaving? Is it just an inevitable stumble on the road to being more open emotionally more of the time?

It’s so disheartening . . . I know it probably won’t be easy but I still find myself wishing it was.