To feel used and taken for granted

(50 Posts)
SmilingHappyBeaver Sun 24-Feb-13 22:24:55

I have 3 DS's, aged between 2 and 6. DH works abroad a lot, and has been out of the country most of Feb.

He returned home late on Friday after a week away in Europe, and left early today to go out to the US on another business trip. He brought presents back for our sons, nothing for me (not that i expect it, as he never usually brings anything back). It doesn't usually bother me but this time it has really grated. It was only after he left again today that I realised how angry i am.

I have been struggling with some work issues, and I have mentioned that i have a project due to close this week which has been stressing me out. But he didn't even wish me luck with it. He isn't interested in my work issues because he thinks I am crazy for wanting to work when he is away so much and we have 3 young sons, so his answer is always "if it's too stressful and clearly making you miserable, then quit. Simple". We would have no financial issues if i didn't work.

He is training for the London Marathon so when he is at home he is usually out running most mornings and I get no help then either.

I just feel totally on edge all the time, right now I just want to walk away and get in the car and drive somewhere and not come back. But I love my kids too much to ever leave them. I just feel so trapped.

DH thinks that all my problems would be solved if I became a SAHM, but I think then i'd feel even more trapped.

I am going to tackle how I am feeling when he comes home, but I need to know whether I am being unreasonable or just a spoilt cow! I don't trust my judgement anymore.

Suchabody Sun 24-Feb-13 22:30:08

YANBU x 10000000000000000000000000000

He has not twigged that you LIKE your work. Not sure how though.

Sit him down and tell him that you are not something there to make his life easier and look after the kids. Make sure he understands that this is supposed to be a partnership. I'm not surprised you feel the way you do, he sounds terribly insensitive. I would feel horrified and trapped and ground down too.

SOmeone will be along with better advice soon I am sure but just wanted to say I didn't think you were BU at all.

SarkyPants Sun 24-Feb-13 22:44:15

Totally agree.
He is not treating your marriage as a partnership.

I would write him a letter explaining how you feel.

SarkyPants Sun 24-Feb-13 22:45:49

And he has no more right to work than you do.
You have the right to expect him to support your career.

grobagsforever Sun 24-Feb-13 22:46:10

He's being a nederthal.

carre Sun 24-Feb-13 22:46:35

I know this one although I am a sahm. Your dh needs to start looking after his kids and give you a break. He needs to be told to do this. He needs to value your work as it's an activity you do. It sounds like he can only do his running as you look after the kids then it's fair that you have time off to do what you want. If he doesn't agree then you are't available for childcare when he runs.

DorisIsWaiting Sun 24-Feb-13 22:47:18

YANBU (at all!)

What would happen if you disppeared off every morning to go to the gym? Did he discuss it with you before he decide to enter the marathon or was it presented as a fait acompli?

He has told you he wants you as a SAH wife, now you need to decide what YOU want to do. (and from here it sound like you certainly do not want that!) he needs to step up to the plate and understand that parenting is a shared responsibility -and he isn't sharing.

He's being utterly thoughtless, patronising and condescending. Ask him why he bothers to work. Can he not understand that you are not a robot.

Good luck with the conversation. I think you need to make it quite a hard hitting one!

aldiwhore Sun 24-Feb-13 22:51:29

From his PoV he sees the problem and a solution. He sees stressed out wife, who's juggling a LOT mostly alone, when she doesn't need to... he's not a twat for that, but he's obviously missing the very large point that your work is important to you. HIBU.

I like the letter idea.

I guess he DOES have a point, why stress over something that you don't need to stress over? I'm certainly not saying give up work, but you could take the psychological pressure off yourself by reminding yourself this is your choice... I do that when work gets me down, just by saying "I don't need this, I want it" seems to help me.

You do need to bring this up... I once did a diagram on a flip chart simply showing why I was pissed off. My DH works away, and he works hard, but when he's home he's home for a long stretch and has the attitude that he's 'on holiday', he does a bit round the house, he does a few school runs, but the stressy parts, the planning of school holiday activities, childcare arrangements, planning the weekly meals... that is still down to me, so evey couple of years I explode (with my flipchart and felt tips) because I wouldn't be able to argue rationally, because by the time it comes to saying something, I'm not rational.

YANBU at all.

aldiwhore Sun 24-Feb-13 22:52:55

I should add his face was a picture when I launched into my presentation... he was about to take the piss I think, but on page one, he'd lost. smile

NumericalMum Sun 24-Feb-13 22:56:41

I have been there, done that and we nearly split up! A long and expensive few months at counselling and he finally realises how he was taking me for granted. He now takes more responsibility for childcare so, accepts my job is important to me too and most importantly schedules sporting events so they don't eat into family time. Training is done before work or at lunch and early on Saturday or Sunday mornings to enable us to enjoy our family time still. We were so close to splitting though as I figured I took the brunt of it all anyway so how would it be any different.

ballstoit Sun 24-Feb-13 22:56:51

YANBU to expect a little more consideration, but I can kind of see where your DH is coming from, as he isn't in a position to do much else to help.

If you have free money, then spend it on making your life easier. Have a cleaner, pay for regular babysitting/an au pair/nanny, etc, so that you do get a break.

I'm probably less sympathetic than some as I'm a lone parent of 3 who does what you do, without the bonus of an extra salary to ease the strain.

NumericalMum Sun 24-Feb-13 22:57:47

A presentation aldiwhore <bows in awe>

TheFallenMadonna Sun 24-Feb-13 23:08:34

I'm assuming that while the job is the OP's choice, being the one who has to manage the children and the house while the other partner works away is not.

When I went back to work after a SAHM stint, my DH changed his job to one with less overseas travel so that we would both have a fair domestic workload in addition to our paid work. He also organised a cleaner. He did not suggest I just give up work again...

Your DH certainly need reminding in the most uncertain of terms that you are not his paid help, you are not there to make his life easier. You should both be there to support each other. You should both get the same amount of downtime.

I'm a runner. When I am training for a marathon I make sure my training has a minimal impact on my family - I go out very early, or run to work, or go out while the DDs are at activities etc etc. I don't just pop out when I feel like it and expect DH to cope.

How dare he suggest all you problems would be solved by you just not working. No, that would only solve his problems, as there would be less reason for you to expect support and help for him in running his own home and looking after his own children.

If he respected you at all, if he knew you at all, he would understand that his proposed solution is no solution at all, except to him.

Pilgit Sun 24-Feb-13 23:17:04

He is trying to 'fix' what he sees as the problem. The real problem is that he wants (and seems to be expecting) a cross between a housekeeper, nanny and a prostitute, not a wife. If you were in his employment his 'fix' would work. However as you are an equal human being who's work and life balance is just as important as his it doesn't. On the other hand when you had children did you discuss as a unit what you were both going to do work wise? From what i've seen on here (and in RL) people seem to fall into roles without ever discussing what they want and their expectations. He may have assumed that the SAHM life is what you wanted. The tension seems to be a product of this mis match in expectations. We are all able to change our minds about what we want and our partners should support this - however (and I am clutching at straws here - hopefully) could he have fallen into that assumption? Does he know how important your job is to you? Could he not have noticed that your expectations have changed?

SmilingHappyBeaver Sun 24-Feb-13 23:18:55

Thanks for all your responses. I am trying to channel my rage so I don't completely lose it when he comes home, I want to be able to talk about it rationally. This is really helping.

I have been so up and down, that I really don't know what my reality is. One minute i feel on top of the world, as if I can cope with anything, then the next i feel like a complete waste of space, like everyone would be better off without me. I am not suicidal but I think a lot about not being here.

SmilingHappyBeaver Sun 24-Feb-13 23:24:26

Piglit - no we didn't discuss how it would work with kids before we got married, as i was very ambitious then and could never imagine wanting kids. I got off the career ladder when DS1 was born. Now I am retraining in something i enjoy but it's hard because it also involves professional study which is another demand on my time. And as I have taken a paycut, and now earn a fraction of DH, I think he sees it as even more ridiculous that i want to work...

McNewPants2013 Sun 24-Feb-13 23:25:59

You both need to get the balance right, it's not equal if he can flourish in his career while yours get side tracked.

OP, when you talk about "not being here", do you just mean away from your situation, family, children, DH etc?

There was a thread a while back, kinda lighthearted on the surface but quite serious underneath, where a few of us were talking about sometimes wishing for a serious injury or even death, just so we could have a break!!!

Is that what you mean?

You have a lot on your plate, trying to run a household with a partner who is in and out on business, so you never quite know when you'll have support or how much, plus trying to also cope with a high-pressure job of your own. So I can see why you would feel like you need a break.

You need to talk to your DH very seriously. You need to make sure he hears you. You need to make sure that the two of you come up with some solutions that make life better for you apart from you "just giving up work".

ClippedPhoenix Sun 24-Feb-13 23:31:06

well i hate to say this OP, he is what he is and i doubt he will change, you can try but he is of the ilk that his life/work is more important than yours. What you do about that is up to you really.

a short sharp shock?

OhLori Sun 24-Feb-13 23:35:01

Three DS between 2 and 6 require a lot of commitment. Starting a career on top of that seems highly stressful unless you have a large amount of personal support from family and friends. Did you talk it through with your DH how this would work a priori? Perhaps good to start that conversation now ...

The "presents" issue, not getting you one, that would make me very sad. Perhaps you could express that sense to your DH, see his reaction?

SmilingHappyBeaver Sun 24-Feb-13 23:38:02


I'm not sure. I think I just need a break. I never get a break. 2 years ago I had pneumonia (spelling?), no idea where it came from as I am a healthy non smoker. Anyway, I was quite pleased because although I couldn't breathe properly my GP wanted me hospitalised so they could give my IV fluids - time in bed getting some peace would have been bliss. But we have no family nearby, and DH was away with work and couldn't/wouldn't get a flight home so in the end my GP prescribed oral AB's and I just had to go home and get on with it. DS3 was only a tiny baby at the time so I couldn't leave him with friends.

My kids don't appreciate anything i do either, I just get constant demands all the time. Then I shout at them, so they much prefer Daddy because he's always the one with all the presents.

Annakin31 Sun 24-Feb-13 23:40:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Annakin31 Sun 24-Feb-13 23:45:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LittleEdie Sun 24-Feb-13 23:46:01

You would definitely feel more trapped if you give up work.

LittleEdie Sun 24-Feb-13 23:47:08

You'd get depressed then he'd start moaning that you weren't the woman he married.

Well then you need a break! Talk it over with your DH, see when he can manage it, and take one!! Don't take no for an answer. A spa weekend with the girls is a good start.

Don't let him pull the old "my business trips are work, not a break". Of course they're a break. He gets to stay in hotels, and after meeting hours his time is his own - no kids to look after or house to clean up. I love going away on business, it's a mini-holiday for me.

You're exhausted, unappreciated and misunderstood.

Do you have any help at home? Could you get an au pair? He needs to help more too, of course, but if he's not there, realistically he can't do much. At least with an au pair you would have some help at home.

I can't believe he wouldn't even come home when you needed hospitalisation. There's no way he "couldn't".

Sadly, it sounds like he has very little regard for you as a human being.

SmilingHappyBeaver Mon 25-Feb-13 00:09:53

Annie, yes he did actually refuse, then said he would come home only after I threatened that the kids may need to be taken into temporary foster care if I was admitted to hospital. He was in the middle of a big consultancy project which he was leading and it would have caused problems if he wasn't there.

When we first got together, I remember going to the cinema to watch the Devils Advocate (where the wife of the hotshot career guy goes slowly mad). At the time he said that he would never put his job ahead of me/family. How times change!

Angelina7 Mon 25-Feb-13 00:38:47

It seems to me that not only is he missing out on you -enjoying life together, he is missing out on his children and his children are also missing out on their dad. Maybe try to encourage him to do activities with his children that he will enjoy too as well as activities as a whole family with any spare time you have together, if he has a good time with you all maybe he will see at last what he is and has been missing out on. Xx

Rent that movie again (Devils advocate) watch it with him them do Aldiwhores presentation YANBU he's acting like he's single with a girlfriend to go home and visit between trips.

mrsbunnylove Mon 25-Feb-13 04:24:00

keep your job. get some childcare and help in the house. sort your evidence pack now in case the marriage eventually falls apart.

goodness knows what is in his head. he might think he's working very hard 'for his family'. what he's actually doing is living a single man's life, but with the benefit of a wife to keep the family going.

take your children in hand. when they mention prefering daddy, say 'oh, is he here to look after you? who cares for you every day?'. remind them you're the adult and they need to behave. tell them the story you want them to have about your role in their lives.

you definitely need a break but you're not going to get one unless you sort it yourself. find a nanny.

Sorry, but my entire picture of your situation has changed. Any man who won't drop everything and rush home when his wife is hospitalised is a beyond contempt. You have far deeper problems than a husband who works a bit too hard - he has absolutely no respect for you as a human being and he doesn't see his family as his responsibility beyond providing a salary. I would suggest you need some serious therapy together.

PessaryPam Mon 25-Feb-13 10:22:31

OP don't give up your career, and demand an au pair of some kind of mothers helper.

Pilgit Mon 25-Feb-13 10:55:24

I am deeply shocked he wouldn't come home when you were going to be hospitalised! That shows utter contempt for you and your DC. There is no job that cannot be left where there is a family emergency. If he is a consultant there will be a whole team that could pick up in his absence. I say this from experience of working in a 'high powered' job and knowing a lot of consultants. A client appoints the firm of consultants and if something like this happens the consultancy would pick it up. Indeed most that I know of profess to be extremely family friendly. Perhaps you should watch the Devils Advocate with him again and tell him that this is what he has turned into....

I am gobsmacked that he cannot see that the women he married isn't going to magically change upon the production of children! Of course there are some women who are incredibly career motivated that gladly change to being a SAHM, but in my experience that is not normal - career before children - will definately need to work after and may choose to go part time and take a career hit as this is a normal compromise to make (why it is virtually always the women is an entire different thread!), but why they expect that desire to magically disappear at the onset of motherhood when it doesn't for them at the onset of fatherhood is astonishing. He's being a thoughtless twunt. Really don't know what the answer is though!

SarkyPants Mon 25-Feb-13 11:21:37

I think Annie is spot on when she says "he doesn't see his family as his responsibility beyond providing a salary".

this is the route of your problme IMO sad

Cherriesarelovely Mon 25-Feb-13 11:26:27

YANBU. I feel stressed just reading that post, and a bit lazy too, especially the bit about you having pneumonia!!!! Crumbs, that is dreadful.

Your DH is not behaving as though you are partners at all, he is just doing what he wants and, it seems, doing the fun bits of parenting. I really feel for you.

steppemum Mon 25-Feb-13 11:53:18

I can see both sides to this. Someone up thread said he sees a problem and a solution and he doesn't get how you are feeling.

I think it is easy to think if it as 'my job your job' from man's POV, because they don't always get either the emotional exhaustion of being the parent on demand 24/7 or the stress of being dependent on the dh salary, and the trapped feeling.

When I read these threads, I think it is too easy to write off the relationship and the man, when maybe he just needs a wake up call.

How about when he comes home, (eg Friday night) tell him you will be out at 9am sat to the gym and then having lunch with xx. You will be home at 4. That will give him child care for a day and you a day off. Then rent the Devil's Advocate and watch it together and ask him if he remembers.

Then sit down and talk. Tell him how it makes you feel, how you both never made a plan for this, and now you need to now because it isn't working.

I agree the pneumonia thing is dreadful, but I know that it isn't that simple. For example I broke my ankle and had to have it pinned. I couldn't move at home and 4 days later dh had t go away for a week. (3 small children) He really couldn't change it or cancel it. Sometimes jobs are like that. The world rallied round and we coped. Difference was that he was really concerned, and we sat down and talked about how it was going to work.

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Mon 25-Feb-13 11:53:32

I was about to post Squinkies post. Rent that video!

Question: who is looking after the kids when you are working/studying?

Also, you shouldn't be in a situation where you are shouting at your boys all the time. 2-6 year olds aren't grateful for anything, at that age they are totally self-centred, and I bet you know this. It definitely is a symptom of your stress and unhappiness (big squashy hug offered here).

If you have money, (and it sounds like you do) you need to use it to make your life easier. And you definitely need to talk to your husband, this situation is untenable. A lot of men respond to definite, concrete plans rather than emotional pleas, so I would recommend if not a flow chart grin, then a series of points that need addressing, followed by options. Not least pointing out that if he gets to go out of the house running, you need space too. He doesn't have to do the marathon - that's his choice, and an interesting one too, to my mind considering how much he is away. How much time does he spend with you and your boys?

Annie it is possible to get into a mindset with work whereby you can't see the wood for the trees, and it doesn't mean you're evil, just that you need to be shocked out of it. 3 years ago DD1 (12mo at the time) was so sick she lost a 1/5 of her body weight. She went to hospital twice (discharged rather than overnight, but still). I was working full-time, DH was doing 4 days a week. I had just gone back after maternity and was firefighting with a junior who massively resented me coming back and was sending emails to my line manager noting my timings, comings and goings, any phone calls I made which weren't work related etc etc (don't know how he found the time to work frankly). I was existing on 4 hours sleep a night. I left the whole thing to my mother and DH to deal with, I only took one day off.

Obviously its not the same situation, but I look back on me sitting in the office worrying about my baby but not being there, and I think... what the fuck was I doing? I am not evil, I was just looking down one path and not seeing all the other options. I needed to be slapped round the head, frankly.

Sorry, massive sidetrack, but the point is....

With DD2 I couldn't bear the thought of that happening again, resigned and was a SAHM. Just before Christmas realised I was going mad (the other way grin) so have organised to get help 2 days a week and look for freelance work. I presented the plan to DH, we have rearranged our finances and I am going to make it work. I am happier, DDs are happier, DH is happier as I'm not going insane, it is worth it.

Hullygully Mon 25-Feb-13 11:55:34

He is an ARSE

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Mon 25-Feb-13 11:56:16

smiling I had pneumonia last April, and like you I couldn't stop, though I don't think I was quite as ill as you. DH was in Peru, DM was on holiday and DMiL did as much as she could. It's the most ill and miserable I've ever been and I swear to god it took my lungs 6 months to recover.

Bloody sucks being a woman sometimes, doesn't it?

Bloody sucks being a woman sometimes, doesn't it?

Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! NO! NO! NO! NO! How can you just shrug and accep that this is how things are for women? It does not need to be this way! I should not be this way.

There's so much talk about women wanting to have it all. Which is simply not true. What's true is that women are expected to do it all, suck it up and cope while men get to pick and choose what suits them. NO! Don't accept it. You are just as worthy of respect and downtime as him. And he is just as capable of packing PE kits and getting the laundry done. I am shouting this at all of you, not just the OP.

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Mon 25-Feb-13 12:14:21

When we have totally equality then it won't occasionally suck to be a woman.

Who said I thought this situation was ok?

bran Mon 25-Feb-13 12:19:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bran Mon 25-Feb-13 12:22:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SmilingHappyBeaver Mon 25-Feb-13 14:18:16


Question: who is looking after the kids when you are working/studying?

A combination of nursery (for DS3) and childminder/afterschool club for DS1 and 2. MIL will step in in an emergency if I need to work, but if I ever go away for a girls weekend, she has all the DS's so DH doesn't have to (in her eyes he works so hard he needs a break). Last time I went on a girls weekend was 18 months ago, I probably need another one. My Mum died before DS's were born and I have no other family or siblings.

Thanks for all the replies, reading other people's take on it is quite reassuring.


Do your au-pairs live in? I've never gone down the au pair route because we don't have a spare bedroom (too many kids grin). Sorry to hear about your marriage, at least with the counselling you will know that you've done all you can to save it.

bran Mon 25-Feb-13 14:49:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Mon 25-Feb-13 16:20:28

smiling I would seriously consider getting extra help 1-2 days a week. Whereabouts are you? I ask because if you are in London you have more options there than outside.

However I can see what Bran is saying.

Who does the housework? You again? You know, you can't support this level of industry without something giving - you will burn out, and that will be bad for everyone.

How about doing what steppemum suggests and just determinedly book time off for yourself? Pref at a time when MIL is busy so he can experience the full glory of looking after 3 boys. I do think some people don't realise (or choose not to) just how physically and mentally demanding it is looking after small children. At the very least it will give him some idea of just what you are going through, rather than writing your life off as coffee mornings interspersed with dabbling with a low paid job. It will give you a much stronger bargaining position.

OUt of curiosity, would you characterise your DH as a 'good guy'?

HeadingHome Tue 26-Feb-13 19:33:22

I was with my mum for weeks in hospital. I rang my husband to request he come home to support me. He said he would only fly back when I could "promise/guarantee" she would die shortly.

She did.

Mimishimi Tue 26-Feb-13 20:08:04

HeadingHome: That's really awful.

OP, most of the arguments I've ever had with DH are about his work hours and how often he seems to prioritise that over everything else, incuding admitting to going in at six and coming back at nine purely for 'face time' reasons (ie to look dedicated). It's quite distressing because he wasn't like this when he was younger either - it's was though each promotion and pay rise increased the number of hours he thought he has to put in. Noone was telling him to do it. Lately it's been good though.

YANBU at all and please don't stop working because it doesn't suit him. I can almost guarantee he would use it against you in the future eg along the lines of "Well, if you were also working, you would understand what is sometimes required and there would be less pressure on me too". You not working will not change his behaviour, it could actually intensify it.

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