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DH and I unhappy together, but he is also disabled - WWYD?

(53 Posts)
insicknessandinhealth Fri 04-Jan-13 20:30:28

Where to start? My DH and I are fundamentally mismatched. He is a night owl, I'm an early bird, he is very blunt and doesn't mind who he upsets with his opinions, loves an argument, I am a people-pleaser who hates confrontation. I am messy, he is super-tidy. He has a really quick temper and this never used to be directed towards me physically, but he has recently become physically threatening, and has hit out at me a couple of times.

However, he had a stroke 5 years ago which left him with mobility and speech problems. This coincided with the birth of our DS (I was 20 weeks PG at the time of the stroke), and DH was (naturally) very wrapped up in coping with his own situation and learning to mobilise around the home and to speak again. He prioritised his recovery whilst I got on with parenting our DS and somehow we went completely down our own paths. I had to go back to work (he had no critical illness cover so we didn't get a payout or anything) and what with work, bringing up a child, caring for him - sorting medications, taking to hospital and therapy appts etc - and taking care of the house, home finances, and all of our family responsibilities we have really grown apart. My DS is my little buddy and I get all of my cuddles, affection and company from him. Meanwhile my DH spends his time watching DVDs, reading, and staying up until 3 or 4am and sleeping in til the early afternoon, not interested in joining any of our family outings. I have tried helping him get into a routine, suggesting a structure to his day so that perhaps he could get to bed on time and live in a similar routine to us, but each time he starts off well then quickly lapses into his old ways.

I would say that he is not a natural family man/parent anyhow. I persuaded him to have children. He does absolutely adore our DS, but his own recovery is still his first priority. Most of the time I feel we are in his way, making too much noise and mess, and if it was not for his stroke and recovery I think I would have left long ago. I also worry about the effect that DH's behaviour is having on DS. He sees DH's displays of temper, kicking DS's toys out of his way, swearing, shouting at me (he shouted 'I hate you' at one point today) and I am left explaining to a 5yo why Daddy has such a temper. DH knows that his behaviour isn't acceptable, yet his excuse is that he 'sees red' and can't stop himself. I don't feel like this is a happy, loving family environment for our DS to grow up around. Fortunately he has the example of my Dad to see how men actually can be gentle and loving!

We have discussed the fact that we don't really like one another anymore, but I feel extremely reluctant to separate obviously because I don't feel he would be able to look after himself on his own. We have talked about the situation quite openly and joked that our ideal situation would be him living in a 'granny flat' at the bottom of the garden or something, happy in his own space but with me still able to look after him. I feel as if we are stuck in this situation really.

We live in the same town as my parents, who provide loads of additional parenting support, but I don't feel I can talk to them fully about the extent of our problems. I'm not sure whether I could afford to live alone as the majority of the equity in the house is my DH's and we have a car through his disability living allowance, and I now only have a PT job and don't earn enough to pay the mortgage on my own and would be stuck without the disability benefits that my DH gets.

I also worry about leaving him on his own, as I suspect that he would not be able to cope, but I have tried so hard over the past 5 years to give him the opportunity to be part of the family, but to no avail. He is really not interested. Daily life is enough of a struggle for him without adding parenting into the equation, but I also know that there are disabled parents out there who play an active role in their DCs lives despite their disabilities. I have been nervous about posting about this before as I also fear that people would think I am abandoning him, especially my MIL, who knows his faults but lives far away from us and couldn't provide additional support for him. He has other family too but none live near us, plus he would not want to move out of the area because of a great speech therapist and community speech groups, a few friends he has made locally etc.

I am not sure what to do, but I would be interested to know what people advise or if anyone else has been through this.

cronullansw Sun 06-Jan-13 22:24:44

Spero, sorry to hear about your condition.

I lived with a disabled, widowed father for 16 years from when I was 2 until I was 18, then he died. We had much fun, laughter, and good times, but there were occasional, inevitable, rough times too.

Spero Sun 06-Jan-13 23:05:52

And such is the stuff of life - you don't ditch someone because of a few rough times, and hopefully we can all feel compassion for someone who acts obnoxiously every now and then because they are tired, in pain or just fed up.

But I don't see that as the situation here at all. The op has tried for five years. And is facing a lot worse than just someone who is a bit snappy and grumpy from time to time.

FanFuckingTastic Sun 06-Jan-13 23:12:47

I am a single disabled person and I cope alone. He sounds like he is treating you really badly, so I wouldn't feel any guilt in telling him off you go matey!

I arranged my own care, helped by adult social worker and my medical professionals. Don't you dare feel like you are stuck caring for him when he's treating you so badly, abuse is abuse, whether the perpetrator is healthy or not.

I get angry and frustrated loads, but I don't take it out on the people around me, because it's certainly not their fault. Obviously I understand that some levels of brain damage cause trouble with inhibition and aggression, but if you are both unhappy, you should quite easily be able to arrange for him to live independently if he is well enough, or in sheltered housing if not.

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