Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

I need to talk to someone normal about my husband.

(164 Posts)
FeelingLousyAgain Fri 11-Jan-13 20:28:33

Normal people over here please! grin (tongue in cheek)

I am in a bad place with my husband. Basic story: married 15 years, 2 dc aged 10 and 9. I have been, at various times in our marriage, in full time work, part time work, voluntary unpaid work and as a SAHM (the last two overlap). We spent the last three years with me re-training for a new career, and I qualified this year. I'm now working f / t (flexible hours). New job meant a move of house, so moved to a new area in my home county and the county that DH knows best. DH has long term clinical depression, but says it's fine and under contro lwithmeds at the moment.

So far so good (except the depression). Except that, since we moved and I started my new job, dh has been mostly v. emotionally distant - he says he feels 'numb'. He had a big depressive episode in Sept-Oct, and it was absolutely horrible. He talked then about leaving me. He withdrew a lot over Christmas and I got quite worried about him from a MN POV, and started thinking about whether his meds were enough etc.

On New Year's Day I mentioned that, now that we are living in a nice big house with a big garden, we might think about getting a dog. His response was that he didn't want to complicate our lives with a dog. I asked if he felt that life was too complicated, and he responded by saying that for weeks, he'd been thinking about whether he still wanted to be with me. He said 'We'll always have a good relationship, even if the marriage fails', and 'I don't want you to think that I haven't thought of the kids in all of this.' His reason that he gave was that he didn't feel as though he has a role in our relationship any more, he's seen how capqable I am and he doesn't feel needed.

I was really shocked as I had no idea that he'd think this - I had thought that the October episode was an abberation. I was really upset and cuoldn't sleep that night. Next day, I went back to bed for a bit to catch up on sleep and he came in, and we talked - he ended up saying that he is committed to our relationship.

Then last night something sparked another conversation - I am struggling with my workload and have been ill over the last few weeks. He started off by responding positively, but then started saying that my workload is affecting our relationship and I' dbetter sort it out soon, before there's no mariage left to save. (I work about 45 hours a week). I said that sounded like a threat and he didn't really respond.

I have access to counselling through my work, and last night dh agreed to counselling, so I emailed the counsellor today but I haven't heard back yet.

The reality of dh's feelings (or lack) has hit me hard, and I've felt v. down today. Dh got home from work, tookone look at me, said 'You're not right'. Aftre a bit of chat I told him how hurt and upset I am with him. He ate his dinner in silence then went to bed at 7.30pm. We had talked about having sex tonight. sad

Sorry it's so long. I just need to talk to someone who is normal and not me, or dh. My friends are all too far away (because we moved). What do I do? Dh has said I haven't done anything wrong. I'm more or less 100% sure that there isn't anyone else involved.

FeelingLousyAgain Fri 11-Jan-13 21:30:41

weak smile Thank you, Trustissues!

nkf Fri 11-Jan-13 21:31:43

He sounds many things. Depressed, resentful, a bit passive-aggressive. So hard to deal with all of those things.

I was married to a man who felt threatened by me (I had a "better" degree) and it was a pain to be honest.

Counselling for you will help, I'm sure. And I suppose using all those "I" phrases. I feel... I get the impression that ...when you talk to him.

Whatever you do, don't give up your job.

CajaDeLaMemoria Fri 11-Jan-13 21:33:12

If he tells the doctor he's okay, the doctor will believe him.

It took me four years to realise that it's for my benefit, and I need to be honest. And to be fair, a lot of the time I need DP to come and make sure I am honest, or tell the doctor for me...

Is that an option?

FeelingLousyAgain Fri 11-Jan-13 21:34:56

No, Nfk, I know it'd be stupid to give up my job. I am pretty good at it smile and I really enjoy it.

My whole feeling about my life has changed over this last week or so, though. I've never felt this insecure. sad

MooncupGoddess Fri 11-Jan-13 21:38:39

Telling you that he doesn't know if he wants to be with you any more but couldn't cope by himself is pretty manipulative. It sounds like he wants to drag you down and ruin your pleasure in your exciting new job.

But it may be just the depression talking - what was he like before this? Did he treat you like a fellow human being, or were his needs always more important than yours?

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Fri 11-Jan-13 21:38:50

You are feeling insecure because your husband is a cock. He's had you on a string for 15 years - every time you do anything that conflicts with any of his whims he'll have a lickle tantrum and trot off to the doctor, have a sulk or start hinting that he might leave - anything to get your attention back on him.

Call his bluff and the next time he says he's not happy in the relationship, tell him to pack a bag and fuck off. The DC will miss him less than you imagine, as you say he 'blows hot and cold with them' ie manipulates them and demands all their attention, as well.

FeelingLousyAgain Fri 11-Jan-13 21:39:09

I don't know, Caja. I thikn that Dh thinks he's more capable than he is, and he'd see a trip to the doctors as another task to tick off in his day. He'd be in 'capable mode' and wouldn't see the point in me tagging aolng. I think it'd take quite a bit of self-reflection to bring him to that point.

The big depressive episode in Sept / Oct happened because he came off his citalopram cold turkey, with no medical help. We'd just moved, and he thought 'new move, new start'. He became so aggressive and paranoid and scary. sad It took me a while to recover emotionally - maybe that's why this has knocked me so much, because I had just about recovered from that...sad

BettySuarez Fri 11-Jan-13 21:42:48

OP you have mentioned a couple of times in your posts that you feel as if you are 'walking on eggshells'

Could it be possible that this is exactly how he wants you to feel? He is trying to make you feel guilty about something.

It sounds very manipulative

You are definitely bring made to dance to his tune and I agree with others about the emotional blackmail problem sad

BettySuarez Fri 11-Jan-13 21:43:51

And bupa do cover MH although it may be restricted slightly

FeelingLousyAgain Fri 11-Jan-13 21:48:18

grin SGB.

Mooncup - oh, blimey. When I first met him, looking back now, I'd say he was v. depressed - but back thenI thought he was cool and 'emo' (not that the word existed then!) smile

He had a terribly dark time when the dc were little - I had to keep my head above water, emotionally, for the dcs' sake. Then he went on to ADs, which made a huge difference. I have thought to myself many times over the year though, that if I talked to him the way he talked me to me, the narriage wuold have been over years ago. He wouoldn't put up with it. I even said this to him once, and he agreed. He has apologised various times for being a crap husband. Other times he's said 'Well I don't sleep around and I don't hit you...' sad i envy other people their happy marriages, and wish I had that. I know the grass is always greener etc, but you know...

badinage Fri 11-Jan-13 21:51:31

I'm in the 'your husband is a cock' camp.

He's jealous of you.

Hugely passive-aggressive and attention-seeking.

I'd call his bluff and say you don't want to stay with someone who is this unsure about his feelings for you and that you need some space away from him.

MadBusLady Fri 11-Jan-13 21:52:06

A couple of things here really resonate with me.

I felt "numb" on and for some time after being on ADs too. That seems somehow to be part of what they do, at least for some people. They numb the good bits and the bad bits and leave you out of touch with your emotions. Of course, you don't realise at the time - you just think you genuinely don't care that much about anything. Having said that, I didn't start telling my partner he "wasn't right" hmm - I think if your response to feeling numb is to push someone else's emotional buttons instead, that's a feature of character rather than illness. Just my opinion

I also felt useless and pointless when my partner was shouldering a lot of the financial and practical burden - even though I don't have a strong desire to be major breadwinner or (obviously) any of the traditional roles baggage that some men have. I just wanted to contribute, and the stronger DP was and the broader his shoulders, the more redundant I felt. Totally unreasonable, but there it was.

I became all the more focussed on myself because there wasn't much else I was required to think about, and that was the worst thing I could have done. I can see how in that scenario, if all stresses and strains are removed from your life and you STILL aren't 100% happy, you start looking around for things to change. Ie "Something has to change, splitting up is a change, therefore I should do it". If he has come off ADs suddenly then that's potentially even worse, because presumably he'll have been hoping that they'll have left him in some sense "cured" to enjoy the new start.

The others might be right and he might just be being a self-absorbed manipulative knobber who's jealous of your success. But if his depression is like mine, maybe not. It is very silly to come off Citalopram suddenly and unsupervised.

Either way, if you can sod off, even for the day tomorrow, I think I would if I were you. It takes a lot of strength to deal with someone in this state and you sound so down.

MadBusLady Fri 11-Jan-13 21:54:56

if I talked to him the way he talked me to me, the narriage wuold have been over years ago.

Hmm, your last post has moved me slightly closer to the "your husband is a cock" camp...

FeelingLousyAgain Fri 11-Jan-13 21:57:38

Thanks, MadBusLady. No, sorry, I wasn't clear. What happened was this: in Oct, something v. minor happened (someone bashed into him with their trolle in the supermarket) and he exploded. He was off ADs at the time. I suggested gently that maybe he wasn't okay MH-wise.

He took to his bed and talked about leaving me. By the end of that afternoon, I'd got him to agree to go back to the doctor and go back on ADs. He did the next day (in and out in 5 mins), and he's been on Citalopram since then. He coped badly with the cold turkey - he had the brain zaps and shakes. Not good. But he's been on citalopram since mid-Oct.

MooncupGoddess Fri 11-Jan-13 22:00:34

"Other times he's said 'Well I don't sleep around and I don't hit you.'"

He sets himself quite low standards as a husband, doesn't he... while setting quite high standards for you as a wife.

MadBusLady Fri 11-Jan-13 22:04:10

Oh, I see. In that case I think everything I said about numbness applies even more.

It does sound like this is a pretty fixed facet of him though. sad I do think chronic depression of this sort where the person is basically still functioning, working, parenting etc is manageable. But you've really got to want to manage it (and be willing to work to get to a stage where you're capable of "wanting" anything).

FeelingLousyAgain Fri 11-Jan-13 22:09:31

Yes, MadBusLady, dh does well in his job, has been promoted several times, and says that he has a good reputation in his workplace. I think, tbh, tat he feels in control at work and therefore it's good for his self-esteem. He doesn't feel as much in control at home, so he feels down at home / finds it stressful at home / dreams about leaving.

TheSilveryTinsellyPussycat Fri 11-Jan-13 22:39:45

It is quite possible to be deeply depressed without realising it, and you OH needs start believing that he is currently depressed. It sounds as if his AD had stopped working (this sometimes happens longterm) or his own physiology has changed, perhaps with anno domini! He needs to work with his GP (or psych if he has one) to find the AD that works for him.

If after trying 2 more differnt ones with no improvemnt, then trying looking elsewhere for the problem.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Fri 11-Jan-13 23:23:47

Bear in mind that depression and being an arsehole can be two separate things. He sounds remarkably selfish and entitled - depressed or not, he considers himself The Man and therefore the only person in the family who actually matters.

AnyFucker Germany Fri 11-Jan-13 23:36:03

I am very normal and I don't like the sound of your husband

He sounds completely self centred and not a particularly good father

My eldest child is 17 and not once have I ever had to reassure her of her father's love for her

Actions are all in my world

Look at your husband's actions

He isn't sure he wants you...why stay with himhmm

Take him at his word....I would never hang around someone who isn't sure he wants me

cestlavielife Fri 11-Jan-13 23:58:53

Get counselling for you.
Tell him that he should go back to gp and psych and talk to someone. He needs to manage his depression he needs to own it and take your word for it when it affecting you negatively. But if he doesn't have or refuses to have insight then you need to be very clear what your boundaries are.

Get some time out away from him.
Review your options.

Incidentally ,y exp with depression etc etc used to say things like f I didn't change my attitude to him he would leave... Funnily enough when I said please leave he refused t do so.
Next time he wants out pack his bags and send him somewhere else . Then view it all from a distance .

springyhope Sat 12-Jan-13 01:01:00

No one copes well with cold turkey from ADs. It is my huge bugbear that GPs don't make it VERY VERY CLEAR not to go cold turkey. ADs are powerful meds that fiddle around with brain chemistry: stop them suddenly and the fallout can be absolutely horrific. I know of too many people who have killed themselves entirely because they stopped AD meds suddenly.

Got that out of the way! I'm not liking the sound of your husband, I'm afraid. Depressed or not, comments like 'Well I don't sleep around and I don't hit you...' were the type of thing my terrifyingly controlling XH said to me. I also have a friend whose husband has/had severe OCD and the entire family suffered terribly because of it. My friend has decided (after 10 horrible years of unbelievable abuse) that she's had enough and she's turfed him out. Guess what, his symptoms have vanished and have stayed vanished for 2 years. I have no doubt at all that he is bona fide OCD on some level but something else is going on...

Same with your husband imo. You sound like you may be an enabler and, if his problem were drugs or drink, your enabling behaviour may be more clear to you. YOu're tip-toeing around and shielding the children because of the big depression bogey yet counselling is a foreign concept to him - I am amazed at this.

this isn't hanging together imo.

Damash12 Sat 12-Jan-13 03:38:13

I think you need to ask him again what is wrong and listen. That sounds harsh but isn't meant too. What I mean is if he is saying the relationship is the problem and he feels numb or may not want to continue then listen to that and believe him. It sounds like every reason for his behaviour has been listed ie depression, insecure, your hours but not what he has actually said. Maybe he REALLY does want to end the relationship, but doesn't want to hurt you or the Dcs in any way. Telling someone it's over is never going to be easy and it sounds as though heviscgivibg you prior warning but is scared himself of the outcome. While the children are away I would check out again how he feels and if he says numb, doesn't know then you need to start accepting it as the truth. Nothing's to say the counselling won't work and you'll come through it together but maybe if he moved out the space would let him think clearly of this is really what he wants. Good luck.

FeelingLousyAgain Sat 12-Jan-13 08:22:01

Thank you, everyone. I realise that I'm feeling very, very hurt, and I'm angry at dh for hurting me. I'm angry at him not stepping up to the mark and supporting me through these first months of a new career.

One thing: I don't think that dh had any idea that his words would affect me. When he was saying 'I'm not sure if I still want to be with you', he was just talking about how he feels - he didn't for one moment anticipate my response, or even consider that I might respond. I think he feels cross at me for being hurt. He said yesterday that I've been too down and that I need to cheer up, and that if I were happier, he'd be happier too. But how can I be happy when he's just told me that he doesn't want to be with me? confused What do you make of this? I am genuinely confused

Springy, I know that going cold turkey off ADs is a dangerous thing to do. I tried to talk him out of it. sad I read up on all the effects. I was the one who explained brain zaps to him.

Damash - maybe you're right, maybe he does just want out, regardless of depression etc. Sigh.

I'm getting some work done htis morning - work is a good distraction! Maybe I will become a workaholic after all! grin (tongue in cheek!)

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 12-Jan-13 08:34:17

"We'd just moved, and he thought 'new move, new start'"

As a 'normal' person, that looks to me more like he deliberately made his health deteriorate so that you had no choice but to take notice of him. I'm making a harsh accusation.... someone who is manipulating their illness for their own benefit...... but that's how it looks.

I don't think he wants out at all. I think he's trying to make you feel so guilty and responsible for him that you stay out of obligation and fear. You, therefore, have to agree with his idea to end the marriage.... go along with it and take it seriously. Take him on face value

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now