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I need to talk to someone normal about my husband.(164 Posts)
Normal people over here please! (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.
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.
Glad you're feeling better. One day at a time.
<trots off to make the tea>
Thank you. I'm feelng much better tonight! I'm kind of becoming okay within myself. Which is good. Yes, he is absolutely up for being a supportive co-parent. Which is also good!
Anyone else fancy a ?
Another one agreeing with Heyho.
Also just wanted to say I was seriously, life-threateningly ill with depression for a long time, and not only have I not been offended by anything you've written, I also think you are being too trusting and accepting of your husband, who sounds as though he's been unkind to you and your children for rather a long time.
It is a horrible illness, but depression is emphatically NOT a licence to give up responsibility for yourself and your health or to oppress others. In fact, you can't really ever get well if you do. Without you, your husband will have a stark choice: to wallow and get worse, or shape up and try to get better. It isn't (or shouldn't) be for you to shield him from that choice. He really needs to make it.
So consider this: while your husband lacks the courage/maturity to end this marriage, he does seem to want it to end and it is probably therefore in his interests as well as yours that it does. Which is what you can say if he or anyone else is ever crass enough to criticise you for any decision you make to leave him (not telling you to, btw. Only you can decide that).
I agree with HeyHo. He's making you feel it is your choice because he doesn't want to live with the idea of himself as a Dad who has left his family.
Sounds like he is up for being a supportive co-parent. It's great that you can still talk about parenting together. It doesn't matter whether parents stay together or not, what matters is whether the children are loved and well looked after and that they are not brought up in a negative environment. The children will be fine, in fact they ARE fine! As a kid I used to wish and pray my dad would leave. Staying together can be a very destructive thing to do.
It must hurt so much for you at the moment. It's going to get better. You will feel better xx
HeyHo I completely agree with you, I think the OP (and you sound lovely) is being played here, I'm afraid. All the threats, emotional bluster, fear of him leaving, fear of him being depressed and walking on eggshells, and the comments about sex incompatibility- I think he's really hoping you leave him, but that it looks like your decision!
Op I understand why you very sad, you are grieving for what is, and what might have been. That's very hard to accept. I think cups of tea and chocolate biscuits all round are required- have you also got some RL support? (and not of the 'why don't you give it a go, marriages are hard work' variety)
Can you see whats happening - its like someone has called your DH's bluff!
So he acts like an arse for many many years, often being outright cruel.
He tells you repeatedly that he wants to split.
He manipulated you innto a position where you actually feel like you have a choice in this - he in fact has you thinking that it is up to you.
Then useless counseller tells you to think again.
DH suddenly gets a fright - Oh fuck if she starts feeling guilty about splitting and asks me to move back, I'll look like the bad guy here.
So hes all loving and supportive and on your side -
SO YOU WILL CONTINUE TO THINK THAT IT HAS BEEN YOUR CHOISE TO END THE RELATIONSHIP
But it wasn't - he gave himself permission to emotionally leave you years ago.
I know if I knew you in real life, you are going to BLOSSOM in the coming years, everyone who knows you will look back in wonder at how you put up with so much crap for so long.
You are sprouting wings!!
Following on from what Roxy said, there is quite a bit of evidence that SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) seem to induce emotional blunting in patients who take them.
You can google SSRI and 'emotional blunting' for more information.
As Rosy said, it might be worth liaising with your GP to check whether alternative meds might suit your DH better.
Thank you! Tea helps.
Take care and go easy on yourself today x
Hello all. I've just been sent home from work because I couldn't stop crying. I had a longish phone conversation with h this morning, who actually used the same word as AF; he said he 'baulked' at what the counsellor said last night, he felt that she was putting me under emotional pressure to have him come home, and he felt that she was very unfair and inappropriate. So he's in favour of ditching her too.
He also said that if it weren't for the dc, we'd have parted by now. He didn't say in in a nasty way, just in a factual way. He said that we're still a team, and we'll do everything to make things easier and better for the dc. He says he's in no hurry to come home, and will take time off during half term to look after them while still giving me space. So, he's saying all the right things and being very reasonable about it. He said on the phone that IHO the counsellor had played the 'you're being a bad mum if you split up' card on me, and he can see how that's going to hurt me more than just about anything you could say.
So I'm going to spend today drinking tea and listening to loud music and doing a few bits of work from home. Maybe I'll do dome serious housework and take put my frustration by scrubbing the house to within an inch of its life!
Thank you all. Spero, your advice has been so valuable; thank you!
OP: Focus on this: The kids are happy as normal, and haven't really noticed. I'm quite enjoying being the sole adult of the house, tbh .
Before I read your updates I was going to post that you (and we) have put all this effort and angst into trying to work out what's going on for him and how to help him - but can you imagine him doing the same? Imagine him posting on Dadsnet 20 posts all trying to analyse and explain your behaviour because he wants your relationship to work? No? Thought not. He has been manipulating you and being extremely cruel. He never would have married you if he'd slept with your first?! You're well out of there. Enjoy your freedom.
I had a period of being so unwell I was almost admitted as an in patient, I was hard to live with I am sure. I still knew it was me being ill and that my DH was not making me ill, your DH trying to make you responsible is just plain nasty.
Change counsellor as well, she actually sounds dangerous.
No, you don't have to tell children their parent is 'good' but you shouldn't go the other way and point out what a nasty piece of work he or she is. The genetics point is important, children know they come from their parents.
What I think is clearly demonstrated by research is that children do best when told the truth in an age appropriate way. For eg 'daddy isn't feeling very well right now so he may act in ways that you find upsetting. But we hope he is going to get better. He is doing X and Y to make him feel better. Nothing that he does is your fault, he is your dad and he loves you'.
I think in some ways, the fact that for the last 10-15 years, this person has had depression is a bit of a red herring, in that I don't think it matters why someone keeps you in a state of emotional turmoil and distress and on the edge, I just know you don't have to live like that.
My husband had a bout of depression a while back, and whilst initially I felt bad for him, I also didn't like living with (and this is how it manifested in him) an angry, hurtful, critical, negative person lashing out at me because he didn't like his world. I put up with it for over a year before I realised that I didn't want to live like this, even if it did have a medical cause. Being depressed brought out the worst sides of his personality and they had to be reined in, not indulged or feared.
I would not live life like that whatever the reason, plus there are plenty of people living with long term depression (his is clearly long-term) who don't take it out on their partners or make their partners life a misery. I don't believe in sacrificing your own happiness on the altar of someone else's problems, because in the main it doens't solve their problems (he is still angry,depressed, blaming you, threatening to leave) and it makes everyone else miserable too such as the children.
Thanks for your perspective, Roxy. My head is spinning...
I suffer from depression and I'm currently doing very well, however I did have a long stint on medication, it made me feel very distant from my partner in fact I felt so distant that not only did I stop feeling that other people even existed but I was no longer sure I did. I know that sounds unusual. Not to sound horrible but if your partner isn't even in touch with reality any more that from his perspective is going to seem like a bigger problem than your feelings about things. That's why he's being so insensitive he literally doesn't have the capacity right now to think about your feelings. He most likely realises that he effects you negatively and feels a burden as all he's capable of right now is taking.
He's jealous of your ability to be competent, it's really hard not to get bitter when you're depressed I had days where I could barely feed myself and then I'd see other people running around being successful, it feels like a kick in the _ it makes you feel more of a failure than you already feel. 'If she can do all these things why can't I?' except you're stuck in this 'broken' mind and body.
Personally I think he needs to switch meds or come off them all together there are over 50 types of depression meds for a reason so there's plenty of chance for him to feel less numb. He needs a counsellor but he needs one that he can talk to properly, he might have a to try a few. You might have to help him sometimes, maybe make his breakfast occasionally to start him off in a productive mood, it's baby steps initially he'll need you to lean on then he'll watch him do stuff for himself again. It's also confidence he needs to recognise his own achievements in his own right and not compare them to yours.
I'm sorry to sound like I'm making it all about what you could do and not him, of course you don't have to help, but I just don't think he'll be able to properly participate in this relationship until it's under control, it might never go but it can definitely be more manageable.
I did tell him what I thought was the 'truth'. But ime (and I'm still only talking about my experience, so have no idea if this is true for anyone else) my son needed to know that his father's behaviour was unacceptable, but that it was what he did not what he was that wasn't OK. And there were reasons (not excuses) for what happened.
And things aren't often one good person and one bad. I contributed to our situation, and his father wasn't a nasty person.
Another reason I was a little worried about what I wrote was that I didn't want to give the impression that I thought having MH issues (in my ex's case OCD and depression) was an excuse for this sort of bullying and manipulation. As others have said before, people with these MH problems have to take responsibility for managing them (with the loving help of those around them) and most people do that, without ever hurting or bullying others.
... he's not a nasty person, etc. Because after all, they have half his genes, and they might identify with him.
I know this is popular wisdom, Solo, and I understand why, but it is sometimes NOT the best approach with children. When you tell a child their angry / controlling / withholding parent is a good person who loves them, you're telling them it's good to be abusive and that love feels like abuse. There are plenty of age-appropriate ways to tell children the truth. It's not necessary to set them up for a life of painful confusion.
All children identify with their parents. I identify with my psychopathic father. This doesn't mean we have to feel bound to them or be deluded about their true nature.
Sorry just ignore my comment. Just read through properly. I hope things work out for the best for you - what ever that is.
This could all just be down to the depression? It may not be anything to do with your relationship really?
Go to mediation. I think you two (if H doesn't start playing silly buggers) could negotiate a respectful co-parenting set up.
Wow, thank you, Solo. What a really, really positive and lovely post. Thank you.
I need to go and sleep. I hate feeling that I'm the one in the driving seat, but, tbh, I am. It's up to me whether h comes home or not. I told h tonight that I feel guilty about asking him to leave. He said 'Well, you didn't do it to be nasty, did you?' and said that IHO I shouldn't feel guilty, that he doesn't blame me. He's not all bad, really. Maybe we're just rubbish at being married to each other.
to everyone for being here. Don't underestimate how validating and empowering these threads are.
solo, your post will resonate with OP, I am sure
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