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was what I said really so awful?

(193 Posts)
StillStuck Wed 16-Jan-13 10:02:08

back story - DH used to go away a lot with work, used to be for a whole week every other week and then his job changed and it was one week a month, and then it changed again over the summer and he stopped going away at all.

I posted about this a while ago (under another, different name change) as I was really struggling with my negative feelings about him being around all the time. I was happy with the balance of him being away one week in four, I enjoyed my time just me and DS and didn't really miss DH to be honest.

When DH told me about how his job would changing I really struggled with the negative emotions I felt about him being around all the time. I had a feeling of being 'trapped' if that makes sense, I missed knowing there would weeks booked in when he would be going away.

It hasn't helped over the past 6 months since his job changed that DH has barely been out or done anything. Two nights out with friends and one day trip, that's it. The rest of the time he is always around. I work three days a week and on my days off with DS DH will almost invariably come home at lunch time as well and be home by 4. We live in a tiny tiny house so there is no where for me to go to get some space, I can't call a friend without him commenting on what i'm talking about (and i have to talk over the noise of him watching tv). I have taken to going for a run/ swim every night and then having a long soak in the bath, just to carve out some space for myself.

I have eventually summoned up the courage and tried to talk to DH about this, about how I miss the balance our life used to have. I tried to explain that I was happy when he was away and then also enjoyed it when he was around. But he has taken it really badly and won't accept that I do still want to be with him I just want us to have some balance again. I am also a bit cross that he is upset with me for admitting to liking the weeks when he was away as much as I liked the weeks when he was around. I think he thinks I should have been sat around weeping and counting down the minutes until he came back. (meanwhile these trips away for him were basically to do something most people would pay to go on holiday and do, and the evenings involve going out drinking and partying).

I do think I still want to be with DH. He can be negative to me at times and I have struggled with that and I think that is why I like having a break from him sometimes too but fundamentally things are ok I think. I just want to get a balance back, I don't think its healthy to have so little time apart, and I miss having time just me and DS. Over the winter it feels like I've only really had a few hours a week, and I feel like I haven't really been a 'mother' especially as DH has a bit of tendency to need to prove he 'knows better' than me when it comes to parenting. The gaps when he was away gave me a chance to feel confident in what I was doing as a parent I guess.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 16-Jan-13 10:06:36

The message that 'I liked it better when you weren't here all the time' is a pretty crushing thing to say to someone, however you dress it up and however true it is. Most couples aren't apart for significant amounts of time... mostly people in loving relationships want to be together and work out a way to make that happen.

Perhaps you'd benefit from couples counselling to help you deal with the new dynamic better?

DoodleAlley Wed 16-Jan-13 10:18:41

I think more conversations are probably called for. I also think its important to recognise that some of us are introverts and some extroverts.

Most people need space at times and it seems to
Me the issue here is as much as anything the fact that when your DH us around he's around a lot? And you don't want to feel constantly watched?

Could you let DH look after your son occasionally to give you space?

Would that be a fair assumption?

Izziblem Wed 16-Jan-13 10:19:54

Cant really offer any advice but just to give you the flipside from your DH's POV

As someone that travels at least 1 week out of a month, I would be utterly devastated if my partner said he liked me being away.

Going away that much means that its difficult when you do come home. He probably doesn't expect you to be "weeping and counting down the minutes until he came back" but I know when I come home from a trip away it can sometimes be difficult to fit back into the dynamic in the house and I sometimes feel as if I'm in my partners way as he's got used to a routine without me there.

He was probably looking forward to, (as I am) having a job which meant you could all establish yourselves as a family and get into a routine. He's probably also trying to make up for the time he's been away but getting involved with your DS and coming home at lunchtime etc.

I'm pretty sure that my DP would be happy for me to be home all the time and even more pleased if I came home early to see him.

Maybe as the other poster suggested you should look into counciling to help you deal with how its all changed.

Hope it all works out for you smile x

Sugarice Wed 16-Jan-13 10:20:07

If my dh had commented that he preferred me to be away two weeks of the month I too would feel rejected and hurt.

You've written your last paragraph as if you are feeling overpowered by your dh and also resent the way he tries to parent your ds as opposed to how you do it.

Do you want to go to counselling with him?

StillStuck Wed 16-Jan-13 10:22:31

I get that cogito , that was why it has taken me so long to summon up the courage to try and discsus it. in the end I felt I had to as I was just resenting his presence all the time, whereas when we had balance I liked having him around. But he enjoyed going away, so I don't understand why it is not OK for me to have enjoyed that time too and miss it. It was a balance that worked for us, we were happy when we were together.

I think the problem is that because he went away, when he was around we would basically do everything together, spend every evening together. All I was trying to say to DH was that we should try and get a balance more like most normal couples I know, whereby they each have their own activities at least one evening a week (whether its a club, or a drink with friends). I didn't mean I need him to go back to going away a week a month but just that we should just start talking about how to find a balance for this 'new' way of living.

I will try and suggest counselling to DH. I think you are right that that is what we need.

Anniegetyourgun Wed 16-Jan-13 10:27:33

It's not awful to think it, but as Cogito says, there's no way to say it to someone without it being hurtful - although it would be a lot better to say "I need some time to myself" rather than "I like it better when you're not here"! I have to say your DH sounds rather smothering - he's not just there, he's poking into what you're doing, being loud in the space you're trying to do something else in, and you're clearly not quite on the same page as each other with the parenting. No wonder you want space.

I can only think of 3 things that would help:
a) Move to a larger house (is this a possibility?)
b) Get a job or volunteer or something that gets you out of the house for a few hours per day - a half hour run doesn't really cut it (paid employment would help with (a) above)
c) LTB (not a serious suggestion unless there's a whole lot you haven't mentioned)

Anniegetyourgun Wed 16-Jan-13 10:29:27

And the counselling, of course, but hopefully that will help you work some practical changes into your lives as well as just working through your feelings.

Delayingtactic Wed 16-Jan-13 10:32:00

I think that what you said would come across as deeply hurtful. I would be very upset if my DH said this to me and vice versa (and I say this as someone whose DH works away during the week).

If you'd have just said about perhaps having an activity to do separately then that would be ok but to say you enjoyed it when he was away was perhaps a bit mean. I can see why you'd feel encroached on but the way you phrased it in your OP at least was unnecessary.

Yes, I'd be devastated in your DH's shoes if those were the words you used. I think counselling might not be a bad move, but certainly you need to work on how you communicate.

StillStuck Wed 16-Jan-13 10:45:11

just to clarify

I work 3.5 days a week, and love my job, socialise every lunch time, totally love what I do and the colleagues I work with.
DH looks after DS on one of those days so he gets 'one on one ' time with ds. Because Dh is around all weekend and for large amounts of my days with ds, I have really missed having any time just me and ds together. I feel like DH is always trying to prove he knows better than me about DS. For instance, if I comment on something new I have spotted DS doing DH will always say 'ohh yeah he's been doing that for ages' sad.

(On Christmas Day DS woke up and hadn't realised it was christmas so I let him play in our room for an hour or so so that he didn't wake family we were staying with. I nipped downstairs to the bathroom quickly and then could hear people moving about so thought we could tell DS it was christmas day, I started saying 'ds guess what day it is', and DH said 'oh we've already discussed it'. I felt really gutted to have missed seeing his face, but then realised DS didn't know, so said 'its christmas day' and DS suddenly leapt up and started bouncing up and down shouting with excitement. It makes me wonder if DH is lying about some of the other things I have apparently missed....)

I didn't say 'I like it better when you're not here', I said I missed the balance we had when he went away some of the time, and that I liked both parts of my life, the part when he was here and the part when he was away, and that I miss having any time to myself.

we are renting while we save to buy so don't want to spend any more on rent as we wouldn't be able to save much.

dH can be a bit critical of me, and has made a few mean comments when I have been playign with ds, which has ever since ds was very young left me feeling embarrassed/ unable to be silly with ds (e.g play silly games etc) when DH is around. I feel more relaxed and happy with ds when DH isn't there.

Dahlen Wed 16-Jan-13 10:45:32

I completely understand how you feel. I feel very suffocated spending all my spare time with a partner and need time to myself. There's nothing wrong with how you feel, but "I prefer it when you're not around" is going to hurt even if the person on the receiving end is the sort who likes being apart from a partner for extended periods themselves.

This is one of those situations where it's all about phrasing, I think. In your position, I'd apologise for hurting his feelings, and explain it's not about rejecting him, it's about needing time to yourself, especially as it's been a pattern in your relationship for so long and you've become accustomed to it. You can then go on to negotiate a new pattern by mutual agreement.

Isabeller Wed 16-Jan-13 10:46:46

There are lots of couples "Living apart together" who maintain completely separate homes for a great variety of reasons so the fact that you enjoyed "Living apart" 50% of the time and this worked for you isn't so unusual. Your DH might have been really homesick though and might be really happy not to have to do all that travelling.

Is there any way you could work towards having a space of your own elsewhere? I can so easily imagine being in the situation you describe and my instinct, if there was no room for a shed wink, is something like getting/sharing an allotment and taking DS along. Friends have had artist's studios, camper vans, beach huts, gym memberships and church or community groups as 'second homes'.

I realise my suggestions might be a bit irrelevant to you but however you do it I hope you find a good solution for the whole family.

StillStuck Wed 16-Jan-13 10:48:19

also just to reiterate - DH loved his weeks away, seriously looked forward to them, what he got to do was amazing (trying to be vague...), he got really excited about them and more to the point he chose to do each and every single one of those trips away, he planned them and booked them in

Lueji Wed 16-Jan-13 10:49:12

It does look like you don't like having H around that much, particularly if he is a competitive parent.
But why should you not feel at ease being silly with DS? Do you have self esteem issues?

He might criticise you for feeling left out. And being away so much, he might feel left out of your relationship with DS.

Perhaps you could be more sensitive to it?

Sugarice Wed 16-Jan-13 10:49:23

The more you write, it does appear that your H has put you down on occasions and tried to belittle you with regard to how you interact with your ds.

Do you feel that he tries to get one over on you in other ways?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 16-Jan-13 10:50:42

"I didn't say 'I like it better when you're not here'"

I know you didn't say it, but that's what he heard.

HellonHeels Wed 16-Jan-13 10:51:21

I think what you are articulating here goes a lot deeper than experiencing some difficulties with him now being at home all the time rather than being away one week in the month.

He listens in on your conversations to friends, criticises you, is negative to you, undermines your confidence as a parent. Is it those things that you really need to talk about more?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 16-Jan-13 10:53:39

It's a period of re-adjustment and it is new for all 3 of you. However,

I do think I still want to be with DH...fundamentally things are ok I think

Sorry but you don't sound very convinced.

I don't know how long you and DH have been together as a couple. Tbh it sounds as if you got more out of life when he wasn't around.

You don't have to justify how you feel,
I really struggled with the negative emotions I felt about him being around all the time. I had a feeling of being 'trapped' if that makes sense

It could be that your relationship has run its course. It doesn't always have to finish with the complications of one person meeting someone else. Do you see yourself with DH in 5, 20 years' time?

Counselling doesn't have to be about fixing a relationship, it can guide you into finishing things amicably.

StillStuck Wed 16-Jan-13 10:54:39

lueji because DH has laughed at me / mocked me for things I did being silly with DS when he was tiny, and a few times since. yet he is very silly around DS himself. I'll admit I'm quite self-conscious anyway and don't love having an audience but I never expected to feel self conscious in front of DH sad

Sugarice the only other thing I struggle with is that he can be a bit too critical of some of my friends/ family ,which means I see less of them than I would like to / feel awkward talking to them on the phone if dh is around as I know he will criticise them after.

Firsttimer7259 Wed 16-Jan-13 10:54:54

I think your need for time to yourself, and time be one to one with your child is really normal and something I definitely have too. My DH and I seem to balance those needs naturally and amicably but we are also vocal in terms of enjoying time together and even making time to be properly together. As in saying we miss each other and planning a night out or a nice dinner together at home thats not just about getting everyone fed and watered. We are also vocal about having enjoyed or looking forward to an evening alone - we jokingly kick each other out and then text about the lovely bath etc we are having all to ourselves.

I think your situation is made difficult by some underlying tension in the relationship nd not by your need to be alone sometimes. Sounds like he often doesnt speak kindly to you and the way you phrased what you'd like came across as mean. This can get snipey. The correcting each other in front of your child thing doesnt sound good IMO. Can you talk it out?

Lafaminute Wed 16-Jan-13 10:56:06

My dh used to work shift work so we spent maybe three evenings a week together. I often felt that this was the reason our relatioship worked and when he got a new job where he works regular hours but 6 days rather than 5 I struggled for a few years with him being home EVERY evening. I'm used to it now and actually find him being home a novelty on his day off but like you, I enjoy my own space whereas he cannot understand why I need to be alone at times. I think we are individuals and not necessarily designed to spend every moment ine ach others pockets. Like you I go out swimming or running or to bed early with a book - he often follows me! AAAGHH. Nothing helpful for you I'm afraid except that I do not think what you said was so awful.

StillStuck Wed 16-Jan-13 10:56:12

hellon he would have no choice but to listen to y telephone conversations, our downstairs is just one tiny open plan room!!

Lueji Wed 16-Jan-13 10:57:28

Yeah, it doesn't sound good.

And deeper than needing space.

StillStuck Wed 16-Jan-13 10:58:52

thanks firsttimer yes that it is the kind of balance I want. so we appreciate and enjoy things when we are here.

It is good to know I am not the only one who needs breathing space sometimes.

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