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I feel like a fool. Am I?

(130 Posts)
4paws Wed 06-Feb-13 11:12:02

I am a SAHM and living overseas for the last 18 months. My youngest is now 3 and where we are living is OK. I can put up with it for a while longer!

My DH works hard and really enjoys his job, which is great. He doesn't work at weekends, and is good with the DCs. During the week, he hardly sees them, he's up early, and back late. By late I mean 8pm at the earliest mon-fri. The last few months he always seems to be late at night, meeting colleagues for dinner, going out for team drinks, presentation to prepare so he'll be back late. Drinks seem to mean 1am, dinner, 11pm, report to write, 9:30pm. It may all be true, I have no idea, no way of knowing. I don't think he is cheating (Lord knows everyone says that) but why he is he out every night? I know the jobs market is really tough at the moment (tho I've been out of it too long) and I know that he is really into his job and really like socialising with colleagues.

Clearly, what he's not into is spending time at home with me. I feel like an idiot because I have no idea ever where he is, what he is doing. If I am lucky I get an "oh, i'll be late home tonight" but that is it. This isn't my idea of family life, this isn't my idea of a relationship. I feel silly for thinking that I want to leave and to disrupt the DC's, but I also feel that this lifestyle is all lovely for him and it would be v easy for him to cheat, and the gullible fool at home wouldn't know. Or I am just paranoid and controlling.

I have spent years feeling unloved and ignored. I have been unhappy because he doesn't communicate, where he is, or answer his phone/texts whereas my argument is that when I was pg or with small DCs, he should answer, he should check, because he should be concerned that we were all ok, and actually he doesn't worry about it all.

Sorry for rambling

No, you're absolutely not a fool. You are entitled to your feelings and your husband is treating you like a housekeeper/ nanny. It's ok not to be happy with this, but it is up to you to tell him and ensure he understands. Once that has happened you'll be able to determine if you do need to rock the boat re family life.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 06-Feb-13 11:24:18

You have to tell him that you feel lonely and ignored. Business is business and a certain amount of networking & travelling often comes with the territory. But if most of these 1am drink sessions and other extra-curricular stuff are simply socialising then I think he's just choosing not to come home.... for reasons best known to himself. I don't know if he's cheating or not but he's certainly behaving extremely selfishly and you should challenge him on it. He's a family man, not a bachelor.

targaryen24 Wed 06-Feb-13 11:24:49

Didn't want to read and run...I'd have major issues with that. Every night more or less?

Won't actually tell you where he is going exactly?

Generally evasive and uncaring behaviour?

Alarm bells. Sorry to hear you're going through all this with small DCs by the way. Have you tried talking to him about it directly? Does he know it's making you SO unhappy? hmm

targaryen24 Wed 06-Feb-13 11:26:06

(and if he's not cheating...he still doesn't want to be home for whatever reason, which is way less than you deserve in itself. No wonder you're feeling pretty crap about the situation)

4paws Wed 06-Feb-13 11:37:51

Thank you for your replies.

I have told him it is making me VERY unhappy. I told him things need to change and I can't go on the way things are. Really nothing has changed, except perhaps telling me slightly more often when he'll be late.

I do think he's selfish No i think I'm in a category of possessions, house, wife, kids and now he's on to see what he can 'collect' in his career.

He thinks he's great, supporting the family, providing for everyone, and he's right, he has made it possible for me to stay home with the kids

targaryen24 Wed 06-Feb-13 11:45:33

He doesn't own you because he's paying for you to look after HIS children etc. angry

Sounds like he thinks you'll either stay put in your place or he isn't fussed whether you walk or not. Sorry to sound blunt.

MadAboutHotChoc Wed 06-Feb-13 11:50:50

As you have already talked to him and nothing has changed, your only option is to tell him you will not accept this behaviour any more and that if he continues then there will be consequences i.e that the marriage is over.

I am not sure if you are prepared to do this though...

MadAboutHotChoc Wed 06-Feb-13 11:53:09

And remember that YOU are the one making it possible for him to have this lifestyle and career.

Without you doing all his ironing, cooking, shopping, washing, childcare etc, he would not have gone as far. As a single dad he will have to do his own chores and take time out to care for the DC.

This man simply doesn't consider women to be human beings. You're his 'wife' which means you are a cross between a pet and a domestic appliance.
Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to get it across to a man like this that you are a person and that your feelings and wishes and your life matter just as much as his. Someone else posted a while ago about this mindset - think about having a dog. You love the dog, you care for it, you make sure it's fed properly, exercised etc; if it's ill you get appropriate care for it, you protect it from harm. But it's a dog. You don't consult it about the way it lives, and if it doesn't obey you, you punish it.

Do you want to accept your life as a servant to this man, and negotiate time off and better pay? Or do you want to take the DC and leave him? Because, unfortunately, there isn't an option of making him acknowledge that you are a person.

targaryen24 Wed 06-Feb-13 11:57:49

Didn't mean to sound so blunt by the way...There's just no situation where you deserve to feel that way. Agree with madabouthotchoc , you'll probably need to tell him it's a dealbreaker and then if things don't change, walk.

4paws Wed 06-Feb-13 12:17:37

tagaryen24 and Madabout sadly I think you are both right. Yes, I have made this lifestyle possible, it's certainly helped his career. I have no career obviously. As you say, I just don't know if I am prepared to walk. And over what? I feel like I'd be told I'm being stupid and irrational; so he works hard and is home late sometimes (i think his definition would be after midnight)

As for childcare, I questioned him on it recently, and yet he does not respect me for being SAHM. Yep, it's useful, someone has to do it (bit like filling the dog bowl) but ultimately unimportant. Whereas his career...

It would be a deal-breaker for me, sorry. He's either having an affair or spending time without yousad

You deserve better, make a new life for you & dc.
Don't be his skivvy so he can come home to a clean house etc.

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Wed 06-Feb-13 12:31:48

I feel for you. I have been an expat SAHM for six years and by what I saw, the wives do get a rough deal. The house and furnishings are nice but their life is lonely.

It is a vicious circle. The couple, usually two well educated equals, moves abroad, SAHP becomes isolated, stops being an individual and only lives for the small family unit. Then some working partners stop seeing the SAHP as a deserving equal, it becomes a trap, even more so if kids are born in the new country and said-country has strict exit rules.

I think a two prod approach may reap some benefits for you.

a. Him: keep communicating your expectations. I have no expire ce of ultimatum/ deal brakers so I defer to other posters for these. He gives himself permission to be out and stay out because he knows you are stuck at home. It does not sound as if he asks if your okay but just announces it.

b. You: It may be worth re-creating a life for yourself too. A course in the evening, seeing other people. They do not have to be soul mates. The purpose of the exercise is breaking the dynamic where he is a person and you are the dog, referring back to an earlier post. It will also provid you with contacts should you need help down the line. Get a babysitter even if you have nothing scheduled, so that you just get back to thinking about you.

Get back in touch with friends / family in the UK. Widen your net in the country you are in.

Get informed about rules in your country of residence should you want to leave.

Save money independently. You do not have to hide this. What happens if he gets run over tomorrow? Could you pay the rent or tickets back? In most countries, joint bank account are immediately frozen if one parent dies, and the account is frozen until probate is over. This can take a couple of months.

At any rate, he should be contactable at work. He can also reduce time spent out for work. Do yu know any of his colleagues?

My DH is a workaholic but he had a direct line so I can always call him at his desk. Also I can call his colleagues for a chat.

he may have made it possible for me to stay at home with the kids.

So he feels his payback is not being at home?

Is it what you would have wanted? Or would you prefer both earning and being equals?

Gosh. I typed too much. I hope you do get somewhere.

frustratedashell Wed 06-Feb-13 12:36:41

His lack of care and consideration for you and DC is awful. As others have said you are allowing him to behave like this. Spell it out to him, you are a family man not a batchelor. Change or its over. You would be entitled to some money/maintenance from him. I cant see him changing, well not unless you really bring it home to him what he has to loose. Good luck OP.

oldwomaninashoe Wed 06-Feb-13 12:39:55

I guess he sees you as part of the fixtures and fittings, and you probably want to "talk" to him when he comes home, when he's tired.

Is there any way you could get a job, or anything that would mean you were not so tied to the house, something that would give you an interest and boost your confidence, you sound a bit "ground down"

Is he really late every evening ie after midnight? or is just on a few nights?

4paws Wed 06-Feb-13 12:46:32

Thank youFF

Absolutely. He sees no need to check if it is okay to be out late. As for me, I do get babysitters, I do have friends here, and I do get out. The kids are small tho and I also need my sleep. I am lucky. If I left, I'd probably be broke and going out v v rarely.

I do have some money in a separate bank account. I will check how much I've got.

I do feel desperately small and unequal. I have started doing more in the community, locally. I do need to work, I need to feel valued and respected. I see I need to change my life. Just not sure what I can do about him sad

4paws Wed 06-Feb-13 12:56:05

He's home mostly between 8-11pm. At least once a week later than that.

Can I not just leave the country of residence without him? His company is supposed to pay to repatriate us or does that depend on 'us' all leaving together? Oh shit.

I really want him to come to his senses but I don't think he values us enough/sees why he has to change; just me being unreasonable.

AloneSoon Wed 06-Feb-13 12:59:29

I'm so sorry to hear about him not being into family life. This rings a few alarm bells for me, because this is how H was before we separated temporarily (at his instigation). We had counselling and I realised I felt completely unloved. We're now back together and living in the same house, but I've just found out that he had an 8-month affair and am now considering what I do next.

Just before he left, he was treating me almost like an appliance. There to do the washing, look after the DCs, arrange childcare, keep everything ticking over. Despite the fact that I had a job too.

And because he saw me this way, but never really articulated it, I think it made it really easy for him to have the affair. Why bother with me when he was meeting a glamourous woman who could go out raving with him, go to restaurants without worrying about childcare, have time to get dressed up for work and nights out, etc. He also built up significant debts as he was spending whatever he wanted and spoiling the OW.

I never thought that H would ever even contemplate an affair. But that kind of lifestyle, where you're out and having a good time, not needing to worry/think about the DC, not thinking about how your partner feels or what they might need, makes it easy to slip into an affair (IMO).

I think you really need to talk and get him to work out how he shows you that he loves you. Staying out every weeknight doesn't really do it, does it? I really hope that he can show you.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 06-Feb-13 12:59:59

Truth is that you can't change someone else's behaviour unless you're prepared to apply serious consequences to them doing nothing. And, even then, there are no guarantees. I've worked in all kinds of jobs all around the world and the type of guy that can't fit a decent day's work into regular office hours, is still 'doing reports' at 9pm & then spends all night in the bar is either crap at their job or simply doesn't want to 'go home and play happy families' as one once memorably put it to me.

OxfordBags Wed 06-Feb-13 13:00:05

I can't see him changing. What is his incentive? He gets to enjoy his career, do what helikes, socialise with his work mates, his house is kept nice for him, his children are happy and well-looked after... and, when he feels like being a husband, he comes home and deigns to remember that you exist. He barely sees you, you have become a servant and clearly, if he cared about your feelings at all, he would have changed for good the first time you told him you were unhappy and why. although, of course, if he cared about your feelings, he wouldn't allowed himself to behave so selfishly in the first place.

When couples slip intopatterns like this, the prognosis for any improvement that doesn't involve the SAHP leaving is incredibly slim. The pattern they slip into works too well for the person reaping the benefits. I am not blaming you, btw. Blaming him. You are an intelligent woman who sees others as her equal and naturally expect the status quo in your relationship to be one of loving equals, with the relationship being for the mutual benefit of both, of the whole family. You could not foresee he'd turn out like this.

But he has. And now you know his true colours. I think you are absolutely spot-on that you and the DC have become just objects in a long line of his quest to acquire and prove himself. SGB, as always, is correct in saying that he can't see you as a full, real, true human being the way he is. Thisis proven by what he said to you about being a SAHM being unimportant compared to his career. He can't see that his career only exists because YOU make it happen by having to sacrifice your needs, wants, ambitions and natural desire for a normal relationship and being a skivvy-nanny in the process. He sees you having to do and be those things as a given, as an automatic right of his. You exist to serve and service him, to make his life run how he wants it, to give him the status and appearance he wants in society, ie family man, without him having to do anything to maintain or preserve that.

If you leave, you don't need to give anyone else a reason why you're leaving and your reasons don't have to fulfill anyone else's criteria of acceptable reasons. There is no real relationship anymore, is there? You are merely his housekeeper that he's overfamiliar with right now.

Above all else, this relationship is setting a terrible example for your DC. I don't know what gender they are, but it's teaching them that men should have it all, have all the power, do what they want and can treat women like irrelevant skivvies and that women have to just put up and shut up and basically be servants, not expecting any love, attention or life of their own. This pattern will repeat in their own adult lives unless things change drastically and soon.

targaryen24 Wed 06-Feb-13 13:02:40

It's better to be broke. Trust me, I've made that choice myself. Being happy is much more valuable and teaching your children that it's better to walk away than treat/be treated badly. (Not that I'm judging you...it's a very tough situation to work your way around and I really feel for you).

But you deserve to be happy and to feel like your role as a parent is as important (if not more so) than some job. He'll probably say you're being unreasonable etc. to get out of his own responsibilities (or lack thereof) as a husband, because he has neglected you emotionally. And if he does...then you REALLY know you'd be doing the right thing by leaving him.

Really wishing the best for you thanks

4paws Wed 06-Feb-13 13:16:08

Am I not just expecting too much?

He would say he's a good man; he doesn't cheat, he's not violent, he doesn't spend all the money, works hard, not a gambler or an alcoholic, spends time with the kids at the weekend..

and (as far as I know) that is all true.

Am sad sad sad right now

Thanks for your support

MadAboutHotChoc Wed 06-Feb-13 13:19:34

I am not saying he is having an affair but its so easy for people used to getting away with being selfish and entitled to slip into one so this is something you need to consider- even if you do not leave him, there is still the chance that he leaves you for someone else.

targaryen24 Wed 06-Feb-13 13:26:53

He's just ticking boxes...And what you're expecting is what should happen in a healthy relationship so no, I really don't think you're expecting too much. (Though i'm sure he'll say otherwise).

To be honest I'd have already left, and be looking to any other support I had (like family, friends, even posting on here) to help me through the next bit.

Whatever you decide, you'll be ok. Just make sure you make the right choice for you and your DCs, not him.

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