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.

Really fed up with DH - mid life crisis type post - long

(355 Posts)
BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 19:08:38

So, DH has a long history of being a bit of a grumpy old sod at home more often than not when it suits him, and lying in bed at every opportunity (at the weekend it's usually more or less all morning, plus at least a 2 hour nap in the afternoons, plus slipping upstairs for a bit more of a lie down at regular intervals whenever I am not looking). I have pointed out he is doing less and less with us as a family, that we have become a very stereotypically gendered household in some respects, and that he might be depressed but he replies:

1. No he isn't, He is just tired.
2. He works hard and commutes to London (NB I also have a full time job and commute to London, he replies his commute is half an hour longer each way and I get to work from home sometimes).
3. He needs more sleep than me.
4. He does some of the washing and cooks once a week or so.
5. He earns more than me which makes his job more important to propping up the lifestyle of the family.
6. Two weekends out of three in term time he takes the older two to the local station on a Saturday morning to get the train to school (20 minutes there and back, then he goes back to bed).

(I have posted on here in the past about the rampant hypochondria linked to the lie downs, but luckily that has now diminished to more or less tolerable proportions since encouraged by MN I told him to man up and that there was nothing wrong with him, although he did strut about in front of our Christmas day guests with a thermometer thingy in his ear at one stage, so the hypochondria has obv not gone completely).

Now he lost his dad a couple of weeks ago, and the funeral was yesterday. I have been doing all the necessary propping up and wifely support that you would expect and which is only right. However his reaction to this is like an extreme version of his normal-lying-in-bed-complaining-all-the-time-not-doing-much-with-the-family. When his mum died a few years back it was also extreme. I think it's probably not an exaggeration to say that he copped out of family life for an entire year on that occasion (I remember speaking to relatives about it for advice at the time, I was so exhausted and fed up). I had five, repeat five bereavements of my own during the same period, including one of my closest, dearest relatives, but they were more or less ignored because he was so wrapped up in himself and his own grief.

I am really worried I am facing another year or so of doing all the heavy lifting for the family emotionally and domestically while he disappears into his psychological defence cave. I am not sure I have anything left to give. Over the last year or so I have felt suffocated by his moods and needs for lie downs, absolutely suffocated, and imprisoned in the house while we wait for him to wake up/get up/get dressed/get washed and join in. It's like we are all perpetually in limbo, and when we do get out, he's such a wet weekend it's no fun any more. I struggle to do the whole thing on my own as my mobility isn't the best.

He never volunteers to take the kids to the park, play with them or anything - if I don't nag him or do it myself the 3YO would basically spend all weekend indoors more or less entertaining himself, and the older ones would just sit in their rooms. He does however run around in a complete frenzy on a Sunday evening at 9pm in an attempt to find their PE kits and get them to complete their homework, at which time we are all completely frazzled frankly.

When he is at home, DH disappears off regularly and if he's not in bed, after half an hour or so he will appear and say things like 'well, I've tidied the kids's rooms/tidied our rooms/put everything away' very proudly, when the reality is that this is a 5 minute job stretched out to 30 as I have already usually spent the morning on domestic tasks, and he is actually multi tasking in the most inefficient way possible - dabbling about doing a bit of a job here, a bit of a job there, never quite finishing anything, criticising the way I organise the house. If he runs out of these pointless domestic tasks to occupy himself, that's when he goes off to lie in bed for a bit, rather than do something with the kids.

I have tried playing his lying in bed game as well, to see what happens, but basically the kids just end up rather neglected and start fighting, and he gets even grumpier.

I am really exhausted with all this. It is not what I got married for, tbh. I have just snapped at him and told him to 'see a fucking counsellor FFS' blush and while I apologised straight afterwards, he has now driven off in a sulk to get away from the house. I am not getting what I need emotionally from this marriage at the moment, at all.

Oh dear, what on earth do other people do in this situation?

schobe Thu 04-Apr-13 19:16:16

God love I don't know but getting away from him does rather spring to mind. Sounds like you'd be no worse off without him there - possibly better off emotionally.

One of your problems at the moment is his recent bereavement. Despite his previous piss taking, he IS going to be struggling with his grief for a good long while.

But in your shoes I think I'd be asking for a trial separation before I went completely round the bend. You will look like the bad guy however.

taketheribbon Thu 04-Apr-13 19:32:38

I left. We were living abroad, and I told him I was moving back to the UK, with or without him.

He followed some months later. To be honest, I couldn't have cared less whether he came or not. He'd left me to do it all alone anyway, so what did it matter whether I really was. In fact, in some ways, it was easier not having him in the house. But he has 'bucked his ideas up' and things are marginally better.

FairPhyllis Thu 04-Apr-13 19:50:36

God, this sounds exhausting.

It sounds as though things never got properly resolved after the year he 'took out' when his mum died. How did things get back to normal? Did the fact your needs had been neglected for a whole year just get swept under the carpet? If that's what happened then it will be doubly harder to get him to acknowledge that he has to support you too. And to be honest it doesn't sound as if 'normal' is great either.

Would this be a situation where relationship counselling is appropriate? Possibly in conjunction with bereavement counselling? It would allow you to see whether he understands and cares enough about the impact his behaviour is having on you to change. You would then be able to make your mind up about the chances of things getting better. And if he refused to go, I would say fine, but I am going by myself to figure out whether this relationship is working for me. And his response to that will probably tell you what you need to know.

In the meantime I would get on with my life. I know that you said you have mobility issues, but I would do everything I could to make sure the DC and I had a full and interesting life, and leave him to make up his mind about whether he wants to be part of it. Don't hang around the house waiting for him. Just say, we are leaving at such and such a time, do you want to come with us, and then if he isn't ready, just go.

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 19:52:03

Bloody hell I was not quite prepared for thinking about leaving him. I've been a single parent before for 3 years and it was not much fun. We have been together 15 years.

People always say what a lovely bloke he is, how supportive, yada yada, but I am not sure how other marriages work on the inside, I suppose. I ma not sure what to compare it to. I haven't got a compass really.

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 19:53:27

BTW I have said all this to him, but he just takes offence and then I am suddenly painted as the naughty party. I think I am fed up of that too.

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 19:54:30

Phyllis, I think he just laid in bed a bit less after the year out. He would never admit to having done the year in bed thing though. He always makes out I am exaggerating and in fact it is me who is high maintenance. I am not sure whether I am or not any longer.

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 19:56:01

<small voice>

What do other people do at the weekend?

DIYapprentice Thu 04-Apr-13 20:00:46

I think you need to lay it on the line - either he gets counselling for his bereavement, or he gets the hell out of the house.

No way should the whole family suffer for a YEAR because of him. Of course he's going to mourn. But so do lots of others, and they do it without this sort of carry on.

So that gets the bereavement out of the way.

Now you need to get him to start participating in family life PROPERLY. Clearly he does a complete piss take out of cleaning up - make some lists and divide them up. He HAS to do his share. If he doesn't, then you make him take care of himself - cooking ALL of his meals, doing his own washing, looking after himself. He's acting like a sponge, taking everything and not giving back.

herbaceous Thu 04-Apr-13 20:01:25

Well, we're not married and only have one child, but DP tends to get up first, about 7, and lets me have a lie in, until about 8.30. Then we'll play with DS, have breakfast, read the papers, etc.

Then to the park, out for lunch, visit relatives or friends, etc. DS to bed at 7, us to bed at 11. Or we might go out, either together or individually. No naps are had, unless one or other of us is uber-tired, and then it's only 30 minutes or so.

Same goes for Sunday.

I'm afraid your DH sounds unbearable.

herbaceous Thu 04-Apr-13 20:02:06

Oh and DP does a huge clean of the kitchen on Saturday, and usually a vacuum. I'll have a go at the bathroom.

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 20:03:47

He thinks going to work and bringing in money is giving back, I think, and he argues he does a fair proportion.

He has just gone off to his dad's old place for the night.

I am afraid if I start down the counselling/expressing dissatisfaction route I will end up fat, divorced, alone and with three kids in tow. I know that's a bit wimpy.

Flumpyflumps Thu 04-Apr-13 20:04:28

This sounds completely draining, I agree that relationship counselling could be an option, it just sounds like he is massively self centred and doesn't consider anything other than how HE is feeling.

Perhaps counselling may help open his eyes, the less one is 'inside your own head' and seeing another way to look at things may help?

Sorry that's really rambly!

At weekends either me or DH take DD to ballet the other has a lie in, DH watches some football and we go out for amchinese or a curry together, sometimes something like tgi Fridays, I have a wine or two and he drives us home.

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 20:05:03

I am thinking half the problem is that we rarely do anything together in that laid back, co-operative sort of way. We do shifts. I have pointed this out, and said I hate shifts. He just seems to do everything possible to minimise his ability to nap.

TunipTheVegedude Thu 04-Apr-13 20:05:44

You need to come back to the basic rule, both partners should get an equal amount of free time.
If he chooses to use his to lie in bed, fine, but there is no justification for him getting several hours in bed when you are doing childcare and domestic work.

Flumpyflumps Thu 04-Apr-13 20:06:40

Aren't you pretty much alone already though? You haven't had support from him for ages despite FIVE bereavements of your own, sorry that sounds harsh.

chocoreturns Thu 04-Apr-13 20:06:53

before I split with my STBXH, I spent my weekend juggling a toddler, doing laundry, tiptoeing around him while he tinkered with a mountain bike/played call of duty/surfed the net/smoked in the garden. I begged and begged him to do things with me and DS as a family. He refused, played football every fri night and all of sunday morning until 1pm. He would 'do me a favour' and take out our DS for an hour or two on the Sunday pm, but I wasn't invited, ever.

NOW I see my friends, have breakfast parties at Costa with the kids where we all get croissants and jam, hang out with my family and go on playdates with other families.

I now realise that this 'world revolves around him' attitude was part of a pattern of EA behaviour and I am very well out of it. At the time, I just thought it was a rough patch and we should work through it (read: I should make it work). I guess my point is that 'normal' weekends for other families can be pretty shit too. The question isn't what other people do, it's how long you can live being unhappy about what you and your family do. It's no way to live feeling like a second class citizen in your own home. You may not need to LTB but it does sound like he needs a right kick up the arse, and some counselling, pronto.

I hope you get it fixed.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 04-Apr-13 20:07:46

Well his Dad died two weeks ago...I took a YEAR to get over the death of my Dad.

MolotovCocktail Thu 04-Apr-13 20:08:22

It seems to me that he might very well be depressed. How close was he to his DM? Was he like this before she passed away? It could be that her death hit him very hard, he struggled, now he's bereaved again and its all too much for him.

People act in weird ways when they're down, such as the hypochondria thing. Its like a manifestation of the internal mess in his head; a focus somehow, a way of taking control. He might not be aware that he's doing it. He might even be really irritating himself - its hard to say unless you talk.

If it is depression, regardless of the cause, it needs to be dealt with. Get him to see your GP and a referral if necessary. The way he's going on isn't 'normal', but as you have said he is grieving right now which will muddy the waters.

Hope you get things sorted.

AnyFucker Thu 04-Apr-13 20:09:40

I remember your previous posts about this lazy pisstaker

What does he actually bring to the table apart from $ ?

This isn't a partnership, it's a single parent family where one of the children happens to be bloke sized

trice Thu 04-Apr-13 20:10:07

Grief is not a competition and people handle it in completely different ways. I think you need to cut the poor man some slack.
You want him to do some family time at the weekend? Ask him for something concrete like taking the dcs to the pool for an hour or going out for a meal or a walk together. In between times let him hibernate. As a coping mechanism it sounds relatively harmless.
If he is still incapacitated by grief after three months suggest he tries counselling or ads.

doctorhamster Thu 04-Apr-13 20:10:58

It's really hard to advise because I don't know if he's depressed or if he just doesn't give a shit about you and the dc.

What's your gut instinct?

MintyyAeroEgg Thu 04-Apr-13 20:13:36

I also think he is probably depressed. Depression very often manifests itself as extreme tiredness.

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 20:14:47

I think he cares an awful lot about us, we mean the world to him, but he has been depressed for longer than I can remember. I think he needs bereavement counselling because he doesn't realise you can't just cling on to one single family member like some sort of lifebelt without dragging them under as well.

BoffinMum Thu 04-Apr-13 20:17:35

I actually had a breakdown about 18 months ago and I am on ADs, and I was still getting up at the weekends and letting him have lie ins, after the initial 6 weeks of the acute phase.

This is all really exhausting me, but I don't feel I am entitled to express this at home without getting my head bitten off.

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