Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Is it him or me?(45 Posts)
First post... please be gentle and bear with me while I try and explain
My husband and I have been married for nearly 4 years. Ostensibly we are perfect for each other. I have had a few issues with certain things though.I don't feel he is ever romantic in the ways that would really make me happy. I have always said how things like flowers really make me feel happy and appreciated - I have said that being sent flowers to work is the apotheosis of romance. Despite this, I could count on the fingers of one hand I have ever got flowers in 6 years (and certainly none to work). Valentines Day - nothing. Our last anniversary - nothing ('I didn't think we would do anything after 3 years'). He later took me to a pub for a meal - I came back alone because he saw friends there. Wedding Day - nothing. Our honeymoon I booked, planned, packed for and paid for alone. He spent 2 weeks doing organised stuff (e.g. 2 games of volleyball a day, every day). He insisted on going for a swim every day at around 7am. When i said, at around day 4, that I was really unhappy, nothing changed.
The problem is I have been really clear and said that thoughtful romantic things would make the world of difference to me. He doesn't do them. So, wheareas before i thought just maybe he didn't think like that, now I just feel that he knows he could so so easily make me happy and he just doesn't. It is really making me miserable (he knows this - he watched me cry on Valentine's Day). He can be thoughtful in his own way - he bought a dress I was watching on ebay the other day.
Writing this down all seems so petty. But I just feel like I'm not worth the effort.
Sorry it it is really long.
He was upset but he said he understood why it happened. He said it was a bit of a wake up call and he also said that he thought it reminded him that I am only human. So fforgiving would probably be a better adjective.
You're welcome -- I hope the counselling helps. Try to be really honest about what you want, and think about why it's important to you.
Your DH sounds kind of detached -- really, he doesn't care about the EA?
dreaming thankyou for your encouragement.
cods that is exactly how I feel, hopefully we can reach a compromise.
I think we fit very well, apart from this one thing. I dont want it to ruin us and I am trying not to blame anyone. I would hate him to live life as you describe thurlow. I want us both to be happy and if that cant be together then I think we need to face up to that together.
May I just say that I have never sulked or had a tantrum as a couple of you have suggested. I have always been grateful for presents or gestures sgb, I do feel that was a little unkind. Yes I am upset, but what upsets me isnt the bloody flowers it is the fact he cant seem to act on things. Thats all.
I agree that the term "high-maintenance" is not great, but OP I do think there is an element of that here. I'm not trying to defend your DH and people above have lots of advice about how you can try to communicate better and meet in the middle of both your expectations. But if you turn this scenario on its head...
"No matter what I do for him, it isn't enough. He always wants more. He wants me to buy him presents. I have to make a huge fuss of his birthday and our anniversaries and if it isn't exactly what he expected, he sulks..."
It sounds like it would be an easy fix, for him to buy you flowers, I mean you can buy the things on any garage forecourt, but maybe he will say that he feels you are never happy, or something, that nothing he does pleases you.
As suggested above put some time aside for a serious talk taking turns to have your say. And don't leave the seats until you both feel that you have said your piece.
Erm, if he's had four years of you whining and stamping and crying for flowers, maybe he's set in the pattern of treating you like a spoilt child. It doesn't sound like he's deliberately unkind to you, more that you are persistently nagging him to be someone he's not. My DS would like me to buy him sweets every day. Sometimes he cries when he doesn't get them. I don't buy him sweets every day because he doesn't need sweets every day; it doesn't mean that I don't care about his feelings.
Doesn't sound great to me, tbh. The issue isn't that he doesn't do the grand romantic gestures, but that he doesn't seem to care how upset you are about it. Especially if you've explained to him how important these things are to you. I mean, how hard is it to buy a bunch of flowers ffs?
Read what's been suggested up-thread and may I also suggest either a serious talk together or even some couples counselling? I think you are both at opposite ends of a spectrum and it would be helpful if you could move towards the centre a bit more. Acknowledge the romantic things he does do, and see if you can compromise on what you both feel comfortable with.
Oh, and here you go - everyone should get some sometime!
I have read on Relationships that an ea is not about the other person, more about how they make you feel.
I agree with you it was a symptom of things going wrong between you and your husband.
I wonder if things changed at all since that ea. It sounds like you are still yearning for something else.
It sounds like the two of you are not 'perfect' for each other at all, in fact, it sounds like a bog standard case of basic incompatibility.
You like romantic gestures. He's not romantic. Neither of you are right or wrong, you're just not on each other's wave-lengths.
My DH is good at that sort of thing, flowers, romance, etc, but he has categorically never sent flowers to my work. I would cringe with embarrassment if he did. I suspect most women over the age of 19 would, though am happy to be corrected on that point.
You can't turn a non-romantic into Don Juan, you just can't. It's way too forced and contrived if the big gestures don't come from the person themselves, and as such, totally lose any meaning or significance.
If this is that big a deal to you that you're in tears on Valentines Day, then you really need to examine whether this is the bloke for you.
I really dislike the 'high maintenance' label, especially when it's applied to women with high expectations of a relationship.
There's nothing wrong with having high expectations. The things you are talking about OP -- spending a honeymoon together, sending flowers once in a while, remembering anniversaries -- are not some otherworldly, impossible to fulfil dreams. Maybe not everyone cares about them, and that's fine too -- but you are not totally unreasonable for wanting these things.
So you shouldn't feel bad for wanting them. The question is whether your husband can give them to you, so I think it's great you're going to go for counseling.
Well, I'm not with you on the flowers. My DH orders me huge bunches of
ridiculously priced imo flowers - what does that prove, that he can dial a phone number, give them credit card details and my address, and tell them to put 'missing you' or similar on the card, sometimes with my name spelled correctly. Goodness, it must take him all of 4, no maybe 5 minutes. And my DH expects me to kiss his x for it.
That doesn't show that he loves me, imv. But giving his time to cook me a nice meal, almost never happens, in fact never happens, or even bring me a cup of tea without being asked. That would mean much more to me.
But the other issues, too busy doing his own stuff, not spending time with you. Not so good. But tbh I don't get women who desperately want their DH to spend lots of time with them, as most couples have very different interests. Counselling will help you sort out your feelings I'm sure.
There are a few things that say to me High Maintenance - it's a form of attention seeking.
Whilst the honeymoon would annoy me, my reading of the anniversary was that you were still cross and when his friends turned up: well maybe they were better company than you? Most of the other stuff strikes me as you having all these expectations that you foist on him.
Emotionally you don't come across as very self sufficient? Why did you get married so young, was it perhaps an expectation you had of him. The EA would strike me as another manifestation of the same problem.
The phrase "Apotheosis of Romance" really struck me, it's rather melodramatic isn't it- I'm not sure I'd want to be living in the apotheosis of anything. But it is premised on your happiness somehow being Given to you, and that the god damn bunch of flowers would make the difference. It won't because happiness fundamentally is intrinsic - the capacity for joy is a skill or ability or characteristic inside ourselves, if we can't be happy with ourselves, by ourselves, then no bunch of flowers, dreamy honeymoon or anything else will change that.
Relationship generally -
Good stuff. We have fun together. He is very supportive of my career and me pursuing my own interests. We do things for each other like picking each other up late from going out. He does his share around the house. Sex is good. We want the same things in the future. We enjoy doing lots of things together and I think we both look forward to that.
Not so good. I know he doesnt 'need' me in the way I need him. Last year we had a very tough time and I had an emotional affair. I know how wrong this was and I know there is no excuse. I also know it was a symptom of things being rough between us, not really the cause. I felt shit about it and am in no way excursing it.
We talked last night and agreed to have some councilling. We love each other but we need to have a third party to help us. He says he is fine about the ea. I worry that his expectations of people in a relationship are just lower than mine
"But I know if he did I would do anything I could to do it"
That's how most loving couples are. They take the trouble to get to know each other and like making each other happy. My current squeeze is motorbike mad and, whilst the things do nothing whatsoever for me, I know a motorbike-themed gift is always a winner. I'm one of those strange people that loves DIY so when he surprised me with a new adjustable spanner (oo-err missus! sounds a bit rude!!) I was thrilled but my girlier girlfriends were all very . (He does flowers as well but the spanner was inspired)
I can see why you are worried.
What is the rest of your relationship like?
ie, is he a good husband with just this one blind spot? or do you feel there are other issues?
I was struck, in your OP, that you said 'ostensibly' you are good for each other.
Cogito thanks. sometimes that is exactly how I feel. He is very self-sufficient so rarely/never asks anything of me. But I know if he did I would do anything I could to do it. It seems this is not a mutual feeling
Dahlen your post made me cry because that's what I am worried about
dreaming a great and very apt analogy and yes, of course he would do those things
Thanks donkeys. I think you may have missed the bigger issue because I don't know whether it is there or not. I mentioned the honeymoon because I feel it fits into some sort of meta-narrative here where he just doesn't react.
These reactions are making me feel less like a spoiled brat but more worried about things.
He did it a bit before marriage. The thing is he looks like someone who would do these things. I think, naively I know, I thought he might learn to do these things (we married quite young).
I must be missing something.
If OP had written about their honeymoon alone I would have said goodness, what a selfish arse, nearly 4 years' on and she says she is upset about his lack of romantic gestures, specifically flowers, floral tributes delivered to the workplace, etc.
TeeManyMartoonis I apologise if I missed a bigger darker issue here. Please don't let yourself feel set aside or taken for granted. If your H thinks right, ring on finger, job done, and starts taking you for granted, of course you must make it plain you are unhappy.
Um yeah, I totally agree with Dahlen and Cogito
All this talk about 'men don't understand romance' or 'maybe he thinks it's romantic to take the bins out' -- I mean, if you are happy with that, then that's totally fine and no problem.
But you are not happy with that and you have told him so repeatedly and he still is not making any effort.
Can you imagine, if his boss told him, 'Look, overall you're doing okay, but there are a few areas where we're not happy with your work' -- do you imagine that he would just forget about it and say, who cares, overall I'm doing fine? Or would he put a lot of extra effort into the areas his boss was unhappy with, even if he didn't totally agree they were important?
Men don't fail to do things because they are men or because they are stupid or alien creatures or whatever. They don't do things because they can't be bothered, for one reason or another.
If he really has some serious objection to the things you are asking, then he should explain himself, not just keep disappointing you.
Oh who cares about 'love languages'???? OP if you want flowers and you say 'I want flowers' and you still don't get flowers you are fully entitled to be pissed off and it doesn't make you a hopeless romantic. The only language he seems incapable of understanding here is English.
It sounds like someone rather rigid and set in their ways, and perhaps not very considerate of your feelings although the dynamic where you cry and mope or leave the pub while he gets on with stuff could change- either by him or you.
I do think you need to read the 5 love languages stuff, it's spot on for differences in romantic communication, but I would also be worried by his lack of concern for all this. However, my own husband is quite fixed on his holidays and I do have to tell him it is my holiday too to get him to change- there's something about holidays that brings out his less flexible side, whereas day to day, he's quite easygoing about arrangements and responsibilities.
I am not sure what to make of this one- part of me thinks you are unrealistic and caught up in a white charger fantasy, and part of me thinks he does sound like a bit of a cold fish.
Well I'm going to go against the grain here.
He abandoned you for hours on your honeymoon. He watched you cry, unmoved, on Valentine's Day. He left you to be with mates on your wedding anniversary.
That's not the actions of someone who simply doesn't 'do' romance - that's the actions of someone who doesn't really care, sorry.
I hope you have better luck than I'm having at the moment. I have a whole other thread about that particular problem.
Thanks Ilove - I think you are right. Maybe somewhere in the middle would be nice
I think you have a romantic notion in your head that sadly he just doesn't. So you need to find out what he thinks is romantic and get him to do that instead to show how much he loves you.
Join the discussion
Please login first.