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Where am I going wrong?(14 Posts)
Sorry if this is long, trying not to dripfeed. NCing regular.
My DP and I have been together 8 years, lived together for 6 of them and have a DS who is 4. We have been engaged for 6 years and we have always worked hard to make the relationship work; making time for eachother and treating eachother with respect. It has been a very happy relationship and we have only recently run into problems.
He doesn't communicate well, he admits that he finds it difficult to express himself and worries about 'saying the wrong thing'. He tends to bottle things up and only come out with how he has been feeling ages later when I drag it out of him. I'm no ogre but I'm not afraid of talking things out, arguing them through. He hates arguments.
For example, if we have to go somewhere. I ask, are you sure you want to go? He says, yeah I dont mind. We go. He gets all quiet and I ask whats wrong and he tells me he would have preferred to stay at home as he's tired.
Any arguments we do have tend to be as a result of him not listening to me, so I have to repeat myself again and again. It infuriates me. I admit, I get frustrated and snappish with him when this happens.
We talked about how these small issues seemed to have become bigger in recent months and my DP admitted he has been feeling very down due to work stress and we spoke to the doctor together. He was prescribed antidepressants, he feels they are working. I said I would support him in whatever way he needs me to and he promised to talk to me about his feelings rather than bottling them up.
However, he has admitted that he no longer feels the same about getting married, which we were planning. He says the idea of it really scares him but he cannot put his finger on why. We were also planning to have another child, and he now says that this also worries him and he feels very frightened about it. (Although during a recent pregnancy scare he said he was happy no matter what happened, when the tests were negative he was clearly relieved).
He says that he doesn't know how he feels about anything any more. I stayed very calm when he said this (although inside i was freaking out) and encouraged him to tell me if he feels differently about me. I reassured him that if he feels we should take a break then we can do so, if he wants to leave, he should do what makes him happy. I genuinely love him so much that if he would be happier without me then I would encourage him to go, although it breaks my heart and I'm crying typing it.
He said he loves me and our child, its the one thing he's sure of, and he wants to stay.
He has been feeling better, feeling more like his old self, has taken up an old hobby again and is generally chirpier and brighter. I feel like at any moment it will all fall apart. I cant shake the thought that he doesn't want to marry me, doesn't want the child I am longing for. He isn't talking to me about his feelings, so I have no idea whats in his head.Is he bottling it all up just waiting until it all comes tumbling out again?
Tonight, we had a minor disagreement (over parking of all things) and I said what are you thinking about, and he said 'just wondering if this is going to work'. I can't live like this, wondering if he's going to change his mind, if he feels how he says he feels, if he is being honest when he says he is happy... if every little argument or disagreement is going to make him wonder if he wants to make this work.
I love him, I want to understand him, I want to work hard at this relationship. I am already giving up my dream of getting married and having more children until he is ready, if he ever is.
If you've got this far, thank you, one question...
Am I being an idiot?
I don't think you're being an idiot, no, but you could be over-thinking everything. Something (his depression) has 'rocked the boat' and now because you feel insecure you're thinking and analysing all the time. Over analysing is a woman's curse! I suspect that if you stop trying to talk about the relationship all the time with him and just 'let it be' he'll feel more secure in the relationship too. If you're happy, he'll be happy.
Alot of your post is about trying to get him to talk, to participate in deep and meaningful analyses of your relationship. He's not 'talking' about all of it because, quite frankly, he's not even THINKING about it. He's thinking about sex, his hobby, the cricket, sex, vintage aircraft, or basically everything BUT the inner workings of your relationship. So when you're trying to have deep and meaningfuls all the time he's trying really hard to a) know what the hell you're talking about; and b) find a response that he thinks will be acceptable to you, that echoes your tone and sentiment. If you keep telling him you're unhappy then he's probably going to echo that with murmurs that he's unhappy too (because unconsciously, that's what he thinks you want to hear, somehow).
That is not a reason not to push for marriage if that's what you want. You can probably see that it was a bit silly to co-habit and have a kid with someone when you really wanted marriage with, but that's a decision long made. If you want to get married, tell him, insist and book your venue.
In my experience working hard in a relationship has meant
unbeknown to me at the time that it is over. If I was ever in your situation again I would make the decision for him and let him go. I feel he might be enjoying some kind of power over you by saying the things he does. Or it could be his depression something I have never experienced.
I know you're confused and on edge about this and maybe make the decision for him and have some time apart.
Or have some time together. Just the two of you. Somewhere nice.
What SoleSource said
It shouldn't be that hard.
I couldn't live with the indecision hanging over me, not for long anyway. I would make the decision for him.
I was thinking what sole said, but there's a ring of truth in kiwi's post ( apart from the last paragraph).
He sounds passive aggressive. And as if something is making him stall on your relationship. You're in an impossible position, I'd say at a minimum you need to talk, both of you, honestly. If he cant why would you want to be with him, I mean whats the point in a surly expression free partner who isn't loving in a meaningful way? One method I know of, I'm sure there are better ones, is to agree that you will each take say 3 minutes to talk in turn with no comments from the other during your talk time. It can be revealing.
Good luck op it's a tough onr
It seems harsh after all your efforts but I think you are right. Put marriage plans on hold. Definitely delay trying for a baby for now. You can't fix this all by yourself.
Tuning a partner out is never a healthy sign. Poor communication is sometimes a tool by which to be passive aggressive. Quite separate manipulation distinct from genuine depression which also hampers normal contact and togetherness.
It sounded as if having voiced unhappiness and doubts he began experiencing positive benefits of ADs and had turned the corner. If it was more than work stress all along ie relationship jitters he will be no further forward.
You may feel by asking for a break you are pushing him away. It's already out of your hands isn't it? Saying he loves you and DS is all very well but he has to show it. After so long together you know by now what's spontaneous and genuine and what isn't. Someone's dragging their feet to the altar and it's not you.
Sorry to ask but any chance he has met someone else?
Thanks for the answers, it has really helped me to see things a little differently.
I feel I was unfair if I suggested he doesn't show his love, he does. He isn't romantic (and he used to be very very romantic) but he is caring and treats me very well.
He is arty and deep and worries a lot, but lately says he doesn't feel creative and this panics him - red flag for mid life crisis?
Donkeys - I don't think he is seeing someone else, we spend most of our time outside work together and he couldn't handle the guilt. I have asked and believe him when he says he hasn't met anyone else. He has never given me any reason not to trust him in the past.
I'd also like to say that no, I don't know it was "a bit silly" of me to co-habit and have a child before marriage. Those were planned things. That was how I wanted it, how we both wanted it. Thanks to vivacia for highlighting it.
So, how long should it be 'hard work' before I push for answers or give my ultimatum?
Honestly? I'd just relax.... easier said then done obviously.
He said he loves you, you believe him, he doesn't want to split up.
As you said he's been depressed recently, could this be the only reason he's thinking negatively? I know when i'm throwing myself a pity party i'm pretty down on everything.
I'd hold off on ultimatums or pushing for answers for now. Give him time to buck himself up.
It could be the medication that's making him feel uncreative
In that case it's just between the 4 of you: you, him, DC and DP's depression.
I do think you have to be open and honest and when he blurts out something that cuts to the quick, why not express how that hurts. Your feelings are as valid as his.
At his next appointment he and his GP will talk about his progress. I don't think you can pin down a timescale for recovery but it almost sounds as if as he starts to improve you are keen to make up for lost time ahead of his recovery of confidence. His digging his heels in then makes you feel increasingly unhappy and unsettled.
Are you trying to fathom whether his reluctance to set a wedding date predated his depression or was a symptom of it? Cold feet about leaping into matrimony whilst in the best of health wouldn't mean he rejected you or couldn't see a future together. Depression would seriously impede his thought processes.
What you say about him not feeling creative. I think that says a lot. That's still either depression speaking or the medication dulling to some extent his 'spark' of creativity. If it's all previously come very naturally and is something he took pleasure in and found calming or therapeutic he'll miss that escape. So on many levels he isn't yet ready to handle issues as he would normally.
If I have no faith we'll get back what we had, let alone build a future ever outweighs does he love me or is he committed to us? you'll know. I'm afraid for now it's a waiting game so like it or lump it. Either contemplate a break or offload to a close friend or on here whenever you feel frustrated but focus on now, not too far ahead.
He is ill. You would probably put off a wedding and a child if he had cancer, for example. Depression will sap all life out of him and not allow him to plan for the future. If you are haunted by suicidal thoughts on a daily basis you feel very lonely and its hard to communicate. Depression is not really a condition you cure as such. It is something you manage and learn how to catch it before you hit rock bottom.
Op, you should remember that a wedding and having a child is the choice of two people. You can't force that. If it something you desperately want then you should find someone that wants the same (not saying either of you won't change your minds).
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