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.

Feeling left behind

(68 Posts)
outtolunchagain Mon 01-Sep-14 08:10:30

First I have to say that I have a very happy marriage , I don't want to leave or anything , I love him and we have been together for nearly 30 years , married for 24.But I just can't help feeling that my life is tuck whist his is moving on and the childrens is moving on .

Dh has reached quite a high level in his career and has recently been promoted , this Board director level , although it's a different structure.I am pleased for him, he is enjoying his new role tremendously but the hours are long .He has always worked very long hours , the norm would be home about 9pm leaving home 7 ish, but I'm nearly 50 and I am fed up with it , I am oncreasingly frustrated that I am on my own all the time .

Added to this in the last five years he has got into a new hobby, the type of thing that becomes a passion , I know because this was my hobby as a preteen and teenager .So far it has been mainly confirmed to the weekends but it has recently escalated , and now he will be more committed .

So he has his new job, his hobby and what do I have ; a job that is Ok , it is hugely convenient and but it's not what I thought I would be doing after a degree from top university and years of study, I live in the area where dh grew up, his parents have been amazing but it's very claustrophobic ( think small market town where everyone knows you) I live in a house I don't like, it's a very convenient house for everyone else but I don't love it , or feel like it's my home IYSWIM

I do have hobbies but they tend to be home based and they are not passions , I don't have time for a passion, we have three children
, two have additional needs , one quite significant plus one still at school, I have a good social life and friends but I just feel unfulfilled and as if I am being left behind

I don't know how to stop feeling like this
I've

Eastpoint Mon 01-Sep-14 08:16:57

It sounds as if you need more attention from your partner, I suspect mine is a similar age & when everyone always does what they want all day it's hard for them to consider other people when they aren't at work. I'm not sure what to say next, sorry but you aren't alone.

cailindana Mon 01-Sep-14 08:19:08

You feel unfulfilled because you've lived someone else's life.

Time to change that I think.

outtolunchagain Mon 01-Sep-14 08:26:43

I know I need to change but I don't know know how.I suppose I don't do things which I know will inconvenience others in family , small things of course , but big things are always about what's best for everyone else .Dh just goes ahead anyway , hmm.He says things like " well you can do things too" but if I had a time consuming hobby/ job as well who would bring up the dc , run the house etc

My life is all about what's best for them , what's best for me comes a very poor second and I can't see how to change that .I do knit and I have my book club but they are just things I do and eve then I fit them in around dh and dc.

Happypiglet Mon 01-Sep-14 08:26:55

This is exactly what I feel may happen to me when my Dc grow up. DH works loooong hours in a job he professes to not enjoy but which gives him tremendous prestige and status both of which he does enjoy. He has a hobby which is not too time consuming but as to be factored into every weekend.
Dc have amazing lives which I facilitate with hobbies, clubs friends etc.
I gave up good career to do this and cannot go back now.... Even if I wanted to. Whilst dc still need me I thinking am fine but I do worry about the future.
Not sure what to say but just to say you are not alone.... Could you retrain? Go back to studying? Change job? Run the local council?!! Guess you need to do some sole searching and decide what it is you want and then find a way to make it happen...

Happypiglet Mon 01-Sep-14 08:30:33

I don't think men like this (mine included) understand that you cannot just ' do things too' unless they fall completely in school hours! DH will announce he is up to x, y or z without a thought for me to takes hours of planning and organising and takes some fun out of it...and even then if work gets in the way he just cancels on me....it is v frustrating I knw...if you work out a way to get through to him let me know!

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 01-Sep-14 08:38:24

"He says things like " well you can do things too""

This is not an argument. This is justification for doing his own thing and opting out of everything domestic. I would be calling his bluff here and arranging in the first instance a long weekend away somewhere... Friday night through to Sunday night. Even if it was by yourself going nowhere in particular. Give him a little notice that he'll be 100% responsible for the house and occupants and then don't take no for an answer. If he complains then remind him that this is the reality of what 'you can do things too' actually involves.... and you demand (not request) his cooperation.

He has not become a board director by being passive and you're not going to get the life you want until you are much more assertive.

cailindana Mon 01-Sep-14 08:47:43

You change by not accepting being invisible any more. My DH had an element of the attitude that his life would continue uninterrupted by children while mine would completely revolve around the home but I did not accept that at all - we get absolutely equal time off (in fact I get a bit more as he accepts going out to work creates variety in his life whereas mine can be quite samey) and he would never dream of planning to do something without my say-so (and vice versa). We both work 8-6. after that we are both responsible for the children, equally. I am not the default parent.

tribpot Mon 01-Sep-14 09:00:57

if I had a time consuming hobby/ job as well who would bring up the dc , run the house etc

He would. Lots of board directors are juggling work and family commitments - and not all of them are female, would you believe it!

Normally when one is dedicated to the home sphere, the trade-off is a home that you love. The fact that you haven't got one of these sticks out for me. Why don't you love the house? I am not even remotely fond of mine, btw, it just does a job.

Let's look at the other aspect. Your work. You're doing a job that is 'convenient' but is under-utilising your skills and leaving you dissatisfied. How can you change that? Either by pushing yourself professionally or perhaps by moving out of it to do a course of study that you've always fancied. You could be just about ripe for that second career, what does that look like?

Start small. As Cog says, announce you are going away for an entire weekend to take some much-needed time for yourself. And do it. Inform him you expect the house to be run as if you were there, no leaving piles of washing up til you get back - just as he believes you can make time for a hobby, when it comes to the house you say to him "well you can do things too".

outtolunchagain Mon 01-Sep-14 09:55:13

I have to stress here he does not opt out of the domestic stuff,we have a cleaner but he actually does as much cleaning as me ( he is more fussy) , he washes up etc , I do most of the cooking but he does cook occasionally say once at the weekend, he will shop on the way home if I ask him .He had a week off last week ( does check Blackberry all the time ) but he does things with the boys .This is a newer thing though, he has learnt from how ds1 's relationship with him has suffered because he was always away.

If I go away for a weekend he manages absolutely fine , but finding a weekend to go away to fit in with his schedule , the boys schedule and something I want to do is hard.He is not good at realising that teenage boys don't like to drop everything to fit in with how his weekend pans out .

But he does work very long hours in an unforgiving job, he is not a good delegator either so tends to be always on duty and he earns the bulk of our income

This is not really about him though , it's about me , he wants me to be happy but our lives seem to conspire to mean that I am trapped in this life .

BeenThereGotTheTShirt Mon 01-Sep-14 10:04:31

I know exactly how you feel - been in a very similar situation. In the end I've decided to leave, I need to be able to make my own decisions and make what I want a priority in my life.

For me though, the final straw was that my 'D'H will very subtly make it hard for me to do things which make me happy, e.g. if I do something on a Sunday morning and get back a bit late he'll moan that it has taken up the whole day, when he can do stuff on several evenings a week plus part of the weekend.

outtolunchagain Mon 01-Sep-14 10:09:00

Tribpot, you have hit the nail on the head, my job would be many people's dream.It is quite mentally stimulating, in a sector which I like, I work pretty flexibly although most of the flex is up, it's 5 mins from home and gives me some pretty good benefits .But , I've done it for 9 years and sometimes I'd like a change , or more sometimes I wish I was back being a Senior Manager in a top firm , but there's no going back .

I don't like my house, never have, we bought it as a stop gap when we moved here and had a toddler and I was pregnant .I thought we would be here 5 years too, didn't realise I had married a man who is pathologically opposed to moving and paying stamp duty , and second who sees a house in purely functional terms

He is now happy to move and I know wants to make me happy but I have spent a decade telling him that we need to move up the ladder but as we haven't we now can't afford to move up as our house has a limited value and nothing we like is affordable without massively extending our borrowing and he is 50 and I 'm 48 so we are stuck .Plus by the time we have accommodated ds2's need to be no more than 30 mins from college and ds3s need to be same distance from school and dh to make his 1.5 hour commute no longer , there isn't a lot of choice.I feel resentful that all their needs trump mine which is silly because their reasons are more important .

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 01-Sep-14 10:10:45

"a weekend to go away to fit in with his schedule , the boys schedule and something I want to do is hard."

The whole point is that it shouldn't fit with anyone's schedule and it doesn't matter if you want to do it or not. You just go and have a weekend by the seaside reading paperbacks - it's immaterial where you go or what you do

Your complaint is that you are not allowed to put yourself first - and yet you're already voicing objections. Why? Begin by allowing yourself to be top priority and not immediately talking about other people's schedules. You deliberately make yourself an inconvenience. Everyone else has to work around you for a change. I'm glad he pitches in domestically but now the timing has to suit you.

outtolunchagain Mon 01-Sep-14 10:17:09

The thing is his job can mean him disappearing at 48 hour notice for several days, I can't leave a 12 year old and a 16 year old with special needs alone .The other week he went to London for an afternoon meeting and reappeared after 3 days having had about 6 hours sleep , at least he's senior enough to disappear to a hotel for a few hours .

He is a workaholic in some ways. Work always comes first, he never makes sports days etc because he would see it as self indulgent to take time off when clients might need him

outtolunchagain Mon 01-Sep-14 10:45:05

Sorry to add something else but my complaint is not really that I can't put myself first so much as I feel he is fulfilled by his life and I'm not , I haven't been able to find that sense of achievement and now time is running out !

HumblePieMonster Mon 01-Sep-14 10:54:49

erm, I've only read the first post. but I'd say, 'stop feeling like this by changing your life. what job do you think you should be doing? ok, go and get it. how much time do you want to spend with your husband? tell him, negotiate if necessary, book it into his diary.
no-one else can live your life for you. he can't make your life 'fulfilled' - that's down to you.

Iconfuseus Mon 01-Sep-14 10:54:57

Do you really feel that you don't have a sense of achievement because there is something you want to do that you haven't.

Or is it because you are trying to live up to a standard set by someone else?

A while ago I had a bit of a wobble where I felt like I hadn't measured up to what's expected of me. I'm a SAHM of one and I felt like I wasn't good enough because I don't have a career etc.

Then I realised that this was all external pressure. Nobody really approves of SAHM or thinks what we do is important, so I wasn't measuring up to what was expected of me by society.

When I realised that I didn't have to live up to someone elses expectations I felt better.

I notice you mention your DH has just been promoted. On some level do you feel like you are not measuring up to him?

sunbathe Mon 01-Sep-14 11:04:46

Could you get a housekeeper/mother's help/nanny of some sort to fill the gaps?

Seems a fair trade off money wise, if you haven't got a house you like.

At least then you could change job or throw yourself into a hobby.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 01-Sep-14 11:08:43

"The thing is his job can mean him disappearing at 48 hour notice for several days"

If you weren't there at all, if he was a single parent or a widower, how would he make that work? What would he have in place? What help would he hire? He only manages to disappear at short notice now because he can take it for granted that he has you to fall back on. That is the paradigm that has to change urgently and that would be the conversation I would have with him.

outtolunchagain Mon 01-Sep-14 11:11:04

It's not how other people judge, it is within me .I did get my dream job a few years ago but had to give it up as our lives were in chaos and ds1 and ds2 need more than most dc in terms of support and it was too difficult .I have just found my dream house but it's been vetoed because the location is bad for everyone but me .hmm

I can go out, or go away for weekends , none of those things are difficult but they are not enough, it's about the fact that my life is boring and every time I try to change it my dh's life and dc life make it impossible.

outtolunchagain Mon 01-Sep-14 11:16:29

Cognito , he is happy to hire in help but the children would hate it and it's difficult because ds2 is 17 but does need support, he doesn't recognise that in himself though.

To be honest it wouldn't matter what he did, he has to disappear that's our life, he has no choice so as a family we have to make that work , he realises it's difficult but says we just have to suck it up He sees no alternative .

Iconfuseus Mon 01-Sep-14 11:20:58

Perhaps it's just a case of having to wait a few years until your DC are a bit more independent? Then perhaps you could seek a better job where you have to commute?

It is a sacrifice but given what you have said in your last post, I don't see what else you can do without totally disrupting your family.

Maybe you could go and see a life coach or someone who could help you look at your life objectively, someone else might be able to help you see options you didn't realise were there.

sunbathe Mon 01-Sep-14 11:36:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Stupidhead Mon 01-Sep-14 11:45:00

I don't want to patronise but it seems you've had a lot to deal with, do you think you could be depressed?

What is your passion? What would you like to do? Anything. You could grab a weekend away course in any subject and just go for it - for you. Your children won't suffer for it and will benefit from a happy and more motivated mum. Maybe you've done TOO much for them? Step back a bit!

getthefeckouttahere Mon 01-Sep-14 11:51:15

Ok Outto,

Get a grip! This is your life and you are responsible for its outcome!! If your life is unsatisfying change it.

Ds1 won't like it, husband away at short notice, hobby blah blah blah......

I dont believe that anything you have raised is insurmountable or tbh even more than mildly difficult! Your life, you are in charge of it, decide what you want to do that would make you happy and fulfilled then make it happen. There will be moans and grumbles from some probably but they'll get over it.

(i know this may read as me having a go at you but thats not how its meant, it a call to arms!!!)

Go for it!

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