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.

Anyone else's DP turned into a prize dick since birth of baby? Anyone worked through it ok?

(33 Posts)
speckymum Wed 13-Apr-16 11:15:06

Hi there

Before I post I'm really wanting to hear from ladies who have been through something like this or know someone who has. One of the reasons I'm on here is because my lovely supportive friends have not had experience of this (yet) and it is very easy to say "leave him" based on your own morals. I need to hear from people who have come out of the other side and either finished the relationship or worked to repair it as I do not know which way to turn at the moment.

Been with DP for 18 years and married for 11. There have been ups and downs - mainly money related but we are now in what I thought was living the dream. A beautiful house, lots of friends and most importantly two beautiful children, the latest of which was born 5 months ago. He always wanted to be a father. I had waited longer than he would have liked and when I fell pregnant with no1 you'd never seen a happier man.

Then last year we were blessed with no2 (planned just happened much sooner than we were expecting) and for some reason since their birth he has turned into the sort of man I thought he despised.

The first shock I got was when I opened an email on a googlemail account registered to both of our phones to support a shared calendar. He was away for two nights with work. The email was in response to a response he had made to a classified advert on a well known site. The lady (although I don't think the ad was genuine) in question had advertised for no strings attached sex (not an escort - a bored housewife type). He had responded basically saying he was interested. After some digging around his email account on my part it became clear he'd tried to change the settings on the gmail account the night before so it would only be seen by him but the idiot evidently failed. I am confident he hadn't tried this before.

After a week of me not even being able to look at him we eventually sat down to talk about it. He told me that since the birth of the baby he'd felt like a spare part. Banished to the spare room (so he could get more sleep I might add), no cuddles on the sofa, holding hands, being treated like a housemaid. He just wanted affirmation that someone might respond - the thrill of knowing he could still be "wanted" in this way. He promised me he would not have gone through with anything. (After more digging I realised the post was in a town with the same name in the US so even if this person had been real which I suspect she wasn't he couldn't have gone through with it even if he'd intended to). I have read that a lot of men after the birth of a baby do feel this way. It isn't right and is very bad behaviour but I started to believe this was the sole reason for this stupid act and that his promises of never doing it again, hating himself for even sending a message and not being able to actually do anything were worth trying to improve the relationship and work though this blip. I thought things were improving and he was certainly making an effort - or so I thought.

In the meantime I was stressing about money, going back to work and general finances as despite him earning a pretty decent wage and, according to my calculations having at least £1K a month do do what he wanted with his account was £1K overdrawn. I told him I wanted to go through his account. He's been shit with money before and I was worried he was spending money on something he shouldn't be. Prostitutes perhaps if he was still feeling lonely?

I was told I was being stupid. Unreasonable, irrational - it had just been an expensive few months.

On Monday I brought myself to tell him now was the time to have a look and see what was going wrong. He willingly provided me with his bank account on line. As I looked through the previous statements I realised there was repeatedly payments to iTunes going out at about £20-£30 a time. I asked him what he had been doing on iTunes. He told me he had a Star Wars game and you can buy extra packages for it and he'd been enjoying it and admitted he had bought a few extras.

I calmly added up all of these amounts which started in December and the cost came to the grand total of £800!!!!!

I showed him and he was utterly shocked. He told me he'd been "bored" - again feeling like a spare part and he had enjoyed the game. Meanwhile I'd been having sleepless nights thinking about money and just having a cup of tea if going out for lunch as my account was nearly in its overdraft and I didn't want to ask him for any money.

I'm furious, hurt, disappointed and totally aghast at his behaviour. I have no way right now of knowing how I'll move past it. I told him yesterday that it is like having three children and I need to concentrate on the two children we have. My head is full of him and his stupid disrespectful behaviour when I should be concentrating on them. I told him that when I'm back at work we need to put the house on the market and go our separate ways. He was devastated and said he’d do anything for that not to happen. He told me he knows he’s been an absolute shit and he is so very sorry but I’m too angry to hear that right now.

My mother once told me that a marriage takes work. One person can hurt the other, make bad decisions and you will often not agree on things but people give up far too easily these days.

He is (was) a lovely guy. Likeable, kind, funny and an amazing father but he is just being such a shit husband at the moment. I know £700 isn't a lot of money to spend in the space of 5 months for some people but it is the principal of him not realising he was doing it and it is, at the end of the day, an f-ing computer game!

Either of these two incidents on their own I could have probably worked past eventually but the two together and the fact they have both coincided with the birth of the second baby - it almost seems like he's trying to escape his life of middle of the road family man.

By the way no one tell me he needs a hobby - he has one that he loves and I resent that too as I'm actually the one who is feeling lonely and disrespected right now with nothing in my life other than my children and friends which actually, I was pretty content with until this week.

There - I've laid it all out on a plate. I am just hoping that there is someone out there who can relate to what is going on right now and can either tell me that they left, moved on and are glad that they did or that they worked at it and their DP did change back into the man he had once been.

I desperately want my children to grow up in the same house as their father and I want us to have the relationship we have had for 17 years. But I am worried that this is it now. This is who he is and he has lost all respect for me and will just keep hurting me like this if I decide to work through it.

Uncoping Wed 13-Apr-16 11:22:41

Have you thought about looking at his reasons for this behaviour & fixing them?

He says he feels like a spare part - has the intimacy gone? Have you been concentrating so much on the children you've forgotten you have a husband?

I actually think instead of jumping straight to calling him a shit husband, you need to look at your relationship as a whole. Men need attention too, he sounds like he wants to feel wanted/needed and because you're so busy with the children you're not giving that to him...

speckymum Wed 13-Apr-16 11:27:42

We have had that very same conversation. The answers are:

Yes the intimacy went. I'd had a baby. I felt fat and ugly. If I had been in the mood and not lactating and bleeding for weeks it would have been with the lights off. I usually have a crying child attached to me and so giving him a cuddle in the kitchen hadn't crossed my mind for a while.

I had not forgotten I had a husband - but I had been putting the children before him.

We talked through this. I was angry he had not had this conversation with my before acting out - but agreed to look at these things. It was getting better and improving until the latest bombshell and now I don't want to look at him let alone give him a hug.

WhatsGoingOnEh Wed 13-Apr-16 11:35:13

Men will really go to INSANE lengths to keep the peace. I'm horrified he was emailing women for sex. Can you get past that? Even when the next 150 posters all tell you to LTB?

I once realised I'd spent £1,800 playing online poker. £1,800! I was a single mother at the time, and really should have been managing my money. I'm not irresponsible or a bad person, I'd just been paying out £20 here, £10 there for 2 years and it had all added up. It's easily done.

Maybe come clean to him about all your fears -- money, fidelity, the future. Let it all out. See how practical he can be when discussing solutions.

redwhiteandblueberry Wed 13-Apr-16 11:44:09

OP you will get lots of LTBs and "what do you get out of this relationship now" s, but from my experience (having a DH who became a twat after we had kids, though luckily so far no hint extra marital shenanigans although I haven't really looked) the feeling "unloved" thing seems to be quite a common problem, usually experienced by men whose parents did not do the best job of making them feel secure/loved etc. Despite any lack of stability he feels when not receiving constant affection from someone else, it is not your job to fix it. In fact, you have a couple of very urgent priorities, wen it comes to DCs and money. The women I have talked to about it describe it as a juggling act, sometimes of "affected" affection to just tick some boxes until the hardest years are over. I don't know if I could/can do that as he drives me up the wall with his neediness. I'd say some couples counselling would help, and as long as he is having a few revelations about why he has such a need for attention from you and cannot subjugate it for the DCs, you might be okay.

letisnowtime Wed 13-Apr-16 11:45:26

Your mother is right - marriages do take work, and I remember hearing an agony aunt saying 'the first child of a marriage is the marriage itself.'

However, both of you need to work at it, not just you, and his behaviour is childlike. You need to have some very frank discussions (maybe in a counselling environment) and work out whether he can grow up. Could you trust him in future not to act out, almost like a toddler, when things aren't going totally his way? It's passive-aggressive behaviour and if he has a problem with how things are, he needs to bring it up with you caringly and honestly. That sounds like a fundamental shift for him - is he man enough to do it?

Timeforabiscuit Wed 13-Apr-16 11:52:22

Yes, I've been there, and it was part of a whole other package of crap - none of it actually was to do with me or the children! Although it felt like it at the time.

I don't want to derail with a lengthy back story, but we have come good - very good in fact but this is what happened.

DH racked up x number of pounds playing online poker
Spent a lot on drinking in, rarely had a night without a drink but was a "happy" drunk
Had been incredibly unhappy in his job so we agreed I would be bread winner while DH stayed at home withas dd1 and dd1
While he was at home, spending on credit card without telling me, I thought we were budgeting well and managing.

Once I looked at what financial positon we were in I hit the roof, it was very ugly, I had fantastic advice from mumsnet and basically we sat down and negotiated.

We did a budget, still with joint finances, but I made it clear that if I saw anything going to online gambling, that would be it separate finances and if anything was hidden then it was going to be the end of the relationship.

I then monitored finances regularly, DH went back to work, got counselling for his alcohol use, and we are now in a far far better place.

All I would say is that is all on what your DH wants to do, it's his mess he needs to own it and say how he will fix it , if needs be sell hobby equipment so be it - why should the rest of the family suffer for his selfishness?

guerre Wed 13-Apr-16 11:55:10

He was bored? bored?
How the heck does anyone with two small children have time to be bored?
Because they're not pulling their weight, that's how.
Uncoping- are you for real? Aw diddums, he needs attention? He is an adult. His wife has just had a baby
He should be picking up a bigger share of the household stuff, and caring for his older child. That's what men do. Adult men.

speckymum Wed 13-Apr-16 12:06:48

Actually he does a huge amount around the house. He cooks every night. He cleans. He tidies. he does the washing up. He looks after his kids. The point he made is that he was feeling like a spare part and that I was treating him like a housemaid not a husband.

Redwhiteandbleberry - he feels very unloved by his mother. Her relationship with him is awful. Completely indifferent. She acts as though he is nothing to her. When he was 17 his parents chose to move. He was in the middle of his A Levels and would have had to have given up school to move with them. His mother told him he'd have to sort himself out. He moved in with his sister and has never gotten over it. I know that he feels completely unloved and unwanted by his parents and I know that has an impact on him.

He was also in love with a woman years before we met. They were engaged. He came home to find another man in his bed. I thought that was my insurance policy - that he'd been so hurt himself he'd never do it to me. He is still adamant he wouldn't have done it to me.

Sounds like the advice here is to get some counselling and work out together what's missing/needed.

letisnowtime Wed 13-Apr-16 12:11:14

I think counselling could make a huge difference – it sounds as though his unresolved issues with his mother are having an impact on what's happening now. It doesn't excuse it, but it could almost certainly help you move forward. Good luck with it, but remember marriages encounter different issues over the years, and the principles of talking to each other honestly and resolving problems is something you always need to do.

gatewalker Wed 13-Apr-16 12:13:21

Was your DH the older/oldest/only child in his family, by any chance, OP?

Kr1stina Wed 13-Apr-16 12:13:58

HE needs to look at his behaviour and the reasons for it and try to fix himself . Not you. Is he willing to do this ?

Does he act see anything wrong with his behaviour ? It sounds to me as if he's blaming you rather than his own poor choices .

guerre Wed 13-Apr-16 12:14:56

Does he make you feel loved?

AnyFucker Wed 13-Apr-16 12:15:36

There is nothing missing in your relationship, the deficiency is within him

Please do not listen to any advice that excuses his shitty disrespectful behaviour and tells you that you have to change your behaviour to worship the manly penis

You are both equally responsible grown ups. Have you been exploring the seedy side of the sex industry ? Have you been spending family money on selfish teenage games ?

No. So why would you take any responsibility? This is down to him.

Jan45 Wed 13-Apr-16 12:30:12

There is never an excuse for having an affair, people do it because they see an opportunity and decide to take it, it's completely THEIR decision, it has nothing to do with you OP.

Sorry but he sounds awful, bored ffs. You now know you can't trust him, I'd guess he has minimised everything too so there's bound to be more to it, what he has told you is to keep you from going ballistic, nothing else.

If it was me I'd sent him away until I was ready to even talk to him, you need to be able to process it all and make a decision without his face in yours, he also needs to face some consequences, brushing it under the carpet just let's him off the hook, to possibly do it again when he feels bored.

Please stop taking the blame for this, you did nothing wrong, he did it all, don't forget that! People go through a lot worse than having children and don't seek out thrills with strangers, to me, it's the ultimate betrayal and would take a lot of work from him to make me even consider seeing him, never mind living together as a family.

speckymum Wed 13-Apr-16 12:38:36

The youngest of 4. His mum lost a week old son. They had two more children so they could get a boy so the family name could continue. He was that boy. He was not the dead boy though. He couldn't replace him. All very sad.

Timeforabiscuit Wed 13-Apr-16 12:47:43

Yes that is sad, DH had a similar heart rending past - but do you think you can handle living the rest of your life with him, these issues and the way they are manifesting?

These are things a trained counsellor can help him to come to terms with, these aren't things you can fix.

speckymum Wed 13-Apr-16 12:48:17

I'm not blaming myself. But I'm not saying I'm perfect. I admit to not giving him affection but I am not then saying that makes his behaviour right. There is no excuse for not coming to tell me how he was feeling before behaving so badly.

He has always been a loving kind man. He's told me I'm beautiful even when I'm feeling Un pretty. He's given me what I need when I've needed it - a cup of tea when I look shattered, a hug and an ear when I'm in tears because something has upset me. He's always been my best friend and a strong loving partner. I just feel that since this baby has been born he's gone off the rails like a teenager. Maybe it's a midlife crisis? Maybe he doesn't actually love me any more.

He's been making all the right noises. He hates himself. He's become someone he dislikes. He's ashamed. He's sorry. He doesn't want to lose me.

If there's any hope there we need to turn things around and work on it but as I don't know anyone who has openly gone through this I have no idea how these situations pan out.

Joysmum Wed 13-Apr-16 12:48:21

So he's been unhappy but rather than actually communicate that and try to improve things he's turned into a prize dick that was looking for sex with someone else.

What makes you think he'll actually put work into your marriage now?

speckymum Wed 13-Apr-16 12:54:19

That's the point of my thread - I don't know whether or not he will. I can risk it and be hurt again. I can risk it and it all comes good and he follows through on his promises or I can call it quits now - but will I always wonder?

Jan45 Wed 13-Apr-16 12:56:55

I hope you are not because his reasons for betraying you are a joke, we all feel like that at times but don't look elsewhere for a kick, I'd worry he would do it again in that case, it's not as though he found himself in a situation, he actually put himself in that situation and basically put your relationship on the line.

What is HE going to do now to regain your trust in him, it's all going to have to come from him OP and again, there needs to be a consequence I think, could he disappear for a few days and give you head space (and make him realise what he could lose).

Can never understand these men that become jealous of their own kids and then turn round to the woman who has had the crap of being pregnant and giving birth to say, they feel left out, pathetic. Get involved more then if you feel like that.

speckymum Wed 13-Apr-16 12:59:14

By the way I find what he was looking for odd.

The thread he responded to was from a "47 year old married woman no strings attached". If he was just looking for sex he would have just paid for it. If he was looking for love he'd have an affair or have replied to someone wanting an affair. If he was wanting someone who wasn't me he'd be going for a twenty something blonde. I find it a very odd way to go about things. He's clearly not tight with his money. Why did he go for the female version of himself (or older version of me?)

Jan45 Wed 13-Apr-16 13:03:31

Maybe he thought the more mature woman would be more discreet and experienced.

Zaurak Wed 13-Apr-16 13:20:00

Listen to yourself (I say this kindly.) you're framing all of this in terms of deficiencies in you, what you've done wrong, how you can change...

But it's not you that's been having grubby email liasons is it? Or spending daft amounts on crap? So why are you taking it all on?

Women are socialised like this - if a man behaves badly, we are expected to ask what we did to make him behave like that when what we should be doing is talking as adults with each taking responsibility for their own behaviour and its impact on the other.

I have a huge issue with the 'oh poor me i feel like a spare part ergo I'm tomcatting around' mindset. These are adult men who presumably had a child because they wanted one. they do not get to play the 'spare part' card if their exhausted, sore, touched out wife isn't gagging for sex.

Him doing housework is what he should be doing. Imagine a bloke gushing that 'oh yes my wife is wonderful with the kids! She even does the odd nappy and cooks.'

Marriage does indeed take work - and despising the other is lethal to love.

I think:

You need to stop framing this as 'his bad behaviour is a reaction to my deficiencies.'
You both need to discuss your roles in the partnership along with what you want and expect from it

So for example: a cuddle in the kitchen, kind words, a cup of tea, a 'oh thanks for doing that my dear, I've just not had time today.' All these are reasonable. Sex on tap when you're physically not up to it or don't feel like it is not. Fidelity (physical or via email) is a must. Etc etc.

Hopefully you can work through this, but it's him that needs to buck his ideas up, not you.

Timeforabiscuit Wed 13-Apr-16 13:20:42

One piece of advice that really helped was actions speak louder than words - if you can examine what he has done, and put aside what he has said, maybe you'll be clearer on where things stand?

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