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Epic story of being a crap husband. *very long*(383 Posts)
Not sure what/where or particularly how to start but basically this...
Wife just buggered off with the children to her parents on Saturday. Piled them into the car and left with no goodbye, just 'you need to grow the fuck up'. Hasn't returned yet, no indications when that might happen presently.
To expand, we're at a bit of impasse. I'm actually not even sure why but for once my conscience is totally clear and I'm pretty certain that I'm not being unreasonable. Consider this.
I have my own small business, which is in a difficult place just now as it doesn't yet run on its own without me (...work in progress), and our industry is in particularly challenging times. I used to work all the hours God sends (6am - 8pm was typical - sometimes longer - before our first child). That said it more than pays our bills and I've scaled back the work mainly to 9-6 these days in order to be at home more (her demands but I wanted to improve work/life balance too). Throw in the commute and that's about 8:30 - 6:30. Weekends are now virtually all ours.
She decided just before DC1 that she wanted to be a SAHM, which was fine with me but it meant all income now rests on my shoulders. OK - not a major problem but places a bit more stress on my abilities to provide for everything, replacing her salary. I don't mind that and I'm fortunate that I'm in a position where that was possible (at a push, but possible nonetheless).
A few years later and DC3 has been on the scene for some 10 months now and it's obviously a bit busy looking after the three children each day almost every day. I'm under no illusion as to how much of a handful they are (DC1 is about 3.5 YO just now) - but I help out with them as much as I can in the mornings, evenings and at the weekends. On one weekend day, she gets a lie-in, and the other day I get one. In theory. In practice my lie-in consists of having either DC2 or DC3 dumped on me in bed around 6:30 for maybe an hour or so (which I don't resent but it's supposed to be a lie-in...). Thereafter she makes a LOT of noise screaming and yelling at them for this or that, not to mention basically stomping around the house - hardly light underfoot - in a rather chaotic manner. Basically I don't really get the lie-in or sleep and I'm generally up and dressed by about 8:30-9ish because there is no chance of getting sleep. By comparison when she has her lie-in I try as far as possible to have them all contained in the sitting room with their breakfasts and nappy changes all done with fairly minimal fuss, keeping them all playing about and capering happily with basically no need for all the shouting that goes on when she is with them. Basically, it's doable with little to no chaos barring the odd unexpected mishap. These has been the pattern for months now. I'm not saying that I'm better at it - I really don't think that - but as I'll explain more later I'm growing more and more concerned that it's intentional, with a view to teaching me something.
So, our house, as you might imagine with three young children is prone to breakages. Wear and tear on most things would be high anyway I should imagine, and the replacement rate of stuff broken or worn out is ridiculous. Some of it is fair enough, I repaired our washing machine three times as after a few years of being overloaded or having stuff trapped in the door before starting the cycle took its toll. NBD - I'm pretty handy and replaced that. It had taken a few weeks of sizing up the possible options/performance/price and I got one at a bank-holiday sale to keep costs down. Hotpoint 8kg load, 1600rpm spin, 14 minute quick cycle. Great.
Same with the tumble drier - two days when it failed for the last time meant a ridiculous back log of washing that took about two weeks to clear up when the weather was bad over the winter there. Again, NBD, I found another one with 8kg load and had that installed one morning before heading into work. BTW; our electric bill over the winter quarter came to ~£1600. Yeah, that's right. Paid that.
I'm told we need a dishwasher now. OK, but we have a pretty small kitchen and fitting that isn't quite as straightforward as just replacing one. One 600mm cupboard has to be given up (there is already a lack of space) and the carcass hacked up a bit to accommodate. Plumbing, again NBD, but the real issue is the electrics - there is no socket in the back there. In fact, as it transpires (my friend is an electrician, and I know my way around electrics too), the electrics in the kitchen were previously bodged by another owner and the circuit run to the kitchen appears to be using the incorrectly sized cables - we'd discovered this sometime before the dishwasher raised its head. OK, now we have a problem and a potential fire risk if more consumers are added to the circuit, basically the old wiring needs to be replaced with a proper ring circuit, not sure to how many sockets off the top of my head but let’s say it'll take two people about a day to replace and re-wire. Suddenly fitting a dishwasher becomes a whole lot more involved. Enough detail?
So, I explained that this isn't going to be quick job and will need a good deal more than she imagined in order to realise the vision of zero-hassle dishwashing (ha). Not to be disheartened she got her father to give a second opinion whilst I was at work (I should say he means well but is a bit of a bodger with no particular electrical knowledge) - he glanced at the plumbing and the cupboard and stated he didn't see a particular problem. I got accused of being a liar - that was months ago. I am still, apparently, a liar.
A week ago, on a whim she decided that we now need a bigger whirly washing line. I feigned ignorance to the problem (seeing where the conversation was headed and already thinking what now...?), but apparently she wants to be able to get 3 full loads of washing done in ~45 minutes but the line isn't big enough to take that. Putting the physical problems of digging out the big concrete lump buried in the garden aside for a moment, how on earth can we generate 24kgs of washing that suddenly needs doing? Ok - nice weather, maybe get some bedding done, but SRSLY? I wouldn't argue that our existing whirly is a bit crap - 3 arms, not very big. However I've managed two good size loads onto it by thinking about the order stuff gets hung. I think the key concept being missed is staggering or planning or just generally 'keeping on top of it' - maybe easier said than done but still...
A couple months back, her car (a small MPV) got written off in a no-fault accident. Insurance pay out was ok but far from what was needed for a newer car. She wanted a 7-seater. It had to be a seven-seater. OK, so a Zafira it was then. A 13-plate Zafira, about 10k on the clock, superb condition. Good boot space for the buggies and shopping etc. Very practical. I spent weeks weighing up the pros and cons of these fire-prone cars, eventually finding one that was within a sensible price-range that already had the recall work done. It's never held 7 people in it. I doubt it ever will, but it absolutely had to be a 7-seater - her friend has one. Meanwhile, I bought it outright, had to take another hit to the wallet - to be fair I'd rather do that than get it on-tick. I don't grudge getting the car. I do grudge that she wouldn't drive me to the train station to go to collect it, and I grudge that she instead called her parents through from about 80 miles away for the sole purpose of driving me 12 miles to the train station. Frankly, I was a bit embarrassed about that. Clearly it was totally unreasonable of me to expect her to help me help her. I didn't get any thanks for the car until I mentioned the lack-thereof about a week later.
So what's the problem? Apparently none of that.
A couple of weeks ago I had set my mind to replace the knackered laminate floor in the living, which was laid by the previous occupants. Apart from the fact it was a bit uneven and springy in places (I could live with that) it was basically destroyed by an endless array of half-finished or barely-started Diet Coke cans or cups of tea that have been spilled onto it and left to soak into the joints (apparently placing items out of the reach of the children isn't an option, nor is the subsequent spillage reasonably foreseeable). Diet Coke does a damn fine job of ruining oak furniture too, I've also discovered.
I've just spent two days over the weekend replacing that floor in the sitting room. I'm quite glad I did, you know... it was absolutely minging and frankly smelled a bit like a wet dog that's been in a puddle (whole house did when we first moved in - it is about the only part of the decor that hadn't been replaced). I'm apparently a shit because I could have spent that time playing with our children. Yes… yes I could have.
Instead I had to spent time replacing the damaged floor, but thanks for the emotional blackmail (for want of a better phrase). I suppose I could have spent the better part of a day replacing the whirly or doing the kitchen electrics instead (or both I wanted to make a weekend of it) if I was going to wilfully not spend time playing with our children. Or maybe I could have had some time relaxing in the sun, but instead I replaced the floor. And I badly cut one finger with a Stanley knife that probably ought to be stitched (no time for that...), but a kitchen paper towel wrapped around with electrical tape will have to suffice since she opted to move all the first aid stuff around, and all I could find was a packet of 'Thomas the Tank' plasters that had a snowballs chance in hell of covering the gash up. So, my weekend consisted of emptying the sitting room, pulling off skirting boards, pulling up old laminate, running to the dump with the old stuff, getting tools and materials from B&Q, cutting myself, planing the floor high spots, pouring screed at midnight on Saturday night, lay flooring on Sunday, plane the door to fit, refit everything and move all the furniture back into the living, and tidy up all of the rubbish for another run to the dump. All of this whilst not being with my children. I'm such a turd.
We have a tarred driveway. I always wanted a house with a tarred driveway, just one of those things. I always wanted a garage too, but let’s come back to that in a moment. The driveway, funnily enough, leads up to our garage. Our new 8kg tumble drier sits at the entrance to the garage. It would be better if it could go in the kitchen, but like I said, the kitchen is pretty small. So into the garage it goes. In the interests of energy efficiency we got a condenser tumble drier; after all since electricity is expensive, why pay for it just to blow how air out the vent. So, these condenser tumble driers have a water drawer to allow you to empty the condensed water away, a few litres at a time usually (load dependent of course). I should say that there is two drains located within approximately 2 metres distance of the tumble drier. Should we use one of those drains to tip out the water? Nah. Let’s just pour the water all over the tarmac in a nice shaded part of the driveway immediately in front of the garage door, ensuring that the moss that's having a field day growing in this nice shaded area can keep on growing. I explained this concept in a friendly, non-condescending and open manner a couple years ago to her. Was this acted upon in any manner thereafter? Nope. Why? Because Fuck You, that's why.
Was it just that it was forgotten? Well, initially I thought that maybe that was the case, but having reminded her on maybe five occasions in the last couple or three years it's clear that she thinks it's bullshit and, therefore, will not change anything to accommodate my request. She'd prefer to not take it onboard, but rather spill the water there then walk through the spilled water picking up moss & dirt associated with their growth (as they erode the bitumen) traipsing it back into the hallway and onto the carpets. After all, rain falls on the exact same area doesn't it... why isn't that a problem? Meanwhile, who is the only person to attempt to keep the moss under control, regularly sweeping it up...? It's not her, I can assure you.
As for the garage, well about a year ago I cleared out two van-loads of car-related stuff from my earlier life that frankly doesn't get a look in as a hobby with the children on the go - no regrets, I don't miss it. I put in some cheap kitchen units from B&Q along part of one wall - cheapest they had - in order to try and get some storage space for all the bits and bobs that accumulate; tools, household items, whatever. I also stacked up all the children’s toys that had been put into 'really useful boxes' of varying sizes along the opposite wall and managed to get some form of path from front to rear in the garage. I've not really added any more 'stuff' to the garage in the last year, so it should be in about the same condition. Sound good? I thought so. I was recently accused by her of buying 'expensive' kitchen units for the garage (same time as the dishwasher argument went down) and thus I am, again, a liar. And I'm responsible for the avalanche of children’s toys that has now cascaded across the garage from right-hand-side to left-hand-side as you look, standing in the moss at the front of the garage, considering how to get to the tools at the rear to replace the floor in the living room that has been destroyed with Diet Coke.
She loves nothing more than taking long ridiculously hot showers at (no joke) 50°C or so. She does not, however, pay much attention to either turning on the extractor as this takes place or opening a window. Consequently you can imagine the state of the walls and ceiling with condensation, and the subsequent moisture/damp and mould issues that come with that. So I’ve mentioned this time and time and time again but no heed is taken.
It seems she is rather fond of Mumsnet and has been quite an active poster, generally whiling hours away of an evening, or otherwise attempting to write a book on her laptop. Sometimes she will sit for ages in the sitting room texting her pals or browsing the internet on her phone. On any given day I’d estimate she must spend 1-2 hours – often more - on the phone to her Mother. No big deal, I’m fine with that as really it is no problem. Other times she will just watch Corrie or some other nonsense on TV, but whatever floats your boat.
Occasionally I like to browse eBay, pistonheads or Wikipedia just for the hell of it. And I really rather enjoy playing an online racing simulation. Sometimes, however, I just have to do some work stuff or read legislation or do training modules or correspondence or whatever other aspect of my job runs into my personal life. The fact that I’m on a computer isn’t all shits-and-giggles. The problem comes, though, whenever I get a computer out. Then it’s immediately sulking with me or doing her best to disrupt me in a race (if that’s going on). It would appear that she has latched onto a figure of ’16-hours’ that I once spent on the computer over a weekend (Friday/Saturday/Sunday Night). Maybe that’s true or not, but if so it was fairly exceptional and far-far from the norm. The only time I get the computer out is after the kids are in bed and after everything else is done for the day. If she is ignoring me by being on her phone, or texting, or typing, or Mumsnetting, then what is the particular problem?
Evidently, I’m not allowed to enjoy myself. For the record, I rarely go to the pub or out with friends – maybe a few times a year at most, and mainly it is for a drink with her father if they are visiting. I don’t gamble, I don’t womanise or do anything other than provide for our family and do my best to keep on top of things as they crop up. I really don’t expect that I should be made to feel guilty for a few hours here and there on the computer (regardless of the activity).
So I find myself in a situation where:
I do my best to replace the breakages to things without too much drama or fuss, but I’m a shit for taking the time to do so, either in working to earn the money in the first place, or by taking the time out of my non-work time and evidently neglecting our children.
I’m not allowed to request any corrective action to her methods that might avert bigger, more expensive problems down the road.
I’m a shit for wanting the odd couple of hours here and there to chill-out on the computer despite her actually admitting she is probably on the phone to her mother for more than 16 hours a week on any given week, never mind her texting or internetting or whatever else on the laptop. On occasion this can run to 2 or 3am.
So, it appears there is double standards to be resolved here that I cannot convey to her. She had suggested counselling a while back but I really thought it was nonsense and she would come round.
Also, I fully appreciate that there is three sides to every story and this portrayed is only one side. However; to sum a typical week up I’ve spent 40 hours providing for us, the weekend doing swimming lessons, shopping or whatever other family things are going on. On the Friday, or Saturday, or Sunday night (typically 9pm or later) I might want to do something on the computer as I’m left otherwise sitting around whilst she is on the blower to her mum or whatever other distraction she is engaged with on her phone or laptop.
I feel that she stopped being my friend, and is hell bent on destroying our relationship on the belief that I’m being neglectful, or emotionally abusive by ‘demanding’ that she change her actions in some regards. I’ve not really demanded anything from her, quite the opposite in my opinion. Divorce or separation (her keeping the house of course because it’s “her” house?) is an option she has bandied around quite freely, along with varying degrees of ultimatum being thrown my direction. Frankly I’ve had enough of that bullshit and now I’ve dug my heels in.
So we’re at an impasse now. She’s barely spoken a word to me in about two weeks, the few utterances have generally been sarcastic or bitter. We’ve rarely been in the same bed due to night-time bed-hopping with the children. On one of those occasions, though, I did try to offer an olive branch and asked her if she wanted a cuddle. ‘I’m not sure…. No. I’m going to have a cup of tea’ and she got up (at 1am) to go and do just that. She didn’t return to the bed that night. Clearly trying to make up is not an option. To be honest, if there is no acknowledgement of the core issues (as I see them hypocrisy, irrational double standards), then actually how can we even make up? The base issues would still be there. She would still continue to pour water all over the drive, or leave Diet Coke where it’ll spill, or destroy the Teflon pans with metal utensils (don’t get me started…), or leave dishcloths lying in stagnant dishwater rather than rinse them out, or yank/slam drawers to destruction, or jam so many coats on the back of a door coat hanger than the door literally splits the door frame at the hinges, or any one of a number of things that I have (or haven’t) stated causes a problem. I’m not a nag, but I’d rather hope that I need only say once that whatever it is that causes the problem, well that problem ought to be sufficient reason to alter the course of actions thereafter. Not ‘Fuck you’.
She does seem to go out of her way to make sure I don’t enjoy any downtime. She really is trying very, very hard to make me end up hating her, and for the life of me I am struggling to understand why she being so nihilistic with our- and our childrens- lives.
For the record, I absolutely adore our children, we really are so lucky to have three lovely little children. They are a delight to me and bring happiness to my heart just to see their faces. I cannot bear the thought of bringing split parenthood and all the acrimony that would entail into their lives. I want the best for them and to do my best for them. They really do mean the world to me.
And for the record, despite much of the tone of my rant here, I am really not some flash, superficial, money driven person. I’ve lived on baked beans, cheese and toast when I’ve had no money (more times than I care to remember), and no-one to bail me out. I try to mend and make do as much as I can. I’m generally frugal, but if something is worth having then it’s worth having the most cost-effective option – not necessarily the most expensive. TBH I probably resent most of all the blasé nature of my wife not looking after things, because at the end of the day someone has to put in the time and/or money to repair or replace those broken things, and that burden rests squarely on my shoulders and mine alone.
As she left on Saturday with the parting shot of ‘You need to grow the fuck up’, I don’t know where that has come from.
It looks increasingly like we are sliding down that slope towards divorce. She clearly doesn’t want to work with me to resolve this. I’m in the wrong.
Despite all of the above, I do love my wife. And I would love if my wife was my friend.
Sorry if this is all over the place, disjointed or reads like War & Peace. I rather hoped, two hours ago when I started typing, that I could explain this in a couple of paragraphs. Here we are nearly 4000 words later and I don’t know if I’ve even covered half of it.
I think you need to be more concise if you want advice or support. Writing such a long post won't endear you to anyone.
Why didn't you have the snip after 2? Never get these posts where couples are struggling with loads of kids.
Could you do a brief precis? Too long, sorry.
You never wrote that second post in a minute.
I have read the post guys (for my sins....)
Briefly op is saying how when anything needs done at home he does it
When dw asks for anything (new dishwasher/clothes dryer) he will look at ball options to make happen
Buy her a car she wants 7 seater etc even though it's not required to have as big a car...
Op tries to keep a handle on household ware and tear and makes suggestions to dw on how the can ensure longevity of their goods this is met with dw saying he's condescending
She spends her down time on the phone to her mum/online/ MUMSNETTING
And she's had enough of her current situation and has flounced off
Jesus I thought I went on.
I especially like how the entire first post (which I read) ends with a handy disclaimer saying that none of it is at all relevant.
To further reduce
Op feels like he is trying to keep their 'stuff' nice. His dw is probably too busy keeping 3 dc alive to care about Moss on a driveway
Oh the wife is a mumsnetter? Well this will go down well, won't it.
Will try to read second tome, hold on.
I did read it all, I always liked War and Peace
What do you want us to say?
you have a great laundry list of complaint going there
several 8kgs loads of every possible little niggly thing, remembered and polished and honed into a little narrative where you are always Mr reasonable and she seems to have no redeeming features at all from your account
If this is how you approach conflict and relationships, then I can understand why its all a struggle
I would buy a bigger whirly for all that resentment you are airing
I feel sorry for you but I mostly got you spent weeks mulling over washing machines when yours was broken? Is that right, weeks with no washing machine?
I suspect you posted this hoping your wife would read it and recognize herself, and read all the posts sympathising with you and realize how ridiculous she was being. Unfortunately I don't think it's going to go that way, but it does sound like she's mentally checked out of the relationship. You can ask for a 'cards on the table' talk if you want to but I think you'd be flogging a dead horse tbh. Are you really happy in this relationship?
Ofcourse this could always be a reverse...a very cathartic reverse?
I think counselling is a good idea. I find it bloody hard to look after 3 under 7 alone, let alone under 3.5. You don't have much respect for your wife's domestic skills, but I doubt I could do better in that position...could you?
That said, I can see your points too. Ultimately, you need to be on the same side. It doesn't matter who is 'to blame'...a counsellpr isn't there for you to 'make your case'...you just need to find new ways to discuss this and find a way forward.
I'd be interested to hear her side. OP clearly thinks he's a saint and a martyr, but his utter contempt for his wife is unsettling. Whether he's the passive-aggressive type who keeps sighing at her every time she asks him to do anything, or whether he keeps up a campaign of endless belittling and nagging about exactly where she empties the water from the dryer or how many coats are hung up or whatever, it sounds like the atmosphere in that home is pretty poisonous.
And there's always something a bit suspicious about a man who appears on Mumsnet to moan about his female partner's use of Mumsnet. It's usually a way of demonstrating to her that she isn't allowed any privacy and that she needs to be publicly shamed so she learns her place.
Wow thats long! What strikes me is the contempt you have for her. Three children of that age must be bloody hard work, and while you may work a 40hr week trust me its no where near as bad as being at home with three children of that age.
Is there anything about your wife you like? Anything she does right?
You sound more like someone talking about a defiant teenager than a wife.
You've come to a forum you wife is active on to post a long list of why yourcso reasonable and supportive, and she isn't
Have a prize
So your wife suggested councilling but you thought it would be better to just wait until she agreed with you?
Tbh it sounds to me as if she has fallen out of love, either with her life or with you or both.
She sounds unused to analysing a situation or her feelings from any but her own point of view.
I know that mumsnet can be quick to decide that a relationship is on the way out - I know exactly what to post to get an LTB response and I don't do it
any more because I don't want to leave dh. If I did want to, though, I could get lots of validating responses because most people are pretty awful to live with at times and most relationships go through terrible patches.
With such problems (you sound furious and I don't blame you except that you seem to be determined not to say it) I don't see why you ruled out counselling so quickly? It sounds as if you are at loggerheads but not admitting it.
Honestly, if living with you is anything like this post I'm not surprised she's gone.
You sound awful. Not surprised she left tbh.
Sorry, I know it's all a wall of text. For TL;DR I really don't know what to say, LeopardSpice is kinda write.
I needed to vent a bit because I'm so frustrated.
Didactylos - Nice pun, and I actually wouldn't mind replacing whirly in principle, but there is more urgent stuff, and isn't 16kgs washing in 30 minutes enough washing?
LeopardSpice - yes it was cathartic. I thought so whilst writing so maybe it's more a vent than anything else.
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