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Need a pep talk - how long do you keep trying for?(18 Posts)
Long time lurker but first time post. I'll try and keep it brief but just checking whether I'm going mad or not.
I'm 37 and been with DH 10 years, married for 4. We have DS who is 2 and a joy to us both. Husband works abroad and comes home every couple of months for a couple of weeks. I'm really fortunate that we are able to afford me to stay at home (made redundant last year happily) and DS goes to nursery 2 days a week.
Since DS was born everything has changed between me and DH (I know, I know!). I'm pretty sure I had a touch of PND, found it very difficult with the shift in identity between career and mum (everyone talks to you about babies and nothing else when you have a child). But I thought I was ok about DH being away whilst I stayed at home and had my mat leave, returned to work and now stay at home.
BUT - DH is a great dad but it's as if we've lost everything we had together as a couple. He's withdrawn, emotionally detached. We haven't had sex in a year, he barely kisses me or holds my hand. I have spoke to him saying we are in trouble and have tried really hard to not be to whiney or nagging but find it terribly difficult if I cry in front of him and he does nothing- looks like a rabbit in headlights.
There's so much to say.
I'm having counselling which has helped me but it's highlighted how lonely I feel. I'm lonely but fine when DH is away but when he's home it makes me feel lonelier - is that mad?
DH has his own issues - narc mother, no relationship hardly with his father (parents divorced when he was young) , distant siblings and he's never really had a home/family base since his early teens. So I know he's got issues, I know why he freezes and is withdrawn, but I just can't find the energy to fix it.
I've needed him in the past whilst I've been alone at home and he disappointed me by not being there - so yes I'm a bit resentful and I'm trying to let that go.
I suppose my question is how long do you keep trying for? Just so bloody tired.
Apologies for the long post and thanks for reading.
Could you join him abroad? If you see each other so seldom, I don't see how things can really improve.
Hi solasum. Short answer is I could. But he works horrendously long hours so I'm not sure whether there would be any real benefit. We both used to work abroad a lot so when were young, footloose and fancy free - distance and time apart wasn't a problem. It's just that emotional link between us that used to travel the distance and time doesn't seem to be going the distance now (does that make sense?).
If both of you accept there are problems and both want to fix them then I'd say try couples counselling.
If you can't talk or if your partner refuses to address the problems then you need to decide do you stay and suck it up, or do you draw a line in the sand and look into moving on.
The working away thing can be difficult I know, as when they are home it never feels like the right time to bring stuff up, and then they're gone again!
Either way I would continue with the counselling for you, to build up your resilience and self esteem.
Hug for you and good luck x
Thanks Resilience16 - I think I need a bit of your user name! You are so right - it is never the right time to bring something up and it takes such a long time to sort of get used to each other e.g he's home for 3 weeks but we spend 15 days bickering and getting upset and then maybe have a nice couple of days and then he's back in work mode a few days before he goes back. It just feels like a really destructive cycle. I will continue with the counselling. I have a great counsellor who's highlighted a few things to me which has helped though I do get the feeling it's coming up to crunch time where, like you say, I need to suck it up or leg it. I just don't know. I just feel so terribly sad about it. It certainly isn't the picture of a family I had in mind. Thank you for the hug. Very much appreciated.
You can't fix it if you're not living together. Is there any way you can join him for a time limited trial- you'll get a better idea of whether there's anything worth saving. Could he come back here to work?
It's such an unusual way to have a relationship- how did you come to the decision for him to work away for so long? What alternatives did you explore?
Hi Apocalypse - yes I could join him for a time limited trial but just not sure how much it would help with his long work hours. We both worked in the same industry abroad and met abroad - the time away/time at home is pretty standard in that work so it's certainly something I was fully signed up for. I just thought our relationship would be OK still after DS was born but obviously babies change everything! It is unusual to have a relationship this way - Skype is our friend (he proposed on Skype and I told him I was pregnant via Skype so very unusual!) But I really thought it would work out ok. But it's not. It's bloody difficult. I suppose I've changed more than anything - got a bit more sensitive, more mortal (not quite so young, foolish and immortal after having DS!) so maybe I'm the problem too. Thank you for your message though - I will definitely think about a possible trial out there with him (hate the place he works in though if it saves the marriage i'd do it! )
Have you considered the possibility that he's been cheating? Emotional withdrawal is usually a big red flag for that.
Yes I have. A lot. I e even asked him if he's having an affair or even just met someone. The only reason I think he isn't is because of his workaholic nature (no time for anything when he's away at work) and the fact that he is quite an emotionally distant man to build any sort of relationship with. But you never know do you and there's also no way for me to find out. So may it just goes back to me having to decide whether I can wait out for it to get better or leave. But yes I have thought about it a lot.
I hope he isn't. After all this time and after all we had said about cheating when partners work abroad. I think I'd almost prefer that to be an excuse to why things have gone so wrong - at least it's something concrete.
Anybody who has an addiction has some kind of trauma in the past. Tis why addicts put so much effort into blanking out.
It sounds to me that he's reached some kind of limit in himself. He could do the playing and the working and the having a fun relationship - but this is territory he doesn't feel he is equipped for. So he's shut down , gone on auto pilot, hidden in his workaholism. (sorry for armchair psychology though)
Nothing so lonely as a relationship with an addict! He's the only one who can do anything about it - you are powerless to change him. You need to concentrate on yourself and what is best for you.
Yes, it's sad. But the life you're living now is sadder. Addicts have their lover and everything else comes a very poor second.
So when he is away he literally works 16 hours a day non stop and sleeps for 8 hours for 7 days a week?
Come on love, you know he has time to be conducting an affair. There is always time, even if he were living at home there would be. I think it very likely there is, or has been, OW
You said you can't find the energy to fix him. That's a mad thing to say. You are not a mental health professional, he hasn't asked for any mental health support and you shouldn't be trying to "fix" your partner to be who you want them to be.
Ask him what he thinks you should do to recover your intimacy. His answer will probably tell you whether he is serious about the relationship, or if it is just easier to stay than to leave right now.
Has he asked you to come over there with him?
Sounds like he has OW.
Go and move to be with him. Even if he is working ridiculous hours, at least you are in the same bed at night and will have the family under the one roof.
Thanks so much for all your replies. Yes an OW is a strong possibility though the working hours are long, unusual, unpredictable - I know as I have done that job, but you are right - they can always find time for other stuff if they want to I suppose. I agree I shouldn't be fixing anyone - quite difficult not to try when you are in the middle of it though and when you care for them and your marriage. But that's what I'm trying to address with my counsellor - stop trying to fix shit that I can't. I'll have a think about moving out there with him.
If you do move out there with him do not leave all your bridges burned behind you. Make sure you have something to come back to. If you need it.
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