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Any support for women married to ex-public school boys?!

(144 Posts)
DreamyParentoid Fri 28-Oct-16 22:57:10

DH is amazing, successful and in many ways a fabulous man at the same time as being very critical of me. I can see how it all comes from the place where he is in need but it feels like he'd rather make me perfect than deal with how things not being perfect makes him feel.

The things he says are all good points and what he is trying to achieve by pointing out what I'm not doing well are things you'd think you'd want for your family. Clean beautiful house, interesting times with friends, happy children, successful career and lots of sex and laughter etc

I'd love to be doing all those things, but just don't respond at all well to it being pointed out negatively. We have two daughters (3 and 5) and I'm back at work part time. I want him to be interested in me and supportive of what i'm doing and trying to do in terms of environmental work. I don't need him to be though, I can just get on with things for myself, but kindness and some support with childcare while I follow my projects would really help. He thinks he is being supportive by paying for most things and feels like he's already given so much that it's hard to give more. He is let down by me 'not picking up on his signals', the house being messy (though I seem to be trying to tidy it all the time and we have a cleaner for 4 hours a week) and our 'bad communication'.

I'd love to sort things out but am having dreams where I leave, am in a near desolate situation but still I feel free. Which is all fine in dream world but doesn't deal with paying for and bringing up two young children.

He doesn't want to get a divorce but things are so bad that we have talked about it. Basically he's great and things ought to be great, but he's also behaving like a bully.

What I'd love was if someone could come on who knew how to deal with men like this and could give me fabulous advice which helped me to be loving, get on with my own life and make the best of this situation! What I'm scared of is that I am going to have to leave this situation because I can't be myself when I'm being criticised and controlled so much of the time.

What I need is to be getting on with my own life so this doesn't affect me so much, but is that possible?

Dozer Fri 28-Oct-16 22:59:49

Sorry your H is treating you like that. There is no excuse for it.

Why not leave him?

Dozer Fri 28-Oct-16 23:00:28

Oh, and he's not great.

HappyAxolotl Fri 28-Oct-16 23:07:11

You know the answer because you said it yourself. You said he is behaving like a bully. That's because he is a bully. Constant criticism is an absolutely awful thing to live with and he knows what he is doing. What a partner should be doing is bringing up a problem plus an idea of a solution, and wanting to hear your ideas too.

carmenta Fri 28-Oct-16 23:07:47

I can't help you re whether your problem is specific to men who went to public schools but I strongly doubt that there is a behaviour pattern common to every single one of them.

You sound very unhappy. If you don't love him of course you won't behave in a loving way towards him, nor should you force yourself to. If he acts like an entitled bully then loving him will be difficult. I don't think it's you that you should be trying to "fix" to be honest.

If you do really want to stay with him I suggest as a start that you ask him to pay for a maid and a nanny. You are neither and from the sound of it he treats you like unpaid staff that he can push around. And also he needs to acknowledge that your relationship issues are also his, it takes two to create this kind of situation.

HappyAxolotl Fri 28-Oct-16 23:10:34

Oh and his signals you aren't getting? "Guess what's wrong with me because I sure as shit aren't going to tell you" and then you get upset and blamed because you guessed wrong?

Adults don't send signals they use words!

PigletWasPoohsFriend Fri 28-Oct-16 23:12:30

I'm sorry for what you are going through, but what has it got to do with public school?

Somerville Fri 28-Oct-16 23:12:32

What school he went to has nothing to do with it.

There are entitled bullies in all walks of life. Yours might have been able to mask his cruelty more successfully that others - but now you've seen him with his mask slipping off, you'll continue to do so.

griffinsss Fri 28-Oct-16 23:13:26

I came on this thread because I wanted to have a moan about my own ex-public school boy DP and his quirks, however, what you're talking about seems a lot more serious.

Constantly dragging you down, insulting and talking about you negatively? Clearly making you feel inadequate? Pushing his own neurosis and issues onto you? All red flags. You need to have a frank discussion with him, and if he doesn't listen then involve professional help (nothing is ever not 'serious' enough) - especially as he probably values authority exponentially. You might not see what he's doing as emotional abuse now, and it might not be yet, but in a few months or years you never know how much it might wear you down. I've been there and it's nothing to be taken lightly.

All the best, OP.

Chippednailvarnishing Fri 28-Oct-16 23:13:37

What I'd love was if someone could come on who knew how to deal with men like this and could give me fabulous advice which helped me to be loving, get on with my own life and make the best of this situation!

I'd start by telling him to shut the fuck up and then I would set about improving your self esteem.

Dozer Fri 28-Oct-16 23:14:34

Yes, why are you trying to match up to his sexist standards?

IminaPickle Fri 28-Oct-16 23:14:47

Sorry OP, it's not a public school thing. I thought you were going to post about eating fast and end of holiday depression.

ExitPursuedBySpartacus Fri 28-Oct-16 23:15:29

Smile and wave.

As you walk away.

Somerville Fri 28-Oct-16 23:17:03

I've had a good think about negative traits that going to public school gave my fiancé. He has a penchant for stodgy, bland, tatsteless food that is entirely unnatural.

But aside from that - I've got nothing.

pallasathena Sat 29-Oct-16 00:06:42

Alternatively, detach completely.
Next time he makes a pointed criticism tell him that you would prefer to be treated respectfully but if he isn't capable of behaving like a fully fledged adult then you'll look into dividing up the assets and making a clean break. Just say it in a matter of fact way and inform him that there are plenty more fish in the sea and quite a few of them would jump at the chance to be with someone as brilliantly awesome as your good self.
He needs to be put in his place. And the only way you can do that is by behaving with supreme confidence and just maybe, a bit of arrogance.
I think you'll find he'll fall into line. He's very likely used to behaving like the alpha male. With you acquiring an alpha female persona, there's no competition really is there? And if that doesn't work, tell him to sod off. You deserve better, you really do.

PickAChew Sat 29-Oct-16 00:09:19

Expensive education or not, your husband is a twat.

idontlikealdi Sat 29-Oct-16 00:17:26

It's nothing to do with public school. Your husband is a twat.

hermione2016 Sat 29-Oct-16 00:28:57

The only way to deal with a bully is firm boundaries.

Ask him assertively not to speak to you in such a criticical way.Say it calmly but firmly.
If he hears it but ignores it you have a choice to put up or decide to issue ultimatums which you will follow through on.Boundaries are the only way.s

You sound a little in awe of him, which isn't healthy.He maybe successful in work but the test of a good man is how he treats his family.

I doubt his schooling has much to do with his attitude although perhaps he has low emotional intelligence due to focus and competitiveness on academics/sports rather than collaborating.

Emotional intelligence is a much better indicator of happiness in life yet we seem to just promote academic achievements.

annandale Sat 29-Oct-16 00:45:11

Really sorry but I can't be doing with being criticised in my relationship. My partner saying 'X makes me feel a bit crap' is OK, my partner saying 'You're doing X and it's wrong' - fuck that shit.

He wants laughter? Try laughing at him. 'Do you get good results by whining at your staff like that?' 'Yes, I'm sure Matron would have told me off but luckily you can't put me in detention'. 'Are you planning to give me House points every time I tidy up?' Get messier, stop bothering so much, focus on your projects and tell him it's his turn to take the kids as you leave the house. Go to the pub a lot more, either with or without him, and when he agonises about communication [for which read him criticising you uninterrupted] just yawn hugely and change the subject. Refuse to engage in his Project Perfect, get on with real life.

annandale Sat 29-Oct-16 00:46:56

Ooh, great art project. Every time he mentions mess, take a photo of some messy area in the house [if you can find one - he probably means laundry in progress or a cushion out of alignment or something] and have a blog called Every Time I Don't Tidy. You'll be the new Cindy Sherman, or that woman who did The Dinner Party.

TheNaze73 Sat 29-Oct-16 02:11:32

He's a cock because he's a cock. Not because he went to public school

scaryclown Sat 29-Oct-16 02:23:22

I agree with you. Pointing out things that are 'wrong' is no help whatsoever. i had a boss who used to say 'you need to plan' or 'you need to organise communications' without saying why or how or checking if i had the skills or authority. it was annoying.

if a couple want a clean showhome house the way to get there is to be blissfully happy so organusing things is like a kind of worship whilst you think happy thoughts, rather than a chore whilst you think 'i'm not good enough until'.

public school can teach positive command, but often it teaches a downward, dismissive but also authoritarian tone (think william reece mogg) that often conveys more negativity than it need to -i've seen whole groups follow the directions of a thick public schooler over a resident saying the right directions more than once!
you feeling good will naturally up your game. if he wants more than your standard say 'i love you. Can we looks at the budgets together? i think its time we had a housekeeper.

scaryclown Sat 29-Oct-16 02:26:50

I'm struggling not to say 'convert a garage to a dorm, disallow too many personal posessions, wake him up at 7am require him to be on time for breakfast or he gets none and keep that dorm like a prison cell. tell him that main areas of the house are 'staff only' and semd him off for a country run if he gets to amorous...

ComputerDog Sat 29-Oct-16 03:29:04

I have no experience of ex public schoolboys but I'd agree with PPs - I don't think that's really the issue here. Don't make excuses for him. You deserve better than this.

I think all you can do is set clear boundaries about your joint responsibilities.

You say you work part time. During the hours you are not at (paid) work but he is, I can see the argument that you should be doing some of the housework, and obviously childcare is your full responsibility during this time. Outside of this, everything should be split equally.

Treat him like you would an immature and unreasonable colleague. Be assertive, but stay calm. Don't rise to any suggestion that anything is some kind of failing on your part. If he complains that the house isn't clean, discuss how you will jointly sort that out e.g. "I can see you feel strongly about this. How should we resolve it? Perhaps I could take the kitchen while you clean the bathroom?"

Personally I think I'd just go for the divorce but I realise this isn't your preferred option

Madinche1sea Sat 29-Oct-16 07:18:32

Hi OP. Sorry you're in this position. Could you say more on why you think his school experiences are relevant though? He sounds like a bully and they exist in all walks of life, as a PP said.

My DH was at boarding school from the age of 7. He's not critical of me or the DC at all, though he is quite "alpha" and can be a bit high-handed at times. I'm a SAHM and he's very career obsessed, but it only works because we both respect what the other does. He also struggles to show any emotion which I've found difficult at times, but have to accept that this is his way.

When people are super-critical it's often because they're deeply unhappy within themselves and need to project it - often onto those closest to them or whoever will take it. Sounds like this may be going in your marriage. It's a tricky one, as this kind of man is likely to be resistant to counselling or introspection. Have you suggested this to him yet?

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