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was what I said really so awful?(193 Posts)
back story - DH used to go away a lot with work, used to be for a whole week every other week and then his job changed and it was one week a month, and then it changed again over the summer and he stopped going away at all.
I posted about this a while ago (under another, different name change) as I was really struggling with my negative feelings about him being around all the time. I was happy with the balance of him being away one week in four, I enjoyed my time just me and DS and didn't really miss DH to be honest.
When DH told me about how his job would changing I really struggled with the negative emotions I felt about him being around all the time. I had a feeling of being 'trapped' if that makes sense, I missed knowing there would weeks booked in when he would be going away.
It hasn't helped over the past 6 months since his job changed that DH has barely been out or done anything. Two nights out with friends and one day trip, that's it. The rest of the time he is always around. I work three days a week and on my days off with DS DH will almost invariably come home at lunch time as well and be home by 4. We live in a tiny tiny house so there is no where for me to go to get some space, I can't call a friend without him commenting on what i'm talking about (and i have to talk over the noise of him watching tv). I have taken to going for a run/ swim every night and then having a long soak in the bath, just to carve out some space for myself.
I have eventually summoned up the courage and tried to talk to DH about this, about how I miss the balance our life used to have. I tried to explain that I was happy when he was away and then also enjoyed it when he was around. But he has taken it really badly and won't accept that I do still want to be with him I just want us to have some balance again. I am also a bit cross that he is upset with me for admitting to liking the weeks when he was away as much as I liked the weeks when he was around. I think he thinks I should have been sat around weeping and counting down the minutes until he came back. (meanwhile these trips away for him were basically to do something most people would pay to go on holiday and do, and the evenings involve going out drinking and partying).
I do think I still want to be with DH. He can be negative to me at times and I have struggled with that and I think that is why I like having a break from him sometimes too but fundamentally things are ok I think. I just want to get a balance back, I don't think its healthy to have so little time apart, and I miss having time just me and DS. Over the winter it feels like I've only really had a few hours a week, and I feel like I haven't really been a 'mother' especially as DH has a bit of tendency to need to prove he 'knows better' than me when it comes to parenting. The gaps when he was away gave me a chance to feel confident in what I was doing as a parent I guess.
The message that 'I liked it better when you weren't here all the time' is a pretty crushing thing to say to someone, however you dress it up and however true it is. Most couples aren't apart for significant amounts of time... mostly people in loving relationships want to be together and work out a way to make that happen.
Perhaps you'd benefit from couples counselling to help you deal with the new dynamic better?
I think more conversations are probably called for. I also think its important to recognise that some of us are introverts and some extroverts.
Most people need space at times and it seems to
Me the issue here is as much as anything the fact that when your DH us around he's around a lot? And you don't want to feel constantly watched?
Could you let DH look after your son occasionally to give you space?
Would that be a fair assumption?
Cant really offer any advice but just to give you the flipside from your DH's POV
As someone that travels at least 1 week out of a month, I would be utterly devastated if my partner said he liked me being away.
Going away that much means that its difficult when you do come home. He probably doesn't expect you to be "weeping and counting down the minutes until he came back" but I know when I come home from a trip away it can sometimes be difficult to fit back into the dynamic in the house and I sometimes feel as if I'm in my partners way as he's got used to a routine without me there.
He was probably looking forward to, (as I am) having a job which meant you could all establish yourselves as a family and get into a routine. He's probably also trying to make up for the time he's been away but getting involved with your DS and coming home at lunchtime etc.
I'm pretty sure that my DP would be happy for me to be home all the time and even more pleased if I came home early to see him.
Maybe as the other poster suggested you should look into counciling to help you deal with how its all changed.
Hope it all works out for you x
If my dh had commented that he preferred me to be away two weeks of the month I too would feel rejected and hurt.
You've written your last paragraph as if you are feeling overpowered by your dh and also resent the way he tries to parent your ds as opposed to how you do it.
Do you want to go to counselling with him?
I get that cogito , that was why it has taken me so long to summon up the courage to try and discsus it. in the end I felt I had to as I was just resenting his presence all the time, whereas when we had balance I liked having him around. But he enjoyed going away, so I don't understand why it is not OK for me to have enjoyed that time too and miss it. It was a balance that worked for us, we were happy when we were together.
I think the problem is that because he went away, when he was around we would basically do everything together, spend every evening together. All I was trying to say to DH was that we should try and get a balance more like most normal couples I know, whereby they each have their own activities at least one evening a week (whether its a club, or a drink with friends). I didn't mean I need him to go back to going away a week a month but just that we should just start talking about how to find a balance for this 'new' way of living.
I will try and suggest counselling to DH. I think you are right that that is what we need.
It's not awful to think it, but as Cogito says, there's no way to say it to someone without it being hurtful - although it would be a lot better to say "I need some time to myself" rather than "I like it better when you're not here"! I have to say your DH sounds rather smothering - he's not just there, he's poking into what you're doing, being loud in the space you're trying to do something else in, and you're clearly not quite on the same page as each other with the parenting. No wonder you want space.
I can only think of 3 things that would help:
a) Move to a larger house (is this a possibility?)
b) Get a job or volunteer or something that gets you out of the house for a few hours per day - a half hour run doesn't really cut it (paid employment would help with (a) above)
c) LTB (not a serious suggestion unless there's a whole lot you haven't mentioned)
And the counselling, of course, but hopefully that will help you work some practical changes into your lives as well as just working through your feelings.
I think that what you said would come across as deeply hurtful. I would be very upset if my DH said this to me and vice versa (and I say this as someone whose DH works away during the week).
If you'd have just said about perhaps having an activity to do separately then that would be ok but to say you enjoyed it when he was away was perhaps a bit mean. I can see why you'd feel encroached on but the way you phrased it in your OP at least was unnecessary.
Yes, I'd be devastated in your DH's shoes if those were the words you used. I think counselling might not be a bad move, but certainly you need to work on how you communicate.
just to clarify
I work 3.5 days a week, and love my job, socialise every lunch time, totally love what I do and the colleagues I work with.
DH looks after DS on one of those days so he gets 'one on one ' time with ds. Because Dh is around all weekend and for large amounts of my days with ds, I have really missed having any time just me and ds together. I feel like DH is always trying to prove he knows better than me about DS. For instance, if I comment on something new I have spotted DS doing DH will always say 'ohh yeah he's been doing that for ages' .
(On Christmas Day DS woke up and hadn't realised it was christmas so I let him play in our room for an hour or so so that he didn't wake family we were staying with. I nipped downstairs to the bathroom quickly and then could hear people moving about so thought we could tell DS it was christmas day, I started saying 'ds guess what day it is', and DH said 'oh we've already discussed it'. I felt really gutted to have missed seeing his face, but then realised DS didn't know, so said 'its christmas day' and DS suddenly leapt up and started bouncing up and down shouting with excitement. It makes me wonder if DH is lying about some of the other things I have apparently missed....)
I didn't say 'I like it better when you're not here', I said I missed the balance we had when he went away some of the time, and that I liked both parts of my life, the part when he was here and the part when he was away, and that I miss having any time to myself.
we are renting while we save to buy so don't want to spend any more on rent as we wouldn't be able to save much.
dH can be a bit critical of me, and has made a few mean comments when I have been playign with ds, which has ever since ds was very young left me feeling embarrassed/ unable to be silly with ds (e.g play silly games etc) when DH is around. I feel more relaxed and happy with ds when DH isn't there.
I completely understand how you feel. I feel very suffocated spending all my spare time with a partner and need time to myself. There's nothing wrong with how you feel, but "I prefer it when you're not around" is going to hurt even if the person on the receiving end is the sort who likes being apart from a partner for extended periods themselves.
This is one of those situations where it's all about phrasing, I think. In your position, I'd apologise for hurting his feelings, and explain it's not about rejecting him, it's about needing time to yourself, especially as it's been a pattern in your relationship for so long and you've become accustomed to it. You can then go on to negotiate a new pattern by mutual agreement.
There are lots of couples "Living apart together" who maintain completely separate homes for a great variety of reasons so the fact that you enjoyed "Living apart" 50% of the time and this worked for you isn't so unusual. Your DH might have been really homesick though and might be really happy not to have to do all that travelling.
Is there any way you could work towards having a space of your own elsewhere? I can so easily imagine being in the situation you describe and my instinct, if there was no room for a shed , is something like getting/sharing an allotment and taking DS along. Friends have had artist's studios, camper vans, beach huts, gym memberships and church or community groups as 'second homes'.
I realise my suggestions might be a bit irrelevant to you but however you do it I hope you find a good solution for the whole family.
also just to reiterate - DH loved his weeks away, seriously looked forward to them, what he got to do was amazing (trying to be vague...), he got really excited about them and more to the point he chose to do each and every single one of those trips away, he planned them and booked them in
It does look like you don't like having H around that much, particularly if he is a competitive parent.
But why should you not feel at ease being silly with DS? Do you have self esteem issues?
He might criticise you for feeling left out. And being away so much, he might feel left out of your relationship with DS.
Perhaps you could be more sensitive to it?
The more you write, it does appear that your H has put you down on occasions and tried to belittle you with regard to how you interact with your ds.
Do you feel that he tries to get one over on you in other ways?
"I didn't say 'I like it better when you're not here'"
I know you didn't say it, but that's what he heard.
I think what you are articulating here goes a lot deeper than experiencing some difficulties with him now being at home all the time rather than being away one week in the month.
He listens in on your conversations to friends, criticises you, is negative to you, undermines your confidence as a parent. Is it those things that you really need to talk about more?
It's a period of re-adjustment and it is new for all 3 of you. However,
I do think I still want to be with DH...fundamentally things are ok I think
Sorry but you don't sound very convinced.
I don't know how long you and DH have been together as a couple. Tbh it sounds as if you got more out of life when he wasn't around.
You don't have to justify how you feel,
I really struggled with the negative emotions I felt about him being around all the time. I had a feeling of being 'trapped' if that makes sense
It could be that your relationship has run its course. It doesn't always have to finish with the complications of one person meeting someone else. Do you see yourself with DH in 5, 20 years' time?
Counselling doesn't have to be about fixing a relationship, it can guide you into finishing things amicably.
lueji because DH has laughed at me / mocked me for things I did being silly with DS when he was tiny, and a few times since. yet he is very silly around DS himself. I'll admit I'm quite self-conscious anyway and don't love having an audience but I never expected to feel self conscious in front of DH
Sugarice the only other thing I struggle with is that he can be a bit too critical of some of my friends/ family ,which means I see less of them than I would like to / feel awkward talking to them on the phone if dh is around as I know he will criticise them after.
I think your need for time to yourself, and time be one to one with your child is really normal and something I definitely have too. My DH and I seem to balance those needs naturally and amicably but we are also vocal in terms of enjoying time together and even making time to be properly together. As in saying we miss each other and planning a night out or a nice dinner together at home thats not just about getting everyone fed and watered. We are also vocal about having enjoyed or looking forward to an evening alone - we jokingly kick each other out and then text about the lovely bath etc we are having all to ourselves.
I think your situation is made difficult by some underlying tension in the relationship nd not by your need to be alone sometimes. Sounds like he often doesnt speak kindly to you and the way you phrased what you'd like came across as mean. This can get snipey. The correcting each other in front of your child thing doesnt sound good IMO. Can you talk it out?
My dh used to work shift work so we spent maybe three evenings a week together. I often felt that this was the reason our relatioship worked and when he got a new job where he works regular hours but 6 days rather than 5 I struggled for a few years with him being home EVERY evening. I'm used to it now and actually find him being home a novelty on his day off but like you, I enjoy my own space whereas he cannot understand why I need to be alone at times. I think we are individuals and not necessarily designed to spend every moment ine ach others pockets. Like you I go out swimming or running or to bed early with a book - he often follows me! AAAGHH. Nothing helpful for you I'm afraid except that I do not think what you said was so awful.
hellon he would have no choice but to listen to y telephone conversations, our downstairs is just one tiny open plan room!!
Yeah, it doesn't sound good.
And deeper than needing space.
thanks firsttimer yes that it is the kind of balance I want. so we appreciate and enjoy things when we are here.
It is good to know I am not the only one who needs breathing space sometimes.
He doesn't sound very nice, StillStuck He's undermining you and making you feel uncomfortable about how you behave around your son and paranoid about talking to your friends and family...do you think he'd prefer it if you saw them less?
I have to go get some work done, but I will be back later, thank you for all the comments, they are helping me think.
He criticises your family and friends which has resulted in you not seeing as much of them? That is bad, you know that don't you.
He sounds hard work, I'm sorry to say.
I'd start building up those friendships again and ignore his shitty comments. You might need them in the future.
StillStuck - you final paragraph of your OP is very telling. And what you have said since doesn't lead me to believe that your 'D'H is particularly nice to you. Mocking you? Lying to you? Seeing parenting as a competition? Critical of friends? No wonder you want time apart. A number of red flags there.
There is nothing wrong with your self-esteem btw. Nothing that telling your DH to fuck off wouldn't cure anyway!
From what you've said I think it's only natural that you enjoyed him being away. You shouldn't ever have to feel self-conscious in your own home with your own family.
He sounds undermining. Anyone would need space from being made to feel pushed out/a lesser parent. And his criticisms of your family and friends are a red flag.
Talk to him, about everything. If he cannot hear you or respect your feelings then that will be very significant.
Yeah. It may be the truth but none the less pretty stone cold.
In his place I think I would be fast forwarding this in my head, and I would take this as the beginning of the end, I would take some convincing that it was anything else.
StillStuck - have you told him that you don't like being mocked and feel self-concious? Not that you sould have to as he shouldn't be doing it, but I wondered how he responded.
From such a distance it is harsh to immediately say its all over and I dont think it necessarily is FWIW.
But it does sound like you need to talk to each other and it sounds like he needs to work out whats bothering him and stop getting in your space. He shouldnt be butting into your telephone conversations etc (its rude) or meddling in over your parenting. You can talk about your friends with each other when thats helpful and as parents discuss and agree parenting approaches but he's interfering with you in a way that sounds like something else is up with him
Who is saying it is all over? It really depends on how he reacts to StillStuck raising the points she is unhappy about with him.
Well he sounds draining and undermining and not that nice tbh and I'm not surprised at all that you feel you need a break from him. That competitive parent thing would really make me not want him around too.
I take it you've tried talking to him about how he makes you feel when he is around in terms of feeling undermined etc..... but I can imagine how that went and I expect he was dismissive and turned it back on you....by the sounds of him .
Not sure what to suggest but I can see exactly where you're coming from. Hugs x
Firsttimer yes I hope that. I don't want to give up without trying to find a new way of living that works for us.
In relation to your second paragraph yes I wonder that, I wonder if something is up with him. I wonder if its to do with the changes at his work that means he feels frustrated too and feels the need to prove himself by being the 'best' parent in relation to DS. (fwiw I am not at all competitive myself, but his attempts at competition e.g. lying about who has seen something happen first, make me sad). the worst incident of him 'needing' to be right being when ds had hurt himself in an awkward fall at nursery, I took him straight to GP as I was sure something wasn't right with his leg, gp said give him paracetamol and if not right within an hour go straight to a&e, (DH was at the appointment too). when the hour was up DS was still clearly not right, I said right lets go (I had backed back), cue a massive argument DH accusing both me and the GP of being wrong/ overrreacting. I didn't have my car at the time so was dependent on DH driving us there and in the end the only way I could persuade him to drive us to A&e was to say that otherwise I was calling a taxi. poor DS had to listen to all of this while in pain. got to a&e, traige nurse said he would need to see paed consultant and there was a bit of a wait, lots more arguing from DH about whether we really needed to wait to be seen. In the end I had a quiet word with the triage nurse who said very clearly that we needed to stay and that to tell DH to 'man up'. he quietened down at this and sort of apologised when we were heading home (DS in plaster ) but I am still really quite upset months later that my poor boy had to listen to all of this while clutching his little broken leg
yes, have tried to explain how I feel about negative comments etc, but he doesn't get why it would affect me / denies having every said them
(sorry bad typing' backed back should say 'packed bag'! as in bag of stuff for ds!)
Oh StillStuck, this isn't good at all. Really it isn't. He isn't being a good parent, he isn't putting your DS first, he doesn't trust you either. I am not feeling hopeful that he would respond to you asking him not to mock you and undermine you, favourably.
Feeling awkward talking to your friends or family when your DH is around, and seeing less of them because he's there, is a really big red flag. I have one or two complicated relationships with people who are, quite frankly, car crashes. Even I cringe when they're around. But as a grown woman I reserve the right to see and talk to whomsoever I please. Criticising and mocking your parenting is also really nasty behaviour. It's one thing to disagree on approach and try to find some mutual agreement, but non-constructive criticism, and particuarly the mocking, makes him a bit of a bully and an arse.
I suspect one of the reasons you're struggling with him being around so much is because you know you're going to be forced to confront the problems in your relationship. I wish you luck.
Oh dear Still, he argued with a GP and at the hospital because he thought he was right and everyone else was wrong.
Dis he ever give a reason for his unacceptable behaviour?
i think he just found it all mightily inconvenient timing sugarice as he was hungry . he thought it could all wait till the morning.
he didn't argue with the GP or the nurses, just with me for listening to them.
The last thing he should have been thinking about was food, idiot man.
When our ds3 broke his wrist and we zoomed off to A+E hunger was the last thing on our minds!
Sorry Still he sounds like a tosser, no wonder you preferred him being away.
Are you likely to be in your rented house for much longer?
Hmm, I was going to reply and say that I had a similar period of readjustment when DH stopped working shifts which had meant I had two weeks a month to myself in the evenings. It was hard to get used to losing all that me-time.
But, I think you have deeper problems, your DH doesn't sound like he is very nice to you.
"but he doesn't get why it would affect me / denies having every said them". You know that isn't right, don't you. He should be worried that he has hurt you.
"i think he just found it all mightily inconvenient timing sugarice as he was hungry" All about him, isn't it?
"he didn't argue with the GP or the nurses, just with me for listening to them"
Yet more disrespect to you.
Can I ask, what you are getting out of the relationship at the moment? I am struggling to find a positive in any of your posts about him.
Jesus, just read about your DH needing to be right and being obstructive when your poor little boy had a broken leg
Definitely try counselling but if you get nowhere then please take the time to imagine a future without this man in your life as a partner.
What Allinone said. I started reading thinking, yes, I know how you feel, I enjoy time and space without DH, but having read you other comments I can understand it is more than that.
yeah Abigail thats it, he puts his needs first. another example is that I travel abroad lot with DS (e.g. so DS can see DH for a few days when he is working away). I find it easier travelling with just DS than I do if DH is there too. With just DS I put his needs first in terms of when I get to airport, what we do at airport etc, when DH comes too it somehow feels much more complicated because dh's needs seem to dictate things somehow.
yeah I know sugarice, I would stay all night without food or sleep if it meant ds got what he needed. Indeed, when ds was a much smaller baby I did stay up all night with him in a&e without food or sleep. (never been soooo pleased as when we got to the ward and the nurse got me some toast!)
It almost sounds as f you would be happiest if he was almost never tehre, as you do not like him? Do you think that is fair of me to say?
Is there any love and humour between you? Affection? Laughs?
Umm.. yes, I do think it was really so awful. What a horrible thing to hear!
Seriously, you are apart all day, I think wanting more specific 'alone time' is a bit odd for a healthy relationship, but then your later posts indicate that perhaps you don't see this as a healthy relationship. The fact that you see less of your friends and family because of DH (rather than because that's the way things happen when you get married, have kids etc.) is not a good sign, as I'm sure you are aware.
The self-conscious thing - it's hard to say whether that's him being genuinely domineering and critical or you being paranoid. I suspect a bit of both? It can't be a happy feeling, but I think Relate (although I haven't had great experience with them tbh.) or some kind of couples counselling is a far more positive step than telling him you liked it when he was away every month.
Can you imagine how that made him feel? Imagine him saying it to you - he is a parent too and probably would love to spend just as much time with DS as you do - why on earth you would want 'alone time' with DS when you already work part time and therefore see him more than DH will, I'm sure, come across as odd and unsettling.
Yes, it sounds to me too that you don't really like him and find him an inconvenience.
Hello stillstruck. I can identify a lot with your situation and feelings on a number of levels, and reading all this is helping me too, in a way.
Firstly, see if your DH would agree to some hint counselling, as it could help the dynamic between you both, and help him grow to realise that he doesn't have to undermine you to steady his self esteem.
Before that though, maybe you could plan some time alone together and aim to just enjoy each other's company. After that, ask him if he might like to go back to doing the job/hobby on a scaled down level one weekend a month. It sounds as though it is he who could do with it, and it would be good for his self esteem if he went out weekly for social/sport/activity.
My dh has worked away intermittently on and off, and there is always a time of transtion for us when it changes to a lot more of his time away or a lot more time at home at home. It's easier now the children are older, but it made life hard when they were little. I felt unappreciated for most of it, but I found it far too easy to be unappreciative of DH too, as he would love to be at home, working pt, but didn't moan about that.
We have a bigger house now, and I can tell you, it won't solve your problems (nor will spending time apart) you need to talk it through adult to adult and get through it to the point where you appreciate and respect one another (and your DH respects himself, as you do yourself.)
That should read joint counselling, not hint. (Am on phone.)
Gosh the incident with your son's leg sounds awful. And it does not sound lik he's very responsive to you bringing these issue up. They are issues btw and need addressing. You cant go on like this forever.
I feel that way, too, OP - I hate if my DH is in the way all the time and I like time both by myself and with the children.
I did in my first marriage as well (and my XH sounds horribly like your DH). I think it is particularly evident when the DP is quite controlling, you need a break from that.
Some of us just need space and I am one of them. However, saying it to the other person is crushing, and it sounds to me like there are other issues in your relationship that need sorting out.
I wouldn't want this Dick hanging around me and my children either
He sounds abusive - joint counseling is not recommended in that case - you will just end up being undermined there as well.
I'm trying to find where he sounds abusive. It sounds like a damaged relationship, but apart from the broken leg incident (where it's hard really to gather enough information to judge - we have no idea what DS was like at the time), he sounds like someone who cares for his wife and child, as well as himself, but whom isn't very well liked by his wife. Not abusive from what I've read, anyhow.
But loops, everyone's DH on here is abusive, didn't you know??
My DP works shifts, one week he finishes early and is home all afternoon/evening, the following week he finishes at 10pm so i have most of the day/evening to myself, when its xmas or other holidays it feels weird to always have him here and i kinda miss having my alone time too.
So i get where your coming from.
But, it does sound a bit like you dont want him around all that much.
And the part where you said you feel like you cant be silly with DS when he's there - do you just feel like you cant be yourself? Incase he laughs at you? Coz thats not good.
Someone who constantly undermines you and refuses to give you some space IS abusive - emotionally abusive and that can do just as much damage (if not more) than physical abuse. Having the confidence and life sucked out of you by constant criticism is a form of slow torture and it's not easy getting your self esteem back once it's been trashed. Often the person doesn't realise it's happening till they're a shadow of their former self or have got away from the abuser.
The fact that the OP had concerns about her DS's injury should have been enough - instead of being supported she ended up in an argument - most decent parents would err on the side of caution and get it checked out just in case anyway - not moan because they were hungry!
I'm like you and really need space and time alone. I'm very lucky that I work at home and get that time then, but even so I appreciate DP going out for an evening or on a work trip for a bit, even though we do get on well and enjoy spending time together too. I don't think that's bad and I wouldn't mind at all if someone said the same to me.As DP knows, I enjoy having my space at first, then I start to miss him and get exhausted with the DC and love having him back.
I think the problem here is your DH is a very different kind of person, quite needy and wanting to be "in on" everything, so perhaps the worst kind of person to present with your feelings about this. If you really do want to stay with him and are a good match in other ways, he needs to understand that this is about you and your needs, and that he could make things better for you by being less in-your-face and controlling. Unfortunately though he does sound difficult. Counselling might help you but it may take a lot to make him grow up a bit.
But 'critical' and 'negative' aren't the same as 'constantly undermining', are they? He may well be abusive, but from what we've read here it seems you've added 2 + 2 and come up with the Mumsnet bingo.
His crimes are - to be in the house when he's not at work
Do go home from work at lunch sometimes
The leg incident (granted, doesn't look great)
OP thinks he might be lying about having seen some of DS's firsts
He laughs when she is silly with DS
He makes being in an airport more complicated
He is negative and critical
As I said before, things don't look rosy. But jumping to a conclusion of abuse isn't going to help OP if it's not really there.
Red flags all over this thread StillStuck.
See here. You've already written about points 4,5,7,19 but I wouldn't be at all surprised if you can identify with more (I suspect 9,10,12,13,14? Forgive me if I'm wrong!). Take a look, Loops.
I don't think joint counselling would be a good idea either
Until the OP comes back to clarify some of the points, I still think conclusions are being jumped to.
For example, the laugh at her being silly thing. Was he laughing in a 'we're having fun' way or being snidey and mean?
The airport complication thing - 3 people is more to juggle than two. Can you explain that a bit more?
Been there, done that, got the postcard. It's a hell of an adjustment going from having lots of time to yourself, to suddenly not having any time to yourself. Fortunately for me DH understood when I said 'Please find something to do that is anywhere but here, for the whole day. You are seriously driving me bonkers!!!!' We had a long chat and worked out ways of having time to ourselves.
However in your case, I think a major part of the problem is the absence let you have a break from unpleasant aspects of your DH, and you were able to regain some equilibrium and battle through when he came back. Now you don't have that time and space, and the frustration of dealing with your DH is building up, and up, and up. And of course, when he wasn't there all the time, you could cancel out some of the negativity because you could write it off as 'he doesn't understand as he's not here all the time', 'he's trying to make up for lost time', etc, etc. Well now both he and you can't pretend that the negativity/unpleasantness/selfishness is due to his absences - it is simply him and now it's time to face it.
"he sounds like someone who cares for his wife and child, as well as himself, but whom isn't very well liked by his wife." Where on earth does it sound like he cares for his wife and child? Does he care for his wife by mocking her, criticising her friends and family, undermining her parenting? Does he care for his child by not following the GPs instructions and not wanting to take him to hospital? Or creating a hostile, competitive environment for him to live in?
He strikes me as someone who cares about anyone but himself and wanting to be control.
And he is abusive as illustrated when StillStuck raised how he made her feel with him he "doesn't get why it would affect me / denies having every said them". Denying someone else's feelings, dismissing their concerns, not taking any responsiblity for his actions, lying, making no effort to change or even admit there is a problem. That is abusive behaviour and not exactly the words/actions of someone who is supposed to love his wife.
I read the introduction and thought at first, this couple need to re-adjust, the work pattern has changed, they need to re-connect. Poor him! If this was just about OP suffocating, I would suggest she look to herself first.
Then I read it again, and read further. Poor her! I posted and looked at subsequent posts and how she would reply, it is not uncommon for posters to test the water by stating one thing then opening up and disclosing more afterwards.
I would suggest it is unhealthy for one partner to undermine the other, to engage in competitive parenting, to criticise in-laws and friends to the point that their partner feels awkward being in contact with them. I would say it is unreasonable, to attempt to countermand reasonable care of a child in pain because they themselves are hungry.
Of course we only get one account, traditionally we take on board what the OP tells us, we don't all look to spin, or badmouth the partner in question.
the absence let you have a break from unpleasant aspects of your DH this from DIYapprentice sums it up imo.
I am not convinced he is an abuser, just maybe someone whose personality type isn't best suited to making me happy. I can identify with some of the points listed on the 'loser' list but only in a mild sense. He is largely a good husband eg does half the nursery runs, does all the cooking (but,see below) we have interests in common and I still find him attractive and think he doesn't intend to make me unhappy, and yet he does, which may be as much my character trait as anything to do with him
For instance, I am clumsy and he does yell at me if I break/ drop something, but I have now learnt to firmly point out it was an accident and he does usually back down. But it does make me still feel a bit rubbish.
Or whenever I used to cook he would always tell me how it could have been better, so I basically stopped and told him why. (Obviously I cook when its just me and ds). He seems to have sort of taken my comment on board as I finally found the courage to bake a cake for DS and he didn't say anything negative about it and indeed was vaguely complimentary about it.
I could cope with the negativity and criticism when we had time apart, as that time gave me space from it and confidence. As I will keep saying, I was then always pleased to see him then and largely we had a good time together and worked fairly well together as a team.
People are different. I need my own space and time alone, my DH doesn't really. It took a long time for me to make him understand that it wasn't that I didn't want him around, but that I needed time out to be just by myself in my own space. Fortunately every month or so he'll take a weekend to go up to parents and leave me be. He's now understanding of my need for that time and space.
I can understand how it hurt your DH, and I think you need to keep talking and try to make him understand it isn't about not wanting him around, but needing some time apart occassionally so you have more to talk about, appreciate each other more etc.
All of that said, it seems like you have some issue which need ironing out too.
DIY apprentice I think you have summed it all up better than I can.
And yes, sorry if it feels like a drip feed I guess this thread is making me work through things in my head and things suddenly come tumbling out
I really don't think he is abusive though, flawed maybe but so am I, I am sure. Its whether I can find a new equilibrium now that gives me adequate space and condfidence to cope with the negative aspects of his personality.
My first solution was to drop half a day at work ( I was working 4 days), I am hoping that the extra half day will help a bit, I can't afford to drop more and don't want to risk any bigger drop in pay in case we do split
Why would you drop time at work ? Doesn't it give you a break from the whiny little shit ?
Why have you dropped half a day at work, help with what?
'Finally found the courage to bake a cake' - that's so sad StillStuck
His behaviour towards you meant it took courage (and I am sure it did, in the face of constant criticism) to bake a fucking cake
The fact that he refrained from undermining you on that one occasion doesn't mean you have to be with him.
Yes any fucker and I love my career, but was craving time just me and ds and figure even a few extra hours would help and might thereby help our relationship. Plus I had always wanted to do fewer hours and changes at work meant it was finally possible
I don't know marylin I think its a character flaw of mine to not really like criticism as well.
He will poke his nose in there though too, won't he ?
I don't it needs to be you making the changes, tbh
The cake metaphor is quite striking actually
I find it very sad that the few "crumbs" of approval from him are enough to convince you that this relationship is worth listening to the crap he spouts
To a degree anyfucker but I figure he does have to do work at least some of the week!
He will do his work while you are at your place of work, and hang around making "helpful" comments when you are not
the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour
don't reduce your time at work
He can be supportive too though, he supported me going back to work (dropped everything at short notice so I could go for interview), he supported me learning to drive (was expensive! I will confess part of my motivation though was to stop being so dependent) and he is supportive of me going out running/swimming once ds is in bed e.g. He waits till I am back to cook dinner
Disliking criticism is not a character flaw StillStuck! NOONE likes criticism! Criticism has to be handled with great care in any relationship - friendship, at work, love relationships.
We have to learn to hear constructive criticism without over-reacting. But it doesn't sound as if your H is constructive when he criticises you, at all.
Constructive criticism HELPS the other person. It is considered, and kind, and usually sandwiched amidst a lot of praise.
We have to be very careful before we criticise anyone because it can wound others so easily. Those who regularly criticise us (and casually, it sounds like) and, once questioned about it, deny or diminish it, are no good to be around.
You've blamed yourself for being so scared of his criticism that it took courage to bake a cake. You aren't being fair to yourself.
I'm sorry but it does feel like you don't want to be with him but are sublimating that into thinking you just need an afternoon a week away from him.
Does your dh come home at lunchtime even when you're at work three days a week or is that just when you're there.
No idea sugarice! He works fairly locally though.
marilyn that's it I don't mind criticism if its constructive and mixed with support/praise. I even at university used to complain if an essay got no criticism!
And thank you marilyn for your comments they have made me cry a little
Listen to yourself - you are trying to work out a life balance that renders you feeling better armed to deal with his negativity.
Stillstuck I live on half the money I had when I was with XH.
I dance around the kitchen with DS.
I smile a lot.
I don't have to panic that I haven't done something right, that I have left the room untidy, and he will sulk.
I didn't realise how much being in a bad relationship was dragging me down until I left it.
Both of us are a lot happier now.
I don't know, travel I do wonder if that is how I would feel, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, like I was a bit more free. but it seems like a lot to ask of DS just so I can be happier (I would struggle to mke ends meet on my own, even if I up my hours again).and I feel like how will I know if its really broken unless we first try to find a way to live together in a balanced way. I feel like we should try a bit more first.
Has he agreed to "try more" then ?
You're welcome StillStuck
Do you think TravelinColour should go back to her critical ex, for her son? Would you advise her to do that, having read her post?
You are allowed to be happy. You don't HAVE to stay with your H. Your DS would be fine.
But perhaps you need to try to talk to your H about all of this first. If he listens and responds in a way that allows you all to move forwards, then great. But if not then perhaps you have your answer.
i don't think this is about you needing more space and time to yourself (although that's not a bad thing, most people need it!) but is actually about your DH's respect and feeling towards you.
What if you go to him and say "Look, I'm sorry if I made it sound like I was happier when you were away. That's not what I meant. There are just some things that I'm not happy about, can we talk about it?" Then talk about how some of his behaviour makes you feel. See what his reaction is- if he is a decent man who loves you then he will listen properly, be taken aback and sad that he makes you feel that way, and genuinely want to make it up to you and change his behaviour. And give you some space & time to yourself, or for you & ds, of course! (Important not to forget that part!)
I find it strange that you don't know whether he comes home at lunchtime or not when you're at work? Does he not talk about what he's been doing with his day, or get anything done in the house that needs doing if he is there early? offer to pick ds up if it's normally you? etc etc?
Obviously you want to try and make things work not least for the sake of your child - nothing wrong with that but you may have to open your mind to the possibility that you are trying to be fair, reasonable and balanced with someone who is NOT! It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if your cake was insulted at some point in the future - you complain and he will play nice for awhile and store it up for later - that is how they work.
Emotional abuse is a very slow and insidious process which is how it escapes detection for so long. You shouldn't need courage to bake a cake you should be able to bake it and throw it at the wall if you want to, or feed it to the birds if it hasn't turned out right (which is not a crime btw) or decorate it any way you choose - it's your life, your cake!
Thank you all for your posts so far, you have given me a lot to think about. Some posts in particular have really resonated with me.I couldn't post last night as dh insisted we all go and stay over at his friends house, I tried to say he should go on his own and I would stay at home as we have work/nursery this morning but dh said I was being selfish and only thinking about myself, so I caved in and then when I got there and ds was too tired and shy to enjoy it and then this morning ds was all confused and out of routine and I had to have a cold shower and find my way to work from somewhere I don't know well I have been feeling quite cross with myself that I let him convince me that I was the one being selfish.
I have a lot of thinking to do. I think the advice that I should try and talk to dh about this and see how he reacts is what I want to do. I will suggest we try counselling. But life is too short to let things carry on like this. Its hard because I think dh is fundamentally a good person and so I feel I shouldn't give up too easily, but I do see that I shouldn't feel more 'free' when my partner is away, that maybe in a healthy relationship it wouldn't feel like that.
His insistence on staying over at a friends's house during the week when work /nursery followed the next day is odd and to ignore your reasoning and call you selfish is nasty.
He is sounding more controlling the more you reveal about him.
Good luck with any counselling.
Sleeping over at someone else's house mid week?! Is the man stark raving mad???!!!! Seriously, the fact that you didn't even feel you could say no to something as inconvenient as this REALLY must tell you something.
I feel for you stillstuck, I really do. I think you've been blaming the wrong things for how you feel. You need to start looking in your 'D'H's direction quite firmly - HE's the one making you feel inadequate, suffocated and stressed.
This man is trying to make your life more difficult. The "sleepover" midweek is frankly and openly designed to disorientate you
This is not a man with your best interests at heart
I'm still trying to work out why it's supposed to be selfish for one partner not to want to go out, but not selfish for the other partner to make them.
Why is he a good man StillStuck? There isn't much evidence of it on this thread.
I feel freer when DH is away, it is always nice to have the house to yourself. We have a great relationship, truly.
And can I just point out that your entire life seems to be revolving around him and his moods and his wants. I am sure he is very nice if he gets what he wants and you do what he wants.
It sounds very much as if he determines your entire family dynamic, and that's not right. He also sounds jealous of your DS (apols if that's already been said) and the fact you're no longer DH's sole focus.
I'm not seeing much of a 'good man' either - I can understand his feelings being hurt when you said you preferred him to bea way part of the time, but having seen your subsequent posts I'm not surprised you feel like that. It sounds as if your life and relationship with DS is significantly worse when DH is around.
StillStruck, am sorry to read all of this. I can't think what to add, but can hold a hand and offer a and an understanding ear if that helps.
Have just thought of something to add... A person doesn't have to be wicked or evil to make a relationship unbearable. You DH can very easily be a nice person in some ways, and fanciable, and useful around the house, and hard working, and have lots of great qualities YET at the same time be a bloody nightmare to live with. Whether there's anything you can do about it, remains to be seen, as he would have to change.
There is too much here to land on him all at once, though. Counselling might be useful, even if you go alone, so you find ways to discuss things with him do things differently and take control of your own life, and not feel guilty. It would be a step in the right direction.
Going to go for a swim and then start to try and discuss things with dh, starting with the whole thing about last night. I do wonder whether I have to take some responsibility for not standing up to him enough, but the way he is at times like that it just feels like too hard to do anything but cave in and I just lost confidence that my opinion (not good on a work night) was valid and accepted he was right to tell me I was being selfish
Counselling will help you explore the options, the possibilities. It will also give you a bit more strength and self-belief, if only to tell him to wind his neck in if he mocks you being silly with ds!
sooo, I have tried to have a talk. It wasn't massively productive but I guess it is good to be talking.
I hope you don't mind if I write it down here, partly in the hope that the act of writing helps me process my thoughts, partly in the hope that I may get more insightful and thought provoking comments.
I started off saying that I was feeling upset about last night, about how I ended up letting him convince me I was being 'selfish' in refusing to stay over on a weeknight, about how I wanted us to explore how it happened. I said I didn't understand how he felt I was being selfish, and asked if it had made him think when we got there and DS clearly wasn't happy (just very shy and tired )and whether it made him think at all this morning when DS was all confused about what was happening. He didn't really say anything other than that I 'didn't have to come'. no, true, but he had made me feel so bloody mean for saying no. I did concede it was partly my fault for not trusting my instincts. I then suggested counselling as I thought it was a recurring problem in our relationship.
He denied this, so I reminded him about the broken leg incident and he didn't say anything. I think he knew that time, afterwards at least, that he had been in the wrong.
he still challenged that this was an ongoing problem in our relationship, and denied that I feel he is overly critical / dictatorial and doesn't really respect what I say.
I gave another example which is that when DS was very ill for a couple of months as a baby (305 months) he was really unsupportive, I literally couldn't put DS down and DS barely slept, day or night (longest stretch during that time was 45 mins one night), and needed a large amount of treatment (maximum I could be out of the house was about half an hour, squeezzed between various medication regimes and breastfeeding) and yet DH would come home and moan about the state of the house at me. DH denied having been like this. I told him that the consultant at the hospital had realised what a bad way I was in from lack of sleep and constant care and had sat with me for ages giving me support and encouragement and kind words which I will always remember. DH just silent.
I also said about the overly critical thing, reminded him how it had led to me stopping cooking. I said how he does the same thing with me in relation to how i am as a mother, but obviously I can't stop that so instead I guess I look to have a break. He slightly conceded he does that, in that he said ' i guess maybe I'm too used to being in 'teacher mode' sometimes'
He hasn't really said anything, hasn't responded to my suggestions of counselling in anyway. He just said maybe we needed some time to think, that we can think about it when we are on holiday (next week) and then discuss when we get back. basically I think he wants us to put our heads in the sand now so he can enjoy the weeks holiday (we are going with other people).
He's gone to bed now. not said much at all although at least there have been a couple of concessions. He nearly stormed out of the house but then I think he remembered about the holiday and decided to keep his head down till after that so he doesn't miss out on it.
one thought that has occurred to me, I don't know if this makes sense, is that maybe his way of being with me is because I am much more (academically) successsful than him (e.g. I have a first class degree, string of post grad qualifications and a professional career; his skills (albeit he's talented at what he does) are solely practical). I wonder whether in some way he treats me like this to (subconsciously) redress the balance almost? and that some of the reason for his violent tempers is because there is a huge gap in how we articulate things? (am grasping for words here, I don't want to come across as big headed either as I am not the kind of person to ever mention my qualifications, but I am wondering if this is relevant)
that said, I do also know he has always been prone to strong tempers, his dad even mentioned it to me at our first meeting. I think I hoped they were referring to his teenage years at the time, but now I wish I had run a mile at those words!
oh! how did it get to be midnight?! I guess we didn't get a chance to sit down to talk until 10, and then there were long periods of silence, but still!
His own dad tried to warn you about him ? How telling.
My insight ?
He will be a bit better around your holiday. Then after that, you will think things are fine again, not too bad, he is trying a little blah blah. A couple of weeks later, back to square one.
And so the circle turns.
yeah, I know AF. why didn't I run for the hills!
He has never been physically violent I hasn't to add. just can be very hot headed I guess. and I didn't really see much of that side of him until after DS was born.
and yes, I think you are spot on about how he will be for the duration of the holiday etc. I .am contemplating confiding in a close mutual friend who is there to get some real life advice but worried if DH gets an inkling I have done this it will wind him up.
Who mentioned physical violence ?
Don't fall into the trap of saying "at least he doesn't break my nose"
You are living on eggshells, love. In fear of his reaction. You can't even talk to a close friend about your disquiet in case it "winds him up".
Emotional abuse and controlling behaviour is still abuse even you don't have visib;e cuts and bruises.
I think you have given him food for though, and hopefully it will make him think twice when he's about to criticize you.
This is a good first step for you. Because having aired all this with him, you can see if there is any 'significant' difference. It also gives you the ability to say 'you're doing it again, please stop being critical'. However given the state of your relationship, I fear that if you're completely honest, you will be saying that a LOT.
'Teacher mode'? He's not in teacher mode, he's in 'I'm more important than you, I'm always right' mode, not teacher mode. Teacher's are well meaning, careful with their words, encouraging, supporting, etc. Your DH is pushing you down into a pit of self doubt.
Just remember how great a mum you are, and how YOU were there for your DS when he was so ill. Your DH wasn't, so please be honest with yourself about him - he's not a 'great' dad. If he were a great dad he would have wanted to hold and care for his DS too.
Right now my DH is taking my DSs to school and nursery. Why? I've got the time, I'm not busy this morning. But he misses them, and he wants to take them to school and nursery occasionally, be a part of their day. My DSs love it when their DF takes them to school/nursery and picks them up. That's what a 'great dad' does.
DIY that's the thing though, Dh does nursery drop off every time, has ds one day a week when I am at work, and cooks every night. He does do his bit around the house too I can't fault him on that front, its just the criticism etc that I am struggling with.
Sorry, I forgot that bit.
Is he critical of you in front of your DS though? How will you feel if your DS starts criticising you in the same way? How will your DH feel if your DS starts treating you in the same way?
It's good to read that you're finding your voice and challenging him on his behaviour.
Don't know whether your academic success has made him jealous but he certainly likes to belittle you to keep you feeling unsure of yourself; re the baking and playing games with your ds.
You sound like a great Mum, don't think otherwise.
Hope the holiday goes well
You've done brilliantly in addressing this with him, and it sounds as if you were calm and restrained.
He couldn't dispute your points and fell silent. I agree with Any Fucker, he'll play nice for a while and then the criticisms will creep back in.
He may also use his time coming up with his 'defence' - further criticisms of you.
I think what you said about him feeling threatened by your accomplishments rings true. You should never have to contend with that. Your partner should be your biggest fan, your cheerleader, bursting with pride about how amazing you are.
Feels like you're heading in the right direction, making more realisations all the time, owning the fact that you have the right to be treated with respect.
I have to be honest, I doubt he'll be able to change and grow enough to make it healthy for you to stay with him. But discussing things with him at such a mature level really opens up possibilities so well done. There's only so much you can do or say, though, until enough's enough.
'Violent tempers'? What sort of thing are we talking about here; punching the doors, throwing stuff type of thing? Or is it all screaming and yelling?
What starts him off?
He's not in 'teacher mode'. He's in misogynist, entitled male privilege mode.
I've not read all of the posts here, just into the second page...by that point I was feeling concernced...and then I read this that you posted...
In relation to your second paragraph yes I wonder that, I wonder if something is up with him. I wonder if its to do with the changes at his work that means he feels frustrated too and feels the need to prove himself by being the 'best' parent in relation to DS. (fwiw I am not at all competitive myself, but his attempts at competition e.g. lying about who has seen something happen first, make me sad). the worst incident of him 'needing' to be right being when ds had hurt himself in an awkward fall at nursery, I took him straight to GP as I was sure something wasn't right with his leg, gp said give him paracetamol and if not right within an hour go straight to a&e, (DH was at the appointment too). when the hour was up DS was still clearly not right, I said right lets go (I had backed back), cue a massive argument DH accusing both me and the GP of being wrong/ overrreacting. I didn't have my car at the time so was dependent on DH driving us there and in the end the only way I could persuade him to drive us to A&e was to say that otherwise I was calling a taxi. poor DS had to listen to all of this while in pain. got to a&e, traige nurse said he would need to see paed consultant and there was a bit of a wait, lots more arguing from DH about whether we really needed to wait to be seen. In the end I had a quiet word with the triage nurse who said very clearly that we needed to stay and that to tell DH to 'man up'. he quietened down at this and sort of apologised when we were heading home (DS in plaster sad) but I am still really quite upset months later that my poor boy had to listen to all of this while clutching his little broken leg sad
Honestly, I'm feeling very very uncomforateble about this man (he reminds me of my abusive, controlling under-the-radar narcissist ex)
I think subconsciously you may be feeling that level of discomfort too and your instincts are telling you to try to have as much space as is possible? I'm no psychologist..but I have been in a horribly EA relationship that too me YEARS to consciously realise was beyond wrong.
I dont' want to muddy the waters...but stepping back (which I appreciate can be hrd to do)...do you think this is what is going on?
I gave another example which is that when DS was very ill for a couple of months as a baby (305 months) he was really unsupportive, I literally couldn't put DS down and DS barely slept, day or night (longest stretch during that time was 45 mins one night), and needed a large amount of treatment (maximum I could be out of the house was about half an hour, squeezzed between various medication regimes and breastfeeding) and yet DH would come home and moan about the state of the house at me. DH denied having been like this. I told him that the consultant at the hospital had realised what a bad way I was in from lack of sleep and constant care and had sat with me for ages giving me support and encouragement and kind words which I will always remember. DH just silent
I feel physically sick reading this...I'm just reminded of the time I tried to get myself admitted to the psych ward in the states just so I could get some respite...and how chilling and cold DH was even though the Drs could see the state I was in and tried to tell DH that his life had changed very little but that I was obviously not coping...I don't think he heard a word they said...your DH is reminding me of him. Please don't doubt your instincts that so clerly come through in these posts as screaming at you that things aren't right. Don't allow youself to feel that it's just you - you're too demanding, your too nagging, you're too selfish, you're too sensitive, you're too depressed/emotional/unmedicated/paranoid/neurotic.....etc
You get the picture don't you?
Look after you....you're a very important person in DS life.
To be honest, I probably should have left him for how he behaved when ds broke his leg, I nearly did, but I guess most of my energy was going into thinking about ds and the practicalities of a toddler with a broken leg and not about me/my relationship.
But it is hard because a lot of the time things can be ok and he is by and large great with ds. There was one alarming incident though, but I gave him a massive telling off at the time: we were at the park, I was really proud ds had learnt to climb the rope ladder and was getting him to show dh. Dh I think felt left out so he tried to persuade ds to go through the tunnel, ds refuses as he has always done, so dh stuck his favourite toy in the tunnel and said if he didn't go and get it we would go home without it!! Ds was not even two!! I was very sharp with dh and he did get the toy, but it was awful behaviour
His tempers he never hits anything just very cross, a bit shouty and stuff then storms off and sulks. But its impossible to reason with him when he is like that. I guess it only happens if he wants to do something and I don't or similar.
He really doesn't sound like a great dad StillStuck
Poor little DS.
"His insistence on staying over at a friends's house during the week when work /nursery followed the next day is odd and to ignore your reasoning and call you selfish is nasty."
It just occurred to me that selfish people tend to call other people selfish to get their own way.
I am not surprised that you dont like having him around. He sounds like a very nasty man. I am not sure if matters whether you understand why he behaves the way he does, this in itself wont change who he is, although useful to you.
What do you plan to do?
The way things are with you now, I would be very hesitant to buy a house with him. Be glad you rent, it will make a potential split a lot easier.
Hi StillStuck, I really feel for you, and I'd like to give you a slightly different persepctive, if I may.
The way you've described your relationship sounds remarkably like my parents' marriage. Everything from my father's denigration of my mother's academic success, to mocking her during silly fun times, always being right and forcing his wants on the rest of us, and particularly poisoning the atmosphere with his negativity and sulking.
My mum used to take my sister and I away on holidays, just the three of us, and it was only when I was older that I realised she did this to get some time away from him, so she could just be herself, and we could too.
Growing up walking on eggshells like that and watching my mother being dragged so far down has had a horrible effect on my sister and I. Both us are terribly screwed up.
My mother finally left my father (for another man) when I was sixteen. It was a hard time, a very difficult thing to go through especially as a child, but I can absolutely promise you that seeing my mum absolutely blossom in her freedom was incredible. She acheived great things, had incredible confidence, and was a much more positive role model for her daughters, when she was beyond my father's influence.
I'm not by any means trying to make you feel guilty or claim your son will suffer terribly, if things don't change. I'm not trying to be dramatic or to convince you to leave the bastard if that's not what you want. You will know in your gut if leaving your marriage is the right thing to do or not. All I want to tell you is that your son will not be irrevocably damaged if his parents are not together; he will be affected far, far worse if his mother's confidence is eroded right in front of him.
I wish you the very best.
I was going to ask earlier if there's a big age gap between you and H or had there been a large financial disparity when you met. So the academic thing comes as no surprise.
It is like he is trying to take you down a peg or two, or quashing any perceived superior edge you have.
Good luck with the holiday, are they mutual friends? Keep an eye on how he behaves with you in front of them.
It doesnt matter why he's behaving like this, whether he feels he has to redress the balance because you have more qualifications or whatever. What matters is that he behaves this way and seems resistant to changing the underlying issues - ie via counselling.
The more incidents you describe OP the worse your situation sounds. I know leaving someone is difficult and that ideally you want your child to have both parents but two parents in a difficult marriage is not good a good atmosphere for a child and a happy free single mother would be a lot better. Children learn about relationships from their parents. Is what is going on between you and your H what you want your son to learn? You sound like you are trying to put yourself in stasis to avoid confronting the issue with him, pretending its ok, analysing away to provide reasons for behaviour that actually just isnt on.
I grew up afraid of my F, tempers and sulks - no hitting. But even worse was not being allowed to admit I was afraid of him because my M insisted on how great he was and made any number of rationalisations for his rubbish. It was like this big secret at the heart of our family and it really screwed me up.
The incident with the toy in the tunnel is dreadful, he sounds like he's jealous of your relationship with your ds.
I'm sure you'll keep remembering other things that have bothered you over time but have dismissed as possibly being trivial.
donkeys, yes I wonder whether (subconsciously) he tries to put me down in other areas because he feels insecure in that respect.
ohhh he will behave on holiday! can't give any more details but I know it will be ok and that the (mutual) friends there would look after me. one of them knows about the hospital incident (because we met shortly after) and was pretty cross, and said I should have called them and they would have had words with DH.
I am still pondering what is best. It is hard because a lot of the time I can see how much DS adores it when both of us are with him, me says 'mummyanddaddymummyanddaddy' and loves it. Plus I am not sure how I would make ends meet even if dh is decent about cash if we split (both of us are on v average salaries at present, and live in an area where housing and childcare are very expensive. I could earn a lot more but it would mean not seeing much of DS...)
But on the other hand I am concerned that there have been several instances (including this christmas day ) when because of stuff DH has done he I have been unable to keep up appearances and DS has said 'mummy feeling sad' and tried to comfort me )
I feel I should give DH a chance to try talking some of this out in counselling, but if he won't agree to that then I will be thinking very carefully.
The incident with the toy in the park sounds awful - reminds me of my father
Im sorry but this doesnt look good. You are doing well to start looking at it for what it is not twisting yourself about trying to rationalise it or feel you must ahve done something to deserve it.
Fair enough to gve him a proper chance but write this stuff down and make sure you dont repress it. If its not largely solved in 4 months time you know what to do. And you will manage - its hard to imagine beforehand but life pans out in the strangest ways
Honey, your baby knows you are a victim of abuse. This man is AWFUL!
he is insanely jealous of your relationship with your son and actively chooses to be mean to him to ruin your happiness at his ladder achievement. he wanted to MAKE his baby go through a tunnel he didn't want to.
I would BIN that MOFO for that and that alone.
Your son is only making a big show of mummydaddymummydaddy because of the black atmosphere your H creates. It's Traumatic Bonding. It's why so many victims of DV say 'Oh but he's great dad, they love him'
This is not love, it's fear. It's them sucking up and trying to please so he doesn't turn on them.
don't EVER go to counselling with this man.
I was going to post yesterday to say how every relationship needs to have space for the individuals, and that to fail to understand/recognise that is at best wrong, at worst it's oppressive. I am sad to see that it's moved on from there, but at least in the long run you are getting practiced at talking about this and airing your feelings.
we're here. Use us to talk to, call WA if you can, and do try to confide in your RL friend.
thing is though, its mainly fine, most of the time. there are just these incidents. The tunnel one is the only time I have been concerned about the way he is with DS.
can hardly bear to talk about christmas day. he just threw a BIG tantrum because timings on the day slipped so we weren't going to get to his parents at the time planned unless I completely ignored the fact DS needed a meal. I ended up crying in front of all my family. Then in the car on the way up to his parents house he told me that as we would be late in seeing his parents he would book me a flight home so I could get to work on time and spend an extra day or two with ds at his parents. Then he said I was being selfish to want ds to come home at the same time as me when I would be going to work that day, so why couldn't he spend more time with his parents. DS is only two, I don't want to be the other end of the country from him! The only way I could stop him was by threatening to call the mutual friend I have referred to above and (for reasons I can't go in to here) that stopped him in his track.
but, like a say, a lot of the time things are fine, and that is why it is hard to figure out what to do.
LOL at 'bin that mofo' you just made me smile!
Still I really feel for you, he sounds entitled and very demanding, it really is all about him isn't it.
What did your family do when you were so upset? do they agree that he's hard work.
Firsttimer - weirdly I do know I will manage, money worries aside but if necessary I think my parents could at least help us keep the right side of the breadline. I'm pretty tough, I went through a hell of a lot at university and know how strong I can be. the weeks DH has been away mean I am also not too worried about the practicalities. I just don't want to rush into anything I guess, but I might confide in our friend if there is a chance on holiday.
my family bless them were lovely, I think they could see I was embarrassed and also that I wanted DS to be enjoying himself, so they distractted DS with some presents and made me laugh with a very funny musical song. DH was embarrassed enough once I was crying to give in and realise DS needed feeding and that it would be better to go at his bed time.
This is a man who cannot cope with his needs taking second priority, who cant cope with having to prioritize a child's needs, be it getting his leg plastered, having a meal to fill his belly, etc. ... I feel very sad for you. No wonder this came to light only after you had a child. He could no longer play first fiddle in your world anymore, and now has to keep reasserting himself, to his child detriment.
This will get worse love, trust me.
He is VILE!
The fact that you feel relaxed when he is not there is now easier to understand. It's relief. You don't have to worry about what you are saying, doing, thinking that might wind him up.
this is no way to live. he is mean, cruel and nasty. He'll resent your DS more and more.
You need to mull this over and work out how to get yourself to a better place in life. I'm sorry, but there is no going back now.
I don't understand why you have threaten to tell on him to this friend of yours as the only means of getting him to hear you
What's that all about
Abusers HATE other people to know they are TWATS....
he may be fine, most of the time....but what you are describing when he is not finr is simply not on. Period. What he is doing is slowly eroding your self esteem and your ability to judge things rationally. Believe me, over time he will have you questioning your own thoughts, feelings and pereptsion...hell, reading this thread he's already managing it. As the poster said above...this will only get worse. Does he ever at least listen to your worries/concerns/opinions without belittling/blocking/diverting/projecting? Do you find yourself thinking...everything's ok so long as I make sure I keep my mouth shut and try to keep the status quo?
It's a control thing. He hates that he can't control you or ds (re the mealtime), that he thinks dsshould go through the tunnel (because he says so) and you should not have taken him to the hosiptal for his broken leg (because in his opinion it was not broken)
You obviously weren't aware of it so much when he was away all the time.
I know we're getting only one side of the story, but there are a lot of red flags here, OP. Confide definitely in your friend. Make the opportunity .
af reluctant to give details on here as could out me (probably have already tbh) let's say (am giving similar scenario not identical) that friend is also his boss.
Ie I mean there relationship is one where he has to listen and also one where this person knows a bit about his temper etc as we all spend so much time together
Ie I mean their relationship is one where he has to listen and also one where this person knows a bit about his temper etc as we all spend so much time together and where this person has therefore seen a couple of examples and made clear they are there for me and made that clear to dh too.
His boss shouldn't be involved in your personal relationship
I find it chiling that you have To resort to running to his boss to get him to listen to reason
Does this man really have so little respect for you ? (answer.... Yes)
I would feel completely humiliated at lowering myself into telling tales
This may sound like a silly question, after all that you have posted, but the question in my head is, 'so these aren't the sort of arguments /incidents that happen in normal relationships then'??
Part of me just keeps thinking but don't all couples have things they argue about/ disagree over?
Boss shmoss, whatever, my point stands
Like I say af that is not the actual relationship I was just trying to illustrate as in it is someone dh looks up to/values their good opinion. And sometimes threatening to call them is only way I can stop dh in his tracks
They do, still, but normally there is a bit of give-and-take. I have to say, i'd be very vocal if my dp critises my parenting, or opinions, or plans.
It's the fact that you are not vocal about it, that says to me that you would do anything to keep him happy. That is not the basis of a good relationship.
Ahh I get your point, whoever it is, dh should respect me enough to listen to me without those threats
Actually, FWIW, I think he was right that you could fly home to work and he could have stayed with DS at his parents for another one or two days.
DS was not weeks old. He is 2. I'm sure he is fine to spend a couple of days with his father and his family, and without you.
As for Christmas day, he was, indeed, vile.
All couples disagree, of course they do
It's the way he cultivates the power imbalance, makes you question yourself, fucks your boundaries (using an outsider to mediate is wayyyyyy out of normality)), makes you walk on egg shells etc that is all wrong
No, this does not happen in "normal" relationships.
Frankly, it is chilling that you need his boss as a referee in your marriage. It is also very telling. He can only be nice and respectful to you when somebody superior to him is there to intervene. His only incentive to be nice and normal to you is the fear of losing face in front of his boss of losing his job...
Do you know what this means? He knows he behaves like shit to you. This is why he can chose to behave differently when she is around. No wonder you cultivate this friendship.
For this marriage to sort of work, you need your husband to either be away with work, or kept under control by his boss in his personal life.
Not healthy at all!
Does this think happen in normal relationships? I don't know...but it doesn't happen in loving, respectful, equal relationships.
It's not a silly question...normal is whatever someone's usual reality is. I was shocked when people started suggesting my relationship with my exH was abusive and controlling...MNetters really helped me to see that what I was used to was not OK, not by a long shot.
I read somewhere that is very 'telling' - what you do if something annoys HIM. Do you a) cringe/hide away until he's over it, b) bend over backwards to make it better (even if it was not your fault) or c) stand up to him as an equal and try to sort it out the both of you ?
If you do a or b - the running around trying to make it better - you never will. Nothing will be good enough - ever.
That is a control thing too, he does it because it makes him feel big. He will never stop doing it, because - why would he? It makes him feel big. And that feels gooooood.
ACtually, Still, in a 'normal' relationship, if it were recommended that the child go to a&e to have a leg checked out, there wouldn't really be a basis for discussion. Most adults would see the baby they were responsible for in pain, and not right, and would be at a&e so fast they wouldn't be touching the ground.
This man expects everything to fall into place around his convenience, indeed, around his whims. He is not a good man, and is not a good dad.
Do not go to counselling with him.
What Jux said. My exh refused to back me up with his famous for insisting they vanities their hands before they picked up 3 month old ds (cousin on the has had just had her third dose of norovirus) and 4 days later treated me with disgust and derision and called me stupid for wanting to go to hospital after seeing ds projectile vomit (in his opinion it was merely spit up - Id spent 3 months so far completely covered in a lot of spit up - i knew the difference between that and half a feed coming gushing out of ds mouth) we were in the Er 12 hours later after multiple vomiting sessions and ds completely zoning out on us.
Could sounds like it's open to debate.
Should or would sounds dictatorial.
Difference in how it was presented to OP, Lueji ?
Yes, its the a&e situation find hardest of anything to accept. That my little boy had to sit there, probably in pain, certainly with something visibly wrong with his leg while I had to argue with dh about why it wouldn't wait till the morning and why we should follow the gp's advice. And that then even after triage nurse had seen us he was still making such fuss. I told him I was struggling to forgive him though and he didn't say anything.
Hard to contemplate leaving him on a day like today though when everything has been okish (although admittedly I am well aware he is on best behaviour because he doesn't want to jeopardise the holiday)
donkeys yes that's the point, it wasn't something being suggested calmly as an option, he basicaLly told me he would book a flight and he would stay longer and it was made clear the only basis for this was because it was my fault we were getting to his parents late I.e. It was to punish me for making him late really.
It is a ghastly life, though to a certain extent you've become innured to it and so much has become 'normal' that you probably don't notice it so much. As your ds gets older, there'll be more friction, though, especially as ds' needs grow and clash more with h's wants. You will find yourself in a hugely unenviable position.
I am glad you can confide in your friend. Please take the opportunity to do so, as she will be invaluable help to you as things get harder as they are certain to.
keep posting, stillstuck, and let us know how you are doing
I will af. This thread has been very helpful and thought provoking for me and I am very grateful to everyone who has taken the time to read my huge long posts and to respond as all the different perspectives are very helpful.
It is a weird time at the minute as I am conscious he is going to at least try and be on his best behaviour until after the holiday, so we are in a weird truce situation until after then.
Hi StillStuck - how are you doing today? Was really saddened to read your further posts. What a horrible sounding Christmas.
One of the things that I try to always bear in mind - When everything is ok, people show their 'good' character. When things get difficult, people show their 'true' character. I hold off deciding what I think of a person and whether I should put trust and faith in them until I see how they react to difficult situations.
The reason why you only see the really bad side of your DH's character in times of stress and difficulty is exactly because it is a difficult time, and sadly that is exactly the time you need him to be at his best and it seems that he isn't capable of it.
Oops, cross post! Hope you have a lovely weekend,*StillStuck*. We're always here for you.
Am back from holiday now and lots of thoughts going round in my head, so am going to post on here partly just for my own benefit to help me process things, but also as I would welcome more mumsnet wisdom
Dh was on best behaviour the whole trip, which did help, and has been since he has come back. We have also started talking and he has acknowledged some of what he has done but can't always offer any explanation (and some he denies). When I mentioned about him screaming at me that I was a terrible mother (on the one occassion I have ever forgotten to make ds's special formula milk ready for the morning) he admitted it wasn't nice said it was because he was 'tired'.
He is clearly trying to change, for now at least. For instance he always used to be really difficult in the mornings, kick up a fuss about the time I needed to leave for work (we have flexivle hours but I have to get there early in order to leave early to get ds from nursery at a sensible time for ds). These last couple of mornings there has been no fuss or anger and he has even helped get ds ready. But the thing is it just makes me realise more what life could have been like for all these months.
I feel like I am just waiting for his behaviour to change back again...
We are trying to talk each night about things but it is mainly me talking and him not really saying anything. He says he doesn't want to split though and I do believe that.
I confided in a couple of people on holiday. One of them asked if she could pray for me, she started praying that we could work through our problems and be stronger in our marriage, but a voice in my head was yelling 'nooo, don't pray for that' ...
But then I keep wondering if I shouldn't be trying to forgive these things, to give him another chance. But I am scared this aspect of his character is not something he can really change, however much he wants to
Glad that your holiday went well.
Don't let him walk all over you, his less appealing side will come back when something pisses him off.
I feel like I am just waiting for his behaviour to change back again...
It feels like you have crossed the point between hope and reality or giving up.
Does he know how strongly you feel? Does he realise how much he has to work at getting your confidence in him back?
The fact that you are beyond hope is good, because you'll call off his bad behaviour and will probably leave if he gets back to his old self.
just posting again, as much as anything to process my own thoughts.
I went away with DS this weekend, to visit family. As I drove away it felt like a weight lifting off my shoulders, like I was escaping. then there were times when I was away when something would happen and I could feel myself worrying about what DH would say before I would realise he wasn't there to comment.
and another little thing, my mum was saying how lovely the thank you card I made was and what lovely pictures, and then another family member said their parents had said the same. Which I found a real shock as DH had criticised it when I had shown it to him, so I assumed people would think it wasn't very good, and I was a bit embarrassed by it.
but then I am finding it hard because he has been all sweetness and good behaviour since just before our holiday, and I have got back to a clean house and flowers on the table. and I know how much DS loves DH.
but then I read back over this thread and I think some of those incidents really really do cross a line for me, and that surely a relationship should (by and large) make life feel better, not weigh heavy on your shoulders like this. I think about counselling but then I keep thinking maybe no amount of talking could erase my subconscious memories of how he has behaved in the past and that 'treading on eggshells' feeling that I think is always there.
It's very hard when they change their behaviour for a bit because, if we are right about this man and likely we are, they're SO GOOD at it.
That feeling of the weight being lifted off your shoulders is a clear signal from your brain a nd body that you have endures way too much for way too long.
I understand that DS loves DH - and probably vice versa - and that is hard to think about altering in some way, but kids are always better off when their main caregiver isn't suffering abuse on a regular basis.
If my STBEX hadn't dumped us for another woman I'd still likely be with him for that one reason - and utterly miserable and who knows what things may have escalated to - it took him leaving us homeless with nothing but a suitcase of clothes to force me to see what he was really like and then it was almost six months before I realised I deserved better - you are already seeing that things are ugly and you deserve better.....don't let more years slip away with more abuse and damage. Keep on watching and listening over the next week or so...
Hugs to you.
Oh, and the handmade card criticism...Im guessing that isn't a one off? He's not supportive and he's not loving and he only cares about one thing...HIMSELF and how he can get everyone to be how he wants them to be to play out his little script in his nasty little play.
Bear in mind the good behaviour will only last while things are suiting him and going his way..
Your gut feeling of lifting the weight off your shoulders as you drove away is an indicator of how you really think deep down , would you agree?
Did you end up dropping some of your work hours to spend more time at home or did you change your mind about that?
You may find the turning a new leaf phase is here to stay, but at present you're confused, as to how long the 'sweetness and good behaviour' will last. The contrast is enough to underline you weren't unreasonable to expect or deserve this kind of thoughtfulness earlier. He can be like this when he sets his mind to it. So why wasn't he before?
I am glad you came back to post. I haven't had counselling myself but from what I've read on MN, counselling for you on your own could give you useful insights and the confidence to know what is acceptable and decide what you have, need or lack in this relationship.
Lots of right things have been said here and I am not going to repeat it.. just on behalf of your husband I would like to say that when he was away so much, he had to find his manly ways to insert his authority.. and he continued this even after he stopped working away. You are giving him a chance to learn. Wait a little and see if he can manage to change his ways.
He's clearly making an effort, but how long will it last?
At some point you will stop giving more chances.
trust no the card thing isn't a one -off, I was just particularly struck by it as hearing my mum say nice things about it made me realise he wasn't necessarily right that it was awful, and also made me realise how much nicer life is when people say nice things with you. I don't think he is deliberately being nasty exactly though, maybe more that at some subconscious level he is trying to address his insecurities by putting me down?
I have dropped the afternoon at work but we are going out and about to libary etc each time so I can carve out that space
I know I should try counselling but a little piece of me is apprehensive about it I don't know why. We can get it trhough work so I should be able to access some.
It is hard to think of leaving now he is behaving but then equally it feels that it is only now things are peaceful that I can find the headspace to look at his behaviour and say that's not right.
Wild guess and of course you don't have to say yea or nay, but are you concerned that going for counselling would suggest that you are the one who needs fixing, not him, not the marriage?
I think I am just worried it will put someone elses thoughts into my head, not my own, I don't know if that makes sense? And I'm not very articulate, better at writing things down, not very good at expressing myself in person.
But yes actually donkeys have re read your post more clearly( am tired today!) and I guess there's and element of that too, some sort of fear that I will be persuaded his behaviour is acceptable/ I am at fault
One of them asked if she could pray for me, she started praying that we could work through our problems and be stronger in our marriage, but a voice in my head was yelling 'nooo, don't pray for that' ...
As I drove away it felt like a weight lifting off my shoulders, like I was escaping
hearing my mum say nice things about it made me realise he wasn't necessarily right that it was awful,
Stillstuck - so many flags. You are not happy in this, you subconsciously want to get away. Even your MN name...
Your dc don;t need to suffer, if you split. It is possible to have happy kids and a happy mum.
Not sure how I would make ends meet though captainmummy! And then I get all confused when he is nice again
I have re-read your thread Stillstuck and for all that we can try and analyse what has been going wrong, we aren't living your life. The way things are with H making a conspicuous effort, you still don't feel reassured do you? Because you don't trust it to last. People say, go by actions not words. So H is behaving differently. It's possibly a start but that doesn't mean it wipes the slate clean. I think it will take longer than a few days or weeks to feel this is a change for good.
If you don't fancy counselling, how about looking at some practical things like, how would you and DS get by if you did separate? How about work, which I know you've said before you love. What rl support could you call on?
I don't mean to be unduly negative, or prompt you to call it a day and divorce. People take parachutes on planes not because they have no faith in the plane or pilot but as a safety measure, just in case. If fear of what alternatives are out there is holding you back, maybe you could explore what could be managed, just in case.
Confused when he is nice again? But now, when he is being nice, even now, you still feel trapped? Even if it is 'nice' forever, will it be enough?
I don't want to put myself in your shoes, but I realised I had to leave when I felt my whole being going down, when I heard his key in the lock. xDH worked away a lot too, but when he came back, i felt as if i was in a lift. Going down.
Iwon;t pretend it's easy, but the dc are just as happy. I am happier.
That is exactly it captainmummy, I feel my heart sink a little as I hear him opening the door.
Donkeys I know that it is hard to judge based on what I put on here alone, that it is for me to decide. I guess when people post sometimes I think 'no you've got it so wrong' and other times their post really resonates, either way it helps me think things through from new angles if that makes sense.
Well fwiw I'm glad you have this place as an outlet, useful to bounce ideas around, and gives you space to think things through - just make sure you are careful with your online history and settings.
Don't be scared of counselling. They don't put ideas in your head, but they do help you work theough things which you're not happy about, in an effort to find out why and what you can do about it; what you want to do about it, that is.
At first they are likely to just listen to you, but if you find it hard to talk about things, they can and do ask questions, so you could just say "I'm upset about X" and let them ask.
Counselling would, I think, help you to sort out your feelings, and to feel better able to deal withyour situation however you decide to play it. They won't, absolutely won't, tell you what to do, but will be guided by you and what you want.
Thanks jux that's helpful, I guess because I have never used a counsellor before I didn't really know what to expect
I went to counselling for a long time some years ago. The first session consisted of me crying. Every time I thought I'd got it under control and opened my mouth to say something I started crying again. Poor woman, 50 minutes of me crying and completely unable to say why <rueful face>
The next session I still cried most of the time but did manage to get a few words out, so she knew why I was there!
She was a wonderful woman. I will never forget her and will always remember her with affection.
Still - I know you use this thread as a way of putting down your thoughts, and I think that's a good idea. Counselling is another way of putting your thoughts in order, with a sounding board (of a real person I mean, not us onMN!) - you might find it helpful to write a few notes down first, esp if (like Jux) you cant get the words out.
yes, I'm chewing over the idea Captainmummy, I guess its something I haven't ever tried before so I feel quite nervous about it. I know it sounds silly but part of me would like to talk to someone who knows me well, maybe an old friend or family, but despite our marriage being so close to the rocks I feel very apprehensive about revealing the cracks in public yet.
Dh and I are talking about it most evenings too for a bit. although by talking it is mainly me pouring out all the hurt from the last couple of years and DH sometimes acknowledging what he did, sometimes denying. His only excuse is 'tiredness' and how tough the last 2 years have been (DS was quite ill in the early months, and consequently a terrible sleeper for most of the first year) . However, I did far more of the sleepless nights (DH had regular nights away for starters, and I was breastfeeding so did all the feeds) and I never felt the need to scream at him that he was a terrible parent. (as DH did to me when I got food poisoning and couldn't keep anything down not even liquid, and the doctor had said if it didnt stop soon I would need to be admitted to hospital, and when DS (5months) needed feeding I asked if he could just hang on a bit so I could close my eyes for 30 minutes and just try and keep a little bit of liquid down first)
DH has agreed to go away for a bit next week to give me some space to think as well, maybe just for a few days.
he is devastated that things might come to an end. and clearly very desperate to change. but I am not sure if its that simple, if, as I suspect its a bad combination of someone (who is normally nice and pleasant I should add)with a hot headed temper who also I make feel insecure because of the intellectual imbalance. plus I think how I behave around him will inevitably always be mediated by the knowledge of how he has been, by the fear of criticism/ shouting.
on the plus side I have looked into the money side of things and I think I could just about make ends meet to stay in our (tiny) house provided DH is reasonable about paying maintenance and provided the benefit calculators are right, so I feel like I do have a choice at least.
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