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Do your DH's say this about you?

(63 Posts)
tummyfull Mon 11-Feb-13 15:24:29

I'm new here, but have been lurking for some time. Love the support and honest advice. Looking for some myself.

So...DH got an email about five years ago from an ex gf. It was very basic hello/hi stuff. He replied, including that he was married. After that there were a couple of other exchanges and nothing since. DH was open and honest about all of them. There was nothing in the emails to suggest anything. Though it seemed to me like the ex gf was a bit lonely. I also found it odd that her first email didn't mention that she was married, though she did talk about her new job. She only mentioned marriage when DH wrote saying he was married.

Just yesterday, the ex gf writes again. DH showed me the email immediately after he saw it. Being the nosey parker that I am, I scrolled down to see the previous email exchanges. I realised that the initial reply that DH had written (those five years ago) had been returned undelivered and he had written another email. This particular email I had not seen, until yesterday. It was very basic but the thing that bothered me was this "I am now married, which keeps me busy". He then went on to talk about work etc etc. Not a long email.

"I am married now, which keeps me busy" - if you saw this coming from your DH, what would you think? I was and still am very upset and hurt. I was not looking for appraise but a simple ' I am happily married' or even ' I am now married' would do. I always go on and on when I describe DH to someone - I'm married to a wonderful man, blah blah blah. I don't expect DH to do the same but to say marriage keeps him busy is a bit hurtful. Work and children may keep someone busy but to say a marriage keeps one busy??

DH thinks I am over reacting to a 'flippant' comment. That I just need a reason to argue.

By way off background, I got married to DH about 8 years ago and moved to the UK. I am not from the UK. DH is English. I eventually settled down, got a good job, made some friends etc. DH then got a very job in a third country and we moved here. We have been here for about 4 1/2 years. I had to restart all over again. We have a good life here, though it's not an easy country to live in. It is lonely at times and my whole life revolves around my two DCs. We do not go out in the evenings, we don't really meet friends, unless I force DH to belong. We do not entertain. This place is a very country club lifestyle type of place and we do not do any of it. I don't change out of my pajamas all weekend as I know we are not going anywhere. DH has made it clear that he doesn't really want to go out. Sometimes we do things but not often. The only real outings are birthday parties, nursery related events. When dads are invited, DH always comes along. Our marriage is all about the children, I feel. I feel DH does not take my feelings into consideration ( I never wanted to move here by the way) nor do I feel desired or appreciated.

I feel this comment is exactly what DH feels of me - a bit of a burden, a nagging, cranky wife he has to deal with at the end of the day, someone who has woren him out with all the arguing.

Advice and perspective much appreciated. Have I blown this whole thing out of proportion? Sorry for the long post!

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 11-Feb-13 15:33:50

I wouldn't think twice about it, it's just conversation. "How are things?".... "Keeping busy?".... pretty normal stuff referring to life, kids, marriage, job, the daily grind. If you think there are big problems in your relationship that's a different matter. But the idea of marriage keeping someone busy is a pretty throwaway remark IMHO

Aspiemum2 Mon 11-Feb-13 15:35:40

Wow! A lot going on in your head at the moment. Which is why you've probably reacted the way you have. In my view his comment was nothing to bother about, I really don't think he comes across badly.

Clearly there are issues that need resolving though as you are obviously feeling lonely and neglected.

Have you tried speaking to him about the other stuff? I would probably apologise if I were you. Something like "I know I completely overreacted about the email but I think I know why". And then explain why you aren't happy (not in a 'its all your fault' kind of way but in a more neutral sense iykwim)

tummyfull Mon 11-Feb-13 15:36:24

Thanks for replying. Even if it was pre-children? Hmmm, I probably have over reacted.

cestlavielife Mon 11-Feb-13 15:37:35

the commetn is not an issue.
your current lifestyle is - if this bothers you -
"I don't change out of my pajamas all weekend as I know we are not going anywhere."

dont you take the dc out on the weekend? do you do this in pjamas?

tummyfull Mon 11-Feb-13 15:39:25

haha, I do change out of my pajamas if I take the DCs out. Thanks all for replying. I have over reacted. I now feel bad.

squeaver Mon 11-Feb-13 15:39:47

The "keeps me busy" comment is completely innocuous and definitely not worth getting so upset about.

BUT, it's brought these other issues to the forefront. You're clearly not happy with the life you have and you need to discuss it with your husband. Do you have to stay where you are? Are there options for your husband to move elsewhere?

If not, is there anything you can do to improve the quality of your life? You sound very sad and resentful and that's not going to get any better unless you have some honest communication with your husband. Based on the evidence you've presented here (i.e. showing you the emails) it doesn't sound like he'd have a problem with this.

Aspiemum2 Mon 11-Feb-13 15:40:17

Well I must admit I'm probably guilty of :

Married?
"Yes, keeps me out of mischief"

Which is pretty similar I guess, it's just an off the cuff remark.

Tbh I find people who go on and on about how happy they are nauseating aren't always as happy as they suggest. It's the quiet couples who just muddle along who seem to have the lasting relationships.

squeaver Mon 11-Feb-13 15:41:13

Well, if it was pre-children, I actually think that was his way of fending her off. "I have a very busy marriage, so back off".

CajaDeLaMemoria Mon 11-Feb-13 15:42:49

There's two issues here...

1 - The comment. I have no kids but my DP describes me as keeping him busy...I probably do! It's just a colloquialism here...nothing major.

2 - You sound depressed. It's easy to fall into the trap of feeling worthless, and staying in your pyjamas really will make you feel worse. Get dressed, and do your hair. It might feel pointless if you are going nowhere, but it'll give you a boost that you can't imagine.

If you feel like this often you might benefit from a trip to see your GP, because you sound quite down.

It was a throw away comment he made 5 years ago, I really don't think you should be getting upset by it now. However, you sound unhappy. Maybe this is an opportunity to speak openly to your DH about how yu feel isolated in your new country, your lack of social life etc.

Is there anything you could get involved in on your own? I'm thinking you are in the Middle East, you may not be but thats the sense im getting. there must be an expat community you can't get in with. Maybe a mum at nursery or join a book club?

Numberlock Mon 11-Feb-13 15:44:58

I agree that the comment is nothing to be concerned about.

But it sounds like there are things in your marriage that could change for the better and this in turn might make you less likely to see problems.

It doesn't sound good that you don't socialise and don't go anywhere. There must be some places you can go to, just the two of you, or some like-minded people you would enjoy spending time with.

Also, this:

Our marriage is all about the children, I feel. I feel DH does not take my feelings into consideration ( I never wanted to move here by the way) nor do I feel desired or appreciated)

You've given up a lot - two moves to two different countries in a short space of time - and perhaps you're not getting enough back in return to make it feel it was worth you're while.

A lot of things going on here, I feel.

tummyfull Mon 11-Feb-13 15:46:04

Thank you everyone for posting. I agree, there are other issues. This has just brought everything else out.

scaevola Mon 11-Feb-13 15:46:23

I'm not sure if DH would say anything like that.

But was wondering if it was really the old comment that bothered you,or the discovery now that he made more effort than you realised to stay in touch with her?

Thingiebob Mon 11-Feb-13 15:51:46

It's just a silly off the cuff remark. I agree with other posters, that there are other issues.

I am sure there are plenty of helpful MNers who would be happy to give advice and listen if you want to keep posting?

CheeseStrawWars Mon 11-Feb-13 15:52:06

"I'm married, which keeps me busy." - I'd take that as him saying to her in a roundabout way that he doesn't want to meet up for a drink so don't ask. His time is too busy being devoted to his wife...

Numberlock Mon 11-Feb-13 15:55:19

Also a refreshing change to hear that he's been open about all this, compared to a lot of threads on here.

Tryharder Mon 11-Feb-13 15:56:17

Agree with the others that the remark was nothing, completely throwaway.

I can sympathise with your DH wrt not wanting to go out. I was an expat for a while (pre-marriage) and hated with a passion the whole British country club expat lifestyle.

But, while it's fine for your DH to want to come home and put his feet up of an evening after a busy day in his job, it's obviously crap for you if you've already spent the day staring at 4 walls. Would you perhaps be able to get a job or do some voluntary work? Get involved with a church activity or a charity? I think you need to stop relying on your DH to make life good for you and take back a bit of the responsibility.

tummyfull Mon 11-Feb-13 16:00:06

Scaevola, thank you. I'll be honest, everything about it bothers me- that he made that kind of effort to stay in touch, that he said he'll get in touch if he was ever in her part of the world (though I doubt he actually would). I feel when it comes to me, he has this yeah whatever approach. And when he emailed her, it just seemed like an actual effort. I know this is my irrational self talking. Oh I just need to get over this and move on!

But before I move on smile one more thing - I got a very good offer here, which I wouldn't take up as the children are very small but I was very flattered. I didn't even apply. I was speaking to someone in the field and they thought I would be perfect for the job. When I told DH, he said "I wouldn't get involved if I was you". That was it. No more discussion. He didn't say, well done, you got this offer. When he wrote to the ex ( I know it was 5 years ago!!), he mentioned how he was happy that she was finally doing the kind of job she always wanted to do.

So Scaevola, you have said a lot in your post. It is the effort that was made that is completely lacking when it comes to me.

WannabeWilloughby Mon 11-Feb-13 16:01:33

I was just going to say the same as cheese straws. Subconsciously, maybe, he's trying to say his time is too full to meet up etc. smile

Numberlock Mon 11-Feb-13 16:01:55

Is that offer now closed?

tummyfull Mon 11-Feb-13 16:05:17

It is not closed....

YouOldSlag Mon 11-Feb-13 16:05:29

I agree with previous posters. He is saying "marriage keeps me busy so don't go asking to meet up"

TheFallenNinja Mon 11-Feb-13 16:05:58

I think your reading way, way too much into this. Way too much.

It's a simple throwaway comment

Numberlock Mon 11-Feb-13 16:08:15

It is not closed....

I'd get back in touch with the person who offered you the job. See how you could make it could fit in with your life.

CartedOff Mon 11-Feb-13 16:15:01

Have you told your husband about how you feels he views you? If so, what did he say? If from your perspective he doesn't support you as much as you'd like and views you as a nag then you should really talk about that as some point. It's no good for your self-esteem for you to feel this way, whether he actually views you in the way you describe or not. It does sound like this is part of a wider issue: that he offers an ex he doesn't even see his support and positivity while you, his wife, don't get that.

PPT Mon 11-Feb-13 16:17:16

Agree with numberlock... do something for you, speak to your contact about the job and go for it. It would definitely beat hanging about in your pj's! Yes, it's important that the dc are you everything, but you sound like you need someone to appreciate you- and you may get that satisfaction from a job.

NettleTea Mon 11-Feb-13 16:19:08

I agree that the 'keeping busy' was etting her know that he didnt have spare time to meet up any time.

And I aso think that you should consider the job. Its time to think about you now - you have done 2 job related moves for his benefit, and now you are feeling lost and abandoned. I think you feel that the ex is being appreciated for doing well in her work, and it has highighted how you are stuck in a place you dont reay like and regarded, in your own mind, as nothing.

Working will fill your days. You will meet people with similar interests and maybe increase your circle of friends which your DH can be invoved with too. It will give you some more money to be able to do more stuff as a family or pay for babysitters to do stuff for yourself or as a couple. It will raise your self esteem too.

garlicblocks Mon 11-Feb-13 16:20:10

I agree with the others, tummy. That remark in itself is meaningless. He doesn't seem to have been sinking tons of emotional effort into an ongoing relationship with the ex, so it doesn't look like she's your problem.

You have got a problem, though. It is terrible to feel marginalised in your own marriage. No wonder you feel sad and insecure. Why was he so dismissive about your invitation to apply for the job, do you think? Has he stopped noticing you are a person, kind of thing? Do you ever get the feeling he likes you being a bit shut away from the world?

I hope you will get back in touch with that person about the job. Go on, do it! smile

tummyfull Mon 11-Feb-13 16:48:17

Thank you everyone for taking the time to post. I feel a bit of a fool for over reacting. I wonder if it is cultural as well. I come from a conservative culture where contact with an ex is just viewed differently.

I can not work as I would have to leave the baby with a nanny and DH does not want a nanny to look after the children. I am involved in many things here- charity work, book group. But everything I do, I take the children along, which is not always easy. Not to mention that no one else brings their children as they all have nannies! I think I have recognised that his approval means a lot to me. I need to work on moving away from that.

Narked Mon 11-Feb-13 16:55:30

The comment was a throw away one and not a big deal. How you're feeling about your relationship and life is a big deal.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 11-Feb-13 16:55:30

A 'DH that does not want a nanny' is just a DH that prefers to crush your ambition, squander your intelligence and keep you trapped at home. It's 2013 not 1953... many women work and children spend time with childminders etc. Take the job, book the childcare, then present him with a fait accompli. You don't need his permission...

Narked Mon 11-Feb-13 17:00:09

You sound isolated and unhappy. Not changing out of your PJs all weekend because you know you won't be going anywhere doesn't sound like a good way to be living. You need to think about what you want and need and have a serious talk with your DH. You've gone from a job and friends to a life that's just you and the DC and (from the sounds of it) a very anti social husband.

It really doesn't matter if he doesn't want the DC looked after by a nanny. You need some adult interaction.

garlicblocks Mon 11-Feb-13 17:29:28

He thinks you should be the nanny! Well, he might have to readjust his ideas wink

Are you okay talking to him about big stuff like this? Does he listen?

tummyfull Mon 11-Feb-13 17:58:09

Narked and Cogito, I do need to assert myself a bit more. I only assert myself when I am arguing and what feels like child like tantrums but at the end of the day, I always seem to do what he wants. He decided he doesn't want to go out, nor socialise. So that is how it is. Of course, at times we do or are forced to.

The post that said, if we live in the Middle East. I wish! That is a walk in the park in comparison. We live in Cameroon, Africa!

Garlicblocks, I can talk to him about big things. I always do. I talk a bit too much. Too much talk and no real concrete steps to change things.

Aspiemum2 Mon 11-Feb-13 18:03:40

I agree entirely with cogito, if he doesn't like that solution you can tell him that if he doesn't want to use childcare then he can stay at home. There's no law that states the stay at home parent has to be female!

Narked Mon 11-Feb-13 18:16:16

Can you get a nanny for 3 days a week?

Narked Mon 11-Feb-13 18:19:18

I'll bet that the more involved you get with things outside of the home - be it work, socialising or even just getting a few hours to yourself to go to the gym and have a coffee - the more you'll find yourself being assertive. Why not try getting a day a week to yourself and go from there.

mariefrance1 Mon 11-Feb-13 18:27:49

I can't believe you stay in your pyjamas all weekend. What about your poor children? That is not a healthy way for them to spend the weekend. It is a sign that all is not well in your marriage if family life is like this. I agree with most other posters though that there is nothing wrong with your husband's comment.

garlicblocks Mon 11-Feb-13 18:35:54

Ok, tummy, how about you go and talk to your contact about the job, check out your childcare options and then have the talk? I guess it might feel a bit wrong way around - but, well, he seems quite set in his ways. If there's going to be a row about you working anyway, you may as well have the job already sewn up. Then you've got something to fight for ...

tummyfull Mon 11-Feb-13 18:45:35

In pajamas all weekend still allows us to play in the big garden outside our house with lots of things set up for them, the toddler has swimming classes (pool at home), the baby is just happy being where I am, pjs or not!

Thank you everyone for posting. Very much appreciated. I have said sorry to DH re: over reacting. He also said sorry for saying something that hurt me. Small peck on the lips (doesn't happen often but that is for another thread!)

Now to tackle the bigger issues. To be honest, I have got a lot more assertive in the last 8 years than I have ever been before. But I need to be a bit more assertive, a bit more thick skinned.

AThingInYourLife Mon 11-Feb-13 18:47:21

"I can not work as I would have to leave the baby with a nanny and DH does not want a nanny to look after the children."

TAKE THE JOB

He is not you boss, he doesn't get to stop you working.

If he doesn't want professional childcare for his children, he can quit his job and look after them himself.

Seriously - start living your life.

cestlavielife Mon 11-Feb-13 20:18:35

Oh for goodness.. It is not for him to say he doesn't want a nanny ! Everyone around you has nannies . I bet there are wonderful nannies out there .

You will feel much happier with a job and independence that is clear. Do it. If he doesn't want a nanny he can stay home.

Hullygully Mon 11-Feb-13 20:24:02

well I don't think he meant anything by his comment

but he does sound like a boring old sod

Whocansay Mon 11-Feb-13 20:26:17

If a friend made that comment to me, I would assume she and her husband were at it like rabbits! Either way, he was definitely telling her to back off in the nicest possible way.

I am envy if you are at it like rabbits. The only thing keeping us that busy at the moment are the 2 small dcs!

tummyfull Mon 11-Feb-13 21:15:56

I never thought about accepting the job. You ladies have actually made me think about it. It an unstated agreement that DH works and I stay at home. Even in the UK, my job dare not hinder DH's in any way. Okay, he earned way, way more but I still found it a bit unfair. I never said anything then but I also didn't fully recognise it. I didn't have the wisdom of mumsnet smile

I will think a bit more about this job. Though I'm a coward. And I don't want to rock the boat at home. I never thought I would have issues like this with an English man! These problems only seemed possible from the culture I come from. Really makes me think of how progressive my father and mother are. They were forward thinking in a backward culture. Hmm, lots to think about. Thank you everyone!

AThingInYourLife Mon 11-Feb-13 21:29:36

"I never thought I would have issues like this with an English man! These problems only seemed possible from the culture I come from."

I suspect he never thought he'd have the problem of an assertive wife who wanted to work when he chose to marry someone from your culture.

Do not let him run your life.

You are a person too, and every bit as important as he is.

Unless he is about to become pope, I can't think of a job that is more important than something that could save your sanity. He doesn't want a nanny? Tough. I'm sure he wants a happy and healthy wife. A nanny goes part way there.

NettleTea Mon 11-Feb-13 21:33:42

totaly agree.

Numberlock Mon 11-Feb-13 21:34:15

One step at a time, OP.

For now just ring up about the job and get as much information as you need eg salary, working hours, annual leave, flexibility etc. Then you can take the next step based on that information.

kalidanger Mon 11-Feb-13 21:48:15

The only thing he sounds busy doing is controlling where you live, work and socialise hmm And he's not busy doing anything other than a peck either?!! sad

There are five 'whole other threads' here.

AThingInYourLife Mon 11-Feb-13 21:56:31

"I'm sure he wants a happy and healthy wife."

I wouldn't be so sure.

LittlePushka Mon 11-Feb-13 22:05:09

I agree with some of the earlier posts. Of itself I'd say it is a blokes way of saying

"I am married, i am off the market, and I am too nice to tell you to just back off if you have the remotest notion of me reciprocating any rekindling of latent feelings you may have for me"

Mimishimi Mon 11-Feb-13 22:43:08

I don't think comment about being married and busy meant anything. Just casual conversation. You do sound a bit depressed otherwise though. You really don't take the children out on weekends?

garlicblocks Mon 11-Feb-13 23:02:25

Mimi, she has a huge garden with a pool. She takes the DC to book club and all her other activities. Sounds like she deserves a PJ day and the kids are hardly missing out, are they?

tummyfull Tue 12-Feb-13 10:34:53

The kids are fine. Like I said earlier, if there are birthday parties on weekends, I always take them. Toddler goes to a local nursery so I always do the playdates. The children from next door come to play on the weekend. So plenty to fill their days.

Kalidanger, there ARE lots of threads here sad

I thought about the job. I said no to it. It just wouldn't have worked out. I'll wait for the baby to grow up a bit more. But till then I can just be happy that I was considered for it!

garlicblocks Tue 12-Feb-13 13:58:42

Oh, what a pity.

Feel free to keep posting if you like!

Numberlock Tue 12-Feb-13 15:49:24

I said no to it

Ahh, that's a real shame. I was hoping that you would at least consider the options and possibilities before turning it down.

Oh well, hope we can help you at some point with the other issues you've mentioned.

AThingInYourLife Tue 12-Feb-13 15:56:03

You were crazy to turn that job down.

tummyfull Tue 12-Feb-13 18:14:08

Thank you everyone for the posts and support. Turned it down as it's not the right time. Other issues- many on my mind but wouldn't know where to begin.

It's funny how women from my part of the world think Western men are all liberated and believe in equality between the sexes. I never thought I would have issues such as arguing about wanting to bloody work!

Asking for money and feeling like you have to justify it is all just becoming too much. I am not a bigger spender but I do sometimes go out and buy things unnecessarily - too much local craft etc. Once I asked if DH could just give me a bigger amount of money and he said the last time he did it I spend it too quickly. I know this sounds like he is tight but he actually isn't. We're trying to save as much as we can to buy a house back in the UK but sometimes I just want to fucking live a little!!! Sorry, for the rant and bad language. I sound ungrateful....

garlicblocks Wed 13-Feb-13 13:33:12

No, you don't sound ungrateful. You're supposed to be a team of equal worth, not a master and servant or bass and pampered pet. Does H sometimes buy nice things for himself? Surely you each have an equal right to spend money on personal choices.

garlicblocks Wed 13-Feb-13 13:33:43

boss, that should be, I'm not calling him a fish!

AThingInYourLife Wed 13-Feb-13 13:44:55

Plenty of British men are more enlightened than your husband.

The ones that aren't often choose wives from places in the world where women are still overtly treated as second class citizens.

That way they hope to get a nice compliant wife they can control.

Just like your husband has done.

He picked you to do his bidding.

I bet he never thought he'd have the issue of you wanting to work either.

But he's squashed it down, because despite bring miserable and having a good opportunity drop into your lap you turned it down because it's "not a good time" hmm

Hint: there's never going to be a good time

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