Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Am I expecting too much from dh?

(37 Posts)
Jemster Sat 24-Aug-13 07:38:23

Hi
We have 2 dc, ds is 5 & dd 16 months. As you will know this is full on and pretty exhausting most days. Since dd arrived my relationship with dh has really suffered. We are irritable with each other and were arguing alot.

We went to Relate which was good for us both and they gave us some ideas to improve things. But they just don't seem to be happening. We never spend much time together and what really bugs me is my dh just can't wait to go to bed (to sleep) in the evening. He will go as soon as we've eaten and cleared up, usually around 9.00pm. I am the opposite and like to stay up longer as it's the only time I get to do my own things.

I have told him many timed that I'd like him to stay up and talk and maybe watch something together. But if he does do it I know he wishes he wasn't and then I just feel it's tense. I know he gets tired but this is the only time of day we have alone and I just feel like he's only interested in sleep and I feel really lonely.

I know we love each other but I am finding this really hard as our relationship is nothing like it was pre dc. If I try to tell him how I feel he just says well I can't help being tired. To be fair his job involves driving quite alot which is tiring, but I work and look after dc so I'm exhausted too.

Am I making too much of this? Shall I just find my own hobbies, join a gym, make friends and do my own thing?
Is this normal for couples with small dc?

PurplePidjin Sat 24-Aug-13 08:15:22

If he's tired, let him sleep. Why are you trying to control his bedtime?

God almighty - my DH could have written this. He's a night owl and I'm knackered and fall into bed as soon as dinner is over. I know he'd like me to stay up longer but he never says so - that would make him a twat if he did to be honest.

fieldfare Sat 24-Aug-13 08:22:16

If he's tired then leave him be and let him sleep.
Why not book a date night out together once a fortnight so you get that time together without distraction.

I know it's hard with small children but maybe you need to find your own things to make you happy - hobbies, activities, friends etc.

Vivacia Sat 24-Aug-13 08:23:28

I think you need to compromise. Can't you just explain why this is important to you and ask for one night a week when he stays up?

Sleepyfergus Sat 24-Aug-13 08:24:11

I really don't think the OP is "trying to control" her DHs bedtime. She just wishes he would stay up and extra hour or so to make the most of some couple time with DC around. Absolutely nothing wrong with that! I don't imagine she's standing poking him with a pointy stick!

Another example of not helpful and fairly pointless 'advice' on here. Sheesh!

Sleepyfergus Sat 24-Aug-13 08:24:43

*without

madasa Sat 24-Aug-13 08:29:18

My DP is like this and we don't have children at home! I'm not sure I have any advice but I do understand.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 24-Aug-13 08:31:33

I woudl go with the date night idea. But then, I'd go to bed at 9 with him and read a book.

Licketysplit123 Sat 24-Aug-13 08:31:43

I would try to make plans for one or two nights a week, like watching a DVD, a glass of wine after your meal or even going out. The rest of the time, let him go to bed and as you said get yourself a hobby or join a gym. I've done this in the last six months and feel loads better about myself and I suddenly don't care as much that my OH works most nights.

CoffeeandScones Sat 24-Aug-13 08:53:11

OP I empathise with you. I think the bit that hurts the most is the feeling that your DP doesn't want to find the energy to give time to you?

As you say, he has a very tiring day - but so do you. And yet you want to keep something in reserve that you can give to him to keep the bond of your relationship strong. It's like a rejection (perceived or real) that he doesn't want to do the same.

Do you mind sharing the ideas that were brought up in Relate to improve things? It might help explain what you've tried (and presumably didn't work) and so what else might be an option.

StillSeekingSpike Sat 24-Aug-13 09:00:42

I can't think of anything LESS likely to promote intimacy than being made to stay up when I want to go to bed. And 'perceiving' this as rejection will not help anyone- feeling tired is not rejection; tiredness is not a competition. And if he has a job involving a lot of driving- for everyone's sake, including other road users, it's much better that he is well rested.

Notmoreschoolholidays Sat 24-Aug-13 09:06:50

I second crumbledwalnuts suggestion. Go to bed early one night with him, then ask for your dh to spend an evening with you. If his energy reserves are depleted any requests from you to do 'extra' are going to be met with reluctance or even resentment. I understand completely that it feels like rejection when he doesn't choose to stay up with you, but it sounds like he's running on empty. Give him the chance to replenish, then ask him to give time to you. Also, when you talk about this issue it's really important not to be accusatory. Hope you work it out.x

Jemster Sat 24-Aug-13 09:11:43

Fine with him doing it in the week but he still does it at weekends. Is it so wrong to want one night a week to stay up past 9.00pm and chat, have fun, spend some actual time together? When else are we meant to do this? We have barely any proper communication going on anymore.

BrianButterfield Sat 24-Aug-13 09:13:48

We're usually both exhausted at the end of the day so as a compromise sometimes we get into bed after DS's bedtime and chill out there together - watching TV, MNing or reading, it doesn't matter but we can chat without feeling like we're 'staying up'. It's quite decadent to lie in bed with snacks etc!

MissStrawberry Sat 24-Aug-13 09:15:07

Does he spend any time with you other than sat at the table eating food?

What do you do at the weekend?

Does he use excuses to not be at home with you?

Tiredness is exhausting and can really get you down. DH and I have 3 children who are quite a bit older than yours and we are still shattered all the time. We always go to bed together though and if DH wants to stay up longer than me I just read in bed until he comes up.

You need to talk, try and compromise and make your life a happier one.

Jemster Sat 24-Aug-13 09:15:33

I like that idea BB thanks, sounds fun.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Sat 24-Aug-13 09:18:43

It does make the date night idea impracticable if he's always going to bed then.

I need a lot of sleep and am not an evening person, but I have often stayed up late in order to spend time with my OH. It's a compromise, isn't it?

I don't suppose he's up before the dcs at weekends and you could spend time together then...?

Does he have any solutions to offer?

Apileofballyhoo Sat 24-Aug-13 09:31:27

How many hours a week does he work? What is his diet like? What time does he get up in the morning? Is he depressed?

LovesBeingOnHoliday Sat 24-Aug-13 09:34:09

Could you have dinner earlier? Then you could have sometime together.

Jemster Sat 24-Aug-13 09:40:20

Youngest dc wakes up at 5.30am, comes in our bed and has milk. Then we get up and both go to work. He gets home at 5.00pm. We eat about 7.30 once dc in bed. He loves cleaning the kitchen and then generally goes to bed. I have mentioned it and said I'd like him to stay up with me on Saturdays but it just doesn't really happen. I'm kind of losing interest to be honest which is sad as we used to have such a laugh together.

Silverfoxballs Sat 24-Aug-13 09:43:25

Is he awake from 5.30 as well?
I need eight hours sleep, I can barely function if I don't get that amount, do you ever go up at 9.00 with him?

Squitten Sat 24-Aug-13 09:46:12

If you are waking up at 5:30am every morning, no wonder he's asleep at 9pm - I would be too!

Why not eat earlier with the children then everything will be finished up earlier and you can spend 7:30pm onwards together?

Jemster Sat 24-Aug-13 10:37:16

Yes both awake from 5.30am so of course I can understand he is tired by 9.00pm, so am I! But on Sunday he gets a lie in so I thought it would be reasonable to stay up a bit later on Saturday night. I can't sleep at 9.00pm even if tired as I like to make the most of my child free time.
Perhaps I just need to accept that this is what it's going to be like while dc are young. I just miss his company really that's all.

kutee Sat 24-Aug-13 10:48:02

I have a 19 month old. I go to bed about 9pm. My partner can stay up till the early hours of the morning. I have always gone to bed early even before our dd. I think that it is unreasonable to expect a full time working parent such as myself to stay up. Even if i was not working i would still find it unreasonable that my partner would expect me to change my bed time to suit him. Why don't you have an early night and watch something together. Plan a film night or a date night. I have tried the staying up thing to please him. It does not work. I still fall asleep. If I'm tired he tells to go to bed as if I don't get a proper nights sleep it has a knock on effect. You should learn to accept your partners as he is. If you want to compromise either plan a date or film night in advance and maybe let a relative have the kids overnight.

Mumsyblouse Sat 24-Aug-13 10:49:21

If he has a driving job (tiring) plus a 5.30am start, it would be dangerous for him not to get good sleep, he'd be out on the roads dropping off. Unfortunately this is part and parcel of the little kids lifestyle. He probably is exhausted and this is the only way he can keep working with a little one. If you feel sleepy in the day, you can doze a little on the sofa during baby's nap time/put the TV on (that's what I used to do anyway), he can't begin to think about this once he's on the road.

This will resolve in a couple of years once your 16 month old can stay in bed/occupy self say til 7am. Or think about a later bedtime for them.

It is hard though, and you do sound like you are lacking intimacy. Could you go out the night before his day off? Could you go to bed with him, read, watch TV. have a snuggle, even though it's earlier than you would like?

Also- does he snore or stop breathing slightly when he's sleeping? If he's got any type of sleep problem, he will be unnaturally sleepy in the daytime and this needs treatment. If he's truly exhausted beyond all reason, it might be worth him popping to the docs and checking out some obvious causes of tiredness (beyond having small children).

kutee Sat 24-Aug-13 10:50:02

To not want to stay up I'd not rejection. It's the reality of being a tired parent to young children, especially if you work full time.

Jemster Sat 24-Aug-13 11:07:40

Thanks but just wanted to point out that I work every day too 8.30 - 2.00. Then I dash home to collect dd from childminder & ds from school. My dd does not nap in the day apart from morning at childminder. With the two of them there is no chance for me to have a doze or watch tv as I am constantly doing stuff with them or clearing up, getting tea etc. I also have a chronic condition which can leave me in pain as well as shattered. I am doing my best and I am not expecting my dh to stay up every night or to want to change him. I'm just trying to work out when we could have some decent time together once a week to stop my marriage going stale.

CoffeeandScones Sat 24-Aug-13 11:40:12

Staying up late doesn't mean rejection, but every single night? After they've been to Relate where this was presumably discussed?

I doubt the OP's DH is running himself to complete exhaustion every single night. It's not unreasonable to feel a bit rejected.

Jemster Sat 24-Aug-13 11:48:21

In fact sometimes DH has a nap himself at lunchtime in his car! He is a sales rep so yes some driving but not like a long distance lorry driver! And he still gets home at 5.00pm unlike alot of friends of ours.

Mumsyblouse Sat 24-Aug-13 12:14:27

Ok, so you don't get a chance to get a nap, but the reason your marriage is stale is because you are both exhausted. Going to bed at 9pm isn't unreasonable if you have to rise and work at 5.30am! I go to bed at 10pm to rise at 7/7.30 and I don't have little kids.

I get what you are saying, you feel he's not making the effort but I can't see how making a very tired person stay up late is going to help. If he's avoiding you, or up to something on the computer, that might also account for it.

What about the weekend days- surely time together then would be better. Or is he avoiding those as well?

TheFunStopsHere Sat 24-Aug-13 12:22:07

My XH did this. It was absolutely to avoid intimacy - not conscious on his part, but he always needed to be somewhere else, always needed to be going to bed, there was always something else stopping him from connecting with me, his children, his family, his friends.

Does he have friendships? Does he express emotions? It's very hard to have a real relationship when you're just passing ships in the night.

Mumsyblouse Sat 24-Aug-13 12:22:20

Can you get a babysitter/friend/grandparent to mind the kids for a night out?

I just think you are in that completely exhausting phase a couple of years in after the second where spending time together is almost impossible unless you have someone to help out (I suppose we went out/go out about once every six months). But this does get better as the children get more independent, plus they they stay up later anyway (mine are pre-teens and stay up til 9pm).

The only other options are that he's up to something (texting/on computer games) or that he's avoiding you. But I don't see how these will be improved by making him stay up past 9pm if he desperately wants to go to bed. He isn't showing willing and that is worrying really, but remember that your effort alone won't save the marriage, he has to want to try a bit too.

But 5.30 starts are grim and I certainly didn't stay up late (past 9/10) myself.

By the way- if the kids are in bed by 7/7.30, why can you not chat over dinner and washing up in a companionable way?

MissStrawberry Sat 24-Aug-13 16:55:18

Sounds like you are both unhappy and nothing will change until you talk and say what you want. If the other person doesn't feel the same then maybe you do need more relate sessions.

theoriginalandbestrookie Sat 24-Aug-13 19:30:09

I know if I had to get up at 5.30am every morning, I would definitely be going to bed at 9pm each night and I would be angry if my DH tried to make me stay up later - I need a reasonable amount of sleep.

Do you do things together as a family at the weekend? Do you have any friends/relatives that could look after your DCs for a night so you could go away.

Lazyjaney Sat 24-Aug-13 23:32:29

9 to 5.30 is 8 1/2 hours sleep, some people need 8 hrs+ to function, some don't, and when small kids are around it's the most exhausting time of your life.

Why are both of you up at 5.30, if this is such an issue let him sleep longer in the morning so he can stay up later at night.

TwoStepsBeyond Mon 26-Aug-13 20:38:41

I know how you feel, those kid free hours are so precious I don't want to spend them sleeping! You do need some time together without the DCs if you want to keep your relationship alive and your H needs to find some time for that to happen if he's too tired at night.

I would often stay up later than XH to avoid potentially having sex because I felt so distant from him while we were awake I really didn't want it, but got fed up of fending him off. Do you get on well in other ways? Would you be open to some intimacy if you went up at 9 too?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now