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More I should do or am I being a mug?

(233 Posts)
flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 05:25:54

This is such a horrible thing to say but it has got to the stage where I feel like DP is just tagging along in my life and I am at a loss of how to support him or whether I can/should.

He doesn’t contribute financially (I work FT which is quite stressful but am very lucky to have it and that it pays well so we are financially secure), with childcare (he found it a bit much looking after our toddler when we moved abroad – which I appreciated– so DS (now 4) is in nursery each day and DP picks him up at 3 and looks after him before I get home and help out with bath and bed) and with looking after the flat which he felt was preventing him from looking for work (so I got a live-in helper who does the cleaning, cooking and shopping). He also doesn’t contribute emotionally (I never get a birthday, Christmas, valentine or mothers day present but always try and make the effort with him).

The main thing though is that he just doesn’t seem to want to do anything at all ever. Honestly, if he was filling the time with a study course, with starting a business, with volunteering, with a hobby etc which made him happy (all of which I have said I would support) I would support that. But he just says he doesn’t know what to do. He says he doesn’t have a ‘thing’ which makes me a bit upset since I can’t see why me and DS can’t be his ‘thing’. (Who really gets to do their thing anyway – I would love to live in the country and faff around with crafts all day for example but I can’t and accept that).

He also says that he would really like to get a job so that I have to work less but makes little effort to do so (I think he has applied for about 4 in 2 years). He says he feels he can’t do things as well as me but I don’t put pressure on him to do so and I try and boost his confidence – tell him he is a good dad, that he looks nice etc. He spends most of his time looking at cricket on his bb.

Realising he may well be down or even depressed, I have tried to talk to him and suggested counseling but he says he doesn’t want/need that. When I try and discuss the future and what he thinks we could do to make him and both of us happier/have better job prospects/moving again etc – he says he doesn’t know and he doesn’t have any ideas.

I have rather lost patience now. This isn’t a partnership and I feel like I am living with another child (although one that has less energy) that I am losing respect for. I feel like I want to cry most mornings and feel let down and sometimes cross. If I tell him I am unhappy he just sighs and says that makes him feel bad so I try and be upbeat as much as I can. I’m trying to be a good partner but am not sure I can love with so little coming back still. It’s not that he is taking advantage by spending lots of money or going out loads (in fact I wish he would go out or get a hobby) it is more death of a relationship through passivity and ennui. Am I being pathetic?

Roshbegosh Mon 09-Sep-13 05:34:51

No, he is being pathetic. Would you issues, and stick to, an ultimatum?

Leverette Mon 09-Sep-13 06:03:10

He is being a dependent child. He complained that looking after his own child and doing the attending domestic jobs were impeding his search for work...yet he's applied for four jobs in two years???

He's just coasting at your expense and your kindness is protecting him from reaping the consequences of his refusal to work (in or out of the home). He is a spoiled passenger.

waltzingmathilda Mon 09-Sep-13 06:05:49

I'd be depressed if I were a man, my wife were the breadwinner, I were lugged abroad as an accessory. It's a very emasculating life he's leading.

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 06:06:43

Roshbegosh - as in tell him he has to do something by say Christmas otherwise what - leave/counselling?

I kind of said a year ago that he needed to work out what he wanted and I would check back in and discuss after 6 months. He didn't know then and still doesn't. When pushed he tends to panic more not less.

Leverette Mon 09-Sep-13 06:07:10


flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 06:10:42

waltzingmathilda - I know, that's mainly why I have tried to help as much as possible and be supportive and why I wonder what more to do.

He wasn't lugged abroad though. He had said he wanted to leave the UK and the job he had there because he didn't like it anymore and we moved somewhere that is closer to his family so he can spend more time with them at least at Christmas and Easter.

Roshbegosh Mon 09-Sep-13 06:18:54

What would make you happy to stay in this relationship?

KristyThomas Mon 09-Sep-13 06:20:24

Sorry to hear that you're going through this - what a man-child! I agree with issuing him an ultimatum (and for me, the consequence would be that he leaves - what you get out of counselling is what you put in, so dragging him there unwillingly will achieve nothing).

You said that you gave him 6 months to work out what he wanted and he couldn't. So will he EVER know? How long does he think he will remain in this state of limbo? Does he even care about the effect it's having on you in the mean time?

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 06:32:42

Good questions!!

Roshbegosh - I think if I felt that we were both working towards a future together and could enjoy being together and enjoying things in the meantime. It isn't important whether he earns more or less and I would be happy to give up my job or work PT and do the childcare if he wanted to have a career.

KristyThomas - I'm not sure now that he WILL ever know and I think in part that that and knowing that I am not happy is making him worse. He kind of gets a bit paralysed into even less action when he feels he can't do anything. Like when DS was born and he shutdown because he didn't think he cuold look after him and found it very stressful. Or in the past whenever I have been sick and he just goes very quiet and sits unable to know what to do. It is weirdly I think that it is precisely because he does cares and perhaps feels inadequate that he ends up doing less but the support and suggestions and efforts to make him feel he can do anything and is special and that it doesn't matter if he doesn't earn loads just don't seem to work and I am out of ideas.

NeedlesCuties Mon 09-Sep-13 06:36:38

I'm shocked. You are a much more patient woman than I am?

What's he like as a husband - is he emotionally supportive to the hobbies and things you want to do? Is he this wishy-washy in your sex life too?

deXavia Mon 09-Sep-13 06:38:51

hmm - see if this was flipped round.. ie a wife saying she'd moved abroad for her husbands job, hadn't been able to find a job, was depressed, struggling with child care, making friends - basically lost all motivation. Then I don't think we'd be calling her pathetic or a woman-child (does that even exist?)

However as an expat who has done the SAH and WOH - I would say he has lost his way in the move (what did he do before you moved?) even if it was something he wanted - maybe more in theory than reality. I actually think its quite common for spouses to feel lost abroad - and possibly harder for him because there won't be many other males in similar positions so hard to make friends on the awful coffee morning circuit.

If you read some of the overseas posts you'll see many people struggling - and perhaps read some posts more from his perspective. But the advise is usually the same - dive into something, anything to get started and then gradually work round to what you want to do. So you probably are right to give him an ultimatum to do something - job, housework, childcare, volunteer, even start teaching kids to play Cricket. Just something to get him off the BB and out of the house. And if not he has to start counseling.

Alternatively if in all honesty this is a symptom of a bigger issue, ie you're falling out of love with him and dont feel the partnership is there then I think you have to be really honest about that. Explain to him as clearly as possible what you want from a partner and if that isn't something he can / wants to do - then yes it probably is time to split.

Roshbegosh Mon 09-Sep-13 06:40:38

Personally I think it sounds like a dynamic that isn't working for either of you. You do more and he does less, I know it isn't your intention but your competence is infantilising him. Ask yourself whether this is working for you, maybe it is in some way. Would you prefer not to have him in your lives? Is the status quo convenient? And by the way, is it ok that he is home all day with your live in helper?

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 06:44:28

NeedlesCuties - I think guilt has kept me patient to this point but now it is wearning thin! We're not married (he never proposed surprise surprise and I didn't feel too strongly about it). My hobbies are things like reading, knitting and sewing, fashion, design etc so things that he doesn't really need to actively support and I can often do whilst being with him - ie I will knit whilst we watch a film together. He doesn't have any of his own (other than following sport). Sex life is pretty unexciting but he seems to still find me attractive but sleep often more so.

KristyThomas Mon 09-Sep-13 06:45:16

deXavia - I don't think you can compare this with a wife posting and saying all the things you said, because somebody posting for advice like that has at least recognised the problem and is trying to help themselves. Whereas OP's DP has been given lots of support, but is resisting all help and doesn't seem to have any problem with this status quo.

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 06:50:38

deXavia - I agree. I think it certainly is very tough. I find it tough too and I know it is easier with the structure of work. Fortunately there are two other guys nearby who are stay at home dads but he hasn't wanted to socialise with them much. I set up for him to meet some guys who do garden stuff as a volunteer and he has been one or two times but wasn't that into it. I agree it is probably time to have a bigger chat though.

deXavia Mon 09-Sep-13 06:53:06

I hear it all the time overseas - moved for spouses job, child in school/childcare, live in helper and the whole sob story about can't get a job, didn't like volunteering or finding their "thing". I do think there are lots of wives who are like this - and possibly some husbands who feel like Farfella. I just think the insults of calling him a "man-child" are a bit off - and wouldn't have been the first response if a woman had posted. But you are right - lets not make this about genders - its about a probably fairly miserable person and a partnership in difficulty.

Farfella - interesting that he has done the garden thing a few times then stopped. I know I asked before but what did he do before you moved? Has he always been a bit off / on about things? Or is this since you moved?

Jeez man, is this guy for real?!?
Blimey it's one thing you are the only one working, in some families it works out well that way, but does this bloke do anything?
So you work FT, he should be taking care of the home and dc, but he does neither!!! shockShocking, just shocking in fact i'm flabbergasted someone can have such little respect for their partner, not to mention lack of motivation.

He should be doing the cleaning, the childcare, the cooking most of time as he is at home all day, yet you have been made to fork out for a cleaner as well as nursery.

And the fact he doesn't contribute emotionally is even worsesad
Don't plod along like this, ltb for your own self worth.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 09-Sep-13 07:09:59

flying is it realistic to expect him to find a job, or is there an issue such as language, visa requirements (i.e. theoretically he could get sponsored, but he's competing against locals) or skill set that mean it's not really going to happen?

I was going to add that being a SAHD in certain countries can be pretty tough (actually even being a hands-on SAHM can be tough if you live in "the helper zone") but it seems even when there were other SAHD around, he wasnt really interested.

On that basis, I think you need to have "the chat"- i.e. it's fine not to want to be a SAHP- loads of people don't want to be- but he has to do something, even if it's not what he ideally wants to do. Anyone would get depressed with no purpose in life, nothing to do when they get up in the morning. I spent a year as a childless, unemployed trailing spouse and by the end I was climbing the walls, despite having initially thought it was going to be totally great.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 09-Sep-13 07:11:32

Also, who is really looking after your DS between 3pm and you getting home- him or the helper?

What do you get out of this relationship now?. What has really kept you within this?.

Talking to him further may well prove to be a waste of time and effort; he likes things the way they are and between you and the helper he does nothing because you both carry the can.

Think you need to ditch your manchild/project (I say project because you cannot rescue or save someone from their own selves) for the sake of your self worth let alone your son. This man is indeed a poor role model to him.

You're carrying this millstone around your neck, perhaps what you need to ask yourself is why you have allowed him to do this to you at all?.

Jux Mon 09-Sep-13 08:35:54

He will never work out what he wants to do if he does nothing. It took me until I was 37 to work out what I wanted to do, but I had spent the previous 20 years working, and finding out what I didn't want to do. Moreover, I knew that I might never find something I wanted to do, so squeezed as much pleasure and fun out of the work I did. I changed job many times, and opportunities to do other things and get involved in things which did interest me just kept opening up. This will happen to him too, but he's got to get off his arse and start somewhere.

Jux Mon 09-Sep-13 08:36:34

If he is depressed he can take ADs, which will help him.

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 08:37:10

Thanks all - this is really helping me get good and useful perspective on a tricky situation I probably haven't been navigating particularly well on reflection.

deXavia - he used to work in IT/telecoms but did a career change a while back since he didn't like it and went into charity sector. He works in an area where I think it would be possible to work freelance remotely potentially.

RMPMBT - I think it is definitely much harder here but is English and he does have a dependent visa that allows him to work. Certainly a bit harder to find work but most spouses I know who have wanted one have found one or started own business/venture/done course etc. But even if he didn't I have said we could move somewhere else if preferred and would make him happier but since he doesn't know what or where that would be it rather makes that difficult and a bit of a risk to say the least! He picks up DS and they go to playpark with the other kids and parents (including another stay at home dad which I think is great since it is someone else to talk to). Then they come home and sit on the sofa watching TV whilst helper makes dinner. Helper gets him off to nursery in the morning and I look after him on Sunday morning first thing while he has a rest (which now sounds mental writing it down but of course is nice for me to see DS).

AtillaTheMeerkat - fair questions and ones I think I need to reflect on properly. Guilt that maybe I am responsible for him being unhappy and that I would make him even more unhappy (and DS) if I leave I think in part. But yes, I have made a millstone and I need to think about how I can best remove that now or let it creep heavier down on all of us.

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 08:47:37

Jux - exactly! That is what I try and tell him and that he should enjoy the fact that he is not under any specific pressure to find the right thing or to make it work financially immediately but can try out different things. Imagine having the opportunity to do any course you wanted for example - I have a massive list of things I would try. I am 37 now and still don't know what my ideal 'thing' would be but I still find pleasure in dreaming and trying out new things and making most out of present where I can - although that is now becoming a little hard.

Depression is a possibility I think but he says he isn't and wont go and see someone and I don't think it is right to force that since may be counter-productive.

MrsOakenshield Mon 09-Sep-13 09:00:31

well, I am not an expert by any means but he sounds like he is depressed. He has lost his way and doesn't know which way to turn - it's almost like there are so many possibilities out there that it has overwhelmed him. He sounds like the kind of person who thrives in a routine, almost, and he's lost that and can't work out how to be. And just cos there are other SAHDs doesn't mean he likes them or gets on with them or has anything in common with them - I think men find it harder to just chat about the children if that's all there is between them.

What to do about it I don't know though! He needs to see his GP. Does he want to come home?

NeedlesCuties Mon 09-Sep-13 09:02:30

I would love to know what your 'helper' thinks while there is a grown man sitting watching cartoons with a young child rather than getting his arse in gear to cook his own dinner.

I think this is madness.

Lazyjaney Mon 09-Sep-13 09:03:14

I think many being so judgemental here have never been in this position.

I left my career to follow my DH to another country for work, and couldn't work there until I got various certificates etc.

When you are in the situation the OPs partner is in, it is soul destroying, especially if you used to work - you were used to being independent, earning money, own friend network, activities etc. Suddenly you lose all that, and are financially completely dependent to boot. The working person definitely has a far easier time of it, they get status, support, self affirmation etc etc.

And trying to palm me off on activities I didn't like, or with people I wouldn't choose to be with was just the pits.

I was not a "girl-child", I was an educated, independent woman thrown in the deep end and it takes a while - far longer than 6 months - to sort yourself out in my experience, and it is pretty damn miserable in the interim.

Fortunately for me, DH did not think I was surplus to requirements after 6 months.

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 09:11:46

Lazyjaney - yes, I think it can be really and truly horrid. I am acutely aware of it and that is why I am trying my best to support however I can. It has been two years rather than 6 months (6 months was the point at which I said we could have another chat and see if he knew what he wanted so I wasn't seeming to hassle constantly in the meantime and he didn't at that point so I didn't push further and left it for much longer). I have tried to support and be there for him and understanding that it is probably just really difficult for him and is easier for me. He says he doesn't want to go back to the UK and the genuine offer to do so was and still is there. Clearly I am not supporting in the right way so what from your experience do you think would be the right way or more helpful?

AnyFucker Mon 09-Sep-13 09:29:36


You employ at least 2 other people to do the simple day to day stuff he should be doing

This is a rather expensive cocklodger, and it doesn't even sound like he's any great shakes at the cock bit

You can't stay with someone because you feel sorry for them, and you can't make them motivated if they have no interest in pulling their finger out

Cut the dead weight loose

LessMissAbs Mon 09-Sep-13 09:31:44

I wouldn't necessarily diagnose depression - its a clinical diagnosis, not a default one for someone who is prone to inactivity and lack of ambition and motivation.

Its quite possible this is simply his true nature, particularly if he is the sort of man who has moved abroad quite happily with someone with no job planned and never proposed, and who has a history of moving from a well paid career with plenty of jobs to one which is less well paid/less certain.

If he has worked in IT in the past, even if his skills are a little out of date, he should be able to find work anywhere in the world. Has he even bothered to register with an agency?

He just sounds really feeble. I get this feeling sometimes with DH, and he is in a well paid job and has active hobbies. But compared to my family, who are all go-getters who run businesses and make national sporting teams, his motivation and ambition are on the low side. But to lack the motivation to provide for yourself and your family and to look after your own child and flat - I don't know if that's fixable. I would be scared of him dragging me down and the additional costs this man generated. I would get rid.

I would think the same about a woman in the same position. I'm not keen on freeloaders of either gender.

deXavia Mon 09-Sep-13 09:45:12

Farfalla - I think you need to decide if this is something you want to fix or not. Apologies and I may be out of order but from your posts I'm not 100% sure that's a given.

But lets assume it is... it sounds like the parameters are too wide and maybe for some people that's a dream come true but it sounds like its almost causing paralysis in your DP. I don't think he is pathetic, but I do think he has been drifting for so long he can't see how to get back on track - or as LessMisAbs points out he may just be one of those guys who will never be "on track". When I didn't work in one country (due to language and Visa issues) every one kept telling me to write a book or set up on online business - but that kind of freedom scared the crap out of me, made me realise that actually I'm a corporate girl, I need structure!

I would be brutally honest with him, tell him he is risking losing you and give him another 6 months but expect to hear all the time what is he doing to find a job. IT /Telecom is pretty much global - even if its just contract basis to get back in to a working routine. Unless there are visa or language issues it shouldn't be too hard if he puts the effort in. If he doesn't put the effort in - well I suspect that will tell you whether or not he'll ever change ... and whether or not you're prepared to put up with it.

AnyFucker Mon 09-Sep-13 09:49:09

wink wink

AnyFucker Mon 09-Sep-13 09:49:41

Sorry, that last post was on the wrong thread

StHelenInPerson Mon 09-Sep-13 09:54:26

Think it's time to stop tip toeing around you dp feelings now.

Tell him he needs to get a job and any job at that,
Tell him you are starting to resent him and need him to do this in order to save your relationship.
He has 3 months? To show that he is actively looking and getting work,obviously depending on the job market is when he will get a job but just as long as he is making a real effort will benefit you.

I think you should lay off the afternoon helper too,he should pick up his son and put the dinner on until he gets a job and see what the arrangement will be then.

Might be worth making him go to dr to see if he is depressed or else all of the above will be for nothing really if he is depressed.

Encouragement and support is clearly not working,time to put your foot down as your last attempt to make your relationship work for the long term.

AnyFucker Mon 09-Sep-13 09:59:07

I would give immediate notice to the house help, and possibly to the paid childcare

He can do both of those things while he is job hunting

The less he does, the less he wants to do

If you are determined to hang on to this overgrown teenager, maybe you will have to start employing the principles of managing a recalcitrant 13yo

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 10:03:32

deXavia - I don't think you are out of order at all. Very helpful in fact. I also think that similarly the freedom does really scare him and I do feel for him on that. It is easy to look at his situation and think I would love to be in it but I don't think he does relish it and that is fine since everyone is different. I do want to fix it (although not sure I know right now how that fix will end up and what I would want) since I think everyone is quite unhappy right now and DS will likely pick up on it at some point and I can feel myself getting more and more down and doing less and less too. I just haven't felt it is right to give an ultimatum or push it further to now because I chose to be with him and have a child with him and I feel responsible also for his happiness. But this situation is not making either of us happy and I don't seem to be able to find the way to make him happy or help him make himself happy and so it needs to change.

LessMissAbs - I think he has spoken to a couple but isn't registered as such. Not sure he is interested in going back to IT although I agree that should be a good base and he could always do a refresher course on it or something else.

Definitely realised from this email chain that it is time for me to have a more open and honest conversation talking about my feelings. Hopefully I can find the right balance of respecting and understanding his position whilst also putting mine across and moving us all on from here.

AnyFucker - thanks for making me laugh on a day when I have otherwise felt so sad!

AnyFucker Mon 09-Sep-13 10:11:17

I hope things improve for you, but the very first thing you both need to acknowledge is that you cannot do this by yourself

I am glad to make to smile, but are you sure it wasn't more of a rictus grin, because I meant every word and they were harsh things to say

AnyFucker Mon 09-Sep-13 10:14:58

Tell him you are canceling the house help and paid childcare, and it is because you are no longer going to enable his inertia

If he doesn't get a job, at least family money won't get used on stuff that he should be doing

ATM, his only responsibility is picking DC up at 3pm

That is just ridiculous...this is a grown man being allowed to infantilise himself

Farfalla I agree with deXavia. I'm someone who has been through changes and am now in an unsettled situation, and I get paralysed when I have too much choice and no clear goals. I can't focus on any one thing because I have so many interests that I end up doing very little. Everything seems like a massive job and my lack of confidence can lead to not even making the first step. Paralysed is a very good description. I wouldn't say I'm clinically depressed but certainly not on form, and the less I do the more crap I feel. I can relate to your husband, but I do think you need to be tougher on him. It's a shame he won't go for counselling because I think a course of CBT could help him break things into manageable pieces that are not so daunting to him and get him out of this cycle. He's coasted too long, it's bad for him and bad for you, so make it clear it needs to change.

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 10:17:47

AnyFucker - genuinely made me laugh - 'Cocklodger' is hilarious expression. Do you mean you think we need outside help as in counselling or that I can't help him myself because he needs to help himself?

AnyFucker Mon 09-Sep-13 10:28:44

Both of those things

I am trying to stay stern with you, but you are not helping ! <hoiks bosoms>

LessMissAbs Mon 09-Sep-13 10:33:51

OP LessMissAbs - I think he has spoken to a couple but isn't registered as such. Not sure he is interested in going back to IT although I agree that should be a good base and he could always do a refresher course on it or something else

Who cares if he isn't interested in IT? Its an area with lots of jobs, anywhere in the world, and he has experience. Lots of people work in jobs their whole life that they don't find particularly interesting, and wouldn't do for free if they weren't paid. He should be able to get back into the industry at a lower level without the need for any expensive further timewasting courses if he only left it a few years ago.

I also wouldn't cancel the paid helps, as this would only give him further excuses reasons not to work, and it puts you in a more convenient position to send him packing.

If he has given up a career in IT for one in the charities sector, which he has made no attempts to get back into, and has reduced his childcare responsibilities to picking up DD at 3pm once a day, I would say its in his nature to do this. I think he would do it in the workplace as well - I can think of a few examples of colleagues who have progressively reduced their work to an hour or two a day, and filled the rest with internet surfing, lunching, smoking, standing around the coffee machine and ambling on jaunts around the office. He sounds like one of them to me.

What AF stated as well. I am sorry but I have seen men enabled and it is not a pretty picture at all; it makes them infantalised.

You have enabled him to bail out on anything that he has found difficult by employing others. You thus also need to look at your own behaviours here; why have you enabled this situation to go on for so long?.

If he does not want to go to the GP you cannot make him go. You can only help your own self here.

What do you think your son is learning about relationships here, what lessons do you think you are both teaching this child?.

noobieteacher Mon 09-Sep-13 10:40:05

You moved partly to be near his family. Perhaps he has regressed. I know the mental age of my dp reduces by about 40 years when we go up to his Mum's.

With my practical but cautious hat on, I would say the first thing you should do is plan an exit strategy to come home, taking legal advice on whether he could obstruct the dcs going back with you to the uk. Is your family in the uk?

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 10:40:41

I consider myself firmly told wink . I posted because I knew what I was doing wasn't working and needed new perspectives to help me change and do something so its been really, really helpful. Having range of different views is also helpful and makes me feel at least that it isn't clear cut and I haven't been totally pathetic in not knowing how to handle it.

Will maybe try and find ME a counselling session as first step and then maybe they can advise me on best way to see if can or appropriate to coax DP into seeing one/one together and in meantime will also have a sit down with him and be firmer about how I understand he is feeling crap but I am also feeling crap now and somehow we need to find away to be and feel less so and he is central to taking action to make that happen. He is going away with DS for a week's holiday with his family in a couple of weeks so maybe that will be a perfect time to give him a chance to think and also to be with supportive family and friends if he needs to talk to them and get some advice himself.

noobieteacher Mon 09-Sep-13 10:48:51

Wow you are the most tollerant, easygoing person I have ever come across on Mumsnet.

Does it not grate with you that he is going away with his family and not you?

LessMissAbs Mon 09-Sep-13 10:49:52

You are too soft and you are being a mug OP. Almost every relationship I have seen like this has in common (a) the partners aren't married and (b) the woman gets fed up with the man at some point in her late forties or fifties, gives him a financial bung to clear off, he shacks up with someone equally enabling with a sob story and she struggles to meet anyone else at that stage in her life.

Alternatively, the man gets a shock on being told to pack his bags, finds a job, sticks in and starts contributing. They get married.

Either way, I still think its a hard life you choose for yourself. I appreciate he worked when you met and that he has drawn you into enabling his freeloading gradually so you have become accustomed to it.

I wouldn't spend any more money on him for courses or counselling. If he can't work out any of this for himself, as a perfectly cognisant adult male, he probably isn't worth having.

LessMissAbs Mon 09-Sep-13 10:50:50

He is going away with DS for a week's holiday with his family in a couple of weeks

Who is paying for the holiday if he doesn't work?

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 10:52:00

noobieteacher - yes my family is in the UK and DS was born there. His are in Australia and we are currently closer to his but still a flight away. We are not married.

AttilaTheMeerkat - yes I do feel partly responsible. I let it go on so long because I genuinely feel sorry for him (what deXavia says is right about it being really hard being a 'trailing spouse' (horrid expression) abroad) and thought it might change and that he would find something that would make him happy here or a plan to take us elsewhere. At the moment my DS gets the benefit of seeing his dad every afternoon and me more than my job should let me because I make sure I leave early and not go out so as to be there for them and we do get on and never row (the passivity in both or us in that respect too) and also hopefully sees a mum who works hard but also loves him very much - but yes as he gets older and perhaps even now he probably realises that there is something up which is a very important reason I need to do something.

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 10:56:19

LessMissAbs/noobie - I am paying since I have to go away for work that week anyway and I thought it would do him good to be around family and friends and have some people to talk through his issues since he doesn't seem to be able to talk through them with me.

He's a lazy, selfish tosser. Throw him out. He will either suddenly find a job or, more likely, another mug of a woman who will put up with anything not to be single.
You will barely notice that he's gone, except there will be less mess to clear up and a bit more money. Best of luck.

You may well feel sorry for him but does he show you the same consideration?. I do not think so and he has a cushy existance. Feeling sorry for him has also landed you in this mess.

Who is paying for this holiday he is taking with DS?. His family, or even worse, you?.

What are his family like and what do they think of him?.

You've paid!. He hit paydirt when he met you didn't he?.

Sorry but you're a mug to be putting up with this nonsense from him.

Tottie24 Mon 09-Sep-13 11:05:08

Sorry I haven't read all the posts but to me is sounds like he cant be bothered to do anything for himself, and no matter how hard you try he know that he doesn't need to do anything as you will sort, organise and do or get everything done for him.
He may well be depressed, but doesn't need to do anything about it as you are managing to carry on and your little one is fine in childcare and with you.
I don't think it has anything to do with living abroad more like that he is quite happy to freeload from you as you are more than capable of providing all support (on every level) for yourself and your little one and him and kind enough to tolerate him and his idleness.
Sorry if this sounds harsh but I have recently worked though something similar though i wasn't as financially successful as you are I was having to take all the responsibility despite asking and asking him to step up.
Perhaps you being so capable has emasculated him, but that is his problem and he needs to do something to make himself feel better and only he can do it. Good Luck ps I wish I was your husband!!

Flibbedyjibbet Mon 09-Sep-13 11:06:50

If you didn't have to pay for childcare, domestic help (I.e he did it) you could work less I guess.

I don't understand how he can coast like this. In my world you either work or you are at home looking after children and keeping house.

I can only assume he is depressed. That said I would be so resentful at him doing nothing. Is it possible you are being too nice and too supportive?

KatyTheCleaningLady Mon 09-Sep-13 11:07:28

Think in terms of tough love. If you push him out of his comfort zone, he will be forced to adapt. He may find someone else to coddle him, but then he won't be your burden.

noobieteacher Mon 09-Sep-13 11:07:34

He is not a 'trailing spouse' if he's living on home turf. He chose to be there.

What do your parents think of the situation?

noobieteacher Mon 09-Sep-13 11:11:07

You say you haven't planned a future together, could this be because it's a good way for him to get what he wants?

LessMissAbs Mon 09-Sep-13 11:13:01

Do you think he would still stay with you if you didn't pay for him and made it a condition that he find paid work?

I think there are a couple things going on here.

I think he should be investigated for anxiety rather than depression -- it sounds like he's always been like this, shutting down when the pressure is high (you said he did this when your DS was born). That sounds more like anxiety to me, but there are therapies and/or meds that can really help with this.

I think it would be okay to give him an ultimatum to go to counseling. If he woke up one day and was physically paralysed, you would make him go to the GP right? You can say: it does not seem healthy or normal for things to be like this, and I have exhausted all the options I can do myself, so we need professional input. If you're not willing to do this, that's fine, but I can't live like this anymore and I can't stay with you if you won't try to fix things.

But second, as an expat myself, I don't think his paralysis is all that uncommon. I would say more than half of the expat women I know here are in a similar boat. That's not a reason not to do anything, but I second the suggestion to read the Living Overseas threads and get some ideas for how to approach things.

Finally, have you looked into what would happen if you do split? You're not married, would he be able to stay in the country? Just wondering if he knows how dire the situation could get if you do split up.

Also, I'm not sure about you going to counseling. It's just you once again seeing something that needs to be done -- him going to counselling -- and taking it on yourself so now you're the one who will go.

I think just having another conversation about how unhappy you are with all this is not enough frankly. I agree with AF that it's ultimatum time.

noobieteacher Mon 09-Sep-13 11:23:02

Dreaming, she is the expat, they live in his couuntry of birth, dcs born in the uk.

No they live in a country closer to his country, not in his actual homeland.

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 11:39:12

yes, we are both expats. I am from UK where met DP and had DS there. we moved to Asia which is closer to his family in Australia but still a flight away. I'm not sure what his family think and I don't know if he talks to them about it. his parents are quite old now. mine feel bad for me I think but also don't want to intervene since they feel not their place. I think he does love me and want to be with me and would stay if gave ultimatum but whether he could rise to ultimatum is another matter. seems like I am not being unfair if I try that though and also ask again re speaking to GP. if we did split, I would go home and he also has European passport so free to work and live there but i need to feel I have really done everything to help him first since would be pretty drastic...mainly for him and DS.

cleopatrasasp Mon 09-Sep-13 11:52:44

OP, you sound lovely and I think you're wasting your time with this man.

He doesn't work.
He doesn't take care of your home or your child.
He doesn't do even basic emotional support.
He doesn't care enough to buy you presents or even cards.
He is pretty boring in the bedroom department.
He hasn't asked you to marry him.
He leeches off you financially.

This man is not depressed, he is a lazy timewaster. I know people with painful chronic illnesses that are housebound that do more than him and have more fire and ambition in them despite the hand they've been dealt with in life. Please stop enabling this manchild, you really deserve someone better.

noobieteacher Mon 09-Sep-13 11:55:35

The thing that concerns me is that as he is the main carer (not) he might be able to obstruct the dcs return to the uk. In the uk, stability for children is the key factor in decisions where there is a dispute over access and residence. It would depend on the law in Australia.

This relationship is insane. He would not stay with you if he had to work, or do chores. You know this, and that's why you are not pushing more.

cleopatrasasp Mon 09-Sep-13 12:08:07

They're not in Australia, they're in Asia noobieteacher but your concerns are still valid and they'd crossed my mind as well.

Lazyjaney Mon 09-Sep-13 12:09:50

By the description I'd say the OP was in India, Singapore, Malaysia or Hong Kong. It's actually very difficult for non-locals to get work in those countries outside of the corporate expat job structures, if they are even allowed to work at all (what does his Visa allow, OP?)

I also think most of the posters on this thread haven't got a clue about what being a "trailing spouse" is like. It's hard enough going to another European country with a foreign language, never mind one that is Asian to boot. Kids make thing harder, not easier as your freedom of action is hugely reduced, all those "difficult hours" casual jobs are out. The old saw about the "3 A's" - alcohol, adultery and ennui - are all too prevalent in my observation.

Also, if the sexes were reversed on this thread, I suspect the reaction and advice would be radically different, I wonder what the "dump the lazy bastard" lot would be advising then? There would be no talk of "cuntlodgers" I suspect, and a lot more about understanding, time, your fault OP for dragging your spouse to further your ambition, how dare you give ultimatums to the mother of your child, etc etc.

Just something to consider....

I also haven't seen the penny drop yet about who probably gets to look after the child after separation.

They are not married though....

Hi flyingfarfalla,

re your comments in quote marks:-
"I think he does love me and want to be with me and would stay if gave ultimatum but whether he could rise to ultimatum is another matter"

You think (!) he loves you?. He shows you hardly any emotional support whatsoever. He certainly likes the set up you have because it suits him no end. An ultimatum would probably not change anything and it can be only issued once. This bloke is the Little Emperor and you are kowtowing to him at great cost to yourself.

Re this part of your comment:-
"seems like I am not being unfair if I try that though and also ask again re speaking to GP. if we did split, I would go home and he also has European passport so free to work and live there but i need to feel I have really done everything to help him first since would be pretty drastic...mainly for him and DS".

DS could do far better as well in terms of having decent male role models. What about you in all this, honestly what more can you do?. Why do you have this innate need to have tried everything before you walk away?.

What did you learn about relationship when growing up?.

What does he bring to this and what do you get out of this so called relationship now?. That needs a lot of thought on your part.

Squitten Mon 09-Sep-13 12:15:18

So this guy just sits about all day, every day doing nothing at all?! And you are paying for hired help to look after the kids and the home while he sits there doing nothing?!

I can't believe you even have to ask whether this is a reasonable arrangement. He sounds like a pet dog...

Very nice role model for a little boy, this man child is. You are raising him to be the King on the hill where men sit around and do nothing and women work their arses off. Thing about this, at least.

The only good to have come out of their relationship is their son. These two should not be together at all to my mind. Plodding along just causes more resentment and hate to build.

Even if this couple were in the UK which they are not, my counsel to OP would be the same. OP feels sorry for him but there's the impression here that OPs man has taken full advantage of her kindnesses and has milked this for all he is worth.

noobieteacher Mon 09-Sep-13 12:19:40

Oops, got that wrong again. Regardless where they are, he is main carer and dcs are living under the laws of the country of residence. I am not a legal expert but I think it would help you OP to find out what the worst case scenario might be .

KatyTheCleaningLady Mon 09-Sep-13 12:24:26

LazyJaney If a man posted about his wife doing the exact same thing, I would have the same response.

I am sure it is hard to be the trailing spouse, but that's not an excuse to do absolutely nothing. To not even consider medical attention for depression.

cleopatrasasp Mon 09-Sep-13 12:24:32

Lazeyjaney he isn't the male equivalent of a SAHM, he is doing NOTHING - not childcare, not housework and not paid work. He doesn't even have a hobby and has no interest in retraining or even doing courses in something he's interested in - which the OP has offered to pay for. On top of all that he doesn't even do birthday cards or decent sex!

As I said earlier, I know people who are ill and in chronic pain who have more get up and go - being a 'trailing spouse' is no excuse for being a lazy fecker.

You never get a birthday or Christmas present.

No, you should not support him.

Lazyjaney Mon 09-Sep-13 12:38:08

LazyJaney If a man posted about his wife doing the exact same thing, I would have the same response

I've been on MN long enough to know that though everyone protests that they would say the same, somehow the advice on reverse threads is always categorically different.

As it would be on one like this.

KatyTheCleaningLady Mon 09-Sep-13 12:50:29

If anything , we would be more aghast at a mother who did so little house work and childcare.

I just cannot believe the word 'cocklodger' hasn't been used more on this thread.

<Whispers> 'tis because he aint using his cock....

AnyFucker Mon 09-Sep-13 13:06:02

This bloke isn't the main carer for the child

Op pays for childcare while she is at work and he sits on his arse doing nothing

wem Mon 09-Sep-13 13:30:29

From the OP's description her DH sounds utterly incapable of stepping up to care for his dc in the event of a split. I doubt he'd even want to, and would also be incapable of putting up any kind of fight if OP said she was taking her ds back to the UK.

wem Mon 09-Sep-13 13:30:53

DP, not DH, sorry.

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 13:31:11

Thanks everyone. It is very useful to point out about the custody point. A real worry indeed and I will research some more on the point. If it got to separation then he would not have a visa to remain here anymore since it is attached to mine and I would go back to the UK. The fear that he could somehow take DS off to Australia for good is a pretty terrifying one and I imagine the fact that I might be able to take DS to the UK when DP may want to return to family in Australia would likely be terrifying to him. It would be pretty harrowing somehow either way and particularly for DS and it had crossed my mind and is another reason why I have been trying to understand this situation from DPs perspective and find ways to try and make it work.

It isn't actually a fear of being alone that scares me in this I just want to try and wave a magic wand and make everyone in the situation happy and am of course finally realising that I can't and that is quite a big deal however silly that sounds.

LazeyJaney - I do understand where you are coming from so it would be good to know what else you think I can best to do help him.

noobieteacher Mon 09-Sep-13 13:46:05

Sorry if I worried you with my pessimistic and slightly paranoid outlook on life. But you hear of horrendous cases here where women have no right to bring their dcs back home. The law is massively complicated as far as I have seen.

However you don't really want to break up, I can see that and why not try and make it work? Remember life is a series of phases and one day may be the right 'phase' to start again, or move again (or separate). In the case of children however you will want to be settled by the time they are 9 or 10, wherever you want to be. Perhaps a long term plan with DP would be a push in the right direction? I know you mentioned that he doesn't want to plan the future but that could be your ultimatum?

Writing a Will is sometimes a good way of bringing a man down to earth with a massive bump. It also can be a good reassurance to both of you that you are in it for the long hall.

noobieteacher Mon 09-Sep-13 13:48:11

Good point wem but you just never know and he has been fairly slippery so far. You also don't know his family's input.

AnyFucker Mon 09-Sep-13 13:55:56

If your ds was born in the UK and has a british passport of course your dp can't bugger off to Australia with him confused

KatyTheCleaningLady Mon 09-Sep-13 14:00:23

A kick in the arse isn't breaking up, and is actually the kindest thing for him.

He needs to pull his weight and you must be willing to follow through on ultimatums,

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 14:00:48

That's useful noobie, especially about the age older children need to be settled. actually though my instincts are that I need to leave and better to sort sooner rather than later since I don't have huge confidence in real change anymore. However for a move like that which would have such a big impact on others and which I would be instigating, I need to feel i have done all I can first. this will be a massive shock to him at a time I think he genuinely is vulnerable. I always get OTT worried about other peoples feelings and trying to make them happy...usually not a bad thing but i think in this case it has made it a bit more convoluted than perhaps should be and not really worked for anyone.

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 14:02:36

anyfucker - ds also has an Australian passport and his surname.

noobieteacher Mon 09-Sep-13 14:03:59

If I was religious I would say 'Bless you'. But bless you anyway.

Do take AnyFucker's advice from here, she will keep you on the straight and narrow and give you the perspective you might need. smile

noobieteacher Mon 09-Sep-13 14:05:09

Pretty sure she's not an expert in International Law though... wink

KatyTheCleaningLady Mon 09-Sep-13 14:06:39

But it's not Saudi Arabia. He can't just disappear with the kids.

And if you go to UK, he can still follow and be nearby. Is that where they were born and lived before?

You can take him back to UK and give him an ultimatum there. At least in UK he can take on a menial job if that's all there is.

tbh I think you should quietly get some legal advice on what would happen with custody if you split. Your case is pretty complicated. And fgs don't say anything to him about anything until after they are back from Australia.

I don't want to scare you but common sense often does not apply in international custody cases.

deXavia Mon 09-Sep-13 14:10:30

You're right this would be a big split - just the countries involved mean that any separation and custody discussion is complex. Whilst I can see your logic of taking your DS back to the UK - remember others may see it as he has been the main child care (regardless of live in helpers) and why should he move to the UK instead of you all move to Australia - especially given dual nationality. I'm not suggesting he is in the right - but just posing the question from the opposite view.

I absolutely get that you need to feel you've done everything you can to "solve" the problem. But in reality all you can do is be very clear to him about exactly what the problem is and he has to be prepared to make changes. Is there a friend or family member in Australia who he will see on vacation who could talk to him? Or would you be worried they would all start encouraging him to leave and look for custody?

Do they have couple counseling where you are in Asia? I know its much rarer than the UK. Would that be a good way to start things rather than pushing him about depression?

It's not about disappearing.

The child has dual nationality. If they split the DP has to leave the country, so will have to go Australia or Europe. The OP says she wants to go to the UK. There is nothing legally that says any one parent has more right to take the child, so they would probably look at things like income and who has been taking care of the child up til now. It's not a straightforward case.

Sorry, obviously this is jumping forward many steps, but it may be better for you legally to stay where you are if you split. Then it's up to DP to try to arrange some kind of visa based on parental rights, rather than you having to convince a judge to let you take DS to the UK.

But I'm not an expert so would really suggest getting some professional advice. It may help you figure out how to go forward with DP (for example maybe you could convince him that you should all go back to the UK together to give it another shot, so at least you are in a better position if you do split up down the line).

AnyFucker Mon 09-Sep-13 14:20:15

No, I'm not an expert in international law,, but you hadn't mentioned that your ds has dual nationality smile

You do need to take legal advice, but do not use possibly unfounded fear about this issue to stop you tackling the situation

No I agree, don't stay with him just because of legal issues. But you have to be really clever and strategic about these things, and knowledge is power.

noobieteacher Mon 09-Sep-13 14:29:38

A good way round it may be an extended visit to the UK to see UK GPs and get legal advice here. If you do choose to get advice in Asia, make sure you don't get drawn into a battle from there.

BloomingRose Mon 09-Sep-13 14:33:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BloomingRose Mon 09-Sep-13 14:34:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 15:08:35

BloomingRose, you poor thing and well done on getting out! you are right, nothing special but is a father who his son adores and someone I have been with for many years who I would like to be happy. It is like i have seen others say before...if he suddenly found someone else and i knew they were happy, the weight would lift off.

Thanks for tips...will check out some legal advice. I have been dropping hints about a return to UK but he says that would be really tricky and cold but i will work on it. Not sure he will discuss in oz since he hasn't taken opportunity to do so when friends have visited. it may be a bit much for me to write to one of them to ask to speak to him I think since i don't know them well.


Well, you would like to think that your son adores him but you cannot assume that. He is probably confused by this man and how he is at home; he's beginning to this this is normal behaviour for him. His Dad does seemingly nothing much with him either, this man only picks up this child from nursery and that is the zero sum total of his responsibilities.

Your son may well grow up to see his Dad as a lazy bum who treats his mum with contempt. Children pick up on bad vibes all too quickly. He may well look at you as his mother and wonder why you stayed with such a layabout. His relationship with you as a result could well be affected.

Again you mention that you would like your man to be happy. Does your own happiness not matter?. Why is he held up so highly by you?.

You are also not responsible for your man's happiness or lack of. That is purely down to him.

re your comment:-
"I have been dropping hints about a return to UK but he says that would be really tricky and cold but i will work on it".

Her's putting obstacles up already by saying such guff like tricky and cold. He to my mind has no real intention of returning to the UK at all. Also we did have a harsh winter last year but its not the bloody Arctic here temp wise generally.

Jux Mon 09-Sep-13 15:42:54

We're having a beautiful summer here in fact. I have a fantastic tan, and so do most people I know, just from normal day to day activities.

Only he can make himself happy; sadly he seems determined not to be.

MariaLuna Mon 09-Sep-13 15:44:24

i will work on it".

you are flogging a dead horse

Why do you feel responsible for this man's happiness and (non) choices in life?

Your son is going to grow up thinking it's normal for mummy to run herself around ragged keeping it all together while daddy basically sits on his ass and comes up with excuse after excuse not to create an equal team.

Why are you enabling him? The more you do the more he will slump into himself.

FWIW, my mum was a "trailing spouse" and her life was full of activity (no job, SAHM was the norm then) with all kinds of stuff, voluntary work, courses at the local uni, hobbies, gardening, women's get-togethers etc.
- just saying.

Maybe he's just the extremely passive personality type.
sounds like it

Up to you to decide if you want to live like this.

ashleysilver Mon 09-Sep-13 15:54:06

Why do you feel responsible for this man's happiness and (non) choices in life?

Especially when he does not seem to care at all about your happiness? You are clearly unhappy in the relationship. Even I, a stranger on the interent, can see that. What does he do to try and make you happy? Anything?

AnyFucker Mon 09-Sep-13 16:05:35

Yep, just had a great summer weather-wise and apparently we are due an Indian summer with 2 more weeks of mid 20's temps, in September

The UK is not a "cold" place to live, generally

MairzyDoats Mon 09-Sep-13 16:38:52

Not sure if this has been discussed, but what was he like when you first met? Has he ever been proactive, or even romantic?

Dahlen Mon 09-Sep-13 16:57:04

I can sympathise with him struggling to adapt to life in a new country, etc. I'd be inclined to support rather than criticise, and I'd include a period where DS was in nursery rather than being cared for by the SAHP if said SAHP is finding it tough. If it is affordable, that's a good thing to do for the overall good of the family.

However, I'm not at all sure that depression or struggling to adapt is what is going on here.

This is a man who has never bothered to mark his DP's birthday or Christmas.

AnyFucker Mon 09-Sep-13 17:08:12

and, Dahlen, a period of 2 years ???

I don't see why pure lazyness it put down to depression every time.
Some people, men or women, are just that- Lazy, cba, unmotivated, selfish eejits who put themselves before others.

This bloke is taking the piss and is living the life of riley, doing sweet FA whilst she is out a work. The cleaner does the cleaning, the child is looked after by someone else, all paid for by op. I would expect him to shape up or ship out, either he does the cleaning and some child rearing or he goes out to work. There is no excuse for being bone idle, even depression doesn't stop taking on some menial tasks if that is the case.

BloomingRose Mon 09-Sep-13 18:40:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dahlen Mon 09-Sep-13 20:35:05

AF - quite.

Tottie24 Mon 09-Sep-13 21:38:14

Have you asked yourself or tried to visualise yourself and DP in the future, 40 years from now, how do you feel. My mama says you can never change a man, so accept him for who he is or not but it is your choice, after all it maybe safe to assume DP isn't going to do anything about it. Sorry if this sounds harsh.

I imagine that this man is above average in terms of good looks. So throw him out now while he still has his good looks. He'll be on some other woman's doorstep, cock in hand, whining about how misunderstood he is, within days. And your overactive conscience will be clear. If he ends up in a bedsit on his own in 20 years time when the looks have gone, it won't be your problem any more.

kf1979 Tue 10-Sep-13 00:55:31

I'm an expat (HK) who followed DH as a 'trailing spouse' back in 2009. Am guessing from your posts that you're either in the 'Kong or in Sing.

In those first few months as an expat I totally lost my sense of identity. I existed only as 'DH's wife' and struggled to find a job within my previous field before eventually giving up. I was pretty depressed, and when I planned a visit back to the UK alone, DH was pretty certain I wasn't coming back.

However, I didn't have a child at the time, so wallowing in misery and sitting in my pyjamas all day was an option for me. It really shouldn't be for your DH. Having your DS needs to be his motivation to drag himself put of the mire and get on with things. Exploring your new home city with a child in tow is a hassle, but surely they'd both get a lot out of it?

I finally managed to shake off the ennui after a trip home reminded me that things weren't so rosy after all and there was a good reason we'd moved in the first place.

I tried freelancing in a totally different field and - safe in the knowledge that just for once I had the financial backing to try and potentially fail - actually made a go of it. The dabbling became my new career and, in the process, helped me realise that I was entirely responsible for my own happiness and self-worth. Being an expat gives you the unique opportunity to reinvent yourself, and that's why so many trailing spouses end up setting up successful niches for themselves.

I have to say that, although we also now have a helper, there's no way DH would've been stumping up for F/T help to enable me to stay at home in front of the telly all day. In fact, just getting out to buy groceries helped massively as it was the only human contact I had in the early days. Maybe you need to force his hand a little?

WhoDat Tue 10-Sep-13 03:45:57

flying so sorry to say this but I bet he's laughing up his sleeve at you, and will be lording it up back in oz over his cushty life doing SFA while the (non) missus does all the hard slog. Depressed me arse, lazy and entitled more like and of course he doesn't want to go back to the UK because - poof! - there go all the expat perks and he might actually have to turn off the cricket and do something. Don't you cringe when you tell people about him? You deserve so much better, but accept you're part of the problem and cut out the mollycoddling. Ok sure, some people are not dynamic but this THIS is just full on taking the piss cocklodging.

I have to say the fact he has a fucking lie-in on Sundays says it all. I honestly don't know how you can even look at him!?!

SGB yy! I said to myself I bet he's good looking too and has gotten away with murder all his life because of it. Might be wrong but bloody hell I hope you can at least gaze at him OP seeing as he's good for fuck all else.

Hope you make some changes for the better, who knows? A good fright might the making of him smile

ToomuchIsBackOnBootcamp Tue 10-Sep-13 04:48:46

Yes you ARE a mug.

Ultimatum time. But frankly he is unlikely to change, so save yourself another 6 months of his freeloading pisstaking cocklodging and get rid now, after checking the legal advice re DS.

Then get yourself some counselling to help you understand WHY you can let this sort of shit happen without putting firm expectations on your partners behaviour. Otherwise you will be prey to the next wanker who sees you as a ticket to an easy, do fuck all, life on the sofa.

flyingfarfalla Tue 10-Sep-13 05:35:41

thank you SO much. I really appreciate the advice including the harsher comments since I clearly do need a wake up call. I thought I would get one or two comments saying I should stop moaning!!

I spent night unable to eat and with weird caffeine adrenaline feeling in my body which I still have now. when we went to bed and he fell asleep immediately and I lay there crying and worried again I realise that if he is the one who is so upset and depressed then why am I the one trying to change things and feeling so crap?! 2 years is long enough even if you are down and in horrid situation and i agree KF1979 that SD shouldve pulled him through.

we got together when I was 21 and he is 9 years older so seemed very mature, financially independent, had taken bold move of moving abroad and travelling and he did buy some birthday presents back then and take a bit more initiative. I liked having someone who was caring and had just had horrid experience with work colleague who had assaulted me and not much luck with relationships. DO is good looking but not overly so and very short. women tend to see him as. friend and he hasn't had many relationships and i doubt has initiative to have affair or find someone. he would take this very hard.

atm, ds and helper are under impression he works from home. nursery think he is amaaaazing dad since he does pick ups.

flyingfarfalla Tue 10-Sep-13 05:42:35

attilaTheMeercat - why I put his happiness first is a good question. probably an issue with wanting to please people and divers I would have thought if I put myself on couch for a minute!

Tottie24 - good idea. I used to visualise nice plans for future but now realise they are mine and not those of a partnership because he doesn't know what to do or what he wants.

I think he had capacity to improve a bit if i give him specific things to do, tasks etc, micro-manage, nudges and ideas but that would be even MORE emasculating surely?! the process of writing this and getting feedback though makes me feel I have lost respect and real hope of long term change now.

flyingfarfalla Tue 10-Sep-13 05:44:34

"please people and SUCEED" that should have said Attila! as I said, I didn't get much sleep!!

Spree Tue 10-Sep-13 05:48:01

I have been the trailing spouse for many years in Singapore and Malaysia.

Yes, getting a job is harder but not impossible.

I suffered from a loss of confidence when I was repeatedly knocked back for jobs.

But I was applying while looking after 2 DC & when I did finally employ a live in helper, I found temporary and part time work - ok it didn't pay terribly well and was in a completely un-related field but it got me out of the house / child care routine for a while.

7 years into expating - I now do lots of exercise, took up a course to give me a new skill, started and ran my own business.

The posters are right, you are enabling him too much and he hasn't stepped up to the mark and now you've lost respect for him.

If you were going to pay for counselling, pay for some for yourself to help you work out what you want and why you let him get away with doing so little.

flyingfarfalla Tue 10-Sep-13 05:52:17

Thanks Spree, that's very useful. Helps with guilt I have been feeling.

WhoDat Tue 10-Sep-13 05:56:26

I very much doubt your helper thinks he works from home flying You really need to stop being so reasonable and looking at him with these daft rose colored glasses on. Start standing up for yourself, because yes sobbing into your pillow when you are the one who is doing all the work in this relationship is being a mug.

Let him go on holidays, get advice on what your rights are when he's gone (I'm sure you could schedule a phone consult with a UK solicitor while he's away) and then present him with his new reality when he gets back. But, but, but he has to DO IT HIMSELF. Explain why you're unhappy but don't give him options, money, suggestions, wish lists. No more 6mth chats. Lord, that must've been a giddy day for him, another 6mths swinging the lead before he even has to respond! He's like a cocklodging savant confused

flyingfarfalla Tue 10-Sep-13 06:24:54

Fair points and good strategy WhoDat. I am actually back in the UK for work that week so will fix up to see someone then and maybe start job hunting then too.

Lazyjaney Tue 10-Sep-13 07:53:52

LazeyJaney - I do understand where you are coming from so it would be good to know what else you think I can best to do help him

I don't think 2 years is an unreasonable time to be in a flat tailspin as a trailing spouse. Until you've been there you have no clue what it's like, I'd like to see how the cocklodger chorus on this thread would cope. However, I think it is reasonable to start to want to decide how things are going to pan out going forward, the current situation is untenable.

I also don't think it's possible to find work in any meaningful way, and do full on childcare. But at the moment he is doing neither. I think my initial discussions would be on the current situation's unaffordability long term.

Re work, I'd say in Asia its very hard to get more than low paid service work, outside of a structured corporate job (which no one gives a trailing spouse, no one takes them seriously). This really knocks professional peoples' confidence. I know of no Western trailing spouse who got more than a menial job from someone else, those working at high potential all started their own things. By far the majority fell into book clubs, booze and other time soaks however, or went home or to Australia, back into a more Western culture

I do think that emotionally mistreating you is inexcusable though, my question is whether this is a "now" thing or was happening before you went. Ditto crap sex. If it was a before thing, then I think it's a deeper issue and not due to expat pressures per se.

On that theme, I do wonder how much of your issues overall are due to expat pressures and how much was there before. If its all happened while you're expats, and you really want what was a good relationship to go back to what it was, then it's a different decision to one you'd make if you think it was coming to a close and the expat life has just exacerbated it.

Also, if you are going to split, think carefully about where. I think the complexity of doing it in a 3rd country is huge. Also, if you want custody, it's very hard to do that working without family support in a foreign environment.

flyingfarfalla Tue 10-Sep-13 08:50:49

LazeyJaney..I think you are right that when it started does make a difference to how best to deal with the situation and what is doable. He definitely did contribute more such as making meals and cleaning but he has always struggled making decisions. He hasn't bought presents for years (says is not sure what to get and i think now worries that because he doesnt pay for it he shouldn't get which i have said is silly). He did get worse when DS was born. I took mat leave and then went back 4 days a week but he still found it rather draining having a child and DS has been a bit of an excuse for him..we can't go on that day trip because he needs a nap or moving back to the UK would be tricky because of sorting schools. he raises problems but never solutions or ideas to talk through and it is difficult to get him to express a view. he has definitely got worse since we got here. On reflection I also think though that because we are here alone with little social life (he doesn't like to go out really) it means the problems are now undiluted by other distractions and people and the problems of how different we are become all the more stark.

Originally we were moving to oz since we both wanted to try another country but as the move got closer I realised he hadn't done any planning for somewhere to live or schools or jobs and so when Asia came up for my job it seemed safer option and he seemed relieved in part not to have responsibility. Thank goodness now that we didn't move there!!

I think posters are right that we should move back to UK since that would make me happier and better I'd we do split. If he really wants me to be happy he would. It feels a bit underhand but I can't see other way.

Hi flyingfarfalla,

I would suggest you read "Women who love too much" written by Robin Norwood as well as reading up on co-dependency.

I would not call this man a "trailing" anything let alone spouse at all; he simply does not fit that description.

Even the "trailing spouses" that LazeyJaney writes about are doing something with their lives; your man is doing nothing and contributes nothing. She is right on one point; this current situation is indeed untenable. You do not even get a birthday card from this man.

Your man likely will not want to go back to the UK at all; he's already put up (weak) barriers to it saying that its cold here etc.

I have to look at your behaviours as well; why have you allowed this to happen and for so long now?. Hence the above reading suggestions. Think you were taught by your own parents to people please as well. I also wonder what you learnt about relationships when growing up - that needs your consideration as well.

flyingfarfalla Tue 10-Sep-13 09:36:25

Thanks for the recommendation to check out the Amazon store now...

This has definitely been pretty eye-opening for me and so useful. Like a turn through a spindryer but in a good way. Mumsnet is awesome.

I think in your shoes I would be very tempted to get you all back to the UK before making any final decisions. You can give your relationship one last go without the expat complications, and you will be in a far better position for custody if you do split. I know he doesn't want to go, but if you are no longer willing to accept and fund the current setup, he doesn't have much of a choice -- unless he gets off the couch and does something to change your mind, like get a job.

Lazyjaney Tue 10-Sep-13 10:46:29

Even the "trailing spouses" that LazeyJaney writes about are doing something with their lives; your man is doing nothing and contributes nothing. She is right on one point; this current situation is indeed untenable. You do not even get a birthday card from this man

It takes quite a long time to sort yourself out as the trailing spouse, if you've never been there you'll never understand it. Maybe read some of the Overseas threads on MN and elsewhere where it's women talking about the trailing spouse problems to get a view of the issues and then take a view of where your DP is compared to others.

The truth is that very few actually manage to do something to hugely advance their lives. A major positive outcome for a trailing spouse is rare, marking time/small diversions or retreat in some way is more common. Alcohol, adultery and ennui is the stereotype, for good reason

MN Relationships also tends to go in for man-kicking in a big way, which blurs the issues here IMO - If the sexes were reversed here these selfsame people would be telling the trailing spouse that their working partner was a selfish arse swanning off to a glamorous job, and to leave the bastard (or just go home and bank the cheques) and take the child back into the warm embrace of a family support network etc etc. Which is quite a common expat outcome in fact.

Somewhere between the "cocklodger who needs to be yoked to the crappy jobs" narrative on this thread, and the reverse narrative above, is where reality lies here. Id also ignore any cod psychology books, you'll always find one that tells you that youre right.

But, from what you've just written OP I think the relationship was slowly moving on it's way out the door before you left. Doing an expat stint, like having a child, puts huge pressure on a relationship and is far more likely to break it than bring people together. Splitting up while in the expat country is IMO a very bad idea for a whole bunch of reasons. I think if I were in your shoes, I'd be thinking of getting back to thevUK before doing anything drastic.

BranchingOut Tue 10-Sep-13 11:26:05

I agree that you need to get back to either the UK or Aus (if you think there is a chance of making a life there). But if you go to Aus, you need to be aware of the ramnifications if you do split.

I think that the impact of the expat lifestyle has been underestimated by some people posting on this thread. I have not been an expat, but I have stayed with a friend in one of the big expat city centres - living in their home, 'helper' and all. I am quite left wing politically, but even during a short stay I experienced the peculiar 'deadening' effect of knowing that I never had to walk anywhere because a taxi was cheaper than chips, knowing that often someone was standing by a door ready to open it for me, having someone else wash my clothes before I even remembered they were dirty and being aware of the huge differences betwen the expats, wealthy locals and those 'in service'. It made me uncomfortable and I was glad to get back to real life after the trip, but I could see how easily it would be to be lulled by the environment into a way of life that was not true to myself.

Just for comparison purposes in terms of what level of activity might be reasonable for him, a few years' ago I was job-seeking with a young child for about 10 months. In that time I did 17 full applications, including filling in detailed forms and, where I got through, attending challenging interviews with presentations and excercises. I also made around 50 well-targeted speculative applications, volunteered once a week and also carried out some freelance work. I had one day a week childcare from a family member, plus nap time and could book some ad-hoc nanny hours to cover my voluntary work and any interviews - but did not do that unless there was a good reason due to cost. So he does have plenty of time to do something during nursery hours - even if it is just some voluntary work.

I think the main thing that would bother me is that he doesnt seem to be interested in anything. He is scarcely living, tbh. hmm

noobieteacher Tue 10-Sep-13 11:53:17

You are lucky to have the uk or Oz to choose from. At least then it's possible for you both to have work and share childcare. Would the gps on both sides be helpful if you moved nearby?

flyingfarfalla Tue 10-Sep-13 12:06:57

I know noobie...very lucky. It would be much harder for me to get work in oz in what I do and his parents are elderly and his sisters don't like me very much (one accused me of giving DS an eating disorder once shock ). In UK yes, my parents and sister would be very supportive. It would mean big step down in career and income but that is no biggie if happier and it is something that clearly needs to be done.

I agree with previous post that some of these expat cities are very odd indeed!

flyingfarfalla Tue 10-Sep-13 12:20:45

BranchingOut - I think I can safely say there is just a liiiiiiitle difference in input this end to yours! I wrote his last application cover letter since he does find paperwork hard but yes, the bigger issue for both of us is that he doesn't want to do anything really.

noobieteacher Tue 10-Sep-13 12:57:24

Your DS would be starting school soon, primary schools here in the uk are really excellent now. Your son will have a good start and be closer to relatives. Work and housing are a nightmare here, as you probably know, but for children everything is fairly rosy. Most schools have after school clubs and breakfast clubs which also helps.

What a strange world modern expat life must be. Sounds like the colonial days.

NettleTea Tue 10-Sep-13 13:23:34

My abuse radar is pretty high, but something about this post is making me question that.
I am wondering whether there is a chance that your DP might be on the autistic spectrum. Look into Aspergers as a possibility.
Your need to micro manage to get him to do stuff.
The fact that he doesnt seem to actually realise what he should/shouldnt do.
The IT background (!!)
The stress about routines and panic when the child came along.
The initial present buying (because thats what you are SUPPOSED to do in a relationship) which has dwindled
The fear and incapacity when faced with demands and ultimatums.
And the fact that underneath he doesnt seem as if he is setting out to hurt you. He just seems in total limbo.

I may be barking up completely the wrong tree, but may be worth a consideration. You may not get him to accept or investigate though, just to be warned.

Being a "trailing spouse" or "expat" does not give the OPs man any right to do nothing all day long except to watch cricket and pick up the child from nursery. Expat or not he is currently an extremely poor role model to his child.

OP cannot surely be expected to carry this man any more due to him also being an expat who may or may not have problems adjusting.

deXavia Tue 10-Sep-13 14:28:58

I think that now you've opened your eyes to this it will be hard to get back to an equal partnership - or even an unequal but acceptable partnership. Honestly even if he started to make an effort - is this the man you see yourself with in 20/30/40 years?

I've seen many trailing spouses - of both sexes - end up in this situation, this paralysis, but it could be he always had this tendency but some of the social norms in the Expat bubble have just made them more extreme.

Maybe moving back to the UK will jolt him out of that - maybe it won't. So the one thing you may want to consider in this is staying in Asia- subject to custody and legals -you've a good job, live in help and probably excellent schools if you're in one of the big expat centers. I don't know if your parents are still good for travelling? I was joking the other day to DH that if he died (admittedly a very bad joke) I'd actually stay here because despite the outrageous rents and lack of family I could keep my good job and have child care 24 hours a day (the irony of many spouse not working is that childcare is very available and obviously flexible). Anyway just another idea to consider ....

Lazyjaney Tue 10-Sep-13 15:32:15

Being a "trailing spouse" or "expat" does not give the OPs man any right to do nothing all day long except to watch cricket and pick up the child from nursery. Expat or not he is currently an extremely poor role model to his child

You do realise most trailing spouses are women, and they do exactly this with the probable exception of watching cricket why do that when there is gin ?

Are they also poor role models, or is it just the stay at home men?

I think those that have never done this don't realize the whole expat system is not designed for the trailing spouse to work, typically makes it very hard in fact.

A lot of trailing women - the usual trailing spouse - would by this stage have had a reverse discussion, saying they cant put up with the expat lifestyle, and many go back home, taking the kids with them.

The DP here has not coped well, but he is not an outlier. Of more concern is the way he treats the OP, which increasingly seems to have been a feature before they left.

There are no indications that this man is bored or unhappy, though. He wants to stay put, with his fat arse on the sofa, contributing fuck all, indefinitely.

Expatriate or not there is no justification for his actions and lack of around the home.

He has not wanted to do anything; OP has ended up buying in outside help to make up the shortfall. I also do not think he will want to go back to the UK as he has already put up barriers to doing so by saying such guff like "tricky" and "cold".

He is certainly a poor role model to his child, how can OP expect to carry him any longer?.

Lostinspace1 Tue 10-Sep-13 16:19:14

I see where Lazyjaney is coming from but I think he really hasn't helped the situation by also not being able to handle childcare. I think expat wives (thinking of my mum here) tend to be more hands on with their kids. Could be a hideous generalisation...

He sounds very depressed. I think Cognitive Therapy might help to motivate him and think more positively.

WhoDat Tue 10-Sep-13 16:34:31

I am a trailing spouse too actually and I completely stand by my cocklodger assessment. The majority of partners I've met are interesting well rounded individuals with plenty going on in their lives and who contribute in a meaningful way to their relationship. Considering he has quite mobile job skills I see no reason why he hasn't found something. Where is his pride? How did I know "he's not very good at paperwork"?!? Surprise surprise. He managed before you came along, you can bet he'd get off his arse quick smart when the gravy train took off without him.

Two years is about the time needed to settle properly so really if he was going to, he would've by now. Really something has to change OP. Going home may indeed be the best option, and I would definitely start calling the shots on that score. I can see you want it to work OP, but you can't do it alone. I hope it all works out for you, you must be so lonely sad

Jux Tue 10-Sep-13 16:45:36

Can he study, get a qualification and be ready then for when he really does have to get a job? Wherever you live eventually, you won't be where you are now forever and when you do get to your permanent country he'll have to do something. Better to study now while he has loads of time and ready for that eventuality.

flyingfarfalla Wed 11-Sep-13 05:09:20

WhoDat - yes, pretty lonely sad. It is partly what triggers realising that a relationship is in trouble when you realise you can't actually talk to the person who should be your partner, companion and best friend anymore. I also work with all male colleagues (whose spouses do all work and one is writing a book but of course I appreciate that doesn't mean it is easy for everyone) and who I can't talk to. I agree something has to change and that it will need to be me triggering it.

Jux - absolutely but he doesn't want to and hasn't followed up on my suggestions which is a reason I am losing patience. At one point he said that he would like to start a business with me (which got me really pleased and optimistic that he was getting better!) but then he said that I would need to come up with the idea since he doesn't have any! That made me really angry and I explained that he is the one with the time to plan and think of one rather than me and that lots and lots of effort needs to go into these things if it is what you really want to do. I also then thought that the fact that he is so undynamic in that and leaving it to me again immediately makes me think that taking on the risk of running a business together with him would be a crazy idea and it was a good warning! I suggested that maybe he could do a bookeeping course since that is a nice general thing to do and would put him in good standing if he did want to start a business in the future. He seemed interested but hasn't followed it up in any way. These kinds of conversations have all contributed to me giving up hope now.

NettleTea - My instincts are the same that (although hugely letting me down and being lazy in contrast to most) he is not deliberately trying to hurt me which is why I find it so hard to turn my back on it and walk away - I still have the sense of obligation and abandoning him in trouble even though I rather want to start a new life now. I suspect there may be depression/anxiety/other issues at play but he won't see anyone and says there aren't. However it is pretty clear to me from this thread and all the advice that my behaviour is enabling his now and I need to do something drastic. legal advice to know position there seems like the sensible first step.

Today I have set him task of making an autumn lantern for DS since he needs to make one for nursery and it is something I would usually do on the weekend or late at night myself. He said "er - ok." so we will see how that goes!

hesterton Wed 11-Sep-13 06:49:36

He sounds emotionally paralysed almost - he embraces powerlessness and ineffectiveness. His passiveness is extraordinary. Reading through your posts makes me want to set an alarm by his head and wake him up.

You sound like you have tried everything and been patient well beyond the call of duty. I really hope things work out for you - this isn't what you deserve at all.

Any grounded partner enjoying the time, space and resources he has at his disposal because of a spouse as generous and kind as you would be at the very least preparing a cake and special tea for your birthday.

flyingfarfalla Wed 11-Sep-13 07:30:26

Thank you Hesterton...I appreciate the kind words. It is very odd behaviour isn't it?! When my sister and husband were staying with us and it was mothers day, her DH bought her a present from her DS and then kindly bought one for me from mine since DP hadn't! DP said he felt bad but then when my birthday came round...nothing again. When a friend of mine died recently...nothing again. When i sound off about work he listens and nods and appears to get cross on my part but no suggestions or a big hug or anything. Yet I still honestly do think he loves us but can't act normally to show it because of this weird paralysis.

LessMissAbs Wed 11-Sep-13 08:19:51

Perhaps he doesn't buy you birthday etc presents because he would be using your money to buy them, so in fact it would be like you paying for your own presents? That's quite logical on his part, actually.

(I assume he doesn't have a private income and he uses your joint account for money).

I really don't see why he would need to do courses to find a job. If he has relatively recent work experience in IT, its usually possible to find work of some kind. Since he is abroad, he really is in the ideal industry. I think the "not liking IT" is a smokescreen. For his own inertia.

His behaviour might not be deliberately hurtful but it is unsympathetic, selfish and lacking in sympathy. Even if it is possible he might be AS, he is still difficult to live with. Whether you want to do more/continue is entirely up to you. I take it you didn't get together originally with the idea that he would live sponge off you?

flyingfarfalla Wed 11-Sep-13 08:45:37

LesMissAbs - yes I did think that too. I don't buy big things for him, more little thoughtful things and i have told him I am happy with a bottle of wine or chocolate really! It is more an example of something that i have told him is important to me (also like planning for future or even thinking of another child) that he is unable for some reason to really engage with.

No, I don't think it is something I can put up with anymore. Scary....

noobieteacher Wed 11-Sep-13 09:42:41

This is really interesting (and sadly familiar).

He isn't ill. He isn't doing it to hurt you. He isn't mean or stingy. He's not depressed. He's not incapable or without skills.

Yet he won't commit or make plans. He won't buy gifts, help with childcare, earn, reassure, support.

What all of these have in common is a refusal to give anything of himself to you. Perhaps this is how to put it to him- that it is his choice to refuse the very things that are essential in a relationship.

Let him work out why he is making these choices.

That's true, noobie.

You can tie yourself in knots trying to figure out why he's like this and how to get things to change. But you will probably never know. And the most important thing is the effect of his behaviour on his family.

Why do you say you can't talk to your male colleagues?

flyingfarfalla Wed 11-Sep-13 10:38:06

I have been tying myself in knots with this you are totally right and it is also right that the answers will only come from him now I guess. I just need to time the conversation right given potential legal issues that have been pointed out and hope it doesn't break him.

Unfortunately my colleagues are very alpha male and i can't talk to them about personal issues but also since this may involve a decision to leave the business we have been building and a team I lead to go back home. It makes it a bit more isolating. It's why it has been so very useful to get all your input. Thanks again.

Ah I see. That really sucks. I hope you can get some good info and maybe some new perspective when you go back to the UK.

Just really, don't feel guilty. You have been incredibly patient and supportive for quite a long time now, longer than a lot of people would have, and I don't think you have anything to feel guilty about. You are his partner, not his parent. It's not your job to make him fit for purpose. You are supposed to be walking through this life together, you shouldn't have to be dragging him along.

BranchingOut Wed 11-Sep-13 14:52:20

I think your first step of leaving him to do the lantern is a useful one. Has anything happened, or are the paper and pens still in the drawer? hmm

Between now and the time he goes away for the trip, just do less and watch what happens. See if he fills the space.

Jux Wed 11-Sep-13 14:55:51

What dreaming says is absolutely right. You can't keep taking responsibility for him. I wonder if you were to step back would he step up? Not sure how you'd do it, mind you.

mistlethrush Wed 11-Sep-13 15:08:54

Awaiting news of the 'finished lantern' with interest.

DH was unemployed for 14mo - fairly depressed with it (company he worked for went under), and not getting jobs he applied for as he was over qualified. Every week he was sending off at least 2 targetted applications. Most weeks it was more like 10 - 20. He was also doing the pick-ups and sorting the meals out as I went back to work FT as a result of his job-loss. He's back in work now and still helping out with DS and the house.

flyingfarfalla Wed 11-Sep-13 15:12:31

Ha! Good idea. It will also be a useful discipline for me re enabling habit.

No sign of a lantern this evening when i got home but he did mention doing it to DS who has requested a monkey one so this could get there is all the Christmas planning just around the corner to do too!

flyingfarfalla Wed 11-Sep-13 15:20:50

Mistlethrush - wow, that was tough going for your DH and good on him. Certainly a good marker of the comparative lack of effort this end. It is like DP assumes he will fail/not achieve what i have done (although I tell him that's silly and am first to point out my weaknesses) so doesn't bother. Grrr.

So what has this man done today?. He's had all day to make this lantern for your child and still nada.

BTW when does this lantern have to be made by?. Don't you dare end up making it yourself!!!.

flyingfarfalla Wed 11-Sep-13 15:27:27

Attila - he did take DS (who is on hold this week) to the swimming pool but helper appears to have looked after DS in the morning angry . I was tempted to pick up some art supplies and i did look up a YouTube video on making lanterns I admit but i will be strong and see this as a personal test too!!

flyingfarfalla Wed 11-Sep-13 15:28:36

oh and lantern needs to be handed in next Wednesday so there is still time....Maybe he can do it while I have a lie in on Sunday.

The impression that I get of this man only worsens the more I read about him.

BranchingOut Wed 11-Sep-13 17:10:01

No, all you do for this lantern is look forward to seeing it!

AnyFucker Wed 11-Sep-13 20:26:57

You will make the lantern

And you will do all the xmas planning

because he has opted out and can't be arsed, and he knows that you will do it so ds isn't upset

WhoDat Thu 12-Sep-13 01:06:40

I bet you any money AF Remind him by all means but don't do it for him. You doing it for him is why you are where you are. Hang tough flying

flyingfarfalla Thu 12-Sep-13 11:41:50

Day 2 of lantern lantern.

BranchingOut Thu 12-Sep-13 11:43:26

Just keep sitting on your hands. If you find yourself reaching for the scissors, just stop!

Jux Thu 12-Sep-13 12:57:28

Can op ask about the lantern, what it's going to be like, what they're going to make it out of, what colour, etc, or is that too micro-managing or something (just thinking that that's what I would do if dh and dd were making something together).

flyingfarfalla Thu 12-Sep-13 13:03:44

Jux - I agree that would be a nice thing to do but i kind of feel that he knows it needs to be done and that he is responsible for it now so he can just bloody do it (or not). I'm also bit concerned that if i start a discussion about it he will end up asking for help directly.

Good grief this sounds so ridiculous but there's kind of a lot riding on that lantern now!grin

It's often the tiny things that finally reveal the bigger truth. You'll end up making the lantern yourself, for DS' sake, but at least you will know that this man is too idle and selfish to put himself out for his own son, and hopefully it will be the last bit of proof you need to make you take action and put him out.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Thu 12-Sep-13 14:03:01

If this was a film, you'd make the lantern next Tuesday night by candlelight. It would have your divorce lawyers number carved into it, and then the film would cut to you and Ds driving down the road in a convertible.

AnyFucker Thu 12-Sep-13 16:15:32

And when you make the lantern, and it's purpose has been served, you can serve his marching orders with it

Jux Thu 12-Sep-13 18:28:18

grin RichManPoorMan.

Let's hope we're all wrong.

deXavia Fri 13-Sep-13 00:43:20

grin RichMan

He is going to fail the 'Lantern Test' and sadly he will always believe that you dumped him for a paper lantern.

flyingfarfalla Fri 13-Sep-13 02:04:58

Keeping that image in my mind RichMan grin

deXavia - absolutely a covert test this one....IF he fails (will try and give benefit of doubt although currently he is still in bed and it is 9am here now so helper has taken him to playpark whilst I work from home today...WTF), then he won't ever know about it. It will just be an important switch flicking moment in my head.

deXavia Fri 13-Sep-13 04:00:50

I suspect the switch has already flipped. When this thread started I sort of hoped it was just a case of chivvying along - I guess projection on my side as we know friends here and I suspect the husbands could write similar posts hmm
But as its developed it does seem to be more terminal and honestly even if he does the lantern I think it would be very hard to come back from where your thoughts are now.

Lazyjaney Fri 13-Sep-13 07:35:48

I felt the same deXavia, this could have been me and I knew of quite a few trailing wives that fitted this bill, and i do think he is in a typical trailing spouse tailspin.

But it also became clear upthread that the issues around this relationship were occurring before the expat stint, it's just exacerbated them - so going back to the UK won't fix the relationship, and that IMO makes the path clear.

I wouldn't act hastily OP, until you've sorted out the legals though.

Lazyjaney Fri 13-Sep-13 07:37:00

BTW i did a bit of reading around the topic, even in Singapore (the easiest Asian posting to find work) in 2011 only c 15% of trailing spouses found any work and that was quite often because the expat company helped out. IT is very difficult, many people thought skills would be very transferable but they aren't. It's all got worse since the recession. The "system" is designed for trailing spouses to look after the kids, and do unpaid/barely paid make-work to keep sane. SAHP cope far better, working partners are the most prone to depression etc. Many stints either end early or the trailing spouse goes home early. It's no picnic.

flyingfarfalla Fri 13-Sep-13 08:19:08

Gosh LazeyJaney, that is worse than I thought so useful to bear in mind, thanks, and Yup we are in Singers. Definitely tough going being an expat. I am definitely sympathetic but what i find most weird/annoying is that he says he WANTS to work (could be IT or events/conferences) but hasn't really TRIED to (so its not like he has been turned down by more than say 4 jobs so far and not even at interview stage and I doubt he has done the research you have). Likewise he will say he wants to do a course but then doesn't look into it, or he says he will start running and just goes twice or he seems to absolutely want to be with us but doesn't show it in way others might or I ask if he wants to leave and he doesn't seem to want to. Odd.

mistlethrush Fri 13-Sep-13 08:24:35

Flying... look at it from his perspective. Someone is paying all the bills to allow him to slob around. He doesn't even need to really do much to care for his own child - someone else picks that up too. And, even when suggestions are made and deadlines set for him to do something, nothing happens if he doesn't meet them, and things continue as before, allowing him a life of luxury when he can watch the football or the cricket without having a care in the world. There's nothing in it for him to change if that's the life that he's happy to have.

Not odd really, this current arrangement suits him no end. He has a cushy number. You bring in all the money and he is quite happy to do next to nothing, there are others to do these jobs for him. He is a master at saying one thing whilst really meaning another.

Where you are situated now is immaterial really, if he was in the UK he'd act exactly the same.

Still no lantern from him I see, no surprise there. You'll be the one making it for your son come Tuesday.

flyingfarfalla Fri 13-Sep-13 08:36:06

No, no lantern yet....

I see where you are both coming from but I don't think he really is entirely happy and loving it (but i agree I also haven't given him impetus to do much). He also doesn't have the kind of energy and drive to be a calculating person.But since he won't do anything about this to make himself or US happier I realise now i can't entirely blame myself for that or change him.

deXavia Fri 13-Sep-13 08:44:49

I think the expat thing makes a difference just because in the uk you wouldn't have the (frankly cheap) help. So the person at home may not wish to go back to work or be lazy but their spouse would have to earn a very big wage to afford the same level of help so they would still do the basics.

Where we are everyone has a helper, and quite a few spouses don't work and you see some genuinely lovely people just drifting along. Maybe they miss one school run, then it becomes a few times a week then its every day. I think if the tendency to procrastinate or be a bit lazy was there before then the expat life just magnifies it. It's very hard to explain how easy it is to become removed from real life - I guess why many people call it a bubble.

BranchingOut Fri 13-Sep-13 14:25:37

I think that your immediate solution might be to talk about no longer using the helper - I know that this is her livelihood, which makes it all the harder...

But for many people the less they do -the less they want to do, iykwim.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Fri 13-Sep-13 16:17:13

He sounds far more helpless than your child. The fact that you suggested the holiday, organised and paid for it, when you're not even going, says it all really. Let alone the fact that you offered to move to Australia and he cuoldn't be arsed to move a little finger to make that happen. Unbelievable.

You truly will look back in wonder at what you put up with.

Havea0 Fri 13-Sep-13 16:37:48

Latr to this thread.

I dont know if this link will shed any light on things for you?

noobieteacher Sun 15-Sep-13 10:25:39

Hi OP, I see a different angle to this now, sice seeing the link about psychological paralysis and the post about the reality of being a trailing spouse.

My mother was a trailing spouse, in a different era, but she told me she could never understand why the others would sit together at coffee mornings or cocktail parties while the staff enjoyed the company of their children. She actually wanted to spend time with her dcs, often having others over to look after.

There is a point on these type of threads where I get to want to know how the children feel in all of this. Try to bear in mind how your son feels when both his parents can't or won't spend time with him. It may feel like rejection and that can be hugely damaging. Most parent go through a point where thay are so exhausted they just want a break, but ideally they should be wanting to spend as much time with them as possible. Perhaps explaining to dp how it feels to your son when Daddy prefers his own bed to him, might put it in perspective.

BranchingOut Sun 15-Sep-13 12:37:05

Any news on the lantern?

flyingfarfalla Sun 15-Sep-13 12:50:20

No lantern has been made yet but he did pick up a free one they were handing out at the shopping center and i think intends to use that!

However, I did have a much longer and bigger chat with him last night and we are agreed on moving back to the UK. He also did agree that he is rather paralysed and finds the imbalance really hard to deal with and i said I do too obviously. He desperately still wants a job and yet I checked and his linkedIn isn't up to date even so i still have some frustration as well as sympathy. He is definitely struggling though and I will send him that link tomorrow so thanks for that.

At least a move back to the UK will be better for me and DS and legal situation if things don't work but could also well be remaking of him and i think given uncertainty of what is going on his head, that will be fairest on him.

BranchingOut Sun 15-Sep-13 12:54:27

Hooray on the move back to the uk - I think that sounds like the best decision.

I think that you should carry on with giving him more responsibility, as obviously he needs to get used to this prior to coming back.

flyingfarfalla Sun 15-Sep-13 13:01:49

noobie...yes, definitely ds is a prime concern in this. Fortunately he actually gets to spend more time with his parents currently than when we were in the UK but I agree there is a difference when a parent is visibly choosing bed or being on their phone to interacting with them. I have been quite careful with what I say to him given his current potential state so haven't accused or pointed out some of these specific problems but talked more in the abstract about the impact on each three of us individually and as a couple and family unit if current situation continues. Will see how that goes.

Have tasked him with mortgage research for this week.

whitesugar Sun 15-Sep-13 13:40:08

Delighted to hear you are moving. I recommend that you get yourself some counselling to try to understand why you are putting so much energy into making someone else happy at a cost to your own happiness. Reading Women Who Love Too Much is a good start. I know from experience that I did what you are doing because deep down I didn't think I was worthy of a loving partner who would support me. I generally went for men who needed me in some way. Its hard to admit but it did make me feel good when I was helping them. The thing is none of the men ever got off their arses anyway so all I was doing was trying to make myself feel better by being needed.

I saw a counsellor who gently suggested to me that being with men with no ambition or drive made me feel superior and worthwhile. This was not easy to hear but it was the truth. I am working on my self esteem issues and am determined that if I ever get into a relationship again it will be with someone who isnt broken and doesn't need me to fix them.

Mums on this site recommended the link below called baggage reclaim. It has some very excellent advice.

I wish you well and would love to hear that you have decided to focus on yourself for a change so that you don't keep getting into relationships like you are in now. You really do deserve a lot more. Good luck.

From your post of last Wednesday:-

"No sign of a lantern this evening when i got home but he did mention doing it to DS who has requested a monkey one so this could get there is all the Christmas planning just around the corner to do too!"

He could not even knock up a blooming lantern from scratch, the lazy arse. Your son will instead have to use this freebie one handed out at the shopping centre. Its a poor show isn't it?.

You already have one child, you do not need a second one to look after whilst you slog away.

I would put a crisp fiver on it as well that he does nothing on researching mortgages this week either.

I have to look at your own behaviour here; why have you allowed this to go on for so long. I think the response made by whitesugar actually has some bearing also in truth. I would also add that this man is not your project to rescue and or save, tasking him to do something makes him sound like you are the parent.

Havea0 Sun 15-Sep-13 14:52:39

Depression is an illness.

Plenty of women get it too. Should they be left too?

KatyTheCleaningLady Sun 15-Sep-13 14:54:37

Has he been diagnosed with depression?

Havea0 Sun 15-Sep-13 14:55:32

Attila are you married? I often see you on the relationships board trying to prise people away from their marriages, yet I never see you speaking about your own relationship. I dont think that you have children either?

He has stated that he does not have depression and importantly is not willing to seek any help for this. Depression as well is a clinically made dx; not a default setting for lack of drive. Other posters have suggested similarly along those lines so why target me so?.

You may not like my opinion but I have every right to express it so please grant me that basic courtesy.

Whatever made you think I do not have children?. My relationship is fine thank you for asking and I am both married and a parent. I certainly do not prise people away from their marriages, whatever gave you that idea. Such an assertion is uncalled for and without any foundation as well as baseless. Many people on here as well who do write about problematic relationships usually have put up with same for a long time.

KatyTheCleaningLady Sun 15-Sep-13 15:19:13

I think the op is doing well. Moving back to the UK gives her husband a chance to improve his situation, and they're on even ground should she need to issue an ultimatum. The ultimatum can include seeing a doctor.

I would say that a woman who does nothing, and refuses to see a doctor, even, should be left.

whitesugar Sun 15-Sep-13 15:34:32

Attila I find your posts illuminating and honest. Surely we are all qualified to voice our opinion whether or not we are married or have children.

Anyway this is of little help to the OP who I hope has received helpful advice here.

Jux Sun 15-Sep-13 20:15:10

Atilla, I find your posts helpful and informed. I have often read one of yours and thought how well you have expressed something I've been trying to form into words.

Farfalla, good news on the return to UK decision. How long do you expect that to come into effect?

AnyFucker Sun 15-Sep-13 20:21:08

OP, I think it is a good idea to move back to the UK, whatever happens to your relationship

I find it a great shame though, that you are forced to do that by the inaction of your partner because I assume the move to Singapore was good for your career ?

So, once again, you take the hit and he is sitting on his arse pretty

haveA get off Attila's case

or go start a thread about how MN'ers are always trying to wreck relationships...they are ten a fucking penny at the moment

FWIW lazy, entitled, selfish partners wreck relationships, not posters on MN who are giving their opinion when asked for it

sassyandsixty Sun 15-Sep-13 22:06:09

Sorry, but what does he think his life is about/for exactly? He seems to have lost his way quite badly. What used to motivate him, excite him, made him tick etc? He has to take charge of himself and his own life and not expect others to hand it to him on a plate. He has to create his own life. Sorry - not very helpful. Good luck.

flyingfarfalla Mon 16-Sep-13 06:53:09

Thanks everyone - some more useful insights and suggestions again and thank you for sharing your experiences whitesugar. I will be trying to speak to someone this week if I can.

Yes, it is a shame to be abandoning career here which has been hard work developing and going home isn't all pluses since I will likely have to commute a long way for a smaller salary and see less of DS and I agree also that this is me taking action again and not him changing. BUT, I have to do this since it seems that there is a real risk on the custody side if we did stay here and did split (greater than if we were back in the UK although both could be tricky), we are both unhappy right now and being back in the 'real world' with friends and family is very important to me and what I need and career and income doesn't compete with that ultimately. Also, since there does appear to be a potential chance that he is actually ill (although denying it at the moment - maybe because he doesn't actually realise it) it does give him a chance to improve/get better. Previously we were going to review staying here next September but I have now expedited things -not least since applications for infant school for DS would need to be in in mid-January in some places so I am currently working on what would be viable financially and within the time period in order to do it much sooner.

It isn't great being 'parent' setting tasks, no, but I am trying to do it in a more subtle way that I wuold hope a partnership to involve. For example rather than just saying he has to or I expect him to do the research this week, I have said "clearly it will need a lot of work and planning to do this move so how about I take the schools research this week and you do the mortgage research?" so it is more a sharing of tasks. Just trying out different things though so quite possible this could well fail and be too subtle though I recognise!!

Lazyjaney Mon 16-Sep-13 07:34:06

OP I think that's the common expat conundrum, job and lifestyle much better, but many trailing partners go a bit doolally.

In your case though it seems like quite a lot of this was happening before you went out, so it may be worth cutting to a likely end game if you'd prefer to stay. As a matter of interest, if your OH had the option of custody, would he take it?

flyingfarfalla Mon 16-Sep-13 07:49:54

LazeyJaney - yes, I think there is a risk he would and especially since I think his family would encourage it. Not a risk worth taking.

flyingfarfalla Mon 16-Sep-13 11:45:15

Lantern update.....It has been done!

However, less positive is it IS the free one from the shopping center with a few random splodges of paint on it. Prob took 10 min max. I told him it was lazy. He said DS didn't want to do one with him.

AnyFucker Mon 16-Sep-13 11:54:31

So he blames his laziness on his son ?

That's a low trick

Your son probably has him sussed for the halfhearted, selfish person that he is

AnyFucker Mon 16-Sep-13 11:54:50

...which is why he wasn't keen about doing stuff with him

flyingfarfalla Mon 16-Sep-13 11:58:53

AF - yes. No surprise ds did not want to do something so dull at 5.30pm after a full Monday at nursery. Making a monkey lantern from scratch together whilst on holiday last week or at the weekend when it is a fun task together rather than a chore would be another matter. Am almost more cross than if had not bothered at all.

Jux Mon 16-Sep-13 12:00:52

Did you say upthread that DS wanted a monkey lantern? Maybe dh couldn't envisage it, so just did whatever. DS probably sensed his disinterest and turned off from it, knowing he wasn't going to get what he wanted anyway. sad

flyingfarfalla Mon 16-Sep-13 12:18:15

yes Jux.sad sad sad

BranchingOut Mon 16-Sep-13 12:28:09

Ok, well, encourage him to do whatever it is the next thing that needs to be done is. Rome wasn't lit in a day...(see my lantern reference there!)

Does he understand that it is not so much the end product but the process of making it together which is so important?

Think your DS is very perceptive; you could learn from your son.

I would also argue that if he had not picked up this freebie lantern from the shopping centre there would be no lantern of any sort.

AnyFucker Mon 16-Sep-13 12:35:32

As a general rule, I do find that children suss people out very well indeed, because they don't have all the societal crap and pressure about how we must always excuse men and always put them first and foremost

kids don't know any of that bollocks (yet)

unfortunately, your son is having those damaging lessons rammed home waaaay before he should have to be confronting them

flyingfarfalla Mon 16-Sep-13 12:43:01

ds doesnt seem to be bothered...which somehow makes it sadder actually.

AnyFucker Mon 16-Sep-13 12:49:11

Yes, ds probably lowered his expectations to zero a long time ago

he took his cue from you (sorry, love)

If someone else was telling you all this and you flyingfarfalla were on the outside looking in, would you actually think this couple were now together purely out of habit?.

flyingfarfalla Mon 16-Sep-13 13:01:18

No. I would think it was a relationship which had progressively got into trouble over a period of several years and where the mum was trying very hard to balance her own feelings and interests of a child with those of a partner who is struggling and could be depressed (we still don't know) and where the consequences of doing something rash could mean she loses her child. And all in the context of living the other side of the world to her family and friends and trying to juggle demanding job. It isn't actually that clear cut. Wish it was.

flyingfarfalla Sat 21-Sep-13 04:18:09

Update for anyone still around...had long chat with DP and said I was feeling very down and thought he was too and that he doesn't do enough so I have been worrying he may have depression. I suggested again that it may be good to see someone.

He did! Had 2 hours with therapist which he said was really useful. She said she doesn't think he is depressed just a bit sad and frustrated with not being able to find work.

mirai Sat 21-Sep-13 06:42:02

Not being able to find work? But he hasn't been looking!

If his LinkedIn was up to date and he'd been calling round companies and firing off applications and still not getting anywhere THEN yes he could possibly be sad and frustrated at not finding work.

But how can he be sad at the non-appearance of something he hasn't even been looking for?

Bear in mind too that unless you were in that room with him, he is only telling you what he thinks he can get away with. He's hardly going to say "the therapist told me I need a rocket up my bum, I'm taking the piss out of you and DS and I need to up my game".

He's absolutely taking the mick out of you and I am so sad that you are going to have to take a backwards step in the career you've worked so hard for, in order to accommodate this lazy useless git.

flyingfarfalla Sat 21-Sep-13 08:17:37

Thanks mirai. Yes, I did pick him up on job front and said i was disappointed and frankly shocked that he hadn't even updated linkedin when he is apparently so desperate for a job. He said he genuinely hadn't even realised it was something he should do and as soon as I said it he realised he should. He then spent next two days updating it. He also explained that he does 4 hours of job hunting research a day but he just goes round in circles and doesn't find anything which he finds demoralising.

I do believe this actually since he just isn't lying sort and really just seems to be more just unable to think for self or do things. Awful as it sounds he just seems to be incapable and if not depressed then this is just who he is now I guess.

mistlethrush Sat 21-Sep-13 08:22:09

But he's not even pulling his weight with your son either. The '4 hrs of jobhunting' doesn't preclude him from helping your son to make a lantern. And how many jobs has he actually applied for???

On another front, how are plans for coming back to the UK going?

Roshbegosh Sat 21-Sep-13 08:25:50

It sounds rubbish for both of you. Whether you stay together or not, come home.

NeedlesCuties Sat 21-Sep-13 08:45:02

You do seem to be getting through to DH a bit, but seems like a case of too little too late.

All the best for the return to UK.

flyingfarfalla Sat 21-Sep-13 10:29:02

Thanks. Im househunting back in the UK next week so fingers crossed. Unlikely to physically move until the summer though realistically.

Jaynebxl Thu 26-Sep-13 05:49:25

Any joy with the house hunting?

passedgo Thu 26-Sep-13 09:26:18

I can understand that he is demoralised. Being long term unemployed won't do his CV any good either, it would benefit all of you for him to find work, regardless of whether you stay together. Perhaps moving will be the only way to change that. His work options will be wider here too if he is prepared to diversify.

RegTheMonkey Thu 26-Sep-13 15:59:01

I think the thing that stood out for me from all the outrageous things about this man was the lie in on a Sunday so he could 'have a rest'. A rest from what?????
I don't the legal implications, but if they aren't married, does that impact on his legal position re custody etc?
Flying, you are the most patient, tolerant person I think I've ever heard of. I just think that years of this behaviour would kill any love I had for a partner. Can you look ahead 5 years, 10 years, still with this partnership?

RegTheMonkey Thu 26-Sep-13 15:59:32

Sorry, that should have said 'I don't know the legal implications'

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