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to have expected more?

(231 Posts)
compromise Mon 22-Nov-10 10:28:34

Have namechanged...

DH and I have been married for 2 years. We have a 15 month old DD. From the outset, we agreed that we would have an uber traditional home set up. I have always wanted to have a family and be a SAHM. In return for his supporting us financially, I do everything else. And when I say everything, I mean everything. Every night feeding. Every scrap of housework, all the cooking and pretty much all of the childcare. I bring him all of this his coffee in bed every morning and make him a lunch to take to work. The same rules apply on weekends. He sleeps in late, I bring his coffee to him in bed.

When we first agreed our roles, he seemed thrilled. And I have been happy to fulfil my end of things. It seemed a sacrifice worth making to enjoy being at home with DD. And I do love him, so bringing him coffee etc was not just a chore.

But in the past few months, he has become more and more unhappy. He has never loved his work (works in IT) but has become increasingly resentful of it. He hates the people, the stress, his boss...everything.

A few weeks ago, he had a sort of 'breakdown'. He has been signed off work for 6 weeks now and has recently announced to me that he feels our set up is 'not even' and he wants to equalise it. I asked him to elaborate. He said he thought it would be nice if we both worked and part time and just sorted out the house/childcare stuff as and when it was needed. No fixed agreements.
He told me he felt that I did not make an equal contribution and did not 'pull my weight'. Were it not for my jaw dropping to the ground, I would have walked out there and then.

And to be frank, I'm incredulous about this breakdown. He seems very happy to potter around the garage, building various things and going shopping for tools and car parts and the like. He sleeps in 'til midday every day, stays up late and seems generally content. He laughs and jokes about and then when I remind him about his fragile state of mind (by asking how he is feeling etc), he will change tack and tell me how tired he is. He says he is not ok but there is little evidence to the contrary. I am still doing everything I was doing before plus extra (now he's home all day, I make his lunch, bring him tea and snacks etc).

I always believed that compromise and sacrifice were necessary for a happy marriage. I'm not afraid to put in some hard graft and put his interests before my own at times. But I feel increasingly taken for granted. There seems to be no give and take here.

And he has the gall to say things are not equal.

So tell me MN, before I lose my mind...AIBU?

Sorry it's a long one.

BuntyPenfold Mon 22-Nov-10 10:49:06

but he is clearly unhappy and wants to be able to hand in his notice.
Is there a chance you could swap roles?
I know it wasn't the deal you made, but he sounds as if his plans are made.

JodiesMummy Mon 22-Nov-10 10:52:35

So you would rather he was unhappy in his job and you could keep swanning around making coffee and cupcakes at home.

Nice, thats a real sign of compromise in the marriage.

I would give my eye teeth to be a SAHM and DP would love to give me that chance, but we cannot afford it, we both have to work and we have to suck it up!

compromise Mon 22-Nov-10 10:54:21

Sorry...maybe I wasn't clear. He doesn't want to hand in his notice. He plans to take another few weeks off and then wants to go back part time.

he wants me to get a part time job also.

He's not planning to leave his current job.

compromise Mon 22-Nov-10 10:56:21

I have told him I support whatever he wants to make.

I have intimated nothing of what I have written here to him. these are private thoughts and feelings that I'm struggling with.

Outwardly, to him, I have tried as hard as possible to be supportive.

JodiesMummy Mon 22-Nov-10 10:57:15

So you have nothing to worry about. He will be back to work when he has perked up a bit. You could get a little part time job and contribute surely.

Its probably the weight of responsibility that extends further than emptying the dishwasher and making the coffee in the morning which is weighing him down not the actual job. He wants to feel you are a team in providing for the family. Not quite suiting to your traditionalist values, but times have changed.

compromise Mon 22-Nov-10 10:59:25


I'm trying not to take offence at the suggestion that I do nothing but swan about all day. I look after his daughter. i do everything else in the house too.

Why is that not a valid contribution?

Oh...and you're right. We do have a dishwasher. Me.

PatriciaHolm Mon 22-Nov-10 10:59:26

If the rest of the tasks - housework, cooking etc -were shared, would it be so bad for both of you to work part time? I can see how working part time plus doing everything you do now doesn't appeal, and wouldn't be fair, but if you can agree a division of all labours it could work well. It doesn't sound as if your DH going back to work full time for this employer is going to work.

GypsyMoth Mon 22-Nov-10 11:01:00


He wants you to carry on as before as well as work. The housework and childcare thing 'as and when' means he won't do it, you will, and I think you know that.

He wants to work a little, enough so that he can afford to
'play' in the time he's home...... The house stuff will be for you to do after work.

There's no' breakdown' is there?!

independiente Mon 22-Nov-10 11:01:56

Hang on JodiesMummy - that is reading the OP to fit your own agenda, and completely unfair.
1) they agreed a way of life, which he was initially very happy with
2) he is finding his job a bore, and is now changing the goalposts - this isn't a crime, but it IS what he's doing.
3) after the OP fulfills her side of the agreed lifestyle (and then some!), he tells her that she isn't pulling her weight!

I can understand how a demoralised man can feel that he hasn't got the best end of the deal if he's not happy at work, but has the responsibility of keeping the money coming in. However, to throw that up to his wife in the way he has is just wrong. She hasn't done anything other than what they agreed to do - and she's doing it to the best of her ability.

JodiesMummy Mon 22-Nov-10 11:02:00

Not trying to imply that you do, its how it came across in the OP...

I do all that AND work. Its no biggie.

ChaoticChristmasAngelCrackers Mon 22-Nov-10 11:03:03

Swanning around? The op is hardly swanning around and sounds as if she's doing more than he is atm.

So he wants to equalise things, fair enough. Sit him down and start discussing how to equalise things around the house, what jobs will be his, what will be yours. Work out how many nights he will get up to your DD if she disturbs and how many mornings he will get up with her while he's off work. When/if he goes back to work arrange to you both to share lie ins, one Saturday, the other gets Sunday.

WRT work can he find something else in a different field? Can you go back to work? Is it possible for you both to work part time? It may well take the pressure off of him and while I know you want to be a SAHM sometimes it's not always possible.

compromise Mon 22-Nov-10 11:03:15


Privately, this is what I think will happen.

I can't see him getting up early on a weekend or in the middle of the night to see to DD. He is fairly slovenly around the house. I put his dirty underwear in the laundry basket, I pick up his towels off the bathroom floor. I put the milk back in the fridge after he has made himself a cup of tea.

I am genuinely worried I am going to have to do everything if he insists I get a job also.

JodiesMummy Mon 22-Nov-10 11:03:18

So if the goalposts have changes who is going to pay the bills. Traditionalist views are not a get out clause for not contributing to supporting a family financially.

JodiesMummy Mon 22-Nov-10 11:04:22

Thats where you really have to get tough then Comp - if you are working and still doing end up like me, bitter and twisted grin

compromise Mon 22-Nov-10 11:06:20

Jodie -

If he wants to me get a paid job, then financial contribution would be equal.

The rest of it...well, past precedent causes me to think that he won't want to give up his weekend lie-ins for all the tea in china.

stickersarecurrency Mon 22-Nov-10 11:06:32

OP, the situation has changed in that he's no longer happy at work - you'll have to accept that. So I'd suggest you compromise by finding part-time work, but not before you've had a frank discussion about division of labour in the home. If you've always done everything then there's a realistic possibility that he doesn't actually know what goes into running a home. Unless you clarify that beforehand this is destined to end in tears.

independiente Mon 22-Nov-10 11:07:51

Chaotic - v good post, with actual practical sense spoken. Unlike JodiesMummy's post which was so very unhelpful: "I do all that AND work. Its no biggie."
Well, whoopie for you.

JodiesMummy Mon 22-Nov-10 11:08:32

Of course he wont but you do need to get across to him that he wont be the all Holy breadwinner anymore if you are working, even part time, and that he will HAVE to share jobs around the house and give you lie ins too. My DP works six days a week, I work five, but he always does his share of the getting up at the weekend, in fact he does more with DD than me at the weekend because I am always bogged down with jobs I didnt do around the house - because I was working

compromise Mon 22-Nov-10 11:08:35

Jodie - I'm curious. You said you do everything I do and you work.

So let me get this right. You look after your DD nearly 100% of the time. You pick up after your DH, you do all the cooking, cleaning, all housework, bring him breakfast in bed, have sex with him whenever he wants to and generally treat him like a king?

And you don't expect him to contribute anything more despite the fact you both work?

Why is that?

independiente Mon 22-Nov-10 11:08:49

ok, just seen your last post JM. Fair enough.
But you could have been a bit more supportive from the start.

compromise Mon 22-Nov-10 11:08:50


GypsyMoth Mon 22-Nov-10 11:09:46

Er, if he's unhappy in his job then why isn't he looking for something else?? Why just go part time??

I think we all know why!!

Chil1234 Mon 22-Nov-10 11:11:36

I think the problem here is that agreeing to be your husband's servant, he's lost respect for you....

JodiesMummy Mon 22-Nov-10 11:12:10

Compromise - I think you have got me completely wrong. And my wonderful DH! He is a grafter and no flipping mistake, but he would dearly love to give me the chance your DH has - I think your situation can work out really well once your DP has rested up and adjusted - its tough starting out with a young family and he will get there. Could also be good for you to get a little job just part time as you wont feel so all-comsuned by running the house and doing everything for your DH.

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