...to be considering leaving?(193 Posts)
On paper, I have the perfect life. I have a well paid job I love with flexible (but long hours). I have healthy, happy children and a nice house in a nice area. DH is a stay at home dad and he's really good at it, very committed and involved with the children, has great relationships with each of them and additionally he is very practically supportive of me. I have friends and get out to see them once or twice per month.
DH hasn't touched or spoken to me - other than practical things to do with the kids, without making eye contact - for twelve days. We've not had sex for a month, and we rarely have sex more than once per month. I can't remember the last time we spent time together alone: once the kids are in bed he says he needs time alone and spends time on his computer or out running. I've checked his phone and computer (there are no passwords) and there's no porn, weird emails etc. He is a bit less tech savvy than me but more than capable of a secret phone / private browsing etc. Though I just don't see it in his character.
I've tried to speak to him about the coldness and distance in our relationship and his lack of interest in any kind of emotional or physical contact with me many times. His parents are the same and but he knows I don't consider this normal and that I am unhappy. He knows the very specific things he does that make me feel unwanted and unhappy. He's asked me to initiate sex and tell him I want to spend time together in the evenings, but when I do he consistently turns me down - he's either tired, needs time alone, had planned to watch something on the television, etc etc etc.
I've been blunt with him - he says he isn't gay and he doesn't masturbate. There's no health problems that I know of - he eats well, is physically fit. I am of average appearance but no different to when we met. A tiny bit heavier but of medium build and good personal hygiene. I shower before bed.
I understand a SAHP needs time alone to recharge and can get 'touched out' but our kids at school age and the youngest is just finishing Year One so for the past two years he's been alone 9-3.15 every day. He does the bulk of the housework but I clean bathrooms, do ironing and cooking at weekends and share the school drop offs.
I'm not sure where to go from here. I've asked him if he wants to split up and he says the children need him, he is planning a professional IT course to get him back into work now the kids are all at school, and that I'm asking too much. I can't imagine the rest of my life like this.
How could I leave him fairly?
We could sell the house and split the equity 50/50 but he'd not be able to do this IT course he was planning. I could buy somewhere little and support myself and the kids but he's sacrificed a lot to be at home with them and it would feel like pulling the rug out from under him just as he's about to start getting his own career up and running.
But I wonder if that's the only reason he's still with me.
I've considered asking for an in-house-separation or for me to have a boyfriend. He says the idea is disgusting and would demean the kids. Also: I don't want it. It isn't the sex, it is the intimacy and the feeling of being wanted and valued for something other than the pay cheque.
I wonder if he is depressed? He is physically active and gets out and about, but doesn't really have friends. He isn't snappy and doesn't seem sad or irritable - just remote. He's never been a social butterfly though - always been a loner even in his teen years. I have suggested he visits the doctor for a check up but he says he will, then doesn't.
He's had a whole school year to get on with his course, is he all hot air? Will the course ever start?
If you leave, won't he get the kids and house as the main caregiver SAHP?
Mmmm do you want to leave him or do you want your relationship to change?
I can see why you consider leaving but I think that there must be things you can explore before you get to that point.
I responded to your post as in some ways your situ - with SAHD - seems similar to me and I know my husband is somewhat depressed / down and long term SAHP is the cause of this. This is partly because he didn't chose to be a SAHP for as long Ashe has been and I regret many things that have led to it continuing. I miss the old confident him and I know he misses that too and I think our relationship will improve vastly when he starts working again, it's still some way off so it both worries me (thinking will it ever happen??) and gives me hope (this will pass etc) at the same time iyswim
He is definitely doing the course. Applied, been accepted, is looking forward to starting. It's a course with a definite job opportunity at the end. He's never really been ambitious for a career, but that was always fine because he was a very skilled and committed SAHP and I love my job and didn't want to SAH.
He isn't going to leave the family home. So yes, it would be a case of me leaving then working out how to sell it from under him and give him half the equity.
I haven't thought about kids. He wouldn't be able to financially support them, and there's no need for a SAHP any more. But I know I am kidding myself. They'd end up with him, I'd end up in a bedsit financially supporting them all (quite rightly).
I really don't want that. I really really don't. I have been a present and committed parent too and I couldn't bear to live apart from them.
I would wait until he's working before suggesting a divorce. Do you think he might be having an affair? He certainly has the opportunity.
Do you still love him?
Would he consider going to relate or something similar?
Cross posted with you, Breadwidow.
I would much much much much rather things change. So much. I don't want someone else. I don't want this life either. I am totally out of ideas for how to make that change. I KNOW he knows full well how I feel and why I feel that way. I've asked him for suggestions and don't really get anything other than I should initiate, be patient, be more understanding, understand that he's different from me and loves me in his own way.
I got into bed last night and put my arms around him. He moved them away. I cried a little bit and he sighed, said he was sorry I was feeling upset, then rolled over and put his headphones in. It's the utter coldness that gets me.
I could wait and see how it goes when he starts getting out and having more for himself - which he deserves - but I feel like I've been waiting for five years, we've been having the same argument all that time, and that I am burning daylight.
I think you should consider going to counselling, too. They should help you both to open up a bit and explore what the problems are - it can be very difficult to identify and articulate at times, I know, without a bit of outside input.
I still love him but I am finding it hard to like him right now because he's doing things - or not doing things - he knows full well hurts me. I do love him. And I know marriages go through bad patches and through this he's been an absolutely solid and practical and reliable father and in all the practical aspects is perfect. But it's like having a housekeeper. I respect him and his work enormously but I want a husband.
I don't think he is having an affair. I have snooped around and have never found any signs of it.
I do wonder whether he's depressed in some way and this very withdrawn. I also think for men it can be very tough to be the SAHP however equal the couple is / however much they want it on paper.
While he's doing this course will he be earning money?
How long will the course last?
Would he consider couple therapy? Perhaps you can insist on that.
We went to counselling about four years ago. We talked, did sensate focus - it was pretty superficial. I did share my feelings and fears (he was only with me for the practical reasons - that is my main fear and something I'm more and more convinced of) but he clammed up. He looks terrified when asked a direct question about his feelings and seems to experience it as an attack. I've tried gentleness, I've tried blowing up, I've tried dropping the rope and waiting for him to come to me, I've tried threatening to leave, I've tried suggesting he leaves, I've tried asking him how I could change or what I could do with my appearance or approach. Never any meaningful answers. The first experience with counselling seems to have put him off for life - he seems to think it was all about teaching him foreplay methods and felt insulted by that. His technique is not the problem (I told him this at the time and esp. in front of the counsellor), just his general interest and willingness.
He won't be earning money during the course and I will cover the course fees. He'll have a pretty certain job opportunity at the end which will be an average salary with opportunities to progress in a number of different directions that are of interest to him. It isn't something he's passionate about (he's not really passionate about ANYTHING) but he's interested in it and I think it's really well suited to his interests and abilities. I think he'll be good at it and I don't want to fuck up his opportunity.
I think you are a long way from being able to leave. There's so much work to do before you can be happy or make plans to separate.
You must email him/write to him/text him so he can't blank you. Say you are writing it down so he can't brush your feelings under the carpet.
If it was me I'd organise couselling. You need to talk this through. He may be ahving an affair or he may just be angry about the situation. Either way, he does not sound happy and seems to be deliberately punishing you for having the perfect life.
You sound kind and open. If you can get to the bottom of this you sound like the kind of person who can make it work.
My DH is the SAHP too - it can be hard.
Perhaps you could suggest that the councillor you swe would be a different person to the next one. In my experience it does depend on the councillor and they are all different- some better than others.
If he really doesn't want to go ahead with professional counselling, would talking it through with him again be an option? Or would you end up going around in circles?
Oh I'm so sorry, that sounds horrible!
Have you been a nag at all? I'm really sorry that it's such a horrible word and a horrible question - I ask it because I know I have been to my SAHD DH and it's amped up any issues. He doesn't have the clear career pathway that your DH now does (though our kids are still pre school) and me going on about various opportunities, suggesting ways he could work again, generally worrying about him not working has driven him up the wall on occasion. I don't know if you have had the same anxiety about the future as me, but when mine is bad it's a wedge between us. He says it makes his own feelings about the situation much worse, makes him feel like his parenting isn't important when I know it is and generally drives a wedge between us. At times this has led to him being as cold as your DH is being now, though I don't think it's ever lasted 12 days. Things are far far better when I am able to live in the present, not discuss his future (or also my recriminations over the past, basically the timing of child #2 was not a wise one and I wish we'd waited a bit, which obviously doesn't help us tackle things now!) and just enjoy the fact he kids get a SAHP. Unfortunately I never seem to sustain this for long enough - things will be getting good between us, more physical contact etc, when I go and screw it up by bring my anxiety into the picture again. I am working to change this but I need to work harder
I will try writing to him. I've done that before - sent him texts and emails - and he acknowledges that he receives them but he doesn't ever really reply.
I do try to wrack my brains to see what complaints he might have. I know I am very very far away from perfect. I'm average in appearance, and I know I can be self absorbed and talk about my day at work before asking about his. I know I can be very touchy about things - though I feel like if there were a bedrock of emotional and physical intimacy I'd feel more secure and not convinced that any little thing is a sign that he really isn't interested in me.
I feel angry too. That he's living here, having all the benefits of a secure relationship, without actually wanting me in any meaningful way. I ask him sometimes if he likes me, which makes me feel pathetic.
OP I couldn't live like that either, the coldness would devastate me Would he/you consider Relate or marriage counselling? If he won't work at the issues you've described I can't see there is a marriage to save. The constant rejection and lack of emotion would be too much for me I'm afraid x
I don't think I am a nag. I never, ever, ever, ever ask him to do anything around the house - basically because there is no need - he works really hard and is better at these things than I am - and because I want to be careful he feels respected for his work.
I do nag him for attention and time together. For a while I asked every night if we could do something together - watch a film of his choice, or anything else he wanted to do. I ask him to tell me he loves me, and I whinge and moan a bit when he hasn't kissed me or looked at me for a few days. I point out he hasn't touched me for a week, etc etc. I think it's been twelve days this time because I have just lost the heart to badger him into it. I don't think me cutting out the asking has helped him find some desire for me.
I think counselling might be a good idea. I can book and go, and tell him I would like him to come, but go on my own if he isn't interested. I guess I just want him to do something - ANYTHING - to demonstrate that he's actually alive in here, and wants me, and wants things to be better.
Mmm a few fellow working mums with SAHD on here. I think I may start a support thread. this may sound a by feminista but I really think that a lot of the issues we gave are related to the fact we are living in an arrangement which flies in the face of stereotypes. Your DHs depression could be related to feeling less of a man etc (btw you mention he isn't passionate about much - this is an indicator of depression and I've noticed it in my DH too, he's noticed it himself but refuses to seek help, thinks it's not got to that stage)
It sounds as though he might be a bit jealous of you?
Sorry maybe nag is wrong word, but are you anxious about him being a SAHP?
I also agree counselling could help. His lack of passion indicates depression to me. I think the IT course will hopefully help with that, i just hope for your sake that he enjoys it.
I wonder if it is a SAHD issue too. He does say, sometimes, I am lucky because I have things that I really want (I am passionate about my work and I am good at it) and he's never really had a sense of direction or vocation in life. I don't really understand what it might be like not to want anything in particular. He is the type to kind of coast, though since we had the kids he's been ambitious in terms of what kind of house he'd like to live in, time with them, a family home etc.
He's also been very very free to stop being a SAHD at any time. From the time the youngest was 1.5 years he was in nursery a couple of mornings a week so he could have much needed time to himself for his own hobbies. We could have afforded childcare and I have always encouraged him to get out there as soon as he wanted to.
Bread widow - I'm not anxious in terms of the practical side of things - so long as we stay together (!!) we're fine for money. Not an extravagant lifestyle by any means, but we have what we need and can live on my wage.
But I am a bit mystified that he doesn't seem to have any solid interests or ambitions of his own - he does have hobbies and interests, but very solitary. I wonder if it might be a self confidence issue. I do try to build him up.
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