To stay with DP for the children(49 Posts)
Hi, this is my first post so please go easy on me I'm so sorry for the length but I'm trying hard not to dripfeed!
First some background:
I met DP five years ago while we were both living abroad (we're from the same country). I noticed fairly early on that he held what I considered 'old fashioned' views on some things for someone so young (early 30's), but he was intelligent and progressive in many ways so it didn't really seem to be an issue and I just put it down to him coming from a rural background and me being from a city.
I became pregnant two years into the relationship and we decided to move home before I had the baby. As DP owned a house close to his parents (he had been renting it out while abroad), it made sense that we would move there and also due to the fact that it would be easier for him to get work in his local area as opposed to my home city (three hours away).
When he was back in his home environment, his 'traditionalist' ways really set in. His parents have a large farm and it's expected that he helps out a LOT. This means he goes farming before work, sometimes after he finishes work and every single weekend.
After DD was born he did nothing parenting wise, despite being even more keen than I was to have children. No night feeds, no nappy changes (until I forced him to when she was 3 months old) he was less than useless. It was a very dark time for me and I felt like I had been duped. She had terrible reflux and cried incessantly, yet he'd sleep through it or piss off farming leaving me to struggle on. He had no tolerance for the baby crying and would get really frustrated instead of trying to soothe her. I had no friends or family close by and we live literally in the middle of nowhere so I was extremely isolated and spent many months with a very heavy heart wondering how on earth it had come to this. My mother saw I was struggling when she visited and she ended up coming down to stay with me regularly to help out. Although I was eternally grateful for her help (and am certain I would have spiralled into PND without her) I felt absolutely mortified that she felt the need to do it...
I was considering leaving him but wanted to at least try to salvage the relationship before giving up completely as I felt DD deserved that (I'm a child of divorce and did not want that for her). I sat him down and laid it all out there, told him how horrified I was with him and that I was considering leaving if things didn't change dramatically etc. he seemed genuinely shocked that i thought things were so bad.
For context his own family background is painfully sexist. His mother was a SAHM and did 100 percent of the childcare duties. She does everything around the house and his father literally never even makes a cup of tea or a sandwich for himself - he sits there waiting for her to do it. If she's not there he's even rang her to see when she's coming home. My DP doesn't think this is right and has complained about his father but this is how they were brought up so it's inevitable that some of it sticks.
After our talk he made some effort to change but I was still hurt and disillusioned and in my mind I was going to give it until DD was a year old and reasses if I could really put this all behind me and move past it.
When DD was just 6 months old I became pregnant again (pill failure). I was very upset when I found out as it was the last thing I wanted, however DD2 arrived 5 months ago and is a joy.
DP has been much more hands on this time. He has made a concerted effort but things are still far from equal and I still do the vast majority of the grunt work. As I'm at home with the children I obviously expect to do more, however he still spends hours and hours farming each week while I'm struggling to put two babies to bed etc. I'm sure he's thinking of future inheritance and that it will all pay off but I still resent what I see as him putting his father's needs before mine and our DDs. He still has low tolerance for crying and now there's toddler tantrums in the mix too and he doesn't handle it well.
So to (finally) get to my question. Would I be unreasonable to stay with this man? I know mumsnet tends to jump to "LTB" but has anyone stayed in similar circumstances and it all worked out? He does have good qualities and we do get along a lot of the time, but there's also many days that I can't believe I've ended up in this 1950's set up... would love any advice? If anyone has read this far I salute you!
Difficult one. I fully sympathise with you, the situations you've described finding yourself in are very hard. But farming is a full-on 24/7 profession, it's a family business and I understand why your DP wants to do as much as he can in the farm. I'm less convinced by the idea that because his parents are deeply embedded in traditional gender roles, he'll struggle to move beyond that - people can learn and change...
It sounds as if he made genuine efforts to change when he realised how unhappy you were, so there's some hope maybe that if you're able to keep on telling him what you need from him (I know that's exhausting though, and you shouldn't really have to do it), you could make things work?
You're in an incredibly vulnerable financial position. I'd be looking at either staying and marrying him or leaving him and focusing on a career.
Winter I don't think he'd go for it, would probably scoff at the suggestion, but I have considered asking him to attend a parenting course as I hate how impatient he can be with DDs so I might push the issue...
hollow you're right I am... if I'm really honest it's part of the reason I stayed after DD1 - I felt somewhat trapped financially. The subject of marriage has come up recently, hence this post. I'm trying to decide which path to take...
puntastic he really is receptive to me telling him what I need from him but like you said it's just exhausting and I worry I'm going to spend my days turning into a frustrated nag constantly telling a grown man to do this, that and the other
I have in many ways been in your position. And asked a very similar question in this forum. Things that stood out for me:
Do you and your partner assume the best of each other? Ie If someone were to complain to you about him, is your reaction to believe them or think the best of him?
Is this environment you’re raising your kids in, the one you want them to emulate as grown people? Would you be happy for your daughters to choose a similar type of husband or your sons to be a similar type. Your relationship is their greatest role model and will influence their future choices, however much you feel you shelter them from it.
And finally, I’d you could go back in time to say 5 years ago would you rather you had chosen someone else to have DC and a life with? And in another 5 years will you kick you useful for not having left now?
OP, I chose to leave and it hasn’t always been easy but I am 100% sure it was the right decision. I am responsible for showing my children that it is absolutely okay to prioritise your own happiness. My husband did noting to help with DC when thy were born and it is not okay to stay with someone who fails to care for you when you need it most and in my case always assumed the worst of me.
I wish you the best of luck, it is easier to stay but not better, IMO.
Well, he's not so traditional that he got married!
He cares more about the farm than he does about you.
You get ONE life. If you want to spend it with him then nobody will stop you. It's not fair to criticise the advice ''ltb'' because that is the advice that people in terrible situations take when they're brave. It isn't easy to take that advice but it is 99 times out of 100, the right advice.
Being cowardly is easier in the shorter. Being brave is easier in the long term.
Yeah, I get you. Sorry, I don't have any amazing insightful advice to offer - just sympathy!
celtic I didn't mean to criticise, I agree it's very brave to leave an unhappy situation, I just wanted to see if anyone had stayed and not regretted it.
Thank you calvin - I have to say I don't like the responses I gave to your questions... definitely food for thought.
If you asked him to move back to the city, would he? Then he would be at home more.
What are your job prospects living where you are? Because I think you should get a job, for your financial security. You don't want to be stuck with no money of your own, when you're not married to him. Are you in the UK? If not, what protections (if any) are there for cohabiting couples?
To be honest, this situation doesn't sound great. You also need to make sure your contraception is bullet proof, as you've already had 2 unplanned pregnancies, the 2nd one having tied you down even more (as much as you love your DD). You don't want another one.
It's really unfair that his parents expect him to help out on the farm so much. He's missing out on his own family life. How did they cope when he was abroad?
To me that's the biggest issue. He feels he 'has' to help out so in a way is torn between you and his family. He needs to put you and the kids first though.
You haven't had the opportunity to just be a normal working family. Can his parents employ someone to take up the slack? Would they be willing? Would your H not love the opportunity to work only full time instead of all time and therefore have more time with you all?
I'd be thinking fuck the inheritance, your family comes first.
So his main job is not actually the farm Peaky?
It's a tough one. I think the baby years are very tough. Even partners without deeply entrenched sexist views can default to sexist behaviour - I know my DH did. We had some very dark days in my DS' first year and after 15 years together I did think about splitting up a lot. Ultimately I am glad we didn't though DC2 is due in 2 months and it will be another test I'm sure.
At an emotional level we do love each other and genuinely enjoy each other's company, I don't think he's sexist (just occasionally incredibly self-centred), he is a fantastic dad to DS and really pulls his weight now we have a toddler as opposed to a small baby. I work full time (now) and he supports me in that (i.e does creche picks ups etc). At a material level he is a good provider, not remotely controlling about money and materially life would be harder for all of us if we split. (I sound cold-hearted but these are all things I thought about in that year of feeling exhausted and enraged by him!)
Also, after some very bad fights DH finally realised he was behaving like a prick and had a few sessions of therapy and I genuinely think it has made a difference to his attitude.
Now we are expecting DC2 I have been clear eyed about it. I know he won't step up and magically start leaping up in the night to soothe a crying baby so we are keeping our nanny on 2 days a week even while I'm on mat leave. We have a cleaner and I've also said if I am desperate for sleep I'll get a night nanny for a night here & there, to which he has agreed.
I realise this is very very privileged and it pisses me off that we'll spend money on stuff when I think he should just pull finger & help carry the load of a baby but I'm being pragmatic about it.
have to say your DH sounds like he needs a serious attitude adjustment - he sounds worse than my DH was (but on the same spectrum). More than the tiredness it was the lack of apparent care for me that really upset/enraged me
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It’s very hard op. The baby years are hard. In your position I would marry him, but the vows might choke me. Perhaps that’s a starting point though... read the traditional marriage vows (score out honour and obey ) with him and consider all the changes you and he would have to make to take and keep those vows.
I have stayed for the kids. and I don’t regret it. But I took counselling to be more assertive and stood up for myself so well that he realised how badly he was behaving. Now he is in counselling.
It’s not amazing, but every so often I feel a flicker that we will get there. There is still love there.
@Sixaxion she can put a roof over her own head. She was sold a crock of shit. He didn't tell her that she and the kids would be coming after everyone and everything. Fair enough if you come from a farming background but most people would have no reason to think this was what their deal was going to be.
My DP and I argued a lot when the kids were small, always about division of tasks and money, he's not sexist though. I think the early years with kids are tough and despite feeling like I wanted to split up with him back then I'm glad we didn't. Life is much easier now the kids are 10 and 12.
What?! She isn't saying he needs to do 50% of the childcare. She is saying he needs to do his share of the childcare. What a vile thing to say.
Op, were you genuinely unaware that moving to his home would involve him working full time and helping to run the farm?
If so, you were indeed sold a crock and have grounds for complaint.
I sympathise with the situation you've found yourself in, but if he is essentially doing two jobs I can't see how the division of labour is unfair. You are both working very hard, in different ways. Unless he manages to carve out lots of free time for friends and hobbies?
But of course, if you are unhappy, you must address it. It sounds like he was receptive when you last spoke to him, so maybe it is time to agree specifics rather than a general 'I need you to do more'. Agree that he is home by a certain time, or that you both have some free time each week, or whatever is important to you and will make a difference. It might be helpful to couch it in terms of how much he is missing out on, rather than you needing his support, if he needs to get his family on board.
Focus on getting some education and training for when the kids are older OP . Start to think about what you could do IF you decided to leave ? I think a
Focus on that would be benenficial in so many ways
I'm not so sure he is that old fashioned from what you've described. Your family set up IS traditional, you are a SAHM and he is working long hours. Yes he is helping with the farm but maybe it is because they would otherwise lose it. Many SAHM have partners who commute and are gone from 6am until 9pm and the mum does most of the work in relation to the kids and home.
Would you consider going back to work and maybe your OH could reduce his hours so it is more balanced? The problem with this is that it often doesn't make sense financially, but ultimately, it's breaking the old fashioned set up.
I am NOT agreeing with the incredibly rude @Sixaxion but I am genuinely puzzled.
This man is working job 1, and job 2 (farming) and he is also expected to pitch in to help with the kids. Where is the bandwidth, seriously? I know there are some super dudes out there who can achieve this. but it is established that this man is not one of them. Given that reality, isn't it better to get extra help like an au pair or a housekeeper than to insist that he pitch in every day to do his share of parenting?
I am not for one minute supporting the man's intolerence to the child's cries and or him not lifting a finger to help out poor OP who is overwhelmed, but I can emphathise with the fact that two jobs in 24 hours can leave a person knackered out.
OP, I don't have any constructive ideas to offer, but just want to say that, no, IMHO no one should stay in a bad marriage because of kids, but is yours a bad marriage, and do you have a bad husband? Only you can decide that and take a decision accordingly.
Does he have to work on the farm? does he do it because his parents tell him to or because he feels he has a duty towards them?
But job 2 isn't a job. He doesn't bring home a salary for it. He is helping his dad, not working.
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