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Can a partner who hasn't lost anyone really be any support?

(7 Posts)
GoodbyeJo Sat 31-Oct-09 11:40:43

I've just lost a dear relative and am very sad.
But try as he might, everything my DH says seem increasingly more unhelpful. He wants to understand but right now is just meking me angrier with everything he says.
While I'm trying to cope with it all and do what's best for everyone he just focuses on the praecticalities.
For example, we live 2000 miles away from family on a RAF base, and the bereavement does not qualify for compassionate leave. DH keeps talking about how difficult financially and as regards to child-care it would be if I were to fly home to see my family. He can't get time off to look after the kids as he has very unsympathetic bosses. His focus on this just makes me want to smack him.
Also, my family have a level of dysfunction which he struggles with, although I have accepted and risen above it. He keeps telling me that they're emotionally manipulating me for their own needs by asking me to cone back. But I want to go back sad.
He's never lost anyone close and doesn't have the extended family I have (only child-only parents and one aunt remain, whereas I have a mother, brother and a host of uncles, aunts and cousins).
I'm so scared this attitude of his will come between us.
My dad died 11 years ago and DH handled it very badly, just backing away. He's since apologised as an episode when his own father was critically ill gave him a small insight into what I went through.
He tells me that my family are being selfish for asking me to come home (for a brief visit only) but I can't help wondering if he's being selfish, too. And I'm just stuck in the middle.
It doesn't help that just days before this relative died I'd rushed back to the UK because my best friend, who'd already suffered the loss of her mother, brother and grandmother, lost her dad. I felt I had to go to her. While I was there my relative fell ill and she died a few days after I flew back. DH looked after the children and was under a lot of pressure from his work who let him take days off but still made him honour on-call commitments during the night, so he was knackered during the day without any respite. There was no-one available here to help with childcare except someone who stayed overnight but had to leave in the morning.
This is such an awful situation, I feel at the mercy of everyone's expectations.
Sorry, I rambled a bit.

Biobytes Sat 31-Oct-09 11:44:08

If you had not mentioned that he has recently taken time off to care for the children while you went to help your friend I would think his attitude is a bit selfish.

Can you take the children with you in order to visit your family? I know there are extra expenses associated with this but if needs must...

Biobytes Sat 31-Oct-09 11:45:06

And most importantly, sorry you are feeling like that. I have been in your place and it is very distressing particularly when the family is long way away.

mumofsatan Sat 31-Oct-09 12:06:12

I'm sorry for your loss and totally understand how you feel.

I lost my wonderful dad 5 years ago this month before I met DH. He had always seems sad for me at the right times, ie when we got married and dad wasn't there to give me away and when our children were born and I was so sad they would never know their grandad and he didn't see them.
Then mum died earlier this year and it knocked me sideways. I was devestated. We live 3,000 from home due to DH's work and our baby boy was born a few months before she died. I had wanted to to fly home sooner to see her and show off her new grandson but I left DH convince me to wait until June when we were going home anyway. He kept saying it was a waste of money flying home earlier, I couldn't copy with DC on flight etc and I allowed him to talk me into waiting until June when I was due to fly home and I'd have 12 weeks with mum.
She died 2 weeks before I was due home and she never got to see her new grandson.

DH was bloody rubbish with supporting me. I think he just didn't know what to say as he has both his parents. Some of his classics were things like the first night mum had died my crying apparently woke him up. He asked what was wrong and I was a bit stunned, saying that my mum had died, thinking surely he hadn't forgotten shock He then said 'oh, I thought something else had happened', rolled over and went back to sleep.

A week later, I was still grieving, trying to plan the funeral from abroad (as he would not bring my flights forward) and I was in tears and was shouted and and told to pull myself together as it had been a week and I should be over it by now.

I can't believe he was so cruel but honestly think he just has no idea how it feels to lose a parent, let alone both.
Sorry, now I've rambled blush

It must be a terrible time for you and it must be hard for your DH taking time off. Employers such as his and my DH don't tend to be the best when it comes to compassionate leave. When we were first married and I was in the UK and he was in the Middle East I lost our first baby during pregnancy and that was not deemed to qualify for compassionate leave for him angry

I hope that you are able to sort things out with him and the childcare etc.

I imagine you are angry with him at times as I am still with DH and his insensitiveness but I truly believe it is because he just can't comprehend how it feels to lose a parent. Maybe your DH is the same?

Take care x

mumofsatan Sat 31-Oct-09 12:08:27

BTW, where are you? I'm trying to work out where is 2,000 miles from the UK

singalongamumum Sat 31-Oct-09 12:21:32

Hi Goodbye Jo, so sorry to hear of your loss.

My partner lost his mum about 5 years ago. I have a big family, but have been fortunate enough never yet to suffer a loss so devastating. At times I felt totally at sea with his grief, with no idea how to help. He was moody and difficult, depressed and angry and I never knew what was coming next. I hope I didn't say anything too annoying (though I'm sure I did) and I always did my best to help practically in anyway I could, but it was still a very difficult time for both of us and pushed our relationship to the limit.

I am not making excuses for your DH, but I just wanted to let you know the other side of the story so you could understand he isn't doing it on purpose. I would suggest you get as much support from other places/ people as possible, do what you need to do for yourself without reference to him and try to make your needs clear to your DH- tell him when you need a cuddle etc (it may be obvious to you, but he is obviously struggling).

As for the work thing, it does sound like he is under a lot of pressure and if you can relieve some of that it may help him have more emotional energy to spare for you. I hope something I said helps you get through the tough time ahead and isn't too much like justifying your DH if he is just being an arse!!!

whitecloud Sat 31-Oct-09 13:50:03

I lost both parents within a year of each other. My dh has been very kind and tried to understand, but his parents are still here. I have realised I can't expect him to understand fully something he hasn't experienced himself. I think we unconsciously expect those closest to us to feel what we are feeling, but they just don't. And it isn't their fault. They haven't had the same relationship with the lost loved ones that we have. I think it's natural to feel resentful as well - they've still got what we've lost. I find any meetings with the other family difficult still. Counselling has helped me - then you can freely talk about how you feel for as long as you need to. It is only 18 months since my Mum died a year after my father. Things are very raw for you and it must be so hard when you are so far away. Can you find someone else to talk to? I think it might help.

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