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Not getting on...breaking up...?

(75 Posts)
will52 Wed 24-Nov-10 02:36:14

Male of household here. Am desparate for help and advice. We have an 8month old baby, and to put it bluntly, we are not getting on: We argue. A lot.

She is stroppy, rude, argumentive, always knows best, nags etc. Whatever I do is wrong, even though it's right at least some of the time. Now she has her periods back its a flipping nightmare.

Admittedly I am not perfect, but I am there for her, more than pull my weight and also pay for everything including holidays, car etc. Money is not an issue at all.

I work full time Mon-Fri. She is still on maternity leave and has been for nearly a year.

She refuses all suggestions for counselling, and is always on about leaving me and how much "easier it would be as a single parent".

I am at my wits end - I dearly want a happy family for the baby - but you just can't stay together for the sake of it. This is breaking me.

Please help !

MrsBonkers Wed 24-Nov-10 02:51:45

How long has it been like this?
Before pregnancy? During Pregnancy? Since birth? Just recently?

Is she going back to work? What are her thoughts about this?

How does she get on with the baby? How do you get on with the baby?

My DH would say he pulls his weight, but we have different ideas of what's important which can drive me mad.
My DD is 21wks and the adjustment to being a mother is huge. I sometimes resent the fact that my DH gets to go to work as normal while my life has been turned upside down.

thelibster Wed 24-Nov-10 02:59:21

will "She refuses all suggestions for counselling, and is always on about leaving me" Doesn't sound as though she wants family life to get any better. Can't offer much help really and tbh am only really replying cos I know how awful it is to start a thread and get no response. Just to say I was in a similar situation myself for nearly 20 years and, cos DH wouldn't go to counselling we never did resolve our differences. I stayed for our DCs wanting them to have a happy family life as I came from a broken home and wanted different from them but DH called the shots all the time. If he was happy, everyone was happy, if he wasn't, he made damn sure everyone was just as miserable as he was. If I ever dared to disagree with him he'd trot out the "I'm leaviing" garbage to bring me back to heel pdq. It's no way to live. It's called emotional abuse and it sucks.

will52 Wed 24-Nov-10 05:19:38

Thx for replies but I have no idea what DH, DD and DC are ?

Mrs Bonkers - was like this during pregnancy, fine for a while after the birth, then getting progressively worse. Now it is unbearable for both of us.

Igglybuff Wed 24-Nov-10 08:04:06

DH - dear husband
DD- dear daughter
DC - dear child.

There's an acronyms link at the top of the page somewhere - I had to read it when I first joined!

How is your baby? Could your partner have difficulties looking after her? Are you arguing about how you look after her?

I remember thinking I'd be better off alone - I felt unsupported and misunderstood. I needed DH to listen and not question or make suggestions. We're much better now but the first year is tough.

AddictedToCoffee Wed 24-Nov-10 08:23:15

Will52, Have you tried asking what kind of support she needs. My other half often thinks that he's pulling his weight, but my opinion is different! We argued a lot too during the first year - very tough times, but it does get better (although we still go through rough patches depending on how the little one sleeps!!)

Ask her what she needs for you to do.

onceamai Wed 24-Nov-10 08:32:41

You can start counselling, relate, on your own and the other partner can join later or not at all. This may help you to reflect objectively on the situation and provide some coping techniques for you and some tips about positive steps to start rebuilding the relationship.

QuintessentialShadows Wed 24-Nov-10 08:34:25

She sounds very unhappy.

Why does she think she would be better off as a single mum?

I agree that her perspective on you pulling your weight might differ from yours. Especially in light of the above.

You work monday to friday, but life on maternity leave with a newborn is work 24/7.

Does the baby sleep well at night? Does your wife sleep? Does she breastfeed? Do you sleep?
If you bottle feed, how do the night feeds?

Sleep deprivation and exhaustion plunged me into postnatal depression. Sleep deprivation is really tough. It impacts on your body, your mind, your well-being.

Who cooks dinner? The hoovering? Take the rubbish out? Laundry?

Does she have any support? Any friends? Any ante natal group she sees regularly?

pipkin35 Wed 24-Nov-10 09:57:05

I don't think anyone can underestimate how hard the first year can be - especially with everyone else blathering on about the 'rosy-ness' of it all.

But you haven't said much about how long you've been together and/or the relationhip before bubs came into it.

If money is no issue - then lucky you. Could you use this money to get a cleaner? Laundry person? Get a babysitter so the two of you can go out? Just say you miss her, spending time with her - even if you don't at the moment! Or offer to babysit one night a week while she goes out and does something non-baby related? Dinner with her friends? A cinema trip? Etc...Even an hour alone down a pub/cafe with a glass of wine/coffee and the papers?! Perhaps she wants a bit of time for herself but doesn't feel she can ask for it in case of X,Y, Z (you know, seeming to be selfish, or whatever). It's impossible to underestimate how odd it can be, the first few months are actually often 'easier' because the newborn is so pliable....it's when they get to 7 months+ and really develop a personaility that you find things get harder.
Maybe if you offer it?! Maybe not even as a 'You should have some time to yourself' - which she could get defensive about, but turn it round to be about you - 'I often feel like I don't get much time with baby by myself, be lovely if I could do bath/bed once a week' - it's really important for you to be able to find your own way with how you want to be as a dad.
I am terribly bossy and still am, and often have to not 'micro manage' my OH with how he is with HIS children. It's so hard as a mum, not to forget that the kids are BOTH of yours!
Anything that might help the household running of things so that she hasn't also got to focus on that as well as baby.

What's her support network like?! What was her life before like? is she someone that having a baby has changed everything, or is she still carrying on as before - or trying to?

I remember being so controlling and critical of my OH (other half) when no 1 came along.

How long have you been together? We were together nearly 10 yrs before 1st kid, and thank god we were.
Eventually, we managed to have the conversation where he could understand where I was coming from - as in whenever he made a suggestion about the baby - I was so worried that I wasn't 'doing it right' that I thought he was commenting on my parenting skills, of course, he wasn't - he was just trying to help...

cornonthecob Wed 24-Nov-10 13:56:46

i remember when our first was about 3 months old i had a complete meltdown, from working in a corporate environment with a very active social life which I add dwindled once I got pregnant and couldn't drink and people used to still smoke indoors then so just being social wasn't pleasant...

anyway, i digress, i found going from 0-1 really hard and i used to pick so many fights with dh, i was tired and i hated all the cleaning, cooking tasks and i was envious of him going to work, although when i did went back to work i only missed baby so i could never win...

all i can say is talk to her, ask her what she wants and do your best to appease (sp) her. women have a natural instinct on what baby needs, what needs doing in the house etc, its taken me years to see that my dh although he does his best is never going to be as efficient as multitasking me!! grin

lack of sleep for both of you, the relentlessness of it all and the way your lives have changed irreversably is huge, but it does get better as you both get into new routines and the big word here is ACCEPTANCE that your lives have changed and find ways to make it work for your marriage!

not sure if that helps, but take care and be kind to each other.

cornonthecob Wed 24-Nov-10 14:01:04

as a p.s. don't think bringing in the money is enough, emotional support is very important! my dh gave me lots of emotional support, but he used bring up "his money, his work, him paying bills mortgage etc" all the time, just made me mad, as far as i am concerned i work too at home, so he can go out to work! we're a team!

can you get a babysitter in so you can take her out for a nice meal or babysit yourself so she can go out with friends or take a day off work and send her to the spa for the day?

DandyLioness Wed 24-Nov-10 14:06:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Roo83 Wed 24-Nov-10 14:59:16

What a shame for you all-it's really tough when you're putting in so much effort to make things work. I am in a similar position to your wife,in that my partner works and pays for everything while I'm at home with the kids. Sometimes he says he feels like a walking cash machine,and in turn sometimes I feel like hired help! It's hard finding the balance. I would say however, that in the first few months with a new baby things are very tough. Everyone is sleep deprived,things seem much worse when you're tired,and you both have to get used to sharing each other....no spontaneous nights out,or cuddly evenings on the sofa etc. Is there anyway you could get away for a weekend (or just a night) and leave baby with a relative? I know some people wouldn't agree with me,but I'm sure this really did save my relationship. It's a chance to have a frank discussion without any other distractions,but also for you both to enjoy each other and remember what you fell for in the first place. Hope things improve for you

will52 Wed 24-Nov-10 18:41:32

We have been together about 5 years. I certainly don't see myself as a walking cash machine and more than realise that male contribution doesn't stop there - lol.

We have a cleaner. I cook. Baby sitting is a problem - she won't do it as no-one else is good enough for the baby. Herein lies a big part of the problem in my view - delegation - or lack of it.

She won't let go and let others help. She is a micro manager, and the sort of person that will tell you that you are mashing a banana the wrong way and get ars*y with it too. Parents are miles away.

She won't talk about issues or whats on her mind - she waits until these issues become problems, by which time she is exploding with anger and everything is my fault !

This drives me insane. I can't cope.

cornonthecob Wed 24-Nov-10 18:56:17

oh dear sounds familiar!

trick here is to agree with everything she wants to micro manage.. she'll eventually tire of it and delegate!

for you to make things slightly easier, i would suggest you thicken your skin, let her comments roll of your back, don't let the nit picky stuff escalate and listen and learn on how she wants to mash the banana and when you both are less stressed in a better space, you can explain to her how you mash the banana!!

i relate but it does get better... i think what you are going through is very common when a first baby arrives! hang in there...

cornonthecob Wed 24-Nov-10 18:58:05

also remember you are probably the only adult in real life she can let rip talk to, rest of the time she's around baby!

QuintessentialShadows Wed 24-Nov-10 20:06:44

Will, have you "babysat" so she gets some time to herself?

It can be quite hard for many women to relinquish "control" of their baby to strangers, and especially such a young baby.

I remember when my oldest son was 3 weeks old, and I left him with my husband and my mother in law to go to the opera with my sister. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. To top it, I spent the entire interval with a breastpump in the toilet. lol.

Why not help her get used to separating herself from the baby by suggesting she goes for a walk, or just to read a book/magazine in a coffee shop, or go out with friends while you stay home with the baby?

I realize it is possibly couple time you want (and I bet deep down she does too) but, you know, babysteps.

QuintessentialShadows Wed 24-Nov-10 20:09:50

I also remember once when I went out on my own, leaving my husband and our son when he was 3 months old, and came back to total mayhem. baby bath full of water, pooey vests and sleepsuits on the bathroom floor. Baby bottles next to the bed. Baby clean and asleep on our bed, my husband on his tummy face down, zonked out on our bed. It was 3pm. I wish I took a picture.

onceamai Wed 24-Nov-10 20:12:09

Do you think there is a chance that she might just have post natal depression?

MrsBonkers Thu 25-Nov-10 01:22:20

I was wondering if there might be a hormonal element as it started during pregnancy - but for God's sake don't say anything along the lines of 'its just your hormones!'

As for the Banana-type micro managing, it sounds like she IS having real problems letting go. She may feel like she has to do everything herself to prove she's a good mother whilst resenting it at the same time. How about next time she's doing something she doesn't normally 'let' you do, you ask "Will you show me how to do that? / how you like that done?"
Then she can be pleased with herself for teaching you and it gives you the opportunity to say thank you.
Generally when people feel good about themselves they lash out less.

Sorry you felt you couldn't cope. You can. Its a really positive step just coming here for advice.

will52 Thu 25-Nov-10 15:08:13

oncemai wrote "Do you think there is a chance that she might just have post natal depression?"

YES !

But there is bugger all I can do about it as she won't take time off, won't let me help (then accuses me of not helping), won't let go, won't stop micromanaging, won't go for help / counselling.

Its a fekkin living nightmare.

QuintessentialShadows Thu 25-Nov-10 16:00:18

So, you think your wife has pnd. What are you doing to help her?

She is possibly living a nightmare right now, too.

monkey9237 Thu 25-Nov-10 16:11:23

Will52. Two years ago you could have been my husband posting that message. I was exactly like this, I banged on about wanting to split up, that he would mash a banana the wrong way, all of it. I had PND and I didn't know it (sounds stupid I know). I am not sure what to say in terms of a practical solution, as it wasn't until the fog cleared from my eyes and I could see that I had PND, that I could take action. Nothing happened until I could see this and decided to take action MYSELF.

Your wife's anger/snappiness could well be a front for the horror she must be going through. She must feel so alone right now. I am trying to think of things I wanted my DH to do at the time to make it better. I was probably expecting a lot, but I would have liked him to tell me that he loved me no matter what I was saying to him (eg about leaving etc). Unconditionally, if you like. To tell me I was doing an amazing job and that he was proud of me. I would have liked him to offer to look after our child so I could take a bath, sleep etc (but at the same time I would have been worried that he wasn't looking after our child as well as I could do, yes...)

I just wanted to send some support. Sorry not much practical help there.

bbird1 Thu 25-Nov-10 16:52:17

will52, another bloke here. Your situation sounds like a total 'mare. People on the board are making too many excuses for your missis. She sounds to me totally unreasonable. You've clearly tried your best and offered the sensible suggestion of going to counselling. I'd give her an ultimatium - either she agrees to go to Relate or you're leaving in the New Year. Simple as that. She'll soon pull her socks up.

overmydeadbody Thu 25-Nov-10 17:08:44

I kind of a gree with bbird actually, it seems lots of posters are giving your DW excuses.

If she hasPND but is refusing any help, then there is little else you can do to help her. She needs to make the final decision to seek help and if she won't, then you have every right to issue her an ultimatum.

Let her know you are there to help her through this, but you cannot help her if she won't help herself.

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