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Is my husband selfish? Need some perspective with a new born

(29 Posts)
stowbeau Sat 06-Dec-14 21:06:58

I have a beautiful healthy new baby and couldn't be happier with that but my relationship seems to be crumbling and I really would love a bit of perspective from others that have been there.

I have traditionally taken care of all the house finances, mortgage, the diy, house maintenance, most of the shopping and cleaning.

Now I'm at home with the baby 24/7 I've asked him to step up. The trouble is, he's never done any those things so he just doesn't see them. So I keep asking and I've turned into a nag and he's got really fed up with me. And now every weekend when he's home from work it's strained.

Before I say any negatives, he's very good at getting the baby to sleep which is amazing, he offers to take her to give me some rest. I'm very grateful for that. He's not sleeping in the same room as us because he can't bear the crying, so he's not as tired as me.

But I need more help and he just doesn't get it. Am I asking too much?

For instance we have one less wage coming in, but haven't cut any costs yet because I've not had time to do a budget, for 3 months I've asked if he can do a budget and he hasn't and we're getting really over drawn. I've just not had any time to do it.

Another petty example, is that the lightbulbs in the kitchen and bathroom are slowly all going, there's now 5 out and only a few remain. I keep asking him if he could replace them as again I haven't had time but he just doesn't see it.

In the first few weeks we bought the baby back, he was visibly disappointed that dinner wasn't on the table or even planned when he got home from work. After 3 weeks I got really fed up and went to bed for a whole Sunday, leaving him with the baby. After this he said he could see how hard it was and I thought we'd had some breakthrough. But weeks on, he still gets home from work and asks for a cup of tea.

Every time I bring any of this up, I'm told I'm unreasonable or he asks me what he wants him to do, and then doesn't seem to do it. Plus I don't like also having to tell him what to do, I think he should be able to see it and act on it. I would love him to be able to see how hard I'm working and want to take care of me or take the load off.

When I'm breastfeeding and I have to keep asking him to pass me things, he sighs and rolls his eyes at me as if i'm being a right pain.

He also seems pretty uninterested in going out and doing stuff as a family, preferring to stay in and watch TV. I am finding this hard as we'd wanted a baby for so many years and I'd always seen other couples and felt really excited about us doing things together.

Can anyone advice on how to get through? Or if Im being unreasonable?

It's such a strain on what I thought was a strong relationship.

Thanks x

ScarlettOHaraHamilton Sat 06-Dec-14 21:13:25

You're not being unreasonable at all.

On the one hand, the first few months or even the first year with a baby can be insanely tough on any relationship. It's such a massive change to your dynamic and it really does highlight a lot of flaws.

Even in relationships where things have been pretty fairly even in terms of housework etc, it can still be a bone of contention.

However a couple of things jump out to me. One, it probably seemed a strong relationship beforehand because you were doing everything. So was it really that strong? Or was he just happy because he had his shopping done, his dinner cooked, his washing done?

The other sentence which really jumped out was "because he can't bear the crying".


Does he think that you magically can?!

No one can completely advise because you know his personality well, but you need some way of getting him to understand how you are feeling. But the main thing is you're not being U to want any of this off him.

stowbeau Sun 07-Dec-14 08:52:30

Ha! Yes he does think I can magically bear the crying. It's hormones apparently.

Thanks so much for your reply. I don't feel like I can talk to anyone about this because we went through so many years of heartache to get to the point of being able to have a baby, I don't feel I can complain about anything.

To be fair to him he does most things when I ask but not always without some complaint and I'm absolutely fed up of having to be the boss to him all the time.

He needs to step up and take responsibility, but just doesn't seem to get it. I feel like i"ve asked again and again nicely, and now I've just got angry and been nasty to him because I feel like I"m not getting through.

So now I've been chastised for being nasty.

I don't want to keep rowing but need to put my foot down more strongly this time.

i'm worried that the baby will pick up on the stress and anger.

Levismum Sun 07-Dec-14 09:08:52

I ended up in a very similar situation.
I thought dp would step up. He didn't. He said he didn't 'know' whst to do.

The baby was very high needs. I was increasingly exhausted. I developed pnd. He didnt/couldn't support me. Pick up the slack etc.

I recovered. Baby got older. It seriously damaged the relationship. I knew I couldn't count on him for support when I was at my most vulnerable.

He sounds spoilt to me!
Tell him very clearly what you need & expect him to do. I presume you will be going back to work. How will you do everything when your back at work? Seriously, your dh has been coasting along & now you realise how little he does. If you don't change this, it will always be this way, why would he change? He's had it so easy!

tobysmum77 Sun 07-Dec-14 09:15:13

it's pretty simple op you need a partner not a second child to look after.

The only way I think yabu though is why did you used to do everything if you were at work? Why?

ThinkIveBeenHacked Sun 07-Dec-14 09:22:25

He is getting a full nights sleep every night! Doesnt he even appreciate that!? He needsto seriously step up, however I do wonder why on earth you did everything before the baby came along? And worked too? So has he ever had to do anything around the house?

stowbeau Sun 07-Dec-14 09:44:50

Thanks so much for your replies.

I guess I've always done everything because I've always been pretty independent. He moved in with me which I know was hard because he was moving into a functioning home where I had everything set up, so he had to fit in with my way of doing things, plus the mortgage etc was already set up and he was added to that. So some of it is circumstantial.

I've run my own business for years, so am used to be very organised and in control. I just get on and do things, I can't stand when things aren't dealt with. So again that must be hard for him as I'm very capable.

I've been brought up by a single strong mother, and so again that makes me pretty capable of getting on without help.

There's a few things in the house that I have left and not picked up and done myself. Several years ago I asked him to get the dishwasher fixed, years later, I'm still waiting. So I feel if I don't just get on and do things they won't happen.

Having said all of that, I'm pretty self aware and feel I've therefore always tried to get him involved, and have asked for help - I feel very very clearly. But I don't get it so I end up doing things myself but now I just cannot manage and have lost my rag with him and now been labelled unreasonable.

In fact he's now said he can't stand to be anywhere near me.

I'm worried I'll get PND because I feel so very lonely right now and absolutely exhausted.

I think the only thing I can do is keep on repeating what I need and just hope it will sink in.

Some days I just would love if he'd offer me a cup of tea or ask how I'm feeling!

TunnocksCW Sun 07-Dec-14 09:59:18

I am really worried you will get PND too. Is there somewhere you can go and be properly looked after for a bit, not always have to be strong, independent, in control?

It sounds like he doesn't accept he is in the wrong and does the bare minimum to humour you. He doesn't want to do the thinking, assume any real responsibility or learn how to be a good husband and father.

Unless you can get him through some third party counselling sharpish in which he genuinely changes his attitude then he is either going to pay lip service enough to keep you doing what you did before or he is going to cut and run. I don't know whether he is selfish or just scared of responsibility. It doesn't matter cos it should be about your needs right now. Please look after yourself. x

stowbeau Sun 07-Dec-14 13:12:04

Thank you TunnocksCW.

Not sure how to break the cycle of me doing too much and him doing too little.

Levismum - how did you get through it? Did you manage to get through to him.


GemmaPuddledDuck Sun 07-Dec-14 13:57:22

How about him having the baby while you do the organising jobs. You get a break from what you do all week and he is reminded how hard the baby is?

Imeg Sun 07-Dec-14 19:13:08

My other half was pretty good at helping with cooking etc but didn't seem all that keen on spending time with the baby at first. However now that the baby is older and much more fun and interactive, he is much happier to be left in charge.
So that aspect of it might improve with time. It does sound like you need to renegotiate household tasks though.

Levismum Mon 08-Dec-14 00:32:27

I did what Gemma suggested. I ff dd do would give him dd & get on with the jobs. I STRONGLY RECOMMEND YOU DO NOT DO THIS! He then just sat on the sofa, holding or feeding the baby whilst I ran around.
When dd was 7 weeks I became very ill. I had retained products & developed a serious infection. I ended up needing a D&C & iv antibiotics. I was so exhausted, in pain & depressed but he still didnt 'get it'.

He joined my household like your dh. I was very self sufficient & didn't need him to do anything until I had the baby.

Ultimately, he didn't step up & we split up when dd was 2. We had no future. I resented him & was disappointed in him. He was disappointed in me. He couldn't understand why I changed so much & admitted if he'd known how much a baby was going to change things, he'd never had one.

I would try to get this across to your dh. With hindsight I wish i had concentrated om dd & i. I strongly recommend you do the same. Take care. Look after yourself & your baby.

dreamingbohemian Mon 08-Dec-14 00:44:48

OP your mistake is that you think your husband doesn't 'get it' and doesn't understand what he should be doing.

It's not true. He does get it, he just doesn't want to do it. Unless he is the stupidest man on earth, he knows he should be doing the things you're talking about. But he doesn't want to do them and he knows that if he acts helpless for long enough you will eventually do them.

Quite frankly your explanation of how you got to this point is being far too kind. I am also a strong independent woman who lived on her own for a long time, my DH would never have let me do everything in the house because he's a grown man, not a lazy and selfish child. What kind of person sits back and lets their partner do everything???

I'm sorry to be harsh but you need to wake up a little bit and tell your husband to start contributing properly and treating you more nicely. If he can't do that you need to think about what you're doing with him. I agree, you did not have a strong relationship before, an unbalanced relationship like that is not strong.

TunnocksCW Mon 08-Dec-14 00:52:04

You really sound at the end of your tether, though. I think you need a break and not to be trying to renegotiate your relationship or police his behaviour. If you want to let it slide for now and tackle it when you feel stronger, fair enough. What can you do about getting some help from someone who doesn't need spoonfed, or preferably getting away for a bit?
In the meantime, I'd give him the baby for a day and sort out the finances as a priority. For the rest, do the minimum you can for your own needs and the baby. Leave everything else. Stop getting on at him for the time being but do not cater for his needs either.

As to breaking the pattern of your relationship..... Only you know how far you are willing to go but I bet he does too. I dont think that talking about it or rowing is doing any good right now. There are only actions you can take or not but right now looking after yourself is most important. My experience is that people shirk responsibility as others protect them from the consequences. If you left him to get on with everything bar your job, for a few months\year what would the consequences be? Could you live with them?

YonicScrewdriver Mon 08-Dec-14 00:57:41

"In fact he's now said he can't stand to be anywhere near me. "

This is a horrible thing to say.

Can you take him at his word and go and stay with your mum for a week?

DrEllieSattler Mon 08-Dec-14 01:04:03

Write it out for him.
Put everything in black and white.
Start your list of things that have to be achieved with "get the dishwasher fixed" and list it all.

Present it to him.

Sorry OP but he sounds like a selfish child, not an equal

30somethingm Mon 08-Dec-14 01:12:00

It is interesting how different the perspectives on men and children are. On the dadsnet bit of this site, the dads who post seem utterly committed, but in reality things aren't so rosy. I started a "how many men actually wanted children" thread there and the answer thus far has been a resounding "all of us". Btw I'm not saying your OH didn't or doesn't want children - I'm kind of thinking back to other threads out aloud

Does other half sleep separately so he doesn't get awoken on a work night? It sounds like a tricky situation as you're both busy. I'm sure things will fall into a routine soon enough if you're honest with each other.

TunnocksCW Mon 08-Dec-14 01:15:31

PS anyone, however long and desperately they wanted a baby, can find it difficult for multiple reasons nd so you are absolutely allowed to complain and get the help you need. Its hard to ask for help when you are strong and independent but parenting needs you to, in so many ways. Your baby needs you to be strong and happy so do reach out and take what you need for their sake.

stowbeau Fri 23-Jan-15 12:12:40

Just wanted to update this thread which I started, in case there's anyone like myself out there looking for answers or similar situations.

As I've got into more of a routine, and the baby is sleeping more, things have felt easier.

And I have become a nag. I don't like to, it doesn't feel natural, but if he's not going to do what needs to be done, I just have to keep asking. Nothing I'm asking is unreasonable, so I have to try to not feel uncomfortable about asking.

He is now more experienced at looking after the baby and that feels easier, he's more confident with her.

I've got him to do bath time and read a story every night, which is both great bonding time and also a good time for him to realise how much work is involved. I do an inward smile when he's just changed her, and she fills her nappy again and he has to do another change!

After weeks of being disappointed dinner isn't ready, he's given up and cooks dinner most nights.

The lightbulbs were finally changed!

The finances are still not sorted, and it is still stressing me out enormously so that's the next nut to crack.

I've met quite a few other women locally now, and sense that they're all having similar issues so I feel less like a failure and less isolated, and more like it's a phase.

BreakingDad77 Fri 23-Jan-15 13:17:32

The thing is though by being on dadsnet it would say that shows you were interested in having kids.

Though I think there are a fair number of men who if they are honest didn't really, who often show some or all of the attributes you have mentioned/experienced. They aren't happy with giving up/altering/putting on hold their toys/interests.

I wonder if they were heavily mothered / spoilt and the dad was just a wage earner and they expect the same to happen this time around. You have both fallen into these roles and will be tough to get out of them, though you last post sounds more positive.

Hubb Fri 23-Jan-15 21:38:54

OP I really empathise as was in similar position to you in terms of taking care of most things in the house (I worked less hours and took long break from work before giving birth).. So when DS came along and I could literally do nothing My DH seemed very confused! In the very early days he innocently asked if there was any chance of having dinner ready for when he came in (like before) can imagine how that went down!

I think some previous posters were being overly grim questioning whether you can have a future with your DH...I mean after a couple of posts it's a hell of a jump to start talking like that. He can and hopefully WILL step up. It's a big adjustment for both mums and dads (not that I'm giving him any sympathy!).

Glad you are sounding more positive, it's definitely ridiculously hard at the beginning, and even one year on I am still the biggest nag as feel DH doesn't "see" stuff that needs doing. But there's been improvements too.

Hope things continue to get better for you. Try and only do the essential things. You don't have to be strong and capable at the moment. Let us know how you go. And get him back in your bloody bedroom smile x

Katekoom Fri 23-Jan-15 22:47:59

The overriding feeling here is that he's a bit of a lazy arse, however, that aside if you want to try and make it work your going to have to communicate very clearly to him (yes, you doing the leg work again!). The fact of the matter is that fractious relationships do can reflect upon the children so your sorting it for your child if nothing else.

if it were me id;
1) apologise for being 'naggy' (he doesn't deserve an apology by the sounds of it, but you may need to be the adult in all this)
2) explain that you really need his support and that although you don't want to ask too much of him there are some things you really need him for
3) ask just 2 or 3 things of him and give a deadline
4) once he's done something praise him lots

i know it sounds daft but sometimes you need to give even more to begin getting anything back. Either that or kick him to the curb!!

ashaaima Fri 23-Jan-15 23:22:46


ashaaima Fri 23-Jan-15 23:28:26


nottheOP Fri 23-Jan-15 23:33:32

Write a list of all household chores and divide them up together. Explain that you'll need to take the childcare in shifts to allow this to happen. For the foreseeable future expect no chores to happen in the day as you're doing childcare then.

It will get better nut you both have to adjust.

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