Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Am I being too harsh on my husband?(35 Posts)
I have been married for 8 years. Ever since the beginning of our relationship I have always felt a little stifled because I have not done some of the things I wanted to do with my life since meeting my husband. It's crazy though, he has encouraged me to do so much - I have achieved highly, academically and career-wise since knowing him, far more highly that I think I would have dared attempt without him and he has always supported my choices in that way. The thing is, the rest of the time, when I'm not working or working towards something, when we just have to be at home and do stuff as a family I find myself incredibly frustrated. All anyone seems to want to do (my husband and step children) is watch TV or go out in the car. I want to walk, run, climb mountains, go on adventure holidays, camp (in the rain, I don't care) and just let go. My husband complains about the cold and doesn't want to do it. I am the main breadwinner, my husband has worked a lot in his life but lacks drive now and isn't really interested. I feel like that's my fault, like I've stopped him doing what he wants to do by not encouraging him enough like he has me (although he is a fabulous house husband). He says I'm too critical of him, but I find it hard to respect him because he doesn't want to do anything else with his life anymore like I do. The trouble is, every time he has an idea about what he wants to do he doesn't follow it though. He just seems to live in a fantasy world and doesn't seem to want to actually do the hard work, that's what I don't respect. I don't understand it I suppose. I have always been driven and he doesn't share that. All I want to do is for him to get up one day and say right let's go, let's do this. And make some decisions. But he doesn't. Is he depressed? He says not, but I'm not sure.
I read other posts where people moan about their husbands drinking too much and watching porn or not connecting with them and I think I'm being too harsh. He is a great father and very warm and loving when he feels safe, he cuts off from me a bit now but then that's because I do it to him (because I feel so frustrated). Things are always better for a bit after we make love (which is really great but not frequent enough). We're so snappy and wary of each other. I do love him and I know he loves me but I'm just disappointed. He just doesn't seem to want to have fun or look into doing anything. Maybe I need to get things moving - but then I'm the one sorting it out all the time. Oh dear, I'm going around in circles now. Should I be complaining at all. Some other people seem to be having a far worse time.
The other thing is, if I want to get out more, should I just do it without him. Is my disappointment with him, really with myself? If I make my own life more exciting will things improve? Sometimes I think of what it would have been like to marry someone more driven and think I would have been happier - but then think of some of my friends and they have husbands that they never see and who simply stay out all the time leaving them at home with the children. But I long for my husband to build his own life (with me as well but to take some initiative). He seems so scared of disappointing me now that he doesn't do anything. But I'm disappointed BECAUSE he doesn't do anything. Any ideas anyone?
Hmm.I can identify with a lot of that.
I'd say you need to do more things on your own.
I guess you are frustrated with him, but if you are the doer in your home then either you do things alone, or you organise things together.
Would he accept that he organises something say once a month?
Your marriage is quite short. If he didn't change, could you spend another 40 year like this?
There is an old saying- you can't change anyone- just yourself.
If you begin to live life as you want to, he will either join in the fun, or you will grow apart.
Do something and see what happens. There is the chance you are blaming him for your own inertia- so what's stopping you climb that mountain?
My sister has had a new lease of life since she got involved in girl guiding - she loves the out door stuff, leadership, helping with Duke of Edinburgh, she loves it
Life's too short to waste - just go and do what you want to do. It works for me.
If you start doing things on your own, he might see what fun he's missing! Go for it- you never know until you try and this situation of frustration will only get worse
Thanks for your encouragement guys. You are right - I need to just get on with it. He does join in some things with me and I guess if I'm more satisfied then he will hopefully follow.
You sound high maintenance. There is nothing wrong with having no drive to achieve....if he is already happy. If you feel the need to fill the hole in your soul with 'achievements' do that, but he doesn't have to. You say you can't understand him because he's not like you....i think you are judging him as less than you because he's different.
I think you are being harsh on him yes. Who are these achievements to impress anyway?
Oh and 'make love' .........really? Boak !!!
You really use that expression with a straight face?
You need to realise life is about the journey not just getting 'there'
I think you are being a bit too demanding. If you want o climb a mountain - great - go and do it. If he doesn't then that is also fine. Maybe he's content with his life as it is and sees no need to fill it with 'hobbies'. Most women would take that as a compliment!
You're an ambitious, driven, do-it kind of person. Not only does he respect that in you, he's encouraged and supported you to achieve beyond your expectations.
Now, if he were equally driven, etc, would he have the interest, or the head space, to invest his time & effort in your ambition? From what you have written, he's a supportive kind of guy. Caring, understanding and (I'm guessing) a little bit self-sacrificing.
I think it'd be a good idea to respect the person he is, at least as much as he respects who you are. I'm not surprised the atmosphere at home gets a bit edgy; he's probably thinking "Blimey! When is enough enough?"
He sounds really nice. Love him and appreciate him. There's no sign he'd mind very much if you joined a fell-walking group or something, is there?
You actually sound a bit like my XH. He is intensely driven, had a high powered job plus ran a separate business, and was always looking for the next challenge.
He was utterly exhausting to live with though, and was scathing of anyone who didn't share his view of having fun. He was never just happy with a walk along the beach, or a lovely drink in the sunshine, for example. Now we've split, he fills his life with adrenaline-seeking adventures and I'm with someone who enjoys the moment. It's refreshing and I feel under far less pressure.
I'd say, if you want to pursue interests then go for it, take up running, climbing or whatever, but let others decide what their idea of fun is. I'd also make sure you make time to relax, it is really important.
So you don't have children but your DH does? How old are they? Just wondering what ages and if it's something to do with being a teen. Have you tried to arrange events for the family or for just you and DH?
Guess a concern I have is that you don't respect him, that's likely to show through and maybe he doesn't want to try new things with you in case you are critical. Maybe counselling would help, seems to shame to throw away a marriage which does have some strengths.
Yes, you sound quite demanding
You expect that he should share your dreams
And seem to diminish him somewhat because he doesn't
He sounds like a good man, and one that would support you in your own endeavours
Just do what you wanna do...what are you waiting for ?
You can always find like-minded people who share your love of adventure, but rare to find a life partner who understands and respects you
you can have both, surely ?
It sounds like you're not feeling fulfilled and that if you found the right thing to put your energies into then you would see that there's nothing wrong with your husband, he is just different from you.
I did a much-wanted MBA a few years ago part-time (whilst holding down a full-time job, with 2 kids, and a husband away alot). After is all finished I wondered what would fill the gap (not the time gap, the purpose gap that didn't relate to being Mum).
Anyway, I became a girl guide leader and have never looked back. It makes me feel good to know that I'm putting something back into the community, have made friends and am determined to make sure the girls enjoy themselves and don't grow up too soon. It's great when you see them starting to gain in confidence and work together as friends.
Why don't you see what local community groups or charities out there might need your help. You are clearly motivated and your excess energy could be put to a use that will make you feel good about yourself. In the process you will have the new experiences that you are looking for.
I think that there was some research lately that said that as men get into middle age they start nesting and are happy to settle down, whereas it's the opposite for women, after the career surge of our twenties and kids in our thirties we then start thinking 'OK, what's next, bring it on!'
You sound like polar opposites with nothing in common at all, yet you don't like the way he is but you married him.
He isn't you, it doesn't make him a bad person that he isn't like you.
You have lost the rose tinted glasses and see him as he is, and you don't like it.
It's unfair to expect him to be something you want as opposed to who he is.
opposites can attract, though
with respect and understanding paramount, it can work
you CAN have seperate interests = not joined at the hip or anything
Thanks everyone - you've definitely provided some perspective and I am too high maintainance but I needed to hear someone say it. I don't know whether I will ever stop striving for something better in myself but you're right, I shouldn't inflict that on my husband. He IS a fantastic man and I should appreciate him more.
And a thousand apologies for my archaic, conservative expressions 'inallseriousness'. What an inexperienced chatroom writer I obviously am. What else should I say? Bonk? Hump? Hide the sausage?
Giraffe wrote: I have achieved highly, academically and career-wise since knowing him, far more highly that I think I would have dared attempt without him and he has always supported my choices in that way
It seems more than a bit harsh to choose to be with someone for their supportive qualities, then ditch them once they've served their purpose.
To be fair, though, it would be even more harsh to stick around if you don't appreciate them any more.
Just be careful that you're not searching for the impossible! I hope you'll find ways to both stretch yourself and love H for the person he is. If not, then let him go with respect and gratitude.
Can I just share something that really helped me and my dh. Our relationship wasn't bad just out of kilter a bit.
Basically it comes down to the premise that people feel loved in different ways. They include 1. Quality time 2. Acts of service 3. Words of affirmation 4. Gift giving 5. Physical touch. (these are called love languages)
So for example my top love languages are quality time and words of affirmation. My dh's are physical touch and acts of service.
So when my dh was spending time doing up our house he thought he was doing a great job showing me how much he loved me doing all that work (act of service). I just felt more and more unhappy because he was never around (lack of quality time).
So now we make it a priority to spend time together alone (quality time for me) and I make more of an effort to do things for my dh like curl my hair. (He sees this as something I am doing especially for him which is an act of service).
They key is to find out what your top love languages are and what your partners are and then you both make an effort to show love in that way. (Most people give love in the way that they feel loved - and thats where it goes wrong).
Maybe that could help.
Good call, Giggle. I hate, hate, hate that website and books (I have a deep antipathy to all 'quick-fix' self help advisors) but the 5 languages thing is simplistic NLP, and can be a very helpful starting point.
I think you sometimes need to extrapolate it, though. Giraffe's DH showed his love by supporting her - does that mean he wants to receive support, or wants to be appreciated for his supportiveness? Giraffe hasn't said what her primary ego need is, but for high achievers it's often admiration.
So I suspect you've identified the problem astutely, but the 'language' in question might not be exactly on the List Of Five, iyswim
It's important to discuss this, as I'm sure you know. Attempted telepathy can lead to lousy results.
I have shared a whole book in a few sentences.. I too hate self help stuff but what this did is give us is a framework with which to talk about stuff, which was probably the most helpful thing.
And it means that I make more of an effort to appreciate dh's acts of service as well as doing acts of services for him, because I recognise more easily that is his way of showing me that he loves me.
We definitely have different 'acts of service' so I can totally see where you're coming from there. Thanks for taking the time to write about it. I will raise it with him. It's hard to say but my 'primary ego need' probably is admiration - don't think I had much as a child. And come to think of it, he always looks after everybody which probably means he just wants looking after himself. That has definitely come through in past discussions with him. It's true as well, the things that I do to show I love him often go unnoticed because he doesn't realise that I have a different way of showing it. Thanks.
Do you r own thing... thats what I say. Life is too short not to.......
you deserve some "ME" time afterall....
Giraffe, I love your last post!
Please keep writing - and, much more importantly, talking at home
Join the discussion
Please login first.