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Help - am on brink of being a single parent : (

(30 Posts)
Weasy Sun 31-Jul-11 20:34:56

My DP and I have been together for 5 years and had a number of miscarriages before I gave birth to a beautiful little girl in January. Ever since she was born we seem to be arguing constantly - I know this is the case for most new parents but with us I think it is more serious and that we have a fundamental difference of beliefs with how approach we parenting.

He thinks that ALL of the caring for our DD is my responsibility and has been known to say that this is now my "job" and that I am "on maternity leave afterall." He complains of being tired all of the time but I do all of the night feeding etc and nothing seems to be enough. I have suggested that he sleeps a couple of nights a week at his parents place to catch up (he won't) and I also go to my Mum's fairly regularly to give him a break. However, he seems to think that these visits are a holiday for me and is exasperated when I am still tired when I come back - I think he thought my 74 year old mother would be doing all of the night feeds...
He doesn't have a particularly demanding job in terms of hours etc and I think he has always resented the fact that I am the major breadwinner. He is trying to establish a new business but I feel he blames me for it not taking off in the way that he wants and the fact that he is a little out of his depth. He attributes all of this to tiredness yet won't do any of the things I have suggested (like sleeping at his parents) so that he could catch up.

He just seems angry with me all the time and cites examples of people he knows where the men do nothing and says that at least he "lets" me go to the gym a couple of times a week. He also cites a couple he knows who farm their baby out for days on end so that they can go off partying - I couldn't do this and suspect he doesn't want to party anyway (we never did before we had DD), it's just another stick to beat me with. His idea of childcare is taking DD out for a walk whihc mainly involves his taking her to the local cafe. He won't put her down for sleeps at home because he hates doing anything which might involve her crying.

After months of arguments - which always seem to end up with his making a character assassination of my many flaws he has buggared off for the night leaving me with the baby. She is v unsettled at the moment so I suspect that I am in for a very stressful night. All of the character assassination is also making me really lack confidence and I have explained this to him but as soon as he gets angry it all starts again.

I just don't know if I can carry on with this much longer. We argue in front of our dear little girl which breaks my heart. I have suggested we talk to someone which he has agreed to but mainly because he sees it as a chance to show me that I am wrong - his words. I can afford to run the flat on my own but can't afford to buy him out but he says he wants the flat. We haven't seriosuly discussed splitting up but this is what he has said in our many arguments.

My parents are divorced and I promised myself that I would never be a single parent yet I know that a hostile and resentful environment is a terrible start in life for a young baby and I am honestly starting to think that I would be better off alone. I do love him but I recognise that he is a very selfish man and was mildy annoying in a partner but is really more worrying in the context of a family. He does love DD dearly but doesn;t wnat any of the sheer hard work that goes with having a baby. Yesterday we went to his sisters for the day and I asked if he would change DD's nappy and he pointblank refused and when I broached this this morning he said in complete seriousness "but you're her Mother."

I feel isolated and as if I can't discuss this with anyone. I feel such a failure and I am sure that if I discussed this with my family it would worry and upset them plus my dearest stepdad has cancer and I don't want to give my Mum anything else to worry about. DP says that I have no right to any life for myself at the moment because DD is only 7 months old. It's not as if I want to go out gallivanting, I just would like him to put DD to bed occasionally or help me a bit more around the house.

I don't know what to do.

BelleDameSansMerci Sun 31-Jul-11 20:40:39

I think you do know what to do but may not be ready to do it yet...

He sounds like a selfish arse to me.

I'm a single parent. It's fine. Certainly less stressful than living with someone so resentful and unhelpful.

buzzsore Sun 31-Jul-11 20:45:15

Well, I should get some legal and financial advice. You don't have to do anything with it, but knowledge is power. If you're the main breadwinner it may be that you've contributed more to the mortgage (assuming it's in both names) in which case you might be entitled to more of the equity, if there is any.

He's failing you - it's not your failure. We don't live in the dark ages, fgs, refusing to change a single nappy shock.

SingingSands Sun 31-Jul-11 20:47:37

FGS, he sounds like a sulky teenager having a tantrum.

You sound like a capable and intelligent woman who would be absolutely fine as a single parent. You've obviously thought about it carefully. It sounds as though he is relishing you being on maternity leave, now that he is the main breadwinner he is throwing his little bit of power around and rather enjoying putting you down. I wouldn't stand for it, and think you sound incredibly patient for having put up with such terrible behaviour for so long. From what you have described, he has no respect for you at all. There is an old saying "the best thing a father can do for his children is love their mother" and your situation couldn't be further away from that.

I feel sorry for you that you have ended up in this situation, but put a stop to it now before his horrible behaviour totally knocks your confidence and you end up taking more of this abuse for many more years.

HerHissyness Sun 31-Jul-11 20:48:33

Did he channge from night to day when you had you daughter or did this behaviour have roots from before her birth? Did he tell you he was not going to be involved in your daughter's care before she was conceived/born?

I could write pages that deal with every point you make, but I can summarise it in far fewer words.

He is OUT OF ORDER! He is just as much a parent as you are, you have a right to a life too.

WRT the comment about being a single parent, my dear, you already ARE a single parent.

You say you love him now, with attitude and entitlement like that, you won't for long. Trust me.

These arguments, where he assassinates your character? I'm not liking the sound of it at all. TBH, I wonder if he is oppressing you, trying to keep you in your place.

Do you have many friends to talk to about this? or has he put pay to your friendships too?

Your relationship rings many bells with me. I am worried for you.

sittinginthesun Sun 31-Jul-11 20:49:34

I felt in a similar position when DS1 was born - DH was being a total nightmare, critical, blaming me for ruining his life, saying that having a baby was my idea etc etc.

It sounds awful now, but I really wanted to make it work. I stopped expecting any help, just got on with it, and tried desperately not to compare him to friends'OHs.

In my case, it did settle. I actually remember the morning when DS shouted for Daddy, and DH jumped out of bed to cuddle him.

I am glad I stuck it out. DH is fantastic with the children now, and all is good.

If it is unbearable, then you may need to get out, but I am glad I stuck it out. X

BlueArmyGirl Sun 31-Jul-11 20:50:21

Sounds like a nightmare situation that you could really do without.

What was his experience of being parented? Could some of his antiquated perspective be linked to this or is it just that he really doesn't see that being a parent changes his life too.

To be fair my dh took a while to get to grips with it all especially the 'being in charge on my own' and the 'my life is changing, I am no longer first on my list of priorities' side of things but he did manage the simple stuff like nappy changing and bathing etc. from the beginning.

I hope things improve for you soon, whether that's together or on your own.

FabbyChic Sun 31-Jul-11 21:25:32

Are you married? Does he seriously believe that you with a baby should move out? How fucking disgusting is that? Seriously? What are you doing with a man that is so selfish he dislikes both you and his daughter that much he would expect you to move from your own home?

He is an asshole he cannot cope like you can and he is jealous that you earn more, can cope better with the baby and are generally a better person. His taunts are born of jealously for not being as good a person as you are.

He either shapes up or he fucks off it isnt fair on anybody how he is carrying on.

YOu are basically doing everything alone already like a single parent you might as well be one. Find someone who loves you and your daughter like nothing on earth not someone who resents you, and is jealous of you.

Weasy Sun 31-Jul-11 21:30:43

Thank you all for your replies.

His father is a v controlling man who was abusive to DP during his childhood. His mother has seethed her way through their marriage but I am not the type to seethe and stay and I am increasingly concerned that my DD must not grow up thinking ours is a relationship to emulate.

You're right I am pretty much a single parent - and please don't think I was trying to say that there is anything wrong with that. My Mum threw my Dad out when she was 6 months pregnant with her 5th child so I come from a strong stock : ) I also know in my heart that if it comes to it I will be OK. I think that the uncertainty and the confrontation is worse if that makes sense. I feel as if I am waiting for something bad to happen. We keep burying it and we're OK for a few weeks but inevitably it resurfacesand it all starts again.

DP was great in the beginning but I think he had this notion that our rather nice life would carry on with a little passenger in tow and of course that's not realistic. The novelty of childcare has worn off and he doesn't bathe DD, put her to bed, feed her or do any night feeds though does get up early some mornings so that I can catch up on some much needed sleep.

What's worse is that she is a dear little baby and very good - she just can't seem to sleep through the night but before teething and moving to her own room she was only waking once at 4ish and I feel sure we'll get there again when she is over her painful teething. She is happy, content, bright and a really good eater etc so it's not as if we are trapped with some terribly behaved endlessly screaming baby. His only contribution is taking her for walks even though I want her to sleep in her cot during the day as she generally sleeps better and longer than in her pushchair. It's not as if I don't want him ever to take her for a walk but if he stayed here with her he could wash a few bottles, unload the washing machine etc. On the increasingly rare occasions he does these things he behaves like he's given me a kidney.

We have had problems before I attributed these to the miscarriages and ironically I always felt that if I were unable to have a baby he'd leave. Now that we have the baby we had longed for he seems angry so much of the time. I am sure there's an element of ,not exactly jealousy, but of my priorities very obviously having changed but DD is his daughter and I struggle to understand why he isn't more grateful that she has a mother who loves and cares for her as well as I do.

He's in complete denial about our financial position and is always insisting that we could survive on his income - we absolutely could not. He has always relied on his parents for money and even his mother has this said to me. I think deep down that he is a very insecure person and feels that because he is not some kind of hotshot Bransonesque businessman that he has somehow failed. I have tried to explain that I don't need that sort of lifestyle and that I love him as he is but of course he needs to find that inner confidence for himself. Sadly, I feel that whatever he has will never be enough and that I become the focus for his frustration with his life e.g. he's too tired etc or I don't believe in him but we've had 5 years of (failed) different business ideas etc and I don't undertsand why he can't just appreciate what we have. He has a profession and works successfully at this but is always trying to forge some sort of new business idea on the side. He says I have no idea of how to support someone starting a business but I'm afraid I feel that he has no idea of how to support someone starting out as a mother.

I think that I will get some advice. We have always split the bills 50:50 but I have always paid for all of our food and picked up lots of the bills for holidays, meals etc. It is also no exaggeration to say that he has pretty much abdicated all financial responsibilty for DD and I have bought EVERYTHING since the day she was born.

I have confided in my closest friend but I feel so ashamed. We have a 7 month old daughter who is an absolute delight and I cannot understand why we can't seem to get along anymore.

Weasy Sun 31-Jul-11 21:36:51

And, no, he never said that he wouldn't be involved in childcare though has admitted recently that he assumed that I would do everything. He did have the good grace to add that he realised how ridiculous that sounded but suddenyl that's exactly what's happening...

cucumbersandwiches Sun 31-Jul-11 21:41:41

Sorry you're going through this. He sounds like an immature little boy. It also sounds like you're a single parent already.

Does he have any good qualities?

How old are you both?

Witchofthenorth Sun 31-Jul-11 21:46:26

Weary, you know exactly what you need to do..........personally, I would be leaving. He sounds like a spooky brat of a child! Get some legal advice and I strongly advise you plan on moving out. You are an intelligent capable woman and you will manage just grand on your own (and prob be a damn sight happier for it)

Weasy Sun 31-Jul-11 21:48:21

I am 46 and he is 38. Our age difference doesn't seem that pronounced as I could easily pass for 38 and my advanincg years had no effect at all of my ability to get pregant!

He does have good qualities - he is good fun and intelligent and loves DD dearly. He is also affectionate and can be very kind and thoughtful.

On a good day he is great to be around but when angry is the sort to say anything no matter how hurtful or damaging. Plus we cannot seem to communicate anymore- he is very good at making me feel like I am being totally unreasonable e.g. the idea that he "lets" me go to the gym. Plus he says he does nothing on his own!!! Unbelievable - he went kayaking for a WHOLE WEEKEND only a fortnight ago, I have always said I don't mind if he goes out with friends in the evening plus of course he has endless cups of coffee in various cafes though this apparently working. Still, nice to have a coffee on your own or be able to go to the loo when you want : ))

Bogeyface Sun 31-Jul-11 21:51:56

You want to know what the problem is?

You are everything he wishes he could be so he is punishing you for that. You earned more than him, you were and are more successful than him and now you are a better parent than him. He looks at you and sees everything he wishes he could be himself and isnt, so he wants to hurt you for that.

I think that the counselling that he has so readily agreed to is the first step you need to take. A Relate counsellor would not look kindly on a man who refuses to help in anway and then abuses his partner for his own shortcomings. From that you will find out if the relationship is salvagable or not, and you can have counselling with them on your own too to help you make the decision.

babyhammock Sun 31-Jul-11 21:57:47

He's an arse
from what I can see, he's jealous of you and now that you are tied to a very young child he sees it as the perfect opportunity to 'put you in your place'. As for you not supporting him, I am fairly sure that nothing you would do would be good enough. Also his threats for you and DD to be the ones to move out are another way of financially abusing you as he knows you won't want to do that. Seek legal advice. Yo may have a claim under Schedule 1 of the Children's house for keeping some of his share in the flat as you can't afford to buy him out.

There would have been red flags before DD was born but I'm guessing you made excuses for them. I know I did.

Please don't let him erode you away anymore

HerHissyness Sun 31-Jul-11 23:41:35

Just me? I'm getting a whiff of Narc (the DH) here.

His stock is certainly damaged, he may be replicating his upbringing, and you are determined to be successful where your mother was not. (in the kindest possible sense, to me, booting out an unsuitable partner when PG? she is a hero!)

this heady combination means that he will be an arse and you will put up with it. If he turns out to be full-blooded abusive, you will be full bore victim.

Trust your instincts here, this situation is untenable.

IMHO, you ought to make a stand, tell him to leave until he is ready to be a proper P and father

If he ( A) goes on to rise to the challenge, you have won. RESULT

If he (B) rebels, or fails to step up, you are rid of his beastly behaviour, and are free to get on with the important things in life, caring for your DD and being a bloody marvellous role model to her as your mother may have been to you.

Don't tread water on this one, the longer it goes on, the more his entitlement will grow.

Witchofthenorth Mon 01-Aug-11 04:04:42

Oh my god my typos! I do apologise......I have no idea what a spooky brat of a child is blush it was meant to say spoilt! And, I of course realise your name is weasy and not weary.......bloody autocorrect!

I hope you are well OP.

akaemmafrost Mon 01-Aug-11 07:57:48

You are describing my ex, right down to the age gap, business ideas that never go anywhere, "letting" me go out, abducting all childcare and domestic responsibilities on the grounds that you are the mum so it is your job etc. I tried to make it work for 8 years, it got worse and worse, so I changed my expectations and boundaries, it got worse. Now it is over my biggest regret was staying as long as I did, I was desperately unhappy and I feel I missed out on a lot of the joy of my children's early years. Imvho men with these kind if views who say the things that your dh and my ex used to say, absolutely WILL NOT change it is too deeply entrenched in them.

My advice to you is get out sooner rather than later either this will shock him into sorting his attitudes out or you will free yourself of years of misery from a selfish man who will not change. I suspect the latter.

akaemmafrost Mon 01-Aug-11 07:58:39

Abdicated not abducted - bloody iPhone!

Whatmeworry Mon 01-Aug-11 08:05:24

Sounds like an aspiring cocklodger...... This probably doesn't get better unfortunately OP.

Misspixietrix Mon 01-Aug-11 11:35:25

First of all I just wanted to send you a huge (((hug))) you sound worn out and exhausted and i'm not suprised. He needs reminding that the baby is as much his responsibility as dd is your's whether he goes to work or not, remind him that all though you're on mat leave you too are still doing a full time job in the sense of being a full time mummy x

solidgoldbrass Mon 01-Aug-11 11:49:13

Unfortunately this is very common: selfish, sexist entitled men only really show their true colours when you have a baby, because when there is a baby in the house you can no longer ignore the man's selfishness and you can't pander to it. so the man becomes unbearable.
Get legal advice and, if need be, throw this parasite out. Best of luck. But don't stick with him hoping he will improve - he will only 'improve' if he manages to make you utterly miserable.

saffronwblue Mon 01-Aug-11 12:02:26

Congratulations on your beautiful daughter. It seems you have made the transition to being a parent and he has not. It is not reasonable for him to expect you to do all the work and also to be belittled. It seems as if he is trying to control you but in fact you hold all the cards as you have the skills to lead an independent happy life with your child and he does not.

EightiesChick Mon 01-Aug-11 12:09:59

Bogeyface has nailed it. What's telling is that he refuses to go to his parents as you have suggested - that indicates that he doesn't need a break that much, rather, he wants to moan about not having everything his way and make you feel guilty.

He is being pathetic. I'd tell him to go, at least temporarily - doubt you will be much worse off as a single parent. Don't be scared of managing on your own - sounds like it will be a relief.

suzikettles Mon 01-Aug-11 12:16:09

Your dh is on track to lose his family.

He is a very, very, very stupid man. Hopefully he'll realise what he's doing before it's too late.

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