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Help me get some perspective, I am at the end of my tether with my H and don't know what to to.

(6 Posts)
curlywurlycremeegg Thu 25-Aug-11 08:44:20

It's a long story and has been going on for ages, will try and be brief.

Married 11 years, 3 DC (2,4 and 6) and I have a DS (15) from a previous relationship who doesn't see his dad at all.

H is 5 years younger than me, when we met he was in the forces and we lived apart for the first few years.

We were open about our previous relationship history when we met and H had only had a two week relationship prior to me (maybe this should have rung alarm bells!) and a couple of one night stands, he was painfully shy and found it very difficult to talk to women. We were actually "pen friends" whilst he was posted away and met when he came home on leave, I think this is why our relationship grew, as he felt he already knew me before we actually met in person.

His shyness and lack of confidence has prevented him from doing lots of "normal" things, he dislikes talking on the phone, will never phone anyone and always cuts short calls he gets. He often puts on an act, at work people seem to think he is the "life and soul", however this is his work persona, if anything crops up at home that needs dealing with I have to do it as he avoids confrontation (don't we all but sometimes it needs to occur).

My big issue is he really seems to have no empathy or prespective of how his actions affect others. At the moment he seems to be taking on anything people ask of him as a favour, he works in IT so gets lots of requests from family members to fix their pc/laptop, people who are never in touch except to ask this. He has taken over a website for a friend of his who is finding it to much work to keep up to date and is drawing up plans for his sisters house extension. All this would be fine if we actually had that time to give to people, however I don't think we do. We are in the middle of a huge house renovation ourselves, this has been going on for over 5 years and I am sick of living on a building site. We also have a few other issues that need time spending on them alongside the fact that we have four children.

Last night was the final straw, from the moment he got in he was either on his laptop doing work for others or on the phone as it was ringing constantly (maybe I am being a bit dramatic but in the space of 90 mins three people phoned) with people chasing him about work he has promised to do for them. He isn't getting paid for any of it and I know from previous experience there won't even be a bottle of wine at the end to say thanks for saving me a lot of money and giving up your time.

I am starting to feel he is doing this to boost his confidence and so people feel they can't manage without him, however the people who really should be dependent on him (his children) are starting to find they can do fine without him. I am feeling so sad and frustrated, this isn't the first time he has put others before the children and I. I seriously think he needs some counselling, however I know I will never get him to accept this.

In the words of another topic "AIBU", please be kind with your answers I am just exhausted with it all!

minipie Thu 25-Aug-11 12:21:10

No, you're definitely not BU. But it doesn't sound like he is doing it deliberately iyswim, he is being thoughtless.

Does he realise how much you and the DCs need his time? Maybe you could ask him to do more at him, so as to make it more obvious that his time is needed at home? Explain that you really need him at home and how the DCs are missing out on spending time with their dad. I know he should realise all this without being told but some people (men esp) will focus on the person who is asking loudest and will not see that other, quieter, people need them too. Also if it is about ego boosting and feeling needed (which it may well be) then making him feel needed at home may have an impact.

Also, maybe you could suggest ways in which he can say "no" nicely to such requests, eg "sorry I'm just really busy with the DCs at the moment so they are taking up all my spare time". You have 4 DCs and 3 little ones so that is perfectly believable! (and should be true!)

good luck

SingOut Thu 25-Aug-11 13:09:32

He sounds like my XP who I suspected of being
a) aspergers
b) a wanker. The latter made me leave in the end, but the lack of empathy and wanting to be needed and thought indispensable while ignoring the needs of his own family drove me to distraction as well. I could never work out of he was just being thick/insensitive or if it was a passive aggressive slight. I left in the end as I couldn't hack it. You have my complete sympathies. I think the way you met has a lot of similarities to my own relationship and to stories I have read about people on the autistic spectrum. I'm wary of shouting "He has AS!" as people get a bit hmm if you do that on MN, with good reason. But he really does sound like he could be.
Best of luck to you.

curlywurlycremeegg Thu 25-Aug-11 14:48:02

Thank you both for replying, I am so glad I don't sound unreasonable, not because I want to be the person in the right, just because it means there is some perspective, when you live with it day in day out things become confusing I guess.

minpie I hope he does understand how much we need him, I try to explain, when he commits to yet another project I try to point out all the things he said he would finish for me first. He told me the other week that I need to write a list for him! I feel more and more like his mother everyday and that doesn't induce any romantic feelings towards him. I do need to make him feel wanted at home but they way he behaves makes me "want"him less and less and he then starts asking for reassurance, it has got to the point where I can even offer that. TBH I think I need to be able to talk it all through with someone also, at the moment I do feel like I would be so much happier without him and that obviously won't make him feel needed or wanted.

SingOut You can shout AS as loud as you like for me, my eldest (not my H's biological son) has AS. H has even commented on the fact that he thinks he may have it as he sees a lot of similarities between DS1 and himself at that age. I have never been sure if it was true or just another way of trying to get my attention (I guess I am the one without empathy here!) The question now is what do we do about it? Would anyone really be interested in looking into this for a 33 year old man who has served in the armed forces and is now holding down a managerial job with local government?

springydaffs Fri 26-Aug-11 11:09:04

Sounds like you need a mediator re someone trained (counselling). That way, you can lay out how you both feel and make a 'list' (that you both make, not just you for him iyswim) and work on it together. From what you have said, it doesn't sound like he realises what he's doing. Which is a reason but not an excuse. It must be exhausting for you xx

Hardgoing Fri 26-Aug-11 11:40:47

I can relate to this, my husband does not have AS (well, as an IT specialist/geek, I'm not saying he's entirely off the spectrum!) but does have traits like being a workaholic, loving doing his hobbies and being unable to turn down requests for his expertise, even when we desperately need him to do work for money. He also takes on things he doesn't have time to do and the people get cross at him, even though he isn't getting paid. He is very optimistic, loves to say 'yes' to things and has no concept of how long things will take.

I have placed firm limits now around his charitable time (by being direct about what I need him to say to them). If he goes to see someone who wants something, I say 'do not agree to do that unless they pay' and he had one hobby night a week plus does odd bits around his week. Paid work has to come first.

You need to tell him (when he is paying attention, not when he's fixing a laptop) what you have told us about feeling neglected and spending too much time on hobbies/helping others. I think he has to see that helping others is just like any work, it has to be scheduled and limits placed on it, otherwise you end up letting people down. Doing someone else's extension plans when your house is not finished is not on, but you need to communicate this very directly and agree what he will and won't take on.

I don't go on about it anymore, we do seem to have reached an equilibrium about it, he does still do his one 'charity' activity (which is also his hobby), fixes the odd laptop if he has time, but paid work and DIY in our house is priority and now realises that all those people turning up for free stuff are actually taking the piss.

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