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Fed up with DH - any suggestions?

(15 Posts)
mmebovarycestmoi Sat 15-Oct-11 03:36:52

DH and I have no patience with each other at all. We argue all the time - and I mean ALL the time.

If I think about things rationally, he is a good person, he respects me, he does a fair bit of housework and childcare, he accepts me (I'm aware I'm not an easy person to live with), he loves me and DS, he has good principles, he supports me, etc. On the few occasions we manage to talk without arguing we can still enjoy each other's company.

I guess these are the really important things, I mean, the big issues, aren't they?

However, he's annoying, he spends too much time on the computer, he has to be told what to do in the house all the time (surely he would be able to figure it out by himself if he wanted to?), he is lazy (I mean, slow, lets everything to be done in the last minute, would live in a dirty house if it depended on him, DS would spend the day strapped to a buggy or, more likely, being cared by anyone he could find - if it wasn't by me). He has grown very fat in the last few years and doesn't do anything about that (doesn't exercise or diet although he has high cholesterol levels and is now technically obese). I worry about his health and I also feel hurt he can't be bothered to be at least presentable to me (he's been wearing tight old clothes because he refuses to buy new ones, hes hair and skin are pitiful, etc). We haven't had sex for a few months now, but since I got pregnant our sex life has been nearly dead (DS is 18mo).

I know he's probably depressed. After years insisting, he's finally seen the GP and was referred for therapy (hasn't started yet).

I don't have any patience with him anymore. I snap at everything (and so does he), even small things. I don't find him very interesting, I think all he bothers about is stupid games and films and TV series. I don't feel like cuddling him (he's far from attractive now).

The point is (and here's where I need some insight). I'm sure if I could start again with him I would see all the little annoyances as what they are - little things. But I've been trying to do that for months and months and I can't. I think that's the point where lots of people would just split and start again, but with someone else...

Things have been really difficult after DS was born (epic rows) and we got close to splitting.

It's not like he's been a helpless victim. He snaps at me as well. He is passive aggressive, refusing to do some things just because I nag him (like not having a shower after coming from work until 2 in the morning), or complaining about the way I do something with DS without offering any alternative, or resisting taking DS to the playground on a weekend so I can have some time off.

People tell me to be patient and not to make any hurried decision, but arguing and being nasty to each other all day, everyday, is not a healthy way to live. Specially doing that in front of DS. Most of the time I think I don't even love him anymore. But I used to love him, and to enjoy his company and everything, so I guess I could do it again.

The problem is that right now I just can't be bothered. I would really love to be nice to him, but then he says something foolish or he forgets to do something or plays games on the computer until 4 in the morning and is knackered the next day to take care of DS (he still thinks it's ok to sleep very late on the weekends, loke he used to do before), or spends a day feeling bad because he ate/drank too much the previous day, and I just lose it.

We've been together for 8 years, married for 5, DS is 18 months. We are planning to start TTCing soon but sometimes it feels like wishful thinking. First because we can't stand to be with each other, secondly because we don't have sex, so who are we kidding?

We don't have relatives nearby. I work as a freelancer from home, we have no childcare at all. (DS is a horrible sleeper so a babysitter is out of question).

We've had counselling for a few months, but we were only offered a certain number of sessions by the NHS, and they've finished.

Any strategies to improve the situation? Similar stories with a happy ending?

Thzumbazombiewitch Sat 15-Oct-11 04:09:37

Hmm. Some of what you said rang bells with me until you got to the "letting himself go" parts.
Your DH is going for therapy - have you been checked yourself for PND as well? Not because I think that it means you have nothing to be irritated at (you really do) but because it may be affecting your feelings about it all.

Strategies - I don't know - my DH and I regularly have the "you need to behave like an adult and not a teenager because I want my DH to be an adult, I don't want to be a substitute mum for an overaged teenager as well as our DS!" and things improve a fraction but then they slide back.
My DH is very laid back, loves me and DS enormously, is a very good worker and provider - and has been forced into cooking and washing up alternately with me (when DS was a baby, he did all the evening cooking because he did none of the night work - fair trade-off, IMO grin)

Computer games are the bane of most adults' lives, if you ask me. It is unreasonable for an adult man to be playing games until that hour in the morning and then sleeping late. I am often on MN until 1 or 2 in the morning, but I still have to get up and deal with DS (3.10) so if I miss out on sleep, I'm the one who suffers. Your DH should not be allowed to sleep in - if he has to get up at a set time every day including weekends then it might encourage him to go to sleep earlier.

Do you live somewhere near a park? on good weather weekends, make him get up early and all of you go out for a family walk for at least an hour. Explain to him that he needs to change things or you are going to reach a point where you can't stand him any more.

If you haven't been checked for depression yourself yet, do get checked out - at least then you can either say you definitely don't have it, it is his behaviour that is distressing you; or you can get medication which might improve the situation.

Draw up a clear rota of what needs done and when, and by whom. Might sound a bit childish but in all seriousness, if a man behaves like a child then there is no point expecting him to suddenly start to behave like a grown adult without some help. I have a suspicion that there is quite a large number of men who revert to teenhood when their wives become mothers - they see "mum" and it seems to send them back to when they lived with their own mum.

Good luck - it's a bitch when they do this and yours does sound to be a long way down the path to complete teen slob but hopefully the meds will start to turn him around a bit, and you'll find that IF he starts to try and remedy stuff, you won't feel so bad about him.

mmebovarycestmoi Sat 15-Oct-11 04:39:14

Thzumbazombiewitch, thanks for your message. It's comforting to know I'm not the only one dealing with that sort of problems...

I've been in contact with GP and have had counselling re my own situation. I'm not depressed, but I have some really low days from time to time. I've decided (with the GP) to keep away from ADs for now (I've taken ADs for a long time, stopped before I got pregnant) because DS is still BF, and because of a possible second pregnancy.

Right now I don't know if I should go back to ADs and postpone DC2. I'm in two minds about that.

We do go out as a family on the weekends and go for walks (we live in a tiny flat and it's just cruel to keep DS indoors all day, so we always have to find something to do).

He's not allowed to sleep until late if he goes to sleep at 4am. I mean, on the weekends each day one of us stays in bed for a bit longer while the other stays with DS. So, if it's his turn to wake up early, he does it even if it means sleeping for 3 hours. However, he then goes to the living room and props himself on the sofa with DS in front of the TV. And I can never be absolutely sure that he's not snoozing, leaving DS unsupervised. It really makes my blood boil, we end up with a wreck of a husband/dad because he can't be bothered to sleep in a decent hour! (and he's 37, so not exactly young and fit to survive on that little sleep)

You said: "Explain to him that he needs to change things or you are going to reach a point where you can't stand him any more." --> problem is: I've reached that point already! sad What I want is to revert this, but I'm failing miserably...

Jacksmania Sat 15-Oct-11 04:45:32

You know, just a thought - there are ADs that are safe to take while pregnant and breastfeeding. Sertraline is definitely safe while BFIng and I believe while pg as well.

Thzumbazombiewitch Sat 15-Oct-11 04:49:25

Then tell him.

The next step is to suggest that he moves out for a while because you are moving towards hating him - and you don't want to do that - but while he is still there and making no conscious effort to improve, he is killing off every last bit of love you had for him. So he needs to go. You can't, you have your DS to look after - and it would still be his home for him to come back to whenever he's sorted himself out - but he has to change because currently you can't stand to breathe the same air as him.

If he refuses, is there anyone/where you could go for a bit with DS? Any friends who would put you up for a while? Thing is though, it is really him who needs to make the changes so being booted out of home would be a wake-up call for him - if he gets to stay and you have to leave then he is less likely to do anything.

His failure to do anything about his situation is massively frustrating and I just bet you're thinking "if he loved me, he'd change this" - so because he isn't changing it, you're feeling that he doesn't love you enough. Have a free and frank discussion with him about it - he has to know exactly how bad things have got or he may continue in his complacent shitty ways.

mmebovarycestmoi Sat 15-Oct-11 13:13:36

Hi Jacksmania. I've discussed that with the GP, and the point is: no AD is proven to be safe, and all of them can be found in the breastmilk.

However, they're not proven to cause problems either, that's why people use them. The line of thought is to measure risks and benefits. For example, if the woman is feeling suicidal, then of course the risk of not taking AD is bigger than the risk of taking.

In my case, I've been thinking until now that the risk (of feeding AD to DS via breastmilk) was not worth it. I'm not sure anymore.

By the way, I used to take fluoxetin and I wonder if I want to go through the hassle of trying a different one at this point or just stick with what I know...

Thzumbazombiewitch I've told him all that, and he is trying to change. If he was the only one in the wrong it would be simpler, but as I said I've been complaining about every single thing he does. And as he says, I don't do everything right either, but he doesn't complain about me all the time.

(He can't move out, as I said we have no family nearby and definitely no money for something like that. We are already strapped for cash with both in the same house. If we split I would probably have to move to my parents or at least a tiny place - no way we could afford the house we're in and a flat for DH. We can't hardly afford our current rent right now...)

I should draw a line between what is acceptable and what is not and ignore all the little things. Going to bed at 4am and being too tired the next morning - unacceptable. Forgetting to load the dishwasher - acceptable. The point is, I've lost all perspective and end up making a big fuss in both cases, which only creates unnecessary stress.

Thzumbazombiewitch Sat 15-Oct-11 13:24:22

OK, you can't afford for either of you to move out. Can you perhaps go to your parents for a couple of weeks? Just to get some distance from him, which is actually what I was hoping you could get. Sometimes a break from the relentless irritation can break the cycle a little, allow the load on the camel's back to reduce iyswim, so that you can start from a less intense position when you come back.

I'd reconsider the ADs - but go with the safest-possible option. Your DS at 18mo will be having less BM than a much younger baby, and having other foods as well, so any AD that does come through will have less impact on him (plus it will be less in relation to his bodyweight as well). The ADs will help to reduce your stress levels which will also reduce your camel-load and lengthen your fuse.

And if you draw up a list of what is acceptable/unacceptable, make sure your DH Knows what is Unacceptable (I wouldn't let him know what is acceptable - it will only allow him to get away with it more often which would then render it unacceptable).

LesserOfTwoWeevils Sat 15-Oct-11 14:40:35

How exactly is he "trying to change"? You haven't mentioned a single thing he's doing to try to improve the situation. Why hasn't he started therapy yet? If it's because he's waiting for an appointment, there are plenty of things he can do on his own in the meantime if only to show willing. Exercise, for instance, would improve his mental and physical health and make him more appealing to you.
And why are you even thinking about having another baby with a man you can't stand? You sound as if you need ADs or counselling too. In your posts you're playing "Yes, but..." and giving reasons why there's no solution to your issues.

mmebovarycestmoi Sat 15-Oct-11 22:16:14

Yes, Lesser, I'm playing "yes, but." It's a lifelong habit and hard to change. I've done therapy for over a year recently, and I can't afford it privately, so I have to go back on the GP (again) and ask to be referred (again). I'm planning to do that soon.

How DH is trying to change: doing more housework than he used to. Encouraging me to take a night course so I can do something by myself while he takes care of DS. When he gets home early he bathes DS, and usually he deals with the wakings from about 8pm to midnight (there are always a lot of wakings). He comes from a house where men have never done anything in the house or with children, so he is clearly making an effort. I want to make a career change and he is supporting me.

He hasn't started therapy because he has just been referred. It took me a while to convince him to go for couple's counselling, and then the therapist told him he would benefit from individual therapy, so he's been to the GP.

Thzumbazombiewitch right now I'm in my parents house, on holiday. Last year I did the same, we spent two weeks apart and I went back determined to be a better and nicer wife/person. However, everything went back to usual in a few days.

I don't want the same thing to happen again this year.

Re AD, I'm thinking along the same lines as you: DS is a 13kg boy, not a tiny newborn, and milk is not his main source of food anymore. Probably the ADs will be the lesser of two evils.

Thzumbazombiewitch Sat 15-Oct-11 23:11:31

I think so, MmeB. I really would go back to your GP and discuss it again.
Can you stay longer at your parents? If you're already at your parents', how much more of the 2 weeks have you got to go? Extend it a bit longer - tell your DH you're not ready to come back just yet, you need more time away. Rough on him but it might jolt him into feeling a bit more like he misses you and he might be a bit more willing to try harder for longer. Also, the more downtime you have away from him, the more you can reduce your camel-load and recharge your batteries.

mmebovarycestmoi Sun 16-Oct-11 01:59:04

Thzumba we are both from overseas, and came here for holiday. He's back to the UK now and I'll stay here 3 more weeks. It's plenty of time, I reckon. I'm just worried about going back and starting the cycle all over again.

youngermother1 Sun 16-Oct-11 02:13:29

Stop considering TTC, need to be in the right place for that. If need AD, can you not stop BF. Not ideal, but at 18 months not a problem.

SolidGoldVampireBat Sun 16-Oct-11 03:01:47

Why do you think you should be expected to put up with a smelly, messy, whiny liability in your house?

Emo76 Sun 16-Oct-11 07:34:27

Why on earth are you considering TTC with all these issues? Seriously please don't . It won't help.

mmebovarycestmoi Sun 16-Oct-11 15:45:43

We have our reasons to want to TTC, but I'm putting the plan on hold for a while. Thanks for your input, it's been very useful to help me organise my ideas.

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