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.
Unrealistic expectations and should i just suck it up?(15 Posts)
Hi Ive been a lurker for a while but this is my first post. Im sorry if it's a bit long and disjointed.
Married 3 years and DD2 is almost 10 mnths (DD1 was stillborn). My pregnancy with DD2 was i think understandably stressful after the loss of our baby. However I know DH thinks i was over cautious to the extreme and focused soley on getting the DD2 safely here to the exclusion of all else. He accused me more than once of neglecting him. Almost 2 years on and he does not discuss DD1 at all and when i've been upset and tried to talk (because i need to) he has made it clear he does is not comfortable talking about it.
My problem now is that from the moment DD2 was born my DH has left everything to me. He has done no hands on stuff at all (bedtimes, bathing, changing, playing etc) and he seems to have no views about anything to do with her at all. Over the months i've come to expect nothing from him and ive just got on with everything myself, including all the housework (he does none). I had no inkling he would be like this before and he really seemed to want a family every bit as much as i did.
The thing is it's all just breaking my heart, this should be the most wonderful time and i'm just devastated that things are turning out so differently to how i expected and wanted. I feel like a single parent with no emotional or practical support from him at all. I cant understand how DH isnt totally blown away by the miracle that is our beautiful, healthy DD but he isnt and its like a knife though my heart every day. I've tried talking to him and asking what the problem is but it either gets turned round to me being a nag and i should suck it up or he acknowledges that he could do more and does for a couple of days then reverts back. I feel like i lose a little bit of respect for him everyday.
Can give me any advice on how to deal with this or any insight on what i've done wrong?
You haven't done anything wrong.
You are asking for something reasonable from your DH - emotional and practical support with child-rearing and house-keeping - and he is not providing it.
Only you can decided how much longer you are willing to tolerate this situation.
I'm sorry for your loss. Who are you able to speak to about it, if not your DH?
I could be wrong but I think loads of men are like this and jsut don't really bond with babies.
Mine are now 8 and 6 and it's only in last few months i feel my dh has really bothered (he would disagree).
Only you know whether you want to suck it up.
So much has happened in the short time you have been married. Neither of you must of had much time to pause for breath. Could it be the grief from the loss of your DD1 has not been fully addressed before DD2 has come along?
Even when there has not been a prior tragedy, the birth of a new child is enough for a man to have to deal with feelings of being pushed aside. I think that is quite normal but how a man reacts to those feelings affects the future and the relationship.
Some men accept the situation better and, through being supportive and taking an active role, earn the kind of respect and admiration from partners that gels things together. Others get 'huffy' and feeling left out, react negatively by staying outside as if saying "well it seems you don't need me anymore, so why should I bother".
Reasons some are like this can go back to their own childhood. The sooner the situation you are in is dealt with the less grudges will eat away at the relationship. Talking openly, with a counsellor if necessary. Try to be kind to each other under pressure rather than angry. Reassure him that he is needed. Tell him how you feel, not what he needs to do. Be positive about the things he does do when he tries. You can come back from this if you nip it in the bud rather than letting it fester
He may not be able to bond due to a fear of losing her. He's experienced it once and may not be able to let his love flow this time.
Talk to him. Not argue or be defensive etc... Just sit him down one evening and talk to him.
Poor you. My DP struggled to bond with our DS2 for totally different reasons and it was heartbreaking. But things change and once our DS2 was 18 months old he feel in love with him totally.
Some men just 'don't get' babies but around 2years old when their personalities are developing and they are able to express affection and appreciation they become smitten. Seems some need that feedback that babies can't give, whereas it's more 'unconditional' for most mothers. Meanwhile it's hard to come back from as the mums have had about 2 years to harbour the resentment from lack of involvement. Lots of forgiveness and moving on required in these situations.
OP you know him. Is it possible, this is his version of grieving?
He felt you were neglecting him during PG because of the way you were (which was understandable). Now that could him being a idiot and feeling left out, or him feeling you were not supporting him (and letting him support you) through the grieving.
He hasn't bonded - again he could just a lazy git who is happy to leave it to you or he could be afraid to bond.
Refusing to speak about your first child, imo, shows he has not dealt with what happened.
This is not to say that you have to suck it up. You need to tell him how you feel and if you believe it is down to your loss, then he still has to work on it. IF it is grief, he still can not carry on like this.
What do you think? Do you think he is just selfish and feel like he is being pushed out, like some selfish men do. Or could it be grief?
I doubt you have done anything.
Why do we always spend time thinking it is our fault, we have done something wrong and how can we fix this for a very long time before realising the other person is actually just a selfish wanker?
He may not have bonded with his child but that gives him no excuse to do fuck all for her as a parent. Unless you have made him feel pushed out and as if he can't do it in which case he may have backed off.
It also gives him no excuse to do fuck all in the way of housework.
What was he like before you had your DD? Did he do his share then? Are you at home? Does this mean he thinks he can be lazy and leave you to do it all?
Personally I think the fact that he refuses to listen and take it on board means he thinks you are his personal skivvy there to do for him. You need to decide if you are happy to spend the next 10 - 20 years like this. From posting on here I would say you are not happy to do so!
I would start by really laying on the line what his attitude is doing for you and your relationship. Insist he goes to counselling with you and that he starts to deal with DD several nights a week. When do you get any time off if he never does this?
If this doesn't work I would resort to making mine and DD's dinner before he comes home and leaving him to fend for himself. Stop picking up/washing/cleaning his stuff. If it is not a hazard leave it where he puts it.
Hopefully he will wake up before you decide to walk out the door.
I'm so sorry you lost your baby.
Do you think you were so protective of your second child that you shut him out? Did you think that only you could look after DD2? I know I would have been terrified at the thought of something happening to her and I don't think I would have wanted anyone else looking after her.
thank you for all your responses. typed a reply and lost it grrrr.
i honestly dont think its grief, its like he just wants to pretend our loss never happened and would much prefer it if id do the same. i cant and ive had some amazing support from bereavement counsellor (and family). Ive tried to include him in this at all times but he seems to resent that i need to talk about it at all.
i know my whole world and outlook has changed since both the loss of DD1 and the birth of DD2 but i think that totally normal and i really expected that parenting would be something we'd share and enjoy together as equal partners. Maybe my mistake was to assume this. In reality he just hasnt engaged with me at all with the baby and has on more than one occasion accused me of being over protective (and other unkind comments). Its really made me doubt myself and question my expectations of him at a time when i need a bit of reasurrance and a supportive partner, i hope this doesnt read like im being selfish i know support works both ways but i really do feel like i bend over backwards to make his life easier wherever i can. The housework thing (total lack of it on his part) has always been a bit of an issue but added to everything else at the moment its really getting me down.
I have talked to him, cried to him and shouted at him about all of this but just seem to get nowhere. im naturally someone who needs to talk things through - probably guilty of over analysing sometimes! He isnt a talker and can very much be a sulker. When i raise my worries and frustrations with him he immediately gets defensive and blames me. Its got to the point where i'm thinking twice about saying anything but i know thats just fuelling the resentment i'm feeling towards him. I really dont want to live like this with everything bubbling under the surface not least because its not the example i want to set to DD about resolving differences.
i guess i'll just have to keep trying with him.
Hey you know what?
Lots of women don't 'get' babies and can't wait for that stage to pass so that the interactions are more meaningful. What they don't tend to do (unless suffering from PND) is to treat that as an excuse to stop caring for an infant and to do fuck all around the house, leaving everything to their husbands to do.
I wish women would stop making excuses for some men's crap behaviour. The OP's husband is a selfish, lazy individual with the emotional intelligence of a newt.
This cannot go on. You're already walking on eggshells OP and your resentment will soon turn to contempt.
What do you get from this relationship now?
If you were just going out together or living together with no kids in a rented flat, would you stay with him?
If the answers to those questions are 'nothing' and 'no' then think seriously about ending this relationship.
I'd also check whether he has been getting his juvenile 'attention needs' met elsewhere all this time.
GIVE YOUR GUY A BREAK !
Your husband is not a girl. He's a bloke.
He is emotionally hard wired to behave in certain ways.
For you the baby is miracle and is already nine months old the minute it is born.
For him it is a serious nuisance for at least two solid years (but a massive lifetime investment he completely believes in). Give it a minute and take two minutes more to review the recent history in his shoes:
The whole baby thing has been yours all along so far... ALL the medical stuff is about YOU, all the changes to life, the changes to routines, the trips to hospitals and clinics and ante natal blah blah blah - it's all been about YOU. The family make a fuss of YOU, the medicos make a fuss of YOU and for a good year or more, let's be honest, it's all about YOU.
Then a baby arrives and it's all about YOU and THE BABY.
Every conversation is about YOU and THE BABY.
Every decision is about YOU and THE BABY.
And at some point you might step back and think - what if I had been playing third fiddle for two solid years.... ? How would I feel ? How much would I really want to be involved when I'm clearly last on the list... ?
And now that history is made flesh. Might look to him like it's gonna go on and on (and on) being ALL ABOUT YOU and the BABY for quite a while (and it is).
If he's a good man he'll stick it out and be there to be a Father to your children as they grow into people HE can have something to do with. But be clear with yourself and be VERY honest about how much involvement he has been ALLOWED so far by you, the midwife, the medicos, the families, the health visitor, the visiting aunt, the version of EVERYONE who has turned up to talk about YOU - has ANYONE asked him how he feels lately? Has anyone stroked his feathers even 1% as much as yours have been stroked every day for the last two years? Of course not.
EVIL DADDY... Just wants to be recognised as being part of the process... Grrrrrrr.... Selfish Bastard... And then you want him to turn into a great Father.
Just wants to be a good Dad but there's no way in, can't be allowed an opinion, can't break through the female default "you can't understand so stay back" and isn't allowed EVER to say "NO" or have an opinion to anything asked, demanded or required from a woman with a baby at the breast.
FAMILIES are hard to build.
And very easy to break.
Like bridges. And Butterflies.
If you want a FAMILY you will NEED your man and so will your sprog so think well on how you have behaved lately and how he has too...
MiniMonty - so what you're saying his that I should accept that he's effectively checked out of emotional and practical involvement until the interaction with baby becomes more rewarding for him?? Im sorry but i really think thats a cop out of unbelievable proportions.
Oh what a complete load of nonsense!
Join the discussion
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.