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I need to talk to someone normal about my husband.(164 Posts)
Normal people over here please! (tongue in cheek)
I am in a bad place with my husband. Basic story: married 15 years, 2 dc aged 10 and 9. I have been, at various times in our marriage, in full time work, part time work, voluntary unpaid work and as a SAHM (the last two overlap). We spent the last three years with me re-training for a new career, and I qualified this year. I'm now working f / t (flexible hours). New job meant a move of house, so moved to a new area in my home county and the county that DH knows best. DH has long term clinical depression, but says it's fine and under contro lwithmeds at the moment.
So far so good (except the depression). Except that, since we moved and I started my new job, dh has been mostly v. emotionally distant - he says he feels 'numb'. He had a big depressive episode in Sept-Oct, and it was absolutely horrible. He talked then about leaving me. He withdrew a lot over Christmas and I got quite worried about him from a MN POV, and started thinking about whether his meds were enough etc.
On New Year's Day I mentioned that, now that we are living in a nice big house with a big garden, we might think about getting a dog. His response was that he didn't want to complicate our lives with a dog. I asked if he felt that life was too complicated, and he responded by saying that for weeks, he'd been thinking about whether he still wanted to be with me. He said 'We'll always have a good relationship, even if the marriage fails', and 'I don't want you to think that I haven't thought of the kids in all of this.' His reason that he gave was that he didn't feel as though he has a role in our relationship any more, he's seen how capqable I am and he doesn't feel needed.
I was really shocked as I had no idea that he'd think this - I had thought that the October episode was an abberation. I was really upset and cuoldn't sleep that night. Next day, I went back to bed for a bit to catch up on sleep and he came in, and we talked - he ended up saying that he is committed to our relationship.
Then last night something sparked another conversation - I am struggling with my workload and have been ill over the last few weeks. He started off by responding positively, but then started saying that my workload is affecting our relationship and I' dbetter sort it out soon, before there's no mariage left to save. (I work about 45 hours a week). I said that sounded like a threat and he didn't really respond.
I have access to counselling through my work, and last night dh agreed to counselling, so I emailed the counsellor today but I haven't heard back yet.
The reality of dh's feelings (or lack) has hit me hard, and I've felt v. down today. Dh got home from work, tookone look at me, said 'You're not right'. Aftre a bit of chat I told him how hurt and upset I am with him. He ate his dinner in silence then went to bed at 7.30pm. We had talked about having sex tonight.
Sorry it's so long. I just need to talk to someone who is normal and not me, or dh. My friends are all too far away (because we moved). What do I do? Dh has said I haven't done anything wrong. I'm more or less 100% sure that there isn't anyone else involved.
Does he feel threatened by your job/career? I mean really threatened - not just that your capable, but that you're 'better' than him? Does he work?
Does he need to go back to the doctor to get his medication adjusted?
Yes, NannyOgg, I think he does feel threatened. He earns more than I do, but I am more 'lettered' tan he is (although he is very well qualified for his job). He comes from a v. traditionalist patriarchal family, in which women's jobs are for pin money, so me doing a proper job is huge leap - and he has reacted v. badly.
I'm not sure about the neds - he says he's not depressed - but ten he says he feels numb emotionally. He said the other day that he can't predict the effect his words would have on me, becaues he doesn't feel upset himself. That can't be okay, can it? I have trodden v. softly-softly wrt his depression, not pushed him to go to the doctor or anything.
Ok. I don't know if I count as normal... Hopefully the counselling will come through shortly. This will be an excellent opportunity to unpack your feelings. Sounds a little bit to me like your dh may be thinking your relationship is the problem, when the depression is the problem. You seem to be being blamed somehow for stuff...I might have got this wrong. Other, more 'normal' people will be along shortly.
Parsley, I was kind of kidding about 'normal' people! I just meant someone who is not me, or dh. Our little world seems to be so weird and convuluted.
I know...I was going to put the grin symbol in, but did not want to be flippant! My STBXH was always very troubled that I was better qualified than him...would your dh consider counselling?
Yes, he has agreed (and I've emailed the counsellor today). On new Year's dAy he said yes to counselling, then the next day he said no, now he's said yes again. I hope he would actually come. If not, I'll go on my own.
In the absence of anything else and I'd interpret 'not feeling needed' as being the root of the problem. However, rather than it being him that wasn't needed, I think he's telling you that he feels neglected now that you're qualified, working and not there all the time. What follows is a type of attention-seeking if you like. It could be that his depression isn't as under control as you think. It could even be that he has relied upon his ill-health keeping you close in the past and is disorientated now it isn't working
Yes, dh said that the 'not feeling needed' was the root problem. Thing is, I try really hard to balance my life so that I spend good quality time with him and the dc. I'm not out socialising every night. I'm really not a workaholic (I know a few and I am definitely not one of them!)
Whenever I've seen threads like these where the husband is unhappy but blaming his partner for his unhappiness and putting the onus on her to do all the changing and fixing; 9 times out of 10 there's an OW somewhere in the background.
My guess is that he's been feeling depressed, has had his head turned by some ego-stroking distraction in the shape of OW and is now trying to make you the bad guy. Because if you're the bad guy, he can more easily give himself permission to carry on.
Just a hunch I have. But if I were you I'd do some snooping.
Speaking from experience I'm guessing his depression is in fact NOT under control, he is unwell and is projecting on to you and making you the problem.
Your new job is just a convenient excuse.
You are literally providing him with everything, a loving, stable family, a nice home and from the sounds of it, minimal money worries yet he is still unhappy?
You are relying on him to tell you whether he is ill or not but maybe he doesn't recognise all of his symptoms?
I'm wondering if he is bipolar?
Either way, I think you need to put to one side what he is saying, ask yourself a question, how much more of this can YOU cope with? The hot and cold behaviour, unfair accusations of ruining your marriage? It must be like walking on egg shells.
Either he is more ill than even he realises or he has decided he doesn't want his marriage.
The question is, what do YOU want?
Oh, bloody hell, starting to feel sniffly....
Madonna, you're right in 90% of cases. I'm not just head in sand here, I honestly don't think my dh is in that 90%. He is a very good person.
Bubblegum, I thikn you might be nearer the mark. Over Christmas I was rsearching bipolar on the internet to see if Dh matches the symptoms.
As for how much I can cope with....no idea. The dc love him (although he does blow v. hot and cold with them, tells them off v. easily, things get blown up out of all proportion nad it's usually me who restores peace by mediating between dh and the dc, comforting the dc, assuring them of daddy's love etc). So it'd devastate the dc if we split. I would fight tooth and nail to give them a secure upbringing, and, tbh, their needs trump mine as they are younger and therefore more vulnerable. I do love dh - he is just very, very diffcult to live with.
I have thought about Helena Bonham Carter and hre husband who live in adjoining houses - I've wondered if we'd get on better if we weren't living together. But DH said last night that he couldn't cope with living alone.
I'm sure you balance your life quite well. If he had zero history of depression I would say he was simply trying to pressurise you into giving up your new career & going back to looking after him. Emotional blackmail. And, even though he actually does have depression, I think that's rather what's going on...
Well I'd love to be wrong about that so I'll take you word for it. You know him best.
I do agree with bubblegum though. There's an awful lot of focusing on what he wants and what he might do. He's pretty much put his cards on the table hasn't he? So time to start focusing on what you want and what you're going to do.
Sorry but he sounds pretty self obsessed. I completely agree with Cogito. As usual.
Yes Cogito, I know that one way out of this would be for me to give up my job. We are in a relatively okay financial position, so we could afford for to go back to being a SAHM. But...I love my work, and I've just spent three years working really hard to qualify. I know that none of my male colleagues would ever find themselves in tis situation, so it feels pretty shitty from a feminist POV.
And tbh, I think that if I did give in my job, it wouldn't make everything okay as I'd have huge issues about it. Sigh....
Counselling together is always worth a go, or on your own if you have to. Just a point though, sometimes dh's go with no real intention of sorting the relationship out, just to say that they have 'tried'. I am a bit cynical, because of my own experience, but maybe worth managing your expectations. I hope it works out for you.
I think he sounds terribly, terribly insecure - for a while there he was the man with the earning power and the good job and probably the "head of the family" feeling that he saw his father have. And now it's all been turned on its head - new location, new house, wife with the earning power and the interesting, demanding job, and he may well have been left wondering whether he's still loved and valued and needed. And your DCs are the sort of age where they get that much more independant - that may have compounded it all.
I think counselling will be invaluable.
I do understand but if your DH moods are unstable then your children won't be happy anyway. Mental health problems have a profound effect on young children who often blame themselves for their parents erratic behaviour.
If you can afford it I would suggest taking him to a private physchiatrist. It's about £280 for the initial consultation, pricey but worth it, the NHS takes too long and they usually get it wrong anyway.
He will be diagnosed there and then and will offer you choices in how to manage the problem.
You will need follow ups, they are £160 for each half hour consultation which he will need fairly regularly until he is stable.
These prices are approximate, it differs from area to area, BMI are very good and your local private hospital should offer this service, you can google it.
If you can't afford those prices you can take out a health insurance policy with AVIVA, it's about £50 pm but they cover these appointments, they have a specialist phsychiactric dept.
I think you need to get to the root of your DH depression as you can't progress until it's under control.
While he is ill he won't see the wood for the trees so to speak, this needs to be dealt with if you want any chance of a happy marriage.
He still needs to discuss this with his GP as he needs a referal and hopefully your GP can offer him some CBT to help develop coping startegies and to help him recognise the start of his spiral.
I would also do a self referal to MIND, there should be one in your area. He meet other people with mental health problems, they can support him and he may not feel so isolated.
Hope this is helpful. x
I understand that, Hassled, I really do.
The immediate problem is this: he went to bed at 7.30pm after eating dinne in silence. Both dc are away this weekend. How do I cope with being with him in the meantime, until we can (hopefully) get sorted? Walking on eggsheels is exactly the thing - how do I do this? I really don't know how to go on. I'd love to sod off somewhere for the weeend on my own, but I have a commitment on Sunday that I can't renege on.
From what you have said I think your h is definitely the most important person in his life and if everyone isnt dancing to his tune will throw a tantrum.
He is right about one thing - you havent done anything wrong. Why dont you try just ignoring (pandering?) to his moods and trying to please him and just get on with your day to day stuff. You need to break the pattern.
Thank you, Bubblegum. We have BUPA cover through his work - I wonder if that covers MH conditions.
I feel a bit at the treatment he's had from doctors over he years, tbh - he has always been in and out of appointments in under 5 mins with a prescription for citalopram - he's never been offered anything else (CBT etc). He's said to me that he knows the right 'buzz words' to use to get a prescription (like when we moved here). I know that the NHS is cash-strapped, but he has een reated minimally over the years. The thing is, he thinks he's okay from a MH POV. He thinks I'm the problem. Again, I don't know how to broach this without him getting very withdrawn and moody / exploding. No-one else in RL knows he's on ADs, although one of his previous bosses, and another colleague both said that he lacks self-awareness and perspective.
Im sorry you're going through this...all that hard work and personal success and all he can do is complain about his needs not being met and his needs"manhood" being threatened. The depression May well be a strong factor in this but to me it sounds just like a pike of controlling bs. My immediate reaction was that he needs to bloody well grow up and get over himself.
I hope the counselling gives you both an opportunity to work through this.
I don't think anyone is suggesting that you should give up your job. It just appears that he is trying to manipulate you into doing so...
I agree Hassled and it is terribly terribly destructive isnt it ?. A secure man would just be so proud of his wifes achievement in this situation. It is very sad that he cant feel like that instead - for both him and the OP.
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