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.
Coping with a depressed husband, blended family(16 Posts)
I am hoping someone can offer advice and support.
I met my DH 5 years ago; we have lived together for just over 2 years and got married last year. He is 50 and I am 48. He has 2 grown up children, aged 26 and 29, from his first marriage which ended in divorce when they were 8 and 10. I have 4 sons, the oldest is at uni, the others are 17, 15 and 14, all in school still. I was married to their dad but we divorced, and though I had a boyfriend, I never lived with anyone so basically I was single from when youngest was 4 until I met my DH.
When I met my DH he was a successful businessman. Looking back I see some warning signs that he was a bit of a navel-gazer, but he was warm, generous and funny. He made me feel lovely, and it felt like doors opened and I saw everything differently. He got on well with my children.
He couldnt be happy til we lived together, he hated my house, so I moved out and in with him and the boys all went to new schools, and did very well. Unfortunately I could not find a job locally, since the house is in the middle of nowhere, and I commute 60 miles each way to work every day. I have to work.
I have not been able to sell my house, and a short term tenant wrecked it so it is not currently sellable.
About the time we moved in DH changed. Suddenly he seemed exhausted all the time. He stopped doing anything with his business, which is now basically bust, and became a slob. Eventually about 6 months ago, he was diagnosed with depression. He has medication, but avoids the counsellor as she sets him tasks which he does not do.
I think I love him but it is hard to keep loving him. He is lazy, quite literally sits on the sofa in pyjamas farting for days on end, has gained 4 stone in weight, and is foul to everyone, my youngest son especially.
He has half-heartedly applied for three or four jobs, but will only take prestigious jobs - he said he wouldn't get out of bed for less than 75k, which was rather insulting as I work my backside off for half that. Nonetheless if we sold my house and a property he owns, we could manage on my money. We reached a sort of deal to get us out of this hole whereby he would come with me 3 days a week to work on the house (we literally have not a penny to pay anyone else) and sell it, then he can sort of retire and I will work to support everyone. It is not what I imagined when we met but it is okay.
But nothing happens. He doesnt get up and come with me, but spends days watching tv and if he does anything, it is for his parents. He is passive aggressive, childish and sulky if I "nag" him. Needless to say our sex life is a non starter, as I just cannot bear it, not least because I leave for work at 6 and get home at 6.30, usually to a pigsty kitchen and a simmering row between him and the boys because he thinks they should cook dinner and make him tea. In his childhood, the kids had to milk cows and be outside at 7, and were always half starved, and it seems like he thinks misery is normal for kids.
I am sorry this is so long. I am about to go back to work after a week off with unexplained dizzy spells, doctor says vertigo, but I think it is stress, and during that week I have seen what a life of Riley he has. Please help if you can.
Reading your post my gut feeling is you need space from this man. You are understandably angry and stressed with this situation, and he has absolutely no incentive to change/get better. In your situation I would ask him to leave until he had sorted himself out. Depression or not, it is not your job to wrap him in cotton wool and make yourself ill in the process. He is an adult and has chosen not to see his counsellor.
I think you need to put your DC first here; it must be miserable for them living with this man who is clearly making no effort. Depression may be an excuse for inertia but it isn't an excuse for being rude, demanding and hostile to a young dependent.
How would it be for you to move back into your own place, or for him to move into his property? It sounds like that may not work financially, but with the three properties between you, can you find a way to separate? If you are earning around £35k, then there must be a way in which you can go back to supporting your boys yourself; this man is simply not keeping any part of his side of the deal regarding your marriage. I can't see a single reason for staying with him.The way he treats your sons is the deal-breaker really.
My own house is 60 miles away, and the boys are in exam years, so I cannot move out. This house is his, legally. Moving out is not an option.
I miss the days when my boys and I were in it together. Now I feel torn all the time.
I should have added that I am being bullied at work too, and that he is very supportive in things like that where he can be a hero, but says it is demeaning to him as a man to be cleaning the house and so on. I think he probably has low self esteem, because he always wants the badges of success. Also his anger at the boys is partly justified, they have lost respect for him because of his childish behaviour. So they are quite rude at times, though actually I understand why - he wants the privileges of adulthood but not the price. And he seems to think that their going to school is nothing, they should come home and do housework. Ugh ugh ugh, so stressed.
Thank the lord you've still got a property you can call your own.
steal the money to get it habitable, pack your belongings, gather up your dcs and move back to your former home.
There's no shame in having made the mistake of putting your faith and trust in this man, but you should seek to avoid the shame that will come from your dc despising you for staying with such a miserable tub of lard.
Once you have resumed life as was, your apparent symptoms of vertigo - which are most probably due to stress - will alleviate and one year after the date of your marriage, you can institute proceedings to divorce online for very little cost.
Your dcs exam 'year' will be over in, what, May? which is sufficient time for you to get your former home habitable.
It could be that you making plans to move out may galvanise the idle manchild into action, but don't hold your breath on that.
What is for sure is that if you continue to stay in his house, your dc will come to despise you as much as they despise him and it's likely you'll see very little of them once they've flown the nest.
So it sounds like your youngest son is half way through Yr 10 - I agree that this would be a terrible time to move him, and it does commit you to his school for another 18 months.
Can you find a solution to staying in this area without living with your husband? that is damaging to your boys, even though they are now responding to him negatively - he is the adult.
You sound very muddled, I do feel for you.
re: your workplace bullying and very long hours due to huge commute - is there any possibility of a job change or a longer spell signed out medically?
I totally agree with izzy. Thank God you still have a home that's yours. You can't move out right now, because of your sons' school situation, but you could move this summer and if you need to get the house habitable again that gives you six months to get it sorted. Contact the boys' old school about re-entry in Sept. Call in favours wherever you can to sort out the house or take your sons there at the weekends, give them paint brushes and get them to help if need be. They're old enough and I doubt they like their living situation any more than you do.
TBH your relationships sounds like it's over and I wouldn't recommend selling your home as it gives you nowhere to go. You miss it being just you and your sons, so make plans to put things back the way they were. This man snared you and since doing so he's showing his true colours. He clearly wants to sit around and be waited on hand and foot while someone else pays the bills. Get out now (well, in the summer).
Yup, make plans to leave, stop giving the man any space in your thoughts apart from the bare minimum. He's abusive and not worth bothering with - he played nice until he had you where he wanted you, then showed his true colours.
I would choose my children over him, tbh. Yes, he has depression but I also think he is using his depression to behave in an obnoxious way. You can't pull him up on anything because his excuse is he has depression. He has no right to be shouting at them to cook for him if he has been sat on his arse all day. He actually sounds like he is deluded (prestigious jobs only) and entitled. And I don't think it's a coincidence that he changed as soon as you all moved into his house, in his area. He has got you where he wanted you so why bother making any effort?
So you are keeping things afloat money wise? I would sort out your empty house straight away. Get builders in for the bigger jobs and get your boys and their friends involved in helping you sort out the decorating (pay them). Beg, borrow or steal to sort your old house as a matter of priority. Put it on the market for rent and to sell and which ever happens first, go with that for now. ( that's what I did and it rented first - i used a rental agency). That should pay for the mortgage at the old house. In the mean time move out and rent a house with your boys in the same area until they finish school. Do you get maintenance for them?
As far as your husband is concerned, meh! But if you still love him and don't wont to "abandon" him, then tell him you will support him but that he needs to be serious about his counselling, his looking for jobs, his effort around the home. I wouldn't let him retire at such a young age on your funds - keep that old house money for yourself and your boys! Do you not see that you are wearing yourself out for him?
My DH suffers from depression and I have put up with years and years of unreasonable behaviour. To cut a long story VERY short, last Easter he had another major breakdown and retreated to bed for 5 days.
On day 6 I decided that my supportive, nicey-nicey, caring approach wasn't working. I knew there would be a major fall-out from what I was going to do, but was prepared for that. I told him that he had to sort himself out if he didn't want me to take the children (DS1-9, and DS2-7) and go. That I loved him, but that his illness and consequent behaviour was damaging to the boys and that I wasn't prepared to let that continue.
I said that he had to take a long hard look at himself and make an effort to change his behaviour - even when he was struggling - or we would go. It wasn't just about him anymore.
I did make it clear that I loved and supported him, but the main jist was that I was not prepared to stand by and see our children damaged, while he lay in bed and threatened suicide. DS1 was being particularly effected.
Since then - and the fallout and adjustment to the new, tough me took about 2 weeks in all, with lots of accusations of me being unsupportive, unsympathetic etc - things have improved immensly. He is far more aware of his behaviour when depressed or down and takes steps to nip it in the bud. He is no longer rude and abusive to me when tired or obsessing about something and tries to tell me what the issue is rather than bootling it up and then flying off the handle at me over something insignificant. To the extent that when a friend asked him what had been the best bit of the year (on New Year's Eve) he looked at me and said 'Easter' with a grin and a wink.
So I would say despite the depression, which IS an awful illness and I feel so sorry for you and your husband having to cope with this - that that is the point, he has to learn to COPE with it. You have tried to cope with it and it's not working, it's making the whole of the rest of the family miserable. He has to try too. Counselling might help, it's worth talking to his GP about his meds, but ultimately he has to be made aware of what he is doing to the rest of you, and know that you are not prepared to sacrifice your health and that of your children.
HTH - sorry for the essay!!
Thank you all. My reasons for not leaving him are not just practical - I do believe that one day we will get back the man we all once loved, who was supportive, kind and good to be with. He just seems to have morphed into the opposite.
So after reading all the above, here is what has happened today. He had just finished watching one film on Sky at 11.30, on sofa eating the last tin of Quality Street in his onesie, and was about to choose another (I am in the office, doing this on here, but mainly doing work, marking, etc). I probably should have said that the TV is a huge problem since he watches it literally 18 hours a day - I have managed to get the TV out of our bedroom only this Christmas.
The dishwasher is not stacked and the kitchen has not been cleaned up since I did dinner last night, my car needs an oil change and there is a mountain of washing to sort, not to mention chickens to feed, dinner to cook, etc. So when he was choosing another film I said "If you want to get to feel better about yourself, and everyone else to treat you better, don't you think it would be better to do something you can feel proud of?" I felt dreadful saying it to him, and proper butterflies in my stomach. (I hate conflicts, especially after my experience of being bullied).
I did get the "I can't help it, I am depressed" response - along with the expected "it is when you talk to me like that that I can't do anything" followed by another usual response, "I will never be as good as you so I feel awful about myself". But I stuck to it, said that TV will cause depression, and pointed out that I was working and there were other things to do, that my working hard was not the cause of his depression and nor was I, etc. Twenty minutes of sulking and argument later, he did the dishwasher and went off to his workshop to change the oil. I don't know if there will be a backlash later, but given that 18 yo is at the library and has been since 9, and 17yo is at work and 15yo doing homework, I don't see why he should be gawping at the TV, and if I lay about all day eating chocolate and staring at the telly, I might feel good for one day but a week of it and I would feel worthless.
So maybe the "cruel to be kind" approach is the way to go? Yes? No? Thank you!!!!
Well done, Sleepy. That must have taken guts. It is a horrible illness but he's really not helping himself. Your attempts to understand him and allow him space it has been inadvertently enabling him to continue (not a criticism as I can tell your intentions were well meant).
Would he respond well to you setting him small tasks each day, such as tidying the kitchen, putting on a load of laundry and starting dinner? Praise from you re. these small achievements would raise his self esteem. I think the suggestion of leaving (by others) is a tad harsh. You took each other for better of worse and he is ill. I would however insist on the counselling. Wether he feels like it or not, he owes it to you and his DSC, to try!! Perhaps discussing your workplace bully and allowing him to help you find a solution would be good for him too.
Well done on all your coping strategies and good luck!!
Thank you. I did talk to him about the workplace bullying, too - and he did enjoy helping. He has promised to go to this week's counselling. This has been a real help today, thank you all.
Fantastic news nowt wrong with a little tough love IMO!!
Keep us posted.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.