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was what I said really so awful?

(193 Posts)
StillStuck Wed 16-Jan-13 10:02:08

back story - DH used to go away a lot with work, used to be for a whole week every other week and then his job changed and it was one week a month, and then it changed again over the summer and he stopped going away at all.

I posted about this a while ago (under another, different name change) as I was really struggling with my negative feelings about him being around all the time. I was happy with the balance of him being away one week in four, I enjoyed my time just me and DS and didn't really miss DH to be honest.

When DH told me about how his job would changing I really struggled with the negative emotions I felt about him being around all the time. I had a feeling of being 'trapped' if that makes sense, I missed knowing there would weeks booked in when he would be going away.

It hasn't helped over the past 6 months since his job changed that DH has barely been out or done anything. Two nights out with friends and one day trip, that's it. The rest of the time he is always around. I work three days a week and on my days off with DS DH will almost invariably come home at lunch time as well and be home by 4. We live in a tiny tiny house so there is no where for me to go to get some space, I can't call a friend without him commenting on what i'm talking about (and i have to talk over the noise of him watching tv). I have taken to going for a run/ swim every night and then having a long soak in the bath, just to carve out some space for myself.

I have eventually summoned up the courage and tried to talk to DH about this, about how I miss the balance our life used to have. I tried to explain that I was happy when he was away and then also enjoyed it when he was around. But he has taken it really badly and won't accept that I do still want to be with him I just want us to have some balance again. I am also a bit cross that he is upset with me for admitting to liking the weeks when he was away as much as I liked the weeks when he was around. I think he thinks I should have been sat around weeping and counting down the minutes until he came back. (meanwhile these trips away for him were basically to do something most people would pay to go on holiday and do, and the evenings involve going out drinking and partying).

I do think I still want to be with DH. He can be negative to me at times and I have struggled with that and I think that is why I like having a break from him sometimes too but fundamentally things are ok I think. I just want to get a balance back, I don't think its healthy to have so little time apart, and I miss having time just me and DS. Over the winter it feels like I've only really had a few hours a week, and I feel like I haven't really been a 'mother' especially as DH has a bit of tendency to need to prove he 'knows better' than me when it comes to parenting. The gaps when he was away gave me a chance to feel confident in what I was doing as a parent I guess.

LoopsInHoops Wed 16-Jan-13 12:05:07

Yes, it sounds to me too that you don't really like him and find him an inconvenience.

Fianccetto Wed 16-Jan-13 12:09:28

Hello stillstruck. I can identify a lot with your situation and feelings on a number of levels, and reading all this is helping me too, in a way.

Firstly, see if your DH would agree to some hint counselling, as it could help the dynamic between you both, and help him grow to realise that he doesn't have to undermine you to steady his self esteem.

Before that though, maybe you could plan some time alone together and aim to just enjoy each other's company. After that, ask him if he might like to go back to doing the job/hobby on a scaled down level one weekend a month. It sounds as though it is he who could do with it, and it would be good for his self esteem if he went out weekly for social/sport/activity.

My dh has worked away intermittently on and off, and there is always a time of transtion for us when it changes to a lot more of his time away or a lot more time at home at home. It's easier now the children are older, but it made life hard when they were little. I felt unappreciated for most of it, but I found it far too easy to be unappreciative of DH too, as he would love to be at home, working pt, but didn't moan about that.

We have a bigger house now, and I can tell you, it won't solve your problems (nor will spending time apart) you need to talk it through adult to adult and get through it to the point where you appreciate and respect one another (and your DH respects himself, as you do yourself.)

Fianccetto Wed 16-Jan-13 12:17:07

That should read joint counselling, not hint. (Am on phone.)

Firsttimer7259 Wed 16-Jan-13 12:19:10

Gosh the incident with your son's leg sounds awful. And it does not sound lik he's very responsive to you bringing these issue up. They are issues btw and need addressing. You cant go on like this forever.

Sleepysand Wed 16-Jan-13 12:19:27

I feel that way, too, OP - I hate if my DH is in the way all the time and I like time both by myself and with the children.

I did in my first marriage as well (and my XH sounds horribly like your DH). I think it is particularly evident when the DP is quite controlling, you need a break from that.

Some of us just need space and I am one of them. However, saying it to the other person is crushing, and it sounds to me like there are other issues in your relationship that need sorting out.

AnyFucker Wed 16-Jan-13 12:21:12

I wouldn't want this Dick hanging around me and my children either


TheNorthWitch Wed 16-Jan-13 12:52:36

He sounds abusive - joint counseling is not recommended in that case - you will just end up being undermined there as well.

LoopsInHoops Wed 16-Jan-13 13:00:30

I'm trying to find where he sounds abusive. confused It sounds like a damaged relationship, but apart from the broken leg incident (where it's hard really to gather enough information to judge - we have no idea what DS was like at the time), he sounds like someone who cares for his wife and child, as well as himself, but whom isn't very well liked by his wife. Not abusive from what I've read, anyhow.

GreatUncleEddie Wed 16-Jan-13 13:10:10

But loops, everyone's DH on here is abusive, didn't you know??

VitoCorleone Wed 16-Jan-13 13:12:16

My DP works shifts, one week he finishes early and is home all afternoon/evening, the following week he finishes at 10pm so i have most of the day/evening to myself, when its xmas or other holidays it feels weird to always have him here and i kinda miss having my alone time too.

So i get where your coming from.

But, it does sound a bit like you dont want him around all that much.

And the part where you said you feel like you cant be silly with DS when he's there - do you just feel like you cant be yourself? Incase he laughs at you? Coz thats not good.

TheNorthWitch Wed 16-Jan-13 13:19:06

Someone who constantly undermines you and refuses to give you some space IS abusive - emotionally abusive and that can do just as much damage (if not more) than physical abuse. Having the confidence and life sucked out of you by constant criticism is a form of slow torture and it's not easy getting your self esteem back once it's been trashed. Often the person doesn't realise it's happening till they're a shadow of their former self or have got away from the abuser.

The fact that the OP had concerns about her DS's injury should have been enough - instead of being supported she ended up in an argument - most decent parents would err on the side of caution and get it checked out just in case anyway - not moan because they were hungry!

LadyBigtoes Wed 16-Jan-13 13:23:28

I'm like you and really need space and time alone. I'm very lucky that I work at home and get that time then, but even so I appreciate DP going out for an evening or on a work trip for a bit, even though we do get on well and enjoy spending time together too. I don't think that's bad and I wouldn't mind at all if someone said the same to me.As DP knows, I enjoy having my space at first, then I start to miss him and get exhausted with the DC and love having him back.

I think the problem here is your DH is a very different kind of person, quite needy and wanting to be "in on" everything, so perhaps the worst kind of person to present with your feelings about this. If you really do want to stay with him and are a good match in other ways, he needs to understand that this is about you and your needs, and that he could make things better for you by being less in-your-face and controlling. Unfortunately though he does sound difficult. Counselling might help you but it may take a lot to make him grow up a bit.

LoopsInHoops Wed 16-Jan-13 13:27:48

But 'critical' and 'negative' aren't the same as 'constantly undermining', are they? He may well be abusive, but from what we've read here it seems you've added 2 + 2 and come up with the Mumsnet bingo.

His crimes are - to be in the house when he's not at work
Do go home from work at lunch sometimes
The leg incident (granted, doesn't look great)
OP thinks he might be lying about having seen some of DS's firsts
He laughs when she is silly with DS
He makes being in an airport more complicated
He is negative and critical

As I said before, things don't look rosy. But jumping to a conclusion of abuse isn't going to help OP if it's not really there.

ThreeTomatoes Wed 16-Jan-13 13:30:28

Red flags all over this thread StillStuck. sad
See here. You've already written about points 4,5,7,19 but I wouldn't be at all surprised if you can identify with more (I suspect 9,10,12,13,14? Forgive me if I'm wrong!). Take a look, Loops.

Also, Gaslighting

I don't think joint counselling would be a good idea either sad

LoopsInHoops Wed 16-Jan-13 13:34:55

Until the OP comes back to clarify some of the points, I still think conclusions are being jumped to.

For example, the laugh at her being silly thing. Was he laughing in a 'we're having fun' way or being snidey and mean?
The airport complication thing - 3 people is more to juggle than two. Can you explain that a bit more?

DIYapprentice Wed 16-Jan-13 13:35:31

Been there, done that, got the postcard. It's a hell of an adjustment going from having lots of time to yourself, to suddenly not having any time to yourself. Fortunately for me DH understood when I said 'Please find something to do that is anywhere but here, for the whole day. You are seriously driving me bonkers!!!!' We had a long chat and worked out ways of having time to ourselves.

However in your case, I think a major part of the problem is the absence let you have a break from unpleasant aspects of your DH, and you were able to regain some equilibrium and battle through when he came back. Now you don't have that time and space, and the frustration of dealing with your DH is building up, and up, and up. And of course, when he wasn't there all the time, you could cancel out some of the negativity because you could write it off as 'he doesn't understand as he's not here all the time', 'he's trying to make up for lost time', etc, etc. Well now both he and you can't pretend that the negativity/unpleasantness/selfishness is due to his absences - it is simply him and now it's time to face it.

AbigailAdams Wed 16-Jan-13 13:37:45

"he sounds like someone who cares for his wife and child, as well as himself, but whom isn't very well liked by his wife." Where on earth does it sound like he cares for his wife and child? Does he care for his wife by mocking her, criticising her friends and family, undermining her parenting? Does he care for his child by not following the GPs instructions and not wanting to take him to hospital? Or creating a hostile, competitive environment for him to live in?

He strikes me as someone who cares about anyone but himself and wanting to be control.

And he is abusive as illustrated when StillStuck raised how he made her feel with him he "doesn't get why it would affect me / denies having every said them". Denying someone else's feelings, dismissing their concerns, not taking any responsiblity for his actions, lying, making no effort to change or even admit there is a problem. That is abusive behaviour and not exactly the words/actions of someone who is supposed to love his wife.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 16-Jan-13 13:43:49

I read the introduction and thought at first, this couple need to re-adjust, the work pattern has changed, they need to re-connect. Poor him! If this was just about OP suffocating, I would suggest she look to herself first.

Then I read it again, and read further. Poor her! I posted and looked at subsequent posts and how she would reply, it is not uncommon for posters to test the water by stating one thing then opening up and disclosing more afterwards.

I would suggest it is unhealthy for one partner to undermine the other, to engage in competitive parenting, to criticise in-laws and friends to the point that their partner feels awkward being in contact with them. I would say it is unreasonable, to attempt to countermand reasonable care of a child in pain because they themselves are hungry.

Of course we only get one account, traditionally we take on board what the OP tells us, we don't all look to spin, or badmouth the partner in question.

the absence let you have a break from unpleasant aspects of your DH this from DIYapprentice sums it up imo.

StillStuck Wed 16-Jan-13 13:49:50

I am not convinced he is an abuser, just maybe someone whose personality type isn't best suited to making me happy. I can identify with some of the points listed on the 'loser' list but only in a mild sense. He is largely a good husband eg does half the nursery runs, does all the cooking (but,see below) we have interests in common and I still find him attractive and think he doesn't intend to make me unhappy, and yet he does, which may be as much my character trait as anything to do with him
For instance, I am clumsy and he does yell at me if I break/ drop something, but I have now learnt to firmly point out it was an accident and he does usually back down. But it does make me still feel a bit rubbish.
Or whenever I used to cook he would always tell me how it could have been better, so I basically stopped and told him why. (Obviously I cook when its just me and ds). He seems to have sort of taken my comment on board as I finally found the courage to bake a cake for DS and he didn't say anything negative about it and indeed was vaguely complimentary about it.
I could cope with the negativity and criticism when we had time apart, as that time gave me space from it and confidence. As I will keep saying, I was then always pleased to see him then and largely we had a good time together and worked fairly well together as a team.

CheeseandPickledOnion Wed 16-Jan-13 13:50:53

People are different. I need my own space and time alone, my DH doesn't really. It took a long time for me to make him understand that it wasn't that I didn't want him around, but that I needed time out to be just by myself in my own space. Fortunately every month or so he'll take a weekend to go up to parents and leave me be. He's now understanding of my need for that time and space.

I can understand how it hurt your DH, and I think you need to keep talking and try to make him understand it isn't about not wanting him around, but needing some time apart occassionally so you have more to talk about, appreciate each other more etc.

All of that said, it seems like you have some issue which need ironing out too.

StillStuck Wed 16-Jan-13 13:58:26

DIY apprentice I think you have summed it all up better than I can.

And yes, sorry if it feels like a drip feed I guess this thread is making me work through things in my head and things suddenly come tumbling out

I really don't think he is abusive though, flawed maybe but so am I, I am sure. Its whether I can find a new equilibrium now that gives me adequate space and condfidence to cope with the negative aspects of his personality.

My first solution was to drop half a day at work ( I was working 4 days), I am hoping that the extra half day will help a bit, I can't afford to drop more and don't want to risk any bigger drop in pay in case we do split

AnyFucker Wed 16-Jan-13 13:59:43

Why would you drop time at work ? Doesn't it give you a break from the whiny little shit ?

Sugarice Wed 16-Jan-13 14:02:16

Why have you dropped half a day at work, help with what?

MarilynValentine Wed 16-Jan-13 14:04:52

'Finally found the courage to bake a cake' - that's so sad StillStuck sad

His behaviour towards you meant it took courage (and I am sure it did, in the face of constant criticism) to bake a fucking cake sad

The fact that he refrained from undermining you on that one occasion doesn't mean you have to be with him.

StillStuck Wed 16-Jan-13 14:05:29

Yes any fucker and I love my career, but was craving time just me and ds and figure even a few extra hours would help and might thereby help our relationship. Plus I had always wanted to do fewer hours and changes at work meant it was finally possible

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