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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.

captainmummy Fri 18-Jan-13 15:57:06

They do, still, but normally there is a bit of give-and-take. I have to say, i'd be very vocal if my dp critises my parenting, or opinions, or plans.

It's the fact that you are not vocal about it, that says to me that you would do anything to keep him happy. That is not the basis of a good relationship.

StillStuck Fri 18-Jan-13 15:57:31

Ahh I get your point, whoever it is, dh should respect me enough to listen to me without those threats

Lueji Fri 18-Jan-13 15:57:49

Actually, FWIW, I think he was right that you could fly home to work and he could have stayed with DS at his parents for another one or two days.

DS was not weeks old. He is 2. I'm sure he is fine to spend a couple of days with his father and his family, and without you.

As for Christmas day, he was, indeed, vile.

AnyFucker Fri 18-Jan-13 15:58:17

All couples disagree, of course they do

It's the way he cultivates the power imbalance, makes you question yourself, fucks your boundaries (using an outsider to mediate is wayyyyyy out of normality)), makes you walk on egg shells etc that is all wrong

PureQuintessence Fri 18-Jan-13 15:59:10

No, this does not happen in "normal" relationships.

Frankly, it is chilling that you need his boss as a referee in your marriage. It is also very telling. He can only be nice and respectful to you when somebody superior to him is there to intervene. His only incentive to be nice and normal to you is the fear of losing face in front of his boss of losing his job...

Do you know what this means? He knows he behaves like shit to you. This is why he can chose to behave differently when she is around. No wonder you cultivate this friendship.

For this marriage to sort of work, you need your husband to either be away with work, or kept under control by his boss in his personal life.

Not healthy at all!

trustissues75 Fri 18-Jan-13 16:02:22


Does this think happen in normal relationships? I don't know...but it doesn't happen in loving, respectful, equal relationships.

It's not a silly question...normal is whatever someone's usual reality is. I was shocked when people started suggesting my relationship with my exH was abusive and controlling...MNetters really helped me to see that what I was used to was not OK, not by a long shot.

captainmummy Fri 18-Jan-13 16:02:52

I read somewhere that is very 'telling' - what you do if something annoys HIM. Do you a) cringe/hide away until he's over it, b) bend over backwards to make it better (even if it was not your fault) or c) stand up to him as an equal and try to sort it out the both of you ?

If you do a or b - the running around trying to make it better - you never will. Nothing will be good enough - ever.

That is a control thing too, he does it because it makes him feel big. He will never stop doing it, because - why would he? It makes him feel big. And that feels gooooood.

Jux Fri 18-Jan-13 17:35:08

ACtually, Still, in a 'normal' relationship, if it were recommended that the child go to a&e to have a leg checked out, there wouldn't really be a basis for discussion. Most adults would see the baby they were responsible for in pain, and not right, and would be at a&e so fast they wouldn't be touching the ground.

This man expects everything to fall into place around his convenience, indeed, around his whims. He is not a good man, and is not a good dad.

Do not go to counselling with him.

trustissues75 Fri 18-Jan-13 17:56:12

What Jux said. My exh refused to back me up with his famous for insisting they vanities their hands before they picked up 3 month old ds (cousin on the has had just had her third dose of norovirus) and 4 days later treated me with disgust and derision and called me stupid for wanting to go to hospital after seeing ds projectile vomit (in his opinion it was merely spit up - Id spent 3 months so far completely covered in a lot of spit up - i knew the difference between that and half a feed coming gushing out of ds mouth) we were in the Er 12 hours later after multiple vomiting sessions and ds completely zoning out on us.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 18-Jan-13 20:13:32

Could sounds like it's open to debate.
Should or would sounds dictatorial.
Difference in how it was presented to OP, Lueji ?

StillStuck Fri 18-Jan-13 20:19:02

Yes, its the a&e situation find hardest of anything to accept. That my little boy had to sit there, probably in pain, certainly with something visibly wrong with his leg while I had to argue with dh about why it wouldn't wait till the morning and why we should follow the gp's advice. And that then even after triage nurse had seen us he was still making such fuss. I told him I was struggling to forgive him though and he didn't say anything.
Hard to contemplate leaving him on a day like today though when everything has been okish (although admittedly I am well aware he is on best behaviour because he doesn't want to jeopardise the holiday)

StillStuck Fri 18-Jan-13 20:22:41

donkeys yes that's the point, it wasn't something being suggested calmly as an option, he basicaLly told me he would book a flight and he would stay longer and it was made clear the only basis for this was because it was my fault we were getting to his parents late I.e. It was to punish me for making him late really.

Jux Fri 18-Jan-13 23:00:58

It is a ghastly life, though to a certain extent you've become innured to it and so much has become 'normal' that you probably don't notice it so much. As your ds gets older, there'll be more friction, though, especially as ds' needs grow and clash more with h's wants. You will find yourself in a hugely unenviable position.

I am glad you can confide in your friend. Please take the opportunity to do so, as she will be invaluable help to you as things get harder as they are certain to. sad

AnyFucker Fri 18-Jan-13 23:22:21

keep posting, stillstuck, and let us know how you are doing

StillStuck Sat 19-Jan-13 08:03:22

I will af. This thread has been very helpful and thought provoking for me and I am very grateful to everyone who has taken the time to read my huge long posts and to respond as all the different perspectives are very helpful.

It is a weird time at the minute as I am conscious he is going to at least try and be on his best behaviour until after the holiday, so we are in a weird truce situation until after then.

DIYapprentice Sat 19-Jan-13 08:30:55

Hi StillStuck - how are you doing today? Was really saddened to read your further posts. What a horrible sounding Christmas.

One of the things that I try to always bear in mind - When everything is ok, people show their 'good' character. When things get difficult, people show their 'true' character. I hold off deciding what I think of a person and whether I should put trust and faith in them until I see how they react to difficult situations.

The reason why you only see the really bad side of your DH's character in times of stress and difficulty is exactly because it is a difficult time, and sadly that is exactly the time you need him to be at his best and it seems that he isn't capable of it.

DIYapprentice Sat 19-Jan-13 08:31:57

Oops, cross post! Hope you have a lovely weekend,*StillStuck*. We're always here for you.

StillStuck Wed 30-Jan-13 20:18:18

Am back from holiday now and lots of thoughts going round in my head, so am going to post on here partly just for my own benefit to help me process things, but also as I would welcome more mumsnet wisdom

Dh was on best behaviour the whole trip, which did help, and has been since he has come back. We have also started talking and he has acknowledged some of what he has done but can't always offer any explanation (and some he denies). When I mentioned about him screaming at me that I was a terrible mother (on the one occassion I have ever forgotten to make ds's special formula milk ready for the morning) he admitted it wasn't nice said it was because he was 'tired'.

He is clearly trying to change, for now at least. For instance he always used to be really difficult in the mornings, kick up a fuss about the time I needed to leave for work (we have flexivle hours but I have to get there early in order to leave early to get ds from nursery at a sensible time for ds). These last couple of mornings there has been no fuss or anger and he has even helped get ds ready. But the thing is it just makes me realise more what life could have been like for all these months.

I feel like I am just waiting for his behaviour to change back again...

We are trying to talk each night about things but it is mainly me talking and him not really saying anything. He says he doesn't want to split though and I do believe that.

I confided in a couple of people on holiday. One of them asked if she could pray for me, she started praying that we could work through our problems and be stronger in our marriage, but a voice in my head was yelling 'nooo, don't pray for that' ...

But then I keep wondering if I shouldn't be trying to forgive these things, to give him another chance. But I am scared this aspect of his character is not something he can really change, however much he wants to

Sugarice Wed 30-Jan-13 20:22:01

Glad that your holiday went well.

Don't let him walk all over you, his less appealing side will come back when something pisses him off.

Lueji Wed 30-Jan-13 21:16:01

I feel like I am just waiting for his behaviour to change back again...

There's that.

It feels like you have crossed the point between hope and reality or giving up.
Does he know how strongly you feel? Does he realise how much he has to work at getting your confidence in him back?

The fact that you are beyond hope is good, because you'll call off his bad behaviour and will probably leave if he gets back to his old self.

StillStuck Tue 05-Feb-13 00:39:17

just posting again, as much as anything to process my own thoughts.

I went away with DS this weekend, to visit family. As I drove away it felt like a weight lifting off my shoulders, like I was escaping. then there were times when I was away when something would happen and I could feel myself worrying about what DH would say before I would realise he wasn't there to comment.
and another little thing, my mum was saying how lovely the thank you card I made was and what lovely pictures, and then another family member said their parents had said the same. Which I found a real shock as DH had criticised it when I had shown it to him, so I assumed people would think it wasn't very good, and I was a bit embarrassed by it.

but then I am finding it hard because he has been all sweetness and good behaviour since just before our holiday, and I have got back to a clean house and flowers on the table. and I know how much DS loves DH.

but then I read back over this thread and I think some of those incidents really really do cross a line for me, and that surely a relationship should (by and large) make life feel better, not weigh heavy on your shoulders like this. I think about counselling but then I keep thinking maybe no amount of talking could erase my subconscious memories of how he has behaved in the past and that 'treading on eggshells' feeling that I think is always there.

trustissues75 Tue 05-Feb-13 08:25:35

Hi Still

It's very hard when they change their behaviour for a bit because, if we are right about this man and likely we are, they're SO GOOD at it.

That feeling of the weight being lifted off your shoulders is a clear signal from your brain a nd body that you have endures way too much for way too long.

I understand that DS loves DH - and probably vice versa - and that is hard to think about altering in some way, but kids are always better off when their main caregiver isn't suffering abuse on a regular basis.

If my STBEX hadn't dumped us for another woman I'd still likely be with him for that one reason - and utterly miserable and who knows what things may have escalated to - it took him leaving us homeless with nothing but a suitcase of clothes to force me to see what he was really like and then it was almost six months before I realised I deserved better - you are already seeing that things are ugly and you deserve better.....don't let more years slip away with more abuse and damage. Keep on watching and listening over the next week or so...

Hugs to you.

trustissues75 Tue 05-Feb-13 08:28:44

Oh, and the handmade card criticism...Im guessing that isn't a one off? He's not supportive and he's not loving and he only cares about one thing...HIMSELF and how he can get everyone to be how he wants them to be to play out his little script in his nasty little play.

Sugarice Tue 05-Feb-13 08:43:09

Bear in mind the good behaviour will only last while things are suiting him and going his way..

Your gut feeling of lifting the weight off your shoulders as you drove away is an indicator of how you really think deep down , would you agree?

Did you end up dropping some of your work hours to spend more time at home or did you change your mind about that?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 05-Feb-13 09:02:56

You may find the turning a new leaf phase is here to stay, but at present you're confused, as to how long the 'sweetness and good behaviour' will last. The contrast is enough to underline you weren't unreasonable to expect or deserve this kind of thoughtfulness earlier. He can be like this when he sets his mind to it. So why wasn't he before?

I am glad you came back to post. I haven't had counselling myself but from what I've read on MN, counselling for you on your own could give you useful insights and the confidence to know what is acceptable and decide what you have, need or lack in this relationship.

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