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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.

StillStuck Thu 07-Feb-13 22:49:53

yes, I'm chewing over the idea Captainmummy, I guess its something I haven't ever tried before so I feel quite nervous about it. I know it sounds silly but part of me would like to talk to someone who knows me well, maybe an old friend or family, but despite our marriage being so close to the rocks I feel very apprehensive about revealing the cracks in public yet.

Dh and I are talking about it most evenings too for a bit. although by talking it is mainly me pouring out all the hurt from the last couple of years and DH sometimes acknowledging what he did, sometimes denying. His only excuse is 'tiredness' and how tough the last 2 years have been (DS was quite ill in the early months, and consequently a terrible sleeper for most of the first year) . However, I did far more of the sleepless nights (DH had regular nights away for starters, and I was breastfeeding so did all the feeds) and I never felt the need to scream at him that he was a terrible parent. (as DH did to me when I got food poisoning and couldn't keep anything down not even liquid, and the doctor had said if it didnt stop soon I would need to be admitted to hospital, and when DS (5months) needed feeding I asked if he could just hang on a bit so I could close my eyes for 30 minutes and just try and keep a little bit of liquid down first)

DH has agreed to go away for a bit next week to give me some space to think as well, maybe just for a few days.

he is devastated that things might come to an end. and clearly very desperate to change. but I am not sure if its that simple, if, as I suspect its a bad combination of someone (who is normally nice and pleasant I should add)with a hot headed temper who also I make feel insecure because of the intellectual imbalance. plus I think how I behave around him will inevitably always be mediated by the knowledge of how he has been, by the fear of criticism/ shouting.

on the plus side I have looked into the money side of things and I think I could just about make ends meet to stay in our (tiny) house provided DH is reasonable about paying maintenance and provided the benefit calculators are right, so I feel like I do have a choice at least.

captainmummy Thu 07-Feb-13 15:09:47

Still - I know you use this thread as a way of putting down your thoughts, and I think that's a good idea. Counselling is another way of putting your thoughts in order, with a sounding board (of a real person I mean, not us onMN!) - you might find it helpful to write a few notes down first, esp if (like Juxgrin) you cant get the words out.

Jux Wed 06-Feb-13 08:53:29

I went to counselling for a long time some years ago. The first session consisted of me crying. Every time I thought I'd got it under control and opened my mouth to say something I started crying again. Poor woman, 50 minutes of me crying and completely unable to say why <rueful face>

The next session I still cried most of the time but did manage to get a few words out, so she knew why I was there!

She was a wonderful woman. I will never forget her and will always remember her with affection.

StillStuck Wed 06-Feb-13 08:24:26

Thanks jux that's helpful, I guess because I have never used a counsellor before I didn't really know what to expect

Jux Tue 05-Feb-13 17:40:25

Don't be scared of counselling. They don't put ideas in your head, but they do help you work theough things which you're not happy about, in an effort to find out why and what you can do about it; what you want to do about it, that is.

At first they are likely to just listen to you, but if you find it hard to talk about things, they can and do ask questions, so you could just say "I'm upset about X" and let them ask.

Counselling would, I think, help you to sort out your feelings, and to feel better able to deal withyour situation however you decide to play it. They won't, absolutely won't, tell you what to do, but will be guided by you and what you want.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 05-Feb-13 16:08:12

Well fwiw I'm glad you have this place as an outlet, useful to bounce ideas around, and gives you space to think things through - just make sure you are careful with your online history and settings.

StillStuck Tue 05-Feb-13 15:09:35

Donkeys I know that it is hard to judge based on what I put on here alone, that it is for me to decide. I guess when people post sometimes I think 'no you've got it so wrong' and other times their post really resonates, either way it helps me think things through from new angles if that makes sense.

StillStuck Tue 05-Feb-13 15:07:32

That is exactly it captainmummy, I feel my heart sink a little as I hear him opening the door.

captainmummy Tue 05-Feb-13 14:57:40

Confused when he is nice again? But now, when he is being nice, even now, you still feel trapped? Even if it is 'nice' forever, will it be enough?

I don't want to put myself in your shoes, but I realised I had to leave when I felt my whole being going down, when I heard his key in the lock. xDH worked away a lot too, but when he came back, i felt as if i was in a lift. Going down.

Iwon;t pretend it's easy, but the dc are just as happy. I am happier.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 05-Feb-13 14:20:06

I have re-read your thread Stillstuck and for all that we can try and analyse what has been going wrong, we aren't living your life. The way things are with H making a conspicuous effort, you still don't feel reassured do you? Because you don't trust it to last. People say, go by actions not words. So H is behaving differently. It's possibly a start but that doesn't mean it wipes the slate clean. I think it will take longer than a few days or weeks to feel this is a change for good.

If you don't fancy counselling, how about looking at some practical things like, how would you and DS get by if you did separate? How about work, which I know you've said before you love. What rl support could you call on?

I don't mean to be unduly negative, or prompt you to call it a day and divorce. People take parachutes on planes not because they have no faith in the plane or pilot but as a safety measure, just in case. If fear of what alternatives are out there is holding you back, maybe you could explore what could be managed, just in case.

StillStuck Tue 05-Feb-13 13:46:48

Not sure how I would make ends meet though captainmummy! And then I get all confused when he is nice again

captainmummy Tue 05-Feb-13 13:37:29

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' ...
As I drove away it felt like a weight lifting off my shoulders, like I was escaping
hearing my mum say nice things about it made me realise he wasn't necessarily right that it was awful,

Stillstuck - so many flags. You are not happy in this, you subconsciously want to get away. Even your MN name...

Your dc don;t need to suffer, if you split. It is possible to have happy kids and a happy mum.

StillStuck Tue 05-Feb-13 13:29:38

But yes actually donkeys have re read your post more clearly( am tired today!) and I guess there's and element of that too, some sort of fear that I will be persuaded his behaviour is acceptable/ I am at fault

StillStuck Tue 05-Feb-13 13:26:15

I think I am just worried it will put someone elses thoughts into my head, not my own, I don't know if that makes sense? And I'm not very articulate, better at writing things down, not very good at expressing myself in person.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 05-Feb-13 13:22:37

Wild guess and of course you don't have to say yea or nay, but are you concerned that going for counselling would suggest that you are the one who needs fixing, not him, not the marriage?

StillStuck Tue 05-Feb-13 13:17:16

trust no the card thing isn't a one -off, I was just particularly struck by it as hearing my mum say nice things about it made me realise he wasn't necessarily right that it was awful, and also made me realise how much nicer life is when people say nice things with you. I don't think he is deliberately being nasty exactly though, maybe more that at some subconscious level he is trying to address his insecurities by putting me down?

I have dropped the afternoon at work but we are going out and about to libary etc each time so I can carve out that space

I know I should try counselling but a little piece of me is apprehensive about it I don't know why. We can get it trhough work so I should be able to access some.

It is hard to think of leaving now he is behaving but then equally it feels that it is only now things are peaceful that I can find the headspace to look at his behaviour and say that's not right.

Lueji Tue 05-Feb-13 11:32:39

He's clearly making an effort, but how long will it last?

At some point you will stop giving more chances.

littlecrystal Tue 05-Feb-13 09:36:52

Lots of right things have been said here and I am not going to repeat it.. just on behalf of your husband I would like to say that when he was away so much, he had to find his manly ways to insert his authority.. and he continued this even after he stopped working away. You are giving him a chance to learn. Wait a little and see if he can manage to change his ways.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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