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I feel like a fool. Am I?

(130 Posts)
4paws Wed 06-Feb-13 11:12:02

I am a SAHM and living overseas for the last 18 months. My youngest is now 3 and where we are living is OK. I can put up with it for a while longer!

My DH works hard and really enjoys his job, which is great. He doesn't work at weekends, and is good with the DCs. During the week, he hardly sees them, he's up early, and back late. By late I mean 8pm at the earliest mon-fri. The last few months he always seems to be late at night, meeting colleagues for dinner, going out for team drinks, presentation to prepare so he'll be back late. Drinks seem to mean 1am, dinner, 11pm, report to write, 9:30pm. It may all be true, I have no idea, no way of knowing. I don't think he is cheating (Lord knows everyone says that) but why he is he out every night? I know the jobs market is really tough at the moment (tho I've been out of it too long) and I know that he is really into his job and really like socialising with colleagues.

Clearly, what he's not into is spending time at home with me. I feel like an idiot because I have no idea ever where he is, what he is doing. If I am lucky I get an "oh, i'll be late home tonight" but that is it. This isn't my idea of family life, this isn't my idea of a relationship. I feel silly for thinking that I want to leave and to disrupt the DC's, but I also feel that this lifestyle is all lovely for him and it would be v easy for him to cheat, and the gullible fool at home wouldn't know. Or I am just paranoid and controlling.

I have spent years feeling unloved and ignored. I have been unhappy because he doesn't communicate, where he is, or answer his phone/texts whereas my argument is that when I was pg or with small DCs, he should answer, he should check, because he should be concerned that we were all ok, and actually he doesn't worry about it all.

Sorry for rambling

MadAboutHotChoc Wed 06-Feb-13 13:27:57

A good man wouldn't treat his wife like a dog.

A good man would listen to his wife and make her feel loved and respected.

A good father will want to spend time with DC after work and that includes doing the less interesting aspects of parenting.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 06-Feb-13 13:31:24

"He would say he's a good man; he doesn't cheat, he's not violent, he doesn't spend all the money, works hard, not a gambler or an alcoholic, spends time with the kids at the weekend.."

Those are givens, not attributes. A good relationship is a lot more than two nice people having a wedding ring each. It's about being considerate, thoughtful, selfless, appreciating each other, showing respect to each other, putting each other first occasionally....

SolidGoldBrass Wed 06-Feb-13 13:34:56

He's not a good man. He is enjoying his life at your expense and the fact that you are miserable, isolated and bored doesn't matter to him because as far as he is concerned, you don't matter. You;re a 'woman', that's all.People who consider whole classes of other people to be their inferiors are not good people. A man who considers women as lesser beings than men, existing for men's benefit, are the moral equivalent of people who consider that some ethnic groups are 'naturally' inferior and stupid.

I don't know where you are (and you don't have to say if you don't want to) but it would be a good idea to look into your legal position WRT coming home and bringing the DC with you. If you are all (you him and kids) UK citizens then it shouldn't be a problem. However, if the place you are living in is his home country and any of the DC were born there, it might be more complicated.

It doesn't mean you have to pack and leave him immediately, but knowing what rights you have is always useful, it helps you make an informed decision.

AloneSoon Wed 06-Feb-13 13:35:02

I think you're expecting to be loved and to be shown that love. That's not expecting too much.

I remember feeling sad that H and I didn't do anything together just before he left. He had his social life and I had mine. We onlyspent time together at weekends - but that was with DC there. I mentioned that I'd like to spend time with him, but he just didn't get it.

Could you try counselling? To see if H would get it if you discussed neutrally? If he won't go, how about taking to someone about what you want out of life for you and your DC, to help you work out what you want out of this relationship and what you'll do if you can't get it?

NotMostPeople Wed 06-Feb-13 13:44:41

It is very hard being the partner of someone who has a job like this, my DH is in a similar position. Long hours, often abroad, often preoccupied. There are times when I get seriously fed up about it. However my DH makes it very clear that the one place he most wants to be is at home with us, even when he's is a five star hotel in Dubai or similar. His favourite thing to do when he has time off from work is just to be a home, pottering about.

What you are living with is sole destroying so you need to take charge.

raenbow Wed 06-Feb-13 13:54:08

He may not be having an affair now OP but he is detaching himself from you and the family and this in his eyes will make it OK when an opportunity presents itself.
My 'not soon enoughTBXH' did just this, abroad , alone with kids his career was all important, I stayed home with kids and he jetted off around the world where an opportunity did present itself. So he saw no reason not to indulge! At this time we had been talking about separating for a time as I felt very isolated and unloved and just to see 'what happened' He returned and told me he had started this relationship with his colleague ( apparently only physical after I left - yeah right!!)
I wish I had gone when we 1st started to talk about it rather than waiting another year ( i had packed our bags and was packing boxes) but was persuaded to stay to see if we could work it out. I think if I had gone with my first instincts I would not be feeling the pain I am now at being cheated on and would also be a year further on.
Don't forget if you take the kids out of the country you will have to have his permission and a witnessed statement. Is he likely to agree?

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Wed 06-Feb-13 13:55:01

What do you want to do?

Make him change or leave?

Now that you have said that you go out and have friends, I do not think you are depressed, rather than the ball is in his court.

It is not unreasonable to want your DH home after work or to ant to be loved He would not entertain the opposite? You wanting him away all the time and not standing the sight/touch of him?

Assuming he is not cheating, then he can certainly change things at work. My DH was expected to entrained lots for example, so he made a deal with his boss that he'd do lunches rather than dinners so that he could be with his family. He also did not apply for a promotion that would have meant being out all the time.
Some work can be done at home.

If he is not willing to talk to his boss (managers are rarely the demons that they are made out to be) or change, it sounds like he does not want to. then the reasons for not wanting to be at home... OW or not, it is not good.

4paws Wed 06-Feb-13 14:04:27

It is soul destroying. And I am in tears because AS is right, I want to love and to be shown love, and I thought he was 'The One' and that what we had was so deep and if that was true I wouldn't be here would I?

And yes, he has no interest in kids bedtimes. Seems likes lots of DH's I hear about tho

It's not like I have a fancy designer life to lose smile but I am terrified about packing up and starting all over again.

We are all UK and not permanent residents here so I hope that's something. I can't see him wanting responsibility for the DCs but he might want to be petty about it and hold me here over it

AloneSoon Wed 06-Feb-13 14:18:27

I'm so sorry 4paws.

Would it help to think about all the practicalities of what would happen if you split, so you have a good idea of what you will do if it comes to that point? Such as, how will you get children out, where would you relocate to, who can give you emotional support in the UK, etc?

I found working through different scenarios really helpful. I even included staying with H for a few years until I wouldn't need childcare (and am still considering that!). It made me feel I was doing something positive, even though no-one else knew.

Also remember that lot's of people do love you - your DC, your family, your friends. Often you don't realise until you're in a position of having to ask for help, just how much your family and friends like you.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 06-Feb-13 14:19:41

How do you think he would react if you gave him a kind of 'be home by 8pm every night this week, or else....' ultimatum? Does he realise how neglected you feel? Would he take you seriously?

beachyhead Wed 06-Feb-13 14:26:57

I agree with an ultimatum. I think it's fair to let someone know that they are upsetting you enough that you are contemplating leaving.

I would start with ' We need to address the balance here. It's not working for me'. Maybe a move back to the UK could save the relationship? It sounds very like he is at work with similar types or bright young things snapping at his heels...unless he's sitting alone at the office night after night.

Sometimes it's hard in these scenarios to do the right thing and leave the office to see your family. He needs to do it and you both need to work out why is isn't/can't.

AloneSoon Wed 06-Feb-13 15:04:50

I agree that you should talk before taking steps towards leaving. He needs to know how serious this is for you - it might be the trigger he needs to really think about what you both need out of this relationship and how he can go about giving you what you need.

I just found it helpful, from a personal perspective, to know that I have a plan if it doesn't work out between H and me. It's about facing the worst case scenario (in terms of disruption for the DC) and realising it wouldn't be as bad as I initially thought... maybe even good for the longer term.

4paws Wed 06-Feb-13 15:30:47

I guess I was hoping you would all tell me I was being silly sad

And I feel really angry with myself that I was so stupid and got myself in this mess. I still love him but I know I've been hanging on for crumbs for years.

I still hold a faint hope that he will come to his senses, but yes, everything right now is exactly how he likes it, so why would he change? And no, he's adamant he doesn't want to go back to the UK unless for some fantastic promotion.

I will look at different scenarios. I will spell it out (again) I don't want to go but I can see that unless he changes it will be exactly the same, or just get worse, or he'll leave.

AnyFucker Wed 06-Feb-13 15:47:15

When I read this thread, I get the awful feeling you will hang on and on, getting more and more depressed, until he is careless and you discover his infidelity sad

Being a SAHM and giving up your own career/earning potential only works if your partner sees what you do as equally useful as what he does. Not just pay lip service to it because it enables them to get ahead in their own life....and then slowly edge you out of it.

Dahlen Wed 06-Feb-13 15:57:39

I don't think giving him an ultimatum will walk. OP has already said she has tried to talk to him about this on numerous occasions. He doesn't see that he's doing anything wrong and has been very dismissive about her feelings. Further talk and ultimatums will just lead to him getting angry or painting her as some sort of neurotic ungrateful female.

Actions speak louder than words. I'd leave. Nothing less than the impact of that will wake him up to how serious this is, and even that might not work but at least you'd already be out.

Whatever pain you experience from being so let down by your H will be softened to some degree by the resurgence of your self-esteem, which will happen from no longer being passive in your own maltreatment.

MajorB Wed 06-Feb-13 15:57:48

If I were you I would sit him down and explain that you've tried to talk to him about the situation before and it hasn't made any real difference, so now you need some time to think over your options (& be ambiguous over what those options are).

Tell him he needs to book a week off work in the next month or so, and you are going to go away, do a bit of travelling, see a bit of the country you're in and have some time to take stock and think about what you want - after all, you're owed some time off after all the jollys he's been having.

Ensure that you have spoken to family/friends/babysitters and local nannies etc and explain to them that he needs to take care of the kids on his own for an entire week so he doesn't get any help, and that he's only to contact you in case of emergencies.

If he's a decent man he'll step up to the plate and realise how hard your day-to-day life is, if not at least you'll know relatively quickly.

Also you may find that some time where you get to be you (& not "wife" or "mum") will allow you to focus on what is improtant and what you want, and realise that you are worth loving and cherishing.

Good luck in whatever you decide.

KinNora Wed 06-Feb-13 16:20:05

I've not read all the replies, OP but I just wanted to say that you are emphatically not a fool.
I was you. My ex was busy enjoying his high-flying career, enjoying all the social opportunities, free sporting events, membership of exclusive clubs and trips abroad while I was at home bringing up our 3 dc.

We were living away from friends and family, I had no support with the children, couldn't afford the childcare to return to work even part-time. He once told me that he'd been asked to work for a month somewhere thousands of miles away, when I said ' what if I don't want you to go ?' His reply was that he'd go anyway. I used to lie in bed at night, crying quietly because I was in such despair.

He saw me as his housekeeper, PA and nanny, he had no interest in what I wanted or needed, there was no partnership in our relationship, he couldn't even be bothered to have sex with me.

The reason I tell you this is because I stayed too long, I thought I was being a 'good wife' by not complaining or demanding, in reality I colluded in the erosion of my confidence and personal identity. Please do not let it happen to you, do not doubt yourself or the importance of your feelings.

4paws Wed 06-Feb-13 16:23:39

No, I don't want to be that person. I don't want to wake up 20 years wrinklier and still stuck.

Is it worth snooping to see if he is cheating or is it just his detachment that matters anyway? Somehow an affair seems like more reason to leave than just DH being a workaholic who'd rather spend his time with anyone rather than me sad

We have a house (3bed) in the UK and tenants in it, the rent comes to me, but the house is joint. I could give notice and move back in, or leave them there and try and find a place near my parents, who might or might not be supportive. I don't know what would be better/worse!

AnyFucker Wed 06-Feb-13 16:27:04

The fact that you are unhappy should be your motivator for change

Remember you?. Yes, you are a person in your own right.

SolidGoldBrass Wed 06-Feb-13 16:27:35

Don't get too hung up on only a breach of monogamy being 'bad enough' to leave over. He is being unfaithful to the relationship by treating you like a servant rather than a beloved partner and his equal.

4paws Wed 06-Feb-13 16:29:33

Yes, kinNora

"his high-flying career, enjoying all the social opportunities, free sporting events, membership of exclusive clubs and trips abroad while I was at home bringing up our 3 dc"

It's a lovely life for some isn't it hmm

4paws Wed 06-Feb-13 16:31:29

AF Do I remember me? I think I got submerged under childcare responsibilities. Because I wanted to, I can't blame anyone else.

Stupid stupid stupid romantic fairytales

AnyFucker Wed 06-Feb-13 16:34:26

Yes, those "romantic fairytales" have a lot to answer for. It's why I'm seen as a right fucking killjoy on these boards, because I quash them and refute the image of the "charming provider" any opportunity I get.

4paws Wed 06-Feb-13 16:35:01


How am I equal though? I have no job, no earning, no status in this world. As far as I see around me, politically, socially, SAHM is practically falling off the social ladder.

I value what I do, what I have done, but DH's perception is pretty common these days. All I get to hear about is a female colleague sending emails at midnight and 5am. He thinks that's dumb, but then I guess she's getting home to see her kids, whereas, er, he isn't

Yfronts Wed 06-Feb-13 16:39:57

Can you make your own life? Go out and enjoy yourself too some evenings? Attend some evening classes or meet friends. Also ask to have a set night on which you can do something together with your DH. Spend quality time.

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