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Would being told to "shut up dog" by your h be a dealbreaker for you?

(64 Posts)
feelokaboutit Mon 24-Jun-13 07:36:49

This is the context - sorry rather long:

The way it happened was that we were at the swimming pool. As usual I had packed the two swimming bags - one for me, dd1 and dd2 and the other for h and ds. Except that I had changed h and ds's bag and so it only had trunks and towels in it and I had forgotten to transfer over the goggles. Ds had mentioned this on the way in to the pool and I said I had forgotten but h hadn't heard.

The girls and I went in to the ladies changing room and got changed. By the time we got to the pool, h and ds were already there and h was asking where the goggles were and was obviously annoyed. I said that I had forgotten and he said I should always have them in there or something to that effect blah blah - all cross and sanctimoniously. So my blood is beginning to boil and I said that every week I do have the bags ready and he said something to the effect of - well you should have had the goggles today... I was also saying that he could pack his bag himself and that he too made mistakes (I think I was saying that - it has kind of got lost in the fog).

Anyway, I had one pair of goggles out of the 5 that we usually have and it happened to be mine. So I gave him these (he's all angry and sanctimonious) and said he had to give them back to me when he'd finished. He took them gracelessly out of my hand and said "you'll be lucky". At this point I was really annoyed so I said (to his back as he was going to the pool) that he should remember that he wasn't perfect either - I might have been shouting a little as I was really really annoyed. That's when he said "shut up" and then, as I was walking away "dog". dd2 (7) did not hear him say dog but dd1 (9) did and later referred to it in the changing room and said "Daddy hates you". Not said in a gloating way, but more trying to understand why he would say something like that. Kind of giggling but not in a nasty way.

So h, ds and dd1 went to the big pool and I went to the baby one with dd2. When we had all got changed afterwards, they went to a cafe to have lunch (where we normally go altogether) and I went home, having explained to the girls why. H and I haven't said a word to each other since and this is not unusual.

Every couple of months we will have a massive disagreement like this (or rather, he will say something which I find so upsetting or talk to me in a way which I find so upsetting that I decide that I absolutely have to leave him), and it will take us weeks of silence to get over it. Not that we ever really get over it because nothing is ever discussed. He has a short temper, is critical, somewhat intolerant and autocratic and very defensive. He does also have a nicer side - and showers the kids with affection (and I am feeling very down on him today!), but to be honest, we probably get on properly for 2 or 3 days roughly every 6 weeks (don't know how I know this so exactly!). The rest of the time we either co-exist not having arguments particularly but living very separate lives (though communicating about stuff to do with the kids). Then there are the times like this when I am actively furious (or sometimes he is) and we basically behave as if the other one isn't there. The first 2 or 3 times this happened, I thought it was all him (the longest silence was about 8 weeks long) - and it probably was more him as after 2 or 3 days I would snap out of things and attempt to talk, only to be met with monosyllabic answers. We went to counselling together last year for 5 or 6 sessions (he gave up after one session where it all got a bit heated and he couldn't handle it), and during one of those sessions he said that it wasn't that he "wasn't talking to me" but that he "had nothing to say". Now however, I am much more used to the lack of communication between us and talk very little as well - which is kind of sad!

I think the kids know that we don't get on all that well, but are used to their own reality. Some of the stress I feel, they probably don't realise. They get on with both of us but, in some ways, separately. We do go and do things as a family at weekends (though not always) and some of those weekends are okay. In general though I find that h and I get on worse on Saturday and Sunday. He is very annoyed with me for being untidy and having quite a lot of clutter. I constantly feel that he may be about to complain about something, which means I am never completely relaxed - and don't get down to doing some of the stuff I should be doing.

A few weeks ago, I was at a point when I was very seriously considering the fact that we may have to split up, except that I got so close to it in my head that I really scared myself. The prospect of being away from the kids half the time is truly truly awful. So I reined in my thoughts and decided to be happy about all the things that I have. Things like what happened today throw it all back into question however, and I kind of know that of course we have to separate. (Except that after about 3 days I lose that feeling of intense anger, but isn't that then worse, that I accept the fact that someone has called me a "dog"). I had been thinking (before today's argument) - well - in roughly 11 years time dd2 will probably have left home, so I definitely have to plan to leave then - except that how does that work for in the meantime? Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy a lot of things about my life, and undoubtedly I have contributed to the deterioration of my "relationship". In order to avoid feeling pissed off by him I have really really distanced myself. Also to avoid his criticism as much as possible. I feel sad for the children that they don't have a model of an affectionate relationship to learn from, but have recently been so busy that I am not thinking about it.

I don't know. I think we are just not suited to each other. H is divorced already and in some ways can take me or leave me. He is 12 years older than me (so he is 56) and somehow is never going to see us as equals. He didn't have a totally easy childhood. His family came to this country from India when he was 10. They went to live in XX and had to endure people spitting at them and throwing stones at them in the street. I think this really marked him. His Dad (who died not long before I met h) also became an alcoholic, and when he was 15, left the family home.

If it wasn't for the fact that we have children together, I don't think we would still be together. I do think some relationships end naturally and ours feels like it ended a long time ago! There must be loads of couples in that situation however.

Obviously this is my side of the story, and I have presented a very negative picture of h - not fair really (this is one of the things he was cross about in counselling - that I had spoken about him in this way to other people - one of my arguments was "well, what was I supposed to have done during the 6 or 8 weeks that you weren't speaking to me"). In some ways he is very much a loner and does not need huge amounts of communication and chat - I am kind of the opposite however. When I think of some couples, I get quite envious - those that are easily affectionate with each other. Enough to make you cry when you think that today I was called "dog". H is quick to lash if he feels attacked and will do this about anybody, but this is no consolation!

Anyway, my basic question is - is being called a "dog" by your h a dealbreaker?

Thank you for reading this far!

Pagwatch Mon 24-Jun-13 07:41:28

Icoudn't live with only two or three scent days in every six weeks - I could bear my children to think that that s a normal relationship.

I am not really answering your aibu. I just couldn't give up a decade to misery,punctuated by fury with only intermittent normal.

Pagwatch Mon 24-Jun-13 07:41:48

'decent' days.

bragmatic Mon 24-Jun-13 07:42:31

I didn't read all of your post, I have to run. I only got halfway.

I cannot tell you how damaging it is for children to live with this thick, wall of silence between two adults who are supposed to care for them. Don't think it isn't damaging them. It is. Badly. I'd try to explain to you the sick, sick feeling I got in my stomach when I was growing up, but I fear that I could never really convey it.

If you think it isn't doing harm, you're deluded.

Madamecastafiore Mon 24-Jun-13 07:43:56

God you need to get your children out of this terribly dysfunctional relationship.

He is being abusive to you and by you doing nothing you are teaching your daughters that they deserve to be treated like this and sons that this is an acceptable way to terry someone they love.

His treatment if you is unacceptable and he is big e Pugh and ugly enough to reflect in his behaviour and change.

stargirl1701 Mon 24-Jun-13 07:45:32

Yes, it would.

MissMarplesBloomers Mon 24-Jun-13 07:46:04

Get out before your kids get damaged any further.

You sll deserve better.


Aetae Mon 24-Jun-13 07:46:43

If my DH called me a dog I don't think that alone would be a deal breaker (eg if it came out of the blue with no other problems) although I'd be livid and would start having serious questions about his respect for me.

But in your situation it could be the final straw. The two of you have no functioning conflict resolution mechanism, you bicker a lot, you don't seem to get anything good from the relationship, your children are noticing how bad it is - why stay?

Staying for the children isn't a good idea, you're just teaching them that adult relationships are like yours. Why not give yourself a chance at happiness with someone else and your DCs a chance to see a better relationship example?

SquidgyMummy Mon 24-Jun-13 07:48:47

Gosh you poor thing. There are many things in your post which make this a sham of a marriage. do you really want your children to see you being treated like this?

He is from and culture and also of an age where equality with women is not automatic. (I say this coming from a south asian family myself)

(Also just as an aside, you mentioned his name in your OP, you may want to ask MNHQ to edit)

RoooneyMara Mon 24-Jun-13 07:48:54

It would be a dealbreaker for me, yes. I'm so sorry sad

He sounds a right arsehole. is there any way you could live separately in the same house? minimising the arguing etc?

swallowedAfly Mon 24-Jun-13 07:50:55

of course it's a deal breaker i think you know that.

you are living on eggshells and with near constant tension and a climate of anger and stress. i'm amazed you're not ill already!

you deserve a hell of a lot more. you haven't presented him badly - his behaviour speaks for itself very clearly.

RoooneyMara Mon 24-Jun-13 07:51:54

I have also experienced the cultural thing of women not being valid individuals - more 'owned' by men iyswim

Our neighbour is not allowed to go shopping in case she becomes 'greedy'
She stays at home and cooks all day
I am notallowed to be angry with her husband (though he treats me with little respect and lies a lot)
I am told to 'smile and look pretty' for him

So in the light of this I can sort of see where he is coming from, and it's not something I'd want to be involved with.

kalidanger Mon 24-Jun-13 07:52:57

In the early days of a relationship this would be a red flag, and my own experience states that red flags are pretty easy to bury until they mount up.

But in the dying days of a long term marriage that's been increasingly crappy YES, it's a deal breaker. It's a last straw, and you're here asking us because you know it. This is a GOOD THING. Speak to a solicitor seperation, divorce, money, house and children.

valiumredhead Mon 24-Jun-13 07:58:56

I only needed to read your title-yes it would, there's no coming back from that imo.

slipperySlip000 Mon 24-Jun-13 08:00:13

feelokaboutit every word of your post echoes my own situation, through and through. right down to tge envy of other couples and the getting on with it, ostrich style, only communiating about the kids. and the emotional distannce that needs to be created as a buffer, which is actually not protective but oppressive. I too am never relaxed at home. We have been married for 14years. Last week it all came to a head. The straw that broke the camels back was tiny... another round of bad mood and anger and frustration played out in front of me, with a lid on, the bubbles spilling out. Somehow I managed to just spill all my emotions out (like it finally erupted out of a blow hole) and asked him to leave. He didn't see it coming at all. His heart is broken. But mine has been slowly nibbled away at and squashed over re years. We are in very different places emotionally. This shows how dysfunctional our relationship has been. I feel awful for the crushing blow he has received. But you know what? I now realised that my emotional numbness is fading and I can feel my feelings again for the first time in a long time. All My very close friends are telling me I have done the right thing. I find myself in a totally alien situation. But my feelings are returning and I believe I will now be able to be the mother I was always meant to be... Relaxed and 'present' and available. This journey is immense. Stay here and keep posting. I will hold your hand all the way.

tootssweet Mon 24-Jun-13 08:00:53

I think in the situation you have described yes it would be a deal-breaker. I don't normally post in relationships but your story seems so sad that I just want to tell you to get out.
We only get one life please don't make it such a miserable existence for you & your family. I hope you find some happiness soon.

Longdistance Mon 24-Jun-13 08:05:27

Get out. This marriage sounds so miserable.

Out of interest, what was your h doing whilst you packed his swim bag? I do think he's big and ugly enough to pack his own bag.

Calling you a dog is unacceptable. I'd like to know why he got divorced from his first wife.

It sounds very damaging to your children to stay.

Branleuse Mon 24-Jun-13 08:11:01

Thats really really horrible. I think this would certainly be a dealbreaker. For the sake of the children, leave

jessjessjess Mon 24-Jun-13 08:15:02

YANBU. That feeling of envy when you see other couples? That's telling you something important: that things are just not right. This isn't good for you or your kids - you're telling us you don't feel able to relax in your own home and you're not being respected or cared for. You deserve better.

However his childhood was, it doesn't give him the right to ruin your DCs' childhood. He is a grown man who has treated you like shit, in front of your kids, over a pair of swimming goggles. Counselling doesn't help in relationships like this - it's not recommended when one partner is abusive. Which is what this is. You're afraid of his moods. You walk on eggshells. He insults you.

You don't have to stay. Not for the kids, who won't benefit from being in this atmosphere. Not for anyone or anything. I think the deal broke a long time ago, but you've been so ground down you don't feel able to act on it.

Your kids are learning how to relate to the world. The best thing you can do for them is to leave and rebuild your self and your life. I wish you luck.

HappyAsASandboy Mon 24-Jun-13 08:17:33

Yes, I would leave over that one incident in the swimming pool, never mind the stuff in the rest of your post.

My DH and I are in a rocky patch at the moment. I am holding out for the future because I think it will get better if we both work at it, so I'm not one for saying LTB lightly. But if my husband called me a dog, that would be the end.

In your shoes, I would see a solicitor ASAP and start the process of separating your lives. Your children need to know that this is not normal, and your DDs in particular need to know that it is not acceptable for people (nevermind your husband) to treat you in this way. If asked by the children or anyone else why we split up, I would say 'because he called me a dog' and leave it at that. It really is enough reason to end your marriage.

Good luck for the future, whatever you decide to do.

kalidanger Mon 24-Jun-13 08:19:37

SlipperySlip I wonder about what's going on in my (very culturally different) XP's head. Is his heart broken? How can he not see that our relationship wasn't working, and never would? How can he take being dumped like water off a ducks back and keep (trying) to come back for more? Does he love me so much that he's blind to our problems and incompatibility...? Or is he a weird, controlling nightmare who reckons I will eventually obey him?

I don't think his heart is broken. I think he cares so little for my opinion he doesn't have a heart in the same way I have.

Soz, I'm waffling because I'm still trying to understand myself.

HoneyandRum Mon 24-Jun-13 08:19:44

My husband is always kind and respectful and we have positive interactions constantly, to hear you put up with what seems like a dead life fills me with dread. Can you really feel you are living when the majority of the time you cannot communicate or share with each other? Where is the friendship in this marriage? I can only imagine you are really depressed or emotionally suffocated. Before you throw in the towel can you go for counseling or try something dramatic to resurrect this relationship? Has it always been like this?

StitchAteMySleep Mon 24-Jun-13 08:24:12

Yes it would.

Please leave, life is too short to not be happy for so much of the time.

I have reported your post as it mentions a name, so that MNHQ can edit to protect your anonymity. Please also make sure you delete your history in your web browser to protect yourself. Your husband is abusive and often abuse escalates when the victim tries to leave the situation, best to protect yourself.

plannedshock Mon 24-Jun-13 08:30:11

The "shut up dog" said in an argument wouldn't be the end for me.
The fact that you are seriously unhappy, your kids pick up on it (daddy hates you) and he's obviously a disrespectful arrogant fucker (sorry but...) would all be massive deal breakers for me.
Your children shouldn't start to think this is ok or normal. It seems you've tried hard enough with the counselling and being the one to 'give in' first. There's no shame for you in leaving him.

AgathaF Mon 24-Jun-13 08:40:27

I think the 'dog' comment is irrelevant really. Your relationship sounds awful. Long silences, and tempers and rows over such minor things as goggles show that. It sounds like he is a very difficult person, but to be honest it also sounds like you over-react too. Shouting at him by the pool? I understand that you may just be reacting to years of crap behaviour from him, but if this is the case then surely you realise that you need to end the relationship.

Your children are learning that this is how adult couples live together - a very damaging lesson for them. There is every likelihood that they will imitate this when they too are adults in relationships. I'm sure you don't want that for them.

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