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MNrs with depressed partners - how do you know it's them not you

(99 Posts)
MarriedToMrGrumpy Sun 01-Sep-13 13:22:30

For a long time we have had problems. And for a long time I've thought it was my fault, because dh told me so. If only I would have more sex, if only I wouldn't do housework at the weekends, if only I didn't work so much.... lots and lots of reasons that sounded valid, and I beat myself up for it.

Recently he started on dc. If only they weren't so naughty. If only they went to bed easily. And so on and so on.

This Summer Hols we have been so happy without him. The three of us (me and the dc) get on so well. They get one well with each other, and other children. They're not perfect, and neither am I, but we are human, so that's to be expected. I've received some beautiful compliments about how lovely they are, and me being a calm and attentive mum.

Overall I'm really happy. And I've realized that dh is sucking the life out of me. He says he is happy when he is at work, it's just at home he is miserable. Those are the only two things he does - be at work, or be at home. He says he can't go out because I won't let him (not true), can't read a book, watch a film, play video games, do DIY, mow lawn, anything because dc won't let him. Besides watching sport, or going to the cinema alone, I can't think of anything he enjoys. He has no pride in himself. He got an important certificate recently, and just shoved it back in the envelope, didn't want to talk about it or mention it to anyone.

He says he's not depressed, but that he struggles to find the joy in day to day life. He constantly is negative, and if dc do misbehave, over generalizes 'well he's always doing that because he's a nasty boy' etc.

He puts me down a lot, and tbh has done for a long time. Now he's started on dc I'm at my wit's end.

So MNrs with depressed partners. How do you know that your partner has a problem they need help and treatment for vs that you just don't like each other anymore and it's time to move on.

Lovingfreedom Sun 01-Sep-13 16:16:47

If you can't bear to kick him out buy a shed and stick him in it. Think that's what our mothers' generation did with miserable bastards like these. Don't pander to him. It's not your responsibility to make him happy. I really do feel for you OP. I've been there and it really is thankless.

Anniegetyourgun Sun 01-Sep-13 16:18:58

I really don't think a man who has such an aversion to interaction with his own children is going to insist on 50-50 shared residence. You'd probably have to get a court order to make him take them.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 01-Sep-13 16:24:42

Was wondering what you get out of this relationship now.

You are not responsible for him at the end of the day.

I was wondering how much of this behaviour of his is actually down to depression and how much is actually due to him being emotionally abusive. He's been telling you for a long time that a lot of problems are down to you; that's actually him projecting his own issues onto you. Doing that to you absolves him of his own responsibilities here. Blaming everyone else but him for his problems is also commonly seen in such at heart abusive men. He has also been putting you down for some years now so you've become almost conditioned to receiving this.

Your children are seeing all this as well and are being affected by it; surely this is not the relationship role model you yourself want to impart to your children. What relationship lessons to them are being imparted here. Both of you are teaching them damaging lessons. On some level as well you are showing them this is currently acceptable treatment of you as both a wife and their mother.

RollerCola Sun 01-Sep-13 16:29:50

I've just read your post & I could have written it word for word. Honestly I could hmm I completely feel your pain.

Nothing is right for my h, I've spent years and years hoping that one day he'll go back to being the happy person I married, but I've finally accepted that he won't. I've often thought he's depressed but he won't have it.

I won't go into it all now but your situation sounds very very similar to mine. I've become depressed because of trying to deal with him.

I really don't have any advice about trying to make it work because sadly we haven't been able to. We've agreed to separate & I've felt the most enormous relief since we made the decision. He says he has also, but IMO he's still acting like he's very depressed. He's not lifted a finger to sort the separation & still won't move out.

I'm doing everything but I'm determined to sort it all because I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel. I know I'll be better off without him because he's draining the life out of me.

If I can help in any way please let me know. Take care.

OxfordBags Sun 01-Sep-13 16:32:01

He is totally making you rsponsible for his feelings and bad behaviour, when not one percent is your responsibility. He is being abusive, controlling and basically just behaving like a shitty little man-brat, and blaming it all on youand the DC. Yu should not have accepted his built-tripping and manipulative bullshit that he was unhappy because you had changed. It certainly did not mean that you should given him more sex, asked for less support, etc. Everyone changes, you're meant to change. Except him, whining about having to be an adult and step up to the mark and be decent to his wife and kids, boo fucking hoo.

And it is not ironic that the Dc behave worse when he is indulging himself (because that's what it is) in one of his grumps, it is perfectly normal for children to behave that way when a parent is being a shithead. His negativity causes them distress, which children exhibit through acting up, and they are also reflecting his negativity back to him. Also, if he has decided that he would be happy IF they did or didn't do or say X, Y, and Z, then he's creating a very mindfucking, abusive, damned if they do, damned if they don't atmosphere for them; he's kind of pre-bollocking them for potential future naughtiness - where's their motivation to act well coming from that?!

triathlonmum Sun 01-Sep-13 21:26:28

I am in exactly the same position and on the verge of a separation (at least he has said he wants to go but hasn't made any move yet, given he does nothing else at home it doesn't surprise me). I feel like it might be a huge relief to end the constant misery and grumpiness at home. He also gets really grumpy with my two DCs, shouts at the drop of a hat. But I'm scared of being lonely and financial issues.

I also wonder if my DH has depression, he has been like this for a long time and nothing makes him happy or smile. Everything is my fault. Apparently I am always 'fussing' (clearing up) and this stresses him out. He lays on the sofa playing on his iPad, for 90 percent of his time at home. I care for the children, house, garden, paperwork, oh and also work.

He seems to cope fine at work therefore I wonder whether depression really could be a possibility, how would he be fine there just not at home? But wonder whether trying to get him to go to GP should be last port of call before admitting we have to separate? So very interested in views on this thread.

How many guy like this are out there? Don't like growing up, changing, responsibilities? I quite like the suggestion of locking them in the shed!

MarriedToMrGrumpy Sun 01-Sep-13 22:02:54

Thanks for all your views, especially RollerCola and triathlonmum - it's good to know I'm not the only one (not that I want others to be miserable). I'm sure there are plenty more like him.

I love the shed idea. I really would be happy if he found himself a hobby, some friends, a man cave, anything really that meant he took some ownership for his own well being.

RollerCola Sun 01-Sep-13 22:37:12

It's so hard isn't it. Despite all my h has done (or not done) I still find myself worrying about how he'll cope on his own. As much as I desperately want him to leave so that I can move on, my instincts mean I still worry about him - I can't help it.

But as many people have pointed out, only he can make himself happy. I've spent years & years trying to do it but it's no use. I've got to stop worrying about him & focus on myself. He's a grown man & he thinks he'll be happier on his own. Personally I think he'll discover that he's still not happy even when he's gone and that it wasn't actually me & the kids that made him unhappy at all.

But only he can discover that. Because there's absolutely no talking to him. He's right, everyone else is wrong.

I wish you all the luck in the world OP, if you can get through to him you might have a chance. Would he be upset to lose you all? Mine doesn't seem bothered which is how I know it's the right decision. It makes me very angry but at the same time I refuse to spend any more of our lives with someone who so blatantly doesn't care about us, only for himself. I owe it to myself AND the children to give us a better and happier life.

Portofino Sun 01-Sep-13 22:46:45

There is a big difference between being depressed and being an arse. As I said already on this thread if he is all happy and fine at work, chances are he is not depressed. His depression seems to involve sitting on his arse and blaming you for everything. He gets a get out of jail card for any domestic responsibilities and gets you tip toeing round him whilst he watches footie or does his own thing.

This is not at all how my DH's depression manifested itself. Which involved crying in the office, extreme short temper, odd behaviour - literally he was a changed person. It sounds more like abuse than depression.

triathlonmum Sun 01-Sep-13 23:04:01

I feel pretty lonely in the house with him. But then I have lots of great friends and plenty to do myself so I suppose I just bury my head in the sand re this marriage and live outside of it. Those close to me say I would thrive without him but I find the idea of binning 10 years of marriage and upsetting the DCs very difficult. Although I am finding as they get older some of their respect for him is diminishing - they call him grumpy and lazy and he often has a sense of humour failure ......

joanofarchitrave Sun 01-Sep-13 23:14:15

If he's happy at work and unhappy at home, it sounds like separating would be an unselfish act on your part!

I have to say though, I would pull the children up if they call him grumpy and lazy. It's not OK for them to talk about their father that way IMO.

triathlonmum Sun 01-Sep-13 23:26:32

Thanks Joan, I do tell the children off as I won't have them talk to any adult in that way. It just makes me sad that they pick up on it all. So perhaps separation is the right route. So very frustrating though, it feels like all is needed is for him to change his mindset. I think I can safely say that wont happen though. I also agree that my DH is likely to find it wasn't us making him miserable after all either.

Handywoman Sun 01-Sep-13 23:39:20

I had one of these. Must say home life has been much more pleasant for since I showed him the door and I find the housework much more manageable too. Lol. You just don't miss having this kind of energy sapping idiot under your feet.

This goes for me, too. Please get rid, OP. He sounds like an utter drain. Without him you'll be just fine. I did it two months ago. Life now is immeasurably better, not just for me, but for the kids, too, who are now free to just be themselves even if being themselves means being a pain in the proverbial

FrancescaBell Sun 01-Sep-13 23:43:25

I have known depression (especially the undiagnosed and untreated kind) used as a cover-up (by individuals and/or their partners) for all sorts of other things: abuse, affairs, addiction, personality disorders and especially- just being an absolute shit.

In my experience, people with genuine depression (who aren't abusive, personality disordered or having an affair) get help and treatment and wouldn't dream of putting the blame for their feelings on their partners and/or children.

So my advice to anyone living with someone like this is to give serious consideration to the possibility that it's not depression at all. Eliminate other factors.

TheSilverySoothsayer Sun 01-Sep-13 23:51:31

Further to my post upthread, if he won't go to the GP, then I am agreeing with the other posters that this is abuse, not fall out from mental ill health.

Portofino Sun 01-Sep-13 23:52:43

Quite, Francesca. My Dh was practically suicidal one year ago. Therapy and ADs have made the world of difference. I think many people forget that depression is a genuine illness, one that can treated by medicine. Vs unhappiness and complete arseness, which you can only cure by taking action.

RhondaJean Sun 01-Sep-13 23:55:34

He may have depression but putting you and the kids down isn't depression.

It's twattish.

My dh has depression on and off and I have had as well in the past and while it can make you very self obsessed it doesn't make you stupid.

cestlavielife Sun 01-Sep-13 23:59:38

So S he has not been clinically diagnosed with anything ?
If you holding on to the hope he is depressed medically then give him ultimatum to go to gp and get help For his illness.

If he really is depressed and makes some effort to get treated then you can consider staying...but he needs to be helping himself. Not having hobbies etc is his choice but if he making you and dc miserable it s time to review. If he keeps telling you you and dc make him like this then surely logically he should leave?

or if he won't go and get diagnosed and treated , then yes separate.

It isn't always clear can have clinical depression and also be abusive .... My exP has had severe episodes of real mental health depression with anxiety with aggressive outbursts ..but also when not in throes of actual real depressive episode manifests abusive behaviours. Read "why does he do that" and consider. knowledge is power.

Upsetting the dc ? Living in a positive happy household without a black cloud or tiptoeing is far better than staying together because he might have an illness..Rather than just be a twat... . While he has the illness, while he behaves in this damaging way it is ok to live apart. You and dc cannot treat him or cure him ...heck he even tells you you and dc are making him Ill/behave this way. So take him at his word and send him away to get better.... If he gets treated and better great ! You can resume where you left off.

If he does not then you will gain not lose.

You have been so happy without him. Surely that says it all ?

NotOneThingbutAnother Mon 02-Sep-13 00:14:14

I never thought I'd read about people whose situation is so similar to mine - difference is I've been married 25 years. Our DC are 10 and 12 - we held off having children as H had a breakdown (which was my fault apparently) and I wanted to be sure he was ok before we started trying - well of course once our first child was about 6 months old he started again about how I'd ruined his life, the rest is history - well, the same story as Married's. I suppose some differences are that we both have long term health problems, no family (either of us) and owe £000,000s - now in our 50s. We literally could not walk away from each other because of the debts; neither of us could afford a place to live on our individual salaries and I think we'd both struggle to cope alone because of the health issues.

Lately I've begun to think how damaging our situation is for DCs; he's been to GP once and got medication changed (for his illness nothing to do with depression) as GP thought that might help his temper, but it hasn't and his outrages are getting longer, louder and more intimidating. But the bottom line is this is a man who doesn't get what he deserves - I MAKE him like he is, he only behaves like this because I treat him so poorly. He is entitled to x y and z (z is normally sitting on the sofa), but its my fault he doesn't get it all. I could go on but I think you get the gist.

RollerCola Mon 02-Sep-13 07:36:01

This is a very helpful thread for me because I also thought it was just me who'd been landed with someone like this.

Whether or not my h is depressed, he just seems to have no interest in anything. He never seems to 'do' anything. He doesn't have any hobbies, no real circle of friends. He's self employed with one business partner (who he also socialises with) so day after day he goes to work & just sees the same friend with no other social interaction.

When he comes home he's not interested in doing anything with the kids. He never suggests going to the park or taking then to do anything. His only interest is watching football on TV. The rest of the time he falls asleep on the sofa so we're all tiptoeing around. He hasn't wanted to do anything just with me for years.

He's moody, grumpy, miserable & self-absorbed. Now we've finally decided to separate he tells me he's been unhappy in our marriage for years. While I've been killing myself trying to hold everything together & make things better he's just been acting more & more unreasonably (probably in the hope that I'll do something about it so he didn't have to make the decision)

Now we've agreed to separate he's not lifted a finger to do anything. He's not looked at houses, he's not been to the bank, he's not thought about the logistics of it. He's just waiting for me to do it all for him. Once he's gone I suspect his mum will step in and start looking after him. I just want him out now, it's so unbelievably draining.

triathlonmum Mon 02-Sep-13 07:40:02

It is just so frustrating. I feel like I need to help him see what we could have together if only he was less miserable/resentful/grumpy. But he has shut himself off emotionally and want to blame me for pretty much everything. I'm torn between wanting to give it a last chance for a step change ( eg GP, counselling, whatever...) and giving up. I think he wants me to chuck him out so he can blame me for that too - he did say when he said he intended to leave that I should agree with him otherwise I'm just trying to make him look like the bad guy.

My natural instinct is to try/ work harder at things if they aren't working out. But perhaps there are some things that can't be changed?

It is all pretty exhausting and I'm running out of patience cooking/cleaning etc for him while he just lies there.

NotOneThing, you children are just a couple of years older than mine and I think the impact on them is what has started to be front of mind for me. Up to now I felt like I've endured it for their sakes. I've tried everything to improve things, weekends away, nights out, doing sport together ...but the effort is never reciprocated so never gets us anywhere.

I'm finding this all very difficult and glad I've found this thread.

triathlonmum Mon 02-Sep-13 07:43:02

RollerCola I could have written exactly what you just did.

I also fear that in splitting up I will have to do everything. So for now I am waiting for him to initiate but my friends think I should have a deadline else he will just malinger out of laziness.

He told me he has been unhappy for years and was waiting for our youngest to finish infant school!!! Which she just has....

RollerCola Mon 02-Sep-13 08:29:46

So sorry triathlonmum, you have my sympathy because I know just what you're going through.

I've spent many years hoping he'll change & making excuses for why he's like this (family death/illnesses/depression etc) but I've realised and now accepted that he won't change because he doesn't WANT to.

He wallows in self pity & blames everyone else but himself for his unhappiness. Nothing I can do will make him happy. Even my friends & family are now saying he'll never change & they're surprised I've stayed with him this long (we've been together for 23 yrs, kids are 11&6)

Once I started really talking to other people about him & hearing their opinions it was like my eyes finally opened.

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 02-Sep-13 08:35:47

Roller there is an organisation who can help you with such huge debts, I can't remember the name but there is a whole section on the website which would be able to help you either separately after a split or together before one. I know that they warn about companies who look to make money out of this too but there is an official one which does not charge.

As for a place to live as you have DC you would be eligible for a top up via housing benefit. I know it's not ideal but it wouldn't have to be forever.

Anniegetyourgun Mon 02-Sep-13 08:56:51

Let me add from my own experience (25 years at the coalface, 4 children) that there is no pleasing someone who does not wish to be pleased, no comforting someone who enjoys wallowing in misery. Some people wrap their gloom around themselves like a comfort blanket. And as I said upthread, if everyone tries to jolly them out of it/avoid annoying them, they are actually rewarded for doing so. After 40 or 50 years on this planet the behaviour is too well ingrained to expect any kind of change - certainly in the absence of any major consequences such as losing their favourite emotional punchbag and picker-up of their laundry.

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