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More I should do or am I being a mug?

(233 Posts)
flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 05:25:54

This is such a horrible thing to say but it has got to the stage where I feel like DP is just tagging along in my life and I am at a loss of how to support him or whether I can/should.

He doesn’t contribute financially (I work FT which is quite stressful but am very lucky to have it and that it pays well so we are financially secure), with childcare (he found it a bit much looking after our toddler when we moved abroad – which I appreciated– so DS (now 4) is in nursery each day and DP picks him up at 3 and looks after him before I get home and help out with bath and bed) and with looking after the flat which he felt was preventing him from looking for work (so I got a live-in helper who does the cleaning, cooking and shopping). He also doesn’t contribute emotionally (I never get a birthday, Christmas, valentine or mothers day present but always try and make the effort with him).

The main thing though is that he just doesn’t seem to want to do anything at all ever. Honestly, if he was filling the time with a study course, with starting a business, with volunteering, with a hobby etc which made him happy (all of which I have said I would support) I would support that. But he just says he doesn’t know what to do. He says he doesn’t have a ‘thing’ which makes me a bit upset since I can’t see why me and DS can’t be his ‘thing’. (Who really gets to do their thing anyway – I would love to live in the country and faff around with crafts all day for example but I can’t and accept that).

He also says that he would really like to get a job so that I have to work less but makes little effort to do so (I think he has applied for about 4 in 2 years). He says he feels he can’t do things as well as me but I don’t put pressure on him to do so and I try and boost his confidence – tell him he is a good dad, that he looks nice etc. He spends most of his time looking at cricket on his bb.

Realising he may well be down or even depressed, I have tried to talk to him and suggested counseling but he says he doesn’t want/need that. When I try and discuss the future and what he thinks we could do to make him and both of us happier/have better job prospects/moving again etc – he says he doesn’t know and he doesn’t have any ideas.

I have rather lost patience now. This isn’t a partnership and I feel like I am living with another child (although one that has less energy) that I am losing respect for. I feel like I want to cry most mornings and feel let down and sometimes cross. If I tell him I am unhappy he just sighs and says that makes him feel bad so I try and be upbeat as much as I can. I’m trying to be a good partner but am not sure I can love with so little coming back still. It’s not that he is taking advantage by spending lots of money or going out loads (in fact I wish he would go out or get a hobby) it is more death of a relationship through passivity and ennui. Am I being pathetic?

Roshbegosh Mon 09-Sep-13 05:34:51

No, he is being pathetic. Would you issues, and stick to, an ultimatum?

Leverette Mon 09-Sep-13 06:03:10

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waltzingmathilda Mon 09-Sep-13 06:05:49

I'd be depressed if I were a man, my wife were the breadwinner, I were lugged abroad as an accessory. It's a very emasculating life he's leading.

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 06:06:43

Roshbegosh - as in tell him he has to do something by say Christmas otherwise what - leave/counselling?

I kind of said a year ago that he needed to work out what he wanted and I would check back in and discuss after 6 months. He didn't know then and still doesn't. When pushed he tends to panic more not less.

Leverette Mon 09-Sep-13 06:07:10

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flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 06:10:42

waltzingmathilda - I know, that's mainly why I have tried to help as much as possible and be supportive and why I wonder what more to do.

He wasn't lugged abroad though. He had said he wanted to leave the UK and the job he had there because he didn't like it anymore and we moved somewhere that is closer to his family so he can spend more time with them at least at Christmas and Easter.

Roshbegosh Mon 09-Sep-13 06:18:54

What would make you happy to stay in this relationship?

KristyThomas Mon 09-Sep-13 06:20:24

Sorry to hear that you're going through this - what a man-child! I agree with issuing him an ultimatum (and for me, the consequence would be that he leaves - what you get out of counselling is what you put in, so dragging him there unwillingly will achieve nothing).

You said that you gave him 6 months to work out what he wanted and he couldn't. So will he EVER know? How long does he think he will remain in this state of limbo? Does he even care about the effect it's having on you in the mean time?

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 06:32:42

Good questions!!

Roshbegosh - I think if I felt that we were both working towards a future together and could enjoy being together and enjoying things in the meantime. It isn't important whether he earns more or less and I would be happy to give up my job or work PT and do the childcare if he wanted to have a career.

KristyThomas - I'm not sure now that he WILL ever know and I think in part that that and knowing that I am not happy is making him worse. He kind of gets a bit paralysed into even less action when he feels he can't do anything. Like when DS was born and he shutdown because he didn't think he cuold look after him and found it very stressful. Or in the past whenever I have been sick and he just goes very quiet and sits unable to know what to do. It is weirdly I think that it is precisely because he does cares and perhaps feels inadequate that he ends up doing less but the support and suggestions and efforts to make him feel he can do anything and is special and that it doesn't matter if he doesn't earn loads just don't seem to work and I am out of ideas.

NeedlesCuties Mon 09-Sep-13 06:36:38

I'm shocked. You are a much more patient woman than I am?

What's he like as a husband - is he emotionally supportive to the hobbies and things you want to do? Is he this wishy-washy in your sex life too?

deXavia Mon 09-Sep-13 06:38:51

hmm - see if this was flipped round.. ie a wife saying she'd moved abroad for her husbands job, hadn't been able to find a job, was depressed, struggling with child care, making friends - basically lost all motivation. Then I don't think we'd be calling her pathetic or a woman-child (does that even exist?)

However as an expat who has done the SAH and WOH - I would say he has lost his way in the move (what did he do before you moved?) even if it was something he wanted - maybe more in theory than reality. I actually think its quite common for spouses to feel lost abroad - and possibly harder for him because there won't be many other males in similar positions so hard to make friends on the awful coffee morning circuit.

If you read some of the overseas posts you'll see many people struggling - and perhaps read some posts more from his perspective. But the advise is usually the same - dive into something, anything to get started and then gradually work round to what you want to do. So you probably are right to give him an ultimatum to do something - job, housework, childcare, volunteer, even start teaching kids to play Cricket. Just something to get him off the BB and out of the house. And if not he has to start counseling.

Alternatively if in all honesty this is a symptom of a bigger issue, ie you're falling out of love with him and dont feel the partnership is there then I think you have to be really honest about that. Explain to him as clearly as possible what you want from a partner and if that isn't something he can / wants to do - then yes it probably is time to split.

Roshbegosh Mon 09-Sep-13 06:40:38

Personally I think it sounds like a dynamic that isn't working for either of you. You do more and he does less, I know it isn't your intention but your competence is infantilising him. Ask yourself whether this is working for you, maybe it is in some way. Would you prefer not to have him in your lives? Is the status quo convenient? And by the way, is it ok that he is home all day with your live in helper?

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 06:44:28

NeedlesCuties - I think guilt has kept me patient to this point but now it is wearning thin! We're not married (he never proposed surprise surprise and I didn't feel too strongly about it). My hobbies are things like reading, knitting and sewing, fashion, design etc so things that he doesn't really need to actively support and I can often do whilst being with him - ie I will knit whilst we watch a film together. He doesn't have any of his own (other than following sport). Sex life is pretty unexciting but he seems to still find me attractive but sleep often more so.

KristyThomas Mon 09-Sep-13 06:45:16

deXavia - I don't think you can compare this with a wife posting and saying all the things you said, because somebody posting for advice like that has at least recognised the problem and is trying to help themselves. Whereas OP's DP has been given lots of support, but is resisting all help and doesn't seem to have any problem with this status quo.

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 06:50:38

deXavia - I agree. I think it certainly is very tough. I find it tough too and I know it is easier with the structure of work. Fortunately there are two other guys nearby who are stay at home dads but he hasn't wanted to socialise with them much. I set up for him to meet some guys who do garden stuff as a volunteer and he has been one or two times but wasn't that into it. I agree it is probably time to have a bigger chat though.

deXavia Mon 09-Sep-13 06:53:06

I hear it all the time overseas - moved for spouses job, child in school/childcare, live in helper and the whole sob story about can't get a job, didn't like volunteering or finding their "thing". I do think there are lots of wives who are like this - and possibly some husbands who feel like Farfella. I just think the insults of calling him a "man-child" are a bit off - and wouldn't have been the first response if a woman had posted. But you are right - lets not make this about genders - its about a probably fairly miserable person and a partnership in difficulty.

Farfella - interesting that he has done the garden thing a few times then stopped. I know I asked before but what did he do before you moved? Has he always been a bit off / on about things? Or is this since you moved?

pumpkinsweetie Mon 09-Sep-13 06:59:01

Jeez man, is this guy for real?!?
Blimey it's one thing you are the only one working, in some families it works out well that way, but does this bloke do anything?
So you work FT, he should be taking care of the home and dc, but he does neither!!! shockShocking, just shocking in fact i'm flabbergasted someone can have such little respect for their partner, not to mention lack of motivation.

He should be doing the cleaning, the childcare, the cooking most of time as he is at home all day, yet you have been made to fork out for a cleaner as well as nursery.

And the fact he doesn't contribute emotionally is even worsesad
Don't plod along like this, ltb for your own self worth.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 09-Sep-13 07:09:59

flying is it realistic to expect him to find a job, or is there an issue such as language, visa requirements (i.e. theoretically he could get sponsored, but he's competing against locals) or skill set that mean it's not really going to happen?

I was going to add that being a SAHD in certain countries can be pretty tough (actually even being a hands-on SAHM can be tough if you live in "the helper zone") but it seems even when there were other SAHD around, he wasnt really interested.

On that basis, I think you need to have "the chat"- i.e. it's fine not to want to be a SAHP- loads of people don't want to be- but he has to do something, even if it's not what he ideally wants to do. Anyone would get depressed with no purpose in life, nothing to do when they get up in the morning. I spent a year as a childless, unemployed trailing spouse and by the end I was climbing the walls, despite having initially thought it was going to be totally great.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 09-Sep-13 07:11:32

Also, who is really looking after your DS between 3pm and you getting home- him or the helper?

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 09-Sep-13 07:26:05

What do you get out of this relationship now?. What has really kept you within this?.

Talking to him further may well prove to be a waste of time and effort; he likes things the way they are and between you and the helper he does nothing because you both carry the can.

Think you need to ditch your manchild/project (I say project because you cannot rescue or save someone from their own selves) for the sake of your self worth let alone your son. This man is indeed a poor role model to him.

You're carrying this millstone around your neck, perhaps what you need to ask yourself is why you have allowed him to do this to you at all?.

Jux Mon 09-Sep-13 08:35:54

He will never work out what he wants to do if he does nothing. It took me until I was 37 to work out what I wanted to do, but I had spent the previous 20 years working, and finding out what I didn't want to do. Moreover, I knew that I might never find something I wanted to do, so squeezed as much pleasure and fun out of the work I did. I changed job many times, and opportunities to do other things and get involved in things which did interest me just kept opening up. This will happen to him too, but he's got to get off his arse and start somewhere.

Jux Mon 09-Sep-13 08:36:34

If he is depressed he can take ADs, which will help him.

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 08:37:10

Thanks all - this is really helping me get good and useful perspective on a tricky situation I probably haven't been navigating particularly well on reflection.

deXavia - he used to work in IT/telecoms but did a career change a while back since he didn't like it and went into charity sector. He works in an area where I think it would be possible to work freelance remotely potentially.

RMPMBT - I think it is definitely much harder here but is English and he does have a dependent visa that allows him to work. Certainly a bit harder to find work but most spouses I know who have wanted one have found one or started own business/venture/done course etc. But even if he didn't I have said we could move somewhere else if preferred and would make him happier but since he doesn't know what or where that would be it rather makes that difficult and a bit of a risk to say the least! He picks up DS and they go to playpark with the other kids and parents (including another stay at home dad which I think is great since it is someone else to talk to). Then they come home and sit on the sofa watching TV whilst helper makes dinner. Helper gets him off to nursery in the morning and I look after him on Sunday morning first thing while he has a rest (which now sounds mental writing it down but of course is nice for me to see DS).

AtillaTheMeerkat - fair questions and ones I think I need to reflect on properly. Guilt that maybe I am responsible for him being unhappy and that I would make him even more unhappy (and DS) if I leave I think in part. But yes, I have made a millstone and I need to think about how I can best remove that now or let it creep heavier down on all of us.

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 08:47:37

Jux - exactly! That is what I try and tell him and that he should enjoy the fact that he is not under any specific pressure to find the right thing or to make it work financially immediately but can try out different things. Imagine having the opportunity to do any course you wanted for example - I have a massive list of things I would try. I am 37 now and still don't know what my ideal 'thing' would be but I still find pleasure in dreaming and trying out new things and making most out of present where I can - although that is now becoming a little hard.

Depression is a possibility I think but he says he isn't and wont go and see someone and I don't think it is right to force that since may be counter-productive.

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