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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?

MrsOakenshield Mon 09-Sep-13 09:00:31

well, I am not an expert by any means but he sounds like he is depressed. He has lost his way and doesn't know which way to turn - it's almost like there are so many possibilities out there that it has overwhelmed him. He sounds like the kind of person who thrives in a routine, almost, and he's lost that and can't work out how to be. And just cos there are other SAHDs doesn't mean he likes them or gets on with them or has anything in common with them - I think men find it harder to just chat about the children if that's all there is between them.

What to do about it I don't know though! He needs to see his GP. Does he want to come home?

NeedlesCuties Mon 09-Sep-13 09:02:30

I would love to know what your 'helper' thinks while there is a grown man sitting watching cartoons with a young child rather than getting his arse in gear to cook his own dinner.

I think this is madness.

Lazyjaney Mon 09-Sep-13 09:03:14

I think many being so judgemental here have never been in this position.

I left my career to follow my DH to another country for work, and couldn't work there until I got various certificates etc.

When you are in the situation the OPs partner is in, it is soul destroying, especially if you used to work - you were used to being independent, earning money, own friend network, activities etc. Suddenly you lose all that, and are financially completely dependent to boot. The working person definitely has a far easier time of it, they get status, support, self affirmation etc etc.

And trying to palm me off on activities I didn't like, or with people I wouldn't choose to be with was just the pits.

I was not a "girl-child", I was an educated, independent woman thrown in the deep end and it takes a while - far longer than 6 months - to sort yourself out in my experience, and it is pretty damn miserable in the interim.

Fortunately for me, DH did not think I was surplus to requirements after 6 months.

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 09:11:46

Lazyjaney - yes, I think it can be really and truly horrid. I am acutely aware of it and that is why I am trying my best to support however I can. It has been two years rather than 6 months (6 months was the point at which I said we could have another chat and see if he knew what he wanted so I wasn't seeming to hassle constantly in the meantime and he didn't at that point so I didn't push further and left it for much longer). I have tried to support and be there for him and understanding that it is probably just really difficult for him and is easier for me. He says he doesn't want to go back to the UK and the genuine offer to do so was and still is there. Clearly I am not supporting in the right way so what from your experience do you think would be the right way or more helpful?

AnyFucker Mon 09-Sep-13 09:29:36


You employ at least 2 other people to do the simple day to day stuff he should be doing

This is a rather expensive cocklodger, and it doesn't even sound like he's any great shakes at the cock bit

You can't stay with someone because you feel sorry for them, and you can't make them motivated if they have no interest in pulling their finger out

Cut the dead weight loose

LessMissAbs Mon 09-Sep-13 09:31:44

I wouldn't necessarily diagnose depression - its a clinical diagnosis, not a default one for someone who is prone to inactivity and lack of ambition and motivation.

Its quite possible this is simply his true nature, particularly if he is the sort of man who has moved abroad quite happily with someone with no job planned and never proposed, and who has a history of moving from a well paid career with plenty of jobs to one which is less well paid/less certain.

If he has worked in IT in the past, even if his skills are a little out of date, he should be able to find work anywhere in the world. Has he even bothered to register with an agency?

He just sounds really feeble. I get this feeling sometimes with DH, and he is in a well paid job and has active hobbies. But compared to my family, who are all go-getters who run businesses and make national sporting teams, his motivation and ambition are on the low side. But to lack the motivation to provide for yourself and your family and to look after your own child and flat - I don't know if that's fixable. I would be scared of him dragging me down and the additional costs this man generated. I would get rid.

I would think the same about a woman in the same position. I'm not keen on freeloaders of either gender.

deXavia Mon 09-Sep-13 09:45:12

Farfalla - I think you need to decide if this is something you want to fix or not. Apologies and I may be out of order but from your posts I'm not 100% sure that's a given.

But lets assume it is... it sounds like the parameters are too wide and maybe for some people that's a dream come true but it sounds like its almost causing paralysis in your DP. I don't think he is pathetic, but I do think he has been drifting for so long he can't see how to get back on track - or as LessMisAbs points out he may just be one of those guys who will never be "on track". When I didn't work in one country (due to language and Visa issues) every one kept telling me to write a book or set up on online business - but that kind of freedom scared the crap out of me, made me realise that actually I'm a corporate girl, I need structure!

I would be brutally honest with him, tell him he is risking losing you and give him another 6 months but expect to hear all the time what is he doing to find a job. IT /Telecom is pretty much global - even if its just contract basis to get back in to a working routine. Unless there are visa or language issues it shouldn't be too hard if he puts the effort in. If he doesn't put the effort in - well I suspect that will tell you whether or not he'll ever change ... and whether or not you're prepared to put up with it.

AnyFucker Mon 09-Sep-13 09:49:09

wink wink

AnyFucker Mon 09-Sep-13 09:49:41

Sorry, that last post was on the wrong thread

StHelenInPerson Mon 09-Sep-13 09:54:26

Think it's time to stop tip toeing around you dp feelings now.

Tell him he needs to get a job and any job at that,
Tell him you are starting to resent him and need him to do this in order to save your relationship.
He has 3 months? To show that he is actively looking and getting work,obviously depending on the job market is when he will get a job but just as long as he is making a real effort will benefit you.

I think you should lay off the afternoon helper too,he should pick up his son and put the dinner on until he gets a job and see what the arrangement will be then.

Might be worth making him go to dr to see if he is depressed or else all of the above will be for nothing really if he is depressed.

Encouragement and support is clearly not working,time to put your foot down as your last attempt to make your relationship work for the long term.

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

I would give immediate notice to the house help, and possibly to the paid childcare

He can do both of those things while he is job hunting

The less he does, the less he wants to do

If you are determined to hang on to this overgrown teenager, maybe you will have to start employing the principles of managing a recalcitrant 13yo

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 10:03:32

deXavia - I don't think you are out of order at all. Very helpful in fact. I also think that similarly the freedom does really scare him and I do feel for him on that. It is easy to look at his situation and think I would love to be in it but I don't think he does relish it and that is fine since everyone is different. I do want to fix it (although not sure I know right now how that fix will end up and what I would want) since I think everyone is quite unhappy right now and DS will likely pick up on it at some point and I can feel myself getting more and more down and doing less and less too. I just haven't felt it is right to give an ultimatum or push it further to now because I chose to be with him and have a child with him and I feel responsible also for his happiness. But this situation is not making either of us happy and I don't seem to be able to find the way to make him happy or help him make himself happy and so it needs to change.

LessMissAbs - I think he has spoken to a couple but isn't registered as such. Not sure he is interested in going back to IT although I agree that should be a good base and he could always do a refresher course on it or something else.

Definitely realised from this email chain that it is time for me to have a more open and honest conversation talking about my feelings. Hopefully I can find the right balance of respecting and understanding his position whilst also putting mine across and moving us all on from here.

AnyFucker - thanks for making me laugh on a day when I have otherwise felt so sad!

AnyFucker Mon 09-Sep-13 10:11:17

I hope things improve for you, but the very first thing you both need to acknowledge is that you cannot do this by yourself

I am glad to make to smile, but are you sure it wasn't more of a rictus grin, because I meant every word and they were harsh things to say

AnyFucker Mon 09-Sep-13 10:14:58

Tell him you are canceling the house help and paid childcare, and it is because you are no longer going to enable his inertia

If he doesn't get a job, at least family money won't get used on stuff that he should be doing

ATM, his only responsibility is picking DC up at 3pm

That is just ridiculous...this is a grown man being allowed to infantilise himself

LividofLondon Mon 09-Sep-13 10:17:21

Farfalla I agree with deXavia. I'm someone who has been through changes and am now in an unsettled situation, and I get paralysed when I have too much choice and no clear goals. I can't focus on any one thing because I have so many interests that I end up doing very little. Everything seems like a massive job and my lack of confidence can lead to not even making the first step. Paralysed is a very good description. I wouldn't say I'm clinically depressed but certainly not on form, and the less I do the more crap I feel. I can relate to your husband, but I do think you need to be tougher on him. It's a shame he won't go for counselling because I think a course of CBT could help him break things into manageable pieces that are not so daunting to him and get him out of this cycle. He's coasted too long, it's bad for him and bad for you, so make it clear it needs to change.

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 10:17:47

AnyFucker - genuinely made me laugh - 'Cocklodger' is hilarious expression. Do you mean you think we need outside help as in counselling or that I can't help him myself because he needs to help himself?

AnyFucker Mon 09-Sep-13 10:28:44

Both of those things

I am trying to stay stern with you, but you are not helping ! <hoiks bosoms>

LessMissAbs Mon 09-Sep-13 10:33:51

OP LessMissAbs - I think he has spoken to a couple but isn't registered as such. Not sure he is interested in going back to IT although I agree that should be a good base and he could always do a refresher course on it or something else

Who cares if he isn't interested in IT? Its an area with lots of jobs, anywhere in the world, and he has experience. Lots of people work in jobs their whole life that they don't find particularly interesting, and wouldn't do for free if they weren't paid. He should be able to get back into the industry at a lower level without the need for any expensive further timewasting courses if he only left it a few years ago.

I also wouldn't cancel the paid helps, as this would only give him further excuses reasons not to work, and it puts you in a more convenient position to send him packing.

If he has given up a career in IT for one in the charities sector, which he has made no attempts to get back into, and has reduced his childcare responsibilities to picking up DD at 3pm once a day, I would say its in his nature to do this. I think he would do it in the workplace as well - I can think of a few examples of colleagues who have progressively reduced their work to an hour or two a day, and filled the rest with internet surfing, lunching, smoking, standing around the coffee machine and ambling on jaunts around the office. He sounds like one of them to me.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 09-Sep-13 10:38:08

What AF stated as well. I am sorry but I have seen men enabled and it is not a pretty picture at all; it makes them infantalised.

You have enabled him to bail out on anything that he has found difficult by employing others. You thus also need to look at your own behaviours here; why have you enabled this situation to go on for so long?.

If he does not want to go to the GP you cannot make him go. You can only help your own self here.

What do you think your son is learning about relationships here, what lessons do you think you are both teaching this child?.

noobieteacher Mon 09-Sep-13 10:40:05

You moved partly to be near his family. Perhaps he has regressed. I know the mental age of my dp reduces by about 40 years when we go up to his Mum's.

With my practical but cautious hat on, I would say the first thing you should do is plan an exit strategy to come home, taking legal advice on whether he could obstruct the dcs going back with you to the uk. Is your family in the uk?

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 10:40:41

I consider myself firmly told wink . I posted because I knew what I was doing wasn't working and needed new perspectives to help me change and do something so its been really, really helpful. Having range of different views is also helpful and makes me feel at least that it isn't clear cut and I haven't been totally pathetic in not knowing how to handle it.

Will maybe try and find ME a counselling session as first step and then maybe they can advise me on best way to see if can or appropriate to coax DP into seeing one/one together and in meantime will also have a sit down with him and be firmer about how I understand he is feeling crap but I am also feeling crap now and somehow we need to find away to be and feel less so and he is central to taking action to make that happen. He is going away with DS for a week's holiday with his family in a couple of weeks so maybe that will be a perfect time to give him a chance to think and also to be with supportive family and friends if he needs to talk to them and get some advice himself.

noobieteacher Mon 09-Sep-13 10:48:51

Wow you are the most tollerant, easygoing person I have ever come across on Mumsnet.

Does it not grate with you that he is going away with his family and not you?

LessMissAbs Mon 09-Sep-13 10:49:52

You are too soft and you are being a mug OP. Almost every relationship I have seen like this has in common (a) the partners aren't married and (b) the woman gets fed up with the man at some point in her late forties or fifties, gives him a financial bung to clear off, he shacks up with someone equally enabling with a sob story and she struggles to meet anyone else at that stage in her life.

Alternatively, the man gets a shock on being told to pack his bags, finds a job, sticks in and starts contributing. They get married.

Either way, I still think its a hard life you choose for yourself. I appreciate he worked when you met and that he has drawn you into enabling his freeloading gradually so you have become accustomed to it.

I wouldn't spend any more money on him for courses or counselling. If he can't work out any of this for himself, as a perfectly cognisant adult male, he probably isn't worth having.

LessMissAbs Mon 09-Sep-13 10:50:50

He is going away with DS for a week's holiday with his family in a couple of weeks

Who is paying for the holiday if he doesn't work?

flyingfarfalla Mon 09-Sep-13 10:52:00

noobieteacher - yes my family is in the UK and DS was born there. His are in Australia and we are currently closer to his but still a flight away. We are not married.

AttilaTheMeerkat - yes I do feel partly responsible. I let it go on so long because I genuinely feel sorry for him (what deXavia says is right about it being really hard being a 'trailing spouse' (horrid expression) abroad) and thought it might change and that he would find something that would make him happy here or a plan to take us elsewhere. At the moment my DS gets the benefit of seeing his dad every afternoon and me more than my job should let me because I make sure I leave early and not go out so as to be there for them and we do get on and never row (the passivity in both or us in that respect too) and also hopefully sees a mum who works hard but also loves him very much - but yes as he gets older and perhaps even now he probably realises that there is something up which is a very important reason I need to do something.

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