Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Relationship in need of fixing URGENTLY(82 Posts)
I have a perfect DD who was a surprise. Neither of us were what you would call ready but then who is. We were 23 and 24 when I was pregnant and 24 and 25 when she was born so of a reasonable age to settle down also having been together for about 5 years. We are now 26 and 27.
Recently, he is very depressed. He feels his life is spent looking forward to coming home from work but once he is home just waiting to go to sleep as we either just watch Dora or play with our daughter. When I suggest a trip to the park etc he just says he doesn't want to. He says he was not ready for family life and does not enjoy it.
The weekends are worse, He freely admits sleeping in for as long as possible at the weekends because the weekends are so boring and lie ins are the only thing he looks forward to in his pitiful life. Once again, any suggestions for family fun are met with 'I dont want to do that' or 'thats boring'. He simply only gets excited or motivated about going out with his friends. His friends mostly have kids now and mostly the rest have settled with partners and probably will have them soon. Practically everything to do with our 2 year old daughter is left to me. He has changed a few nappies but has no idea how to actually do them, has never once bathed her, once or twice he has put her to bed but never on his own as i was there too. I literally do everything apart from one night a week (2.5hrs max which he acts like is the biggest deal ever and never fails to bring it up if i ask for more) and very rare occasions when he cares for her. He even once text me asking how long it would be til i was home as she had done a poo.
He has stated many a time that his unhappiness is not with me as he couldnt ask for a better girlfriend but also thinks the way to solve this problem is to leave me. He states he is not sure what he wants. This weekend he dropped a clanger, stating that if he did leave, he would want her to live with him. I said NO straight away. I have always said I would be more than reasonable. He can see her whenever he wants but she lives with me, end of! My problem is, if it isn't me that he is unhappy with... Why the hell am I the only thing he wants out of his life? If she lives with him everything stays the same apart from me and he obviously has no idea how to look after her as he has never done it. We both work full time so after work it should be equal i think. We have a good life, we own our own house, have good jobs each, own cars, beautiful daughter and good health. I think he needs to understand the value of that but he simply doesnt.
BASICALLY, I AM WONDERING WHAT ACTIVITIES I CAN DO WITH A TODDLER THAT ALWAYS PLAYS UP IN PUBLIC THAT WILL INCLUDE AND EXCITE HIM AND PERSUADE HIM THAT ITS NOT ALL DOOM AND GLOOM???
Thanks in Advance
A very desperate mother
Oooh, good luck!
Remember, please, this is NOT about you fixing his problems. Pointing him in the right direction(s), keeping the dialogue going: yes. You should be enjoying this relationship; feeling excited and secure about your family; getting at least as much from your marriage as you give
Grrrrft I just wrote an essay and lost it TWICE!!!!!!!
To sum up... Matilda the cat. Yes I do believe its fear based, particularly when she was young and teeny. He wouldn't take her on my birthday so i could have a few drinks and I thought it was due to selfishness but it was purely because the car only had one car seat in which our friends kid was in and the five second journey put her in too much danger.
We have set up a date night next week and I think small steps will help. Slow and steady wins the race! Also, we've spoken about how our lives would be if separated and neither of us want it. He was very sweet last night and I think it's the start of a turn around. Every journey starts with a first step :-)
If the lines of communication are open, that is a good start.
But...I honestly think that bereavement counselling is the way to go, plus possibly medication. Maybe a visit to your GP together is the starting point.
If he starts talking again about leaving, then you need to set out for him (calmly) exactly what that would mean: the division of assets, contact on alternate weekends and one night in the week, paying maintenance, the need to have accommodation which is suitable for his DD to visit, the possibility that you each might form a new relationship and need to balance this with responsibility to your DD. Does he really prefer this picture?
Hello again everyone!!! Wedding went really well :-) we spoke to other couples about it (without too mcg detail) and it was established that even they (perfect looking on the outside) have several issues and could let that get out of hand if they were weaker. He also turned into a girl for about an hour and disappeared into the toilets for a deep and meaningful conversation with one of his mates. Think that did him some good. I think we need to ask grandparents to have her more so we can have some us time as we never Have that and I think it's more important than I Evee thought.
He's let on that the time he looks after her she spends the first 10-20 mins screaming at the door for me which he finds heartbreaking and doesn't know how to handle it. Obv response is to distract her.
He only smokes one or two max a night and they are little. He also only smokes in the conservatory with the door to the house closed and door to the garden open. I've never smelt it. We are very anti smoking around kids.
Anyway, to sum up, wedding went really well and now that his friends know something isn't right, they are willing to help us out and make it work :-)
We moved out of a flat because the guy downstairs was smoking weed nearly every evening (and sometimes even skunk) and it was drifting up into our flat. we worried about the effect on dd and kept windows open in the freezing cold winter. They had a 2 yo boy downstairs and i used to worry about him too . When i went downstairs to ask the guy to stop for the sake of my dd (only just managing to bite my lip about his own son) he tried to be as charming & apologetic as he could be but refused to go smoke in their garden instead! He was a selfish prick. Their flat stank all the time, too, even during the day when he wasn't smoking, if you went past their open door you'd smell the weed . (admittedly though sometimes it was really strong stuff, like skunk). I wonder if their boy's clothes smelt when he went to nursery? Even our coats and scarves took on the smell in our hallway (hung up outside our flat door upstairs). something to think about,OP.
To conclude, whether he is depressed or not, the weed smoking would be an absolute 100% dealbreaker for me. At the very least if it was me i would insist he stops the weed smoking (at home , at least) or leave.
"I'm so depressed only removing you from the equation will make me feel better" is what he was saying.
Light bulb moment.
when someone tells you who they are listen.
I realise we have all huddled around to help the OP.
However would it be also worth asking OP to take the necessary precautions to ensure she is protecting herself from an affair or passive aggressive behaviour - she's walking on egg shells and asking what more she can do - at this rate she'll be doing a triple twist hop whist balancing from a ball.
I do not want to be a dooms bringer Eveesmummy but your partner wanting to leave and strike out on his own means he has most likely found someone. he is withdrawing and is checking out of the relationship. rather be with friends, an achiever who has to come home to boredom. fertile ground really.
I hope i am dead wrong - but honestly look at it objectively.
Again not something you want to hear, but sometimes the simplest explanation is true.
my advice- do all the things people have lately suggested but do them for you and DC. make you life fun filled and the best ever. That way if he choses not to stay or join in, you at least guarantee your DC has not been drawn into his 'state of mind'.
I am sorry if i have spoken/written out of turn
I agree he sounds depressed and as a result feels trapped and powerless while mourning his old life. His terrible experience with his friend's death has massively impacted on his ability to attach securely to your daughter. Tbh even without the bereavement I think a lot of new parents, dads especially , have similar feelings. He's a bit unusual in expressing his emotions so loudly.
I would explain that seeing his GP and getting treatment is a deal breaker for you. Ok he's depressed but you are having to live with it and all his crap.
He probably needs meds and counselling.
Answering your original question, have you heard of Theraplay? It's activities designed to improve attachment in young children with difficulties. However, I could see it working in reverse and helping a struggling parent, too. Swimming is great because you have to have close, skin to skin contact.
I am wondering if his interaction with dd is fear based. He may be terrified even if he doesn't realise. Can you encourage more intimate caring such as bathing whilst you are still in the background giving lots of encouragement? Try really hard not to criticise. Make it more fun by eg having special daddy bubbles.
Finally, it's completely normal for a child this age to express a preference for one parent. That doesn't mean the other doesn't do anything. You both work hard to make sure daddy has an important role. Bedtimes done together for example. Daddy's funny voice stories etc.
I really hope you all get through this together.xx
Thank you Havea0
EveesMummy - I hope you enjoy the wedding and have a lovely weekend. Good luck for the future and I hope things work out for you. x
Yes, enjoy the wedding. I really wouldn't kick him out as quickly as some posters are recommending. Give him a chance to come through this a better person.
MorrisZapp's post is really useful. Imagine if it was you with pnd, feeling like you couldn't cope and wondering whether to leave or to take the baby with you, back on some sort of alcohol or drug crutch because you feel so trapped and scared of your new responsibilities. People on here would support you, suggest counselling, suggest your partner should help you and console you and stick by you. Just do for him what would be recommended on MN for a woman in his situation.
Sounds like he's suffering mid-life crisis depression tbh.
Thank you all so much for your advice! I can't tell you how much I appreciate it! I've not had chance to talk to him much this week but we have a wedding this weekend and will have time together with no dd so will see how that goes and prob talk then or day after so as not to ruin the day. Fingers crossed he's willing to help himself. If not then there isn't much I can do but as I've said I'm not willing to give up just yet. Thank you all again. You've been great xx
Good post Lilly.
If he wont go to see the GP, you can. And, in your case, I would tell the GP about the weed.
Since you are not ready to throw in the towel just yet and leave then I think I can offer some suggestions:
In your original post you mentioned that you watch Dora and mostly play with her until she goes to bed. You say that he finds this boring and as such does not really look forward to this time spent with your DD. If that is how he feels there is little you can do to make him feel otherwise, however I think there are things you might try to make him feel as though its less of a burden for him.
Please do get me wrong, as I am not condoning his way but this is the only useful thing I can think to suggest. Also if this doesn't improve things then I do seriously think you need to consider your relationship very carefully and its impact on your daughter in later life.
Suggestion: if small doses of his daughter are all he can seem to handle then do all you can to make those times as fun and as best for all of you as a family. Try and find something that he likes..a hobby or whatever than you can maybe make child friendly. For instance my DH loves golf, so I went and got a little set of golf clubs for my girls and now he regularly spends time coaching them in the back garden with our driving nets. Its a lovely thing for them to do together, he loves it because its something he enjoys anyway and the girls love learning and spending the time with him and it has helped forge a closer bond between them.
Secondly I don't know how your evenings as a family are structured but maybe you want to consider doing things a little differently a couple of nights a week...so maybe on tue & wed have say only half an hour of Dora or whatever it is your child likes to watch (my youngest loves bed time hour with in the night garden) and then after sit with a book with your daughter or an activity and allow him to watch some more adult orientated tv (obv nothing inappropriate) while you play with your little one. I know you may feel like your giving your daughter less and its more demanding on you, but I would hope that perhaps once he feels the pressure is off him, he may choose to engage with your DD of his own accord, as its not something he has to do, but it something he chooses to do instead.
I don't know that these suggestions will work, but I would give them a try. Not every guy in a great Dad from the start and sometimes it takes practice, just the same as it can be for us learning to be Mothers. I of course know that as a Dad who loves his child, he should automatically want to spend time and do fun things with her...but sadly its not always the case.
Also please if you are going to try and make this relationship work, please try to get him to stop smoking that stuff. It is not good for him, will be making his depression and moods worse, and of course is not a good example/healthy for your DD.
I hope that helps.
The story about the friend on the stag night sounds truly horrific. It is very possible your DP is depressed, OP. The idea of taking your dd is clearly ridiculous and may be an indication that he is unable to think clearly.
However, I also think you have the right to show your DP the red card over the total lack of engagement and suppprt with your dd. i would be at the end of my tether, depression ir not. I think you absolutely have the right to give him a wake up call. I would ask him to move out and get his head together. As long as you try and absorb the impact of his behaviour/depression he will be able to resist making the big changes he needs to. I really feel for you, OP.
I think that he needs more responsibility to boost his esteem. That's why he secretly craves to have your dd to himself, he'd like more control. Just my opinion, and very much from my perspective.
Do you trust him enough to look after her for one whole weekend day, or overnight?
If he did he might realize how much fun it can be and how much better it is when you are all together.
'Frequent cannabis use can lead to depression' - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/2498493.stm
Maybe that's the cause of his lethargy and pessimism, not your lifestyle and young child?
There is none so blind as those who can not see.OP,you may think that he would do your DD no harm,not leave her crying etc.He left her in a dirty nappy whilst you were out and the lazy pig actually txt you to see when you would be coming home to sort it out.What an absolute useless,waste of space loser.No one I know would ever do this.Whether or not he's depressed I'm not qualified to say but you should listen to the good advice given here by people who do know the difference between depression and just being a complete git.
There's a lot of us on here who find parenting mind numbing. We had a long thread about it, called has parenting affected your mental health.
Not everybody finds it a joy, particularly when they're tiny. I was nearly in the loony bin myself. Have never felt so trapped in my life. I'm less likely to judge these crap dads now. If I had an option to piss off when I could, I know I'd have taken it when DS was tiny.
Maybe like me, he'll get more relaxed about it all as the kid grows. Oh and I took medication (still on it) and had counselling.
You have the patience of a saint, EveesMummy. I would be seething by now.
Tbh honest I think he's a self centred child, but self centred children grow up and become decent adults and I can see how this is your preferred outcome
Does he think he is depressed? Have you had a Talk with him about his friend dying?
OP, I'm really not sure how helpful this thread is. I get annoyed by people who say LTB as soon as there's evidence that a man is behaving in less than saintly ways. The smoking is serious - true. He has to stop.
The rest? I think it's very possible he can pull through it and you can all have a great life together. For now, I'd be inclined to put energy into that instead of busting up a young family. But it can't just be your energy. He does need an ultimatum from you.
He has to choose between his daughter and weed, he has to take active steps to get rid of that groundhog day depression, he has to commit to finding the joy in daily family life. If he at least listens and thinks about what you say, that's a start. If he doesn't or can't, you might want to reassess, but I do think compassion is a better starting point at this stage than anger.
Pregnantpause, I am so worried about your experience happening to my baby. When we are both together he always looks after her and plays etc but its being on his own with her that is the problem. When she was teeny I know it was because he was nervous something would be wrong and he wouldn't know etc. now I'm not sure what it is. She sometimes refuses to go to him preferring me. He doesn't hide how much it hurts him from me. I have told him if he put more effort in that she wouldn't do that. I don't think he realises tho. He looks after her on a Tuesday and for tues wed n sometimes thurs she is all about him and then gets used to me doing it all again n the process repeats :-/
OP stands for Original Poster (you) and Original Post (the one you started the thread with)
Join the discussion
Please login first.