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Split up from baby's dad, brokenhearted

(24 Posts)
Wutheringlows Tue 04-Feb-14 00:28:45

I split up from my partner last week. We have a 6 month old baby. I am devastated, it is all my fault. I have been pushing and pushing him, I told him I didn't want to be with him any more, it's not true (or maybe it is, at least some of the time). I am so confused I don't know my own mind anymore. I want to go back but my pride is in the way. Our families are involved now, and I feel like I can't back down.

He doesn't like to argue, he hates confrontation whereas if I am truthful I thrive on it. He has pleaded with me in the past not to argue, or that we can argue then make up instead of it turning into a huge drama but I can't seem to stop myself. I am immature, I admit it and if I am hurt I say horrible things.

He came for the baby today, and was going to have him for a couple of hours but brought him back after half an hour. The babies face was red from crying, he was sobbing and my partner said he had been hysterical and wouldn't settle. I think he was just overtired but he (I can't bring myself to say my ex) took it to heart. He thinks it was because I wasn't there and the baby is unhappy around him. His mum was with him and said he was nearly crying and was really upset. He has spent time apart from the baby before while we had some renovations done to the house, I moved out for a while as we didn't want the baby around the building work. He saw him every day then as he has since the split but this feels so different.

I feel like he is going to miss out on so much and I can't bear it. I want to work things out. I don't want my son to be from a broken home. I want the future we planned together. Please help me, my heart is breaking.

Some background: it may not be pertinent, and it doesn't excuse my behaviour but we had difficult start with our baby. I struggled with feeding, he was nearly admitted to hospital with weight loss. He was a very bad sleeper for the first 10 weeks and we struggled with colic and reflux. He is fab now, but I still find it hard to keep on top of things. My partner is good with the baby, but will sit back and let me look after him unless I specifically ask him for help. I find him selfish, I feel like he just carries on with his life and I don't feel like I should need to ask for help or a break. He changes his behaviour when I confront him, but then it just slides back to how it was. I feel like I am constantly doing so many other things at once that the constant tidying up after him as well is more than I can take.

We haven't had sex since the baby was born, and I can't see me wanting to anytime soon. I was traumatised by the birth, I had an episiotomy and a bad tear as well. My body doesn't feel the same, something feels wrong and I can't imagine having sex now.

Also, I don't get out much with the baby as I don't drive and we live nowhere near any baby groups. I don't like to walk with the pram as some of the roads nearby don't have pavements and it's dangerous. I adore my baby, but I wanted to get more out of my maternity leave. I felt hemmed in and trapped, I love my baby so much but I am anxious about going to groups or getting on a bus with the pram. I feel like I can't do it. I hated being reliant on him for everything.

Cabrinha Tue 04-Feb-14 00:37:16

Aw, you sound so sad sad
That's a lot going on there. Sounds like you need a chat with your GP about feeling anxious coping with baby, and maybe a birth debrief with the hospital midwife?
And it sounds like it's a relationship that might benefit from counselling before you end it completely.

Just a small point - and sorry to be brief, I'm afraid I'm v tired - but have you considered carrying your baby in a sling?
I suspect the pram issue would be resolved with a bit of help with your anxiety, and a few practice runs on the bus, but you might try a sling. I had a lovely simple one with push clip buckles, if you're worried about tying it up properly!

mygorgeousmilo Tue 04-Feb-14 00:39:42

It's late and I shouldn't even be on the computer but felt the need to just say hello to you and suggest that you print this out. Just say to him "this is how I feel" and hand this over if you can't face talking to him. The very fact that you've put something on here but not been able to say it must show him how much you've been bottling things up. If it makes you feel better me and my husband had some terrible, stressful, painful times when my first boy was tiny. I really did think it was over and was horrified about bringing my son up without his daddy. We are now, I would say, pretty much happy as can be. We have three boys and both have pulled together. All is not lost, there could be a turnaround....but don't leave it any longer you must make the effort. We are the stronger ones, if you leave it to him to magically change things it probably won't happen you must be proactive. I had a traumatic birth too, the sex thing, yes.....but it's still early days. Please talk to him or show him what you've written and don't lose hope

Wutheringlows Tue 04-Feb-14 01:04:51

I can't bear the idea of going it alone. For horrible practical reasons like I can't afford to run a house on my own, but mostly because every time my baby does something new just now his dad is missing it. It feels so wrong. If he is at work and misses something it is understandable and normal, but this way, with us apart, I feel like I am failing my baby.

We were arguing all the time, I felt sad and low. I didn't want my baby around that atmosphere. I just wanted the baby and I kept pushing him away emotionally and physically.

I just feel like there are so many people involved now. We were having problems and they were just between us but now it is all out in the open, everybody has an opinion and I just want to crawl into a hole and hide.

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Tue 04-Feb-14 07:04:14

This is all petty normal after having a baby.
In particular, the way you feel about your body. It's a huge thing to go though and your body will feel like it belongs to a stranger for a while. It was 10 months before I could comfortably have sex and over a year before I really wanted to have sex! Add to that the feeding issues and sleep which I have also experienced and you are well on your way to feeling constantly rejected and resentful of your partner simply because they might have a longer shower than you or they don't seem to understand what you're dealing with. He might feel resentful because he feels inadequate when you seem to know what you're doing with the baby and he doesn't.
It's all normal. But it's so hard.
It only works if you work with each other instead if against. Share the load, be honest if something is bothering you, but be honest in a calm and living way. Be affectionate with each other, make time for each other as well as parenting.
Do you think the relationship is over for good or is there more talking to be done?

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Tue 04-Feb-14 07:08:16

I used to get resentful of my partner getting to go out to work and do grown up things every day! He used to resent me getting to watch our baby growing each day. We had to say these things it loud or they would have eaten us up.

As for going out, you might just have to be a bit brave. Once you've got on the bus with a pram a couple of times, it'll be as easy as anything. You CAN do it. I found it helped to pay for a course like baby signing our baby sensory because it meant I was more likely to force myself to get out of the house and go even if I felt like hiding away.

Wutheringlows Tue 04-Feb-14 12:41:22

I do feel resentful of him as he can just do what he likes when it suits him. I have to plan when I can have a shower whereas he just goes and carries on. I feel like nothing has changed for him. I have just given up on the tv shows I watched, magazine etc. bothering about hair and make up. He still devotes a lot of his time to his hobbies. When I ask him for help he does, but I resent asking. He should want to help. I sit all night with the baby doing every feed, every nappy change, keeping him entertained and happy. I think he is thoughtless, he thinks I just have to ask.

I feel it could be saved but I am so humiliated he has brought his family in to it. His mum and I have a history and for him to have told her what has gone on is too much for me. With the sex thing I could have phrased it better, but for her to be saying to me I have said I don't want him near me or making pointed jibes is so humiliating. I feel like we could have sorted things, we always do. I have been cruel and said some horrible things which I didn't mean, but I have been so confused. It feels like my baby is the one good thing I have at the moment.

ComtesseDeSpair Tue 04-Feb-14 14:24:44

I can't bear the idea of going it alone. For horrible practical reasons like I can't afford to run a house on my own, but mostly because every time my baby does something new just now his dad is missing it. It feels so wrong. If he is at work and misses something it is understandable and normal, but this way, with us apart, I feel like I am failing my baby.

I have to be honest: none of your posts seem to indicate that you love, like, respect and value your partner. Worrying about how you'll cope financially if single and that you're failing your son by living separately from his dad are not great reasons for continuing a relationship where neither of you are happy, where it sounds like your partner is being verbally abused on a regular basis (saying cruel and horrible things to somebody repeatedly is verbal abuse), where drawn-out arguments occur on a regular basis and where "I don't want to be with you anymore" is a common culmination of an argument.

Do you love this man? Do you want to be in a relationship with him? Or do you just want to maintain a nuclear family and financial security and shelter from the unknown? Life is too short to spend it in a miserable relationship where arguments never get resolved and you won't be doing your son any favours by trying to pretend you can work it out. Having separated parents is not the worst thing that can happen to a child and does not mean they come from a "broken home". Living in a dysfunctional house with regular arguments, listening to one of their parents say horrid things to the other, feeling an undercurrent of resentment between their parents is far more "broken". Sometimes you can't change things because you're just not suited. Sometimes you argue frequently because the relationship isn't right. Sometimes you resent somebody because they're a lazy fucker who doesn't want to change and you need to move on from that. Have a good think to yourself about what exactly you want from your life: is this relationship healthy for either of you? Wanting to work things out doesn't mean that you should.

I can well see that your resentment over your partner's failure to pull his weight and the lack of impact having a new baby seems to have had on his lifestyle has eroded any respect or like you have for him. If you both do decide to continue with your relationship, then this needs to be addressed and you need to make it clear that you expect him to care for the baby equally and expect him to show initiative rather than waiting to be told to do something. If initially you need to write down how you feel and what you want him to commit to because it's easier and avoids confrontation, then do that and give the letter to him. Then have a proper talk about it.

You admit that you've always been argumentative, derive pleasure from confrontation and have always tended to be verbally abusive during arguments. I think that any decision to continue your relationship would need to be on the understanding that you will seek counseling for yourself about your behaviour and try to get to the bottom of why you cannot let an argument rest and why you feel you thrive on confrontation. Is it because you struggle to communicate normally? Is it because you came from a dysfunctional family where aggression and arguments were the norm? I also think you'd benefit from joint counseling to help the two of you communicate better, so that you can address resentment and issues as they crop up rather than having them build up until the frustration causes a row. Having him tell you in a safe space in front of somebody else how it makes him feel when you say the cruel things, and you telling him how isolated and resentful you feel about being trapped with a baby whilst he continues with his life and hobbies will also help you both to identify with where the other is coming from.

I'm not so sure you can blame him for telling his mum what was happening, even if you'd rather she didn't know. If he'd genuinely made the decision to end the relationship I doubt if he was particularly thinking about any potential humiliation it may cause if you got back together and just wanted to let out his feelings and upset to somebody. That said, if the two of you are to have a future then he will need to make it clear to his mum that what he told her was on the back of a very difficult time and his devastation at that, and tell her firmly to butt out, keep her mouth closed and support your relationship if she tries to bring it up again to needle you with in future.

Wutheringlows Tue 04-Feb-14 15:14:48

I love him and I did like and respect him. We were very happy before. I do feel like the like and respect has eroded as you say. I know this doesn't give me the right to lash out verbally. If we did stay together we would have to change, I can't bear the idea of my child witnessing this. I am so resentful of him that I can't feel the tenderness toward him I used to have.

I know I have a problem, I get angry too quickly over little things. I don't know why he would want to be with me anymore. No, it is not right to stay with someone for security. I have debts and am back with my parents. It will never be any different because too high a proportion of my outgoings goes on repayments.

When I was at my lowest and struggling with no sleep he stayed away for a couple of nights and spent another night in our bed ignoring completely our distressed baby. I hated him for it. In other ways he is good and will get up early with him so I can have a break.

Wutheringlows Tue 04-Feb-14 15:19:14

I don't struggle to communicate normally. My family was fairly normal, some but with the odd awful row. My dad would shout over my mum and not let her talk.

I don't know why I am the way I am. I am taking my frustrations out on him. I am an awful person.

livingzuid Tue 04-Feb-14 15:30:54

You're not an awful person. Coping with a newborn and recovering from birth psychologically as well as physically can take time. It's a huge adjustment in the relationship as well.

I would speak to your Gp about all of your emotions and actions. It may be some form of postnatal depression and there is help available. Don't struggle alone thanks

Wutheringlows Wed 05-Feb-14 01:43:49

I've been looking at Relate counsellors in my area as a last ditch attempt to save our relationship. But I am sitting up with tears rolling down my face because I know in my heart it won't do any good. I hate myself so much, I have hurt him and I can't stop. I know I can never change, I resisted getting into a relationship for a long time because I know the kind of person I am.

I think the one ray of light I have is that I know. I am so similar to his mum, but at least I have self awareness. She is cruel and nasty but thinks she is wonderful and supportive.

I want him to be happy, he will never be happy with me.

perfectstorm Wed 05-Feb-14 01:54:33

I think you sound like you have post-natal depression. I also think that your partner is not remotely pulling his weight with the baby - that isn't to say he's a bad person, just that many, many dads take a while to realise how much everything has changed, and what a colossal weight a new baby can be for a mother.

I think you need to see your GP and explain how you feel, and ask to be referred for some counselling, and possibly given medication, I don't know, but it may help if depression is indeed the diagnosis. I suspect more women get at least some level of it than don't, actually. Becoming a mother is such a massive shift, and you do it after a big physical demand, with injuries, and then suffer serious sleep deprivation for month after month, while quite socially isolated. And most marriages suffer, because having a baby is also a shock to the father - exhaustion, the personality changes in his beloved partner. Emotional intimacy and patience do tend to be at a low ebb for a while.

I also think counselling will help you as a couple. It's very, very hard to be warm or kind when so sleep deprived and overwhelmed, and unsupported.

I do think, horrible as it is, that what you describe is actually pretty normal for marriages in the first year after a baby arrives. How you handle it can determine whether you return to being happy and settled afterwards. There are threads in the hundreds by women feeling as confused and distressed and overwhelmed as you are, and as alienated from partners they previously adored. It can, in most cases I think, come right. Sleep deprivation is a horrendous thing - it plays havoc with every aspect of life. And a difficult birth can be so hard to recover from, according to friends who've had them. Try to be a little gentler on yourself, okay? It will get easier, and you happier, again.

geologygirl Wed 05-Feb-14 01:56:29

I think you are being hasty to throw it away to be honest. You are tired and stressed. Totally normal at this stage. You need to talk to him. Tell him what you need in terms of help... Some men are a bit useless and need things spelled out clearly! He needs to pull his weight so you get rest and have a break. It gets easier and there is no need to think about sex yet! Working together to help with tgd baby etc is the ONLY thing for you to do. The rest will improve once that is tackled. Im sure of it. And forget what his mum knows....its about you DP and your child as family.

perfectstorm Wed 05-Feb-14 01:58:21

I want him to be happy, he will never be happy with me.

Yet you say you were very happy before.

Self-hatred is part of depression. Please don't allow that to take you over - see your GP. Please, please, please. For your sake, for your DP's sake, and for your baby's sake. You honestly don't have to feel this awful.

Are you close to your mum at all? Could you ask her, or a relative you are close to, or a friend, to look after the baby one night as you slept? Or even ask your DP to do this for you one weekend night a week, in the house? A bit more rest can be a lifesaver when post-natally depressed.

Wutheringlows Wed 05-Feb-14 02:10:24

I can't blame sleep deprivation now, although it was a massive factor early on in building resentment and the awful tit for tat of who was more tired. The little one is going through an unsettled period just now but had been sleeping really well.

Sometimes I think it is PND. I read something about one symptom of depression or type of depression about being unable to derive pleasure from things. At the moment, my baby is the only thing that gives me any joy. I don't care about anything else, even things I used to love. I don't know if it is the relationship that has brought me down or my state of mind bringing my relationship down.

In my mind I know logically it is nothing to be ashamed of, it is simply a chemical imbalance, but I don't want this! I don't have any bad or negative feelings towards my baby, I don't want a Dr to think I do.

perfectstorm Wed 05-Feb-14 04:45:49

Then tell the doctor exactly that. Be completely honest - it's the only way, anyway, to get good help.

Depression is treatable... but you need to tell healthcare professionals your state of mind to access that treatment. And doesn't your baby deserve that, too? You're her world at this age. She needs you to do this for her, too.

You deserve help, and she deserves that you get it, as well. x

mygorgeousmilo Wed 05-Feb-14 23:01:20

You are not a bad person! You actually sound very logical and it's clear that you do care. Please get some counselling and talk to your doctor, it can't do any harm surely? I think by the sounds of it you know and understand exactly what needs to be done but just need some guidance and a bit of a self esteem boost. Reading your last post I think that speaking to someone/Relate could help you understand how to process all of those confusing feelings. I truly do believe that it is so important to do as much as you can to stay in a relationship with the father of your child. If going to counselling is what it takes then what do you have to lose? I think if you have been cruel to him then you should start with an apology. It doesn't have to be a big dramatic thing just make steps towards healing. You sound almost as if you are counselling yourself as you are clear about certain things and seem to be taking a good hard look at yourself and trying to unravel the mess. You just need to take some positive action and move forwards rather than dwelling on the whys and what ifs. You do deserve help and support and encouragement. Everyone that has joined this thread is really rooting for you X

BTW the whole of your own experience and relationship and everything aside, sometimes this is a normal part of the first year after having a baby. This does seem to be a common theme between me and my friends and people that I've met. Each person to have a new baby then experiences the same things it's almost quite sad how predictable it all is. The power struggle within the home, who does the most, the sudden weight of responsibility, it's pretty heavy for a couple to have to redesign their lives. Again I have struggled with this and it eventually balanced itself out.

You do need to go out of the house, I don't care if you haven't brushed your hair or if you feel unhappy with leaving the house in a tip or the baby is crying when you're getting coats on etc. If the roads are a bit tricky get a sling, go into a baby shop not online if you're not sure (I wasn't!) and ask them to demonstrate it before you buy, then live your life. Being stuck in will send you over the edge. What will happen also is that if you go somewhere, you will meet other mums who will be saying their partner leaves his dirty clothes on the floor, or he refused to help with the baby in the night and they're so angry.... not great but there's something comforting in knowing that you're not the only one.

wouldbemedic Thu 06-Feb-14 00:00:35

OP, you don't sound like a nasty person at all. I'm a bit annoyed reading what contessedespair (or whatever her name was) has said because, despite having some good points in there, she clearly hasn't taken your mental state into account. I would be careful about being too harsh on yourself because it's very unlikely to help the situation - in my humble opinion - and if you are indeed depressed, the self-flagellation will do nothing for your mood. Where was your partner when he stayed away for two nights and did nothing with the baby the following one? If he was at his mum's, I think you might be dealing with problems there. It would be very hard to get somebody's golden child to step up and share responsibility for a child, because she may assume you ought to be getting on with it and not complaining. Pure speculation. If you do get back together, you may have a backlash with the family - not pleasant - and your partner would need to be prepared to be supportive of you if it came to that. I would also take away your MIL's power to deliver barbed comments by saying something like 'are you referring to when I said xxx? I deeply regret the hurt that caused and can see now that I'd allowed my thinking to be influenced by the struggles with xxx (e.g. the tear).)

You're quite right to feel that the ideal for your baby is to be part of a loving home with both parents living there. If you think you can manage it, then you should. You already know the risks of having a child in a conflict zone so there is no need to say anything about that. And you're also not wrong to quail at the thought of managing alone. Many men get a great deal of satisfaction out of feeling wanted and needed in their role as breadwinner. You've made it clear that's a lesser consideration to you but it's still valid.

None of your problems were enough to make the relationship unhappy before the baby came. Depression and being at home with a new baby can very easily make you feel there is something terribly dysfunctional about you and no man could be happy with you. That may very well not have a particle of truth in it, especially given how happy you were before and how keen you are to take responsibility and work towards change now.

Someone suggested you take the OP to your partner and see what he thinks. I don't know about that in the first instance. 'I still love you and I'm sorry' might be easier for a man to digest. Good luck. By hook or by crook, things will definitely get much brighter than they feel

Wutheringlows Thu 06-Feb-14 00:47:21

Thank you for the replies. Yes, 'I still love you and I'm sorry' sounds like the way forward.

When he stayed away it was in our old rented house as we were in the process of moving. He is the complete opposite of the golden child to her usually, but I think when it comes to childcare she thinks I should be grateful he does anything at all. I dread her visits because I just can't keep the house to her standards.

I feel a bit brighter, like things aren't permanently broken. Today my ex partner questioned whether this was what I wanted (us being apart). He said if I didn't want to be with him that was fine, he wouldn't mention it again, but I had to let him know. When we can get some alone time we can maybe start to figure things out.

I don't want to be alone, don't want to think about the awful short visits where they are both missing out or having him take my baby and me feeling so wretched. But it's not just that, we have more reasons than the baby to stay together I just can't see the wood for the trees just now.

SolidGoldBrass Thu 06-Feb-14 01:26:16

You may well have PND as well as having a partner who is thoughtless, lazy and selfish. If he really loves you he shold be pulling his weight WRT baby and domestic work, not just enjoying his hobbies and doing a sadface and bleating about how much he cares if you get exasperated with this.

It's OK to end the couple-relationship with your child's other parent if it isn't working. It's not the end of the world to be single.

wouldbemedic Thu 06-Feb-14 01:39:45

Aw, I think you've had a very traumatic and stressful time OP. It's got a bit out of hand, you've realised some home truths, and you both very obviously are not where you want to be. He sounds nice actually, telling you it's ok if you don't want to be together - leaving the choice with you but also making himself vulnerable. It sounds like you both feel the wrong call's been made, and the lost trust/respect over babycare issues may not be as significant as they feel. It's a bit like being in the trenches, having a baby - people behave badly when they're confused and overwhelmed, not necessarily the best moment to judge them. I completely understand about your feeling a bit jealous of your husband's mostly child-free life. Wait until your child starts welcoming him like a hero when he walks through the door in the evenings - you might feel motherhood is thankless martyrdom!

Be sure to come back and tell us when you've worked things out smile You both sound like lovely people.x

perfectstorm Thu 06-Feb-14 02:12:48

I think he needs to step up and do more. Babies are a 24/7 job, and mummy telling him he's a hero for the occasional nappy change is no excuse. I don't care how lovely he is in other ways; a baby takes so much from you, and he needs to be participating in that demand.

Have you made a GP's appointment yet? I can't stress enough how essential I think that is. Until your mood lifts, if it is depression, you won't see the wood for the trees. Medication and counselling might help so, so much.

For what it's worth, I don't think you sound awful at all. You sound like a lovely person struggling to keep her head above water. So try to be a little gentler on yourself.

livingzuid Thu 06-Feb-14 03:51:43

Yes please go and discuss with your Gp. They are not going to think badly of you or judge. Pnd is very common and you must not be ashamed of any of this.

Once you get professional help then you can tackle your relationship more. It may be helpful for your partner to understand more about depression as he has to step up more to support you.

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