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Quick perspective on this - DH chose work first

(23 Posts)
tiredandemotionless Sun 02-Mar-14 20:19:18

Hi, have name changed as I will probably end of giving quite a bit away on this one! Have had a rotten start to 2014, broken ankle, virus, money and work stress, DH working long hours. March was my 'new start'. DH's job is in media so he was offered a trip to international news story and I asked him not to go (have never asked before) as I am so exhausted and need to get back on track.

So he went.

Have 2 young DCs, family not nearby, have childcare on work days but it's more that he chose work over me. I think it has brought up a lot of resentment I didn't even know was there. Pre DC I earned significantly more and after mat leave went part time so took big pay cut and have never recovered career wise. Always leaving work/meetings early for childcare, always the one rushing home when a DC is ill, always just bloody there. I don't ever remember discussing this or making any joint decisions that this would be how it would work.

I also do all the financial management, holiday planning, DC 'admin', doctors appointments, everything.

This trip feels like the last straw for me. I don't know what to do when he comes home but I do know that I don't want a marriage like this any more. He knows the last couple of months have really put a strain on me and on mental health as well as physical health but that is obv unimportant.

Been thinking about how we would manage living in same house but separate lives - can't afford to live apart in London and both of our jobs and school here. Oh for fuck sake.

Cabrinha Sun 02-Mar-14 20:31:49

You sound worn out, you poor thing sad
Living separately together is no answer, the stress of it would be awful. If there is a chance of fixing your marriage, try that first - frank talks, ultimatums that you mean, counselling - whatever.

I'm wary now that I'll sound like I'm taking his "side" - I'm not.
But the child / family admin stuff... IME, women just take it in without discussion and quietly seethe later. And in a way, that's not fair to their partner, if they don't see it's being done, know how long it takes, or that you mind. It's lazy to leave it to you, but if you are like me and initially took control of it, then it is better to formally hand over than quietly resent.
e.g. Holidays - how would he react if you told him that you wanted him to organise it, totally?
I know one holiday won't fix everything, it's more about the attitude. If he think he'd listen, and care enough to say yes - your marriage has a chance. If you know he'd say "that's your job, you're part time, fuck off" - then it doesn't.

Do you want to go full time again and rebuild your career? Is there any choice for him to work flexibly? Would a change if childcare (to nanny?) be more practical re still being in place during illness?

Perhaps individual counselling could help you decide what YOU want, then you can see if he is willing and able to support that?

MyNameIsKenAdams Sun 02-Mar-14 20:35:41

If it was a Jolly, then id be all for you demanding he stay behind, but its work. It pays the bills. If you needed to do something with work that would be beneficial to your career, surely you would expect his support in that?

I get that you have had a very tough time of it, and he lacks in a supportive role aroubd the house, but it is that whch you need to tackle. Make some long term changes. And I dont mean split.

But this is work. Separate it from your feelings of resentment towards him as your dh/kids' dad.

tiredandemotionless Sun 02-Mar-14 20:44:30

I am sure it's common (and not to say it's right) that women put family before career more often. But it's like the scales have fallen from my eyes today and I see how much I've given up and how little he has. I really have taken a massive hit at work, confidence plummeted and belief in myself only just starting up again 7 years after going part time. But to do that I am working in evenings when DCs asleep just to keep up. I think I'm exhausted (depressed?) and this has been the last straw.

He didn't need to go today. DCs haven't even noticed he's not here, as he's been working so much sad

It feels like life wouldn't be so different if I were on my own and at least I wouldn't have this resentment going on at the same time.

FabBakerGirl Sun 02-Mar-14 20:50:08

Your last sentence really sounds like you want out.

You talk of the sacrificed you have had to make and the effect on your career but a) surely you discussed that with you husband and you knew the consequences and b) if he had refused this trip he might not have been offered another and that could also have repercussions.

What do you actually want and what is achievable?

tiredandemotionless Sun 02-Mar-14 20:53:26

I want DCs to be happy and secure (a given), I want to feel loved and appreciated, and I want to stop having the relentless know in my stomach of trying to juggle everything. I just don't know where DH fits into that.

tiredandemotionless Sun 02-Mar-14 20:53:42

Knot not know

Wrapdress Sun 02-Mar-14 20:53:53

I would bring in paid help - nanny, housekeeper, assistant - whatever is needed to alleviate stress and resentment. Then re-evaluate the marriage.

CajaDeLaMemoria Sun 02-Mar-14 21:01:02

Do you want your DH?

Because you may well still have the burning resentment that you have to do everything if you split. You'll still need to do anything, but your kids will go to him for a few nights and he can be a Disney Dad, if he wants. He might do better than that, but it's no sure fire way to end the resentment.

ShedWood Sun 02-Mar-14 21:54:55

Have you thought about heading out of the door the moment your DH gets back?

Do you have any friends who would allow you to crash at their house for a week or so, so you could commute to work form there and have a week of just looking after yourself?

Give him a heads up, say that you have a conference/work trip to go on, and luckily it doesn't start until he gets back and literally walk out of the door the minute he comes back.

Give him a week to juggle childcare, dinners, school runs, cleaning, lunch boxes etc and I bet he'll respect what you do a lot more at the end of it.

If he has no idea of what you do and the responsibility on your shoulders because he's never done it/had it let him try it for a while. Then have a chat to him when you come back and divide up the responsibilities more evenly, or walk away from the relationship if you feel that's best.

It sounds like what you need most is some time to think, regroup and decide what you want, and you can't do all of that while juggling everything that's on your plate at the moment.

Fairenuff Sun 02-Mar-14 21:58:07

I agree with Shed. Only don't lie to him, just tell him you need him to experience what it's like for you. Hand it all over to him and let him sort it out.

Then talk.

BrunoBrookesDinedAlone Sun 02-Mar-14 22:09:12

Forget him organising holidays and nonsense like that.

Your eyes have been opened - you've been putting yourself second, third, fourth to give the best to a family which your DH has made sure he takes what he wants from but gives back only what he won't miss.

In your situation I would now become relentlessly practical in order to start protecting myself (and by extension, my children). The most important step would be getting back to full time work. You now know that you might want to split at some point - you need to be in as strong a financial position as possible. So, concentrate on that. And when you find something, just take it. No 'but what about childcare' 'what about getting back in time for Brownies' - you take it. And you make it clear to him that you now expect him to take the hit on his career so that family life is supported. He's now well ahead - you've given him the leg up - time for the favour to be returned. He doesn't like it? Keep your face expressionless as you explain to him that if he isn't prepared to walk the walk like you did, you'll take steps to end the marriage. You might want to explain that he's started to make it clear that he's out for himself -going on this trip for example - so you simply can't afford to put him first any more.

scottishmummy Sun 02-Mar-14 22:17:25

you've had rotten chain of events,but no you shouldn't have asked he not attend work event
However,it's not fair at all that the bulk of childcare fallen to you,to your detriment
You both need to support each other career and personally,but looks like you'll split up. I cannt see how you live together emotionally tough,and it requires a lot energy. If you can't reconcile then imo a clean break is preferable

tiredandemotionless Sun 02-Mar-14 22:41:26

Shedwood that's a good idea and you're right I can't think straight. 3yo DD is a non sleeper (is here on the sofa) so I spend all night with her too. Feels like I am on the clock 24/7 - no time to myself at all. I might ask a friend if I can stay with her next week (if he is back).

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 02-Mar-14 22:52:59

I think you need to sit him down and tell him you need help. His response to this not just the words, but actual actions will tell you everything you need to know.
I wish I had read the writing on the wall after I cried and said I desperately needed help I was (still am) the breadwinner. His response was to do nothing to help and then go and have a affair .
I am a much happier lone parent it is all much easier when your not hoping someone else is going to help.

Bogeyface Mon 03-Mar-14 01:44:29

If you do leave him to it for a week remember this phrase

"You leave me to do this every time you go away"

This is to use when he contacts you complaining about how hard it is and how your MUST come home because he cant cope.

mum23kidz Mon 03-Mar-14 01:51:22

I can understand how you feel, although it's more that dh gets to do all the fun stuff that I don't like. I think though that some times we just get bogged down with how we are feeling, it's not really dh that is the issue but us not having people to bounce things off of and never having a break that is the issue. Is there a chance you can do something for yourself while the kids are at school or in bed?

Bogeyface Mon 03-Mar-14 02:01:17

Mum23 why should she wait until they are in bed (she works so I am guessing school time is out) when he gets to bog and do whatever the hell he likes regardless of time of day?

This isnt about being bogged down, although I agree that it can happen, its about her dealing with his selfishness and him taking her utterly for granted.

She asked him not to go as she is on her knees and he went anyway. He cares more about himself than he does about her. He values what he does more than what she does. He cares more about his own happiness than hers.

Bogeyface Mon 03-Mar-14 02:02:03

when he gets to bog off

HowBadCanThisGet Mon 03-Mar-14 02:12:47

If you split up, you will still be doing all the DCs admin, lunchboxes etc, only you will be having to work full time to support yourselves. Although I can see how tempting it is, if you still love your DH, you owe it to him to tell him how you feel.

If the kids haven't noticed he's gone because he works so hard, it sounds as if he is under a lot of pressure at work anyway

I would list all the jobs that you do, and ask him which ones he can do. For example my DH has recently started listening to the kids read. It's not an onerous task, but it is time consuming. Same with bathtimes etc.

Then I would look for full time work, and then a nanny. If you think you are depressed, then you should also see your GP.

I work part time, and do most of everything, so I really do understand how you feel, but actually DH was willing to do things, I just always did them, so he never got into the habit.

arabellarubberplant Mon 03-Mar-14 02:30:58

I have always left dh alone with the kids for a couple of days a month since they were babies. We even managed it when ebf, with the one child that would take expressed milk.

My dh is a parent, too. He MUST be absolutely 100% capable of looking after the kids on his own (we have three, two with sn - one physically disabled).

He still goes away with work. It's what he does. (He was in the army when we met, even though he isn't any longer, he still gets unexpected work trips for anywhere between a couple of days and a couple of weeks. Last month he was threatened with a indefinite trip).

This gets easier, I promise. Having little kids is absolutely knackering for whoever is at home. Yes, he needs time on his own with the kids to appreciate what you do, but you also need to understand that if he gets the opportunity for a fab assignment, he needs to be able to take it. iN EXACTLY the same way that you need to, if and when you get back to that point. What are you doing to resurrect your career?

So, work out where you are going (friends for weekend? Home for weekend? Visit to another city to investigate work opportunity? Hobby course in another county?) and sort it out.

You need a change of scenery, and to get a little balance back. You don't need a new husband. You really don't.

Have so totally been in this position (and actually went off at dh about it) but in reality, when less tired and felling less like an unpaid slave, I can be a whole lot saner about it. I know we are both trying to manage a family. On some occasions, this means I stay at home ft. On other occasions, it means we both work ft and employ a ft nanny.

Sit and plan how to get your family to work the way you and dh want it to - including what you want out of your career/ social life - not planning your divorce. And then when he gets back, sit down and discuss this with him. Preferably having got a babysitter and a night out at a quiet restaurant, and ordered a bottle of wine and a taxi.

This is so very very common, and it's just as easy to get locked into 'breadwinner and worker' role as it is onto 'childcare and domestic drudge' as the lower wage earner.

Don't give up on your family just because your current roles have become unbalanced. It's so easy to blame dh and become embittered, but in reality, it's also easy to readdress the balance in a more positive way.

He didn't choose work over you - he went and carried on with a great job because that is currently his role. But you need to sort out what role you need him to take on, and what role you want, and then get on and enact it.

I have had some seriously shitty low points. And questioned everything. But I really don't think asking your dh to not go on a great work assignment was fair in your current position. That doesn't mean I think your positions are right - it just means that at that point, it wouldn't have achieved as much as you had hoped.

If you are currently experiencing money issues, you need him to keep bringing in better jobs? Or do you need to reassess your work position and look to raise your income?

I really hate that women end up in lower paying roles, and taking the majority of the crap - sick days, etc etc. but I suck it up because I know in the longer run in makes sense for our family. My pride suffers, but it's fine. When I am in better paying roles it has been easier (largely because the child care gets farmed out, lol, and we take a more equal role).

But you do need to get away for the weekend, and plan to continue to do so. He needs to parent, too.

tiredandemotionless Mon 03-Mar-14 12:00:37

All really good advice thanks.

I will try to keep a lid on my fury when he comes back and tell him that the whole dynamic needs to change. Big yes to time to myself, and I will be working an extra day later this year when DD starts school so will have more money and more time for me. Will keep a day off work so I have a whole school day on Monday to do something I enjoy (can't remember what that might be but I have a few months to work on it!).

Interestingly the career thing has never really been about money. We both have interesting jobs but his is always the one everyone wants to hear more about, is in a very competitive industry, and we seemed to have slipped into that being the 'important' job. I don't talk about work nearly as much as he does and I just get on with it.

(Off to google symptoms of egomania)

arabellarubberplant Mon 03-Mar-14 14:11:55

Oh, you mentioned money stress in your op, but it's great if this has gone.

It's all so very hard. Hope you manage to both carve out some space and rearrange everything so that it's not so stressful x

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