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Husband making plans to leave, now changed his mind. What now?

(39 Posts)
flanneryann Tue 18-Mar-14 19:34:25

A bit of back story to this. My DH of 7 years lost a parent almost a year ago to the day in a sudden and very traumatic way. He has seemed to have coped better than anyone could have imagined. Almost too well I think. I have been convinced that he is holding it all in and that the worst is still to come. I have been as supportive as I can, although its hard to get him to open up.

Anyway in the run up to this first year anniversary of the death, he has been very moody and quick to fly into a temper. He had an argument with my parents over something really silly which left him shouting and being told to leave their house by my father.

The next day he sat me down and asked me where we should go from here. He then admitted he has been looking for flats locally so he can leave but still be near the kids. I asked if there was anyone else and I truly believe him when he says there isn't. I was so shocked and upset.
In the middle of the night he heard me sobbing next to him and said that he doesn't really want to leave me, its just that things are not right between us. He then admitted yesterday that he didn't realise how much the anniversary of the death would mess him up and that he thinks he is just all over the place because of this. He has said he really wants to work things out with us.

We have had issues in our relationship mostly to do with me being critical of him and making him feel henpecked. We are the average couple in many ways I guess. We bicker and argue over how much we have to do and sometimes the resentment seeps in on both sides. Also we have mismatched sex drives with me being disinterested due to being so shattered with looking after 2 small kids.

The trouble is he said some really hurtful things and now I just don't know if he is staying because he feels sorry for me, or whether he really is just struggling so much with grief.

I would really love some advice or just someone to say they have been in a similar position. I feel so lost and frightened.

Pippilangstrompe Tue 18-Mar-14 19:41:13

I lost my father suddenly a year ago. The anniversary is tomorrow. It has been a tough year and I have been on an emotional rollercoaster, but I haven't felt the need to be unpleasant to anyone. I don't think bereavement is an excuse for that and I don't think you should accept it if he tries to use it as an excuse. I don't think he should be able to get away with unacceptable behaviour because his parent died.

It sounds like he would benefit from bereavement counselling. Would he be open to that? It might be a good first step.

flanneryann Tue 18-Mar-14 19:55:15

I am sorry for your loss, I really do appreciate your reply. The anniversary for us is also tomorrow. Apparently its quite common to be unsettled and to feel like you are experiencing the raw emotions all over again. I am not sure if he would give counselling a try. When do you know whether grief is "normal" or if he needs a little help? Initially we talked about counselling specific to the traumatic circumstances of the death but I think he wanted to see if he could manage. After all, there is no way around the grief you feel. You just have to feel it however painful. I just want to help him but I don't know what to do.

Thank you, and I hope that you have people to support you tomorrow.

Lweji Tue 18-Mar-14 19:57:38

How is he proposing to work things out?

How are you critical of him? And how do you get shattered? Are you a SAHM? How much does he do at home?

Logg1e Tue 18-Mar-14 19:59:36

Is this one of those times that could genuinely benefit from a trial separation?

joanofarchitrave Tue 18-Mar-14 20:02:15

I don't have experience of this (and am not a churchgoer - though I have been years in the past) but when I read the article I thought the courses made a lot of sense. one type of marriage course

I think losing a parent is a huge strain on a marriage. I think it's positive that you are talking. I hope you can work things out.

Pippilangstrompe Tue 18-Mar-14 20:04:57

I have started looking into counselling myself now. The reason is that I am very tired of the emotional rollercoaster and of having to pick myself up and carry on all the time. Maybe you could try approaching it from that angle with him? Make it something that might make his life easier rather than something wrong that he has to fix. It might seem more appealing that way. There is no way to avoid the grief but there are ways to deal with it and live with it, and it is okay to get help with learning how to do that.

Thanks for your sympathy. So far I am actually okay. I thought it'd be a lot more difficult than it has been, but I will see what tomorrow brings. I've gotten the day off work, in any case. It is an in-house training day, so I'm quite pleased to miss it!

flanneryann Tue 18-Mar-14 20:07:35

Lweji, I work two 10 hour days a week. Dh is full time. We have a 5 year old and a 2 year old who is a bit of a handful. My Dh is very hands on with childcare and does a little housework eg. the odd hanging out of washing and mostly is the one who loads dishwasher. Cooks on the nights I work. So yes, quite the modern man I suppose. grin
I am often stressed, which I find exhausting. Not through work but through my own high expectations. I get a little crazy when the house is a total tip. Dh can turn a blind eye to the mess which drives me mad. I suppose I expect a lot from him. I often complain about how tired I am, even though he works full time and must be shattered too. I am probably quite selfish in that respect. I so much more stressed since I had my son, as he Is a very boisterous toddler and I do find it hard sometimes.
As for how does he suggest we work it out? No plan. Just hoping that love is enough... I am happy to try to be less critical and more understanding.

flanneryann Tue 18-Mar-14 20:13:31

Pippilangstrompe, that sounds like it might be a good way to approach counselling. I am worried about him to be honest. His mental health can be a little shaky. History of depression and tends to internalise a lot. Maybe it would be good for him.

flanneryann Wed 19-Mar-14 19:00:52

well no resolution here. I feel so confused. Dh seems to have decided he is not quite up to facing my parents or any of my family yet after acting like such a complete twat. In the meantime he has been busy making plans with his own mother re mothers day without asking what I want to do.
I feel like I have moved the balance of power over to him. Not that its a power struggle between us. Its just by getting tearful and upset, I feel like that has come across that I am so desperate to keep him he can act however he likes. I don't know if anyone is reading still or not. Its just a ramble really to get it off my chest.

Logg1e Wed 19-Mar-14 19:15:29

Still reading Ann

flanneryann Wed 19-Mar-14 19:21:12

Thanks Logg1e, its just not an easy chat to have in RL. I have only spoken to one good friend who has been through similar. I guess I am feeling more angry about the way he is messing with my head. I am so stressed I smoked 3 fags Saturday and 1 last night. Despite having quit for 5 years. Just not sure how to begin to sort this out.

LBZT Wed 19-Mar-14 19:26:44

I've been reading since you started this thread...your not rambling to yourself.

flanneryann Wed 19-Mar-14 19:31:09

Thanks, this is seems to be a nice supportive place to vent! I can't even speak to my mother about this because I don't want to reveal too much if things work out between us as I know it will really affect her opinion of him which I couldn't bear. I am sure after his outburst on Friday his name is mud anyway though. He said he doesn't feel he wants to be around my family at the moment as they will all have been told about his behaviour. Can't blame him for being embarrassed I suppose. I know I am!

Pippilangstrompe Wed 19-Mar-14 19:40:20

I wouldn't take it up with him today since it is the anniversary, but I think you can put your foot down and take back some of the power soon. He can't act however he wants because his dad has died. It doesn't excuse unexcusable behaviour and don't let him tell you otherwise.

MrsSquirrel Wed 19-Mar-14 19:41:58

Have you thought about having some counselling yourself? It might make feel better and help give you some perspective on how to begin to sort things out. Anyway, it would be healthier than smoking

Nomama Wed 19-Mar-14 19:42:32

Usually I would start with... on the other hand... and try to offer a slightly different take. But I am finding this one a bit more taxing than usual.

I'll start with ... so he made himself look like a prize pillock in front of your parents. He is probably defensively angry and mortified.

But why? My back story:

MIL too her own life 14 years ago. She left behind a family riven by bickering and DH was left on the outside of his siblings 'comfort pact'. They snubbed him, ignore him completely, as though he does not exist (until they want something). They have closed ranks against him as he did not follow the party line - ie he did not think his mother was a saint and didn't re-write their somewhat weird childhood into a Swallows and Amazons blissfest.

Now he didn't take anything out on me. He didn't get angry when I persuaded (OK, forced) him to go to the undertaker, the coroner, the solicitor etc etc. He didn't take any of his anger out on me more than you might imagine - the odd 'you have no idea how it feels' kind of thing. He has since thanked me for nagging him and making him face up to the realities of the situation.

But not everyone copes with sudden and traumatic death, however it comes. So maybe your DH has been living in a tense fug of nothing muchness. Maybe he has wound himself up to boiling point and can't find anyone to blame. DH did spend one pissed up, snotty, red eyed tearful night calling his mum all the names under the sun, he blamed her and then felt bad about that, which I spent months reassuring him he didn't have to.

Maybe your DH hasn't found his whipping boy and so is carrying all of that inside. Maybe he knows he is being unreasonable but can't stop himself.

The 'what now' depends entirely on how you feel you can go forward. Can you ignore his hurtfulness? Can you support him to get some kind of support or counselling? Will your parents be able to forgive him if it does turn out he is in need of counselling and take it on?

The next step is yours. But do put the fags down. DH had quite for a couple of years before all of this, but started again. Now, 14 years later, he has finally managed to separate smoking form feelings about his mum and is quitting again. Don't do that to yourself, it will only make you feel 'less than'.

Good luck xx

Fairenuff Wed 19-Mar-14 23:05:06

Dh is very hands on with childcare and does a little housework eg. the odd hanging out of washing and mostly is the one who loads dishwasher. Cooks on the nights I work. So yes, quite the modern man I suppose

Actually OP, that doesn't sound very 'modern man' to me. What does he do in the evenings when the children are in bed? Do you both get evenings off, do you both catch up on jobs, or what?

Lweji Thu 20-Mar-14 05:47:49

And at the weekends. Does he share housework then?

Your 10 hour days should be very tiring. And taking care of young children can be knackering.
Essentially, you should be looking at how much free time each one of you gets. If he gets much more, then you need to address it.

As for your family, he needs to go and apologise properly. Yes, he should be embarrassed, but saying and doing nothing is much worse.
And he should be looking into counselling, if he's blaming the death for his behaviour.

Shift the balance the power back into a proper balance. Not him calling the shots, or you are entering a slope into being taken advantage of.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Mar-14 06:09:51

I would turn the tables here, tell him to leave and that you're going to take a little time to decide if you think there's any future in it or not. As others have said, grief is no excuse to act like an utter shit. Let him cool his heels on some sofa somewhere.... make him sweat and experience some of the pain he dished out to you.

YOU decide HIS future.... see how he likes that. hmm

Badvoc Thu 20-Mar-14 06:19:32

I lost my father in very distressing circumstances 8 months ago.
My dh has been a rock, both on the day and since.
I have not felt the need to be vile to him and say hurtful things.
You cannot help your dh if he won't be helped.
The Mother's Day thing is very hurtful...
I agree with cog totally.
Take some power back and let him know his behaviour is not acceptable. He should be embarrassed about his behaviour. He need to apologise to your parents. He is an adult fgs, not a 5 year old.
I would also make him having counselling a stipulation of his coming back home.
My sister is having counselling about my fathers death - she arranged it through a local hospice. His gp can refer him.
Good luck op x

flanneryann Fri 21-Mar-14 09:46:35

Thanks to everyone for your replies. A bit of an update. Yesterday morning was awful. Dh is very low and admitting to having thoughts of suicide and self harm. He has never self harmed in the past but has had periods of depression where he felt suicidal. I assured me that he knows that he won't actually do anything but the compulsion is quite strong at the moment. The tragic cicumstances of his recent bereavement was due to suicide, as I expect some of you may have guessed. The thing is despite what seems to be assumed by some people who have posted is that he is using his bereavement as a way of excusing bad behaviour. We had a long chat about this, and he said that he doesn't think necessarily that his mood and behaviour has anything to do with his not dealing with grief properly. He is keen not to use the death as an excuse to be mean. It was actually me that made the link between the decline in his mood and his outbursts of anger, and the upcoming anniversary of the death. I could see this crisis coming a few weeks ago if I'm honest.
He has agreed to go to the doctor to get antidepressants and I have offered to go with him so he doesn't do what he has done before and go in pretending everything is fine and come away with nothing!
On a positive note, we are at least talking candidly about it all and he says that has helped. I am so worried about him though and it is taking its toll on me. I am short tempered with the kids and struggling to keep it together at times. I don't want to admit to anyone the situation we are in. I have one friend who has been great. The one person I really want to talk to is my mum but I just can't admit the mess we are in. I don't want her to worry.

Badvoc Fri 21-Mar-14 09:51:50

Please please do speak to someone irl op.
Imagine this was your dc going through this...yes you would worry but I am sure you would want to know x

flanneryann Fri 21-Mar-14 10:04:21

Joanofarchitrave, thanks for your link for the marriage course. I must admit I have only just looked at the link today. It looks brilliant and I will show Dh tonight. I think we might wait until his mood has stabilised a bit but I think it would be good for us.

flanneryann Fri 21-Mar-14 10:10:20

Badvoc, If I didn't think it would affect her opinion of my Dh I would do . Its not that she wouldn't understand its just that I don't think it would do any good. All it would achieve is making her worry and try to get involved. I don't want her asking my Dh about his mental health problems. He doesn't want that either. There is a real stigma attached to mental health problems and like it or not, it affects the way people view you forever. Its not like after this crisis she would ever forgot that he has felt suicidal. He has not spoken to his mum for the same reason. I think I will be fine with the one person I have told about it. She is further removed from the situation iyswim?

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