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DH too clever for words! Why am I left feeling unreasonable when I know deep down I'm not?!

(29 Posts)
tulipswouldbenice Tue 01-Apr-14 12:21:59

What I would love to ask is how you find the courage to leave your marriage when your little gut voice (little but very important) keeps on and on and on telling you for years that things aren't right, but then your oh so clever with words DH, makes you feel like you are being a right selfish shit for considering it, and things are not at all that bad?!

To clarify, DH makes no effort with me or for me, hasn't done for years. Quite honestly he has never needed me, never needed to be in a relationship, doesn't want friendship, affection and support the way I do (though when we've nearly split before he says he needs all those things, just finds it hard to show it). I was deeply insecure when we married and just grateful he wanted me to be honest, sounds pathetic but it's the truth. He is miserable and moody. It definitely affects our 3 DC. However, they worship him and I can't bear the guilt at breaking up the family. I read in the You magazine in the weekend about a writer who wished her parents had split up as their relationship was so awful. Truthfully, I don't think my kids would feel that way. I could drift on to keep them happy, but I'm not. The trouble is whenever I try and raise it with my DH he is so bloody clever with words he leaves me feeling completely selfish and unreasonable! He'll say but we're both working full time, both running around after the kids and their activities, running a house etc, we're bound to be tired, when is there time to chat or cuddle up? We're both too tired for sex etc etc. This is just the way it is for now, it'll get better as they get older.... Actually that's not true, I'd always find the energy, I want it and miss it, he doesn't.

Do people with more than one child not hold down meaningful relationships? Do they not fit that someone special into their life and quite high up their agenda? He makes me feel like I'm asking for the impossible. He is very helpful around the house and with the kids, very hands on. But, come 9 o'clock, he's straight on the ipad, head down. If I ask him can we not sit and talk he'll say, right, what do you want to talk about? As if I have a specific subject to tick off a list! The older I get I realise I need someone to love, and someone to love me. But, can you up end your children's world for a Mills & Boon fantasy that may never happen? He's not my friend or soulmate and I can't go to him with my problems, and he's proper moody. But he's their dad, they love him and it all ticks over. He makes me feel I expect too much sad I've lost sight of what's reasonable for me, and what's reasonable to put my kids through on the back of achieving that.

My friend has just separated from her husband and says that she feels amazing but it's been really hard on her kids. She said to me the only advice she can give is to be 100% sure before you put them through it, but how can you ever be...?

Sorry, I'm rambling now, but feels good just to type it all out if nothing else!

onetiredmummy Tue 01-Apr-14 12:33:17

You're not asking for the impossible, not at all. Its perfectly possible to have more than one child & an active sex life plus all the other little intimacies that are usually there in a relationship. You don't need Mills & Boon you just need to be loved & for that love to be shown.

He may be a wonderful father but when you split up he won't stop being a father. He may see them less but if his mood is already affecting the DC's then its not fair to ask them to live like that.

When I divorced my exH it took a while but he is a 100% better father now than he ever was. My DC's have come through it & they are fine. Its simply not true that 'keeping a family together' is the best thing for that family.

Make some plans & have some money in a bank account so that when you decide to split you are not dependent on him for cash.

Work on your self esteem, if it helps make the plans as to where to live & the practical things after a split, it will give you the confidence to know it can be done. Perhaps make an appt with the CAB to discuss finances post split, whatever you need to do to feel confident.

You are not selfish or unreasonable & don't let him tell you that you are!

tulipswouldbenice Tue 01-Apr-14 12:44:39

Thank you so much, I do need to work on my self-esteem. I have a good career and am quietly confident in all other aspects of my life, but just seem to settle for so little with my relationship. Without sounding arrogant I know I am a good person, I put others first, I'm a good daughter and friend, I constantly try to make everyone around me happy but accept so little in return. I keep telling myself my time will come when they're older but that old adage of only having one life, live it, keeps nagging in my ear...... Our finances are awful, we're on a payment plan but I think my lovely mum would help me out if needs be. I know life isn't perfect but surely it has to be better than this! Thanks again smile

Jan45 Tue 01-Apr-14 13:04:56

Nobody is that clever with words, on some level you are accepting what he is saying even though you don't agree, to not upset the status quo.

He's not going to change, this is it, it's going to be up to you to instigate the change and no, this isn't how it is and you should never settle for something that does not bring you happiness.

BertieBotts Tue 01-Apr-14 13:08:29

Have you read anything about emotional abuse? It might be that this is what he is doing to you. Emotional abusers are often very good with words or other ways of making you feel like you're being ridiculous or making a fuss over nothing.

When I accepted that my ex was actually abusing me and it wasn't just something I was being crap at or misunderstanding or all in my head, was when I gave myself permission to leave.

capsium Tue 01-Apr-14 13:22:49

Tbh from what you have said OP it sounds like he is becoming detached, in his free time getting pleasure from his own interests rather than sharing interests with you.

If you did want the marriage to work for you as well as him, that is his interests could be enough to fulfill him, he sounds quite self sufficient, you both need to find some common interest. Then you could have something to talk about that he actually wants to talk about with you. Something that is more interesting than whatever he is doing on the i-pad.

It does seem that he is finding the pressures work and family life quite hard work, he has mentioned that he feels tired. I think you all need to find a way to actually enjoy time together. A lot of people do get weary and feel they need down time.

Maybe you could all enjoy some weekends away? (could actually choose somewhere with no internet connection grin)

From the outside it is hard to judge whether this is a possibility, I say it only because I feel your DH being distant might not be personal to you but just because he is actually tired / worn out and being distant or going on the i-pad is just his way of coping.

capsium Tue 01-Apr-14 13:27:04

I think the clever arguing and denying there is a problem could be a way of trying to communicate that his being distant is not personal rather it is a coping mechanism.

I may be wrong though. If he is actually cruel, actively puts you down or ridicules every idea you have then I think we are talking about a very different beast.

Twinklestein Tue 01-Apr-14 13:46:55

I don't think he's necessarily particularly clever, just manipulative, which is not the same thing at all. Working full time and being tired has nothing to do with how your relationship functions. Yours doesn't: you and he don't seem to have any connection as a couple at all.

It suits him for whatever reason to maintain the status quo, while you question it because it works less well for you.

tulipswouldbenice Tue 01-Apr-14 14:40:24

Jan45 yes I do think I probably accept it even though I know it's not true (that's my gut voice) but he is so convincing, he does make me question myself. He'll say things like 'look at all our friends, who out of them with kids has time for themselves? Nobody does'. And he then he does make me question myself. We are extremely busy but then so are lots of couples. Capsium you make some really good points. I think a lot of it is just being distant as a coping mechanism. He has never really needed that companionship and sees having no time for each other or no sex drive (him not me) as just a by product of busy lives and he will say 'its not ideal, but it's the way it is'. I struggle to accept that though! But I also struggle to accept it's enough of a reason to break up our family. He's not mean to me, just indifferent. And you are right Twinkle, there is no connection as a couple, just parts of a family, but definitely not a couple. I really want to love and be loved, but maybe I read too much chick lit!!

We have some time away at wedding coming up with no kids. I know there'll be others around but I think I'll see how he is with me then when the work pressure is off. I know he'll still be tired but hopefully we can reconnect a little. I'm a glass half full, he's definitely glass has bloody well run dry, poor me kinda chap. It was never going to be easy really! Thanks again for advice.

Jan45 Tue 01-Apr-14 14:45:36

He is happy with the no contact, no romance etc, you are not and quite rightly too, it's feck all to do with reading a chick book fgs, you have needs, they're not being met, simple as that, you two sound completely mismatched, he's not even willing to take on board what you are saying and make the changes.

We're all busy, my parents have five kids but still had romance for each other, it's nowt to do with being too busy, it's prioritising your relationship.

tulipswouldbenice Tue 01-Apr-14 14:50:10

Ah Jan45 thank you so much! You have just made me laugh out loud for the first time in a while! You are absolutely bloody right. I need to grow a pair, I spend my life smoothing things over and making sure everyone is happy. That's the nail on the head for me - prioritising the relationship. He's just not prepared to do that. So I need to stop moaning and do something about it. Thank you again smile)

Botanicbaby Tue 01-Apr-14 14:55:48

Sorry OP but that is not nice the way he is treating you. The feelings you describe are ones I recognise too, the way they end up making you feel like the unreasonable one and doubting yourself.

He knows exactly what he is doing and its because it suits him to do so. You're not happy, you deserve to be happy. The fact he can glance up from the ipad to ask "right, what do you want to talk about?' just shows how little he is paying attention to you. Sorry but whoever said he is using the ipad as his way of coping, really? What if the OP sat on an ipad all night and ignored her DP?

I think you need to lay it on the line to him, tell him you've given it as much as you can and its not working. You need to work out what is best for you, you've only got one life. You say he is miserable and moody. That's no fun to live with and nor is living with someone who doesn't reciprocate with affection. Using the busy life/kids is just an excuse, sounds like he has decided that this way works for him and sod anything else that challenges the status quo.

You are not being unreasonable or selfish at all OP.

MrsPixieMoo Tue 01-Apr-14 15:14:52

Listen to that little voice inside you. It means more than any of his verbal fluency. I think we are good at hearing our gut feeling but not so good at heeding it. Good luck x

Dahlen Tue 01-Apr-14 15:41:01

You don't have to justify your desire to leave to anyone other than yourself, you know. Life isn't a debating society. Being good at discussion doesn't always make someone right.

If you know that you are unhappy, that you can't fix things, and you want to leave, that's good enough. Your H doesn't have to agree with you - in fact, given that you're so unhappy you want to leave, it would be daft to expect him to. Disagreement simply confirms your gut feelings.

I am saddened that you feel he has a point. We all have peaks and troughs in relationships, especially with very young children, but what carries us through those times is the bond. You don't have that. How can you ever be so tired that you can't hold hands on the sofa when vegged out in front of the TV, or smile when that person comes in through the door? If you love and cherish someone those things - or other ways that demonstrate love and respect (if you're not touchy feely) - tend to come naturally unless you are emotionally stunted IMO.

What bothers me more about your posts is your DH's response to you. Lots of people get stuck in a rut and sometimes just need a little help to get out of it. However, in this case when you've tackled your DH about his distance, he's chosen to make you feel that this is your problem and that what you're asking for is unreasonable. That is not the response of someone who really respects someone else. Even if he doesn't really get what you are saying, the combination of loving you, respecting your feelings and wanting you to be happy should have resulted in him asking what he can do to help, rather than rationalising your hurt away. sad I think that would sting more than the initial remoteness.

Hope you find some strength to decide where you want to go from here. flowers

Twinklestein Tue 01-Apr-14 16:39:59

Relationships are organic and you do have to nourish them like plants, otherwise they wither. I don't know, OP, if your husband simply doesn't know how to do relationships or if the set up suits him and this is how he wants it to stay. But blithely saying that your relationship will 'get better' as the children get older is simply not true. If you don't put the effort in now, your relationship will be exactly the same in the future as it is now, except worse because you will feel more lonely and exasperated.

If you can face relationship therapy I would try it to see if that gets through to him, but you don't have to do that if you know categorically that it is not going to work. You don't need him to understand your reasons for leaving, they are valid.

JabberJabberJay Tue 01-Apr-14 16:42:37

You don't have to justify your desire to leave to anyone other than yourself, you know. Life isn't a debating society. Being good at discussion doesn't always make someone right.

Absolutely this. My ex was very good at twisting my words. Whenever I brought up something I was unhappy with, the resulting 'discussion' would leave me so confused and convinced of his rightness that I would end up apologising to him for having brought the issue up in the first place! I now consider it emotional abuse. I was forever doubting myself and my judgement. I was made to believe that my feelings didn't matter.

I finally realised that I didn't need his approval to end the relationship. I was deeply unhappy and that was reason enough.

My children have accepted the end of the relationship well. They still see their father. I am much happier. It is like a weight has been lifted. I am making plans for my future now and am planning to change career. I never would have done this had I stayed-he would have come up with a thousand reasons as it why it was unworkable.

Good luck OP. It is not selfish to end a relationship if you are miserable and your partner refuses to change. Your feelings matter.

Jan45 Tue 01-Apr-14 16:43:11

Oh OP, you are welcome. Yes get those pair dangling, you may like it, he may like the new assertive you too!

wyrdyBird Tue 01-Apr-14 18:08:22

Indifference is a form of meanness. It's definitely not a form of love.

His shrugging off his behaviour as just 'the way it is', without any concern for you or your happiness, suggests that he really isn't bothered about how you feel, or the state of the relationship.

But you do deserve a loving relationship, tulips, so don't be fobbed off by his rationalisations, or your feeling that you're asking too much. It really isn't asking too much to have some level of care and affection from your husband. That's what he's there for.

And as Dahlen so excellently put it:

You don't have to justify your desire to leave to anyone other than yourself. Life isn't a debating society. Being good at discussion doesn't always make someone right.

....hear hear.

jamaisjedors Tue 01-Apr-14 19:12:26

Hmm, how old are the DC?

We had a long period like this until quite recently (DS2 is now 7). We both work full-time in stressful jobs and have a big house & garden to look after too, plus other commitments.

We (and particularly DH) didn't spend any of our free time together, we had just given too much elsewhere and wanted a bit of time to ourselves.

I am in a similar relationship to you, DH is more self-reliant, I have lower self-esteem and am more "needy", but we have gradually got back to a nicer place.

I found this book: The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work, by John Gottman (on Amazon) really useful for reconnecting.

Good luck.

LadyHH Tue 01-Apr-14 19:22:51

Hi Tulips, I could have written a similar post. My DP is like bloody Victor Meldrew! He always has a negative comment to make about everything. Recently I bought a lot of bulbs and planted them in pots in the garden. The pots are usually empty from Sept to May and I was really pleased with myself, that I had thought of it. It'll be ok said he, as long as the roots don't rot!! Eh.... no roots Victor.... bulbs, bulbs that survive at this time of year cos they are eh.... bulbs! He's a total nightmare and I live my life as a devoted mother to my DD but glorified housekeeper to VM and step kids. However, I've been divorced before so have no interest whatsoever in any other relationship. When I met DP he was wonderful. Now he's not. My life is about me and my DD. Like your DC, she loves her daddy. I have other interests, friends to share myself with as he is not interested. I have thought of leaving, but can't face two failed LTRs and just focus on my DD. Maybe not helpful for you, but LTB is not an option for me.

fedupandfifty Tue 01-Apr-14 19:47:47

tulips I could have written your post too, and echo the points made by lady above. Victor Meldrew is funny on telly, but not when you're living with him. My dp also is a brilliant debater, always right, a great dad-when it suits-a hard worker, but never with anything nice to say, no compliments, no positive comments. It's soul-destroying. I won't leave as I have too much invested in the home, and I would struggle financially. So I am in it for the long haul. My answer has been to invest in friendships, in hobbies, and in work so that I am less dragged down by unfulfilled expectations of my relationship. I wish I had the courage and resources to leave. Maybe I need to grow a pair too!

HowLongIsTooLong Tue 01-Apr-14 20:00:36

Hi Tulips, only you can decide how you want your future to be, and it may be worth suggesting couple therapy so you at least feel you tried everything to re-connect. Am wondering if he may be one of those intimacy avoidant types, and if so, do you want to be with someone like that for the rest of your life? It just strikes me, as others have mentioned, that he seems ok with the situation how it is, and keeps on disengaging it seems, while you are not happy and want to share intimacy and build up something stronger and more meaningful for you. This is quite a fundamental difference.

My ex-DP exhibited similar behaviour: workaholic, laptop out or tv on as soon as the DC were in bed. Whenever I wanted to discuss what was wrong it became all about him and/or that I had unreasonable expectations hmm. It was killing me inside - all the love was gone and had turned to resentment - and I had to separate from him. Nowadays he appreciates the DC a lot more I think but it was all too late for us. Very sad, but I am finally coming round to the fact that we are just different emotional animals, if you see what I mean, and I just don't want to live with someone like that. Maybe take some time to overcome some of the insecurity you mentioned and figure out what you want (apart from what you might feel is best for the DC - difficult to separate I know, but you are still a person, a mummy even, with needs!)
But from my experience it is also a bit of a Catch-22 situation trying to build one's own strength up when the DP is practically denying one the right to have feelings...

Anniegetyourgun Tue 01-Apr-14 20:10:46

Actually it is an option, LadyHH. It's always an option. It is just one you choose not to take. For you the trade-off is worth it, at least as things are at the moment, and that's fine. Doesn't mean it is necessarily the answer for the OP.

LadyHH Tue 01-Apr-14 20:16:01

You're right Annie, I may leave in the future. I'm not financially dependant. Have just seen DD off to bed with VM for stories - she in tears it's not me and him moaning at her. There is no way I will expose her to that in a contact situation when I'm not there to give her a reassuring hug. Sorry Op, not meaning to derail your thread.

LadyHH Tue 01-Apr-14 20:24:20

Sorry, I know I'm not supposed to be derailing, but VM has just come downstairs saying DD has been sick and "what has she eaten??!" Oh yeah, arsenic, eh, no pizza and some chocolate watching a movie. Sorry guys, this thread has given me an outlet.....

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