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Is my marriage breaking up?(40 Posts)
Since the birth of DS seven months ago our relationship has been under some strain, an undercurrent of tension and cracks beginning to show. Frequent bickering, snapping at each other (well me to him) and I just don't know if things can be fixed.
I think he's lazy, a little selfish and that he needs to grow up. He thinks I'm a nag and that I expect too much. He hasn't used those words but it's the general gist.
After another argument today we actually spoke about splitting up. I don't know how it's come to this.
In some ways he's brilliant when he comes to DS but in other ways I feel infuriated.
I left the home for 4 days earlier this year (end of July) because I was about to crack.
He thinks we are too different and that when it comes to parenting the differences are just too much to ignore.
We have only been married 18 months.
I don't know what I want or need from this post. Reassurance it advice, I don't know.
Didn't want to read and run. I'm no expert and can only speak from experience to say that our relationship has definitely been changed dramatically since having dc. A bit after dc1 and more so after dc2. From what I hear from friends this is both common and normal. Tiredness and extra responsibilities all round are massive extras to account for in what was once 'our bubble'. I think that understanding and communication will be key in getting through the madness together. You need to try to find the time to sit down and really talk. I think both parties have to be honest and also to allow the other some concessions. For us the trigger for snappiness is often the feeling that one has gotten more share of sleep than the other. We're muddling through and whilst things aren't 'perfect' we understand that this fog we're often in will start to get easier when the kids decide to sleep. And in the meantime we have to take this into account and consciously attempt to manage it in a way that's fair to us both.
What are the parenting differences, OP? In what way is he lazy and selfish?
The birth of a child is a huge adjustment, of course. It also brings all sorts of attitudes and values to the fore. Differences of opinion are inevitable. Some differences are more important than others.
Being parents changes the landscape. Extra responsibility means no place for selfishness and the increase in fatigue and stress in the early days means everyone has to make a special effort to be kind to each other. If you have a solid partnership and you're both team-players to begin with, you can muddle through with a few hiccups. If not, if it's one-sided or if you're very incompatible it can become a battleground with a lot of disappointment.
So I agree with the PP that you have to find the time to talk, reconnect as a couple and find solutions how you're going to work as a team if you're going to stay together. Not a list of grievances and not when everyone's tired after a broken night. Find the things you agree on and build on those.
Did your four days away help?
Sometimes, having a bit of time away from each other to unwind can make a big difference. If you're under each other's feet all the time then cabin fever can set in. What might not have been noticed before is now under scrutiny.
Pick a night of the week each where you can go out with friends or something else to get away from the daily grind.
It might help. It might clarify your feelings.
Sorry to hear you're still feeling unhappy writer.
I wonder about compatability too- your dh doesn't sound like a bad man but he doesn't seem capable of providing you with what you need. I remember there were sexual incompatibility issues too... You are perfectly entitled to feel the way you do. Could you go away for a few days again?
The four days away did help. He asked me yesterday if I was going to go and stay at my mom's for a bit but I said no because it's just not practical now DS is this age. He asked me if he should go somewhere for a few days but I just shrugged my shoulders.
I don't mind so much the lack of sleep inequality as I'm breast feeding and have to take the heavy share of nightly wake ups, it's the other inequality that gets to me, that also DS is his son too everything is left to me. I take on the responsible role whilst DH just plays with him. All that mundane, day-to-day tasks of looking after DS are automatically mine unless I specifically ask DH to do something. If, for example, I go out for a few hours in the morning and cone back and ask DH if DS has had his nappy changed his answer will be, "No, you didn't ask be to do that." The basic qualities and behaviours of looking after a baby and he doesn't even have the initiative to do it. Half the time, even if I ask him to do something it doesn't get done, I ask him why and he says "I forgot."
The amount of 'time out' we get is extremely different. I won't go into all the details but it's fair to say 99% of the time I'm with DS yet to some extent DH's social life carries on as normal. This Saturday I'm going out with my sister and it will only be the 3rd or 4th time in 7 months that I've had time just for me.
DH has just got back from Barcelona for 5 days, he's going to Italy for 8 days (skiing) in February and DisneyLand Paris in May. He's a teacher and they are school trips so apparently they aren't holidays. He can't understand why I have a problem with it when it's 'work'. When he rang me from Barcelona the other day and starting going on about how tired he was from sightseeing and spending the day in the 'most amazing' theme park, whilst I was on the verge of tears after another sleepless night I wanted to scream. The only time we get to spend time as a family is during half term and this half term and the next two he is going abroad with the school. Me and him haven't been abroad together for over 3.5 years. We've got a holiday booked for April next year which is another reason why he can't understand why I resent going on these trips with work. He sees no problem with just leaving me with our difficult baby whilst he goes on these lovely trips - I bet the skiing in the lovely Italian mountains is a real pain in the arse for him. I bet he hated DisneyLand too - poor, poor DH having to do all this 'work' which he chooses to do. I said if it really is 'work' that you don't want to do then why are you choosing to go??!! He gave some crap answer. He got all huffy and puffy, playing the Martyr about how he won't go and how it will affect his Performance Management reviews (which is bollocks) then he won't go skiing next year. Blah, blah, blah. Poor deprived DH - I told him to just f**king go.
I understand exactly how you feel. When mine were babies it was exactly the same but I was so enamoured with being a new mum I threw myself into that with a high profile job as well.
When they were toddlers he worked away a lot. The immaturity continued and lack of commitment to any responsibility. I'm quite sure he cheated on me the whole time.
I'm not sure what I'm advising here but one thing I know is people don't change unless they want to. So it's up to you to decide what to do next. Could you go away next school holiday and leave him with dc?
In terms of parenting issues, the differences are that I look after DS in the way things need doing and DH's attitude is "I'll do it later." When DS and I wake up I feed him, get him washed and dressed and then do his breakfast. If after a bad night, DH will take DS off me and tell me to relax and get more sleep, and when I go downstairs two hours later DS will still be in his pyjamas. Actually, he's usually still in his Sleeping Bag because DH can't even be bothered to take that off. So even though I've had my extra time in bed I've still then got to get DS washed, dressed and sort his breakfast.
Yesterday I specifically asked DH to wash and dress DS (after I had got him some clothes as DH 'doesn't know what he wears') whilst I had a shower. Once I was done and dressed myself DH bought DS upstairs to me as he was popping out to get his hair cut (we'd agreed to this) and when I went downstairs to the living room the wash bowl, still full of water, was in the middle of the living room floor, DS's pyjamas and Sleeping Bag were also on the floor, the dirty nappy was on the floor (opened up, DH hadn't even rolled it up into a ball) and the damp towel was draped across the sofa. This was what led to our argument yesterday.
I asked why he hadn't tidied up after himself and he told me had forgotten. FFS - I feel like I have two children. He said he doesn't see why everything has to be done "There and then". By the time he came home from the Barbers I had already tidied up but if I hadn't he wouldn't have done it off his own back - he would have just left it until I told him to do it.
I told him yesterday that he has to step up, that he has to act like a man, take parenting seriously instead of a game and I need to feel like the responsibility of looking after DS is shared.
When I told him I was going out with my sister this Saturday afternoon (for about 5 hours) and that I was leaving DS with him he said, "Let me check if my football team are playing at home" (he has a season ticket) and I told him I couldn't give a sh*t about his football team and it wasn't up for discussion.
I had an horrendous night with DS last night and DH came upstairs earlier to "take him off me" for a bit (DH is in the spare room) and he said to DS "let's go chill out for an hour". I told DH no, they can't chill out and instead he needs to get DS washed and dressed. I'm sure DH rolled his eyes. DS is on medication 3 times a day, hid first dose is when he wakes up and I know for a fact it won't even occur to DH to give it. I will have to go downstairs to remind him. I just want to feel that DH knows how to parent properly, not just leave everything to me.
Me and DH haven't had sex since DS was born and DH does keep mentioning it but not one part of me wants to. I explained about breast feeding suppressing sex drives and the fact that I'm exhausted most days doesn't help. Maybe if I felt like we were more of a team I would feel differently, I don't know.
I'm sorry all this is so long, I have nobody in RL to talk to. Everyone thinks we have the perfect marriage.
On the upside I can hear DH washing and dressing DS.
drum - I would love to go away end keave him with DS but the next chance is get in terms of school holidays wouldn't be for another 9 months seeing as he is going away for the next 3 half terms. I can't wait that ling. Plus, he told be the other day he's booked himself tickets to go away to V Fest next Summer and will be give for 3 days - so obviously I'd need to make sure I don't ruin any of his plans by wanting time for myself.....
I'm sorry for all the typos, I'm exhausted and drained.
You sound very separate. My DP would never tell me he had booked tickets to V. He'd either tell me it was being spoken about in his friends etc or, more likely, ask if I wanted to go! We don't have children though, so I do know it's different. But we don't really like to be apart. Obviously we are sometimes for work and stag dos etc but we are busy people and we find if we don't see quite a lot of each other we feel less close and then things are harder. Just putting the hours in, alone, helps. I know it sounds wanky but have you considered date nights?
When my DP has, in my eyes, done something wrong, I find it much more helpful to just say nothing and wait. Wait until you are no longer angry and he no longer defensive and then talk in neutral words ("it upset me when you X because it made me feel Y") like adults rather than snapping. I think he's being workshy
and lord knows I hate men who leave it to the women or, worse, refer to it as 'helping' or 'babysitting' but I also think he probably feels like he can't do anything right and maybe he can't because he will be criticised no matter what. Can you leave DS with him for a weekend so he understands he needs to be more organised and wash him etc?
Sorry you're having such a horrible time. Did you actually discuss any of this before the baby arrived? Talk about how life would change and who would do what? Was the baby planned? Did DH's parents manage the home with old-fashioned gender roles and he assumed you'd do the same?
It's unfortunately very common for a selfish father to try to carry on with life as business as usual and just expect the mother to take everything in their stride, deal with the baby and pick up all the domestic tasks as well. Which is a pity because there are also great fathers who do the precise opposite, are very supportive and understand how important it is to have balance, equality and appreciation.
I mean.... the hell it would affect his performance review if, as a new father, he ducked out of a residential trip. Employers these days are much more family-oriented than in the past. So that's just an excuse.
Do you have friends or family who can support you at the moment? Can they look after the baby while you get some rest, for example? I think you have to take his input out of the equation and prioritise yourself. Resentment about a dead-beat parent is far more draining than lone parenting. Act like a lone parent, reduce your reliance on him and then see how the future looks.
He does sound very useless and selfish, I'm afraid. Is he still leaving the house an utter shit tip or has he upped his game in that respect?
Can you be honest to your sister about the situation?
I wish bigpaws but DS is breast fed. I can't wait for the time when I can just leave DS with DH and let him get on with it - if we last that long.
There's nothing wanky about Date Nights - if I could leave DS of an evening then it's something I would really like to do. I'm considering trying to wean off breast feeding to address our issues but I really don't want to.
My DH is always telling me how proud he is of me for the sacrifices I make for DS and how hard I work to meet all DS's needs but I don't need to hear that, I need him to make me feel like we are equals.
He probably does feel like I criticise him a lot. I probably do.
I can hear him downstairs tidying the kitchen.
I'm thinking of suggesting relationship counselling.
when I went downstairs to the living room the wash bowl, still full of water, was in the middle of the living room floor, DS's pyjamas and Sleeping Bag were also on the floor, the dirty nappy was on the floor (opened up, DH hadn't even rolled it up into a ball) and the damp towel was draped across the sofa.
I can be quite untidy so I often sympathise with DP's who are lazy and untidy. Not here though. That's really, really horrible - and disrespectful you - especially as it comes after you have been telling him about this forever. He sounds like a teenage boy and no, I don't think you will change him. You're going to have to accept it or not. (NB I don't think you should accept it)
There is absolutely no way he has to go on all those trips. No way.
I'm a teacher, I've never ever been on a school trip abroad ever
He does sound lazy but tbh you sound a bit ott the other way and possibly on the control freakery side. Why does it matter if baby is still in pjs for example? Obviously it matters that he hasn't had breakfast if that needs to be a particular time but you'd probably think I was slovenly too
You sound mismatched and unless you find a way of meeting in the middle it isnt going to work.
I don't mean to be horrible, but I doubt this is entirely one sided. Having kids puts must relationships under strain, I was married to dh for 7 years before we had our first so we had that behind us. You need to go out and enjoy yourselves with baby and try to be happy. Then the spark will then come back if it's going to. And don't get pregnant again too soon, having 2 is much harder.
relationship counselling sounds like a good idea
I don't think its control freakery to expect - as a very minimum - that a dirty nappy would be rolled up.
I don't think its control freakery to expect to be consulted on trips away either. That's a minimum you expect from someone you are married to.
It's very clear they are not co-parenting. She is parenting. He is carrying on like a 'free man'.
I do think having small kids is the absolute worst time for a relationship (not had teenagers yet though). I think he needs some gradual withdrawal to be put in charge of ds more. My dh travels and goes out a lot for work and the resentment is terrible, but, if you start scheduling things (I'm going shopping on x) does he protest? I'd get my diary out and create a bunch of me time appts, and make it clear what you expect when you return. Explain you're too tired for rumpey as no time off - if he's reasonable and it's all calm he may get it. DH and I had awful rows and a couple of divorce conversations, all down to tiredness/needing a break.
did I say it was? The op clearly wants to try and fix things and part of that is looking at your own behaviour
I'm a teacher, he doesn't need to do all those school trips! I'm a HOD too! It hasn't affected my PM!
It tends to be a group of younger, unattached teachers without kids who do the residential trips at my school; is your husband perhaps a part of that group and is now finding it hard to say no? He needs to get his head around being a parent! It's not a part time job!
Oh I didn't mean to sound confrontational.
I do think expecting people to get rid of a dirty nappy and consulting on trips is not OTT in the slightest. If he can't consider her in those simple ways, then how is her looking at her own behavior going to help?
ps I dont think your issues are insurmountable - we have different parenting styles, DH is a schedule loving control freak who nevertheless is immune to clearing up his own mess and gives the impression I should cope better, but he's also kind and rational and capable of change when he realises he's not doing his bit. Sometimes I think you have to put the good points upfront in your head with your oh, try and see him how a sympathetic outsider might, if you want things to improve. Fwiw, I ebf for 10 months and dh felt shut out, with dc2 I'm expressing and if I can't get enough that way we'll do one formula feed as ebf babies are so unpredictable a back up feeding method is freeing - just my plan this time, and you did ebf for a good long while.
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