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can anyone help me out? i'm in the argument dead end i always end up in

(34 Posts)
ithoughtofitfirst Fri 12-Dec-14 13:46:51

There's a lot more of back story to this which i can give it will help someone advise me. But i don't know if it will help with this problem to be treated in isolation. Iyswim.

Basically just dh and i have had a rough few years with illness, babies, house problems, shotgun wedding, job losses. More recently i have helping and supporting dh to go self employed. He's worked crazy hours, used all of his annual leave to do work stuff other than spend time with us. I'm a sahm so have basically have been doing everything else. We're completely skint. We struggle. I suffer from depression. It's not great but iappreciate all his hard work and everything he does for us. All i want is for him to have the career he wants and support him in whatever way i can. I never moan to him, i never make him feel guilty. He often thanks me for 'being so cool about everything'.

Throughout all this i've also had a totally overbearing MIL who competes with me for dh's time and affection. I almost always lose. We booked a holiday for Christmas as a treat but because she sulked about not seeing 'us' (him and the kids) we've ended up changing the dates of it which has cost us lots of money that we don't have. I have gone NC with her in the past which was bliss and suited me great but because i'm breastfeeding a 6 week old i am forced to spend time with her even though she makes me feel ill.

Next week is dh's birthday. He has annual leave to do work as i'd expected but now informs me that his mother has invited him for lunch on his own. Can he go? Of course i said yes. As if i'd tell him how to spend his birthday but this morning i made the massive mistake of telling him i was actually upset that he wouldn't just automatically want to spend time with us. His wife, his ds and his newborn dd. He twisted my words until i wasn't even sure what my point was anymore. The conversation ended with 'so you're telling me i can't spend my birthday with anyone other than you' in a really spiteful tone.

I just hung up and turned off my phone. And now i know i look like s hypocrite for sulking when it's exactly what MIL would do to get her own way. And i know i've lost the argument by hanging up on him which i know is probably not the best. But i'm just so upset i feel sick. And i just feel like i end up here every time i try to express how his behaviour makes me feel.

I just wish he actually wanted to do something special with me for once. I don't want to sulk with him but i just can't hide how i feel this time. I don't even want to talk it through because he'll just mince my words anyway. I don't know what to do.

ithoughtofitfirst Fri 12-Dec-14 13:47:26

Oh dear that ended up being a massive post sorry.

Roseformeplease Fri 12-Dec-14 13:52:54

I am sure wiser heads will be along in a moment but I feel for you. I think a relationship is about having someone who puts you first, before anyone else. This is clearly what you do for him (and now your baby). However, he puts himself and his business, and then his mother, before you which is bound to hurt, a lot.

I don't think hiding your feelings is healthy and I suspect that is what you are doing a lot of the time if the current situation is anything to go by.

TheHermitCrab Fri 12-Dec-14 14:00:54

I think you need to write to him what you just wrote to us. (if you think you will get shot down before you can finish if it's done properly)

His mother isn't the problem, he is. He could easily not pander to her, but he does, while taking you for granted.

Is there no way of you also going back to work (part time even?) so your life doesn't revolve around doing everything for others, getting a bit of independence may help with the depression. xx

TheHermitCrab Fri 12-Dec-14 14:01:32

*if it's done verbally, not properly, don't know where the word properly came from!

CogitOIOIO Fri 12-Dec-14 14:01:36

Your mistake is that you're trying to be reasonable, protest your innocence, and come out if this with everyone amicable. smile The answer to this kind of childish stuff is to call his bluff. So in response to 'I'm not allowed to spend my birthday... you're being hate me' or whatever whine he goes for you'd say..... 'damn right'... 'I hate you' .... 'deal with it'

BolshierAyraStark Fri 12-Dec-14 14:03:30

I think having that particular conversation over the phone was a tad unwise but never mind.
Wait until you are face to face with the DC in bed then try again. Calmly explain that you feel you put him first, which you do by the sounds of it, & that you feel hurt that the one time he has a little spare time he is choosing to spend it with his mother. Make clear that you appreciate she is his family but that he now has his own little family unit & that should be his priority.
Good luck

Holdthepage Fri 12-Dec-14 14:14:28

I often wonder how these men who want to prioritise their mothers over their own wives & families think others see them? It is just an odd way for a grown man to behave. I have a son that I love dearly but if he wanted to spend his birthday having dinner with me rather than his wife & children I would be having a serious chat with him.

Your MIL is trying to cause trouble but I suspect you already know that. Maybe you should try a different tactic, send him off with a smile & hope he has a lovely dindins with his mummy.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 12-Dec-14 14:32:19

I would try and talk to him later because it sounds like he is putting everything else before you as his wife. Who is his primary loyalty to really here?. He will lose you in the end if he carries on in the same vein as he is doing now.

He is really just as big a problem as his overbearing mother. Does he enjoy being his mother's doormat?. My guess is that he really does not but because he is so much in a FOG state (fear, obligation, guilt) with regards to her and has grown up being so conditioned, he cannot see how much of an issue this is for you. This is certainly a real problem because he does not realise how much his actions are really hurting himself as well as his own family unit now.

wallypops Fri 12-Dec-14 14:53:41

I think you need to come at this with questions. He does the talking and you point him in the direction of awakening. It worked for me, but I did this really early on in my relationship.

Who do you think are my priorities?
Correct answer - 1 the kids, 2 me, 3 the dog or whoever

Who do you think I feel are your priorities? NOT who are but who I feel are.
1 my work, 2 my mother, 3 the kids, 4 the dog, 5 you

Would you like to feel that you are at the bottom of my priorities? How would that make you feel?

Would you stay in a relationship where you were never a priority. Where the person who was meant to put your first always put another woman first.

2rebecca Fri 12-Dec-14 15:02:30

Your relationship sounds extremely unequal and part of that sounds as though it is because you have prioritised him and his wants over your own and encouraged his selfishness.
I think you need to start saying what you really mean and being less of a people pleaser. His mother obviously behaves like that so I think you have to ensure that your feelings are expressed as strongly as hers.
I would have refused to cancel the holiday and also told him when he first asked that you did mind him going to dinner with his mum alone on his birthday.
Make it clear that things have to change because you are feeling undervalued and unloved and the relationship won't last unless he puts you and his kids higher in his list of priorities.

TinyWishes Fri 12-Dec-14 15:16:03

I know exactly how you feel. My mil is overbearing. When me and hubby were getting married because she couldn't have her own way with something she refused to come. So trust me when I say I know how you feel. Always feeling 2nd best! (In the end the silly old cow did come and was quiet all day)

When she invited him out to lunch on his own he should of really said that you, him and the kids come as a package. they seem to be testing you and pushing you to see how far you will allow them to go and get away with.

Ultimately it needs to be him who needs to put his foot down with her and stop pandering to her and what she wants.

He needs to see you as a team. At the moment - it doesn't look like he does!


ithoughtofitfirst Fri 12-Dec-14 15:24:54

Thank you everyone. I actually feel really sorry for when it comes to his mother. They have (in my opinion) quite an unhealthy relationship. I really want to say all these things to him but he just will not see my point of view. Ever. Maybe i just want to be with someone who puts us first no matter what anyone else has to say about it. I don't think that's him. I keep hoping he will change.

cailindana Fri 12-Dec-14 15:32:01

I think your only option here is to say that if he wants to be married to his mother, he's welcome to go and do that. I think you need to put your cards on the table and say, yes, you don't want him to spend his birthday with anyone else because you're his wife and actually what was the point in getting married if you mean so little to each other than you don't want to be together on birthdays?

Vivacia Fri 12-Dec-14 15:59:39

I spent my entire childhood watching my dad put his mum before his children and wife. God it made my mum unhappy. I don't have any answers. He never changed. But I know my mum was happier once she stopped trying to accommodate her in-laws and started setting some boundaries.

ithoughtofitfirst Fri 12-Dec-14 16:00:04

Exactly... i just don't think being married to him will ever be what i wanted it to be. He needs to know that. He knows i won't go anywhere though so tbh i wonder if there's any point discussing it. When we've talked about it in the past he gets really upeet snd tells me how much he loves me and then a week later he's sacking me off to see his mum again. Happy days! fgrin

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 12-Dec-14 16:15:08

Unhappy days more like.

He is what is called a mother enmeshed man; she has never let him ever become his own person. He defers always to his mother out of a combination of FOG and he also has no sense of boundaries. This is who he really is.

I would actually seek legal advice for your own self to establish your legal position in the event you do separate. You do not have to go ahead with actually doing anything but knowledge after all is power.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 12-Dec-14 16:16:45

I would also think very carefully about him actually taking the children over to see their nan. He doing that also sends them very mixed messages, they will know in time that their mum is disliked by their nan.

FelineLou Fri 12-Dec-14 16:47:20

For his actual birthday i think you should buy delicious food (lots about its Christmas) and make sure he knows that you will celebrate his birthday at lunch at home with the little ones.
He'll only need a bit of bread and cheese at supper.
Then if he questions this - "Well next year stay and eat with your own family"
Passive aggressive but enjoyable for you!
Generally just stand up for what you want. Don't say yes when you mean "that is very hurtful and I want you to be here with us." with "because we all love you" if you want to say that.
She'll take him away if she can and you need a practical strategy to oppose her. Plan for the argument and stay very calm and loving but make your needs clear.

ithoughtofitfirst Fri 12-Dec-14 17:10:43

Hahaha brilliant! When my best friend couldn't be at my hen do we printed a lifesize photo of her face and put it on a stick for the photos. I could get one of 'daddy' so he can be there to enjoy all the lovely food.

On a more serious note though i have been thinking of the legal advice route all day. It would be good to know.

Holdthepage Fri 12-Dec-14 17:10:59

Sending you flowers ithoughtofitfirst, you sound a bit worn down by it.

Vivacia Fri 12-Dec-14 17:37:01

Good point about the children. Our nan used to say something pretty sly things about mum. Very difficult to handle if you're children.

TinyWishes Fri 12-Dec-14 18:10:50

Why can't these men (mine included!) just tell their interfering mothers to keep out of it?! confused

JuxaSnogUnderTheMistletoe Fri 12-Dec-14 21:06:50

Knowledge is power, and all that. Everyone makes better decisions when they have a few facts behind them, and you're no exception. So yes, check out the legal side, some lawyers do half hour free consultations, or there's CAB.

Do arrange something special to do on his birthday with the children, whether he's there or not. It's quite possible that when he finds you're seriously going out for the day or something, that he'll decide he'd rather go with you. Just make sure it's not somewhere close enough to just "drop in" on MIL grin

ithoughtofitfirst Sat 13-Dec-14 04:53:38

Thanks again everyone.

He came home from work and we talked for ages. He said all the classics. "You are my priority" "i wasn't thinking" "of course i want to spend my birthday with you". Ds was awake until late because he has been a bit poorly and out of routine so we didn't really get a chance to talk for long. We just acted normal. It felt nice to just get along because i really do love him. I don't know though i just don't feel happy anymore. He just doesn't get it and i'm not sure he ever will. I feel like i deserve better. I wish there was some way of calling ut a day without it implicating the kids. He's such a lovely father sad

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