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can i make this work?

(41 Posts)
MsInformed Wed 17-Dec-14 10:07:31

I've been with my partner for over 3 years, we have a 2 year old daughter together.

It was a rebound relationship after my husband and I split (no kids, we're still married). We'd known each other for years and I fell pregnant not long after we started seeing each other.

Fast forward 3 years and after the excitement of our whirlwind romance, unexpected pregnancy and subsequent amazing child, the wheels are starting to fall off.

I'm starting to feel resentment and bitterness towards him and it's meaning I'm not a very nice person to him sad. Mainly belittling and showing apathy towards him. he doesn't deserve it. He's a wonderful dad and partner, everything he does is for us. I find myself nitpicking everything he does and taking him for granted. It's not a partnership or really a relationship.

Due to his working pattern we don't see much of each other and I don't know if that's making things worse as we rarely have the chance to reconnect or if it's a blessing.

My problem has always been that I look to what other people have and I benchmark my life against that. I realise this will always set me up to fail and be unhappy.

I'm determined that my child will not come from a broken home, I realise in many cases that this is the best option but I feel that the problem lies with me in this case and that I'd be bailing without even trying. This may seem a strange analogy but I think that if people can get arranged marriages to work then surely I can work at this and we can all be happy?

Any advice most welcome.

Twinklebells Wed 17-Dec-14 10:27:31

No good will ever come from staying together for the sake of a child. Why is a broken home so awful? I don't think you should stay with him because you clearly don't like him do you. Why on earth should he stay with you if you are belittling him. Not really a good example to set to your daughter is it?

CogitOIOIO Wed 17-Dec-14 10:28:09

"bailing without even trying"

I always think that 'trying' is an odd word in the context of an emotion like love. It may be necessary to put a little effort into showing appreciation and attention in a long term relationship but it shouldn't require any effort to love someone or be kind to them. Do you have to 'try' to be nice to your DD? Doubt it. I have no idea how arranged marriages work quite honestly, but suspect a lot of it comes down to ideas such as 'duty', 'obligation' and 'sheer dumb luck'.

If you don't see much of each other I'd suggest you start there. I'd also suggest you make a conscious choice to speak more kindly. What is it you feel resentful and bitter about, I wonder? Him specifically? Him compared to other people? Your life in general?

BTW.. having been the child in a home where Mum nitpicked, belittled and generally bullied Dad I can honestly tell you, fifty years on, that I wish to hell they'd got divorced. It's a fucking miserable way to grow up.

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Wed 17-Dec-14 10:33:04

I don't much like the sound of you.

If your partner was posting for advice I would tell him to ltb

Are you a nicer person outside of this relationship ? If so, jack it in and do everyone a favour.

MsInformed Wed 17-Dec-14 10:46:55

I come from a broken home and it was awful. I've never wanted that for any children I would go on to have.

The resentment I feel towards him is from my own unhappiness. I know only I can make myself happy but I seem to expect that to be his job. We can go along for a while where we get on great and are close but then we just drift apart again and my behaviour leaves a lot to be desired. I think it's a coping mechanism from me, if I push him away and do the hurting then I can't get hurt.

I'm aware I'm not a nice person and I project how I feel about myself onto others.

talbotinthesky Wed 17-Dec-14 10:51:46

What is it other people have that you feel you're missing out on?
You admit he's wonderful and you have a child together, it's a lot more than some people have. I'm not saying you should stay with him just because of that mind.

ExtraVolume Wed 17-Dec-14 10:52:04

Get counselling for yourself. Its a really good first step that you recognise what you are doing.

Twinklebells Wed 17-Dec-14 10:52:35

well my children live in a 'broken' home and it is lovely and far from broken. I think it is very narrow minded of you to presume a single parent home is not good enough.

dadwood Wed 17-Dec-14 11:00:40

Hi MsInformed

You sound like you are trying to get to the bottom of it. Would you benefit form some counselling on your own?

My problem has always been that I look to what other people have and I benchmark my life against that. I realise this will always set me up to fail and be unhappy.

Yes, this'll make you anxious and unhappy. You need to learn to accept yourself without reference to what others have or do not have. Start avoiding overly competitive people and practice mutual support with supportive people.

If you don't fancy or like your partner and you don't think it's fixable, you shouldn't stay with him IMO. Best all round.

CogitOIOIO Wed 17-Dec-14 11:10:29

If you want to sort out whatever it is that is making you insecure or leads you to bully others then that's fair enough, but I don't think your partner should be expected to sit patiently and wait for the process to be successful. That's asking too much

What was your broken home like growing up? Why was it awful? How was it broken?

pinkfrocks Wed 17-Dec-14 11:22:57

What's missing from your post is why you are no longer in love with or love him.
What is so annoying about him?
Why have your feelings changed?
And why have you stalled on a divorce?

Until you identify what is missing then there is no hope of fixing the relationship.

MsInformed Wed 17-Dec-14 11:41:31

I appreciate you all taking the time to respond to me.

My childhood was not great, my parents divorced when I was young and it split the family in 2 with my dad going off with OW and my older (half)siblings, leaving my mum and me. There was spite and vitriol throughout my childhood, teenage years and even now. Neither of my parents can seem to move on and I still bear the brunt of it. I have always been piggy in the middle with the two of them and made to feel wrong for loving the other parent. Nearly 4 decades on and they still carry so much hate and spite for each other. I do not want my child to go through that their whole life. That is my limited experience of a broken home, I've lived it and still am. I carry a lot of bitterness about it and it breaks my heart to think of putting my innocent daughter through that.

I can't seem to be happy/grateful for what I have. I always think other people seem happier with their lives and I don't know what's missing from mine. I compare my now relationship to that of my ex, with my STBXH we were very much in love, we both had butterflies for each other for most of our 15 year relationship, I don't remember ever feeling about him (as negatively) as the way I feel about my now DP. I'm comparing them but I shouldn't. We split for many reasons, mainly because we fell out of that love eventually and realised we were just friends. He was too much into his partying and living the high life, he never grew up. I was a teenager when we got together and partied with him for many many years. But in the cold light of day, when one too many hangovers had kicked in, I realised it wasn't for me. The children he promised he wanted never materialised as there was no sex life for our entire marriage. It was going nowhere so we went our separate ways and are still good friends.

I don't have that excitement with DP, I do fancy him though, but I don't have that rush I got with my ex. Granted, my life has changed so much since then. I can't do the partying and have the freedom that I used to, we are restricted with our jobs and our daughter and general "grown up" life.

Hmm, typing that all out has been very cathartic and has made me realise that I'm wishing over a past life that there's no going back to, it wasn't even one I wanted back then for the long term!

queenoftheknight Wed 17-Dec-14 11:49:29

It probably wouldn't matter what you did or didn't do, or where you went and with whom. The problem is inside.

Get on the BACP website and get a decent therapist today. You could make a start as early as tomorrow if you're lucky.

pinkfrocks Wed 17-Dec-14 11:53:24

First- you need counselling / psychotherapy to deal with your own childhood and parenting.

Next, your own experience of a torn family does not have to be replicated now. You are not your mum or your dad.

And finally, you seem to be repeating a pattern in your relationships; namely that when the first flush wears off you bolt.

Or you are not a good judge of what makes you tick and what your ex and current partner bring with them to the relationship.

You sound quite immature in some way with your expectations of a long term relationship. I suppose it's pointing out the obvious that a rebound relationship that has the added complication of a quick pregnancy is not the best start after a divorce. With hindsight you should have had some time alone for a year or two then settled into a new relationship slowly without having a baby.

You also contradict yourself- you say you had a 'rush' with your ex but no sexlife- that's a bit odd as the two usually go together.

I think you need to focus on what you current partner does give you and think about couples' counselling to try to make things better- there is a 3rd person now in your lives and you owe it to them to give your relationship another shot rather than running away as soon as the dull reality of every day life hits you.

MsInformed Wed 17-Dec-14 11:54:34

Xpost pink

For a while, I wasn't purposefully stalling for a divorce. There was so much going with falling pregnant and then taking care of my baby etc that I didn't think about it much. Now I'm scared to in case DP proposes.. We've talked about getting married. God knows why he'd want to.

I can't pinpoint why I get annoyed at him, it's me that's unfufilled by my life and I take it out on him and blame him (internally) for my life and unhappiness.

He sometimes says that he doesn't think I like him very much which is heart breaking and makes me make an effort to be nicer to him. He deserves better than this, I know I can be a better person but maybe I'm being selfish and should be the bigger person and let him go.

I am not being a good role model for my daughter. I do NOT want her treating people like this when she's older. It makes you miserable, bitter and lonely. I feel good about myself when I'm nicer (that sounds so pathetic), everyone's happier and I actually feel happy. It's sustaining it that's the problem and it's just easier in the short term to shut people out and be dismissive as I guess that's my default personality. I feel sorry for my daughter having me as a mother and worry about how she'll turn out.

MsInformed Wed 17-Dec-14 11:57:34

Thank you. I'm in tears at the moment so going to step away for a while and reflect on both what you and I said.

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Wed 17-Dec-14 11:57:54

Reading your further updates, do you think you could be depressed ?

Quitelikely Wed 17-Dec-14 12:29:48

You have criticised your parents on here haven't you? Well can I just say the apple never falls far from the tree does it? I'm not saying your a replica but you are behaving badly enough towards your partner and in doing so your child.

You look to your partner for happiness - we are all responsible for our own happiness. Your partner is who he is and he sounds like a decent person. Stop subjecting him to misery, get of your backside and find the things that make you happy. You are the only obstacle to this not him.

You are fantasising about your previous life, even though it was sexless? Now that is strange.

Please when your dp gets in from work tonight, verbally acknowledge your bad behaviour towards him and tell him (assuming you want to stay) that you are going to take the appropriate steps to sort it out.

If you can't quite find the gusto to do it then admit to yourself you are abusive and go your desperate ways. If not for his sake but the sake of your daughter who will be damaged by your ways (in the same way you were as a child).

MsInformed Wed 17-Dec-14 12:31:08

Yes AF. I've been prescribed ADs several times since a teenager.

Last stint was for 6 months after DD was born. I had CBT in my early twenties but didn't stick at it as was made to talk to a chair pretending it was my dad and also flush all the bad feeling down the sink. This put me off as I felt stupid and was just saying things that I thought they wanted me to hear.

This last time I asked for counselling again but the doctor said the waiting list was months long and funding had been cut so would be harder for be to get the sessions as they were based further away so I was given ADs to see how I got on. They helped for a while.

I do think I need counselling as the ADs only seem to be a temporary measure but I can't afford private so I don't know anymore. I think this is it for me, I can't see how I'll get better but feel like I'm getting worse.

MsInformed Wed 17-Dec-14 12:33:23

I completely agree Quite likely.

I just don't know what steps to take to get me there.

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Wed 17-Dec-14 12:54:52

I am sorry for being harsh earlier, MsInformed

The thing is, you are going to drive your partner away if you carry on. Only a complete doormat would tolerate this kind of treatment long term and I don't expect a doormat is at all attractive or sexy

I too find it odd that you romanticise your marriage even though it was sexless. I presume you were fairly happy to get pg to someone else so quickly since it was never going to happen with the previous one

From the outside that could look like you used your present bloke to get pregnant and now you no longer have use for him. That's a terrible impression to give, so if it isn't true you do (like QL says) need to seek help in sorting this out.

pinkfrocks Wed 17-Dec-14 13:06:07

You do need counselling.
Have a look at the Counselling Directory ( they only register qualified people) or the BACPs and see who is in your areas- then look at their profiles. Many counsellors will give concessions ( cheaper rates) for clients in difficulty with money. Maybe you can cut back on other things to put towards your sessions because imo they are essential for you- not s luxury.

As everyone else has said you are responsible for your happiness.
From what you have said you are carrying a lot of anger around that goes back to your parenting and your parents' divorce. This needs unravelling so you can stop feeling sad, bitter, angry and start to create a happy life for yourself. You have that potential- just find it !

What makes you tick? What gives you a buzz? What can you put into your own day or week that makes you feel happy? I'm thinking of small stuff like cooking something, reading a book, listening to music, going for a walk in the park with DD, phoning a friend and having a natter- all these things give some meaning to our lives.

On a bigger level, what are your ambitions? Do you need to add to your qualifications? Do you work and if so is work a place of happiness? if not, why not? What about hobbies- sport, creative,.....????????????

You need to start investing in you- and not looking for it from others.

What is it that you envy? Do you think other people are happier? Richer? More ' in love'? it's likely to be an illusion- most of us are struggling to get by and making a mess of some stuff along the way.

If you really can't get to counselling, get yourself some self help books on positive thinking and CBT- Mind over Mood is a classic or CBT for Dummies- and do some work on yourself.

EhricJinglingHisBallsOnHigh Wed 17-Dec-14 13:09:48

Single parent families are not broken. My family consists of me and my DS and it's lovely.

MsInformed Wed 17-Dec-14 13:22:43

Thanks AF. I've been on these boards for a few years, mainly lurking, occasional posts and very frequent name changes. I'm always drawn to your replies for their frankness and that you always seem to be able to cut through the bullshit.

I agree he's not going to be a doormat forever and nor he should. I'm pushing him away, I know that and can feel it - there's been slight shifts in his behaviour towards me. It's unfair on him to live like this.

I don't know if I'm romanticising my marriage per say, I think more my whole lifestyle back then. It wasn't a marriage really but we were best friends and totally got each other, we laughed together and had fun. I felt security back then and thought my whole life was mapped out.

I didn't intentionally get pregnant and certainly never ever thought of my DP as being used solely for that purpose. After my marriage broke down I became reckless, drinking too much and then hooking up with DP and not using protection. In an ideal world I would've waited but life can't always be planned. It has always felt ironic to me that I wanted a baby with my ex for so long and then bam it happened with someone else within 3 months of separating. Obviously having sex had something to do with it!

I've known DP for many years through various relationships he's had and all through my previous one and he's never been one for settling down and was always vocal about how he never wanted kids. Then we had our DD and he's an amazing father, he can't believe he ever thought that way before and says it's all down to being with the right person sad I feel like I'm conning him. It's not always bad but I can see how this would wear him down over time (and me) and how it could end up being a miserable existence for us both sooner rather than later.

I need to do something about it. For all 3 of us.

MsInformed Wed 17-Dec-14 13:25:52

I appreciate your post pink.

I'm going to head to out with DD to the park for a run about and some fresh air to clear my head.

Will reply upon my return.

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