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Elderly relatives vs wife and kids

(48 Posts)
peppajay Sat 09-May-15 18:53:01

To all intents and purposes I am a single mother as my dh isn't really involved as he can't do kids they are too loud and get in his way. I wish I could leave him but would feel too guilty for breaking the family up. I have no support I do everything And never get a break! He does sooooo much for everyone else he is so kind hearted and everyone loves him he cares for 6 of his elderly relatives and also my grandma - he relates to OAP's so well and without his help most of them would be in a home but he would not let this happen! When he is not at work he is with one of the old people NOT with his kids and wife I sound jealous of a bunch of 80 and 90 yr olds but he chooses them over us. I know he doesn't like family life and finds it really hard so not sure if he is using these elderly relatives as an escape route from us. If I ask him to look after one of the Children as I have something to do with the other one he generally can't do it as he has some appointment with one if the relatives it or he needs to go and make sure that my nan has heated her dinner up thoroughly!! My daughter has a friend for a sleepover tonight but he is gone to sleep at my nans, he will cook her meals for the week and then play cards or backgammon, thus way he doesn't have to listen to kids having fun (or in his words hyper excited kids singing Jessie j songs all night with no respect for the adults in the house!!) I have spoken to him several times but he says without him they wouldn't cope when I say what about his wife and kids he just says I am such a good mum and cope with the kids so well - better than him and that he is needed more to help with the old people! Any advice on how to play this I just want a proper husband and a father and have no life at the moment . Ps I know I sound bitter and jealous but just want a family!!!!

Nolim Sat 09-May-15 19:01:56

If you want a proper husband and dad he is not the man and has proved that much. Sorry.

peppajay Sat 09-May-15 19:09:47

I feel so guilty though as these elderly relatives really do need him and me and kids can cope without him whereas these old people can't so am I not just being selfish!!

paxtecum Sat 09-May-15 19:55:55

At the moment I know a couple of 90 + year olds who are living in their homes with the help of carers and their children.

The children who are in their 60s are expected to spend a lot of time including nights ( on a rota) looking after the old people.
The children have given up their voluntary work and travel 500 miles every week to do this care.

I have made a promise to myself not to be a burden to my DCs and to put myself into a home when I need care.


Nolim Sat 09-May-15 20:02:27

Do the older relatives have other dc or dgc who could help? A rota sounds like a good idea.

springydaffs Sat 09-May-15 20:04:32

Doesn't he look good to everybody else eh hmm

Carers, paid for by the state, do the job he's doing - so, yes, they would cope fine without him if they had their own carers.

You have every right to be jealous. You don't have a husband.

inlectorecumbit Sat 09-May-15 20:12:43

I would suggest if he likes the company of the older generation so much he should move in with them for good.
He is using them as an excuse to opt out of family life, just what do you get out of the relationship with him.
If you gave him the choice the OAP's or family which would he chose?

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 09-May-15 20:44:09


What do you get out of this relationship now?. Answer that question to your own self honestly.

You have written about this man before and at some length. He has and will not change; this is who he is, the real him.

If you want a family man DH you will have to find another husband because this DH will always put you and his own family unit dead last.

He is not the DH you want him to be and is not taking any real part in family life either. What message does that send your children?. He buggers off when it gets too difficult for him to handle. He like many abusive types as well are all sweetness and light to those in the outside world but behind closed doors its a different story.

Stuff feeling guilty and guilt is a useless emotion; do you think he feels any guilt for what he has done here to you and your children?. No. He has used these older people simply to opt out of family life, lives which he himself also created.

What do you think your children are learning about relationships here?
Is this really what you want to teach your children about relationships?.

peppajay Sat 09-May-15 22:31:07

Realistically I can't end it as it would hurt so many people - the kids would be devastated as they worship their dad. As he does so much for everyone I would just be seen as a selfish cow by both sides of the family. To everyone but me he is mr perfect!! :0(

Nolim Sat 09-May-15 22:42:20

So what is the plan op? Stay with him indefinitely?

wannabestressfree Sat 09-May-15 22:48:00

Well realistically you can, you are choosing not too. So get used to it then...... Sorry

LowryFan Sat 09-May-15 22:48:36

What would happen if you said let's swap - half the time you go look after 'the old people' and he looks after the children?

Nanny0gg Sat 09-May-15 22:50:32

Why do children worship someone that has nothing to do with them?

That makes no sense to me.

And why would splitting up with you stop him looking after all these elderly people? Surely one isn't dependant on the other?

peppajay Sat 09-May-15 22:52:02

I really don't know - I just want him to pay more attention to his "family unit". I want a break and some time to be me. I get to go out with friends in the evenings but can never go out during the day kid free at the weekends as he is always busy with the OAps! He makes me feel that as a mother kids are my job and I can't just think it is ok to leave them with him or so I can go out. If we split he wouldn't be able to have the kids as he has no idea how to entertain them as he has very little interest by staying with him at least I get my couple of nights out in the evenings and being honest this time with my friends is what keeps me sane!

EvilTendency1 Sat 09-May-15 23:29:08

"Can't cope with the kids ?" angry

This where I would be replying "And this is where your lesson starts." as I walked out the door for 30 mins an hour or four .

If your not prepared to leave him then I think you'll just have to get used to it. That or start to draw firm lines even in relation to your relations and arrange carers for them and tell him you would him home more to be a father to his own children !

Jesus that would piss me off no end "Can't cope with the kids" my arse, how do men like him think women learn ?! On the job experience mate. hmm

EvilTendency1 Sat 09-May-15 23:30:19

blush Lots of typos there ...

cherryblossomtime Sat 09-May-15 23:49:08

It sounds like he has some sort of mental problem. Not being able to handle the kids at all, wanting to spend all his time with very elderly people. This is very odd behaviour compared to most men his age.

cherryblossomtime Sat 09-May-15 23:53:02

I'm not saying others dont shirk childcare responsibilities or take on care of elderly relatives, but the way you describe it is very unusual. I have never heard of anyone acting this way. So that is why I say he has some mental or other difficulty that you need to look into more closely.

DistanceCall Sun 10-May-15 01:37:37

peppajay, your children will still have their father. You would be breaking up your marriage, not your children's family.

Do you really think that seeing that their mother is unnoticed and unloved will be good for your children? (And believe me, children DO notice). Is this the example of a relationship that you want to set for them?

DistanceCall Sun 10-May-15 01:40:34

And if you split up and he refuses to take care of his children, there is always babysitters/child minders. You don't have to sacrifice yourself like this. Your children won't thank you later in life because you sacrificed your happiness for them. They'll resent you for it rather.

Iflyaway Sun 10-May-15 01:59:39

realistically I can't end it as it would hurt so many people

So actually, you are living your life according to what everyone else thinks and putting your needs last to theirs.

If I knew a man was spending all his too much time taking care of everyone else except his own wife and children I would not raise an eyebrow if I heard they were splitting up. In fact I would say "Doesn't surprise me at all".

Your children are not getting a good role model of what relationships or family life comprise of.

The cynical me would be wondering if he's hoping they will leave him their money.... (sorry if that's totally uncalled for).

If I met a man who was taking care of an elderly relative or neighbour that would endear me to them and respect them for it, 6 of them I'd be hmm.

Iflyaway Sun 10-May-15 02:01:13

Unless it was in a professional capacity of course.

Isetan Sun 10-May-15 07:39:08

How long before your children realise that their dad's dedication to OAP's, isn't the reason for his emotional and physical distance from them? Children have an uncanny knack of assuming responsibility for the poor decisions of the primary adults in their lives, in this case, 'dad isn't here because we are'.

How long before they start to stifle their personalities in an effort to win the affection of someone who isn't interested in having a relationship with them and how soul destroying it must be, to be exposed to that everyday in their home sanctuary.

You are your children's advocate, stop coluding in the pretence by enabling this man to run away and make their home a place where they know they are loved and wanted, by everyone who lives there.

Do something now (suggest counselling etc) while you still care, before the frustration turns to resentment and you lose respect for your H.

peppajay Sun 10-May-15 08:19:53

He is such a loyal, loving person to those in need he does anything to help others and his kindness and love is what drew me to him in the first place. Looking back to his childhood he was almost brought up by his nan and spent a lot if time with his childless aunt and uncle - the reason being his mum couldn't cope so he feels they did so much for him he needs to look after them in old age. My son has aspergers and i think he has too and that is why his mum couldnt cope and why being at home with us stresses him out- that and being so tired from work and helping the OAP's, but because i am not a broken heap on the floor and can cope he doesn't see the problem with all he does for the OAP's as they need him and we can cope. He thinks there is nothing wrong and is helping those in need and we are not in need. Counselling would be a no no as he can't see a problem and people within the family and the community see me as the one with a problem because I should be grateful all he does for everyone else!

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 10-May-15 08:23:01


re your comment:-
"Realistically I can't end it as it would hurt so many people - the kids would be devastated as they worship their dad"

Is this really another version of the "good dad" comment that so many women in abusive relationships write about. You have not written one good word about him from your own personal perspective. What does that tell you?. How do you feel about him when he is in your house now?.

What you want i.e. for him to pay more attention to life at home is simply not going to happen. He gets what he wants from this so called relationship; its the power he wants and he does not get anything from being with his children that he himself also created. My late FIL was of a similar nature.

Separating from him means the break up of your marriage, not your kids family.

The above is your perception, you think they worship their dad. Why do you think that?. Their dad is someone who is hardly ever there so how can they supposedly feel that way to him?. No, its not a good enough reason Peppajay for staying within your collapsing marriage. Your children won't say "thanks mum" for staying either; they will instead see you as weak willed and wonder why you put him before them. You are showing your children that your needs do not matter at all and they are by turn expected to fall into line.

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