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Objective opinions please(40 Posts)
I've read but not posted before (too scared at being recognised, feeling that my issues are just a whinge, others have it far harder. I have a man who loves me and wonderful children and family around me) and it has been such a relief to read about the various experiences other people are having as it means I don't feel quite so alone. So I am being brave and putting into words some things that I feel I have to confront, but can't see a way through for now in the hope that people may be able to help with some objective advice. This is a long term thing. I think I know what I have to do but it terrifies me.
I am sorry if it is long, it has been slowly getting worse now and there's a lot to tell.
Met young (both now in late 40s) he decided to go into further study for a career that required it, but would never be financially secure. I couldn't really decide what I wanted to do so I went into full time work. I supported him financially through study then as he started out with very low paid work. His work was rarely every day, as a student he was often at home, he would sleep in and chill out whilst I worked long hours and I would come home to piles of washing up and housework mounting up. But we didn't have children and so it didn't seem to really matter. We argued about it but eventually it would get done. Then his work built up and he would have contracts that kept him busy for periods of time but never any permanent work and it never paid very well. At this point rows escalated a bit. He said he didn't see why he should wash up or cook or clean as he was working. I worked my socks off, got promoted and workload increased for me as I moved up in the company.
4 children (aged 16-7) later and I had to work full time through all of them as his work dwindled and eventually dried up completely. I now have a job that requires me to work at home as well as be at work every day, he has found hourly (low) paid work and works 3 short days across 4 and some evenings as well.
My job isn't one of those you can just leave at the office usually 12-15 hour days. I do as much with the children as I can but any free time I have is spent on the housework which I can barely keep on top of. He does very little and what he does do is always accompanied by sighs and groans and long texts or messages to me listing all the chores he has attempted and how busy he is.
His financial contribution is tiny and I don't earn loads. If I lost my job we would be in serious financial trouble. This is quite a burden and the pressure is on to always try to over-achieve because of the fear of it all falling apart.
I leave the house at 7am and the earliest I'm home is 6pm. I then work at my desk until at least 11pm most nights. I'm knackered, run down am spaced out and dizzy with exhaustion a lot of the time. Also have to work at weekends.
But the real problem is that I have started to feel huge amounts of resentment towards him because of this and it is destroying me from the inside. It seems so unfair, I can't understand how he can be so unproductive around the house and how he has no drive to go out and find some better work, take life by the balls and make something of himself. he's intelligent, well-qualified and yet has settled for a crappy job that he just moans about all the time.
This last few weeks have been awful. I can't look at him or talk to him, I can't bear him to touch me. The sound of him eating or droning on about how hard his day has been sets my teeth on edge. Endless texts and calls about how busy he is while I'm trying to work drive me mad and if I miss something or don't reply there's always a comment or a put down. If I say anything or ask him to do more I am being horrible to him, I don't understand how there's no time, I don't appreciate how hard it is etc. He's always moaning to other people how hard his life is.
Some of the things I resent:
Why can't he get the chores done? I can't understand how he can possibly be so slow and unproductive, so bad at time management and can't organise himself better: excuse-I get done what needs to be done
He won't get a better paid job because he doesn't have time to apply for one and doesn't want to have to work outside office hours: excuse-have to look after the kids
He says he doesn't have time to do the housework, present buying, thank you cards, read letters from school, keep on top of bills etc etc: excuse- he doesn't care about these things, they don't matter
I spend all weekend tidying and catching up on washing, sorting school uniforms etc.: excuse-he hasn't had time
I pay a cleaner which I can't afford just so the toilets are cleaned and the house is hoovered or it wouldn't get done: excuse-he hasn't got time
Comments in front of the children or other people about how mum is always working or mum doesn't have time for us or mum is no fun: excuse-He never gets to do anything fun with me because I'm too tired or choose to be working.
At the moment I am biting my tongue. I pretend all the time. Pretend to be interested, pretend things are OK. Pretend I am interested in him, pretend I can live like this forever, pretend that I'm OK with doing this forever
If I try to confront this I'm either unreasonable, unsympathetic, selfish or the worst wife and mother ever because I should want to be with him and the children and instead I choose to work (so unfair).
So my options
1) Go to counselling, try to explain my resentment through another person so he listens and hears it. I guess I would have to do the same with his grievances against me too
2) Put up with it and hope that it passes and I can feel better about it and like him again
3) Get my finances sorted and think about going. This makes me feel so sad so it is very much a last resort
I'm so sorry this is long. It all came out in a rush. But if anyone has advice or just a hug for me, I would be so grateful.
I didn't want to read and run but I don't have much advice .
I don't think option 2 is really an option. It's either option 1 or 3. I think 1 should be tried as there must be good points, as you married and had children with him.
Perhaps if you go to counselling he will finally realise how stressed and tired you are and he might start pulling his weight.
Oh. My. God.
He is totally and utterly taking the piss. And has done since your last child started school full time.
I understand chaos at home. I too have 4 dcs. It's never going to be picture perfect and you're never going to be on top of it.
But my word, he's had an easy ride of it.
I would sit down and divvy up household tasks. More for him. And our older dcs. They must be done on particular days (otherwise they won't get done) and without moaning.
You've got to say enough is enough.
I can't say about the employment/earning issue as it's hard to judge without knowing more.
You need to get really tough with him though. You do far far far too much.
I have a man who loves me
No you don't. You have a selfish manchild who places more demands on you than all of your dc put together.
You've made this rod for your own back and it's time to kick him out, give the cleaner more hours, and get yourself an au pair.
Not option 2. Certainly not option 2 under any circumstances.
I would be looking at option 3. You've enabled him throughout your relationship at great cost to yourself emotionally and physically. He's never grown up properly and you've done all the donkey work (his mother likely ran around after him as well with his father also doing bugger all. He came to expect this as a given and you've carried on with that nurturing type role too).
What sort of job do you have where you are working till 11pm (and surviving on minimal sleep)?. That also needs re-examining; you're killing yourself working.
He may well equally not want to go to any counselling sessions; if this is the case then go on your own.
Is this really what you want to teach your children about relationships?.
Option 3. Sorry, he is a cocklodger, and doesn't want to change.
"I have a man who loves me"
No you don't, you really do not have that at all I am sorry to say. His actions are not loving ones at all, they seem to me to be him playing at keeping house (and badly) whilst you as the serf/mug does all the work.
He is a lazy arse who does not respect you or your children at all; if he did he would not be treating you with such contempt.
For a first post you've written a great and distinctively non-whingey summary of what's happened. I'm sorry things have become so hard but if I were in your position I would probably feel the same way.
My first impression would be:
1) It sounds like he's lost his confidence and his mojo. Not uncommon for the parent who does most of the domestic work and takes a step back in career.
2) It sounds like maybe you are working too much and he resents that, feeling like he and the family are not as important in your life (and obviously not understanding the pressure you feel to keep the family afloat financially).
I can see how 4 kids is a huge amount of work, but I assume they're in education so there should be time to do more than he is doing. They should also be at an age where they could possibly help out more too.
As far as your options go, the option you haven't listed is taking some time away together and REALLY talking through everything and listening to each other, possibly in a joint counselling environment. I think the biggest problem is that talking through things doesn't seem to be something that you have any belief in and a breakdown in communication is a huge red flag in a relationship that's under as much pressure as yours.
You must do SOMETHING.
This can and must not go on.
I see two problems.
1) your lazy, good for nothing partner.
2) your job that you appear to give so much to with low reward.
Sort out problem 1) and then look at how to improve/change problem 2)
I can't believe you have lasted THIS long without the resentment.
You must be a saint.
Thank you SO much everyone.
There's really really good advice here and things I hadn't thought of.
I'm not ready for 3) yet but I feel like I'm taking tiny baby steps towards it in my head instead of burying it like I have been.
Maybe I can help him find his mojo, as well instead of just punishing him. If not then I'll know I tried.
Great idea to take time out and really talk. And I do work too much and I will address this, for everyone's sake particularly the children.
I'm no saint honestly. Just perhaps didn't quite realise how much piss was being taken as it has been gradual.
stop pretending op
you deserve so much more
This will most probably be frowned on, but having been an enabler for all of my married life, the only strategy that worked for me was the short, sharp shock.
He's very clever in that he heads you off with excuses before you can really make your point about what you need or the help that is so obviously lacking. And he expects you to give in. Because you always do,
So, stop behaving like you always do, and don't be deflected, Does he have a hobby that your income or his lack of full time work facilitates? Cut it off. Say there's no more money for that. Become selfish. Spend some money on yourself and start to make his life more uncomfortable. It's only then when he realises the actual weight of responsibility that he will change his behaviour. Talking will achieve nothing.
Use your elder children as acting babysitters so he can no longer rely on that old chestnut.
He is a cocklodger.
But you need option 4. Make him leave and stop bloody supporting his laziness and winging. A nanny would be money well spent.
I sound like am being a martyr (something he accuses me of) or after sympathy.
Need to not be. I am better than that.
Pretending won't solve anything. Work on your relationship if you want to, but it sounds like you're both completely incompatible.
Lost his mojo?
He's never had one otherwise you wouldn't be in the state you are, OP, and I very much doubt he'll be inclined to go in search of one now as his self-entitlement has become entrenched.
Booting him out will at least give him something real to moan about and if you allow this grossly unequal state of affairs to continue you'll work yourself into an early grave.
OP it sounds like you're not ready to take this step yet, and you have to move at your own pace. But my STBXH's behaviour was very similar to this. He actually worked full time but refused to contribute anwhere near equally, either financially or on the childcare front. One of the last straws for me was him chucking his job in on a complete pipe-dream and expecting me to support him indefinitely while he played at being a "businessman".
There were other factors in my marriage which may not have been there in yours.
But I totally recognise the resentment, the impatience, you describe. The shutting down when you hear the endless litany of excuses and the disgust at the lack of drive and motivation.
I got to the point where I knew the resentment would eat me alive. Don't allow your entire life to be eroded by feeling pissed off at someone else who refuses to pull their weight.
Try to shock him out of it if you think it will help. But please don't just tolerate it indefinitely. The marriage will die a death anyway, it will just be slower and far more painful for all concerned.
Sorry if that sounds harsh or gloomy. But if he's not prepared to radically change his outlook you will not be able to put up with this much longer.
Don't know how to reply directly to posts, sorry as am mumsnet virgin but thank you newnamesamegame and to others.
Hearing experiences of others is scary but very helpful so thank you for sharing. I need to get headspace and really think about all of this. To be honest I've thought about posting this for ages now. I think the fact that I did it is a step in the right direction.
OP: just wanted to add: it is scary. And it may be unpleasant when you are going through it.
But you will feel much better when you are free of the baggage.
My H left 2 months ago after about three months when the marriage was really in its death throes. That bit was horrible.
I still have my ups and downs, but generally I feel much better now than I have for years.
Christ what a wanker! So he was happy enough for you to support him while studying, you've continued working all hours to pay for everything and then he throws it back in your face by saying Mummy chooses to work instead of being with family! That's fucking unforgivable. To add insult to injury he does fuck all in the house bleating about being 'too busy'. What a fucking cockend.
Give him a chance to shape up if you want but only the one. People like him only change if they want to, it really doesn't sound like he thinks there's anything wrong with him so he probably won't think he has to change.
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