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Long. Pessimistic DH.(24 Posts)
DH and I have been married 4 years; together nearly 9. We have a 3yr old DS. DH is in every respect an excellent father and husband. We are having some issues at the moment; we are suffering from secondary infertility. DH is looking for a new job as he is very unhappy in the current one. If he finds a new one we will almost certainly have to move and this will impact on finding a school for DS before January so there is added time pressure. I'm just returning to full-time work (from a part time position) in a stressful job. We are both under pressure and feeling it.
Up until last year, the plan had been that I would work full-time until DS went to school when I would quit my job and start freelancing from home. It was a risky plan but would mean that I would be home to take DS to and from school. We could live on DH's income although it would be tight. This plan went out of the window when DH decided that he hated his current job. He has a bit of form for this: he lasts for about a year in a company then decides that everything about how it is run is terrible and he has to leave. He is also concerned that his current company is not going to survive much longer (I'm in no position to judge whether or not that is true, I am taking his word for it). I've accepted that I need to be full-time in my job at least for the time being in order to ensure we have a steady income and to help in the event that we need to move house.
All the stress and uncertainty is starting to really impact on our relationship and I'm starting to feel really quite resentful towards him. He is not good at showing emotion or engaging with mine; if I cry he will rarely put an arm around me. He doesn't ask how I feel about things. He will articulate how he feels when I ask but it can be like pulling teeth. He is also, and he will freely admit this himself, a very negative person. I am trying to avoid attempting to "change" him but at the same time I am trying to maintain a positive outlook for both of us. Apart from anything else, I can't help but think that his constant doom and gloom can't be helping his interviewing.
I'm exhausted. I'm tired of having to put a positive spin on everything. I'm resentful of having to abandon plans to be available to our child. I'm deeply deeply upset at the likelihood that we will never have another child (we may be able to have IVF but we won't be able to do so until after any house move and then we may well not have the money). I feel like I am the one finding solutions, making things better and (emotionally) supporting him while I have no support of my own. None of the challenges we are facing right now are his fault (in my unkinder moments I do wonder if he brings the job problems on himself but ultimately it is important that he is happy in his work) but his response to them is just so dismally lacking in positivity. All the change and upheaval could be exciting and a good thing for our family but even if it isn't, we have to go through it so we may as well make it a happy experience. I know he gets fed up of me trying to encourage him to approach things from a more positive angle but I don't know how else to handle it all.
It is possible that I am being completely unreasonable; I'm ready to hear that. But if I'm not, I don't know how to make him a happier person. He's not depressed; he's simply miserable and negative and it's making me miserable too.
It rather sounds to me as if you are incompatible.
I understand how wearing it is to be with someone who is constantly negative, its depressing and makes life a whole lot harder.
I imagine you have tried discussing his lack of support for you? Have you considered counselling?
But you married him so if he hasn't changed surely you liked this about him before?
Your DH sounds clinically depressed, has he seen his GP about this? I believe this could be the starting point here.
Doreen, that's quite unhelpful - a character trait can become more established over time and can also wear on the other partner.
Doreen, that's quite unhelpful - a character trait can become more established over time and can also wear on the other partner.
Indeed it can. Can't one ask a question on here then?
Fair point : I married him knowing that his default position was to be what he describes as being "a grumpy old man ". It's sort of a running joke. I should be clear ; I love him very much, it's just in the situation we're currently in, I find it wearing. I can play up the cynicism too at times but he's really committed to it!
He's not depressed - he has none of the traits or symptoms.
Putting a positive spin on everything is wearing you out and making you more resentful. It is clearly your role at the moment in the relationship but it's not clear whether it's a role that is needed, or whether it was needed in the past but is now working against you.
I can imagine it would be frightening to let all the fear and anger and depression be expressed if you are afraid you would not get support.
What would happen if you expressed all your fears and anger and then told dh that you need him to put his arm around you and give you a long hug? It is just possible that if he has to take on the comforter role a bit more that he will grow into it.
Ask him also to reflect a bit on his past jobs and to think how he would have put up with it a bit longer if he'd had to. I am a job changer myself but not that quickly and not when I've got other responsibilities - with the result that I'm now full time and dh is a sahd.
Ok. So running jokes can wear out. One day he really will be a grumpy old man and believe me it's no picnic either being one or looking after one, but at least they have reasons like constant pain, bereavement or whatever. Right now he is presumably a young man who could choose, not to be pollyanna, but not to fill the lives of the people around him with grey sludge. Everyone needs to shit, but in order to live with other people you learn to shit at the right time and place. Emotional shit is much the same. He doesn't have to greet the dawn with a hymn of joy but he should try a few things like a gratitude diary (three things that went well or were good today), smiling more (has a straightforward physiological effect), or taking on board the old saying that if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all.
I think you need to stop putting a positive spin on things, tell him you are sick of putting a positive spin on things and he needs to sit down and talk to you as a rational adult about the situation. And I'd probably tell him I was close to walking if he doesn't buck his ideas up and start pulling his adult weight for the family.
My OH is a grumpy old man as well. Whenever something good happens he always does the 'but what about x' and I tell him I don't wanna hear it and I have taken it into consideration before I made the decision.
Ok, is he negative or a realist?
What part of your current predicament is he being negative about?
What is his occupation ? This imo will have some bearing on whether he has the right to complain about the way a company is run....,.,
All companies can be a bit back handed or have procedures we all hate or don't see the logic of. It's whether it actually affects him or not though??
Have you tried agreeing with him. That what ever stuff could go wrong will go wrong.
Why is he upheaving the whole family, given his past experiences, moving for a job that will only last a year before he needs to change again. What is going to happen then? Or is he doing all of this so you never get to give up work and work from home? Is he actually scared that if you did go freelance that either your business would be so successful that you no longer need him or is it because whilst you are earning a regular wage he can afford to pratt about going from one job to the next whilst having a regular income coming in?
annandale I think you understand! Thank you! I have tried the gratitude thing with him but he was so begrudging that it didn't really work. I will try again though. You're right about telling him that he needs to support me too. I keep putting it off because he's got interviews and I don't want to distract him from those. But maybe it would be good to have that talk beforehand as it might alter his mindset a little bit?
Quitelikely5 His negativity is always realistic but he seeks out the bad in everything. For example, we started talking about moving (for HIS job) and he was immediately focussing on the worrying, scary things: we won't be able to sell the house, moving is stressful, etc. So I had to counter it with things like: more space, a job you love, etc. It's like he has de Bono's black hat rammed over his head. He doesn't catastrophise, he just automatically starts off with "change is bad" and "what will go wrong". All of this is also bound up with thoughts of "everything always goes wrong for me". He has at least accepted that verbalising that particular gem is rather offensive to his lovely wife and son.
Oliversmumsarmy I am quite happy with the concept of moving (although the timing sucks) and it makes sense as it would mean that he is nearer the part of the country that most of his industry is based in. If he did go on to hate his new job, there shouldn't be any need to move again at least. He has good reason to hate his current job: lots of promises have been made and broken and the holiday and salary are rubbish.
I think there may have been some fear about the possibility of me going freelance; it was a big ask of him but he had agreed to it. I don't think he's jealous of any potential success: I'm going full-time into a job that pays a significant amount more than he currently earns.
I'm a bit like your dh. Eek!
Anyway I'm a worrier and like to plan for all possible outcomes. I accept that it must be draining for my dh. I think it stems from anxiety actually.
I certainly do wish I did not have to consider all things like my dh who never seems to think things through.
I just believe that the potential consequences of actions need to be discussed.
Why do you need to move home if he gets a new job? It sounds like such an awful lot of upheaval. You have a steady job yourself and a young child. Surely you can stay put and he can commute if necessary. If he's going to moan about every job he does anyway, he may as well stay where he is.
I would stop getting bogged down in hypothetical plans and definitely stop trying to bring him out of his negativity. It must be draining. What about just going along with it and agreeing with him?
We need to move because the commute simply wouldn't work with childcare. Plus we need a bigger house. To be honest, I'm less concerned about the house move and the job than the fertility issues.
If I stop trying to bring him out of his negativity I can imagine the whole household slowly slipping into a slough of despond. I suppose I've kind of built myself a role where I am the cheerleader and I worry about what will happen if I stop being that person.
Behaviour like this tends to reflect an underlying world view and a temperament that's unlikely to change.
That's why a gratitude diary and smiling to change emotional state (great suggestions by the way) are unlikely to work in the long-term.
I'm a psychotherapist, OP, and my experience is that 'pessimists' like your DH are grumpy young men who become grumpy middle aged men and then grump old men.
It's not his fault. His attitude and actions have been shaped by his DNA and his life experiences. It's not that he won't change - it's that he can't change, or will find it very, very hard to do so.
You have my sympathy... I posted a similar thread a couple of weeks ago. It is so tiring being the one who has to find solutions all the time, especially when all your hearing is negativity. I tried talking to DH about how he was being so negative, but it resulted in him just not telling me the negative stuff and seething inwardly instead (ie outwardly grumpy and upset). Still looking for advice!
You being the cheerleader means he doesn't learn how to check his own negativity.
He finds the cloud, you find the silver lining.
The only way he will learn to find the silver lining himself is if you back right off and let him learn.
You are right that he might slip into a slough of despond until he learns the skills. What's the alternative though?
I would think moving would be extremely stressful, not only because house selling and moving is stressful anyway, but because he's just not very stable and if you move and he hates his new job, you are really stuffed. I think it's a very bad idea to move and pin it all on him being happy there, when he has a history of not being happy in places and moving on very quickly.
It sounds like you are also going to change jobs (did you say you are going freelance?) too and that has inherent risks if he's not very stable.
He sounds an utter misery and I wouldn't be able to listen to that for more than a short amount of time, as everyone says, he's not even old, so you have another forty years of this. I totally agree with whoever said you don't need to be Pollyanna in this situation- perhaps you need to have a bottom line realistic chat about what is going on, why/if his work is going wrong so frequently, whether you going freelance fits with this, if/why you need to move, whether you should take on a big mortgage given neither of you have a permanent long-term job in this new location (you sound like a go getter and that you will do very well, but will he?)
I think the time for picking him up and being positive is coming to an end and some hard talking needs to start about where you are actually heading. Think of everything- what about him working part-time? being at home and you having a smaller house?
Why can't he get a room/studio near to his new job rather than upheaving the family, then after 1 year if he is still happy in the role then you can discuss moving the whole family. It would give you a break from the constant pessimism and who knows you might see a different side to your life.
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