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what do I need to do?(9 Posts)
Don't know what I'm going to write - am in a complete muddle.
Married 13 years. 3 children 9 and under. Both work, but my work life has gone totally to pieces since we got married, partly because of the children, but not just (not clear about this in my head).
I've lost touch with being the person I think I am. Well, with the children I'm a me I'm happy with, but not with DH, and only sometimes at work (essentially I haven't put enough into it over the years - it's not challenging enough, and I'm struggling to see how that is going to change, as I don't see the children needing me all that much less any time soon).
I can't remember what I used to be interested in, I can't remember what I used to do with my time before the children came along. I used to read a lot, but for years I've just reread things, and when I do read new books, I don't often like them. I never see films, plays; never even watch telly; don't listen to music. I don't enjoy my own company much. My thoughts feel stale.
And I don't enjoy DH's company either. He's either silent, or he complains about ailments. He doesn't take much care with his appearance (which is good; he could be/is strikingly attractive when he does - though neither do I). He leaves snotty handkerchiefs around the house despite my protests. I feel we have absolutely nothing to talk about - I can't remember how to have a conversation with him. We talk about plans/logistics/housework, a bit about the children - but I feel so lonely. Our most engaged conversations are about our relationship: what's wrong with it.
DH does all sorts of domestic stuff: I do more, but I work less. I organise family life. I do a lot of 'telling': he often feels nagged, but if I don't ask/remind, things get forgotten or not done, and it's the children who feel the consequences. I organise our social lives, and he complains that we are either too busy or that we never see anybody.
He feels told off a lot, and as if everything he does is wrong. He's right: I do tell him off a lot, and this isn't a good thing to do - but I get so exasperated. The strongest feeling I have towards him is irritation.
He's kind to me, and he's patient with my bad moods (though not in a very helpful way). He's fairly loyal, though prone to rehearsing private disagreements in public, in what I think is a bid to drum up support for his point of view. He longs for us to spend more time together - to have more child-free time. He feels pushed aside by the children, and as if there is no time for 'us' because all my time is taken up by them. There's a lot of truth in this, but I find it hard to motivate myself to make complicated babysitting/child care arrangements when he's then such bad company. When we do have child-free time together he'd rather snooze than chat.
The children are a complete joy to me. They're all monstrous at times, specially the little one, but I completely adore them. DH, though he does 'love' them, is much more focused on what they have stopped him doing (sleeping, as far as I can see), on how tiring they are, how messy, how much of a barrier they are to other stuff. It's as if the whole world, children included, is a set of tasks to be done, barriers to be negotiated. He can't laugh about all the awfulness and exhaustion that life with 3 small children often involves, or snatch his pleasures where he finds them. He feels ground down, as if there is nothing but toil. I can't bear this way of thinking about life, still less that he thinks about our children this way.
I have never been even vaguely prone to depression: I'm generally very resilient - I'm a 'coper', the one who is leaned on, not the one who leans. I find it hard to ask for help - I often find it humiliating. Am I depressed? How would I know? What about DH? And anyway, what can I do with this sorry mess? It's so sad... I'm so sad...
(that's very very long... sorry...)
How about some individual counselling for yourself and marriage counselling for you two?
A trip to the GP would be good for a checkup. It sounds like you might be depressed.
Difficult situation: it's like you've thrown yourself into parenthood and your DH... hasn't.
I was going to say you don't sound depressed but then I read this: I don't enjoy my own company much. My thoughts feel stale.
I'm still going to say you don't sound depressed, but you do sound unfulfilled and unstimulated. Parenting three young DCs, especially when your H is not particularly engaged with them, is not leaving you a lot of time in which you can pursue your own interests, is what I'm guessing.
I second the suggestion for relationship counselling and perhaps individual counselling for you, to help you work out where you want to be and how to get there.
Tbh OP, it sounds like you and your DH are both terribly depressed. You sound really ground down, in that you don't enjoy anything in life except your DCs. I think it would be a step in the right direction to speak to your GP. If you find it hard to speak, take along this post and show him/her. Then take it from there.
Do you see yourself staying with your DH in the future? Or do you see yourself splitting up with him? You need to have a frank discussion about this, perhaps away from the home and the children. If you decide you want to stay together then talk to Relate.
You honestly sound really miserable and believe me, if you just keep plodding on and 'coping', you will one day find yourself in a more desperate situation mentally. There is no shame in asking for help, in fact, asking for help shows that you're strong enough to change things.
Im going to recomend a book i saw recommended on here. its called how to do everything and be happy by peter jones. its v good at making you think about what you want out of life and how to get it. I think this would help you on the job and personal issues you describe.
It does sound as if you and dh need to rekindle your relationship. its important to have a good working practical relationship when kids are involved, but also time for you two as a couple. If there is one running near you then id see if dh would go along to the marriage course, or some couples counselling.
I've been thinking about depression since writing all this down, and although I feel miserable just now, I'm not sure whether it's depression, or more, as pocket saviour v perceptively suggests, that I'm unfulfilled and under-stimulated. That is certainly the case. Very much so. I'm jealous of all of what DH has done over the last decade or so, when so much of my time has been spent sweeping the floor, pushing a buggy, putting people to bed.
I've got to the point where, if I have a 'free' bit of time, I think 'oh great, I can sort out a child's bedroom!' - this is ridiculous. I hate tidying, so why would I want to do it in a precious bit of child-free time? But I'm not sure what else I would do... What DO people do, with those sort of bits of time?
On staying with DH, oh, I don't know. It's not a good moment to answer that question, I don't think. I simply can't imagine how life would work if we weren't together. But nor, at this particular moment (v sleep-deprived, wallowing around in sadness/self-pity) can I see us growing old together. Urgh.
I will go and look up that book.
Do you do anything just for you? Any hobbies? I can get like this so I found some activities separate from DH, DD and work which I really enjoy. It gives me something to look forward to. I do think counselling would help, talk things through so you can decide where the priorities are to make the changes in your life you clearly need.
Both of you sound mildly depressed and ground down with the repetitive day to day stuff. There's dissatisfaction with all areas of your life, not just your relationship.
Alongside that you're resentful of all you think your DH has been able to 'do' over the past 10 years, he's possibly resentful of how engrossed in the children you are, and there's a dose of a parent/child dynamic between you with 'nagging' and 'telling off'.
I'd suggest as a start, maybe a trip to the GP for a chat, looking into relationship counselling and carving out some time for yourself to rediscover what you actually enjoy spending your time doing.
I do one hobby (exercise) but should probably think about something else.
Yes, dissatisfaction with EVERYthing. Throughout our marriage DH has been very absorbed in his work, by no means always happily. And even before the children, I picked up pretty much all the other pieces - my choice, but to the detriment of my own career. He's NOT absorbed in the children: he spends the time he has with them doing domestic jobs/snoozing while they play around him. When he engages with them, it's on his own terms - he's the one who decides what to do: he doesn't follow along with their ideas.
So yes, I am jealous of his absorption into his career, and saddened by his lack of absorption in his family.
There's lots of stuff I need to think about and change/work on myself. But it does feel as if there is a root relationship issue, and that's that DH is very self-centred. He just doesn't seem to think about other people. For instance, he's hungry - he'll get himself something to eat, and not think about asking anyone else if they'd like something. He'll eat ALL of whatever treats there are around, just without thinking about it. He'll fall asleep in the sun during family picnics without considering that that means I have to look after everyone. He'll fall asleep at other people's houses, or eat food he hasn't been offered (this is lots about sleep and food, isn't it), and I get upset about how rude it all seems.
I go round in circles: do I mind so much about little things BECAUSE I feel unloved/generally dissatisfied with life; or do all the little things add up to MAKING me feel unloved/pissed off.
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