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My wife is very unhappy(76 Posts)
Hi it was my wife's birthday the other day I got her a charm for her bracelet and a bag for her bike a bunch of flowers. The children made her a cake and bought cards and a birthday balloon. The older whom are all earning bought a bracelet the she was going to get as her other one was a bit big . On the day she came down to open her parcels . But unfortunately it was aparent that none of the things we got lived up to her expectations.
I said to her that I would take her out to lunch but that was brushed off . I am a crap cook but never the less tried to cook something it was a failure and nobody liked it. Then the children came through with the cake but that also was a disaster as the children used coconut oil in it rather than rapeseed oil and you could hardly cut it . The whole day was a disaster.
Now she is very unhappy and wants to leave , her birthday's have allways been a bit of a stumbling block as I am not good at buying the right things or making her feel valued. But she is the love of my life and we have 6 children and been together for over 20 year's .I don't know what to do ???
She wants to leave because she wasn't happy with all the effort that you and DC went to for her birthday?
Either there is a massive back story or she's completely ungrateful and high maintenance.
There has to be more to the story, any woman with six kids cannot possibly be such a sensitive little flower.
Nope, not buying that.
Absolutely no way a happy, healthy relationship with 6 kids would be wobbling after a few, not even that crap, birthday presents.
Nope. Massive backstory me thinks
sometimes I expect more for my birthday. There was a time I would have been happy with whatever the kids and my husband did.
And then there is what I expect now: A delicious cake, a good meal, a present that reflects enough thought and care and consideration as I put into my family.
Until last year, my husband thought it was okay to just bring home any cake. Well, I don't care about the price--but I dislike chocolate cake. Any other cake will do--but do make sure it's delicious.
A good meal-food I like, cooked in a way I prefer. I hate fried foods, I'm a little obsessed with taste/seasoning and preparation vs quality of meat.
A gift: I've had some bangle envy over the last year. It doesn't have to be a platinum bangle with diamonds, but a nice silver coloured bangle would be nice.
(Just incase DH is snooping).
The presents sound lovely- but only you and your wife can tell us whether they were genuinely thoughtful. Do you get her a charm without fail for every gift-giving occasion, so that she sees it as a massive cop-out? Were the flowers from the petrol station you passed on your way home? Does she want/need a bike for her bag? Also, you say you have form for not getting her the right things or making her feel valued- care to expand on that?
First thought is that your wife sounds selfish, esp. over being critical of what the kids have given/produced.
However - my second thought is that perhaps you, personally need to be rather more competent. A father of six DC really shouldn't be a 'crap cook' whose attempt at a simple meal is 'a failure'. I do most of the cooking, and never have a meal cooked for me on my birthday, and I do find that irritating (though I don't show it). Did you wrap your presents nicely, pick a card with a meaningful picture and give them to her in a nice, festive way (not shoving them over unwrapped with a mumble about not having time)?
When my DC make a cake for my DH, I supervise it, so that it's edible (not sure the ages of your DC, mine are young). My DH never makes a cake for me, nor buys one - I buy my own, which I find annoying as well.
The biggest thing I find annoying though is for him to have a kind of hangdog approach to my birthday - a kind of 'i know this isn't really good enough' attitude, which then requires me to be upbeat and all 'oh, it's lovely' in order for it to be a nice day.
I don't want parties or expensive gifts. But I do want a nice cheerful atmosphere (that I don't have to create), with wrapped gifts, a card, a cake, and a meal I don't have to cook/shop for/book a table for/think about. And I want DH to provide the necessary help that the DC need to contribute their part to all this (because it makes them happy and competent to do so)
What is your relationship like usually? There must be more to this? I also noticed the crap cook thing, surely with 6 kids you would have had to master a couple of meals?
She doesn't want to leave because of a crap meal and a badly made cake. There must be something else happening.
I don't see the point in cooking if you have been married 20 years and know you are a crap cook. You could have got a takeaway or a meal for two from marksies.
Re the presents, well is that what she wanted? Did you ask?
Surely she would have been ok with whatever the dc had made, however bad.
I agree there must be more to it. Is she really fed up and this was the final straw? Did she want something and you didn't get it? Has she just had enough?
Birthdays are difficult when you don't want to be with someone any more. A letdown for me on my birthday led to the breakdown of my marriage, not being precious about presents but his behaviour.
In the OPs defense and due to the lack of further info on their relationship, after 20 years of being together the wife should know he is a crap cook, and should probably have taken him up on the offer of going out for lunch instead of turning it down and then complaining about his effort.
Agree that there must be more to it and I suspect that she's not been feeling happy for a while.
I guess that there will always be one defining point which crystallises the desire to leave and I suspect that the birthday is it.
If she leaves what are her thoughts about the children, does she want to have shared care or does she just want to go off on her own and create a new life?
It does rather sound as if this day was the straw that broke the camel's back.
JonSnow's post above is a good one.
FWIW my lovely DH isn't great at buying gifts. He tries but unless I am very prescriptive, (which he doesn't mind but I do) then it is rarely anything I actually want. It would have to be symptomatic of much much bigger issues before I would mention this to him.
OP, did you help the children make the cake or leave them to it? You say you are crap at cooking and aren't good at buying presents - you do know most people aren't born able to do these things? We learn because we care about the people we do them for.
You say you aren't good at making her feel valued, so I expect a birthday disappointment may be the tip of the iceberg.
OK just reread the OP. You bought her a charm for a bracelet, presumably not for the first time, which is too big. Your older children bought a smaller bracelet, younger ones baked a cake and made cards and had a balloon?
It sounds on the face of it not too disappointing unless
a) It's a big birthday and no-one mentioned it
b) she'd specifically asked for something else
c) the kids were squabbling/had to be dragged from their rooms for the gift opening and it all felt a bit forced
d) she does not and never has liked the overlarge bracelet.
There is definitely more to this than happy wife and Mum opens presents and then immediately wants divorce.......
I actually believe it as I have a mother like that.
She is lovely in many ways, but when it comes to Christmas and her birthday she reverts to a 2 year old child and we never got to the bottom of why that is. I remember being 7 or 8 years old and developing this anxiety around not doing enough for her birthday as everything we did even back them wasn't good enough. Even recently we found a list she kept at home with rated presents from me, my brother and my dad - it's almost insane.
I am sure that is some form of psychological issue. I am not sure whether it is just that in your wife's case, but in my mum's case it was/is.
I agree with pp- there has to be more to this or YANBU and your wife sounds difficult. One thing stood out to me though, you say you're not good at making her feel valued. How so? If your gifts were genuinely thoughtful (and to me they sound fine) then that's one thing but if it was a charm, like you've bought her every birthday for years, crap flowers from a service station, an inedible cake and a crap meal then that's another.
Your wife hasn't had a birthday that's been to her liking in 20 years because you're 'not good at buying the right things' and you are also 'a crap cook'?
Why didn't you ask in advance what she'd like for her birthday and book a meal in a classy restaurant as a surprise?
There's obviously more going on here than your dw's less than satisfactory birthday and I suspect the clue is in your statement that you're (also) not good at 'making her feel valued'.
If she's the 'love of your life' you may be able to go some way to making amends by telling her this and expressing your heartfelt appreciation of the countless things she does for you and the dc.
Thank your lucky stars that the weekend after next you have an opportunity to show your dw what she means to you. Organise a grand evening out on the 13th and surprise her with a card, flowers, and breakfast in bed cooked by your own fair
and very well scrubbed hands on Sunday 14th.
Check out Jamie Oliver's scrambled eggs 3 ways - no rapeseed or coconut oils required. If you cook them French style you'll have plenty of time to make a pot of tea, squeeze or pour orange juice into a glass, and toast the bread but I prefer American style scramblies for breakfast. Why not have a trial run this coming Sunday and add some smoked salmon chopped into bite size pieces to the cooked eggs for your dw's forthcoming 'special Valentine's day'?
Why does she want to leave? Did she give any reasons?
^^Great idea about Valentine's Day goddess.
Your wife sounds really sensitive about birthdays - some people are (my friend always has an awful time because she makes such a lot of drama about them). However, I think perhaps there are some things you can do to help.
Do you have a smartphone? Because most people drop hints or mention things that they like and want during the course of the year. It is your job to note these down and to get them when the time comes. Simply buying the same kind of thing every year is unlikely to make a person feel 'heard'. Download something like Evernote and make a list of the things she asks for.
I also suggest that you go to cooking lessons or at least buy yourself a 'how to cook' book that works up from the basics! It's not hard to make edible food and it's quite enjoyable once you get the hang. Most children will need some help and supervision in the kitchen as well. Perhaps if you made the effort more than once a year, it might help!! Cooking for 6 every night is no joke at all.
Also, perhaps think about planning more. Book a restaurant, don't just leave it to chance!
Surely there is a backstory to this or she has depression?
Hmm, scratch what I just wrote....what shovetheholly said makes sense.
She is feeling taken for granted, that you lot are taking the piss and she's feeling at the bottom of the pecking order. This sounds like it's been going on for years and the birthday is the final straw.
You've got two choices ahead of you:
1) make a token gesture, slip back into your old ways and she will leave you anyway
2) you and the kids completely change, start looking after her a bit more, buy her a John Lewis gift card or something and hide it in an enormous bunch of flowers with a message saying "I know I'm crap at buying presents, but I would love you to have something that you really want, so spend this on something nice that you really want." And do this year after year after year after year. Along with more laundry, more cooking and more cleaning up.
That sounds lovely even the failed cooking --you
Must practise more-- The dcs cake would make me laugh.
OP "Now she is very unhappy and wants to leave , her birthday's have allways been a bit of a stumbling block as I am not good at buying the right things or making her feel valued. "
so the present you bought her - did you check it was what she wanted?
the children and the cake - did you supervise them, I'm guessing no due to it going wrong. If you couldn't be arsed to supervise, why didn't you buy a nice cake?
as for you saying you are a crap cook - I'm no chef but I can follow a simple recipe and get it right. Is it possible she's sick of you claiming to be a crap cook for 20 years?
if she's really upset this will not just be about the birthday. Are you one of those "liability" people who says "uh uh, I can't get anything right, woe is me"? None of the stuff listed above is hard to get right.
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