Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
At breaking point with my wife(228 Posts)
This weekend was a culmination of fractures that have left me feeling that my marriage is in serious danger.
Firstly, it was our daughter’s birthday weekend, with a children’s party on Saturday, and a family gathering at our house on the Sunday. For the Sunday, my wife had promised my daughter a multi-tiered rainbow cake, not an easy endeavor to bake, and unfortunately it went wrong. I tried to reassure her that we could get a nice replacement (which I went out and bought) and that it was fine – baking something ambitious for the first time is always open to trouble, and I tried to make her feel better. The cake and hand mixer were violently dumped in the bin, and she proceeded to treat me like crap for the rest of the day – accusing me of not tidying / cleaning fast enough (I cleaned and tidied the entire house before our guests arrived.) and generally being really vile.
Secondly, it was, of course, mothering Sunday. I had bought cards over a week ago, and had planned to go into town on the Saturday afternoon to pick up some gifts. The plan changed slightly so I could go to Cribbs Causeway in Bristol. This was to get sandwich platters from the Marks and Spencer’s there, as well as to give me a better selection of shops to get her something from. She raised no objections to any of this on the Saturday. I got her a box of Chocolates from Hotel Chocolat, a bunch of blood-orange roses and a voucher to a beauty store that she likes a lot. I felt that was a nice package for her. I took the kids downstairs early on Sunday morning, so she could have a 3 hour lie-in. We all came up as a family to give her the gifts later on while she was in bed, and she seemed happy with everything. It was only later in the evening that she complained about what I had done. She said that the whole thing had been an afterthought, and then, most painfully, said that she felt I was buying her chocolates to sabotage her weight-loss efforts (she recently started dieting in advance of her friend’s wedding later this year). Suffice to say, that was not on my mind when I bought the chocolates.
This is not new behavior, having happened a number of time previously. The point of friction leads to days of silent treatment punctured by mono-syllabic responses. I find it all incredibly stressful and I end up just feeling very lonely. My wife struggles to talk about emotional issues like this, and it usually veers between silence or outbursts. We have talked about how unhappy I am with this before and either she promises to change, or she minimizes the issue, which makes me look unreasonable. I don’t want to be having the same conversation for the rest of my life. I feel like a punching bag and I am sick of it.
I am, of course, a long way from perfect. I have found the increased demands of two children hard to handle at times, and I get frustrated a lot and can be short-tempered. I am also significantly over-weight, as is my wife, and I think this is a major drag-factor on our general happiness. All that said, I don’t think (and have never been accused) of allowing this to devolve into cruel or abusive (emotionally) behavior, and this is where I feel we are now. When these kind of situations arise she behaves like a bully.
There is no pull-factor at play here, no other person I have an eye on. It is a non-factor here.
Am I being massively unreasonable here in my expectations of how a couple should work and communicate together? Are these Mother’s Day presents unacceptable?
No, of course you're not being unreasonable. The way she is treating you isn't okay, but then neither of you sound particularly happy.
You say she veers between silence and outbursts. Does she acknowledge she does that, or is that your own observation?
The cake thing sound like she was upset it hadn't worked out the way she wanted to for your daughter, and because you solved you, she lashed out at you. Not saying it's okay for her to act the way she did, it's not, but I do understand the thought process.
Are either of you accessing support? Are you able to have an open dialogue with her?
Thank you for the quick response.
She has trouble acknowledging the way she deals with these kind of situations, which is part of the issue as it make sit much harder to have an open discussion.
I think both of us are worn down by the everyday stresses of being parents with full-time jobs. We have not had an evening to ourselves (without kids) since our 9 month old was born. There is also a lack of physical affection - not just sex, but kissing, cuddling, general affection.
But for it to be intimated that I was trying to sabotage her weight loss really really hurt. That she would think that was even possible shows to me that there is a big issue for us.
I can understand your feelings. Taking the weekend aside, you need to talk about the bigger picture. You are both fundamentally unhappy with your selves and with the marriage. Her weight loss is a positive sign of working on her self, but she also needs to be open to working on the marriage. And of course the weight issue might be directly or indirectly affecting intimacy. She needs to be open to talking with you rather than at you. do you have an intermediary kind of frid who could at least help start that conversation? Above all, communicating needs to be mada priority, because without it everything else will fall apart. Speaking from experience. Good luck. You sound like a very caring husband and friend. Perhaps she is feeling lost?
I would be very happy with those gifts. If she doesn't want to eat the chocs, she can share them with everyone. She sounds ungrateful and hard work, tbh.
She sounds extremely ungrateful Imo.
Plenty of mums would of loved to receive such lovely gifts.
The chocolates were all gone last night - I have no idea if she ate them or threw them out.
I will be the first to hold my hand up that chocolates and flowers on Mothers Day are not the most original or creative of gifts, and I certainly wasn't expecting a medal, but it still shocked me at how bluntly ungrateful she was.
The flowers and voucher sound lovely but the chocolates were a thoughtless purchase and could be taken as either that or diet sabotage. She sounds very unhappy but making positive moves to lose weight. Being hungry can also make one extremely bad-tempered. Join her on the diet and both of you need to make an effort to reconnect. Regular date night might help if you can sort a babysitter.
I can certainly accept that it was a thoughtless gift, but the notion that it could be fairly interpreted, by someone who knows me well, as sabotage of a dieting plan I find really disturbing.
What possible motivation do I have for that?
I don't think you've done anything wrong. If chocolates had been the only present, that's a different matter. It's possible she doesn't feel supported in her weight loss - are you also trying to lose weight?
She does sound a bit of a drama queen, throwing the cake mixer away. My Dh can be like that and I just stay out of his way, but I agree it's a difficult one.
OP I certainly don't think you're being unreasonable. Those gifts sound lovely. I was delighted by far less. Your wife sounds unhappy and angry. When you have small DC you do your best not to take out difficult feelings on them. Unfortunately she seems to be taking them out on you instead, which is absolutely not OK. You need to look back on your relationship. Has it always been this way? If not, when did things start to go wrong? Is there any possibility that she has post-natal depression?
I think the gifts sound dull and very stereotypical. Flowers, chocolates, beauty products.
I would give my boyfriend a and ask him if I had "woman stereotype, model 1" stamped on my arse.
But, you say she likes the beauty products so... who knows.
If she's on a full on diet (such as calorie counting, rather than just trying to eat a bit less) then I think the chocolates are pretty insensitive.
But I expect she just threw that at you to argue for the sake of it.
It clearly isn't about this one incident though - and you could argue the toss about the detail of any one say. What matters is the whole relationship - you need counselling, urgently.
Id be upset with chocolates in that scenario, because it would show me that you didn't know what I really wanted/didn't want; it's like rubbing salt in the wounds of feeling sensitive about weight anyway. Get something personal next time, or make something or just write something really nice and I woul personal next time, or make something or just write something really nice in a card? We've had probably 8-9 evenings without kids in the last 11 years and it really does take its toll. Please both talk before it becomes unsalvagable.
The last year has been very busy, with the birth of our son, me changing jobs and a house move in January. My wife went back to work last week after 11 months of Mat leave, so last week was a tiring one for her. I don't know enough about post-natal depression to judge.
I am not unsympathetic with the circumstances, but this has happened previously, sometimes when there has been no similar pressures.
You are right - she takes out her frustrations on me. But her inability to talk through what has happened, without resorting to blame-game or emotional outbursts, makes handling these kind of situations very difficult for me.
The chocolates were not a thoughtless purchase at all. It all sounds like you went out of your way to treat her, and she has lost the perspective to be grateful. Some people, men and women before anyone jumps down my throat, just don't think of gifts to that depth ie "offending" the partner because they're trying to diet or whatever. I would've loved to have received such thoughtfulness on mothers day.
Some women are just demanding, selfish little madams who expect amazing gifts of amazing awesomeness (as you can see OP from some of the comments on here). You just can't please some people.
Poor bloke, you gave something your wife would like....if you're right about the beauty products?
If my husband gave me a gift voucher to anywhere I could buy my makeup and flowers I'd be very happy.
Even the chocolate...I'm on a seriously calorie restricted diet and he bought me chocolates and I smiled and said thank you. Because, crucially, he bought me chocolate I like, not just cadbury dairy milk.
You two need to talk. Properly.
I had offered to do breakfast in bed, but she said she just wanted the lie in.
I can understand why the chocolates can be seen as thoughtless, and I've said before that none of what I got was original, but likewise, it wasn't exactly petrol station flowers and a box of gummy bears. I hate talking about money when it comes to gifts, but it all came to £60, and with two kids in childcare that is a lot of money for me to fork out. I guess it is just the venom that really shocked me. For what it is worth, when it come to fathers day / valentines etc, I always do more. It just gets a bit wearying after a while.
We don't really have the space to talk about this for a couple of days, as my parents are staying with us until Wednesday as they are helping out with childcare. This is not a conversation I want to have with a captive audience....
It was for KIKO, which is a store she loves going to. She had specifically said that she would be happy with a voucher.
That talk is coming, but I am afraid of where it will lead.
Be more afraid of where it will lead if you don't have it
If it did mean a split, the longer you leave that, the more likely you'll both be bitter and angry.
If there something to save and a chance of saving it, you have the best chance before any more rot sets in.
I know this wasn't a one off but 2 things from your subsequent posts;
If I was of back a week at work and I also had my in laws staying, I may be ready to blow too!
Going back to the gifts, the fact that it was expensive chocolate wouldn't wash with me. It doesn't make it a better present, unless you like chocolate. Drove crackers that MH XH thought that spending money was the answer to everything.
It takes no more thought or time to go to Hotel Chocolat than Tesco. The difference is not a better gift, more thought, more love. The difference is £20. It's the same go you present idea.
I think you did lovely, thoughtful things that the majority of women would be grateful for
Ok the chocolates may not have been the best idea but they were lovely ones and she could have had one a day for heavens sake.
Hardly unlikely to wreck a diet
You post is so articulate and suggests to me that you have thought a lot about your relationship and what's going wrong
I feel for you I must say
As others have said a proper conversation is in order.
She comes over as a bit entitled and spoilt to me
Your presents sound lovely. I would have been delighted!
I agree that she sounds ungrateful. And her behaviour around the cake mix was childish.
But she sounds overwhelmed to me. fT working, birthday party, house move, first week back after may leave, PIL staying ....
I think you need to talk, but I also think you should give it a few weeks for life to settle before you tackle this.
I'm sorry, I know that's not fair on you, but I think she needs time to adjust to new routines etc before you start a talk that could rock your marriage.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.