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Is he jealous of our son?(24 Posts)
During a 'clear the air' discussion last night, around alot of (certainly not insurmountable) domestic issues, my DH told me that aa much as he loves my bond with my son, he feels like he is on the periphery & its us and him.. I was pretty gobsmacked. We share the parenting 50/50 & while each of us has settled into certain routines with our DS (eg bedtime - he does story while I actually do the putting to bed bit) I would have considered us to be equally close to him & both have our own bonds with him & as a unit of 3, being very close & lucky. I now feel a bit sick & annoyed. He admitted that he feels like most of my time & attention is spent on our DS & he gets the leftovers. I feel like I haven't got the resources to indulge him. I'm not his mother. I'm his wife & have suggested that we make more time for eachother after DS goes to bed, to catch up properly & give eachother our full attention. Its worries me further as he told me while pregnant that while he was thrilled, he probably would have liked to wait a little longer to TTC but went along with what he knew I really wanted. I never would have wanted that had I known. The thing is, we're ttc again. He says he's fully on board but not great at talking about the details & hates feeling under pressure. I should say he adores his DS, is an amazing father & we have the exact same parenting style & goals etc. I'm just a bit miffed, I don't feel like I can or should spread myself thinner to lavish attention on him. Where's my attention?!
He also regularly trots out the 'do you even know me?' or 'if you knew me you'd know that stresses me out' etc. Annoys the shit out if me that he expects that I should anticipate his every thought, or that's how it feels to me. I just feel like we aren't communicating as well as I'd like. And far from feeling lighter after our talk, as he says he does, I feel worried, resentful & a little hopeless. I just don't know if I will ever meet his expectations & am tired of trying. For his part he says he feels I can be selfish, self serving & put my own needs first while he always tried to put me first. But doesn't always feel like that to me. I can see We'd benefit from some counselling. I want to understand him & do what I can to make him happy but I wonder if it's even possible while remaining true to myself. Any advice welcome
Of course he's feeling 'lighter' after your chat, he's put the responsibility to ensure fest happy on you while not assuming the same burden in return...
I wouldn't continue to TTC, and counseling sounds like a good idea - based on your post he doesn't cover himself in glory, but maybe you could hash it out in counseling.
You are NOT responsible for another adults Happiness.
The only person you are responsible for is yourself and your DS as he is dependent.
Your DH is an adult and completely responsible for his OWN happiness.
Agree with PP. Stop TTC right now until you can get your marriage back on track.
He's put this all on you now. That's not right.
He's taking no responsibility at all. Has he always been like that?
I agree counselling might help you through this.
Another child..??? Not so much!
Yes, it has struck me that TTC right now is not a good idea although he said last night he wants to continue to, when I asked him. I think he thinks everything is OK, we cleared the air & have moved on. I feel quite the opposite. In fairness, he's very stressed at work, has alot of responsibility & work on & not enough resources to do what is needed. This is known by his managers, so there aren't any unrealistic expectations of him as far as I can understand. He has a goal over the next two weeks to improve this situation & start delegating some tasks. He believes that this will ease his stress. I don't love my job & he knows this & so I suppose he may feel stressed about that, ie I'm unhappy & unfulfilled in that area. I've stressed that it's perfectly fine, I can totally bear it until I find something better & its not absolutely horrible or unbearable. Our son is 2 & so going through the typical 'terrible twos' which can be challenging but I think we manage it well. We've recently had a house move & are trying to replenish our finances after the purchase but are OK financially & certainly have enough for everything we need. He is a fantastic father, usually a very attentive husband & on paper I'm very lucky. To be fair, he's never indicated that I'm responsible for his happiness. He has expressed his intention to start exercising more in order to relieve some stress & energise himself. My feelings of hopelessness stem from feeling like he has expectations of me that I can never meet, ie 'not knowing him' and that I'm selfish (I really try not to be) I can never see anything from his perspective, (I think I do, I certainly try), I can never apologise (not true) or put him first. I don't necessarily agree with this but don't rule out the possibility I'm wrong. I don't know, that's the problem. I know he tries to compromise & so do I, I think. He says everything he says I turn it around on him (I feel he does exactly this) & just can't see my part in anything.
Hmm, I'm on the fence a bit. It is hard to lose pole position in your spouce's affections and take a back seat even if,mas adults we know that is what parenting means. He's being honest. Also, with house moves, terrible twos and a stressful job it is fairly reasonable to feel a bit meh about life even if it is, on paper, everything you really want in life.
Ask him if he wants to change anything and how he could feel better and maybe it doesn't take much to help.
He's been really honest. No, you definitely are not responsible for his happiness but if the situation were reversed you would be looking for your dh to be supporting you to find a way through. Put Ttc aside for a little while and concentrate on reaching a calmer place. We all go through phases like this I suspect. It's just that most of us don't verbalise it.
Sorry, cross posted. Sounds like the stress of work is coming home. When he says all those things about you not listening etc could he really be thinking of his boss?
Don't think so.. This complaint pre dates his latest role. Its as if his issues with me are things I've no hope of making any better. And I'm angry. I feel the weight of the responsibility of it all, rightly or wrongly. If I would only listen to him, get to know him (??? Wtf like?!) & see things from his POV. I want him to be happy & enjoy his life, if course I do but feel as if I would have to sacrifice who I really am to try and fit into who he wants me to be, but would just fail miserably anyway because it would all be fake. I feel like the true me falls short of what he wants / needs.
Quite a few of my friends have said that they feel like a lodger in their own home after they have children and that their bond with their wives have changed massively and felt that they were not allowed to form the kind of bond with the children that their wives did.
I felt that way to an extent, but I had a day a week when I looked after them on my own. Other days how I was looking after them was constantly scrutinised, criticised and frequently what I was doing was taken over.
Its not that these guys didn't want to be part of the family unit its that without intending it their DW's were excluding them from it.
Thanks for your perspective Harmless, its good to get it. We agree, I would really say 99% of the time on how we parent our son (we practice, or try to! Practice gentle parenting) & so our treatment of our son is largely the same & guided by this particular parenting style. We both also have our own time with him & mostly time as a trio which we all love. Our son has momenta of wanting one or the other of us but I never imagined that it bothered DH as it certainly doesn't bother me & I understand that he's two & extremely fickle! I actually don't think he's that sensitive. I think it's more coming from feeling like he would like more of my attention. I could never imagine my husband could think he's 'not allowed' to develop a similar bond with his son as I have or what he does is criticised by me or taken over. Quite the opposite, I regularly tell him how much of an amazing Father he is & how lucky I think our son is to have him, and, embarrassing as it is to admit outside of just the two of us, that I think we're both doing a great job to have such a happy secure child. So if he said those things I'd be absolutely amazed, because it's not the way things are for us. We're quite considerate of what the other is doing & try to help, ie if he's bathing DS, i'll lay out the pjs, nappy, cream & vest & prepare everything for bedtime or if I'm taking DS out, when I get back, DH will have his food ready or have prepared for nap time or whatever. I hope he doesn't feel excluded.. It would be a massive slap in the face if he does tbh. Thanks again for your input, I appreciate it.
Can I ask, what do you mean when you say you can't be true to yourself and be who he wants you to be? What is he expecting from you exactly?
In what ways does he say you're selfish?
"Do you even know me" is just a nasty thing to say and quite manipulative.
Very low of him to go along with TTC then when you were pregnant say he'd wanted to wait and it was "for you".
I too suggest you stop TTC until you've had counselling together.
Also, it all sounds quite child-centric: do you really both need to share caring for DS so much when you're both in? One of you could be getting a break, then perhaps you'd both have more energy for yourselves and each other.
He's trying hard by the sound of it, so not all bad.
I agree that he was being a lame about the ttc then express regret when pregnant thing. I think you need to follow up the conversation and tell him you'd next like him to articulate what he feels he wants - date nights, reassurance, delaying ttc. He doesn't get to end on a downer. He needs to own his life and choices.
Having said this, it could be a positive thing for your relationship to work through this.
Sorry, that's probably a bit dramatic. What I mean is, if I'm to try and correct all of the things I do, that cause him stress, or that he doesn't agree with or make him think I don't know him then I'd be walking on eggshells & just couldn't relax or be myself.
Yeah, it was a blow to hear that he went along with ttc but didn't necessarily agree to it at the time. Pretty devastating tbh. Just before I got pregnant, I lost a member of my family under tragic circumstances which was /is really difficult & then I got pregnant immediately. I always wonder if he went along with ttc because of that?? But, he really loves our boy & would do anything for him. I also find it rotten & manipulative for him to say it's like I don't know him. How can I defend that statement? It's impossible. He says that I should put more effort into what he's interested in.. I don't have time or energy for my own interests, never mind his, but then I guess that would be an example of my selfishness. I just feel I couldn't ever win, why try?!
Re caring for DS, there are times when one would get a break while the other cares for him, just depends on what needs doing. We each get a lie in on the weekend too.
Well I think I'd be replying
'If you knew me then you'd know that a)I'm not psychic & b) I hate it when you come out with emotionally manipulative crap.'
'No, I don't know you in this mood. The man I married would never have come out with such teenaged cliches. Next you'll be wailing 'nobody understands meeee!' - if you want me to understand something, try talking to me!'
And I expect he's re-written history about not wanting you to get pregnant - more emotional manipulation:
'I didn't really want a baby, I only did it for you & now you're ignoring meee... It's not fair!'
Stop ttc until this is sorted out.
"I should put more effort into what he's interested in".
What IS he "interested in"? Why does he think you should do this?
Does he do this for you? Help you pursue your interests? Equal leisure time and all that.
My DH is into music, socialising, running and technology. I do not like these much, so he does them with his running club. friends etc, if he talks about it I listen (superficially!), but I do different stuff that I enjoy. Plenty to talk about in common!
Do you honestly listen to him and try to see things from his perspective? Do you make time for him? Can he talk to you/confide in you/share his concerns without you getting defensive?
When DS was born, my relationship with DH became tense and strained. We were both so tired and busy. I felt I was just keeping my head above water coping with sleepless nights and I didn't have much energy for DH. He always complained I didn't listen and he was right. I just got defensive and irritated when he raised concerns or told me how he felt, it felt like more stress on top of everything I was coping with.
Then one day he asked me to just LISTEN. To let him talk. He said he didn't want me to respond or judge or argue or even comfort him... just listen for half an hour while he told me how he felt. He was lonely. He was stressed with work. He felt all the focus was on DS and we were losing the closeness and intimacy we'd once had. He needed me... as a wife and as a friend.
We started listening to each other more. I tried to see from his perspective. I made an effort to spend time with him, ask him how he's feeling, do little things to show I cared like remembering if he had an important meeting, or asking questions about his job. Bringing him a cup of coffee in bed if he'd been up late working, even if I'd been up half the night with DS. Made an effort to have sex more often. Listened to his thoughts on parenting, tried things his way etc.
It's transformed our marriage. We both make an effort to connect every day, focus on the other, anticipate small ways we can make the other smile. I didn't really know or understand DH until I started listening to him.
See that's fine whispering (apart from the making an effort to have sex more) if he did the same for you, otherwise you are basically articulating the view that women are to be made responsible for a man's happiness and satisfaction if they want to stay married.
IMO the parenting relationship is separate to the relationship between the adults.
Often stress is put on the relationship when one or both partners consider the parenting relationship one person's job. This clearly isn't the case here.
The comments about TTC and not knowing him imply to me that he is a poor communicator and trying to blame you for his faults. I think that's fundamental to why you are pissed off TBH. He is basically saying 'articulation of my feelings, that's your job, I don't have to do it and if you don't do it for me I will blame you'
And this is something that often comes out after having your first baby IME because adequate and equal communication becomes highly important when you have shared parenting responsibilities...
I think counselling could help.
My husband was like this TBH, he point blank refused to do anything at all to improve his communication - so firmly entrenched is his view that I should be responsible for both just knowing and also accommodating his secret feelings and also felt he had the right to passive aggressively punish me when I (in his opinion) got it wrong or take steps to protect himself from me getting it wrong.
It only came out in any kind of noticeable way when we had DC and up until then I thought we happily agreed on most things and he was just mature and stable. After DC I discovered he had just been going along with things because he thought I was telling him what to do when I thought we were having discussions (where he seemed not to have any opinion/didn't offer one given ample opportunity) and he didn't raise any issues he had with me ever.
He is still like that and it still makes co-parenting difficult but we have split up so at least I am not living with it anymore.
Counselling will help you get to the bottom of the issue IMO, if he won't go (like my husband) I'm not sure it will be sorted. It took me a year to finally get to grips with what was going on and realise I had to leave after he refused to go to counselling.
WhisperingSeagrass so your marriage ticks along great as long as you give your husband all the attention and sex he wants? You take him coffee while he's lying in bed even though you've been up in the night? Wonder if he thinks of your wellbeing and happiness while he's telling you what he needs.
If I had a daughter I certainly wouldn't want her to be married to a manchild like that who throws his toys out the pram because you're spending time looking after his baby and not attending to his whims and immature whining. Great model of marriage for your children to witness!
Personally I actually think it's incredibly positive to have a clearing of the air.
The problem only comes when the points raised aren't discussed in a follow up conversation where you both try to come to some sort of agreement on how to address the points raised and improve the relationship for doing so.
So, you've both had a couple of days to think, it's now time to given notice that it's time for phase 2 where you prioritise the points raised previously and how best to address them.
Thanks everyone for their input. In fairness to whispering, I'm not sure she meant her post the way it's been interpreted by some.
I've done alot of thinking & decided that there's certainly some valid points my DH has raised & some are just not valid. I don't think he is deliberately trying to be manipulative but things he's said (more than once) are just not fair & statements that I could never defend. 'you don't know me' being one. No matter what I do, he could always claim that. He could always feel that way. Thats his issue, not mine.
And yes I listen to him, as much as I can do. I've a toddler, a big extended family & a full time job. He has gone through the weekend as if everything is great but I've felt very detached. I can't imagine anything improving without getting to the root of our issues & I'm not prepared to spend the rest of my life feeling this low level resentment & essentially walking on eggshells wondering if ice done enough to make him feel like I know him yet.
I don't want him to feel anything but happy & fulfilled in his life but on the other hand I'm thinking 'give me a fucking break'.
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