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Not really sure what I'm after here; to feel heard, probably, and hopefully a reality check as I can't see the wood for the trees. This is a ridiculously first world problem.
DH and I have been together 6 years, married 3.5, with a 18 month gap after the first 18 months where we split up because we weren't making each other happy. We now have a wonderful 14 week old DS but once again I'm not happy and don't know how to get there.
My problem, I think, is that I don't feel that I am considered. By this I mean that I do everything at home and do little things because I feel it would be something DH would appreciate; do things to make 'his' jobs easier, make food he likes, the way he likes it. But I don't get that in return- it took a big argument for him to now offer me a glass of water whenever I'm bfing, another for the water to be put where I want it. He says he doesn't do more because 'it's always wrong' when he tries- he made me a sandwich a month ago which I didn't eat because it wasn't made the way I like. It's like he got 80% of the way there, but hasn't cared enough over the 8 years we've known each other to notice how I construct a bloody sandwich. It's ridiculous and such a small thing, but really struck a nerve. The other mums I know seem to mostly have caring, attentive DHs- lovely first Mothers' Day presents (I got a small box of Malteasers, and he admits he wouldn't have got that if I hadn't made it very clear I expected something) and walks in the park at the end of the day (would love that; we get TV whilst eating dinner on separate sofas, me eating one handed with DS on boob).
I'm happy to admit (here!) that I'm probably a bit hormonal still, trying to get everything perfect for my pfb, suffering a bit of an identity crisis at being mainly DS's mum now not just Monkerina and therefore not altogether reasonable, but I just don't know how I can pull it all together and get happy. I do love him, and he says he loves me, but I just don't feel it; don't necessarily need grand gestures but the little things count, like making a bloody sandwich the way I like it or taking us out for a walk round the block!
I can't decide if he's right and I'm being silly/wanting too much/perfectionist (my take on his opinion, not his words) or if it's reasonable for me to feel upset and uncared for.
Should add that he says he feels unloved because I'm rude and snappish with him, so he doesn't bother trying to cuddle me etc any more. My take is that I get slightly touched out and also find it irritating to be questioned about things that are obvious, as in yes the baby IS hungry again.
I think I am actually a bitch. Genuinely, how can I lessen that and be a nicer person? It's become a bit tit-for-tat- you won't demonstrate care for me, so I won't for you.
You've got a 14 week old. This sounds normal IMO!
You're knackered, your life is upside down, you've got this huge responsibility all of a sudden and everyone around you is telling you how happy and lucky you should feel.
I would say most new mums feel like you do, you're not alone.
Having children makes you look at your partner in a totally different light. I have a wonderful, thoughtful, capable husband - but three months after having DS1 I distinctly remember telling him and anyone who would listen that he was totally useless, selfish, incapable of doing anything to help etc.
Your feelings will pass, but in the meantime you need to have a clear and calm conversation about how you need him to help you. He can't read your mind, so tell him how you want your sarnie made
What really helped me was getting time away from being wife and mum, just for an hour or two. Spend some time at the gym, doing a hobby, meeting a friend for a drink, go to a cafe on your own and read a book, whatever you need to do but make sure you get that time for yourself.
Beg/steal/borrow family or friends to babysit so the two of you can go out together.
Having a small baby is really hard work. It will get easier in time, honestly.
Sorry men don't notice these things - 14 years and he still asks if I want sauce - then gets a sarcastic NO!
He needs a lesson in looking after you -
Why don't you go for a walk? I often took the kids out when he didn't want to come - because life's too short to sit watching TV - don't let him hold you back
Firstly -Do you think maybe you have post natal depression? Have you spoken to your doc or health visitor?
The other thing that struck me was you said the pair of you split up previously because you didn't make each other happy. What have you both done since you got back together to work at resolving that? In my experience if you break up for a reason, then get back together but never address that reason then it just resurfaces again and again.
Thanks ladies. Back then I was struggling a lot with depression that was eventually resolved with a lot of counseling about family issues leaving me feeling worthless and unloveable, until now I'd been ok for a couple of years! I'm honestly not sure if I'm not happy because I've a reason not to be, or if there's some PND. Baby is ridiculously easy and has slept through since 2 weeks (don't hate me- I don't sleep!)
The issues before are essentially similar to now- I don't feel loved so (subconsciously?) don't make him feel loved either, snapping at him etc. We have a discussion every 3 months or so about how I feel unconsidered, like a roommate. Then nothing really changes, but that he may take on a suggestion made in the heat of an argument like bringing me water when bfing, and thinks that's sufficient change. He can't see that it's not the water itself I want, it's to have my needs thought about; this makes me doubt that my demands are reasonable which probably induces a bit of a depressive spiral.
I know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome! I just hate having this problem and want to fix it so we can get things good (occasionally we are happy!) and enjoy our beautiful son.
It sounds like both of you. I think you being snappy and critical is going to make his lack of thought worse. I can imagine not wanting to bother making a sandwich for you if you didn't eat one that I had made and were churlish about it.
Can you both agree to be kinder to each other. Maybe you have to fake it until you make it. It's easier to change your own behaviour than his.
It's hard when you have little kids, everyone is tired and sensitive.
I completely get the over touched thing but do you each show affection in other ways?
Is the sandwich a symptom of much more - or are you being overly demanding? It's difficult for us to tell
Was it a pickled onion and horseradish sandwich or did he not butter the bread right to the edge?
Sometimes you have to pick your battles and think 'does this really matter?'
It was rude of you not to eat the sandwich. I've certainly cooked stuff in the past that DH wasn't wild about but he'd never complain and always give it a go because if someone does something for you it's rude to show no appreciation.
Sounds like you both carry some of the blame for the way things are.
It was a ham sandwich, with a fuckton of mayo on it (hate the taste of mayo, always have) so not terrible, and yes it was churlish and ungrateful but it's a symptom, not the actual issue- other symptoms might be that he plays computer or weeds the garden all weekend (not an exaggeration) rather than seize the opportunity to do things together. It's all tiny things, but a lot of drips makes a surprisingly large puddle! If I try to break out of the cycle by taking it, it's like he relaxes and backslides rather than contributing to improving the situation- which makes me all the more resentful that I'm jollying up for no payback, iyswim. And he won't make the first step because I make HIM feel unloved.
I'm really not sure if there's a touch of depression left that makes these tiny things feel a million times worse than they are, or if I'm genuinely, reasonably sad. He doesn't beat me, has given me a beautiful, much-wanted son, material things are there. Why can't I just be happy with what I've got?
Honestly, I can see his point in many ways. It's hard to judge from your post, but...offer you a glass of water whenever you are bfing? And place it in a specific location? And you didn't eat the sandwich?
offer you a glass of water whenever you are bfing? And place it in a specific location? And you didn't eat the sandwich?
Well, I've not breastfed but surely that is not too much to ask for. It seems the only things she is getting out of this relationship.
A glass of water within reaching distance and no mayo if you don't like it is not outrageous diva demands. It seems he has checked out to be honest.
I know, I can also see his point- which makes it extra difficult to see if there's any value in what I'm feeling, or not! I absolutely don't doubt that I'm not kind to him right now. He ate the sandwich- was how he'd have made it for himself, he just offered it to me first. Surprisingly difficult to remember to get a drink before starting to bf at first, and being pinned under an infant for 45 mins with a mouth like the Sahara whilst your OH swans about is surprisingly frustrating!
But why does he need to offer? If I'd like DH to get me a drink or do something with me I ask him. He's not psychic.
Yes, he says I just have to ask. I kind of feel like I try to anticipate his and DS's (and DCat's!) needs, and it's kind of sad that no one does that for me. DS and DCat not being in a position to do so, it falls to DH.
Would he not get you a drink if you asked?
I carry a water bottle with me at all times - and I'm not bf (and never have) that would solve it practically but doesn't solve the emotional part
Think the main issue here isn't that you don't feel loved, but that you don't love yourself? You are in charge of your own happiness, it isn't someone else's responsibility to make you happy.
It sounds like when your partner does try, you through it back in his face as not good enough, so he doesn't try again, you get more upset, catch 22.
Think it might be worth considering more counselling for you, and then when you are in a happier headspace maybe consider couples counselling?
In the mean time try the trick of counting your blessings, rather than focussing on what you don't have. I mean all the everyday things we take for granted like a roof over your head or food on the table (maybe not the mayo!).I do this quite a bit and it does actually work in retraining your brain to appreciate the positives rather than blessing about the perceived negatives.
Good luck x
That made me smile Costa at least the drink thing is again an example, not the issue.
I just can't tell if it's a make-the-most-of-what-you've-got issue, a massive bitch issue, a it's-nice-to-feel-appreciated issue or a bit of an MH issue. Possibly all of the above?
This might seem a bit simplistic, but have you ever come across the idea of love languages? There's an explanation of it here.
I found it really helpful to understand not only DH but lots of other friends and family as well. The idea is that each of us gives and receives love in particular ways, and that you tend to express your love to your partner in the way you like to receive it - which may not be the way they best understand it. So I am a words of encouragement person - I feel most loved when DH tells me how much he appreciates me, and he is an acts of service person, so he feels most loved when I make him a cup of tea, or do a job for him that he would otherwise have to do. He therefore feels he is expressing his love for me when he takes the rubbish out, and I feel I am expressing my love for him when I tell him how great he is - but neither of us are speaking the love language that the other understands.
It is simplistic, and but it can help with communication.
Thanks Resilience, I know you're right.
LadyPeter, I don't think it's a simplistic answer and it's one that I've tried to explain- he likes phone calls and little touches, I like to have my needs considered and pre-empted. Didn't seem to go in though
I think I can empathise with you, OP.
And I'm not sure about the "your happiness is your responsibility" argument. Yes, your partner cannot necessarily 'make you happy' single-handedly, but he or she should surely contribute to your well-being and happiness? Isn't that what a friend would do?
What was your reason for getting back together after your break, and what did you do in that time?
I think that's how I feel Bright- essentially the foundation for my happiness is my own responsibility (and that, shaky as it was, has been eroded by a year of thinking almost exclusively about DS and DH) but that it should be enhanced by the person I've chosen to spend my life with. In fairness to him, his parents are polite but fairly distant to each other so there's nothing for him to model iykwim.
In the 18 months apart, I was quite seriously ill(had forgotten actually in the stress of last few months!) and probably pushed him away, wanted to deal with it on my own. We each tried dating others but no dice, eventually got back together when I was ill again, he was physically present for it and I realized how upset he was that he couldn't/I didn't want him to help me- sort of showed me he loved me and I hadn't stopped loving him. Those health issues are all better now!
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