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Struggling with DH's response to a family issue

(47 Posts)
notbloodybranston Fri 24-Jun-16 01:07:33

We've been married 13 years and have DD 11 and DS 8.

Had two lots of Relate over the years - mainly to do with his negativity towards life in general, his need for tidiness and order, control issues over daft little things that individually look trivial but eventually drive me mad (I am not "allowed" to do the food shopping or suggest alternate shops/touch the dishwasher/wrap presents/hold remote control/eat in the car/touch any part of the car - especially radio). He's had separate counselling of his own to deal with some of this and I am aware that he really does try. He has also learned to laugh at his own rules and tries to stop himself from automatically saying "no" to any suggestion.

We rumble on. Don't have much in common. He hates reading, films, not that keen on visitors (apart from one couple) and seems to hold the opposite opinion from me on every major issue that you will ever seen in the news. We parent in a similar way but our house is not fun and is not the open home that I wanted to create.

Two weeks ago I received a call from a first cousin. She is the eldest of three siblings who I did not see much of growing up. DCous told me that her brother had left a girlfriend and two year old child some years ago and that Dcous had tried to keep in touch with the girlfriend for the sake of the child.

Child is now 9 years old and has been taken into care by SS due to truly awful neglect. DCous (at the request of her brother - the child's father - who does not want to be a father) has offered to be a Special Guardian to the child and this is progressing through court.

SS are concerned that the judge on the day may not grant DCous the SG order for a variety of reasons (DCous is a great mother and is happily married - so other stuff). She is terrified that the child will go into care or be placed with unsuitable relatives of the mother.

I speak to DH. I show him the report on the child and I leave him alone for a few days to read it. I then ask to speak to him and give him warning that I want to speak about the report (all ways of communicating with him recommended by Relate). I start by saying that this is just an initial chat but we have the room and ampble finances and this is my grandmother's great grandchild, my mum's great niece. She's had a terrible start - could we put ourselves forward to be assessed by SS?

No no no. No thought for this little girl. No compassion. Just he doesn't want any more children.

I know this sounds melodramatic -but something in me has just died. It seems ridiculous to say that. But the fact he couldn't even think about it. meet SS, discuss the pros and cons. I haven't slept since. My RL friends tried to say that as this child could have an adverse impact on our kids and perhaps he was being protective? But we don't know that - he wouldn't event think about it.

Am I over reacting/being a dick.

HopeClearwater Fri 24-Jun-16 01:29:29

No. You're not over-reacting or being a dick.

I haven't got over your first paragraph yet. Why are you not allowed to touch all those things? This is no way to live. You describe those as trivial or daft. They aren't.

I think (hope?) that this is the straw that broke the camel's back.

HopeClearwater Fri 24-Jun-16 01:29:41

flowers for you

VimFuego101 Fri 24-Jun-16 01:46:31

YANBU. I can't imagine DH ever saying no if it was one of my family's children needing a home, regardless of whether he wanted any more kids.

ohfourfoxache Fri 24-Jun-16 01:49:59

Christ, he sounds horrible sad

I can understand reluctance to consider putting yourselves forward, but on a background of everything else he sounds nasty. Why the hell are you still with him?

sycamore54321 Fri 24-Jun-16 02:01:11

Honestly, the first part of our post suggests serious problems but despite this, I don't think your husband is necessarily being unreasonably inflexible in this instance. What you have described is horribly tragic for the child and family, but you are essentially asking him to take in a complete stranger as a foster child. I think foster parents are amazing people but I do think there is a certain type of person who can do it and it must be done wholeheartedly. If your husband knows deep down and instinctively that he does not have that type of generosity, then there is no point in giving false hope. So yes perhaps his reaction is another manifestation of his regular inflexible behaviour, but it may also be a perfectly valid genuine response that I think is legitimate and entirely possible for a person without any of the inflexible traits you describe.

I am also not entirely clear from your post though that your proposal is even helpful - did the cousin ask you to consider this role? Or would you be muscling in on her hoped-for role? You definitely need very clear communication with her too.

I am sorry you are hurting so badly by this. I do think though that it is worth working more broadly on your relationship for all the many long-term reasons you listed, rather than make this the major focus of your issues.

To channel your energies into something positive for the child concerned, could you look at ways to support your cousin and improve her chances of being awarded the role? I have no idea what that might involve - financial support, arranging a lawyer to represent her in the court, writing a reference - perhaps someone with experience in family issues could advise.

Taylor22 Fri 24-Jun-16 02:07:39

I'm sorry bit I don't think that your home would be a suitable place for a child who would require so much care. Your OH sounds abusive.

ExtraHotLatteToGo Fri 24-Jun-16 02:08:36

I'm not at all clear what you or the children are getting out of keeping your pretty much non marriage going? Ot sounds like you snd the children would be much happier without him.

As for the situation with this child, words fail me. I would not stay with a man who would not even have a decent dscussion and be open to considering it.

Me - I'd tell Dcous yes, but you'd be putting yourself forward as a one parent with 2 kids.

As for H. I'd tell him I'd reached the end of my tether & he needed to leave. You can't spend the rest of your life trying to normalise his behaviour & living half a life. Your kids deserve a happier, more normal, home too.


Isetan Fri 24-Jun-16 04:28:10

Given your relationship issues why would you think that I

I'm confused, you acknowledge that your H has some serious control issues and you're surprised that he rejected this idea out of hand? It appears that you have normalised his control/abuse to such an extent that you don't realise that your home/ relationship, even if your H agreed to an SS meeting, would not be a suitable environment for a child whose suffered abuse.

Hopefully his refusal to even discuss this, is a catalyst for you to realise that this is what happens when you allow someone to have this level of control over your life.

You still have a voice, you've just got into the bad habit of not using it.

corythatwas Fri 24-Jun-16 08:57:09

There are two separate issues here:

otoh your dh is probably right that this is not a suitable home for a foster child- and anyone who offers a home to a child in this situation should only do it if they can offer the best home possible

otoh- this is not a good home for you or your children either, their lives are completely dominated by his MH issues and you get to a point where you have to start wondering if they will be damaged by this; children do need their home to be a fun place, too, to compensate for the attractions of far more dangerous places as they grow up

rumred Fri 24-Jun-16 09:01:21

What a horrible person he sounds. I couldn't be friends never mind married to someone who is so unkind and selfish. You're absolutely right to consider taking this child. That's what decent people do. Good luck op

adora1 Fri 24-Jun-16 11:58:57

Just leave him OP, he is slowly but surely sucking the life and soul out of you, you have modelled yourself to fit in with his likes and dislikes, has he done the same for you, no.

I don't know how you can live like this, you only have one life, go and live it the way you see fit, not some miserable human being that won't even discuss important matters with you.

Goingtobeawesome Fri 24-Jun-16 12:02:36

How about you leave this ridiculous man and take your children to make a lovely "open home" for them and this other child? Just a thought.

Dontanalyseit Fri 24-Jun-16 12:04:15

Well if he won't allow you to touch the remote control he's not likely to let you take on a relative's child.

Both shocking tbh.

Purplebluebird Fri 24-Jun-16 12:39:23

I don't think I would want to take in a child to live with your other half, he sounds complicated and difficult to live with. I can completely understand you wanting to take that poor child in though, he's not being very human about it, if you see what I mean. Human compassion.

prettywhiteguitar Fri 24-Jun-16 12:42:54

I'm surprised relate enabled this man to continue to torture you ? What an earth do you get out of being with him ?

adora1 Fri 24-Jun-16 12:44:17

I also don't think this is a loving environment for a child already with issues.

Dozer Fri 24-Jun-16 12:44:19

He sounds awful, but I don't think he's being unreasonable not to want to put yourselves forward for consideration.

It's likely that you could well be rejected, both as a couple given your H's problems/potential abusiveness (control) and your relationship problems; or if you left him and put yourself forward as a newly single parent.

It might be better to focus on supporting your cousin's case.

averythinline Fri 24-Jun-16 12:54:05

My dh is not like yours but equally would not want to foster a child. That is a separate issue though to your relationship.
If your home is not a happy one already why do you think it would be a good place for a child that's probably had a horrible time?

You seem to mixing the issues, if your own children are a not in a happy home maybe focus on your response to that first...and support your cousin where you can after that... This unhappiness and environment will surely be affecting your children sad

Costacoffeeplease Fri 24-Jun-16 12:56:56

Your background info is enough to ask why you're still there?

Regarding the child, I'm not surprised he won't discuss it, but I am surprised you would consider bringing an already damaged child into this environment, I'd put my energies into getting your own children away from his influence

adora1 Fri 24-Jun-16 12:57:07

And the reason he wouldn't even think about it OP is because he calls ALL the shots, in your life too.

RiceCrispieTreats Fri 24-Jun-16 13:03:31

YABU to stay with a man who won't let you do the shopping or touch the car.

But taking on a foster child is huge ask for anyone. It's ok to say no to something that heavy in responsibility. However, you are right to note that he said no out of an utter lack of empathy, without any reflection, only to suit himself.

This would make him a terrible foster parent. It also makes him a terribly husband to you, and I hope that you do leave him in his own selfish and splendid isolation.

Like a pp, I also wonder wth Relate were thinking in teaching you how to accept and manage his controlling ways, rather than to help you rid yourself of them forever.

ImperialBlether Fri 24-Jun-16 13:13:45

I'm flabbergasted that you think your home would be suitable for a child who's had such a terrible start in life. The child needs a stable and happy home with skilled people who have been trained to deal with children in that situation. Your home is as far from that as it's possible to be.

It's interesting that you are so concerned about this child yet are not concerned about the way you and your own children are being treated. It sounds like an awful way to live - I can hardly believe his control of you. Why on earth would you consider bringing a troubled child into an already troubled house?

GashleyCrumbTiny Fri 24-Jun-16 13:45:16

Personally, I would be extremely reluctant to offer myself as guardian and carer to a child I'd never met, who sounds like they have had a very difficult start, and may well need more time, expertise and support than I could realistically offer. I don't think he's unreasonable on that score. But the first part of your post sounded bad enough on it's own. It certainly doesn't sound like a good environment for this poor child.

Foxyspook Fri 24-Jun-16 13:51:59

I was in a very similar relationship with a (less than yours) controlling man who was an alcoholic. When his sister came out with severe alcoholism and was too drunk to look after her little child, my husband's reaction was to put his head in the sand and drink more.

This to me was a catalyst in my leaving him. It wasn't that we were being called on to do anything for the child: it was just his reaction to the situation that was a last straw for me for some reason.

Maybe this is your last straw because I do agree with other posters that you are complicating your own issues, and your home does not sound great for a foster child you are not being asked to foster.

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