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please help me work this out(25 Posts)
I had a life-threatening illness last week, which I was admitted to hospital for. Now out of hospital and on treatment. I'm very emotional at the moment.
I felt that DH was emotionally absent during my illness. He mostly seemed to switch off that it was happening. When I was in hospital he took care of our very young DC, so couldn't visit me. When I got out, he didn't really help me in any way. I kept having to remind him and when I did he would act like I was being a massive pain. Sighing, etc. I've tried to talk to him about how it made me feel and he's listened to me to some extent, but switched off after a while and said we have bigger priorities - i.e. kids, making money, keeping things running, and I need to not make such an emotional big deal out of things.
He went to work tonight and I had texted him (he is allowed to text at work) before I took some medication saying I was anxious because the last time I had taken it I'd vomited blood. He ignored that text and asked me when we were all going to go on a family day out. I got annoyed and said that's not what i had been talking about. Three hours later after he knew I had probably taken the meds, he hadn't texted me to ask if everything was ok.
So I sent him a long text saying I felt like he didn't care. He replied saying "sorry for not having the level of empathy you need" and "sorry you feel that way" and all that bullshit. He concluded that he'd felt my dissatisfaction with his level of empathy for sometime and maybe we had to conclude we were an emotional mismatch for each other.
I said it's quite simple, we just need to be attuned to each other and support each other. He said he has given me so much support but all I do is play the victim and emotionally drain him (I don't know if I do this.) That I was ill, that this happens, that we have to move forward, forward, forward.
I gave him examples of how I have felt that he's like a visitor in the house rather than someone who is involved or impacted emotionally by stuff that happens in our lives and the DC's lives.
He took huge offence at the word visitor and basically started to outline what I can only describe as a separation plan over text. "You've made it clear you are unhappy with my level of empathy and I honest to God, can't give you any more than I have already given you. If that's really how you feel then you can take this asset and give me X access to the DC."
I am completely taken aback and in shock. We have never even discussed anything like this before, it is absolutely no-go territory and the fact he has gone there so easily over text is shocking.
I texted back we need to talk, he said no I'm at work and my battery's dying. I said you can't talk about leaving me and then disappear, and he said, "no it's you leaving me." I said how? He said because you feel like I am a visitor in the house.
Now his battery has died and I can't get hold of him.
We've been married five years with 2DC. I am flabbergasted at his coldness.
He's acting like this because you want him to change . He thinks this is unreasonable . He's ony willing to stay in the marrakageif you never demand anything of him .
He wants to punish you for this to make sure that you never complain about him again .
So either you stay with him and comply with his terms = never discussing anything . Or you take him up on his offer of splitting up .
I suspwct that he's already emotionally detached from you and the children.
Urgh he sounds horrible.
It's like he was cross with you for being sick and manipulating you into leaving him......why is that?
No advice other than leave but I guess that's not what some people want to do...
My husband has really struggled with me being ill. I never noticed before how he handles illness completely differently to me. My first instinct is to check on the person and ask if they need anything and make sure they're comfortable and supported. My husband would rather ignore and just get on with the practical things.
As the illness continued and the crying never stopped, he became more and more closed to me and openly angry at times.
I've now decided to let him do the practical things while I go to my mum and friends for the sympathy and understanding. Women are better at talking and can make you feel lots better.
It's not that my husband doesn't care (and I suspect your husband is the same), it's that he struggles seeing me in pain and as he cant take it away he feels like there isn't anything else he can do for me. We are so much better now I've altered what I go to him for and he even said to me he was thinking about me yesterday and felt in love and couldn't wait to tell me when he got home!
Don't fixate on the text. He's pushing you to see what your thoughts on the situation are. You need each other and want it to work, you just need to find a path to make it happen.
Sorry to be blunt but it sounds like he wants out and has been thinking about it for some time, hence the separation plan. Let him go, you deserve someone who cares for you more than he is capable of. Don't let him manipulate you into taking responsibility for breaking up the marriage though - that's all on him
Unless there is a big back story, I'd say there is a lot in what life begins says. I also think that having those discussions over text, whilst he is at work was probably ill advised. You need to sit down and talk and both appreciate each other's differences in empathy etc.
I'm with mouikey
You need to sit down and sort it out together & either find a way forward or recognise that you're too incompatible.
Being frank, receiving a long text, especially at work, when he's providing & feeling like he's doing his bit, sounds like a bit of a character assassination & would have really pissed a lot of people off.
This sounds like a communication problem
Great post from LifeBeginsNow
I love my DH but used to often behave in ways where I'd feel let's down. Truth is we are very different people who deal with things differently. He could just as easily feel let down and disappointed in me being more emotional and less practical. I could no more respond to stresses as he does, as he could change his responses to match mine. It works well for us if we accept our differences are just who we are rather than because the other is deficient.
Of course, that's not to say this is necessariy the reason. Too often I read an OP and take it on face value only for it to be the tip of the iceberg and many other issues pop up the more the OP posts.
So, unless there is more to this, I'd be inclined to the view that his answer to stress is to be practical to make things easier for the household and that this also protects him from letting in the hurt and worries. It's easier to be ill yourself than to watch and fear for someone you love in their illness.
Sorry you were unwell. Hope you feel better soon.
It sounds like he might have been thinking about this for a while. You also say that things haven't been great for a while.
I have to say, this jumped out at me:
I said it's quite simple, we just need to be attuned to each other and support each other. He said he has given me so much support but all I do is play the victim and emotionally drain him
You say you don't know if you do this, but it sounds like you might? I have a family member like this. She was ill years ago. When she's not the centre of attention with boyfriends or her family she brings it back up and plays on it. When that doesn't derive the attention she thinks it should, she keeps stepping it up how unwell she feels but people are starting to see through it so they get a bit eye-rolly, which then makes her step the drama up another level and she starts to lose her shit because she wants attention, and starts telling the guy it's not working because he's not supportive enough and he needs to be better (this is just a threat to crank the drama up, she doesn't actually want to split). But boyfriends eventually get fed up and finish with her because they can't be doing with the silly games. And she can't understand why the manipulation hasn't worked and is blindsided.
Obviously, this is a bit more extreme than what you've laid out in your OP. But just wanted to illustrate where these situations can end up like if you do constantly tell someone they aren't X enough for your liking.
If none of that applies here, then could it be that he checked out of the relationship a while ago? Is there any chance there is someone else on the scene that has pricked his interest? Is he more emotionally involved with the DC or is he cold and emotionless with both them and you?
In this situation, whether AyeAmarok is right or not, I agree with PPs, he has voiced something that is not new to his train of thinking!
This is so hard because it comes down to each persons view point of what 'support' means.
Without knowing you it's really hard to tell if he now feels there is just nothing more he can offer or whether he is being cruel. Whether you become consumed by anxiety over illness and negativity and he finds that hard to cope with or whether he is being unreasonable to your expectations.
Everyone is different and not everyone is good in ALL situations.
I once had to be cared for by my mother after an operation. I didn't for a minute hesitate in asking for my own mothers help but 2 days into my recovery I hit infection and extreme pain. Instead of getting better as she expected, I got worse. She completely fell to bits with all the responsibility of looking after me and my children and became angry and resentful. I couldn't put into words what I needed from her but this was NOT it. We had a giant row because all I wanted was time and understanding and all she wanted was for me to improve and take the burden from her. I was consumed by the pain, anxiety and didn't interact with her apart from to complain. She isn't a natural nurse clearly and I am not always a great patient.
In fact I am much better the other way around.
I think fact is you are not listening to him either because in the current crisis, your situation kind of 'trumps' any of his feeling. So he has been doing what needs to be done (practical) and then hears that it's still not good enough.
Listen to him and hopefully he will also listen to you. The burden on both of you isn't any less because he isn't the one who is unwell. Does that make sense?
When I read back about the family day out text I wondered if he was clumsily perhaps trying to motivate you into thinking about the future not focusing on the present. It's hard to look outside of the present when you are scared and in pain but I just think neither of you seem to understand each other's emotions
It looks like he had his escape plan already worked out and was just waiting for you to put a foot wrong. Is there anyone else involved.
On a practical, medical level, what the hell medication are you taking that makes you vomit blood??
Whatever the background to this, it sounds like OP's DH was trying to help by encouraging you to look forward to something nice. Whether that was inappropriate or cruel or just clumsy, kind of depends on just how seriously ill you have been and how under pressure he himself feels (if he wasn't able to visit you in hospital this suggests your level of support from friends and family isn't high). Also agree that DH's train of thought re division of assets is not new. So much depends on context. The real issue is of course communication. Doing all this by text while he's at work far from ideal.
I echo the Q: what the heck medication are you taking that made you vomit blood??
Hope you are physically on the mend, OP.
Showing concern in different ways is fine, some people do it emotionally and others practically, but from the OP it didnt sound like he was particularly doing either. She needed him to do things for her and he clearly resented it.
And for him to jump straight to "You can keep the house and I will see the kids EOW (say)" says to me that this isnt something that hasnt just come from nowhere. Also the "I am not leaving, you are" makes me think that he has been thinking about this for a while but doesnt want to be the bad guy, and now thinks that he can put the blame on the OP and walk away guilt free.
I would be telling him that if he wants to leave then I wouldnt be standing in his way but he must understand that the decision to leave is his, and his alone.
I'm sorry you've been so ill. I don't know what illness you have, but if your coughing up blood, you need to get to a doctor. That's serious. It's awful for you, but please you seem in no fit state to be arguing with him at present, ok I get it he's unable to cope with your illness, can't a family member help you out, while you are ill. I'd be worried that this is all too much for you at this time. Get yourself well, and next time he's ill, have your revenge on the git.
He's right. What you want he can't or won't give.
Things have degenerated to the extent that you are sending lengthy kickings by text to him at work, while he obviously thinks you are massively exaggerating the vomiting blood thing.
I have to agree with him on the vomiting blood thing. People who vomit blood go to the hospital.
My DM seems to have a lot of things like that happen to her when she's not the centre of attention. Funnily enough she never calls an ambulance or goes to A&E or even goes to the GP. I don't respond to her texts about that stuff any more.
Sometimes she leaves me ranting voice mails about how cruel I am for not caring that she is at death's door. Funnily enough she never ends up in hospital.
We very rarely see each other. I can't / won't give her the level of emotion she needs. Apparently I am cold. Actually I am a Grey Rock
If you are genuinely properly ill and he is genuinely being a shit to you, then he is still right. You can't be what the other needs.
I think that most of the replies on here are absolutely dreadful.
Why shouldn't he show some empathy and take your feelings into account? I agree with Kr1stina - he is punishing you for complaining, it all has to be on his terms and he will not allow you to make emotional demands.
This is all with the proviso that you are not constantly playing the victim, op!
I think hes right too. He cant give you what you need and hes had enough of trying.
I'm sorry you have been ill and are feeling alone/unsupported.
I can't comment on your exact situation as I clearly don't have all the facts, but I thought I'd offer a perspective to consider.
My DH is a lot more emotional than myself. His expectation for sympathy when ill is far greater than mine (I like to just get on with it). Having said that, we respect each deals with things differently, and we try to be mindful of the others way.
I (being the less (outwardly) sympathetic, but maybe more practical) understand putting importance on keeping the kids happy/house running/working. That doesn't mean I'm not sympathetic (although have been accused of this); in a way, I'm helping in the only way I know how. Maybe your DH feels like this? Maybe he feels the burden of your illness, and has been stressed/tired from taking on extra ( would explain the huffing when you've asked anything more of him)? Maybe he thought you'd have told him if coughing blood reoccurred, and since you'd said nothing (and he's got a 1001 things in his head), all was ok?
Perhaps you have a friend/relative that could offer the sympathy in the way you require, whilst also respecting your DH for what he is providing?
I'm not excusing his behaviour, and only you can decide whether you can accept it, but just suggesting considering how your illness has also made him feel, as until this point, you've been a team?
This thread is an absolute example why these important discussions should not take place via text messages. I agree that the dh was backed into a corner and feeling attacked hence attacking back. Both parties need to consider this dynamic and what's going on.
Dh probably feels he's been a great husband and dad doing the practical stuff whilst Op is ill. He also probably admits he doesn't do illness too well. My own dh is a bit similar. If I got furious with him for not being a person he isn't he would also feel attacked and angry that his good qualities have been ignored.
This isn't fabulous but none of us is perfect and we all need to play to our strengths. I get emotional support from female friends and family and try to be emotionally resilient.
Stop the games, both of you and sit down to discuss. Be prepared to apologise if necessary. I doubt the splitting up was a serious threat just a response to stress. Unless there really is more to this do remember that although you have been ill and that's shit he has also had stress to deal with and still been criticised.
I'm glad you've got a range of responses here OP.
I agree with lots of people here that it sounds like you both have wildly different ways of acting when you are ill or supporting them.
I, for instance would be in the get on with it camp and you would annoy me with your texts for sure. I would see it as irritating attention seeking.
As others have said, he may be supporting you in a practical way and wishing you weren't being such a victim, or you may be being reasonable and he is an arse. It's hard for us to tell. I hope this thread has given you lots to think about.
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