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.
Husband wants me to play harder to get?(33 Posts)
I'm currently grieving after the death of a very close family member who was very special to me. DH has been somewhat distant and emotional unavailable. I'm currently receiving bereavement counselling and recently highlighted to my counsellor that I hadn't felt it safe to grieve around DH. I've felt an expectation to continue as normal.
As a result, I've tried to unravel this further and I've concluded that I'm being more needy than usual and feeling more grateful for my DH and DCS,wanting my family close. But surely this is normal and healthy?
I explained this to DH after an honest discussion and asked if this was pushing him away. He responded that he much prefers it when I "play more hard to get."
Are all men like this? Am I not allowed to be vulnerable around my husband during a time of grief? I have spoken to my friend about this who explains that DH clearly doesn't "do feelings" so to give him a bit of time and space. I usually rate her advice highly, but I'm not sure about this? Surely DH should be meeting my emotional needs right now, or am I expecting too much?
I had an ex like this. He actually said it to his flat mate who told me. His flat mate was horrified and told me to get the fuck out of the relationship. I did eventually. He destroyed my self esteem.
You shouldn't have to play hard to get with someone who loves you. Ever.
No, not all men are like this and no, you are not expecting too much. Dp and I have been together for 19 years and are thee for one another completely. Playing hard to get? What does he even mean by that??
Sorry about your loss banoffee grief is such a difficult and personal thing, I wonder if your DH struggles to see you vulnerable as you are at the moment? Your friends response is a bit of a cop out people often say men don't do feelings! There may be an element of truth in this, meaning how the different sexes handle 'feelings' but your DH should put this aside and allow you to grieve how you need to.
It's good you are having counselling it might help you order your thoughts but it's better backed up with support from home too. Having had counselling myself I found it identified things in me I had not seen and I found this tough, my DH struggled a bit as he was worried about upsetting me or making me worse so he trod on eggshells, I found I had to have a frank and open discussion with him, this allowed him to see howand why I felt like this and how he could help me.
Grief is a long and painful road but support is essential to navigate it, I suggest talking to DH I'm not sure what 'playing harder to get means' it's rather an odd choice of words. Good luck op.
Is he always a selfish bastard?
Sorry for your loss OP! It's isn't what I'd deem normal, any normal loveomg partner would want you to open up and to comfort you surely?
Ugh, sounds awful. I'm sorry for loss
Man here - and I am not like this! I think your needs sounds very understandable and reasonable. Your DH sounds like a bit like a teenager. Don't worry about his need for you to play games, this is when he should be thinking of your needs.
I'm sorry you lost someone close.
As someone who went through losing several close family members and had bereavement counselling too, my reaction is
When he says"play harder to get" I hear "don't need me at all cos then I don't have to do anything for you".
Which is not a marriage.
You should be able to bawl your eyes out and he zooms over to hug you. You should be able to tell him weeks down the line that something has triggered you and you're having a sad day and his only reaction should be "Awwww..." and to make you a cup of tea. You should be able to muse "I wish they were here to see this, they'd love it" and for them to smile kindly and agree.
That's normal. That's what my DH did for me and what I did for him when his parent passed away years ago.
I think it's sign of a weak man who is using the phrase "hard to get" to not meet your needs.
No doubt he is used to you supporting him.
Doesn't sound right to me, if you can't rely on someone when the chips are down, what is the actual point? Yes you need counselling but everyone goes through dips where they lean on their partner and vice-versa.
Sorry, didn't finish.
I mean you're not playing at anything, are you?
You're genuinely grieving & he prefers it??!!
Are all men like this?
No, we most certainly are not. He's a douche if he can't support you in your grief.
I'm definitely usually the driver of the relationship, but I always thought that if I became vulnerable then DH would be able to take over and be there for me.
He does cuddle me if I'm upset, but it's literally a cuddle and then back to business. I've just needed an extra level of closeness recently, probably a little too much in some ways, I've not been wanting to go to bed alone in the evenings and asked him to come upstairs at the same time etc. But he seems to have seen this as a bit of a chore. I've also wanted his time a lot, but he does have a few hobbies etc. I wonder if perhaps I've expected too much of him and only him. My father is still around but isn't good for any kind of support so wonder if I've perhaps relied on DH too much?
First of all I'm sorry for your loss.
What a very odd response from your DH. Is he expecting you to act all coquettish and girlish? Is that what he means. Presumably playing hard to get stops way way before you marry, and that's even i you think playing anything is a good idea.
I think what he actually meant was "I can't be bothered to support you, it's interfering with my easy life and I wish you'd just snap out of it!"
'Hard to get'?! Wtf is he talking about? You're married, surely the days of playing hard to get are over? He sounds
like a douche incredibly immature, OP, and I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this at an already difficult time. Not 'doing feelings' isn't an option when you're in an adult relationship.
Not normal in my experience!
When my mum died DH and I were separated but getting on well. He was still there for both me and the children. He took on as much as he could and he was there for the kids whilst I was doing the 'hosting' with my siblings at the funeral.
I'm afraid your DH sounds self-centred at best and, personally, I couldn't be with someone who's thinking of themselves at a time when you and your emotional stability should be the priority.
I would ask him to elaborate on what he meant? Emotions don't move in a linear way. You shouldn't have to suppress your vulnerability, especially in a marriage.
Has he ever needed additional emotional support from you.
Your life has changed, you are suffering a loss and trying to make sense of that. A little compassion and empathy go a really long way.
He's making it sound like your emotions are an inconvenience. He shut you down. That isn't good.
You can't change how you feel. If you need a bit more support then you need a bit more support. However, you can't make someone support you. People will only do what they want to do.
DH and I have had a few disasters over the last few years and we've both supported each other. It's what marriage is about.
My XP on the other hand....
was a selfish prick.
Are you usually the strong one? The one everyone leans on when they need a shoulder? The 'mother', the dependable one.
If so, then perhaps he just doesn't know how to cope with you being vulnerable. I know from my own experience, that if you're always there for everyone, then nobody knows how to deal with it if you suddenly become the one who needs someone to lean on.
Or perhaps he's just a complete asshole
The 'hard to get' comment does seem awful. It's possible it was a clumsy choice of words - might be worth clarifying this with him, as if it's genuinely what he meant it's a dreadful thing to expect of you when you're grieving.
Has your DH ever lost someone close to him? I only ask because until I went through a bereavement of my own I didn't have a particularly deep understanding of what it feels like to lose someone. I knew it was shit, I knew people all grieve differently - but I didn't know how it felt. I wasn't as supportive as I could have been to an ex partner or to my DH when they lost parents; I think I needed it spelled out to me a bit more that 'I'm irritable / irrationally anxious / whatever because I'm upset about my mother, not because I hate you / I'm going permanently insane / I'm never going to let you leave my side again'.
Sounds like you've done that spelling out, though.
How's your relationship normally? Family members of mine who are otherwise wonderful and loving became quite dismissive and almost angry with me when I was particularly vulnerable and clingy after a devastating loss. It's as though it angered them that they were doing their best and yet nothing was 'fixing' me - they felt I was making unreasonable demands, or finding them inadequate. It's a shit way to respond, and makes the grieving person feel even more awful. But I found it helpful to realise that it came from their own sense of powerlessness - and to acknowledge that they just were not going to be able to give me the support I wanted. Not everyone can, unfortunately.
I am very sorry for your loss, and sorry that your DH's response is making you feel worse. Do make sure to let him know.
I have had a similar experience with my now-exP after I had a very traumatic experience (not a bereavement but very upsetting and led to me suffering anxiety and depression). ExP was supportive, or tried to b/appeared to be. But he became more difficult, hard to communicate with, passive-aggressive and did some things that really upset me "by mistake" or because he "forgot".
Like you I was the competent, do-it-all person in the relationship. He was usually the one who needed support and attention, in fact could be quite attention-seeking. At some level he clearly found it very hard that I was being needy or getting all the attention, even.
For this and a number of other reasons I ended the relationship a couple of years down the line, I'm not saying you should do the same, but yes I do think he should be able to support you and you should be able to be vulnerable - not leaning on him 24/7 for the whole relationship (which you're not), but to a reasonable degree in a give-and-take way, it's normal.
Maybe this situation his revealed an imbalance in the relationship, where you're the grown-up and he's really not. At the very least he needs to understand that you are allowed to have vulnerable times and you need to be able to talk this all through with him. If he won't, that is a problem I think.
Sorry for your loss and the tough time you're having –I hope it's not a platitude to say I predict you will eventually heal and recover, as I have.
Hard to get? He's already got you - you married him.
He's saying he doesn't like to support you or be affectionate. Can you live with that?
Sorry for your loss, OP
As life partners (regardless of how that is legally manifested or the genders) we are meant to be there for each other as the primary support in all areas of life. Sadly, it's sometimes not until you need that support the most that you might find out that you have not picked a very good partner. A good partner is there for you and supports you because they love you. They do not judge whether you should need that support, nor compare how you are responding emotionally to a situation to how they would respond. They just see that you need support and they give it.
You've suffered a shocking loss and your partner is basically telling you to deal with it yourself and not expect any support from him. He is
a selfish, emotionally retarded bastard not a good choice for a partner.
I am very sorry for your loss.
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.