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Please help me work out how to feel better about my life.

(20 Posts)
LaContessaDiPlump Mon 20-Mar-17 09:28:35

I posted recently in AIBU about a disagreement between myself and DH over this, so if any part of it sounds familiar that's why.

We have a relatively unusual history of being comfortable with our exes - I remained friends with my ex-DF's family after we split (11 years ago), while DH remained friends with his ex-DW (she came to the evening do of our wedding, we went to her and her DP's house for a meal and overnight stay, DH went to her wedding [alone as I'd only just had a baby]; you get the idea). His family still speak fondly of her. I don't take this personally; they got to know her and liked her.

A few years ago my ex's mum got in touch and invited us and DC to visit them for the day, a fair distance away. I asked DH; he said 'It's weird, but alright'. We went and had a good time; he agreed that they were nice and kind people.

Recently she got in touch again and suggested that we come again, only stay overnight in a standalone flat this time to spare a really long drive twice in one day. DH initially agreed to this, but after discussion with his mates a week beforehand he had a change of heart and declared that it wasn't right (the primary reason he gave was that my ex might be upset) and so he wasn't coming. I was upset (partly in general, partly at the short-notice nature of the decision) but took the DC anyway. We had a great time with them - again, they are genuinely lovely. We spent a lot of time together back in the day and I really appreciate the kindness they've shown to me over the years.

I took the opportunity to ask ex's mum if ex was ok with me being there; she confirmed that he knew of it and did not mind. So I came back yesterday, excited, wanting to tell DH this because he said that was the problem and this would surely solve it. I relayed the information and he sort of went 'Yeah. Ok, that's great. I'm still not going though, because it's weird.'

I feel really deflated sad I really care about these people, but they are very family-unit oriented and wouldn't want me to choose visiting them over DH. Equally, something in my soul recoils at dropping people you care about because DH says no.

I tried to explain to DH that I was quite upset by this situation and he said, cheerily (and honestly - no sarcasm): 'Oh well. I hope you find a solution!' and wandered off to go to work. This is typical behaviour from him; my problems are my problems. I feel disproportionately sad about this (honestly, the depth of emotion has surprised me) and it has left me really not wanting to talk to DH. Our relationship was struggling anyway (I feel like I'm alone most of the time, in terms of human connection) and this hasn't helped.

If anyone can advice on a good way forward then I'd be grateful. Currently I'm sitting here going Can't divorce; can't afford it. I want to be in the same house as DC. I don't want to have to be near him though because he's pretending that everything is fine and will blink in wide-eyed innocence if I try to say 'No it isn't'.

Help sad

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Mon 20-Mar-17 09:34:54

Are they your DCs' grandparents? If so it's not weird at all to want to see their grandchildren, if a bit unusual to invite the 'new' DH as well. If not - I can't comment I'm afraid, other than it's great for children to have lovely adults who want their company in their lives, but I can sort of see why your DH might not be willing to go.

MrsHathaway Mon 20-Mar-17 09:39:33

It's a big mental step from "unhappy about something to do with DH" to divorce. I was kind of startled by that part of your OP. You say yourself: I feel disproportionately sad about this

However, I note that DH was fine until he talked to other people about it. Do you think he actually was fine, or just putting a brave face on something he couldn't quite put his finger on until someone else said "WTF?"

It's lovely to have lovely people in your life, but I have to be honest that it is genuinely a bit weird to have such a close relationship with your ex's family, if (as I think is the case here) you were only introduced via your ex (as opposed to having been colleagues first or something). These are your and DH's DC rather than your and XP's DC?

Definitely weird as in unusual, uncommon, unexpected. I can't exactly explain why I also find it weird as in unsettling and inappropriate.

So anyway I think there's two completely separate issues here:

1/ You are unhappy with DH because you don't think he takes any responsibility for your happiness.

This could be a complete deal breaker, but you haven't given much detail of how this actually affects your life and how your relationship is otherwise. Would you like to expand?

2/ You have a very unusual relationship with your ex-ILs which DH doesn't quite like.

I wonder whether he's tolerated it so far but is now just creeping out about it. However cool we try to be about things, we can reach a tolerance limit and just need to say "Actually, no."

As an aside, I'd like to ask why you think DH should be responsible for your emotions (1) when you are allowed to disregard his (2)?

LaContessaDiPlump Mon 20-Mar-17 09:42:42

No, they are not the DC's grandparents.

I can see why he might find it odd too, tbf. But given our mutual history of going 'Meh. People are people, and I like them if they're nice people', his reluctance has surprised me. He has form for not wanting to see people I like, or attend social functions with my friends; I've got used to his absence at those, and my friends have too. I suspect this is more of the same, only this time he has a more 'valid'-sounding excuse. The difference is, this time the people in question would be surprised at his absence and it would have to be explained. I really don't want to hurt their feelings and am upset at being in a position where I will eventually have to do so sad

I won't put pressure on him to go or anything, but I am struggling in my own mind.

My1ittlepony Mon 20-Mar-17 09:43:16

My new partner thinks it's weird that I have a good relationship with my ex. He's moved on and I've moved on. I'm still in contact with his family but not as close as you are to yours.
So I don't think it's weird at all. I can understand why people might say so but it's their opinion. They are entitled to it, just as you are to yours. It's when these opinions are aired that the problems arise.
I hope you sort things out. Family tension is horrible x

LaContessaDiPlump Mon 20-Mar-17 09:52:02

MrsHathaway to my mind, in a LTR/marriage, you sort of sign up to caring about the other party's feelings and wanting to help them if you can (without completely prostrating yourself obvs). I would say that I generally try to make DH's emotional path easy and smooth things over/accept some less palatable decisions/etc. I try to observe how he's feeling and care about how I can improve it.

I feel that he struggles with reciprocating; he can manage proper cups of tea and taking out rubbish etc, but when it comes to emotional support he is lost. I have to explain very precisely why I'm sad and how he can help; usually I get to desperately unhappy before giving in and asking, as it feels so pathetic to have to spell out to an ostensibly intelligent adult that you need emotional support. I used to have enough capacity in my head to cope with managing alone, but with the DC it's harder to cope. I'm not close to many friends or family either, but do see a counsellor, which helps.

LaContessaDiPlump Mon 20-Mar-17 09:54:01

DH has probably reached his tolerance limit with the ex-ILs; I can see that. I just have the nagging feeling that it's his innate laziness talking rather than actually feeling it's weird. That is what is getting to me.

However, I will not push it any further. His position has been made clear.

MrsHathaway Mon 20-Mar-17 10:00:51

I just have the nagging feeling that it's his innate laziness talking rather than actually feeling it's weird.

You mean, that he's using the excuse that other people would use, rather than the real one? That would be very annoying.

Ultimately, though, if he doesn't want to see your friends - whether your school friends or local friends or ex-family - then that is totally his business and it's still positive that he's fine with your going without him.

Can you unpack why you're more worried about upsetting them than putting him out? Is it because he's usually unbothered by most things and they're more sensitive? I'm getting a vibe of "this doesn't bother him so that shouldn't" but I may be misreading.

LaContessaDiPlump Mon 20-Mar-17 10:15:16

You're not misreading MrsHathaway - I do feel a bit like that. For some reason I am really distressed at the thought of them being upset.

I think I'm just feeling lonely right now. It started a few weeks ago with my cousin's wedding; I was watching them get married, all hopeful and happy and 'isn't love grand', and was dismayed to find that I was trying to hold back my cynical face. I was relieved to not have to look at DH during the ceremony, or make 'Ah, love, coo' noises' as I was wrangling kids. DSis was no help as she's engaged and was cooing away. Our dad wasn't invited but visited my house the following week; he then flew off to the other country where he lives. Haven't seen my friends in a while.

Basically I think I was feeling a bit sad about the lack of love in my life, then realised that I didn't have anyone else around to lean on for emotional support, then was invited to spend time with people who wanted to see me and were kind. To have my DH (ostensibly the main source of support) then try to cut the support line (I know he's not but it feels like that, a bit) has just tipped me over the edge a bit.

By Jove, I think that's it blush hmm how pathetic.

MrsHathaway Mon 20-Mar-17 10:22:54

Oh, sweetheart.

So it wasn't a disproportionate response: it was a response to something completely different.

Who in your life makes you not feel lonely?

It's funny how you can feel so alone in a room full of people; and then sometimes you can be all by yourself and feel surrounded by companionship, just because a particular person texted you.

LaContessaDiPlump Mon 20-Mar-17 10:38:26

My kids, my dad, my friends. Just.... not him.

I don't know if I am being crazy/unreasonable or what, but the experience of living with someone who doesn't seem to need you very much and views your requests for help/intimacy with a certain degree of surprise is just really wearing.

I'm left feeling a bit embarrassed for needing more than he does, so I choke it back and soldier on by myself. I then don't want to engage when he does actually make an effort, because if I get used to depending on him then it'll hurt more then next time when support isn't there. Hence, increasing isolation and loneliness. He won't discuss it; he'll claim it's all fine. It's horrible sad

TreeTop7 Mon 20-Mar-17 10:45:00

You're not "pathetic" at all. Honestly. Your post about the wedding clarifies things.

I think that some distance between you and your ex's family might be healthier though. Being civil with ex ILs is one thing but your arrangement sounds a bit OTT. I think that your relationship with DH is the priority now, not their feelings.

MrsHathaway Mon 20-Mar-17 10:48:47

Do you think it's a fatal flaw in his personality? (that is, something fundamentally incompatible with yours)

Or do you think it's something he's capable of but doesn't bother with?

Because that would make a difference to me when looking at whether I thought the relationship had a future. Sometimes we can put up with stuff that can't change, if it's outweighed by stuff we like.

Delphi2022 Mon 20-Mar-17 10:51:03

Dear OP,

You've nailed it!

When I first read your post. I was thinking what's the underlying issue here and MrsHathaway really summed it up well. You have seen and felt love in these environments and your soul is crying out for the same.

I get the sense you OH is passive aggressive and comes across to me as withholding his time to gain attention in some way. I've been here. What worked for me was writing an open letter to myself and then thinking over what I've written. In a nutshell I had to buried myself and started doing more of what I loved and spending time with people who live in the same way I do.

Isetan Mon 20-Mar-17 10:51:20

In the circumstances there's nothing disproportionate about your sadness. It's the realisation that your former ILs, who you have a tenuous connection to, want to enjoy your company as opposed to the man your sharing your life with, who gives a very good impression of someone who doesn't.

Your marriage isn't meeting your emotional needs and that needs addressing because the genie is well out of the bottle now and you can't go back to pretending it's ok.

LaContessaDiPlump Mon 20-Mar-17 11:02:02

I think it's just the way he is, yes. It didn't matter before kids; I had more resilience then. I think I need to develop more resilience and other sources of emotional support, because I won't get it from him without a painful struggle. I'm not sure he is always PA (well sometimes, but aren't we all); I think it's more that he is simply baffled that any adult could need support from another adult. Honestly, I think the concept scares him a bit.

An open letter might be a good idea (although I suppose this counts, in part).

I want to stay married, if only so I can live in my house with my DC and see them everyday. They love him dearly, so I wouldn't want to part them from their dad. Therefore I think I need to sort this out by myself. There are plenty of partnerships like that, aren't there? Where people live together but get their emotional fulfillment from other sources? I certainly remember growing up in something similar, and seeing the same all around me.

MrsHathaway Mon 20-Mar-17 11:04:04

I want to stay married, if only so I can live in my house with my DC and see them everyday. They love him dearly, so I wouldn't want to part them from their dad. Therefore I think I need to sort this out by myself. There are plenty of partnerships like that, aren't there? Where people live together but get their emotional fulfillment from other sources? I certainly remember growing up in something similar, and seeing the same all around me.

I'm sure there are. But it sounds incredibly sad. And when your DC are grown up and have moved out, and you're living in a too-empty house with a man you don't like, what then?

LaContessaDiPlump Mon 20-Mar-17 11:24:09

I guess I'd feel free to part ways at that point. Although I always anticipated that my parents would divorce the second that they got the chance and they didn't, so who knows. Maybe time resolves these things.

It's helped to work out just why I was so sad, TBH. The thing is, I'll try to explain to him that I need more than the baseline we currently have, and I'll be the annoying needy one again. My sense of self-worth is very much wrapped up in not showing any need for anyone. This is a problem.

Come to think of it, I always thought of my mother as pathetically whiny and needy. I guess history repeats itself....

Wallywobbles Mon 20-Mar-17 11:30:54

Gosh what a miserable existence you've signed up to. Alone yet together. He's not your friend at all is he?

I'd tell him you are thinking of calling time as you feel so alone emotionally. Even if it's just to shock him out of his complacency.

A good relationship really requires all the elements of friendship, emotional support, I've got your back, sexual desire and common interests beyond the kids. How many of those do you have?

LaContessaDiPlump Mon 20-Mar-17 12:09:54

Friendship - sort of, a bit. No friends in common and I don't really know any of his.

Emotional support - yeees, if the need for same is explained extremely clearly and calmly.

I've got your back - sort of; he says I wouldn't have any time for a person who wasn't truthful, so the negative side often gets advanced first.

Sexual desire - sort of, sometimes. Not much from me if I'm honest.

Common interests beyond the kids - we both like science, politics and films. Lots of arguments over politics and we rarely if ever go out together though.

It does sound a bit miserable tbh.

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