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Anyone feel like chatting with me about my marriage?

(27 Posts)
needanewplan Fri 31-Mar-17 10:42:55

I have nc for this because my dh knows my other username. It's long - sorry- but there are paragraphs 🙂

Dh and I are both pretty high-achieving types with good qualifications and jobs. When we got married six years ago we had a plan. So far as possible we would do everything equally. We both work 9-7 type hours which compared to a lot of people in our field is pretty relaxed and thought if we were both flexible about work and both pitched in equally at home we could both have a relationship with our children and professional success and be financially comfortable.

Needless to say it hasn't worked like that. A year after we married dh had a very difficult time at work and had what could loosely be called a nervous breakdown. He took some time off to recover and went back to work but somehow it changed our dynamic.

The years thereafter were a slippery slope of me gradually doing more and more to the point there was no question I was the boss of our lives in every sphere. Dh was always prepared to do any specific task I asked of him so in one sense he was pulling his weight but he was putting in no mental energy. He always tells me I'm just so much better at thinking things through than him, to which my reply is always no, I just started thinking about this weeks ago!!

Without my really noticing it various things started to change. One is that after the breakdown dh, who had always struck me as pretty relaxed and confident became much less so. He was suddenly nervous and clingy hanging out with my friends and started to tell me stories about the time before he met me in which he described himself as (his words) a loser, who used to get bullied a lot. I'd never seen that side to him before. With me, he became weirdly nervous - tbf I was quite irritable - and went from being a nice guy to a passive aggressive "Nice Guy". He's really sarcastic and so quick to criticise others but can't take it himself.

The stress of all of this meant that last year I had a bit of a meltdown of my own. I really needed some time off work myself to recover - lots of crying at the gp's etc. I couldn't take the time off bc I am self employed, so just had to muddle through, and dh was crap about it. Just couldn't reassure me or help at all. Partly because he's so used to me being the one who plans, and partly because he was so worried about getting it wrong and making himself look bad that he just couldn't focus on me and the help I needed.

The situation now is that i have spoken to dh a lot and he has finally got the point about pulling his weight on practical things (although he's still completely lacking in confidence and passive aggressive, which has got much worse since I told him I was unhappy). However I can barely look at him. We haven't had sex for ages and when he tries to kiss me it makes my skin crawl. I am starting to think about divorce but it's the last thing I want for the children and I know it will hurt lots of people who I love. I hate the idea of shared contact.

I don't know why I'm posting really except that I haven't talked to anyone about this irl and desperately need to. I would love to hear any thoughts has. Thank you, if you've got this far.

MaidenMotherCrone Fri 31-Mar-17 11:03:32

I'm sorry you're feeling rubbish Opflowers

When your DH was ill how supportive were you? Do you think your DH speaks about being a loser because that is how he actually sees himself within your relationship?

peaceout Fri 31-Mar-17 11:09:25

However I can barely look at him. We haven't had sex for ages and when he tries to kiss me it makes my skin crawl
I'm inclined to think you have passed a point of no return if you find him that repellent?

needanewplan Fri 31-Mar-17 11:21:41

Maiden - that's a question I have been wondering myself. I remember talking about it with him and letting him vent a lot, but I was also quite nervous about it. I might ask him what he thinks, actually.

Re dh seeing himself as a loser, yes, I thinks that's it exactly. He always used to joke about me being cleverer than him, but now it's more bitter and less lighthearted. The stupid thing is that objectively he's pretty successful now and even he was a dorky teenager (weren't we all?!) he doesn't need to be defined by that now. I wouldn't think of him like that at all if he hadn't kept shoving it in his face.

He did have lots of counselling around self esteem issues but it just seemed to make him feel he had a problem if you see what I mean, rather than fixing it.

I've realised my post makes it sound as if I have no redeeming features which is not true - we have a lot of good history together and I think he's a fundamentally decent person but we seem to have got so messed up...

needanewplan Fri 31-Mar-17 11:22:25

Agh not that I have no redeeming features, that he does. I'm not that self absorbed!

MaidenMotherCrone Fri 31-Mar-17 11:43:24

There's so much stress in your lives though Op something has to give.

Stressful job/life led to him becoming ill.

Stress of him becoming ill/you taking everything on led to you becoming ill.

Stress of failing to keep to the plan/feeling like a loser is actually preventing him from recovering.

Stress of the resentment ( you do sound as if you resent him for not being stronger)

All the above is so unhealthy for both of you.
And your children.

The skin crawling line was the most telling though. You've reached a point where you have detached yourself from him and I'm not sure you can get back to happy from this point.

Life is hard enough but sometimes it's far healthier to tackle it on your own than dragging a dead relationship with you.

Shiteyowl Fri 31-Mar-17 12:52:55

You both sound like the relationship isn't doing you any good at all. You don't seem to be meeting each other's needs. In fact, it looks like you are stressing each other out. What do you want to happen?

QuiteLikely5 Fri 31-Mar-17 13:01:01

It is a shame you both turned on each other!

It seems the guy turned to you in his hour of need and you didn't like the vulnerability that he showed - also I wonder if this coincided with the arrival of kids?

Sounds like you are so efficient he feels small next to you or that you have pointed out your efforts and he is seeing that you think he isn't good enough?

It sounds like you both started with good foundations but that superficial things/egos/shallow views have got in the way of love and family priorities

gomezabc Fri 31-Mar-17 13:40:30

It is all about egos though, and not necessarily in a bad way. Your DH had his breakdown and it's take time to recover from that, both at work and at home, and during it there is such a feeling of helplessness, that you can't do anything for yourself and rely on others a lot. However, that reliance means that a lot of things can be taken over from you (in a well-meaning sense), which means you have no control over your life when you recover from the breakdown.

I feel your DH is there about now, he hasn't got much he can get his teeth into. Men need to complete projects to help them recover their self-esteem (yes it might sound pathetic or needy, but it works).

Your revulsion of him is that you married a DH who was self sufficient and confident, and he is not that now. Of course he can get back to that but it needs faith from you to let him take control of some things. He may fail at doing some stuff initially, but with support get him back to the more balanced relationship you had before.

When he accomplishes things and gets more confident, hopefully you'll start to see your old DH qualities again and regain your attraction to him.

Well, I think that's how it went for me in similar(ish) situation anyhow...

MumsBiscuits Fri 31-Mar-17 14:13:06

Hi, no real words of wisdom but some hand holding - I have just posted a very similar thread... flowers

needanewplan Fri 31-Mar-17 19:00:47

Hello all and sorry to have disappeared - some of the posts about the stress levels in our life made me cry which is probably a sign they were dead on and I've been having a think. Mumsbiscuits I'll have a look at your thread now, and Gomez that sounds so like me - what changed it for you?

donners312 Fri 31-Mar-17 20:42:18

So basically he has left you to do everything and still managed to play the victim and get you to feel sorry for him?

Brilliant!!

And he makes your skin crawl.

seriously how is this good for you or the children?

SuiteHarmony Fri 31-Mar-17 21:07:52

Until your second-last paragraph, i had assumed you had no children together. They must be pretty young. How does childcare responsibility share out? How were things during your pregnancy and maternity leave?

I'm surprised you recounted the story without mentioning children except in passing.

needanewplan Fri 31-Mar-17 22:28:35

Yes, two small children who are a huge part of why I don't want to end things unless it's really the right thing to do. Most of the admin stuff of childcare falls to me but because we both work full time the day-to-day stuff hasn't really changed the dynamic of our relationship iyswim. He's good with the children and does put in the hours, just not so much the headspace.

needanewplan Fri 31-Mar-17 22:31:13

Donners - in the back of my mind that is my concern. I don't think he's putting it on - I think he's genuinely quite unhappy but he's incredibly passive aggressive and he does try to manipulate how I feel - I've called him out on it a couple of times and I can see right through it, but it annoys me that he tries.

SuiteHarmony Fri 31-Mar-17 22:39:30

The reason I asked about your children - and thank you for sharing - is because I am wondering what he was like during those early years that many people struggle with. Did he have your back? Did his difficulties coincide with pregnancy/maternity leave? You sound under a lot of strain.

I don't mean this to reflect badly on you but do you suspect he has overplayed the breakdown? Do you believe his dependence is genuine?

needanewplan Fri 31-Mar-17 22:51:13

With really little teeny tiny babies he was great because he knew what to do - bring wife tea, push baby round block, change nappies etc. He's good at things like that and doesn't at all shirk the menial stuff. He's not lazy - just doesn't really act like a grown up with the big things. If something has been done in the last five years and required any level of forward planing or research or consistent thought, I have done it.

Ohmywow Fri 31-Mar-17 23:54:41

Maybe one way to think about this is in the opposite… What would you do if he did take the initiative, if he did start thinking things through and planning things? Would you feel happy about it? Would you like it? Or would you feel usurped?

If the latter, then perhaps it's not his behavior now that's annoying you… It may be something more fundamental

Dadaist Sat 01-Apr-17 15:51:59

People usually discover their 'role' in relationships- and he deferred to you when you became a Mum - and you sort of became 'the boss' because you understood the priorities best. And with a history of issues it really will be a challenge for him to 'man up' to taking on his share because he's probably going to have to push back against you a bit. And he's not in a place to do that. But also, as is common, you don't want to say - tell me you'll do it and then do it differently to me, and then I'll be happy! But what's crucial is that it sounds as though, right now, he isn't able to handle the responsibilites and potential conflict that might come.
He probably needs counselling (and maybe even some men friends and space to grow) to become more of an agent in his life and his family.
So self esteem, becoming an asset and creating an equal partnership must now be things to aim for? It's self improvement really isn't it?

Dadaist Sat 01-Apr-17 15:59:54

PS - 'the skin crawl thing' - ouch! If he has any self-esteem then he needs to body swerve now - as your repulsion will destroy him won't it?

happypoobum Sat 01-Apr-17 16:03:13

I don't think you ever claw back once you get to that "makes my skin crawl" phase.

For both your sakes you need to find a way to end this and make a new life. I can exactly why you feel like you do, overburdened with all the mental and emotional work in the relationship. However, I would imagine he knows you find him repellant and that can't be good for his already fragile self esteem can it?

Kinder to end it all and plan to parent well, but separately.

Good luck flowers

happypoobum Sat 01-Apr-17 16:03:39

I can understand

NotTheFordType Sat 01-Apr-17 16:08:02

Does the thought of sex with him make your skin crawl because you now think of him as effectively one of the children you are responsible for?

wizzywig Sat 01-Apr-17 16:08:59

Op, im in your situation now. Im also sitting in a restaurant where i can see a couple in the lovely early days of a relationship. They are turned towards each other, interested in each other. I cant remember when me and my husband last did that. I feel incredibly sad. Until id seen those two, i was secretly looking at rental places to move to with the kids. Ive grown weary of being a mother to my husband. I want a partner. Someone who is my rock. Im fed up of me doing all the housework/ laundry etc etc. The fun has gone. Your 'skin crawling' comment hit a nerve with me. I cant find a man-child attractive. But your post has made me realise that i do need to talk with him.

needanewplan Sat 01-Apr-17 18:42:30

I think I'm killing his self esteem. But it's so hard to know what else to do - I can't just grit my teeth and bear having sex although a lot of women on here seem to.

If I were looking at someone else's marriage I'd probably say they'd reached the point of no return as well. But it doesn't feel easy when it's your own children you're looking at and your own husband you'd be leaving.

Sympathies to everyone else going through the same thing - it's so depressing to live like this.

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