Advanced search

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.

Struggling with DH lack of emotional support

(9 Posts)
buzzbobboo Wed 22-Nov-17 11:43:56

Been married 10 years, 3 kids (one is preschooler), both have jobs - DH out 12 hours a day, I WFH around kids but it’s a job of significant responsibility. Life is busy. And we’re generally happy too.

DH is a good man. He cares for me and the kids. He has a stressful job but he ringfences it and is disciplined about leaving times and does school runs etc when he can to work around my changeable schedule. He earns way more than me but has never considered money should be shared anything other than equally. He does 90% of the cooking, as much tidying etc as me, does at least 50% of childcare including bum wiping and sick mopping and returning kids to bed in night and always has, and takes on some of the admin burden of certain activities etc so i don’t even have to think about them. But as I’m home i have to run the ship and be the one to drop work to collect kids etc - I absorb all the pressure really. And my job is stressful and highly responsible too, and requires me to give of myself for others. I do a lot of “giving” and putting myself down the pecking order. I can just about cope until things get tough.

Anyway, we’ve had a tough month as he has been very ill, in hospital for a week and slow recuperation. I managed everything including upset kids, logistics and supporting him. I’ve had to drop a lot of my things. Now we’re coming out the other side he is physically exhausted and needs to recuperate and I’m emotionally frazzled as well as darn tired.

Anyway a small incident yesterday - l unexpectedly started crying just before he left for the train, about me and the fact that I’m feeling fat and unhappy in my body at the moment (back story of an op which has meant i can’t do my usual activities) and instead of comforting me he literally backed out of the room saying “i have to go” and left for work.

It’s raised a huge number of issues for me - i feel completely rejected and i spent yesterday deeply upset about that rather than even beginning to address what upset me. And it’s brought to the fore that for all his many brilliant points, he’s always been absolutely crap at helping me when I’m sad, upset, emotional other than through practically things (he’ll cook something special for me for example and take the kids out for half an hour to give me space etc so i know he cares, but he cannot actually deal with my tears and cannot help me by being truly with me in these moments which is what i want/need. I absorb a lot of pressure and do a lot of putting people first so when the pressure valve blows i need somebody to physically and metaphorically hold me and it’s the one thing he just never seems to be able to do.

DH can home last night and said sorry for his reaction and explained he was late for train and can’t currently run for it as so unwell and panicked that i might need too much time sad which upset me (though i know how hard it has been for him and how he’s struggling to bounce back and so is feeling quite low himself) but i couldn’t really accept the apology because I’m sick of me being sad resulting in him having to always apologise for backing off on me and me having to a acceot the apology while never getting the emotional support i want or need in that momenT. I want a hug when im sad, not a meal cooking, childcare proxy for that, nor an apology i have to graciously accept later.

Any thoughts on where to go with this? I’m feeling the most upset i ever have about this.

Cricrichan Wed 22-Nov-17 12:35:25

I know you say you don't want a meal cooking etc when you're sad, but that's because you get that anyway. You both sound like a wonderful team who shows their love and support in different ways. He shows his by doing as much as he can at work and outside of work.

Talk to him and explain that you don't need him to do anything, just to give you a hug and a few words of comfort. He's probably trying to find a physical solution to help you and because he can't give anything more, doesn't realise that you just want a hug.

Hope you're all better soon.

Whyiseverynameinuse Wed 22-Nov-17 12:38:48

Sorry OP this sounds really tough for you flowers. I had a 'd'h like this. Do you think he does actually care about you? When you say you share money equally, do you mean proportionately or 50/50? Call me a cynic but mine didn't really care past the first couple of years and children together. He then hid a load of his income, keeping us poor and at home until I discovered all the (many) lies and got rid.

Sorry - massive projection! Hopefully he's much better than that and maybe some counselling can help you get back on same track together? Or perhaps some counselling on your own to help you first? Sounds like you need support and he can't seem to give you that.

user1497997754 Wed 22-Nov-17 12:39:40

I agree sometimes a hug is all we need but somehow seems to be really difficult to ask one is a mind reader....

buzzbobboo Wed 22-Nov-17 14:46:01

Whyis- no it’s nothing like that. We both get equal spends of what remains after all bills, I know his income etc. No issues there. He genuinely does care but he has a complete inability to show or handle real emotion - eg he texted me to thank me for being amazing when he was in hospital but he hasn’t actually said it face to face. I can cope with it most of the time but I need something face to face/physical/responsive/showing he is with me at least and I get nothing in that regard.

I’m surprised how much yesteRday upset me. Feeling raw after the battering we’ve had as a family over the last month I suspect.

I texted him this morning to tell him how I felt. I told him I didn’t want a response but he needed to know why I didn’t really accept the apology and why I am so upset. Not the best medium but he gets defensive when I talk about things like this and I don’t want to have to work my way around that, I just want him to hear me.

I am out at a meeting tonight so he has time to consider it all which is what I want.

We just go round in circles on this all the time but yesterday felt like the deepest of blows - I literally needed 2 seconds of a “sorry I can’t stop now as I’m late but here’s a hug and let’s talk later” and instead he literally retreated without even the usua kiss goodbye and a “I have to go”. Somehow this was deeply deeply hurtful and I’m really upset still. My limited work time has been very unproductive yesterday and today and I’ve been teary on the school run.

How do you bridge a gap when one of you needs love and caring shown in a certain way and the other can’t show love and caring that way buI shows it in other ways that just don’t quite cut the mustard?
The thing is, I have changed for him - I know he feels cared for when I do things, so I try to remind myself to do (cup of tea, offer he takes time out from kids activity etc) when he needs support, but he finds giving the emotional side so much harder sad

buzzbobboo Wed 22-Nov-17 14:48:09

User - the thing is I have said I need a hug countless times but when he gives it it’s not then one of his genuine ones because he’s being asked for it. He’s not good at faking anything in life!

RagingFemininist Wed 22-Nov-17 14:55:02

buzz I have an H who is like this and unfortunately I have no answers.
When things go smoothly, that’s ok. Butbthings are hard, esp emotionally, then I feel I’m all on my own and have no support at all.

What helps is having a support network around me (friends, my mum still) who I can confide in. I’ve started to see a counsellor for that really.

I’ve said countless of times that what I need is a hug and for him to listen ( not just hearing and then forgetting about it 2 mins later) but he still hasn’t got it.

And yes it is really drain8ng when you have a job that requires you give a lot of yourself, then you are still the one who supprt everyone at home but there is no one there for you.

user1497997754 Wed 22-Nov-17 15:18:38

I understand how you feel my husband is the same....but I know he loves me and shows me in so many different ways. I just ask him for a hug and emotional support now as he finds it difficult to pick up on these is getting easier you just have to spell it out for them in black and white as he said to me he can't read my mind all the time....which is fair comment especially as going through the menopause at the mo and emotionally all over the place😂😗😞😠

Thinkingofausername1 Wed 22-Nov-17 21:00:18

Sympathy op. In a similar situation.
I try to explain how I am feeling and it’s all suddenly about him and that I’m attacking his character hmm. How is talking about how I feel attacking his character??!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: