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I've neglected my husband and need to make things right(48 Posts)
I'm 40 years old, been married for many years. Been together since we were teenagers. Our child who is a teenager was born with a life-threatening illness. Since then (16 years ago) I've devoted my time to researching and fighting against this illness. When I wasn't doing that I was wallowing in depression. I've been on anti-depressants for 16 years.
My husband has been close to perfect all that time. I've been controlling, jealous and neglectful. I haven't been there for him when he needed me emotionally or physically for many years on and off. I haven't devoted any time to us as a couple thinking I am betraying my child by doing this. Everything came to a head 6 weeks ago when he said he was leaving me. My world fell apart. I felt like I wanted to end my life. I have never felt so alone. I took him for granted so much. He agreed to stay and try and work things out. I have been trying so hard to make him happy by doing all the things I should have been doing all this time. He says I'm taking it too far and it seems fake. I feel like I've had such a scare in him nearly leaving that I have fallen back in love with him. I want to kiss him when he comes home from work and hug him but he doesn't want to do the same because he says he's so used to me being shut off that to protect himself from hurt he stopped caring.
My child's illness has already taken so much from us as a family, I can't let it's affect on me take our marriage as well.
If anyone has been through a situation like this and can give me some advice I would really appreciate it. He won't do councilling says it's not for him.
I'm by no means an expert but I would start with being kinder to yourself, having a child with a life limiting illness must be incredibly difficult for you. Just because he outwardly coped better, doesn't mean you have coped wrongly.
And I would also say to him pretty much what your post says. It shows you know how he has been treated, no self pity to yourself, just honest facts of how things have been and how him wanting to leave has made you feel.
It sounds like you need to learn how to be a couple again. You've been a depressed mother to an ill child, and your relationship has suffered for it and you are now ready to put your relationship back on the priority list.
Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm sitting here in tears that someone I've never met could say such kind words. I've nobody else to talk to about this. I'm so scared he will leave. I love him so much and it feels like I've had an awakening.
He just says maybe it's too late. I don't want it to be too late. He's stuck with me through everything and I want to make him happy like I feel now. He says he's worried that he feels like he does when I feel that I am in love with him again. I have told him don't put a time on it. Just take it day by day.
I’m sceptical about your assessment of the situation TBH.
It sounds like you have had a big shock with him telling you he wants to leave and I think it is incredibly unlikely to be as black and white as him being perfect and you being terrible...
Honestly, it's pretty black and white. Anything he done wrong was in response to my behaviour.
He's pretty much been a saint. I've been extremely difficult to live with.
I don't mean to be the pessimistic poster here, and just a suggestion but could there be an ow? Men rarely leave without having someone else lined up. Just a thought.
I feel for you op. Life doesn't come with a rule book. You did what you did out of love for your child.
Just take it day by day. Dont smother him - just try and he yourself. If he wants to go he will go.
Has he been equally responsible for your child’s health? Has he been dealing with depression? Have you sought help for your depression and has he been supportive re that?
And when you say you have been ‘controlling, jealous and neglectful’ what specifically do you mean?
Because from the scant info you have posted here it could be like you say; him being perfect and you being a nightmare (though I think this is unlikely) or it could be that he never took the burden equally, that he decided you wanting him to share the burden was controlling and jealous, that he felt he was not only entitled to leave it to you but also entitled to expect you to care for him as well as your child and now he is throwing toys out of the pram to try and get you to cater to him. Or it could be somewhere in between those two extremes.
And I’m sure that you feel it is that black and white but life is hardly ever that black and white hence my scepticism.
If it really is that black and white then the best thing to do is separate as he will need time away from you to consider whether he wants to or even can stay in the relationship. You clinging on tight will not help.
16 years is a long time. You might want to try couples therapy or just therapy for yourself to also become a woman again instead of an ill child's mother. But please keep in mind that your husband deserves to be happy. So if after a reasonable amount of time he still wamts to leave then please be at peace with yourself to give him that space to become happy.
You deserve to be happy too. Your child will want to have two happy parents. You owe it to yourself to become that.
I will never be happy without him though. We've been together 24 years. I feel he is actually depressed and won't admit it. I don't know how to help him.
Sorry you’ve been going through this. Suggest couples’ counselling.
Actually, I would suggest counselling just for yourself. You've poured everything of yourself into fighting to get your DD better. You've been on antidepressants for 16 years. You've hidden from truly accepting the illness by 'doing' things to fight it the whole way along. It's actually just another way of hiding from the illness as it truly is. You need counselling to work your way through that.
Thanks I've been for therpay before. I need him to forgive me for neglecting him and see that I wasn't in my right mind when I did it. I don't know if that makes sense or not.
I think this dynamic is very common in marriages where a child has a serious illness. One parent, usually the mother, focuses entirely on the child.
Be kind to yourself - and to him. It isn't helpful to think of it as your fault (nor is it helpful imo for posters to say it is his fault). I think you should be talking to a counseller and you both should be doing couples counselling - you have dealt with a lot.
To elaborate a bit, I took control of all the money years ago and spent it on gifts for my child to try and compensate for the the illness, basically if she died she would have at least had lots of presents etc...yeah all wrong I know that now. This put us into financial difficulty and I told lies about money. I've now given him full control over our money because I just can't be trusted.
When he goes out with friends I get jealous. That has gotten better lately though. I have so many insecurities.
he says he's so used to me being shut off that to protect himself from hurt he stopped caring.
I have to say this rings very true for me. It will take a long time for him to believe you really are feeling genuine and loving, not just pretending because you don't want him to leave.
You know you have behaved thoughtlessly. You have not behaved cruelly. Ask him for his patience. I believe that counselling could not do any harm and may do some good.
As PP say, nothing is black and white and maybe he has not been perfect, but you are not asking for comments on that situation.
Crunched, is there anything else I can do to make him feel better?
He is beating himself up for not feeling the way I do. He keeps saying how long will it take and because he doesn't feel it now he thinks maybe he never will.
Let him go and find your own strength. He will find his too. Fear nothing, you are always loved and supported by the universe whatever happens.
He’s checked out emotionally. I did this in my last LTR as my ex was totally taking me for granted and being EA on occasions with it. He was devastated. He tried hard to put things right, all sorts of promises etc. I said I would try again but I didn’t really want to. Looking back it was just delaying the inevitable. For me the feelings had gone. I didn’t want hugs, affection, promises things would be better. It was far too late for that. For what it’s worth there was nobody else (although he always believed there was). I think when it’s gone it’s gone. That’s probably the last thing you want to hear but it sounds like he’s tried his best for a very long time. If I were you I’d talk to him again, ask him to be honest, is he committed to trying again or is he trying to be kind to you? If it’s the latter let him go. It will be painful and sad but not as sad as staying together unhappily. I’m sorry you’re hurting
I’m not saying it is him.
I’m saying essentially seeing things in this black and white a way is not helpful.
If this is to be fixed then both people need to see the reality of it, work out independently of each other what they feel, make a decision and see the decision through.
This whole thread feels very much like you are desperate to say and do anything that will stop him leaving. IMO that makes it infinitely less likely to work out that way. What’s important now is to try and avoid being needy and desperate, but to be as realistic as you are able to.
And how you feel right now about things is not likely to endure. You need some time to think it through a bit. It’s unwise to desperately hang your colours on ‘I’m horrendous, he’s perfect, it’s all my fault and I will never be happy again if I lose him’.
And re this; is there anything else I can do to make him feel better?
Honestly, let him go.
I know that’s not what you want but you both living together whilst he is so shut down and you are so desperate is not an environment that will bring you back together. It must be excruciating for you both.
I think this is one of those "if you love him, let him go" situations
If what you say about your behaviour is true, it sounds too late to fix it
But who knows....if you let him go ( and not cling and suffocate him, like it sounds like you are doing) maybe he will find a way back to you
I don't think you subjugating yourself now can make up for 16 years of unhappiness, tbh. In his situation, the harder you tried the more I would withdraw, tbh
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