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Struggling with DH(57 Posts)
We’ve been married a long time, have 3 young kids and are having counselling. He’s increasingly becoming distant and dismissive. It feels like he’s being cold. It’s really hard to explain but I feel uncomfortable in my gut. It feels like I’m being shut out. He laughs and jokes with the kids but then is curt/slightly rude/dismissive towards me. Even if we are all doing activities together. He’s never including me or addressing me in the “laugh” or “joke” unless it’s in a negative/critical way. So he’s buddy buddy with the kids but I’m being silently/passively excluded even when I’m trying to engage and join in. Does anyone get this or understand in any way? I’m constantly trying to work out if I’m being over sensitive or paranoid about this. He gives me weird looks too. Like contempt? There’s no warmth. We’ve had many many arguments which has led to the joint counselling but I now feel like he’s trying to (maybe not deliberately?) isolate me or exclude me in my own house. There’s sly little digs which include the kids like “isn’t mummy mean” then laughs which the kids then join in with because they think/assume he’s joking and anybody else would think he’s joking if they didn’t “know” us. Does any of this make any sense?
It feels like he doesn’t actually like me and it feels like hard work and constant eggshells. Does anyone have any idea what this sort of behaviour means? Am I being too over sensitive here? Is this a natural part of the ups and downs of a long marriage? I don’t know. I guess I just feel lonely in my marriage right now. Any handholds would be nice
I'm sorry you are going through this xxxxxxxxxx. That's unacceptable. Saying bad things about a parent even if it's joking... The same goes for the bad looks and isolation. How does he show love to you? Is there something to work for in that relationship? I mean it doesn't seem like he loves you much.... What he is doing is being passive aggressive. Good luck xx
Would you want your children as adults to have a marriage like this?. No you would not is your probable answer here to that question. Its not good enough for you either.
He is also harming his children here by giving them mixed messages in showing overt affection towards them and none towards you. My guess too is that he has always been like this towards you and this has also happened over a long period of time. I am not surprised you feel lonely, what you are describing here is truly awful. Abuse, and this is what this is towards you here, is insidious in its onset. Walking on eggshells is to my mind anyway code for living in fear. Such men too do not change, he knows what he is doing here and he enjoys seeing your discomfort. Abusive people like he can be quite plausible to those in the outside world but I would think there are one or two of your friends that are suspicious of him.
I would immediately stop with the joint counselling, you would be far better off having counselling on your own. You would have a voice then, you are not being heard in any joint session. Counselling is also never recommended if there is abuse of any type within the relationship. No decent counsellor would ever want to see the two of you in the same room together.
Please consider talking to Womens Aid about all this when you can; their number is 0808 2000 247.
Is it abuse though? Really? There’s no physical stuff and no direct insults. For example, if he said to my face “you are a bitch” then yes I’d agree. Abuse. But am I being humourless? Does everyone have these little jokes within a family. For example “Look at mummy’s fat bum” that type of thing? I guess I’m just trying to make sense of it in my own head. I just feel very low. I don’t feel treasured? Does that make me a precious princess? I’ve spent years facilitating him and running my life around him and it feels like he has zero respect for me. I don’t even know if I’m making any sense here. There just no warmth. There’s no true lovelyness (is that even a word!!) if I approach him for a hug then we hug but he’s just never instigating unless it’s grabbing my boobs or bums in a sexual way. I just want to be with somebody who wants to be near me. Who can’t wait to see me. It surely shouldn’t feel this lonely after so many years should it? Some things he says just make me think he doesn’t even know me. I go everywhere on my own. He shows no interest in anything that interests me. He doesn’t even ask what interests me! He makes huge assumptions (wrong ones) about me and my opinions/likes and it just all feels like a lonely/sad struggle. I’m going to do the single counselling. I think that’s a really good idea. Thanks.
But then he’s not like that with the kids so he can be loving and fun and warm. Just not with me. Unless I’ve had sex with him. Then yes, warmth none of this is good is it.
Any chance of an affair op? Even an online flirtation?
I felt the exact same feelings as you, his whole face changed the way he looked at me changed with a few a months... 3 sessions into counselling he gained the confidence to come out and say he didn’t love me anymore but didn’t want to be “the bad guy” for ending our marriage...
It’s a horrible feeling especially dah to day in your own house which is meant to be a safe loving place. I have no advice but although it’s difficult to put into words what your feeling is real and you deserve better than someone making you feel that way!
Does everyone have these little jokes within a family. For example “Look at mummy’s fat bum” that type of thing?
We have little jokes....but never, ever anything hurtful like that. My DH and the kids might make jokes along the lines of “An open coffee shop - don’t let Mummy see that or we’ll have to go in immediately!”. But “Mummy’s fat bum”? No. Absolutely not. You’re not being humourless; you’re being got at. Bullied rather than teased.
DietCoke131 what happened? Did you split? Did you get any further explanation? My DH seems to keep changing his mind. Swears he loves me but says he doesn’t when we argue. There’s also provisos for example “I love you when you’re not being crazy” that type of thing.
Are you really sure there's no chance of an affair? It sounds as though he's detached from you and is sort of showing off (even in his head) to someone else.
Yes. That’s exactly the difference. Your inside jokes are coming from a place of warmth and knowing you really well. Does that make sense? Like they know you so well that they know you love coffee. It’s like a cute joke at your expense. Not malicious. My DHs jokes always seem critical/put downs? Like “mummy always wants her own way eh?” “Oh don’t do it like that. Mummy won’t like it” it’s so subtle the difference but honestly it’s destroying me. I’ve given my life to my kids. I do everything for them. They are my everything. I’d die for them and everybody else in my life friends and family think a lot of me, say I’m a wonderful, kind person, that I put myself down too much and that I’m a great mum. So getting this from the person I’m married to is just soul destroying. It doesn’t feel like there’s anyway to “win”here though. If I leave him then he’s just going to do it with “gloves off” and I’ll be the bad guy who broke daddy’s heart. How do I even see my way through any of this. What the hell do I do?
Definitely no affair. He’s that brutal that he’d tell me. He has no filter.
This is just my story, I’m not saying it’s common or relates to you but I can personally relate to your feelings and emotions. We did split, once he said he realised he didn’t love me, he literally checked out of any emotion or feelings towards me, that was in September, we have 2 children and he was acting the exact same way (warm and loving, full of energy with them and distant, moody, cold with me) It is very difficult to co parent with someone who can be so cold and emotionless, as if our 10 years didn’t exist. I really have no words of advice as I am still just trying to get through it, single counselling sounds like a great idea to bring the focus back to yourself, remember yourself, it’s so easy to get lost in another person. I think I’ve come to terms with never understanding why or how this happened and ultimately never getting closure. I’ve accepted it and trying to move on.
I really hope someone can uplift you and give you some kind advice. Xxx
Can I ask everyone what a suitable non aggressive response is to this “joking”. I don’t want to keep ignoring it and I want to have an effective defence in front of my kids. I have no idea how to tackle this low level bullying/joking though.
God, that sounds awful; it must chip away at you. Have you tried calling it out? Along the lines of “That’s not funny; it’s unkind and I find it hurtful”? It’s not overly emotional and it has the benefit of getting the point across to your kids that Daddy isn’t just being funny - his words are hurting you.
Diet Coke131 can I ask how you are doing the parenting after the split? Is that going well or is it difficult?
I'm very sorry, OP, but it sounds like he has already moved on. He is being extremely disrespectful to you in your own home and he is using your children as tools in his strange game. He either wants you to dump him (and I think you should) so that he can walk away without being the one who ended it, or he is some kind of sadist who enjoys hurting you and using your children to hurt you. Either way it's awful and i wouldn't stay in a relationship with somebody like that. In terms of first steps I'd drop the joint counselling as it's not working, and I don't think he's trustworthy enough to be doing it honestly anyway.
Ps. Literally sounds like we could have been married to the same person... listen to “Your” people who tell you, your a great wonderful person and mum... take control of your feelings and try not to be down about yourself because of your husbands behaviour.
I have tried that response and it then turns into over the top language/behaviour from him. Storming off “ok if that’s the way this is going to go” type of behaviour/words. So it then becomes confrontational with me being accused of being psycho and escalating and hormones “that time of the month so I’m not even going to try here” etc etc.
Yes, it's abuse. It's cruel. Tell him during counselling that you have had enough of this behaviour and you want him to leave.
Don’t be too quick to dismiss the affair idea. He is letting you know he loves the kids but is not feeling loving towards you. Even ‘no filter’ arseholes are capable of lying through their teeth whilst deciding what it is they want/having their cake and eating it.
Either way he sounds horrible and no, none of it is ok and no, you’re not being over sensitive.
You need to call him on it as you say. When in front of the kids try to keep it truthful but bland:
“Oh, you’re saying that in a jokey voice but actually that hurts my feelings.”
“Don’t say that daddy it makes me sad.”
“Let’s not say mean things - mean things aren’t funny are they?”
When it’s the two of you just let rip ffs. What a wanker.
I feel like I can’t see the wood for the trees right now
I like the “ah don’t say that daddy it makes me feel sad” I’m going to try that one next. Thanks for that.
He’s not joking he’s taking the absolute piss out you in front of your children, your gut is screaming at you start listening to it.
He puts you down, shuns you and only shows affection to get sex from you, I feel very sorry for you but have to ask, why are you putting up with this?? Cmon you knowwhat’s going on but desperately trying to look for other reasons when you know the reason is he’s a horrible shitty person that enjoys belittling you and sorry to say but you’re letting him away with it.
Your children are learning that it’s ok for a man to treat a woman with hatred rather than with kindness and respect, OP I urge you to find the strength to put an end to his bullying. I actually shuddered reading your post.
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