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Deciding to go

(102 Posts)
TotheLaunchBay Thu 16-May-19 13:09:22

Hi, I'm trying to decide whether to leave my husband. I feel like this is such an old story on relationships but I really want to talk about it so here goes...

I'm 42, we've been married for 12 years. We have 2 DCs age 3 and 7. DS2 starts school in September which is a worry as he is being assessed for possible ASD and I think that his start at school will be quite rocky.

We have had sex once since DS2 was born. I occasionally try to initiate it but DH is always too tired.

DH is not terrible in lots of ways. He does wash up, empty and load the dishwasher, looks after most of the bills and sometimes vaccums and changes the sheets on our bed without being asked (thinking about those "mental load" cartoons). He is also supporting us financially at the moment. So he isn't a complete waste and sometimes I think that I just have unrealistic expectations.

We both worked in similar jobs- we are both NHS hospital consultants and before children we both worked in acute areas. He hasn't been willing to change his working pattern at all and also will not accept us having a nanny so I do all the school dropoffs and pickups. He also refuses to look after the DCs (particularly DS2) at weekends so I've had to stop doing on call. He did used to look after DS1 but would make a point of how awful it was for him and I would often be setting off for work having just been told things like "I'm in a situation that I can't stand, this is intolerable".
This has had a massive impact on my career- I was clinical lead for my department and training lead for our region in my specialty when I got pregnant. I gave these up when I went on mat leave and have gradually taken less and less prestigious roles to try to get a job that allows me to work while also dropping off at 8 and picking up at 5.30.
I find it really humiliating at work when there is an evening meeting or something in the morning before 9 and I can't get to it because I have no childcare. DH refuses to talk about other childcare options and says that it is impossible for him to have a day when he does drop-off or pick up because it would be "unprofessional".

DH has only taken 2 weeks of annual leave in the school holidays this year. He wouldn't talk to me about this, or even tell me what leave he'd taken for weeks and I ended up emailing his secretary to get a copy of his rota so I could find out when he would be about.

We have a holiday booked in a month's time and he will not talk about it at all- he says that he is in denial about it which I find really hurtful (he finds the idea of spending time with us so awful that he can't think about it).

He has also been agreeing to do things and then backing out- we were going to go skiing with his parents and after we'd talked to them, agreed a week and I'd spent ages looking at the best options he said that he wouldn't be able to stand it so I had to ring them and say that we had decided against it. The same thing happened last summer with him agreeing to us getting guinea pigs and a trampoline- he agreed to it and then after I'd told the DCs and we'd measured up and looked at the best guinea pig houses he decided that the garden had "too much crap" in it already and that we couldn't do it.

I am sure that people will be reading this and thinking that I'm being really wet- just buy the damn trampoline FFS but he gets so withdrawn that it just isn't worth the effort.

I am kind of a SAHM at the moment. My dad had a very serious accident about 2 years ago and spent 18 months in hospital. I couldn't manage doing all the school runs and seeing my dad (DH never once looked after the DCs so I could visit) and work, so I am on unpaid carer's leave and I'm due to go back to work in September. I feel like this has made the power imbalance between us much worse.

DH will not socialise with my family and tries not to see his parents (I've been to visit them with the boys but he doesn't come). I regularly take the boys away for the weekend. When he comes we often have what I think is a really good time, but he has told me that he's faking it and he hates it.

He also says that I'm very controlling but I feel like he is. He told me recently that I get everything that I want and I just didn't know what to say.

I feel like all he ever wants me to do is to take the children out do that he can have the house to himself. He says that he feels like a spare part when they are here and that he feels driven out of the house and that he can't concentrate on anything.

The thing is, he is supporting us. He will read to the DC and I'm hoping that as DS2 gets older he will be more confident with him.

I hope that I can get back to work and he will respect me a bit more and be nicer to me, but I also feel like it's very hard for me to work properly when I have to arrive late and leave early and can't do on call.

At the top of my long post I said that he would change the sheets without being asked. Just typing that made me feel a bit nervous at the idea of asking him- he'd do it himself but would hate me asking him.

He tells me that I'm controlling and that he tries not to give an opinion in case it's wrong but then sulks and mutters to himself so I spend all my time trying to guess what he wants. If I challenge him on it he stands with his hands behind his back and says that he's trying not to provoke me, but he refuses to talk to me.

I don't want a divorce, I want to have a husband who wants to spend time with us and who I can talk to without walking on eggshells trying not to say the wrong thing.

I just don't know what to do.

Thank you

HennyPennyHorror Thu 16-May-19 13:15:21

He sounds absolutely unbearable.

You don't want a divorce but God can't live like this! He sounds deeply unpleasant. For me the "won't get a nanny" thing was the first thing that made me think "LEAVE" but the nail in the coffin was him acting as though spending time with his own children was unbearable.

You would be FAR happier and more stable without him. You can get a again...he can take his turn with the children so you will have some time off.

If you keep on like this, you're going to get weaker and weaker and in ten years when you're in your 50s it won't be so easy to leave or sort things financially for yourself.

Musti Thu 16-May-19 13:16:44

What an absolute bastard. Divorce him and get a nanny or an au pair and go back to doing your work.

Quartz2208 Thu 16-May-19 13:19:24

Leave and dont look bad

Reread your post about your husband and see what youare saying

FoggyDay58 Thu 16-May-19 13:20:25

Is he depressed?

LatentPhase Thu 16-May-19 13:21:59

He sounds absolutely awful. There is no point living like this.

You only get one life, see a solicitor and start planning to actually LIVE your life


TotheLaunchBay Thu 16-May-19 13:24:16

Wow. It's funny (not haha) to see this as other people do.
I find it really embarrassing when I see family and friends and everyone else has their DP with them and I'll be saying that DP is at work but he isn't he just didn't want to come. And this happens so often that the DCs are surprised if we're getting in the car and Daddy is coming too.

TotheLaunchBay Thu 16-May-19 13:25:40

Foggyday I think almost certainly yes he is depressed. But he isn't interested in seeing anyone about it, or in counselling for us both. So I don't really know what I can do about it.

Birdie6 Thu 16-May-19 13:30:02

He sounds really awful. Leave him - get a nanny - get a life back for yourself.

hellsbellsmelons Thu 16-May-19 13:33:24

I don't want a divorce, I want to have a husband who wants to spend time with us and who I can talk to without walking on eggshells trying not to say the wrong thing
Well then... you DO want a divorce.
Because you will not ever get the other part of that sentence if you remain with this prick!
He's sound horrendous.
Honestly - where is your backbone?
He doesn't agree to a nanny or childcare - tough - you get it anyway.
You've been enabling this awful behaviour for far too long.
Why did you have to phone HIS parents when he didn't want to go skiing?
Has the cat got his tongue.
Trampoline - just get it and put it up.
You can't even go out because he won't look after one of HIS OWN children. Tough again - just walk out the door and leave him to it.
You are a well education woman.
How have you ended up putting up with this vile human being who doesn't even want to spend quality time with his kids?
Get out. He's of absolutely no use to you anyway.

Pipsqueak11 Thu 16-May-19 13:49:22

It sounds sad and depressing for you . I have a similar marriage in terms of sexual intimacy but have a fantastic relationship in every other way and so that one (albeit big) compromise is worth it. DH v supportive , wants to be with me and we have great fun together and loads of mutual respect. That is the big difference and what is missing for you. Where's his respect for you as a wife and mother and as a highly qualified and skilled professional? I feel angry on your behalf! My dd has just qualified as a dr and I know how bloody hard she has worked to achieve this - the thought of her career being parked as you describe is crazy
I'd leave or at the least give an ultimatum ( and stick with it) of proper meaningful contribution to family life plus a nanny so you can resume your career else it's over . Good luck.

TotheLaunchBay Thu 16-May-19 13:51:49

Sooo. I rang his parents because he wasn't going to ring them and they're nice people, I didn't want to mess them about without saying sorry.
I didn't fight on the trampoline because at the time my dad had just broken his hip and had another brain bleed and DS2 was having long periods of being awake in the night and I just didn't have the energy.
I didn't force it on the nanny because they're expensive and maybe if I just try harder...

And I never really thought anyone would want to marry me, so I had low self esteem at the start of the relationship and I guess that it just creeps up on you. On me

staceysmith Thu 16-May-19 13:52:17

Is he autistic?
Maybe that's why he hates sociliasinf and can't see your point of view
Also who did the child inherit autism from.

TotheLaunchBay Thu 16-May-19 13:53:41

Sorry "I didn't force it on the nanny" is a terrible turn of phrase.

I didn't force the issue.

I am actually going to have another go at the nanny conversation.

WhoKnewBeefStew Thu 16-May-19 13:54:36

HE sounds intolerable! This is not a partnership in anyway shape or form. HE is controlling.

Please ltb

TotheLaunchBay Thu 16-May-19 13:56:42

Staceysmith I think that he probably does have something along those lines. Without putting our full names and GMC numbers on the thread we both work in fields where intense attention to detail is needed and lots of our colleagues have some autistic traits.
He actually does think that he has Asperger's traits, but says that for diagnosis it would have to have significant impact on his life and it doesn't so he doesn't have ithmm

StarryUnicorn Thu 16-May-19 14:03:48

Why are you asking about the nanny? Just organise it and get your career back on track, put yourself in a position where you can easily decide to leave or not.

TotheLaunchBay Thu 16-May-19 14:26:54

Starryunicorn I do think that if I'm arranging to have a stranger in our house looking after our children that he has an equal right to be involved. It's tricky because I think that it would be unreasonable of me to insist on getting a nanny but I also think that it's unreasonable of him to insist on not having one.

I can hear him saying now "oh so I'm allowed to have an opinion as long as I agree with you".

I think though that it would be so horrible to live with him if I did such a big thing without talking about it then that would be the same as the divorce.

Unless he was in agreement the steps would be- ask him to move out, arrange nanny, he moves out, nanny starts.

I also think that it would be horrible for the nanny if he behaved to them as he does to his parents when they visit- he would have to agree for it to be workable.

HennyPennyHorror Thu 16-May-19 14:32:03

How do you think he'd react if you told him you wanted a divorce?

OldAndWornOut Thu 16-May-19 14:37:43

He sounds like a total bully, but in a sneaky, insidious way.
You are tiptoeing around him all the time, letting your own needs take a backseat, wasting your skills and talents.
What a shame..

Bigbus Thu 16-May-19 14:42:57

I agree with the ASD suggestion. Was he different before you had children? I have a friend with a husband who is similar and he is definitely ASD and so is at least one of her children.

On another note, I am also a doctor and have massively lost out career-wise in order to look after my three DCs. I'm a specialty doctor now, I work 0.6 and I don't do on calls. Actually I don't regret this at all - I can't imagine balancing their needs with being a consultant, but then I never was one, I had my first daughter after SHO training. The problem I have is other people telling me what I should want to do with my career and not accepting that I could be perfectly happy doing my clinical work and then going home to my kids on time!

kbPOW Thu 16-May-19 14:46:31

He accuses you of being controlling - that's a classic. He sounds like a covert narcissist to me. Why not seek therapy for yourself to first of all stop enabling this bully and then to start to think about you and your needs and what you want.

timeisnotaline Thu 16-May-19 15:01:59

He sounds awful. He doesn’t have an equal right to you to determine whether you are a person worth respecting and that’s what this boils down to. His starting point is not that you matter, it’s that he is the only thing that matters. And that’s not s relationship to be in. Add in that you are basically hoping that one day he will like your younger child... rescue your children and you from this awful environment!

NewYoiker Thu 16-May-19 15:05:39

He sounds horrible. Please leave

Lorddenning1 Thu 16-May-19 15:14:44

@kbPOW - i thought he sounds like a narcissist also,
@TotheLaunchBay - by calling you controlling he is projecting onto you, my ex used to do this to me all the time, i didnt realise what was happening until i had counselling myself, and it was my Councillor that pointed it out to me.

TotheLaunchBay Thu 16-May-19 15:24:11

Hennypenny-I think that he would be upset and withdrawn, and that he would see me as using him for support when the boys were little and then not wanting him any more. I think that he would say that I'm ungrateful. I am slightly concerned that he would say that I'm mentally ill but I can't imagine that he would want more than 50% custody- I would be more worried that he wouldn't want to see the boys.
I think that he might be quite funny about money.

TotheLaunchBay Thu 16-May-19 15:28:26

Bigbus I know what you mean about people wanting you to want things that you don't want(!). I think that I would like to be able to work at least a bit more. I know that most working mums have guilt about family and work and I'm no exception. But I used to really enjoy being on call, going to resus, being in charge (also as you know I'd be able to earn more money by doing out of hours work)

ChristmasFluff Thu 16-May-19 15:41:40

He is controlling, and autism and depression is no excuse - I'm sick of seeing the same old excuses being trotted out for these vile men.

Even if he is autistic and depressed - HIS problem, let him deal with it.

Get the trampoline. Get the nanny. Pay her to bounce up and down in front of him. Then walk away and never look back.

You are an NHS consultant. He is only holding you back.

TotheLaunchBay Thu 16-May-19 15:52:44

Christmas fluff you just made me laugh out loud 😂

ChristmasFluff Thu 16-May-19 15:56:32

Oh lovely OP, I'm glad I made you laugh. You deserve people who make you laugh, not nasty peeps like him xx

stucknoue Thu 16-May-19 16:08:41

Financially can you cope on your salary alone? If so I would suggest a trial separation at first - he isn't pulling his weight, and you need help, ideally a good au pair (my friends son is autistic and they have always had au pairs) plus childcare as needed. The reason many of us struggle with leaving is money, my dd has asd and I need to have a house, a car etc and I shot myself in the foot career wise because of international moves with H.

It's not simple and if counselling might work, start with that but he needs to respect your career, and either do 50% childcare and/or accept you need reliable help, live in probably or someone locally you can call upon as needed

StarryUnicorn Thu 16-May-19 16:11:56

TotheLaunchBay, * I do think that if I'm arranging to have a stranger in our house looking after our children that he has an equal right to be involved.*

I don't think he does, he has delegated all child rearing responsibility on to you, just make an executive decision, book the nanny, tell him the date she starts.

More importantly, have a long hard think about why you feel his opinion is more important than yours, and why an easy life for him is more important than your well being, get angry and then get what you deserve.

Frith2013 Thu 16-May-19 16:22:56

He sounds like an utter, utter twat.

MrMagooo Thu 16-May-19 16:29:33

Had to register to respond to this.

It sounds like a really rubbish situation and it sounds like there is something wrong with your OH. I can't put my finger on what, whether abusive, autistic e.t.c his behaviour is not normal / very selfish.

Have you tried talking to him, if not talking to him writing him an email and explaining how you feel, writing can be better even though it may sound childish but you can express everything you are feeling and IF he reads it all he can see how you feel. If he chooses to ignore it then her really doesn't care about your feelings. If he changes for a bit and then reverts you have to pick him up on this.

You are an educated woman but you have let this situation happen slowly over time. My partner would not allow me to get away with this $hit we have to decide on things together or comprimise, he seems to be making lateral decision which effect you and not him. You need to be clear with him about what you want. As another poster said most people who are stuck in their relationships don't have the money to leave. If you have the money and he doesn't change then I would leave. It doesn't sound it is going to get any better until you tell him about all your needs and what you need from him.

If this situation continues then you would be much better on your own. Just out of curiosity can you say anything good about your partner / being with him, what was it like before children?

He is being completely selfish and whether intentionally or not very controlling and putting his needs above his and his job / basically by the sound of it everything is about what he wants.

Parenting should be equal. In the real world somebody ends up doing more but a 60/40 split is ideal whether that favours the man or the woman.

TotheLaunchBay Thu 16-May-19 16:34:18

My potential salary is exactly the same as his, which is what we 4 are living on at the moment. I'd ideally like to work something like 8-6 3 days and 10-2 3 days which is 70% of full time. If I went on to the on call rota then I could have as many hours as I want (they are always short of staff) but obviously I need someone to look after the boys while I'm doing that.
I'd ideally like to get a before and after school nanny 3 days (I actually have someone in mind for this- she lives near us and previously worked in the school before school club, she has a small business from home but doesn't have enough work). If I couldn't get before and after school then it'd be more expensive obviously.
"Afford" is difficult- we'd have less money but I think that we'd probably be selling the house and so the mortgage would be smaller (or possibly depending on what happened we wouldn't have a mortgage).

I couldn't get a live in nanny or au pair unless we kept the house.

I could afford to keep the house if I could work full-time and not pay a nanny (or if DH had the DCs 50% of the time and I did long days when he had them). We do have savings which would be about as much as we have left on the mortgage.

So in terms of affording it I think that it depends. I would need to talk to a solicitor and then work it out.

MrMagooo Thu 16-May-19 16:35:11

The sulking if you bought a trampoline. Again controlling your behaviour. I have experience with autistic children and the most frustrating thing is the sulking if they don't get what they want but sulking to the extreme.

If you have the money yourself -- BUY the trampoline and let him sulk, changing his behaviour starts NOW.

Twillow Thu 16-May-19 17:11:01

This sounds similar in some ways to my ex, except he accompanied the sulks and poor me's with massive tantrums breaking stuff and all the words under the sun. So I do have some sympathy about how it starts to be a weird normal, until every now and then you raise your head over the fog of coping and think wtf.
The best you have said about him is 'not terrible'.
You sound lovely, caring and hard-working, and deserve a better life than this.
The children are going to cotton on to the fact that you back out of events and actions because of him sooner or later. That was my key motivation for leaving.

TotheLaunchBay Thu 16-May-19 17:24:35

Nice things about him...

He is not materialistic- I reversed into his brand new car denting 3 panels when DS2 was a baby. He was not angry at all, just said that it didn't matter. And he doesn't ever bring it up.

He had an interview for a job in a big teaching hospital that was arguably his dream job. It would mean moving about 5 hours away from us. I told him to go for it and he decided not to as it wouldn't be fair on me or the kids.

When I was pregnant and vomiting he never complained about cleaning the sick up.

He very fiercely defends DS's stimming to his parents who have tried to teach DS not to stim.

He drove home 3 hours to spend the night with me when my grandma died.

I started doing a sport and he got me lots of equipment for it and has supported me doing it (during the day when DS2 is at preschool and I could be looking after my dad but he's really encouraged me to have time for myself). I should say that he is not able to get home in time for me to do anything regular in the evening.

TotheLaunchBay Thu 16-May-19 17:45:47

MrMagoo thank you for joining for me!
I don't know what the bloody hell is wrong with him, I've thought autism traits, depression as well. I know that some children in his church were sexually abused at the time that he was an altar boy but he is adamant that he wasn't abused (although he did know about it which must have been frightening).
When people meet him they often assume that he's gay which if he is might explain why he's so unhappy to be married to me but he had girlfriends before me. He used to say that he had never had such amazing sex as he did with me. But he doesn't say that anymore.

I am confident that he isn't having an affair. But people always say that don't they!

TotheLaunchBay Thu 16-May-19 18:03:27

Sorry I've come back again because I've phrased that as autism being "something wrong with him'. That was pretty crap of me and wrong.
I mean that I don't know why he behaves like this.

I'll leave it alone for a bit as I seem to be having a conversation with myself 😁

MrMagooo Thu 16-May-19 18:18:10

I think the main thing here is you are unhappy with your situation and your OH should listen to your needs and what you want and what he wants should be incorporated into a plan moving forward. If you don't tell him how you feel and what you want then nothing will change. Some kind of compromise needs to be met instead of him dictating things. His reaction to this compromise will tell you everything you need.

Quartz2208 Thu 16-May-19 18:18:40

OP what do you want because I think it’s for him to change but he won’t so at this point you have 2 choices
Leave or stay, and stay will mean putting up with it because he won’t back down

cece Thu 16-May-19 18:58:39

I recommend you do the freedom programme

Deadringer Thu 16-May-19 20:33:52

He has his good points, but he is a bit of a dickhead op no doubt about it. It creeps up on you, this walking on eggshells stuff. You start off not wanting to upset him because you love him and you want to be nice to him, and you end up tip toeing around him for the rest of your life. The bottom line is you can't both be happy, not together anyway. If you take care of your career by getting childcare and working the hours you need to, and by doing perfectly normal stuff like spending family time together, getting a pet, and getting a fricken trampoline, he will be a sulky, unhappy mess. If you keep him happy, and that means doing everything his way, you will end up very unhappy, and so will your DC. Some things just don't work. Talk to him, I hope he listens, but I wouldn't hold out much hope.

Cambionome Thu 16-May-19 20:36:56

Sounds a bit like my exh, but even worse!

My ex did all the same things like calling me controlling - which really threw me tbh as he was very controlling - and it took me a long time to lift myself up out of the fog and start to see things clearly.

The only thing that ever worked when dealing with him was just not engaging. I started to trundle along doing my own thing without constantly worrying about what he thought or questioning myself about whether i was being "fair" or not. Easier said than done, i know, but it did help.

Probably the best thing for you to do is to allow yourself to think through all your options and concerns, over and over again; the answers will gradually become clear. At the moment you are probably only seeing the problems, but the solutions are there too. Give yourself permission to find them and move on.

Good luck. flowers

TotheLaunchBay Thu 16-May-19 20:47:43

Thank you so much for your advice.
I do need to keep thinking about it and turning things over.
I feel like deadringer is right that it will be hard for us to be happy together. It's such a waste.

ralphfromlordoftheflies Thu 16-May-19 20:58:52

It makes me so angry on your behalf that his career is flourishing at the expense of your career dwindling. It's so selfish and entitled, especially as your career was as prestigious as his before you both had children. And he's directly preventing your success by not 'allowing' you to use a nanny.

Bigbus Thu 16-May-19 22:05:12

After thinking about this a bit more, I'm not that you can be happy in this situation long term. Can you imagine the rest of your life like this? How will you feel in 10 years time? Will it feel like it is too late and will you wish you had left 10 years earlier?

That said, the pre-school years can be pretty shit, to be honest. I found it really hard and I think it is difficult if you are used to being high achieving and in control of your own life.

ThreeRandomWords Thu 16-May-19 22:49:50

Wow. I can so relate to your post. My husband was very similar to yours when the children were young. Recently, I had a thread called something like "my children can't stand their dad" - and that is where you will probably end up, I'm sorry to say. They more or less asked me to divorce him, and I told him I wanted a divorce a few weeks ago, and wish I'd done it years ago. He has never shown any real interest in the children and I gave always attended parents' evenings, activities, school plays and so on alone.

I completely get where you are coming from about going along with what your dh wants - that was me. I drive a car I hate because he preferred it to the one I liked - and it was easier to go along with that than to I sister on my preference, even though I paid for it. We can't have Netflix, because it's a waste of money, in his opinion. But he can spend a fortune on new bicycles and assorted paraphernalia to go with them. I could go on... and on, and on. And I know it is difficult for outsiders to understand why I don't stand up for myself, but I guess they don't have to put up with the sulks and the black moods and the general awful atmosphere when dh is not happy.

I see you are trying to work out your finances in your head about how you would cope if you and dh split. If he is a consultant, I guess he earns a decent wage and he will have to contribute towards the children's upkeep and you may well get more than half of the house and/or any savings you might have. But don't keep guessing - go and see a solicitor and find out. I wish I had seen one years ago, because I am likely to be entitled to much more than I realised. (I ended up giving up a well-paid job when dd1 was a baby because dh didn't help out at all with childcare and I just couldn't manage the long hours and travel).

I have been reading a blog recently called You might 8dentify with some if the things the writer talks about.

HennyPennyHorror Thu 16-May-19 23:04:33

From what you've said OP he sounds as though he's fully retreated into his own which doesn't include your needs.

It's possible he WAS abused or he IS gay or having an affair or is depressed but really, none of this matters because you've tried to accommodate him and now it's affecting you badly.

Tell him where you are...that you want a separation and then a divorce. At best it could wake him up and he'll fix himself but that doesn't sound likely.

At worst he will make things hard for you....but that will pass.

surlycurly Thu 16-May-19 23:10:41

I'm 99% sure he's autistic. I am and several of my partners have been. I also have a wide group of friends who are. He's utterly self obsessed. And a classic sulker if he's denied the ability to pursue what he wants, how he wants. I'm not saying it's right, or easy to live witH, but it's also unlikely to change. He's need a huge amount of self awareness and the desire to compromise. He doesn't sound like he has the capacity. You have some real thinking to do.

RamblinRosie Fri 17-May-19 01:16:49

Another thing to consider is that by cutting back your hours you are reducing your pension and thus your future options.

As you both have equal career potential, you should both have equal career opportunities, with childcare paid for equally! Anything else is not a marriage of equals, it’s an autocracy.

Oh, and get the trampoline and the piggies, both will be great for your kids’ development, both physical and mental.

StreetDreams Fri 17-May-19 01:19:05

No, he is definitely the controlling one, not you. He does sound really awful tbh. He won't pull his weight with the kids, but 'won't accept' the idea of a nanny? He's basically calling all the shots, painting you into corners and still finding things to complain about. I know you say you don't want a divorce but this really sounds like an intolerable life for you. You're in a position to earn a decent living if you separate, which is more than many women can say, so I would do that in your shoes. You could live how you want, stop mothballing your career, have a nanny and a trampoline and all the guinea pigs you want (and maybe even some sex!) and stop walking on eggshells ffs. It sounds much better than what you've got at the moment. I don't think he sounds depressed fwiw and I'm not so sure about asd either. I found the cse angle interesting though, although it makes no difference if he won't talk about it. He doesn't sound like he's going to change, so I think you need to make some hard decisions about how you want to live, and the sooner the better, as the longer you leave it the harder it will be to pick your career back up again. You sound fab btw. flowers

Monty27 Fri 17-May-19 03:24:56

Kick him out and get a nanny.
He's awful. He's an awful husband and an awful father and son.
You really must feel miserable. Plan b now. Good luck.

AsleepAllDay Fri 17-May-19 03:42:04

He sounds fucking awful.

A trampoline is no skin off his nose, would make your kids happy and be a form of exercise. He's just mean

A nanny would allow you to balance your life more, spend time on what counts and think about your future. He's just selfish

He gets all the good bits without trying - doesn't have to sacrifice work opportunities, take care of the kids during weekends and evenings etc

He's a terrible role model for the kids. I'm sure he's fine as a provider but he's modelling selfish and unpleasant behaviour. You're not a team

Do you have family members or friends you can stay with? How can you get yourself out of the situation - can you tell him to leave?

IronManisnotDead Fri 17-May-19 03:53:48

He is treating you like he treats his junior staff, he is a typical old school consultant.

You do not need his permission to arrange your own childcare, and if and when you do leave, you will have too anyway.

Someoneonlyyouknow Fri 17-May-19 04:01:50

My first thought was that you should let him read what you have written here. You are unhappy and it sounds as if he is as well. This is an unhealthy situation for your DSs.
Get your career back on track, using whatever childcare works for you. Talk to your DH and try to reach a compromise or mutually acceptable solution. Ultimately you deserve a much happier and fulfilling life. You shouldn't give up on that.

MrMagooo Fri 17-May-19 07:34:47

I'd like to ask what your relationship was like before children? Was it a case that you were both so wrapped up in your jobs that you didn't notice things or has he always sulked / not been willing to compromise?

LatentPhase Fri 17-May-19 07:54:45

Do the Freedom Programme OP.

See a solicitor.

Practical steps, you don’t have to decide anything just get. Just get informed for now.

As someone who left a selfish inadequate exH I say your future would be rosy and you won’t regret it.

He’s a grown up and needs to sort his own ishoos, whatever they are, gay, autistic, who cares.

You sound lovely. flowers

PompeyBez Fri 17-May-19 08:15:55

OP you are definitely not controlling, but your husband is! He wants his life to be the way it was before children. He doesn't want a nanny, housekeeper or any kind of help because he has you for that. You're not in an equal relationship. He controls what happens to suit his own needs and wants. He does not consider your wants and needs, or your children's. He doesn't want to spend time with your children, they are an inconvenience. They are probably to young to notice this, but they will. They'll see how other parents interact with their children and wonder why their dad doesn't do those things. As others have said, you should definitely consider the freedom program, I think you'll find it a big helpflowers

Hobosno Fri 17-May-19 08:27:13

With September, you already have a goal to aim for. Sort out the childcare you would ideally want, see if you can afford it on a reduced income too, have the children used to this person and then if you split they have more continuity. It might be the nanny (if that’s what you go for) is accepted by your husband and things improve a bit for you. Or they are not accepted, and he makes his true colours so clear that you find it easier to leave him.
What’s he’s doing isn’t fair at all, but you know that already. I wonder if the shock of you talking about divorce would lead to any improvements?

Deadringer Fri 17-May-19 09:35:59

It must have really pissed you off when he said that arranging work so that he could do drop offs is unprofessional, but he expects you to do it. It shows how he views you, you and the DCs are just accessories, he is the only really important person in his life. As a op said you don't need to go straight to divorce. Get legal advice, decide what you really want, then sit him down and tell him the changes you are going to make. Let him know you mean it and he accepts with good Grace or you are considering divorce. Good luck.

TotheLaunchBay Fri 17-May-19 09:52:18

I do like the idea of September as a goal. DH has no time off in the school summer holidays and the idea of going back to work then having to cover the whole summer straight away would be too hard I think.

He's on leave next week and will be less tired to I can talk about the nanny and trampoline.

If he didn't live here we could get a cat (steady on I know).

Nanny0gg Fri 17-May-19 10:03:50

Don't forget if you split he will have to pay towards the children so a nanny may be doable. And then your earnings could increase.Don't forget you'll need a nanny for holidays too.

I don't think all the talking in the world is going to change your husband's mindset and his attitude towards your children is horrible. How do they feel?

Mama2EE Fri 17-May-19 10:18:23

He sounds controlling and you sound scared of him. That isn't right. To me it's a no brainer. If it was me and my DH I'd tell him I am no longer willing to do school runs and therefore we either sort out childcare or he can do it. Yes it might be expensive but you'll feel better in regards to being less stressed and more like yourself again.

He sounds possibly depressed but more that he's trying to keep you busy and your self esteem low by being unreasonable

simplekindoflife Fri 17-May-19 10:30:26

He sounds absolutely awful. Poor you. And your poor kids. They will be aware of all this, they will feel his rejection. sad

The trampoline and guinea pig thing is so cruel! Sounds like a control thing. How dare he do that to them?! They must've been so disappointed. You shouldn't be scared, you should be angry he's doing this to your dc!

I'd get planning your life without even considering him, you sound like a single parent anyway. First things first, get the trampoline and the guinea pigs. Get the nanny. Focus on your dc and career and don't waste another minute worrying about him and his stupid, selfish sulking. He sounds absolutely vile. angry

TotheLaunchBay Fri 17-May-19 12:40:43

You are right about the impact on the children. Before we were going to get guinea pigs we measured the area, looked at houses together and went to practice holding one.
And we had been doing "skiing exercises" before the ski holiday that we didn't have.

A couple of weeks ago ds2 and I were building a tower out of duplo and he asked DH to help. DS1 looked worried and jumped up saying "I'll help you" and I'm pretty sure that he didn't want DS2 to be disappointed when Daddy said no.
DS1 is 7

StreetDreams Fri 17-May-19 13:18:42

That's sweet...but so sad.

I think you need to get yourself to the launch bay, @TotheLaunchBay.

And yy to getting a cat. smile

Hobosno Fri 17-May-19 13:31:11

I assume if you has the guinea pigs you’d do all the looking after anyway? What do you think would happen if you tell him the children need a pet, and if you can’t have a cat you’ll be collecting some pigs on the way home? You’re living you life in fear of the consequences, but what would they be? He leaves you? Well that could be a win. If you think he’d be violent that’s obviously a different matter.
My dh can be quite sulky at times and I’ve found that if I just do my own thing anyway I feel much better. I don’t let him upset me I just laugh at the silliness, and he comes round more quickly with that reaction.

Corna Fri 17-May-19 13:53:19

Oh god leave leave leave.

He is deliberately de skilling you so you become more dependent on him.

You sound like one of the amazing NHS staff who keep our health service going. He on the other hand sounds like one of those egotistical god complex consultants who think they rule the world. Get out and get your life back. Please.

TotheLaunchBay Fri 17-May-19 13:57:01

I need to reply to a couple of things...
Before children we worked a lot, went to the gym or for runs, went out for meals and to see standup comedians. We also went on nice holidays and read a lot. We were each other's main support and stress was something that happened at work. We also both had periods when we were working away, living at work and coming home alternate weekends. We did have arguments- about housework mainly but they weren't bad. When I was pregnant with DS1 he got into Grand theft auto (a computer game) and would play it for as many hours as he could. Looking back I think that he was worried about having children.

I saw a solicitor about 4-5 years ago. It didn't go perfectly, I had made an appointment to see a "family" solicitor but she was off that day and I saw a guy who normally does company law. He seemed to think that I would be able quite a bit but he was so aggressive about DH that I was very put off- I felt like it was going to get acrimonious very quickly. And I just let it float off.

I should try again with a solicitor. I have a couple of friends in the village who have recently got divorced so I could get advice on who they would recommend. Last time my best friend from uni who is a solicitor herself offered to pay my legal fees so that I didn't get "someone shit" so I guess that I could ask her if that's still on the table- but she works with very high net worth people so her idea of what a divorce costs might be exaggerated.

About getting guinea pigs without the full agreement of everyone in the house- this is mumsnet- you can't say that- you'll get the thread shut down (that's a joke mostly).

TotheLaunchBay Fri 17-May-19 14:02:06

Corna he does work incredibly hard. And he's really dedicated (to work). A couple of years ago I got worried that he was having an EA with the mother of one of his patients. The NHS really gets very good value from him.

This is annoying in itself from a family point of view- he works well over his hours with the top part of his salary taxed at higher rate. If I was working then it would be much more tax efficient as there would be all that tax allowance. (I've gone off the point there but it does piss me off that he gets such a small proportion of his extra hours when I could be working them tax free)

Hotterthanahotthing Fri 17-May-19 14:05:03

The first thing you need to do is stop covering for him with family,friends,anything where he lets you down.They probably all realise by now but it will be better not lying.
As to him thinking possible Asperger's is not affecting his life!He has withdrawn from all social interaction,bullies you and your kids know it too.
You don't want to divorce but you already don't have a marriage .

LatentPhase Fri 17-May-19 14:45:01

You’re doing great, OP. Thinking of a way forward flowers it’s brilliant.

Definitely speak to your solicitor friend. does she work in family law? Maybe she can point you in the right direction...

ukgift2016 Fri 17-May-19 15:02:11

What a life eh.

OP sounds happy with it. Shame about the children having to grow up in that environment.

TotheLaunchBay Fri 17-May-19 15:44:11

I'm laughing about my solicitor friend, she doesn't work in family law. She works helping very rich people to pay less tax (booooo, but she is a good friend). So while I'd love to need her services I'm not sure I'm ever going to be anywhere near it.

Hobosno Fri 17-May-19 15:48:14

Something to strengthen your resolve...

elsabadogigante Fri 17-May-19 15:59:19

Deciding to go? I'd have left this guy the second he expected my career to take a hit to enable his because he CBA'd to do his share of childcare or outsource it.

My son is only young but has ASD and tbh, the most heartbreaking thing about it is that he is a very unpleasant person to live with, there are precious few positives to his personality.

I'd get out away from this man even if meant I had to sleep on the street.

TotheLaunchBay Fri 17-May-19 16:02:31

Ukgift I'm not sure if you've typed that correctly? "OP sounds happy with it".
I'm literally on a relationship thread talking about whether I should get a divorce. I really don't take this lightly- I am lonely and worried about the DCs and trying to work out the best plan. I also work very hard trying to make sure that the boys have a good time, try to protect them and look after them, make them feel secure and loved.
If I was happy with it then I wouldn't have started the thread.

This isn't AIBU.
I do think that it is better to plan and do it properly.

Hobosno Fri 17-May-19 16:09:56

It’s the boiling a frog thing isn’t it. You don’t notice how badly you are being treated at first, it adds up degree by degree until you’re boiled.

TotheLaunchBay Fri 17-May-19 16:19:33

Yes thank you Hobosno.
It was actually reading the thread here about the woman in France with the DH sulking on holiday that made me think "oh. That sounds familiar".
I don't know. I do feel that I've been ?foolish/stupid/lazy?? but I don't think that our situation is worse than sleeping on the streets.

YetAnotherThing Fri 17-May-19 16:19:43

He’s a bully. He needs to do 50% of drop off/pick ups in order to contemplate a veto on it. You’re in the same profession, if not specialty, so how on earth can he say it’s unprofessional of him to be late but not you. Also if you split he has them Every other weekend etc (and you can freely do on calls!)

He doesn’t respect you , and I honesty think you’d start feeling mentally so much better apart from him. Go back to work - maybe start PT and when confidence back, get back on the rota and doing challenging bits of your role. On the days you have childcare ‘ignore’ the kids (they’ll be fine with a nanny and remember that He’ll be having them too).
I would rarely say LTB but honestly here, yes.

moonbubble Fri 17-May-19 18:37:30

He sounds autistic to me too. My husband is undiagnosed and he is very difficult and controlling without realising it. Everything is about him. Sounds very stressful and unfair on you.

MrMagooo Fri 17-May-19 19:25:40

Tell him straight how you feel and what you expect to change and wait for his response.

You have rights in this relationship too, he has taken away your rights and decision making slowly but surely.

I'm siding on Autistic too. Before children he was free to do all the things he wanted and now this has been taken away it doesn't seem like he's adapted and has expected you to sacrifice while he doesn't have too.

Either way he's behaving in an incredibly selfish way and you need to highlight this. If he won't change then you either accept it, make your own decisions laterally about stuff like he is, ignore the sulking and things, stuff for the kids and you build a life with them on your own whether you are with him or not.

It's no way to live really and I do empathise with you but you have options and you don't have to live out the rest of your life like this.

Moffa Fri 17-May-19 19:37:14

I haven’t read the whole thread but read the first page. Apologies if this has been posted. Sounds like Aspergers.

I’ve recently left mine. He has many good traits (loyal, hardworking) but I can’t live without love, affection, kindness and care. He is a terrible father to our gorgeous DC. He is currently undergoing a diagnosis but I am sure already and based on that I know he cannot and will not change.

Best of luck to you OP. It’s not easy, but hopefully whatever you decide is for the best x

elsabadogigante Fri 17-May-19 19:39:30

I really hope no one ever takes up with his son and he never has kids because he's a nightmare to live with.

StreetDreams Fri 17-May-19 19:41:12

I do hate the autistic = selfish stereotype though. I'm autistic and wouldn't behave like OP's DH in a billion years.

TotheLaunchBay Fri 17-May-19 20:31:18

Wow Moffa. Those articles really gave me a chill. Lots of things look very familiar.

The thing about presents- DH was getting me a jo malone bath oil set for Christmas every year, after one year when I'd asked for one. I pointed out that they weren't getting used as the only bath in the house is ensuite to DS2's room.
That year he got me a cake tin in the shape of a dog and a new mop bucket. This wasn't a joke or a dig, he was obviously very pleased that he'd got such good gifts.

But also the thing about not telling people because it's so far outside what people expect. I'm absolutely fed up of being invited out by friends and having to say no because I have no childcare- it is really socially isolating. I also recognize the part about not disrupting the routine- ds1 loves having friends over after school and I carefully manage this to make sure that DH is at work. I then tidy up the mess from playing before he gets in.

DS really wanted a Halloween party at our house. I managed to arrange it when DH was on call, so I had 8 x 6 and 7 year olds and my ASD 3 yo by myself because it would be easier than trying to do party games when DH was there. He came home after the boys were in bed when I was taking down the decorations and I really had to say "do not tell me off about the decorations because I am too tired".

Corna Sat 18-May-19 10:28:49

I know he must have his good points op, and I am sorry if I sound harsh. I feel like I can see the picture of your life but you have accepted it as normal. The point for me re his work is that he is working so many hours with no input from you about if that is acceptable for you all as a family, and that translates into the trampoline thing, he makes the decisions that you just have to live with. I really wish you the best op, whatever you decide. Please keep your eyes open financially and safety wise.

Moffa Sat 18-May-19 15:38:09

@tothelaunchbay my heart raced with adrenaline when I first read those articles too.

I once asked my H for Jo Malone perfume for my birthday and I have had the same gift every year since (I posted about it here before).

Last year he totally ruined so many events, my 40th Birthday, Christmas, Fireworks night, Holidays. Now I realise he has Aspergers and these were all things outside his ‘routine’ and safe zones so in effect they were triggering for him and no wonder he had tantrums. But I have young DC too and I don’t want to have to worry about his mood whenever I invite people over or organise fun things.

Different Together is a good website with forums for people within these types of relationships. It depends on if you want to stay and learn how to cope together or leave. Good luck OP xx

TotheLaunchBay Sat 18-May-19 18:44:01

Thank you everyone. I've spent the afternoon googling trampolines and guinea pig hutches. I just need to translate that into speaking out loud (may just order the trampoline).

klendraa Sat 18-May-19 18:51:28

Why don’t you try out separation ?

MoreProseccoNow Sat 18-May-19 19:08:52

Jesus, OP - that sounds awful.

He isn't meeting your needs, or that of your children.

Have a read up on co-dependency.

And plan your escape.

Justbreathing Sat 18-May-19 19:09:42

I wondered if you had read the thread about the woman in France.
Honestly your initial post shocked me.
Really shocked me.
And I’m just a stranger on the internet.

And what you said about your 7 yr old just made me feel very sad.

As someone else said. It’s the boiling frog scenario. And you keep quite and do anything to keep the peace. So these things become normal.
They are not normal.

Justbreathing Sat 18-May-19 19:10:06

And yes. Just order the trampoline.

AmaryllisNightAndDay Sat 18-May-19 19:12:45

Just from your first post, I'd also say there are two family members on the autism spectrum. Like son, like father. This is not a reason to stay. Go, and have a normal happy life. You DH needs to deal with who he is in his own way, in denial or with acceptance, up to him. You will be able to support your DS so he understands his own issues and he will do much better in life than his father.

for diagnosis it would have to have significant impact on his life and it doesn't

Losing his wife because of his rigidity counts as significant impact. So does being unable to enjoy (or think about or stand!) a family holiday or even a weekend away. So does being permanently too tired to have sex. So does not wanting to go to any social events. So does being traumatised by the thought of putting a trampoline in the garden. So does feeling like a spare part with his children. They all count.

And it's not just the impact it's having on him that matters. There's the impact on you, and on the chidlren, and the way that you are having to protect the children from the impact. Even your older DC is trying to protect his sib. That counts too, though your DH may be taking the words "significant impact on his life" too literally realise it.

I've thought autism traits, depression as well.

Poorly managed autism (autism which sounds to me a lot more profound than either he or you have realised) is very likely to lead to depression.

I'm autistic and wouldn't behave like OP's DH in a billion years.

Sure, but it is how her DH is dealing (or failing to deal) with his own autism that's the problem. For starters, you know and fully accept that you have autism. He doesn't.

It's not a reason to stay though. OP do take a look at those websites.


bouncydog Sat 18-May-19 19:46:13

I’m so sad for you and your children. You deserve so much more and wont be any worse off on your own. You will get your life and your career back. Your poor little 7 year old has already realised his dad isn’t interested and is trying to take on his role. Explore your options, but please put yourself and your children first. Life is for living and by the sounds of it his parents will be a good source of support once they know what’s going on. Your husband does sound depressed but because of his job feels he doesn’t need help. Good luck.

Justbreathing Sat 18-May-19 19:54:40

Those websites were quite scary. No one should have to live their life like that.
I don’t care if being autistic is horrible for the person who has it. No person should ever be treated like that

TotheLaunchBay Sat 18-May-19 20:52:52

Justbreathing- yes, I've read and read and read the thread about the woman in France. It's part of what made me start this conversation.

I have been making a mark on the calendar for every day that I've thought "I can't live like this, I want a divorce". I've realised that the days that don't have a mark are the days when he leaves the house before we get up and gets home after the boys are asleep.

Bouncy dog, I do think that DS1 is trying to be a Dad some of the time. We 3 went on a little children's day out today and most people were there with a preschooler and 2 parents. I remembered doing it when DS1 was 3 and feeling really sad for him looking at the dads playing with their sons (mostly sons it's a train thing). I didn't have that feeling at all for DS2 as he has his brother who is the apple of his eye.

I was also having a chat with a teacher at DS's school she said how DS1 is "always so responsible and grown up". She meant it as a compliment but it made me feel terrible.

I am working towards going for a divorce when I get back to work in September.

I do think that it will be easier when I'm getting paid BUT It has been occuring to me reading how bad other people see this as that either my mum or my brother could afford our mortgage and living expenses for a few months until I got on my feet.
I haven't been talking to my mum about relationship things because it's been so awful for her after my dad's accident that she's really been needing support rather than able to give it. But she told me today that she and my dad are going to fund a thing for the women's refuge where she volunteers (haha yes I know) that is going to cost thousands of pounds and that as they haven't been anywhere or done anything since dad's accident they've been saving a lot of money.

I'd rather do it independently and I do think that I can. Also I don't know how it would alter finances after divorce if my mum was paying the mortgage.
I also don't want to worry my mum, (I could probably get divorced without any of grandparents realising although I'm not going to do that obvs).

I'm just thinking out loud really.

And it must be very irritating to people to hear me say that I could ask my mum when I know that some people are just not able to leave when they can't afford it.

Justbreathing Sat 18-May-19 21:14:18

Blimey. Do not beat yourself up about not leaving sooner. We all know life is not black and white. It takes a long time to leave someone. A really long time.
9/10 not leaving isn’t about money. It’s fear, obligation, guilt.
Thinking it’s ok.
Boiling frog.
Thinking you can make it better. That’s the key one! You can take years thinking you can make it better.
All of those things.

You are a kind empathetic person. We all know it’s not as simple as LTB. But you have to start putting yourself first.

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