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Not sure if it's lockdown relationship problems or something more.(9 Posts)
Sorry for the long post.
My DH and I have been together for almost 8 years, married for 4. We have a 1 year old DD. Lockdown has been tough for our relationship, like many people I imagine. I don't feel like we've really pulled together - in fact, I feel we are pulling apart. We live in a small flat in London and have wanted to move out for a long time. The space feels even smaller since DD arrived. We are actually in the process of selling the flat, and hope to be moving out around September time. We will rent for a while, as we don't feel sure about where we want to live long term. It's been difficult deciding where to live as there are numerous factors involved, and though we both desperately want to move out, I think we are anxious about living somewhere new and having to start from scratch (though a lot of our friends have already moved out - in various directions - so it's not as though we are leaving too much behind). Anyway, working from home and also having to look after DD caused a lot of stress and arguments. It's better now she is back at nursery, but we still argue. Living on top of each other and having DD has made me realise I do the bulk of the housework, and DH is very stubborn and reluctant to do more. It was an uphill struggle to get him to take turns getting up with her in the morning, despite the fact she hasn't been a great sleeper and I've always done most of the night wakings. He has got slightly better with helping out around the flat, but I always have to ask him, and he often gets grumpy if he's in the wrong mood.
I probably have been 'nagging' him somewhat, because I feel like I've had a lightbulb moment during lockdown that I do way more around the flat than I should, and I don't want to be taken advantage of. This happened in previous relationships and I don't want to be treated like that again. So perhaps I have been 'nagging' to some degree. I try to ask DH in a light-hearted way, but sometimes he gets really annoyed and we end up arguing. Last night he told me that I make him miserable - he feels like he can't relax in his own home etc. When we argue, his tone is really upsetting to me - he doesn't necessarily shout, but sounds very annoyed and 'sneery' I suppose.
I don't think it helps that he earns a lot more money than me, so I do feel that he calls the shots on a lot of things. I guess I just want to feel like his equal.
There are other issues, like a lack of sex (mainly since DD was born) which isn't helping our emotional intimacy either. I suggested marriage counselling, which he reluctantly agreed to, but he wanted to stop after a few weeks. In fairness, I'm not sure our counsellor was as pro-active with us as we needed her to be - there was lots of talking on our part, but I think we need more direction. She did comment though, that we are very different people and pre-lockdown this would have been an attraction, but it is causing problems in lockdown.
I do think that lockdown has highlighted issues in our relationship which need addressing. I am very emotions led and 'softer', whereas DH isn't comfortable with emotion (he sometimes displays ASD tendencies) and isn't very flexible or accepting of things if he doesn't like them, whereas I'm more of a people pleaser.
Sometimes when we argue I just think 'it shouldn't be this hard' and think we should split, but then I know we have a young child, lockdown and a life move ahead of us, and wonder if these external stressors mean I should wait and see how things pan out? But I know I want to be happier in my marriage than this. Even when things are better these days, I find myself overthinking or analysing everything he does or every way he is with me.
Would love some advice from people who recognise these character traits in us, or who have managed to work through their marriage problems. Thank you.
Anyone? Any advice would be so much appreciated. Thank you.
I'm in a very similar situation also in a small flat with small children and a dh with a completely different personality to me. I keep telling myself this isn't normal life, it's so stressful and I don't think it's dh making me unhappy even though he annoys me half the time, he is doing his fair share of the workload. I can't imagine anyone I was living with in these circumstances not annoying me if that makes sense. I'm holding on to when this blows over, we move somewhere with more space, the children are a bit bigger and more independent, I'll be able to do more stuff for me (and sleep!) and be happier generally. And I'll be able to spend time relaxing with dh and hopefully we'll be able to enjoy each other's company when life's not such a constant slog as it is right now with toddlers in a little flat in a pandemic. All the best, life's not easy in these circumstances and it's hard to look clearly at your relationship when you're under so much stress
Thanks so much Mummydaydreams, it's so comforting to know it's not just me. I think because it's been going on for so long now, I've forgotten what it's like for us to be together and not argue or feel annoyed at him. I feel like I'm reading into everything too much, but perhaps I just need to let it go and try to make the best of this difficult situation. I like to hope that most couples would be finding it hard if they were in our situation. Thanks for the message ♥️.
He doesn't see you as an equal. It won't change.
Don't allow him to treat you as a skivvy just because he earns more. You both live there, he should also be responsible for keeping your home nice, and parenting his child.
You sound fundamentally unhappy OP and moving forward meaningfully means that your unhappiness has to be addressed.
It has to be a priority.
Individual, separate counselling for you could be a starting point.
Is there love in the relationship? Do you like each other?
I would phone a few therapists and tell them the issue and what you hope to achieve.
I would then approach it from the points of view:
"I don't feel you treat me as your equal"
"We don't get equal leisure time/time "off"
"I have become the default parent and default housekeeper"
If he then cannot see your point of view and change to see you as his equal then you will never be happy.
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