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Is this ok?(22 Posts)
I've been with my DH for 10 years and we have 2 small children together. We've always had a nice marriage, no abuse, good atmosphere at home. Our second baby is only 6 months old and is a terrible sleeper, I live on few broken hours a night and find it almost impossible to function. Luckily I have help during the day but that doesn't make it easier at night as I'm breastfeeding and my sleep is broken even if I manage to catnap in the morning or during the day.
My DH works 6 days a week and long hours. Despite this, he helps a lot with the children and even at nights with the baby, obviously he can't breastfeed but we still swap and he rocks him with dummy etc or takes over in the morning when the baby is up at 5.30am and then goes to work. He helps with whatever he can. So he is helpful in terms of his actions.
However, there's something I find a bit...upsetting. When I start telling him about my terrible headaches (related to no sleep), about how exhausted I am, how tired, how tearful, when I cry, tell him about how hard my day/night was, he doesn't show any sympathy. He just listens and doesn't say much. I know he thinks I moan a lot and maybe it annoys him (I'm sure of that). When I ask him why he acts this way, he says "I don't know what to say", "there's not much I can say that will help, let's just swap at night" etc. Usually I assume when a person (let alone your own wife) tells you she's suffering you could perhaps give a hug, offer to make a cup of tea, say that you understand how hard it is and that we'll make it through... He used to say all those things at first, and then he stopped... I find this indifference extremely hurtful. If I bring it up nothing really changes.
Oddly he hugs/kisses me generally without relation to my hardships right now. But it's just when I start telling him in detail there's no much response. I don't know who's right and who's wrong here. Any opinions, please? Thank you.
I feel your suffering my oh does same it's like he doesn't care or he will reply with oh same here as though we are in competition I don't know what to suggest I've stopped telling him and now suffer in silence as the lack of empathy is worse for me. I hope you get it sorted as he seems ok in other areas.
Men don't function the way women do emotionally. If they can't do something to fix it, they just kind of shut down. I think it's fear. They get a bit scared when a woman starts to cry because they don't know how to "fix" whatever it is.
Perhaps reassure him that you acknowledge and are thankful for all he does and that you just need him to listen and be sympathetic when you feel overwhelmed. He doesn't need to fix anything.
And remember, this stage won't last forever and you will sleep again!
If I am upset, in pain, my mental illness is playing up etc my fiance always cuddles me and reassures me. Even if there is little he can do to help he's always very supportive. He listens and does what he can such as he will take me out on a drive to lessen my anxiety for example. It sounds like you husband is not like this at all but it depends on whether you can live with this.
It sounds like he does his best to share the burden with you?
And it sounds like he tried saying supportive things to start with, but maybe felt it didn't help/make a difference? It doesn't sound like he's indifferent to you, just maybe genuinely has run out of things to say about the same issue.
Do you take him up on his offers to swap?
It's a tough time with a little one - maybe look at seeing the gp/hv if you're struggling emotionally.
Maybe he doesn't know what to say and thinks just listening is the best way. I assume from all you have said that you are BOTH knackered, and maybe he is being mindful not to turn your tiredness levels into a competition - there's nowt worse than someone telling you they are more tired than you etc.
This won't last forever and hopefully your LO will find a routine that suits you all much better very soon.
OP, something that comes up regularly on MN threads but is actually true IME is 'love languages'. It's about the different ways in which we show love to our partner. We each tend to favour certain ways and expect our partner to have the same ways, but he might be showing his love in a different way. It doesn't mean he doesn't love you though.
It sounds like you are more of a "words" person whereas he's an "acts of service" person.
Google it OP. Seriously, it really helped me to understand DH's behaviour towards me in times of difficulty.
Some people are very 'solutions-focused' when it comes to how they support one another. It sounds like he is already doing a lot to try and share the load and may feel like when you say these things you're asking him to do even more, and not know how to react as he doesn't know what practically he can do.
Have you tried being really literal with him and saying something like, "I'm not asking for you to fix anything here, I've just had a bad day and I need a moan. Can I have a hug and some kind words? Maybe a cup of tea? I just need someone to listen."
Thank you all for taking time to reply. Last night I brought it up with him again and he said "I'm understand it's hard, but what's the point of moaning, we need to try and find the practical solution". So basically pretty much what you all said...
Then I spelled it out literally that I'm exhausted and absolutely broken and just need a hug. Then he hugged me....
Yes I always take him up on his offers to swap.
And there's definitely truth in suggestion that by repeating the same things to him I imply that he's not doing enough and I need more help. I think he mentioned this once in the past.
So what do I do about it? I guess either accept the way he is, or ask him for a cuppa/hug. He always says "just tell me what to do". I find it upsetting, like can't he see what needs to be done...
He actually sounds like a really good guy. So many men on here are reported as all talk and no action - full of bs sympathy but not actually sharing the load.
Maybe you need a good friend to offload some of the emotional stuff onto. Partners can not be absolutely everything that we need in life (no one can be) - especially when they’re working six days a week.
He does sound like a good guy who is trying very hard. Perhaps he’s tired too if he’s getting up as well in the night? And not as switched on?
I think he sounds like a good guy who is trying his best.
A poor sleeper is rough on everyone.
I think there is nothing wrong with having to say "darling i need tea and a hug. Today was rough"
He sounds like a good one to me.
From your description he does his share and works long hours at his job.
Did you say you get help during the day too. Mine were all good sleepers so I don’t really know what it’s like but this won’t be for ever.
I imagine he's absolutely exhausted too working 6 days and also getting up in the night and early mornings so perhaps genuinely doesn't know what else he can do when he has no opportunity to sleep or have a rest in the day. Just tell him what you need rather than making him guess.
You are right, he can't see what needs to be done. Expecting him to just know isn't working out for you, so start telling him. He may never manage to read the signs, but telling him might mean he can work it out longer term. Lack of sleep is brutal enough without added pandemic, be kind to yourselves and each other.
OP, does any of this resonate?
He sounds like a decent bloke who is getting to the end of his tether and feels like he can't do right for doing wrong. He's probably knackered too, and the fact he hasn't got into competitive tiredness with you is quite telling. You can sleep in the day whereas he is working 6 days a week and can't do that.
The fact that he used to comfort you, and the way he is saying, 'just tell me what to do' are showing that his patience is wearing thin with the endless moaning. He wants to find a practical solution, so why not try exactly that?
As he is willing to help, you could maybe start expressing so he can pick up one feed in the night. And/or look at techniques to encourage better sleep.
Expecting an exhausted person to be a mind-reader isn't realistic - as you can see yourself by how you haven't been able to put yourself in his shoes.
We all know how hard it is. He is doing much more than most men. Be thankful and stop moaning or you may lose his support.
Sleep deprivation is so hard. Your DH sounds very much like mine. I struggled with PND and his apparent lack of sympathy, but like yours he did the night feeds, got up early, cooked dinner...I have to remind myself as PP's have said that he shows his love in different ways. If I cry / breakdown I do get an awkward hug! We both joke he's a bit of an emotionless robot, but his empathy is very low compared to me (I cry at the news!) and I struggle to understand why he doesn't get it.
I have an amazing BFF (sorry that's a bit twee!) who is the person I talk to about anything emotional that I just can't with DH. I've always known he was a bit like that, but having a baby magnifies everything you tolerated about someone and for us at least we had to 'relearn' each other, if that makes sense. You'll get through it
I agree with the others. He sounds like a decent man and, for him, being supportive is finding solutions. He doesn't really 'get' that sometimes emotional support is what you need. People who aren't naturally emotionally supportive can sometimes feel alarmed at emotional displays by others. It makes you panic a bit and wrack your brains trying to think of a solution so that they don't cry again. But that is often done silently and can look like you don't care.
People crying/being visibly upset makes me feel very uncomfortable because I don't know what im supposed to do. I know the answer is a hug but, because it doesn't come naturally or instinctively to me, I don't necessarily think of it at the time. If someone reminds me that that is what they need, I will remember it eventually and do it but it's not instinctive. Also, a hug doesnt actually 'solve' the problem so it's a bit 'pointless'. I'm great if you want a practical solution but not so great at the emotional stuff.
I think as other PP have said, he probably doesn't know what to say besides offering solutions. Both DH and I have been you and your DH in similar situations.
In his case, he gets frustrated because like you he just wants me to be sympathetic. But when he's moaning I either hear it as a criticism as me (it's not, that's my issue, not his) OR I get frustrated because I just think that there are obvious solutions. When all he needs is a bit of sympathy.
When it's the other way round, I get frustrated because like your DH, he'll offer to do more or whatever, when all I want is for him to make me tea, tell me to take a bath etc.
But it sounds like he DOES get it, and is trying.
Thank you for the helpful replies. A lot to think about. Somehow I'm very sure that he sees my moaning as a criticism at him that he's not helping enough and this makes him frustrated. Maybe actually this is because this is what I used to do in the past, now thinking about it...
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