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I either need a slap or a wobble. Please help.

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KnitPearl Sat 26-Sep-20 01:37:13

DP is in hospital. He went in as he was experiencing pain. He's been to hospital a fair few times this year, all for different reasons. That fact, along with his very unpredictable work schedule means that I have become very used to caring for DC alone. Without adding another thread's worth of detail, he has been gradually becoming a lot more derogatory towards me of late. I don't feel that we're in a good place, but I've wanted us to be, so I've been working on it with him up until this incident.

I was preparing to leave the house for a walk with DC when he was told by 111 to go to the hospital. Because of the huge variety of incidents this year, I didn't panic like I did the first few times. I kissed him goodbye and he said he'd update me.

Turns out the issue was a lot more serious than we could have expected, and he needed emergency surgery. Without going into detail, this is potentially a life changing adjustment for him. He may not even be able to return to work. It's so out of the blue it still feels surreal. I am worried about him while he's in the hospital, he doesn't look well, he has a fever, he's on very strong painkillers. Which brings me to the main issue.

He is being really, really horrible to me right now. He is angry that I am not prioritising talking to or messaging him over my care responsibilities to DC. He gets angry when he calls and I ask if I can call him back. This is while doing things like bathing DC, making their food, driving, dealing with their temper tantrums. I video called him today so he could say hi to DC. He ended up saying he'll let me go because I'm clearly too busy to talk to him. I was hoping he would interact with DC and feel better, but instead apparently I made him feel worse.

He's been regularly ignoring me for hours at a time because he's upset that I haven't been in touch. This causes me to worry. When I finally get through to him, he's distant and telling me there's no point trying to talk on the phone. He's also had some of his family call me to tell me he's in a bad way and I need to be there for him. I can't even visit. How do I prioritise him over DC?

Today he told me that everything he calls me for at this time is urgent. Whether it's a test result or what he had for dinner. His exact words.

Everything in me is screaming this isn't right, he's being too mean and I should tell him so. Then the nagging voice at the back of my mind tells me I'm a selfish cow for getting upset at him when he's clearly not thinking straight and is so unwell and vulnerable. As I mentioned before, he has not been too nice recently in general. Now he's just being worse.

So I really don't know how to proceed with any of this. AIBU to be upset about his behaviour? Or am I a cow for even thinking that? Please help me figure it out sad

OP’s posts: |
Frappuccinofan Sat 26-Sep-20 01:42:32

Has he always been like this or do you think the change in the demeanour is part of his illness?

Regardless, you shouldn’t stay in an unhappy relationship, where he treats you like shit, if you don’t want to. Give him some leeway for being hospitalised and worried about the surgery etc, but the unfortunate truth is you don’t have to deal with this just because he’s unwell. Your health (inc mental health) is just as important.

I think have a chat with him to see if it’s something he is aware that he’s doing and whether he is willing to change.

Frappuccinofan Sat 26-Sep-20 01:43:56

I’m hoping he’s just scared and lonely and doesn’t realise that he’s taking it out on you and hurting your feelings in the process.

Frappuccinofan Sat 26-Sep-20 01:47:08

How long will he be in hospital for?
How old are dc

Feelingconfused2020 Sat 26-Sep-20 01:54:43

I hate abusive men and he could be one. Some of what you've said suggests as much


I was once admitted to hospital for a really severe chest infection. It was truly awful. It hurt so much and I was very scared. If I had rung DH and he'd said ' can I ring you back" it would have broken me. I was so vulnerable and lonely.and scared I needed someone to put whatever else was happening on hold and prioritise me

If are very ill. That means you feel very ill. with him.

CSIblonde Sat 26-Sep-20 02:13:03

Is he scared was my first thought . He's already had a year of health issues & now this. ( Unless this is his usual behaviour). If he's really ill he's not going to feel up to chatting to the kids tbh. Ask him is there anything worrying him as sometimes you can't take in everything they've said & that makes you feel more afraid.. Are you allowed to visit? If not I'd Skype as often as possible when kids arent there or ,in bed, as it's very lonely being that ill.

Jamiefraserskilt Sat 26-Sep-20 02:17:57

He's poorly. He's bored. He's only focusing on himself because that is all he has right now. However, it is not like you are sitting on your ass all day waiting for his call. Life goes on and with small kids it is hard to take the calls when you are fully occupied and he is staring at four walls. Tell him you want to talk to him but are struggling to give him the uninterrupted time you both need when there is so much going on and so many demands for your time. His inability to understand what you do is not helping. Make three times during the day when the kids are occupied, napping or busy and tell him what time you will be calling. Then call. If the kids interrupt you, tell them you are speaking to Daddy and they will need to wait. If his family are so bloody concerned, why don't they call him four times a day or even more useful, take the kids out so you have some downtime to speak to him. If he knows when you will be calling, you can manage his expectations better. It sounds like it is going to get worse when he gets home so brace.yourself. dont allow yourself to be a doormat. There is a fine line between someone being grumpy because they are ill and crossing the line with being nasty so pull him up on it and make your calls more balanced. Good luck!

NoSquirrels Sat 26-Sep-20 02:18:40

Can his family come and help with DC so you can go and see him?

Do you think it’s possible that unconsciously you’re not prioritising him and his situation at all because you’re upset and scared, so it’s easiest to retreat into pouring your energy into the DC?

Your DC sound young, and they do need a parent putting them first, but I agree if I were the one in hospital with a life-altering issue, I would be hurt and upset and annoyed and probably sulky and behave badly if my partner didn’t respond quickly to calls/texts, didn’t visit and seemed to be ignoring my feelings.

I don’t think YABU that he’s treating you horribly, and you’re under a lot of pressure and stress yourself. But I think his feelings right now need to be given greater weight than yours. And that if you can visit then you should.

ARoseInHarlem Sat 26-Sep-20 02:30:30

Different issues here. I think you’re losing patience with him generally because of his absences and the burden they create for you. And you feel the burden and are prioritising the DC. He wants you to prioritise him.

Tbh, if it’s a life-changing thing he’s handling that could impact his working life, right now that is more important than the mundanities of DC (bath time, tantrums etc).

You need to talk. Set some time aside for him, ask him how he’s feeling and listen. I don’t think now is the time for you to tell him how you feel. There’s time for that when he’s home and this is behind him.

Sorry you’re going through this.

TitsOutForHarambe Sat 26-Sep-20 02:42:39

From your OP, it sounds like he was like this before he went into hospital, but now he's gotten worse.

This would make me think carefully about the whole marriage, to be honest.

Italiangreyhound Sat 26-Sep-20 03:11:32

I'm so sorry this is happening.

It sounds like you have some issues and at some point may be able to work through these things, later, together. Or maybe in the long run you could decide not to continue with the marriage.

However, right now I think you do need to prioritize him and this is for a number of reasons. Firstly, because it is the right thing to do for your partner, partly because you need (IMHO) to be able to say you did everything you could for him and was there for him. And partly because this may bring some healing for both of you.

You do not say how many kids you have and how young they are so I am assuming they are pretty young. This can bring stress to any couple.

I think it would help to have things ready for when he calls so whatever is happening when he calls you can pop the kids in front of a favourite DVD or whatever and totally devote yourself to his call.

If they are in the bath when he calls, get them out of the bath and wrapped in towels on the sofa with Peppa Pig or whatever.

If you are driving can you stop safely and speak to him? How many calls a day are you getting?

Italiangreyhound Sat 26-Sep-20 03:16:55

I was in hospital a couple of times many years ago. Both times my normally great husband down played these times and for a long time afterwards I felt a lot of resentment that he did not realize how serious this was/how serious this felt to me.

Just to clarify, I am not saying to ignore or endanger the kids, you can be in the same room of course, but your attention needs to be on him, IMHO. If he is ill and feels scared he may well not be able to cope with a small child on the phone.

I echo what pp said about asking his family for help with the kids.

None of this excuses him being horrible to you and that would annoy me a lot and I do understand if you feel very feeling unhappy because of this. However, it's possible the medications, pain etc and the fear (especially now during the Covid pandemic) are really influencing him in a bad way.

Be nice to him but be nice to yourself, ask for help with the kids if you can and make life as simple as possible.

blackcat86 Sat 26-Sep-20 03:40:45

He's saying that when he calls to tell you what he ate (presumably he's calling a lot then) this is urgent and must be a priority even when you're caring for shared DC. He is being ridiculous and quite frankly sounds abusive. Your gut feeling is telling you something is wrong because it is, listen to it. Why is he even trying to compete with his own DC and suggest he must come first? That just so awful and childish. Regardless of what happens to us we still have responsibilities as parents which he seems not only happy to abdicate by showing no interest in the DC or how you are coping but is actively trying to compete with them, add to your load and make you look bad to his family. Perhaps if his family are so concerned they would like to care for him when he is discharged because i wouldn't be. He's bad mouthing you and being awful anyway. This doesn't sound like a one off bad mood because he is scared. Keep your boundaries, prioritise the DC, you're doing amazing.

KnitPearl Sat 26-Sep-20 03:41:41

Thanks, all. I can see that I need to adjust my approach.

I forgot to add this at the beginning, but I clarified that I'm used to looking after DC alone and normally, when I am, he doesn't want to be disturbed. He would get snappy if I called him at work (which I didn't regularly do and don't do at all any more), or to ask him what time he'd be back from shopping with a friend or any other social activity. He made it very clear that I was being interfering and he was viewing it as controlling, so I stopped contacting him at all when I was alone with DC.

So that's one other reason why I'm so unsure about what to do. At the beginning, and even just after his surgery, I left him to it and waited until he called me so that I knew I wouldn't be bothering him. When the doctor called me to tell me how surgery went, I asked her to tell him I love him, that DC are fine, I'm fine and all he needs to focus on is his own recovery. I thought I was doing the right thing by giving him space, and I'm also worried that if I do start calling him more frequently, he'll quickly resent hearing from me again.

Just in case people think I'm being selfish, the reason I decided to post here for advice is because I am very aware that this whole situation is not about me. I'm not going to start pestering him or anybody else in his life to make me feel better about what's happening. So I figured I'd ask anonymously for advice, just so that my thoughts can make sense without upsetting anybody in real life. And I'm really grateful for the replies, thank you

OP’s posts: |
StoppinBy Sat 26-Sep-20 03:50:19

Perhaps the two of you can set aside a time in advance so you can organise the kids to be doing something?

I think unless it actually is important then he is being an arse telling you that he needs to be prioritised. I also get the feeling that he may not very often or at all be solely responsible for the care of the child/ren and have very little understanding of what that actually entails?

Calling you to tell you what he had for dinner and expecting you t give him your direct and undisturbed attention? Wow.

I am surprised that people would say he wouldn't want to talk to his kids, the most favourite thing in my life is my kids and I couldn't imagine any situation in where their presence wouldn't be a positive and something that would brighten my day except if I was in such a way that they would be scared of what they saw (and even then my concern is for them not be scared rather than me not wanting to see them).

KnitPearl Sat 26-Sep-20 03:50:27

@blackcat86 thank you. I really do hope I'm doing things right, because DC are too young to understand what's happening. I don't want them to know that something is off when I can't explain to them that things will be okay. So I've been trying very hard to fill their days with a load of activities. It's just after today I feel so deflated, honestly like I can't do anything right. And I'm angry at myself for being so self pitying at a time like this. I'm glad nobody here knows me in real life.

OP’s posts: |
tillytown Sat 26-Sep-20 04:38:00

It sounds like he was awful before the surgery, and now he has been given a green light to be worse

KnitPearl Sat 26-Sep-20 04:48:16

@tillytown yes, that's how I've been feeling. But then I'm also thinking it's not like he's faking having had surgery. So even though he's taking advantage, maybe he's entitled to do that because of what he's going through. If that makes sense? I've not been sleeping well so my words could be all over the shop blush

OP’s posts: |
Rollmopsrule Sat 26-Sep-20 04:52:49

Unless hes been a complete knob prior to his health issues I'd cut him some slack. I've been very poorly in hospital a few years ago. My husband was very stressed at the time with work and looking after our children. It was like he couldn't cope with me on top of everything else and was not able to offer any support. He downplayed the whole thing and basically expected me to just get on with things and be grateful for being alive. Although it is a bit dramatic I felt completely abandoned by him. I resented him for years for not being there for me when I really needed him.

Jellycatspyjamas Sat 26-Sep-20 08:24:24

You said his health issues are life changing, potentially stopping him from working? I can imagine he’s in a very scary place emotionally - it’s not ok for him to take it out on you but I can see that it would be overwhelming to try and think about what comes next.

It’s a very different thing not phoning someone at work or when they’re out socially to not keeping contact when they’re in hospital - I know I’d feel utterly abandoned. I’m assuming he’s not allowed visitors because of Covid, so there’s no one he can talk to about what happens next?

In saying that, there’s definitely a need for discussion about what does happen next, if you feel he’s abusive, that isn’t going to improve with his deterioration in health. If you aren’t saying he’s abusive, then clear communication about how you move forward from here because life changing illness in your partner will also be life changing for you.

They key is in the phrase “life changing”, he’s not in hospital for a broken toe, you’ll both be terrified about what might be next, if you’re to stay together you need to talk.

Jellycatspyjamas Sat 26-Sep-20 08:29:13

*I was preparing to leave the house for a walk with DC when he was told by 111 to go to the hospital. Because of the huge variety of incidents this year, I didn't panic like I did the first few times. I kissed him goodbye and he said he'd update me.

Turns out the issue was a lot more serious than we could have expected, and he needed emergency surgery. Without going into detail, this is potentially a life changing adjustment for him.*

Cani be really honest, this sounds absolutely terrifying especially going through it alone, I’d want my partner with me for support and if that wasn’t possible I’d want him to prioritise speaking to me while I was recovering from life changing emergency surgery.

You said recently he’s been more decorators towards you, is it possible he’s been in pain, and worried about his health for a while now? That anxiety can really change a person’s demeanour.

Marmite27 Sat 26-Sep-20 08:33:35

I’d be fuming with him over this. We’ve had hospital admissions in our recent past and the children are prioritised 100%. Due to the nature of a parent or child being away from home the child/ren remaining are understandably unsettled and need more attention.

Tinabn Sat 26-Sep-20 08:47:17

He is scared, and probably has been for quite a time, he needs you but at the same time will lash out because of his fear and you are the one closest to him. You seem to be dealing with it by focusing on the children and you are removed from it, he has nothing to do but lie there and worry. I know that the first person I need when something terrible happens is my DH, something terrible has happened, he needs you, even if it is just to tell you what he has eaten because while he is doing that he isn’t worrying about the situation. Put your phone on speaker, chat with him while you are looking after the children, even if the relationship fails in the future support him now, he is frightened and you loved him enough at one point to have children with him.

Anotherlovelybitofsquirrel Sat 26-Sep-20 08:53:08

It sounds like he was awful before the surgery, and now he has been given a green light to be worse

It sounds like you were doing it all before and he was a selfish rude miserable twat before the operation . I'd tell him you're going it alone and he can sort himself out. Sick or not.

Sunnydaysstillhere Sat 26-Sep-20 09:02:22

So you and the dc have never been his priority but now he has to be yours?
Seems a great opportunity to consider your relationship imo...

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