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What do I do? Feeling let down by partner. Do I have too high expectations?

(52 Posts)
RosieAnne123 Tue 06-Oct-20 13:41:42

I have had a really bad week, and have been feeling really low and down in the dumps. Last night I really needed some comfort and company from my partner. I asked him if we could go for a walk - he said he had already planned to meet up with a friend. Ok. He goes out for a couple of hours.

I have a bath, and I said that I want to go and lie down because I am feeling rubbish, I am tearful and upset. He said he doesn't want to join me for a lie down because it is only 7:30.

So, I go and lie down in bed, try to read my kindle, feeling really alone and upset. Have a good cry.

I say to him today I feel disappointed because I was feeling low last night and I needed him. He said that he didn't have the energy or capacity to be there for me, and that he wanted to do some things for himself (i.e. go on his laptop and watch TV).

I feel really upset. He knew how rubbish and low I have been feeling, and I don't understand how he can so easily and happily just leave me to it and cry on my own, just because he doesn't want to sit in the bedroom?

All I needed was his presence and his touch. People will say well why didn't you go downstairs? Because I knew he didn't want to "deal" with me. Why would I try to force someone to comfort me? sad

OP’s posts: |
Quandaries Tue 06-Oct-20 13:46:19

If your ask of a partner is that they’ll comfort you when you’re down, I think your expectations are perfectly normal.

What’s the point of being with someone if they can’t help you through the bad times?

How long have you been together? Do you share children and/or property? Is this usual behaviour for him?

Sorry you’re feeling down flowers

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Tue 06-Oct-20 13:51:59

Is there a reason why your upset has to be performative?
Removing yourself from the space which you're already sharing with him adds an element of drama.
He knows when he leaves that room that you're going to offload whatever it is that you want to offload for an amount of time. And the thought of entering into that is tiring. I can understand putting it off and pretending its not happening, because ultimately when in shared spaces you seem to pretend that it is fine. It is only when you remove yourself from the situation that the problem has to be challenged.

Therefore, if you want to talk about it you have to speak directly. If it is important to you, then stay in the room, do not put out an invitation to join you elsewhere.

He is possibly being a bit selfish in not coming to you, but if this is something that happens often or he has a lot on, it can be hard to find the physical and mental time to deal with it. So just let it out.

nervousnelly8 Tue 06-Oct-20 13:55:29

Sorry that you are feeling down. Trying to give him the benefit of the doubt - the "I don't have capacity" comment could be quite telling? Is he also feeling blue? Sometimes it's really hard to take on someone else's blues when you're not feeling great yourself and it can end up with a bit of a pity party spiral.

It doesn't sound like a "I don't care that you're down" situation - it seems pretty common at the moment for people to be overwhelmed by the huge life changes and uncertainty around this year.

AlexaShutUp Tue 06-Oct-20 14:10:47

Tricky one. Of course he should be supportive, but he also needs to protect his own mental health, and it's very easy to get dragged down by someone you live with. I know this from bitter experience.

On the first occasion, asking to go for a walk was fair enough, but he already had commitments, so I don't think he was being unreasonable really.

Re going for a lie down, I `really^ wouldn't want to do this at 7.30pm. If you didn't think he would want to "deal" with you downstairs, surely you knew that he wouldn't want to follow you upstairs?

Sorry, I know this sounds harsh. I'm not unsympathetic, and I'm sorry that you're feeling so low, but it can be hard to be around someone in this state, and sometimes you need to protect yourself. The fact that he said he didn't have the capacity to help you at that time suggests that his own reserves were running low, and that he might be rather weary of such requests? Do you often ask for support?

Is this just a really bad week or part of an ongoing mental health problem? If it's the latter, have you spoken to your GP and are you getting support? I don't think it's at all unreasonable to expect your partner to spend some time listening to you, giving you a hug, just being there for a bit. At the same time, you're an adult, and you're responsible for your own mental wellbeing, just as he is responsible for his.

EarthSight Tue 06-Oct-20 21:34:13

He said that he didn't have the energy or capacity to be there for me, and that he wanted to do some things for himself (i.e. go on his laptop and watch TV

He seems to have no problems in clearly communicating his needs and putting them first. I suggest you get used to it. Not saying he's a bad person, but I think you are going to be in store for a lot of this as time goes by, and you might start feeling more and more resentful about it. Women are almost primed to look after others emotionally, even if we're tired or feeling and - it's almost expect of us, whereas men don't go through this as much and this is perfect example of it.

category12 Tue 06-Oct-20 22:26:45

I wouldn't want to lie down in the early evening - the chances of falling asleep, wasting the evening and then not being able to sleep through would put me right off. Couldn't you have asked to cuddle up on the sofa or something?

That said, it sounds like he could have been more supportive.

Is this unusual in him, or is he generally not very good when you're struggling emotionally or ill? I'd be considering my future if he's normally dismissive or emotionally illiterate.

WellQualifiedToRepresentTheLBC Tue 06-Oct-20 22:46:43

I don't fault him for not wanting to "deal with" someone else's emotions. Some people just don't "do" emotions. My sister is like this - absolutely won't sit and listen to anyone's feelings. I'm not, I'm always up in everyone's feelings, asking them how they are. Some folk find my way massively annoying and intrusive - other feel I'm very supportive and loving. It's horses for courses really.

With your DP, you know you can't change him, don't you? He's just like this. Either he doesn't "do" feelings, or, he specifically doesn't care much about yours. You can't convince him to be different, either way.

There's a small chance that he really doesn't know what you'd prefer while you're upset. I would try communicating with him a bit more clearly. That's a good first port of call. "DP, just wanted to let you know that when I am feeling down, I really appreciate you spending time with me. Even if it's just sitting together on the sofa and snuggling over a movie. Do you think we could do that next time I'm upset?" "DP, it really helps me to be able to tell someone how I'm feeling when I'm low. Is there a way I could rely on you to be that person? What can we do to make that possible?" Set out the problem and then try to have a discussion about solutions.

If he doesn't bite on that, then, well you have your answer don't you?

FWIW my DP described to me once how he had to tell an ex partner she needed to phone her mum if she needed to moan about work. He's not like that with me at all. I asked him about the difference and he said: "When you moan, you make sure to tell me you just want to say your feelings out loud and you always mention that I can just listen and cuddle you. With my ex, it was like she was angry with me for not being able to solve her problems for her. It was too stressful." Perhaps food for thought in your situation.

Reb4evaaa Tue 06-Oct-20 22:53:24

I don’t understand why he couldnt have come upstairs for a bit, hugged you and had a chat then done his own thing ?

LilyLongJohn Tue 06-Oct-20 22:54:07

He sounds like a jem op... if my friend or partner was down and wanted some comfort I'd be there in a shot. Ok he didn't want to lie down, but shouldn't we all do things to help people we love? Even if I didn't really fancy it I'd do it if I saw my dh was down. He sounds like a bit of a selfish arse if I'm honest

LilyWater Tue 06-Oct-20 23:13:19

Sounds like he is one of those low empathy personality types who don't prioritise anyone but themselves. You're not compatible. At the end of the day, it wouldn't actually matter if your expectations are too high or not because he's clearly not meeting your needs.

Get out now so you're not one of those women who come onto Mumsnet some years down the line, now married and with a child or two in tow, unfairly complaining about behaviour that's always been there. The time to leave is now, before you waste more precious years with him and before any potential future children have to suffer their family being ripped apart by something that you could have entirely avoided.

Do call the Samaritans - they're available round the clock for the many people who feel just like you (and not just for people who are feeling suicidal). All the best and hope you feel better soon. You may even find that your mood gradually gets better once you're not continually let down emotionally by a so called "partner" flowers

LilyWater Tue 06-Oct-20 23:17:33

The other thing to add, is that you should never be completely emotionally dependent on a guy.

If you have issues with low mood that are more than the one-offs most people have, you really should be seeking therapy and/or medication to help via GP or mental health charities. Boyfriends/husbands/family are there to emotionally support but they're not surrogate mental health professionals.

BewilderedDoughnut Tue 06-Oct-20 23:49:29

He said that he didn't have the energy or capacity to be there for me, and that he wanted to do some things for himself

I think this is perfectly reasonable of him. As adults, we have to have the ability to self-soothe and can’t rely on others to manage our low mental health days. He shouldn’t have to compromise his mental health to help you. If he didn’t feel able to help and needed time for himself that is reasonable.

Sohardtochooseausername Tue 06-Oct-20 23:54:00

If he never wants to hang out or comfort you that’s bad. If he is needing a bit of him time that’s not so bad. If you’re going through a bad patch maybe you need to look for some support outside your relationship?

gamerchick Wed 07-Oct-20 00:10:15

BewilderedDoughnut

*He said that he didn't have the energy or capacity to be there for me, and that he wanted to do some things for himself*

I think this is perfectly reasonable of him. As adults, we have to have the ability to self-soothe and can’t rely on others to manage our low mental health days. He shouldn’t have to compromise his mental health to help you. If he didn’t feel able to help and needed time for himself that is reasonable.

See if this was a one off then he's one thing. If this was a regular occurrence then he may not be the dick he's being portrayed to be.

AlexaShutUp Wed 07-Oct-20 00:17:04

See if this was a one off then he's one thing. If this was a regular occurrence then he may not be the dick he's being portrayed to be.

I agree. FWIW, I think the comment about not having the capacity or energy to support the OP suggests that this was not a one-off, but I might be wrong.

SandyY2K Wed 07-Oct-20 00:23:58

I'm wondering if you feeling like this happens quite a bit..or at least if it's happened a few times before.

Not everyone can deal with those kind of emotions and it puts a lot of pressure on them...like you want them to make your problems go away. I wouldn't like that tbh.

It also depends if anything specific happened or just a bad week in general.

It kind of seems unnatural to me asking for comfort in the way you did...these things happen naturally.

You had a bath and wanted a lie down...at 7.30 and expecting him to lie down with you at that time was unreasonable.

Aquamarine1029 Wed 07-Oct-20 00:26:58

Stay with him and this is your future. When the chips are down, he's out the door and down the hall. Whenever I have needed my husband's support, he is there for me 100%, without fail. I am the most important thing in his world, aside from our children, of course, and he will drop everything if I really need him. This is how a partnership/marriage is supposed to be. To add, these times have been very few and far between, I'm not a needy type, but I always know he's there for me, and I for him.

Asking him to sit with you for a while for a bit of support is a very small ask.

Aquamarine1029 Wed 07-Oct-20 00:31:15

He said that he didn't have the energy or capacity to be there for me, and that he wanted to do some things for himself

"I think this is perfectly reasonable of him. As adults, we have to have the ability to self-soothe and can’t rely on others to manage our low mental health days. He shouldn’t have to compromise his mental health to help you. If he didn’t feel able to help and needed time for himself that is reasonable."

So there is no consideration or compromise to be had at all? He couldn't have at least spent 15 minutes with her to give some comfort? How is spending a few minutes with her "compromising his mental health?" If this is the low expectation one has for a relationship, I find that very sad.

AlexaShutUp Wed 07-Oct-20 00:38:26

So there is no consideration or compromise to be had at all? He couldn't have at least spent 15 minutes with her to give some comfort? How is spending a few minutes with her "compromising his mental health?"

It isn't, if the OP is having a one-off bad week, but it's different if it's a regular occurrence. It can get very wearing.

I don't know, I might be reading it wrong but there are certain things in the OP which make me wonder if she is quite needy.

We don't have the full picture, so it's hard to judge.

AtrociousCircumstance Wed 07-Oct-20 00:40:08

He was ice fucking cold, behaved like he doesn’t give a shit about you.

His comment was patronising and harsh.

You weren’t asking for too much, he was offering you nothing. Well less than nothing - an absence of care spiked with lashings of indifference.

Not great partner material. Sorry OP. Everyone needs a cuddle now and again flowers

HeddaGarbled Wed 07-Oct-20 01:17:20

I think it depends on what “a really bad week” consisted of and how often you have them.

The going for a lie down at 7.30 and weeping over your Kindle does sound a bit drama queeny, but obviously not if you’ve had a bereavement or other major trauma.

Needtogetbackinthesack Wed 07-Oct-20 04:54:10

@Aquamarine1029 the situation you describe is exactly what I would expect of a relationship. If he can't even give her a hug for a few minutes and half an hour to chat - especially given that he had been out so had a bit of time to deal with his own stuff, she just wanted the same - then what's the bloody point of being in a relationship with someone? For everyone that said it became wearing, did they truly, deeply love that person? I can't imagine someone I love becoming wearing, but someone I'm not fussed by would annoy me by needing me. I find it really sad and a little soul destroying that the expectation of Lots of relationships these days is we 'have capacity' and once that's full we just ignore the other persons needs. I always say I don't have capacity to deal with this when I'm dealing with some annoying shit like the boiler breaking, not a loved ones feelings.

RaspberryToupee Wed 07-Oct-20 06:04:29

I think it’s reasonable that he still attended his prior commitments, unless it’s something like a bereavement of a very close family member. Asking him to lie down with you at 7.30 is quite dramatic to be honest. If my DH asked me to go for a walk with but I had prior commitments and couldn’t, then when I got home, they took themselves to bed at 7.30 asking me to join them, I’d say no. I think DH was being sulky about me having prior commitments.

Saying he doesn’t have capacity is fine. You say you’ve had a hard week and if he’s been helping you this week, he might not have capacity. It’s also fine to say if you feel like someone is trying to drag you in a black hole with them. If he doesn’t have the mental capacity, and many people don’t at the moment, he probably did a good thing by not comforting you. It’s very easy to end up spiralling in despair when both people are down. The other night I was feeling anxious and DH was feeling fed up, rather than both individually doing some exercise and getting some sleep, we spiralled with each other until 3am. This then makes the next day even worse. It’s easy to get stuck then.

I think there are a few scenarios here and whether he’s being unreasonable depends on how both you and him have acted previously.

1) he has generally been there for you previously and he’s supported you this week. He probably doesn’t have capacity to deal with you. He’s not unreasonable. He needs to take care of himself too.

2). As above but you do get the impression that he’s getting fed up with it. This might indicate that you want more emotional support from him than he can give. Or your MH problems have been going on longer or are worse than you think. You need to make sure you get outside help at this point.

3) He generally isn’t that supportive and doesn’t offer you any emotional support. This might be his personality, so the question is does he have enough other redeeming qualities to stay and can you get emotional support elsewhere. Taking into consideration that if this is a relationship that will be spanning decades you might face worse difficulties than you’re facing now.

4) He’s got no redeeming qualities and never emotionally supports you. He probably doesn’t give a shit about anyone other than himself so LTB.

MsDogLady Wed 07-Oct-20 06:06:10

Rosie, he should have reached out and connected with you for a little while. However, I must say that his cold behavior does not surprise me.

I commented on your thread from a few months ago when he lied and hid that he was meeting up with his former FWB. He knew that you were only comfortable with their interacting in a group, but he was secretly meeting up 1:1. He’d been telling white lies so you looked on his phone (understandable). When you confronted him, he totally shifted the blame to you and said you needed to grovel with a better apology when he was clearly in the wrong.

Rosie, your P is a selfish, manipulative jerk who devalues and dismisses your feelings. Why are you with this person who diminishes you?

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