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Feel very lonely and as if I have seen the last of dh's love

(28 Posts)
arabella2 Sun 30-Jan-05 23:07:50

Hi
We have two children - one who is 3 years and 2 months (ds) and one who is 10 months (dd) old. We have always had a very up and down relationship but recently I feel as if there are a lot more downs and I am finding it hard to bear. We had an argument this weekend about dh buying a booster seat for ds without consulting me and as usual after such outbursts (I think I did overreact though I also think I was legitimately annoyed) we sulked at each other all day yesterday and today. Dh goes away to work 3 days a week and will leave tomorrow early.

I usually put dd to sleep (she breastfeeds to sleep) and dh usually puts ds to sleep by lying (sp?) next to him, though I come and join them if ds has not fallen asleep yet, or sometimes I will do ds all by myself if dd is already asleep when we go up or if dd is particularly lively and staying downstairs with dh because ds is more tired (don't blame you if you haven't followed any of that). Anyway, what I was trying to say is that dh and I rarely share a bed because I end up sleeping with dd who wakes up a lot in the night, and he will sometimes sleep in his room or a lot with ds. Before dd was born I used to spend half the night with dh in his bed and the other half with ds after he woke up (he used to wake up once every night and call). I feel resentful that dh does not make any time for us together or very little, but I suppose what I am really more resentful of is how little he loves and cares for me compared to the kids. I know, because I am a parent as well, how different the love you have for your kids is, but I feel completely shut out of dh's feelings. He is constantly telling them how wonderful and beautiful they are (which I am glad that he does don't get me wrong), and if we are talking to each other (ie. not sulking), constantly telling me. I agree, they are lovely children, I just feel jealous that he never says anything of the sort to me. He is very touchy feely with them but not to me. I don't know what I have to do to "earn" his love. Be more attractive (get rid of my grey patch and tone up), laugh a lot more, what??? I just feel dreadfully lonely at times like these because aside from my neighbour across the street, there is nobody I can really talk to about these things and even to her I don't want to say too much because in the end I think she will start to feel she is my shoulder to cry on and will lose feelings of equality and friendship to me and start to feel superior. It's totally ridiculous to feel as if both your children have in a way "stolen" your partner's affection isn't it??? This is compounded by little comments dh will make. Eg. once when we were out walking I asked him what hairstyle he thought would suit me - he said I looked neat with my hair pulled back off my face. I said I didn't want to look neat I wanted to look stunning - he replied that I wasn't dd. Another time more recently people were joking around about us having a third child (don't think so somehow!!!) and dh being back at "work". He must have got embarrassed because he said that anyway he shared a bed with ds who was (and I quote) much cuddlier. I feel terribly hurt by these things. I really need love and support, especially now when the job of looking after two little ones is so hard. Ds does not want to go to nursery at the moment, dd wakes up at night, I have very little time to myself and should really be in bed now... My parents come and stay in their flat nearby about every 6 weeks (they live abroad) and we do also see MIL but she is away at the moment. I think I have done my fair share of things to damage my relationship with dh but even when we are getting on well, I still feel terribly cut off from him. This business of him sleeping with ds and not making any time for me (only very occasionally if I stay up very late and ds happens to be in his own bed or something like that then we will lie together for a bit) has been very hard for me. Also because I miss ds as well whom I was very close to (and still am but it's different, dh does loads more for him that he used to) before the birth of dd. Once he was talking to ds and referred to where they sleep as "their" bed. I suppose you could argue that dh feels that I share dd's bed but that is not how I view it. I lie next to her because she still drinks milk at night. Not that I would never do it if this weren't the case but I would be much more inclined to share a bed with dh and let the kids come to our bed if they wanted to (obviously dd is too small). Initially I moved out of dh's bed with ds when he was tiny because dh snored but this has now snowballed to a point where I feel very little is left of my relationship with dh. He says the nicest nicest things to the kids and very little to me. I know kids need a lot of boosting (and I am nice to them too ) but surely partners in couples do as well?? A long time ago dh told me that I had had my "turn" (ie. duing the honeymoon period of our relationship).

I also feel that dh is very competitive of me. If I am having a cuddle with ds especially he is always kind of butting in saying he wants to cuddle him as well. It's too much.

I really have to change my ideas and ways of thinking but I am totally stuck in a rut. Trapped by this so called attachment parenting which means I can never go out in the evening because dd feeds in the night...

We have never really told each other we love each other but we both often tell the kids (well especially ds who understands) that we love them. What is wrong with us?

We get on much better when there are other people around, but the thing of it is, I get the feeling that even if we were getting on better all the time, it's as if dh is only biding time with me and the person he really admires, respects and loves is ds. I can never be (and I say this in all seriousness as I too think ds is lovely, very kind and sweet and also beautiful) as perfect as ds.

I have been buying loads of things from the TV shopping channel to cheer myself up but this is not what is going to make me happy, I would rather see my way through a depression than carry on doing stupid things like that which cheer you up for about 2.2 seconds.

Please help me see that there can be a new way of being and thinking which will help restore and also improve my relationship with dh.

Gwenick Sun 30-Jan-05 23:11:35

This may sound a bit daft - but have you told your DH how you actually feel (ideally at a time when you're both calm - not in the midst of an argument as I'm prone to do).

He may not realise that you're feeling that way. Perhaps you need to set some time aside each week (even if it's only for 1hr after the kids are in bed) for 'you' time - even if you just sit and watch the news together!

arabella2 Sun 30-Jan-05 23:13:09

Forgot to add that in our arguments of late dh has been calling me names in a way that he never used to. I think this stems from a kind of inarticulacy and wanting to show how annoyed he is. He has had a hard time this last year - one of his retail outlets folded and money is tight at the moment, also he has to go away 3 days a week which he hates because of not seeing, you guessed it, the kids. My attitude to money is one of the things which gets him but I feel so not autonomous at the moment, buying the odd thing now and then makes the greyness go away.

arabella2 Sun 30-Jan-05 23:14:48

Hi Gwenick, I have told him about the sleeping together occasionally thing and I think he kind of did take it on board, but because of our severely "attached" kids it makes little practical difference. I haven't really told him any of the other stuff which I should but don't really know when to do it.

Caligula Sun 30-Jan-05 23:17:19

Arabella, so sorry you feel like this, it is horribly lonely to be in a loveless relationship. It sounds like you have both focussed on your love for the children because you are unsure of your love for each other. I think the first thing to establish is whether you do actually (still?) love each other. And if you do, how to regain the expression and enjoyment of it.

This lack of sharing beds, comfort, cuddles, warmth and sex is very bad - it's one of the primary expressions of love and it sounds like you have both cut yourself off from it without really meaning to.

Do you communicate with each other? Have you actually told your DH that you feel like this? Maybe he's feeling this too, but thinking that you don't care because he can never be as perfect as DS/ DD?

Gwenick Sun 30-Jan-05 23:21:48

You're right - you really do have to tell him about the other stuff. It could be, giving the extra info just given, that he's feeling really stressed re the money issue and hasn't been wanting you to worry about it? I know my DH finds it much harder to discuss financial matters than I do - I'd tell the world if I felt like it - whereas he would rather keep quiet - which of course can mean that stress builds up.

I know this will feel like your 'playing' to him, but any chance of getting his favourite food/beer in with the kids out of the way of course - and making 'him' feel special (we had a problem quite like yours for sometime and I discovered after we FINALLY talked about it that HE was feeling pretty similar - and the 'favourite food/drink' thing made him realise I still knew HE existed!). And then talk about it then - you don't want to leave it too long or things will only get worse.

tammybear Sun 30-Jan-05 23:24:38

hi arabella, just to echo what the others have said. you two really need to sit down and talk. maybe he thinks the same way, and thinks you're not paying him enough attention. at times, we can be stubborn and think why should it all be me, but someone has to make the first step. when the children are asleep, this should be your time together, and you can use this time to talk about things.

Heathcliffscathy Sun 30-Jan-05 23:28:45

you articulate what you are feeling so clearly arabella...it seems like you should or could be able to explain that to your dh?

how can our children mean more to us then our partners? i just feel this is such a difficult area but have to come down and say: we love our partners, and our children are the fruits of that love, surely? if children become a way of avoiding our partners ...that is just an awful situation, which i think you articulate so well.

can you try to talk to him? if he can't listen to how you (justifiably) feel about this...there is something seriously wrong imo...

thinking of you
x

Gwenick Sun 30-Jan-05 23:29:22

oh yes - and just to echo some of what Tammybear said - what ever you do DON'T sit down and say "I think YOU are doing x,y, and z" - try and find a 'neutral' way of explaing things to him or he may just end up on the defensive thinking you're blaming it all on him (which 'could' be the case but equally it could be both of you).

Branster Sun 30-Jan-05 23:39:51

So sorry to hear you're feeling so low and rejected by DH arabella2.
You'll have to excuse my 'no frills' approach here, it's just the way I write, as others will have noticed by now.

First of all, stop buying crap from TV channels! Does DH know you're doing this? What's the point? I am hoping you're spending money you have and not using your credit card, otherwise you're add the money issue to your relationship problems. If it's available money, you're better off sepnding it on a gym membership, a hairdresser, a beauty treatment or a clothes shopping trip at a department store with the in-store atylist (free advice and worths it).

Second of all, you really need to sort out the sleep patterns of your children. You need good sleep in oredr to be able to look after them in good spirit and health. IMO, dd (10 months old now) does not need breastfeeding (or any other kind of feeding) during night time. You'll have to come up with a solution for her to go to sleep on her own and not wake up during nighttime. Are you using dd's waking as an excuse so you stay away from DH? It could be a subconscious decidion but it could eb true. Think about it and see what the answer is.
It's wonderful DH takes such an interest in your children but it's absolutely awful that he puts them above you. You and him are top dogs in the household, not him and the children. hence, you need to find some way of establishing your authority and you will gain more respect from DH and the kids as they grow older.
The worst thing a couple can do to their relationship is to sleep sepparately on a regualr basis. It's a fact. therefore, you ypurself must come up with a solution and a programme for sleeping time for both dd (so you can get free time) and ds(to sleep in his own bed. I assume ds has a bed of his own).
You must (and it's just as tough as it sounds, but that's the way it is) make an effort about your appearance IF you feel it needs addressing. Just spend an extra 5-10 minutes in the morning on yurself and 5min before DH gets home and a bit more before going to bed.
You say you're not likely to want a third child. What about contraception? In the back of your mind, this must be an issue I should think. Breastfeedng alone does not provide a secure contraceptive method. Are you a bit worried of being intimate with DH for fear of getting pregnant again?
I don't know what he must feel for you but it looks to me like you are both avoiding each other, even if the decisions you make do not seem to have a clear reason behind them, the fact remains that you and him spend too much time around the kids and they may be some sort of excuse that you don't face each other.
So all in all, it's up to you at the moment to get the kids out of the way in the evenings, look pretty and pick up the courage to talk to DH properly. Ah, and stop spending money unnecessarily!

Besides, now being well past 11PM, you should be in bed resting so you can look lovely in the morning!

Branster Sun 30-Jan-05 23:47:46

hmmm...i must have scared you away

pussnboots Mon 31-Jan-05 00:03:52

good posting branster. my dh has always made the point that, much as we love ds and dd, our priority should be each other. i have sometimes/often disputed this and it has caused some major rows. i used to fall asleep on ds's bed because he 'needed' me. dh resented me not spending evenings with him and i am still not always sure whose needs i should put first. what do other mners think?

mears Mon 31-Jan-05 00:06:02

I have 4 children and never spent a night in their beds. Your 3 year old should be able to go to sleep without having DH lie beside him. You DD if needing a feed should be safe enough in bed with both of you. I think you need to make a concerted effort to get back together at bed times. It means sleep training for your children but as Branstar says, you need to be sure you are not subconsciously using your children as a way of avoiding each other. Do you have relatives who could look after the children while you have a night or two away together? My Dh and I did that when DS3 was 8 months old. I expressed while I was away and left a stock of EBM for him while I was away. He fed fine when we got back. You mustn't put your children's needs totally in front of your own. You can have children and still share a bed together uninterrupted. Talk to him - perhaps he is as upset as you. Print the thread off and show it to him even.

Gwenick Mon 31-Jan-05 00:08:45

That's a good idea mears - printing off the thread. someone commented that she articulated well what she wanted to say. I'm quite good (most of the time) at putting my feelings on 'paper' but when it comes to 'saying' then with spoken words I'd a dead loss.

Gwenick Mon 31-Jan-05 00:12:16

just re-read my last message - I don't mean that you're a deadloss at expressing yourself with spoken words Arabella - just that some people finder it harder to express themselves verablly

Branster Mon 31-Jan-05 00:18:04

also, another point worths considering: how independent do you feel you are? I understand you loomk after the kids most of the time and have a lot to deal withs especially as DH is away , so I am not questioning, in any way, your abilities. I am only reffering to your attitude when DH is around (or not, as you can probably still feel influenced by him when he's not with you).
the fact that you asked him about a haircut, does it mean that you want him to aprove of it or are you mearily trying to include him in some form of decision making? I dare guess is the former. In which case, you need to start daring abit as reagrds yourself to start with. Just surprise him! He might not even notice you have a new haircut (or clothes etc) or he might complain (as some men do) that you're wasting money, but it's worths the risk. After all, you are perfectly entitled to have any haircut you please. And it's the same with aything else. See what you want or what needs doing, think about it very carefully and make a decidion then stick by it with the knowledge that you put thought into it beforehand. Of course, decisions affecting your family life must be joint. But otherwise...If you feel DH is not respecting you enough anymore, give him reasons to respect you.
maybe it's convenient for him to rely on the kids' affection because it'sunconditional and always present. Perhaps your attitude to him has changed slightly and it's perfectly understandable when you have so much to look after. Show him you still care about him. If none of this works, something's wrong.

Gwenick Mon 31-Jan-05 00:20:42

"If none of this works, something's wrong."

I think that's a little harsh - until she actually talks to him about it we don't know how HE feels - he could be feeling left out too and to just assume that things are wrong if arrabella makes all the changes suggested and it doesn't improve things then something's wrong is a bit harsh in my opinion.

Branster Mon 31-Jan-05 00:31:38

i was reffering to all that's been suggested here, the most important and revealing step being a discussion. i can't actually think at other solutions, although I'm sure thare are many but that's an awful lot to think about and do as it is.
something's wrong could be anything . it doesn't have to be something scary, but just being distanced from someone is something wrong, isn't it? after all, something is not right here if it prompted a request for suggestions.
and i don't mean to be harsh, sorry if i was, but i preffer to lay it out in a more factual than emotional manner that's all.

ghosty Mon 31-Jan-05 07:25:45

I think Branster's post is brilliant ... and I hope arabella can find some help from it ... really useful advice.
I too have felt jealous in the past for the affection DH shows our children over me ... it hurts that he used to shower that affection on me pre-kids and now doesn't so much. But then I have to remember that I put him through a terrible first year after DS was born when I had PND and basically I wasn't the person he married. It is impossible to carry on with the honeymoon thing when you have children .... your life changes completely. BUT, if you can't put eachother first, you HAVE to make time for eachother ... This is why I agree with Branster's comments about the attachment parenting .... it works for some people if both partners are happy with it but I think if it is driving a wedge into your relationship you need to rethink it.
We have never had our children sleep with us (apart form when we are away from home or if they are ill .... and then more often than not we camp out on the floor in their bedrooms) for exactly that reason .... I don't even like DS to sleep with me if DH is away as it is DH's place.
Anyway, I hope you find a way through this arabella
I am thinking of you
xxx

kolakube Mon 31-Jan-05 09:05:03

Talk to him! It is incredibly difficult to make the first move sometimes but I found that thinking back to the good times (sorry to sound cheesy) was motivation for me to swallow my pride and hurt and talk about my concerns. Agreed, don't do the whole "you do this, you don't do that" thing. Any of us would go on the defensive if we were attacked. For fear of sounding like a woman's magazine, stick to saying what you feel and pick your moment carefully. If he's tired/hungry/busy/tetchy you're unlikely to get a positive response.
This is the man you loved enough to marry and have a family with - I'm sure it's all still there for both of you and just needs to be found, dusted off and put back into active service. Good Luck x

arabella2 Mon 31-Jan-05 10:35:09

You didn't scare me away Branster - you told me to go to bed so I did! I didn't want his approval re. the haircut, I just wanted him to tell me when I look nice but it backfired somewhat! Contraception is a good point as well though I hadn't thought of it like that - I once asked him what we should do about it but I think he refused to discuss it, so really the only thing I can do is follow my cycle as I do not want to take the pill (my mother has breast cancer). We do have the occasional "bonk" (then I get annoyed that he will do that but rarely gives me a hug during the day) and sometimes at dangerous times (though he doesn't know), then I spend the next day sweating thinking of all the reasons I don't want to be pregnant again - first and second being morning sickness and giving birth (though the idea of a third child is a nice one). So yes sleeping apart does in some way circumvent all of that. We spoke on the phone this morning and as usual when something happens to change the mood (ie. like him going away) we are talking again. I also told him I was sorry, because though I was annoyed about the car seat I think I went on about it a bit. There are loads of issues between us though which I am sure will flare up again and again unless I deal with them somehow, one of them being the jealousy.
Ds only started sleeping much better at night when he stopped breastfeeding - I am not ready to stop breastfeeding dd (anyway she is only 10 months) so don't know quite how to stop feeding her at night. Though it may be that she catches on quite quickly to the idea as she is quicker than ds was about lots of things (presumably also because she has him around to watch).
Dh does kind of know I am spending money unnecessarily, it's not on credit (though I sometimes go into my overdraft allowance) but still. I think more than anything I want to go back to being my own person as I think I am a bit codependent as regards dh. Is it possibly to carve out your own identity and activities (including study and work) when one is so deeply enmeshed with partner and children? When I have sorted out some other issues re. myself, the sleeping, and how lonely I am, then I think I will be ready to talk to him about sleeping arrangements etc... at the moment I am not on strong enough ground emotionally or mentally. Thank you for all your messages which I am going to read again .

Gwenick Mon 31-Jan-05 11:28:03

Branster - sorry went to bed after you'd responded to my 'harsh' comments

You said "i was reffering to all that's been suggested here, the most important and revealing step being a discussion. "

I thought you were only talking about the things in that particular post that you'd written - my apologies

kolakube Mon 31-Jan-05 12:38:12

Ofcourse you can carve out your own identity and activities. Your identity - you've got to figure out who you were, who you are and who you want to be. Then, once you've figured out the difference between who you are and who you want to be, you can see more clearly how to get there.
It may involve studying for a new qualification to get a new job or just for your own interest. I don't know how you deal with childcare, but the Open University may be worth looking into if going out to college is not an option. Studying will have the beautiful knock on effect of allowing you to meet new people, using your brain differently, socialising after class and a separate interest for you only that gives you something other than children to talk about with DH. You'll start relating to each other in a way other than DS and DD's Mum and Dad.
If not studying, exercise classes, dance classes, voluntary work etc etc will all put you in touch with new friends and get rid of your loneliness. It should give you a new perspective on life and will hopefully restore your self-esteem if you've lost it.

Branster Mon 31-Jan-05 14:54:03

it's not easy arabella2 but at least you know what yopu need to sort out about yourself.
as regards breasfeeding dd, i'm not saying you should stop it (I breastfed dd until she was 1 and lots of mothers choose to do it for longer than that) but i don't see any real benefits to you or dd by doing it at nighttimes as it interrupts both yours and dd's sleep. besides, at this age, she probably doesn't need feeding of any kind in the middle of the night. perhaps if you contact your health visitor and ask for her advice on dd's night time feeds, she might be able to guide you in the right direction. i do not want to give you advice on this particular matter because i'm not qualified for it (other than being a mum myself) and circumstances vary for each child and mother. but you'll feel so much better once you have established a clear sleep pattern. and if you intervene in addressing this (BUT ONLY IF it bothers you, not because I happen to say so) you can help dd make up her mind. i know children know what they like and what is good for you, but you have a life of your own and they need to fit in with your needs more than the other way around. after all, if you're not content, happy, well rested and healthy, it just makes looking after children a lot harder and only you suffer in the end from exhaustion etc.
as for the studying aspect, yes this is an option but only if you actually want to study soemthing new, not just for the sake of it to say that you're studying and how great it makes you feel. just do something you enjoy for yourself and it could be as simple as sawing (if you like taht activity), anything really.
i won't re-read because i might delete it all and have to go now.
take care
xxx

mears Mon 31-Jan-05 15:01:15

arabella2 - definately get contraception sorted out - there are more options than the pill. You need to feel 'safe' from pregnancy if you are going to establish a health physical relationship with your DH.

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