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Was my DH bad and should I still be angry with him or am I just pathetically insecure?(18 Posts)
DH doesn't do anything really bad and hasn't really done anything really bad, but there is something wrong with our marriage. It is hard for me to work out what is wrong and how to fix it and I was wondering if any of you could read the following and give me any advice, or just tell me I'm being stupid.
I felt my first boyfriend 'saved' me from the effects of my family. I felt unloved and unloveable and scared. He loved me and was soft and caring. He made me feel it was possible to love me. He was like a replacement for my mother. 6 years later we split up as we weren't suited.
After some casual encounters with other men who weren't very kind or respectful to me, I met DH. He seemed to be everything I wanted and needed. I probably expected too much from him - expected him to be all that my family weren't, make everything ok and take all my insecurity and feelings of worthlessness away by loving me. I didn't really have good friends because ex bf wouldn't let me out of the house without him and couldn't see why I should need anyone else etc. So I felt completely reliant on DH and hung around with him and his friends for my social life.
DH had a best friend (male) who wanted most of DH's time. Before I came along they worked together, went to the shop together to buy their dinner, went back to DH's house, cooked and ate together then went to the pub together. Best friend continued to be demanding and DH didn't want to give up too much of their contact, so most times I was with DH, Best Friend was there as well and I was the one who felt like a gooseberry while they talked constantly about their work and ignored me. I felt I wasn't the most important person in DH's life like I had thought when best friend was there.
DH had a 'gang' from school days who we met up with some weekends. One of them was a stylish girl (nothing like me). When she was present, DH was all over her (not in a flirtatious way really, just really animated round her) and he ignored me. We went on a holiday with his gang and the whole time he didn't even seem to notice I was there except when he wanted sex. He hung around stylish girl. All the couples walked with each other and interacted with each other when we were on day trips but he wouldn't walk with me and hardly spoke to me. He hung around stylish girl. Again I felt like someone better was there so I was not the most important person in DH's life.
Back home things were ok until a new girl, bit of a man eater started working at DH's work and latched onto him immediately. She managed to get all DH's and DH's best friend's attention and get them doing everything for her. She nearly split up another man's marriage. (every man she had been with up to that point had been married to someone else) Again, DH was fixated on her and ignored me. She wanted DH's best friend and they got into a problematic relationship immediately. Maneater spent hours with my DH in corners whispering about her problems with Best Friend while they both ignored me and Best Friend. She became DH's new Best Friend and Best Friend felt as badly about it as I did. She was supposed to be with him, but when we were all together she and DH ignored us two and focussed on each other. Again I felt that I was ok for DH until someone better comes along and then DH would just dismiss and ignore me.
Also there was a regular 'joke' when we were all together where Maneater would ask DH if he was going to marry me and he would say "No, I'm keeping my options open" and they would all laugh. This hurt me every time but he said I couldn't take a joke.
We had some big arguments and DH lost his temper and shouted a lot and stormed out of the house and just wouldn't discuss it, any of it, without completely losing it. So I dropped it. I've tried a few times to talk about all of this and DH just loses it and is impossible to communicate with. DH hardly ever gets angry but talking about these times makes him shout and swear and call me horrible names. I can't stay in the room with him when he is like this.
I realised I needed to be less reliant on DH and his friends and found a new job in a big place with lots of people my age. Learning a better skilled job made me feel better about myself and making friends of my own made me feel better. Maneater got very funny with me when I started bringing my friends out with DH's gang as I was no longer part of her 'game' in which I was the inferior female whose DH she could steal all the attention from. I didn't care anymore because I had other people to give me attention. Maneater accused me of ignoring her.
We had a child, got married, had another child, I continued to make friends and feel better about myself and our relationship improved BUT I don't think I have ever really forgiven DH even though all this was years ago. I think I am still angry with him deep down and have created a distance in myself from him.
I feel this is linked in some way to my other recent post "Please help me stop being a slapper". When I used to commit little acts of infidelity years ago I did have a slight sense of revenge. I've continued to cheat. I'm wondering if I'm still doing it partly out of anger at DH as well as my other reasons (see other post). What I've done is much worse than what DH did so should make me feel I've had enough revenge, if it is revenge, but this hasn't stopped me. What I've done hasn't made me feel better about what he did anyway.
I keep thinking I should have left DH back when he did those things and not let him treat me as unimportant, but because I had very low self esteem and believed I was unimportant I put up with it. I'm cross with myself for this. I think if we had just met now and he treated me that way I wouldn't stay with him, I would have more belief that I could find someone better and could hang around with people who were more interested in me. But now I've married him and had two children and should stay and make it work. I feel a bit trapped. He hasn't done anything like this for years but could it happen again? If it did would I feel the same or was I just too insecure back then?
Is what he did that bad or was I simply being too insecure? What should I say to myself to make me forgive him and not continue to feel angry about it deep down?
It sounds like you had very low self esteem when you met and were prepared to accept the poor relationship that he offered as you felt that was all you were worth. I guess you were both quite young when you met? It sounds like his Best Friend and impressing the maneater were more important to him than treating you better, but I personally don't think what he did was that bad, he wasn't unfaithful or abusive was he?
How does he treat you now? That's what's important. It sounds like you've really grown in confidence and self-esteem, has he changed too?
I understand what you say about still being angry with him deep down and having created a distance from him. Perhaps you are also angry with yourself for letting him treat you badly in the past? Have you tried counselling to work through your anger and look at forgiving him and yourself and putting it behind you?
Thank you for your thoughts, I needed someone to pick out the important bits and put it succinctly .
We were 23 and 25 and quite immature for our ages I think. He had one regular girlfriend but it wasn't really a proper relationship, before me. I see what you are saying that he might have just been too inexperienced to be any good at having a relationship and maybe not quite ready to want the whole commitment. And you are right, I had been accepting 'whatever I could get' from boys. I feel by staying with him I accepted that I was unimportant and it was ok for people to treat me like that. This makes me angry because I don't want to be that person anymore and don't want DH to think I am that person.
He took a long time before he felt ready for children and marriage and asked me which one I wanted to do first . He is experienced and mature enough now to know how to behave in our marriage and there haven't been any huge issues since we had children and married. Should I think of us as having two separate relationships - the immature one for the first half of our time together, then the more important 'married and committed' one which is the one that counts and has been mostly good. Then maybe I wouldn't think our whole relationship was tainted.
I'll talk to Therapist about this as well as other things tomorrow!
Good idea to seperate the two parts of the relationship in order to move on. I'm pleased things are going well for you now.
DH and I were 22 when we first met and I also had quite low self esteem and allowed him to treat me disrespectfully sometimes (ie when he had a temper tantrum) and still do which is affecting our relationship. (I don't know if you've seen my Wedding Anniversary thread) so I'm glad someone's managed to make a go of things from similarly dodgy beginnings.
SecretSlapper, you say you are a married mum of two in a mostly happy relationship.
Why then are you obsessing about past "slights" and "stylish girls" and "maneaters" all conspiring against you with DH to take the "attention" away from yourself??
You sound monumentally immature and self-obsessed.
If it helps, by all means try to see your relationship with DH as being in two parts ie. 1) when he wasn't fully committed to you and 2) now he is.
But fgs, grow up.
I have read your other thread as well. I wonder if both you and your DH are in this situation because both of you are needy and insecure and feel that a relationship, any relationship, is better than being alone? (Actually if this is the case you are both sort of lucky to be together rather than each in separate relationship with the sort of real predators who lap up vulerable desperate people and do them major damage...).
Counselling for each of you, separately, might help you boost your self esteem to the point where you can look at each other like functional adults and either decide that you are each decent enough people to be acceptable to each other, or that you're actually not suited but have learned enough self-respect and respect for others to make your break up civilised and even friendly.
Hmm, but mrsfederer, she wasn't just saying that they were taking the attention away from her, she said that he virtually ignored her the whole time those women were there, in preference for spending time with them. She wasn't expecting to be the star of the show, just included and respected.
SS, I do feel for you, it's hard to let things go which affected you deeply. Rightly or wrongly, you looked for dh to be everything you needed and he couldn't live up to those expectations and so he "let you down" just as your family had done in the past. Fwiw I think it wasn't nice of him to be so negligent with you, men can be thoughtless and easily flattered (as can we)
BUT I do think you need to let it go. If he's been good for several years it cancels out his prior behaviour. He's learned you deserve more from him, and hopefully so have you. You'll never let that happen to you again, will you? So draw a line underneath that stage of yourself, forgive him for being selfish and forgive yourself for not caring enough about yourself. Don't bring it up again with him, leave that for your counsellor or MN.
Also realise that you can't expect any one human being to be everything you need, and good friends will give you infinitely more support and help both practically and emotionally than any one night stand.
well exmrsfed - thanks for your well thought out advice, i'm sure the op will take on board everything you say, now piss off and 'help' someone else!
I thought about it quite carefully jesuswhatnext.
Jamesandthegiantbanana gave similar advice but in a much nicer way.
IMO, it needed to be said and Secretslapper was asking for opinions.
It sounds to me like you really really need to let go of the past, just let it go, it is in the past now so there's not much point still holding a grudge is there? You certainly shouldn't still be angry, unless he still ignores you you need to forgive him just like you would want him to forgive your mistakes.
It does sound like you are obnsessing about the past too much, which is not actually going to change anything is it?
oh fgs, just read the bit that says her first boyfriend saved her from her family, she felt unloved, unwanted etc, the op sounds quite damaged, insecure and in need of councelling/empathy etc, not to be told to 'grow-up'.
secretslapper - you have my sympathy, it strikes me that just for once you would like to feel THE most important person to your dh, not an unreasonable request imo! tell him how you feel, he may have no idea about what you are feeling at the moment and just be assuming that you know you are his 'no 1' simply because you are married and have dcs together.
You don't sound immature and self obsessed at all to me so I don't know what thats all about.
Its a good idea to try and draw a line under the past and if he's a good dh now, and a good father then its a shame to let past hurts cloud your life together now.
Fwiw from reading your post it seems that the major problem is your low self esteem, you compared yourself to stylish girl, best friend, maneater and found yourself lacking, so you gave off those vibes, making yourself vulnerable to being manipulated. I'm sure you were just as stylish as the other girl, as your dh was with you, not her, but if you don't see it yourself others never will.
I'm similar in that whenever I meet new people I assume they won't like me, or think they are funnier, cleverer, prettier etc than me, but as I've got older I tend not to care so much about it anymore.
You need to learn to love yourself, that will give you the confidence you need to stop seeking approval from others.
Keep going with the counselling - it takes a while but it is worth it.
ss, have you thought about changing your mumsnet name as i think it sounds like you don't think much of yourself...and you really should as life will be more fun that way.
It's good you've got the therapist to talk to about these things. You've said the cheating/ revenge doesn't make you feel better. Then stop. Just don't do it anymore. And your thoughts about dh might just be ingrained and the first thing your mind turns to when you are upset. You can think about something else if you make an effort. Keep making an effort.
If you start behaving like a person you would respect yourself, you'll become happier. And I'm sure if dh isn't the man for you it'll come out in the wash, but for now you need to shape up yourself - I'm sure you can do it!!
Thank you, all of you, the 'harsh' ones as well. I do feel clearer about it! I resolve to let it go and accept that we both behaved immaturely a long time ago, concentrate on what we expect from each other now and stop messing around with other men because it doesn't make me feel better long term and by doing it I am disrespecting myself, them, DH and DCs. I will remember these sort of men don't want me, just my body, so how can that make me feel more important. I will try to respect myself by "behaving like a person I would respect" as Mitfordsisters said and try not to look for approval from other people so much. I will not let it happen again (him ignoring me that much) because I expect higher standards of treatment now, and will also have higher standards for how I treat other people.
Good for you SS.
I was harsh earlier and I apologise.
Yep, namechange required, I think.
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