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dh has decided he is "bored" with our little family - help please..

(66 Posts)
sickofthisrain Tue 16-Sep-08 14:11:13

I feel like I've got myself in such a mess. Basically DH has always been one of those very "male" types, a high achiever, doesn't really show emotions type. I've always been a secure, fairly independent person and for 10 years it's worked fine. Now we have 2 DS', aged just 3 and 1, and over the last year it's emerged that DS1 has some mild special needs which have absorbed me physically and emotionally for the past few months. DS2 is gorgeous but a demanding baby.

We moved hundreds of miles (now 6 hours from my family) when DS1 was tiny, for DH's dream job, he then found a new dream job which means he is away from home 3 nights per week near where we used to live. It was supposed to be a temporary thing but now seems to be permanent. When he does come home he is constantly emailing or on work phone calls, even at the weekends. He works virtually every evening too, and has taken only 2 weeks of leave all year so far. It's as if he feels himself too important to help with household bits, and he's too exhausted from the work to play properly with the children.

I've now reached the stage where although I can cope alone with the ds', it's bloody hard work and I don't want to have to. I've broached it with DH and he just says his work makes him happy, and at one point, "it would be much easier if I were single," which supposedly was intended as a joke.

He is now making lots of little comments such as "it'll be fine, whatever happens" and if I mention any future event, he'll say, again in a supposed joking way, "if we're still together then" I've never felt insecure in our relationship before, but this, combined with my anxiety over DS1 is making me so miserable. I can't get him to talk about it further, he just says he doesn't know how he feels, or hasn't had chance to think about it. He did say the other night that he felt that we had become stale and "bored" with each other, and he felt our family life was "mundane". The thing is, I can't think that we see each other enough to be bored with one another, and there is no avoiding the demands of 2 such young children..

I really don't know what to do. I think we could make it work, as we do get on so well normally, but only if he is willing to try. I feel too vulnerable to cope without him, as his limited input at this stage is better than none but can't stay in this state of limbo. I feel physically sick, teary and shaky today. Can anyone help?

stillstanding Tue 16-Sep-08 14:19:18

Oh sickofthisrain I am so sad for you. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job holding it together and think your DH is behaving very poorly indeed. Those comments of his are despicable and undermining and very destructive. I think you need to sit him down and have a really good talk with him about what it is he wants from his life and family and what it is you want and how you are going to make it work together. Would it be possible to go away together for a bit just to have a break/reconnect?

Im afraid I dont have any better ideas but just didnt want your thread to go unanswered.

MissisBoot Tue 16-Sep-08 14:20:02

I'm not surprised you feel teary today - I think it can be difficult to accept the daily grind of family life as it is for both parents. About 9 months ago I felt like 'Is this it?' in regard to family life/relationships and I decided to look for a job that would offer me some fulfillment - I felt that I was just cook/cleaner at home and I wanted more 'status' than that.

It sounds as if you have made lots of allowances for him and his job and none for you? What do you want to do? Do you want to work? Move nearer to family?

If he 'doesn't know how he feels' I'd suggest that he is having doubts about something. Is he under lots of stress at work?

beeny Tue 16-Sep-08 14:21:10

I am so sorry do not know what to say.Someone wiser will come along

MissisBoot Tue 16-Sep-08 14:22:46

Have just re-read that his new dream job is near to where you moved from - would moving back make a difference?

OneLieIn Tue 16-Sep-08 14:23:58

Sorry to hear sickofthisrain, I don't really know what to say. It sounds like you are having a tough time. Do you and DH ever get any time alone? Would that be possible? So you could really talk?

unavailable Tue 16-Sep-08 14:28:15

Your H is behaving like a cruel selfish bully. Has he had everything on his terms and arranged for his convenience throughout your relationship or is this behaviour relatively new?

sickofthisrain Tue 16-Sep-08 14:31:55

thanks all of you, I know he's stressed at work, and hopes some of it will ease soon, I think it's showing itself in the way he's treating his family at the moment. He is usually a good, kind man and feels he wants to provide for us all, we have a lovely home and he bought me a brand new car earlier this year. I've offered to happily move to a smaller house and sell my car if it will make home life better by freeing his time from work.

But now the constant work seems to have become a routine, it's almost as if he's turned into a workaholic.

I'd love to go back to work myself but the ages of the children, plus the numerous appointments we have for DS1 make it a bit difficult at the moment. it will ease next year when DS2 goes to preschool and DS1 starts school. I've lost all self confidence even though I used to have a demanding job myself. And I would love to be nearer my family but have accepted that's impractical at the moment in terms of DH's job.

I think what really scares me is that DH is missing out on some of the most important years of the DC's lives. And they are gorgeous children who deserve the best father possible. My massive fear is that he'll realise this in a few years and go off and have a second family with someone else while I'm left to bring up the boys on my own..

choosyfloosy Tue 16-Sep-08 14:31:58

F'ing heck. No wonder you feel insecure.

I think you need to move back where you were before - not easy at the mo of course.

I think you need two weeks in the sun, with your dh (and no Blackberry or similar).

I think you could try posting a new thread describing the situation from his point of view (I'm trying to be fair to him though, TBH I think your original post is pretty fair to him already).

t sounds as if he is simply not accepting the reality of the fact that he is a father of two children who need him, and that will be the case for the rest of his life. Is his job not ever 'mundane'?

angry on your behalf. Other things I could say but I don't want to judge someone I've never met any further.

Countingthegreyhairs Tue 16-Sep-08 14:37:55

Oh you poor thing Sickofthisrain - sorry you are feeling so low

I think your dh is being really unfair - they are his children too

- my dh has a very full-on job with mad hours and travels but still manages to do regular bits of housework and childcare around it - it's down to attitude of mind - what is your dh's excuse???

He can't say family life is "mundane" without taking some responsibility for that ... it IS mundane having to look after small demanding children, unaided, day after day ....

Also, it's terribly unfair (passive/agressive) to make comments such as "if we are still together then" without discussing your relationship openly and honestly .... that's bordering on being manipulative and controlling I think

I'm no expert in these things but - understandably in the circumstances - you sound very dependant on his view of the marriage and on his happiness and that makes you very vulnerable ...

Instead of being "at the mercy" (for want of a better expression) of his reactions .. why don't you be pro-active and take some time out with your little uns .. how about heading back to your family for a couple of weeks ... leave him to cope alone for a while and see how he likes it ...??

Don't give him lots of notice, just tell him in a dignified tone that you are unhappy with the state of things as they are, and when he is able to contribute to family life, to please get in touch .....

That will give him the message that you aren't dependent on him for your own happiness (however vulnerable you feel inside right now) and it should shock him in to sorting out his priorities ...

Bristling with outrage on your behalf ..

Courage!!!

sickofthisrain Tue 16-Sep-08 14:38:16

and yes, unavailable, he's always been a touch on the selfish side, it's apparently a family trait. Nice. It wasn't so much of a problem before we had children.

Although he cares about us all, and would always drop everything if we needed him, he will usually put his own needs first, in trivial ways like he'll decide that right in the middle of some chaos with the ds' he absolutely has to go and make a call/use the loo/pop out and post something mega urgent etc etc. He'll happily look after the ds' if I've arranged to have my hair cut, or similar, but won't ever suggest doing so to give me a break.

sickofthisrain Tue 16-Sep-08 14:42:38

I think I'm going to give him a call now and ask him to take off a week of holiday so that we can have some family time. 2 weeks can't be enough for anyone in a year, and after the crappy summer holidays, my energy reserves are just really low.

Does anyone think Relate might be a good idea? He is dead against it, personal pride etc but I come from a family where nobody has ever got divorced (but probably should have, in some cases), he is one of five siblings where three others plus his parents are divorced. I sometimes wonder if it makes him see marriage a bit differently from me.

MissisBoot Tue 16-Sep-08 14:43:34

Is there anything you can do to start feeling like you have some ownership over your life - I used to feel like it was me doing everything for everyone else - could you start doing a class/yoga/painting anything that would boost your self esteem?

castlesintheair Tue 16-Sep-08 14:44:52

I think the 3 nights your DH spends away are not doing your relationship any good. Can you not move back to where you used to live? Especially if you are now 6 hours away from your family.

You need to be direct with him and ask him exactly what he means by all of his little comments which are understandably making you paranoid. He has to be fair to you whatever his intentions. Tell him this.

I sympathise with you as my DH works extremely long hours 7 days a week (at the moment) and I also have a DS with SN but at least my DH comes home every night, even if I'm usually asleep.

The saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is utter bollocks imo.

MissisBoot Tue 16-Sep-08 14:47:16

I'd definitely recommend counselling - either togetehr or seperately - if his parents are divorced he will have a different view of marrriage.

Relate prob have a huge waiting list but there are lots of good private counsellors who will specialise in relationships.

How much involvement did his father have in his childhood/family life?

sickofthisrain Tue 16-Sep-08 14:47:29

I have a couple of book things I go to, plus aerobics but with DH working away, it's the lack of babysitters not options which is the problem. Have made lots of friends down here so get invites to things which I just can't take up. MIL does babysit for me but it's not something I feel I can ask for from her more than once a week or so. Friends all have young children and often DP's who work away too so we're not in a position to do a babysitting circle thing yet. Neighbours all elderly and would get themselves in a tizz if asked!

choosyfloosy Tue 16-Sep-08 14:48:10

I think Relate sounds good - could help - but it does sound like another chore for you. I think Counting and Missis are on the button - you need some control and also some fun. If he will look after the kids for planned activities that's good - start planning some activities. At least some time away from him and with other people will give you some R&R and some perspective. Try laughing at him a lot more too - really, how can any adult expect anything but ridicule if they say 'if we're still together then' like some adolescent manipulative teenage girl!

choosyfloosy Tue 16-Sep-08 14:48:38

sorry xposted.

sickofthisrain Tue 16-Sep-08 15:01:19

sorry, x posted, I should have said, dh's parents were both divorced before they met one another, they'd had children in previous marriages, and then more together. It's a complicated set up but DH had a very secure childhood, unlike the other kids involved.

And yes, castles, I am becoming paranoid, and that is so not me. I'm now wondering what he means by the little comments, and even exactly what he's doing sending emails at 10.30 on a Sunday night. Even though I'm as certain as I can be he's not being unfaithful I know of so many situations where the wife has been the last to know. I really don't think its his style though, plus I'd wonder how he found the time..

And re moving back, it is a consideration - it was generally a nice area but had its downsides - (very busy, very expensive to live, dangerous areas, poor state schools) and where we are is definitely a better place to bring up the ds' - safe, friendly area, gorgeous countryside, excellent schools etc). Plus we have all sorts in place for DS1 and I'm not sure we'd have the same help for him in our old area. If it weren't for his needs, I'd move back tomorrow but my priorities have to be helping him now.

I really don't think DH realises how much ds1's issues have changed me - realising something isn't quite right with your child's development is the worst feeling I have ever had, and it almost sent me into depression particularly as it coincided with DS1's arrival.

I went to see a counsellor but was discharged after one appointment, I'm generally a positive, happy person and she didn't feel i needed the counselling sessions. Will suggest it to DH though. Can't believe it has come to this.

Alexa808 Tue 16-Sep-08 15:08:41

Very sorry to read of what you are going through. I could make all sorts of comments about your DH but let's look at your relationship first. Do you spend time together, just the 2 of you? You've been together a long time before having kids: how was the relationship before the dc came along? Does your DH make negative remarks about your clothes, figure, etc? Is he sarcastic towards you?

If he is a high achiever, etc. Could you 'invest' the money in outsourcing all cleaning, ironing, etc?

Something about what you write rings alarm bells. One of my friends' H was 'slipping away' like this from her. She kept focusing on the kids and ignoring the deafening rings. He left her for someone else. I don't mean to worry you, but please get to the bottom of this!

Could you not let the kids stay with family for a long WE or week and you & H do a naughty couple WE or a short holiday. Away from being Mum & Dad you're still Mr & Mrs X who fell in love way before they came.

ljhooray Tue 16-Sep-08 15:11:09

Just to back up whats already been said, me and dh went through a little rough patch about 6 months ago,although interestingly opposite problem, not working and also not connecting with the family!

Relate were great (even if you want to have a chat on your own) but if you feel this is not a route you can go down, here's some of the advice they gave us:

Time spent together is vital and cannot be underestimated, it should also be time were you have fun as a couple, not just discussing day to day family issues.

Understanding the need for you both to have some down time (I know it's incredibly frustrating that you have to book the time in, but believe me you are with the majority of us ladies, certainly only a few of my friends are lucky enough not to have to ask although since relate, dh is very good at this).

Sharing the roles - being the breadwinner does actually places a lot of unsaid stress. I am in no way absolving him of his selfishness, but in my house I am the breadwinner and I believed I needed to sustain a certain level of income, etc to keep everything happy. Having this assumption challenged and deciding together what was important was a real eyeopener. I enjoy work and it sounds like he does too, but it looks like he's given it priority over whats franly much more important.

I agree with others here, a good support network and extra help is key and if that means discussing a house move then so be it. It doesn;t mean he loses and you win, it means you all get to have a more balanced and fun time of it!

Best of luck, thinking of you

sickofthisrain Tue 16-Sep-08 15:13:25

thanks Alexa, no we rarely spend time together now without the ds'. As my family are so far away, we have to rely on the IL's and usually need to use our credits up for pediatrician visits etc. I am thinking of asking them to have the dc's overnight soon so we can just go somewhere.

DH and I used to go on amazing holidays 4 or 5 times a year, plus regular weekends away with friends, that was our connecting time and I loved it. In between we both worked hard and saw our friends, both separately and together. Holidays with the dc's are understandably different so we don't get the time alone together we used to.

At the risk of sounding naive, I really don't think DH is being unfaithful but i will be more alert to it just in case I've been ignoring some obvious signals.

georgimama Tue 16-Sep-08 15:15:14

Could you get a part time job - you sound very dependent on your husband for your self esteem and that is not a good thing, even when times are good - it would perhaps give you more confidence, help you see that if push came to shove you could cope without him and dare I say it, give you a bit of financial independence? It sounds like he is holding all the cards and you dare not question him too deeply because he is in charge of everything.

(I hate to say it but these situations, which I read so often on MN, are part (a very tiny part) of the reason I work. I don't want to be so financially dependent on DH that he could just fuck me over if he decided he didn't want to play families anymore.)

Try Relate, even on your own, they are fantastic.

sickofthisrain Tue 16-Sep-08 15:16:23

and thanks too lj, I did say to DH the other night that i am really proud of him for the way he supports us, and that I appreciate it. I know that he takes his role as breadwinner very seriously and that's part of the problem.
I think I'll contact relate on my own initially, I'd like to hear what they say.

sickofthisrain Tue 16-Sep-08 15:19:11

georgimama, you're right, I daren't push DH because right now I'm not sure I could cope on my own. Later on, maybe.

I do definitely need to go back to work for all sorts of reasons. I've known that for about 6 months, will get on to it. How do people manage with 2 preschool ds'? Do childminders collect them from preschool - how does it all work?

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