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Help me to stop relationship drift...be warned it's long.

(8 Posts)
puddle Tue 29-Mar-05 10:40:40

My dp seems really unhappy and I am running out of energy to deal with it. It’s an ongoing theme in our relationship that he gets into a spiral of despondency every so often and I have to work really hard to bring him out of it. It’s partly work - he’s never really had a career plan (he’s a ‘work to live’ rather than ‘live to work’ person) and fell into teaching, which he enjoys sometimes and sometimes it gets him down – general teaching stuff familiar to anyone who looks at the teaching threads. He works three days a week – we made the decision after our second child was born that he would scale down his work as I earn much more than him, plus my job is more flexible and I can work at home/ round the kids. We both commute to work which takes an hour each way (I work at home two days a week).

We have talked about all this endlessly but the bottom line always seems to be he feels trapped in a job he doesn’t like – he talks a lot about being 40 in a couple of years. I know how hard it is to get out of teaching - my dp is not qualified for anything else and the job has a lot of benefits in terms of how our life ‘works’ eg he’s around for the holidays, we manage to get by on minimal childcare and both manage to spend a lot of time with the kids. I think he is also beginning to worry about how he has compromised his job prospects by being a semi-stay-at-home parent for two years although he’s a brilliant, very hands on dad and loves spending time with the children.

We haven’t been getting on that well, partly because we have both been ill on and off for the last couple of months. He’s fed up with our lack of social life (but makes no effort to keep up with his friends or to arrange time alone for the two of us outside the house – I’m the social secretary in our house as well as everything else and I’ve lost enthusiasm for doing it). Prime example – it’s his Easter holidays at the mo and I’m the one who’s been trying to ensure he gets a break from the kids eg by doing some swops with friends, taking time off myself so that he doesn’t spend the whole time with them.

I feel really frustrated with him, partly because I think that no-one enjoys their job 100 per cent of the time (I certainly don’t) and you have to just get on with the more difficult bits of it while maybe having a plan to get somewhere else. I feel like he wallows and drifts! Another part of me resents the fact that I have to work full time – I wish sometimes he did have a great career that would enable me to work a bit less – I’d like another child but as I am the main breadwinner we can’t really fund another maternity leave.

Reading this back it seems like one long moan and I’m not even really sure what I’m asking advice on. Maybe a way to deal constructively with my DP whilst not feeling resentful that I always have to be the strong one? He is the one for me but I feel like we have lost our way a bit and might be drifting towards trouble in our relationship.

stitch Tue 29-Mar-05 10:47:53

i dont think you are having a moan. your concerns are very concrete.
i think, and this is only my opinion, but i think it is very important for a man to be the man in a family. it seems old fashioned i know, but the old idea of the man earning the money and the kids being looked after by the mom is still something deeply rooted in us all. the fact that in your relationship, the roles have merged or blurred, is hardd for both of you to deal with, but obviously you are both working at it.
teaching is a profession in which depression is not that uncommon anyways. it can be deeply rewarding, but at the same time, there are rarrely any obvious perks to it, other than holiday time off with the kids.
the fact that you can earn more than your dp is no good for his self esteem.
i think if you really believe that he is the one for you, then you will have to continue to work hard at this relationship, fo r soometine yet..

TracyK Tue 29-Mar-05 10:48:19

counselling? let him read your thread? write him a letter?
I usually can't be bothered with people that moan about their 'problems' if they aren't actively seeking ways to fix them. I know I don't enjoy my work - but it pays the bills and is fairly stress free. So get him to do something about his job or tell him to just get on with it. Maybe he needs to see a life coach?

puddle Tue 29-Mar-05 11:47:10

Interesting perspective stitch. I don't actually think that he does feel undermined by my job - I think he's always been v proud of me and doesn't feel as though his identity relies on him earning more than I do. But I guess what could be the case is that he is more the 'at home' parent than me but that I am still actively involved in the 'at home' stuff too. The SAHMs that I know have very clear areas of responsibility whereas you are right with us they are more blurred.

Tracey I am trying not to use the 'pull yourself together and just get on with it' approach, much as I feel like it!

HappyDaddy Tue 29-Mar-05 12:48:00

Puddle, I admit to feeling a little like your dp recently. I'm a sahd after 10 years in IT. I did pull myself together and now look to appreciate what i have rather than want what i haven't.

puddle Tue 29-Mar-05 16:20:35

happydaddy nice to have a male perspective. What made the difference to how you felt?

GRMUM Tue 29-Mar-05 16:36:45

I think 40 can be a milestone age in that you do take a look at what you've done so far and where you are going from here.Maybe he's having feelings like that? also how are your children? I have been a sahm (mostly) and whilst I love seeing my children growing and developing (teenagers now) I am very aware that my role is changing and I do feel a need to change my status within the family. Could he be feeling something like this?

puddle Tue 29-Mar-05 16:40:56

GRMUM our children are 2 and 5. I think there is a bit of what you say in that we are thinking about whether to have another baby - if we don't then we will be able to plan for when my dd goes to school in a couple of years time and I guess that would mean my dp feeling he has to return to full time work. You're right too that 40 seems to be more of a milestone for him than me (I hit it a year earlier than he will).

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