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Tired of unsupportive husband

(21 Posts)
hungrierhippo Thu 22-Jan-09 09:41:39

I need to whine about my husband, although I'm not sure much is to be done about it.

He just isn't very supportive. That is not to say he isn't a good husband, he loves me very much, does a lot around the house, is great with the kids etc but just isn't very good at offering support.

He just sees everything from his perspective. Things have come to a head this week as I am pregnant. I was trying to talk to him last week about my concerns for the birth (had section last time). He said he doesn't know why I just didn't have another section as it would be easier shock. In reality obviously this would be easier for him as he wouldn't be the one having major abdominal surgery or be in pain for weeks afterwards. When I said I didn't want one he said fine, but couldn't understand why anyone would refuse pain relief in labour as it was just unnecessary. Again, he was talking from his perspective. Really wasn't interested in medical reasons, risks of intervention or any of the other things to be taken into consideration, merely that 'you were a bloody nightmare last time, I don't want to go through that again!' angry

Whenever I do try to talk to him about my problems, issues, he always manages to turn it round to him - either by trying to get into some competition about whose problems are bigger, or takes it as a personal criticism along the lines of 'what are you expecting me to do about it, it's not my fault, why are you having a go at me'. Then he gets angry with me and says I'm being unreasonable and it all has to focus back on him.

I know this is not an original problem, and probably common to most couples, but I'm tired of being the only adult in the family, who has to take into consideration other people's stresses and strains but have noone to take care of me.

I'm making him sound much worse than he is but it is raining and I am sad

Ispy Thu 22-Jan-09 10:24:01

Just bumping for you. No real advice only that I think it's a common problem and I feel for you. Hopefully someone will come along with some useful advice.

ginnny Thu 22-Jan-09 10:46:35

The thing with men is that they don't seem able to just listen and be supportive. If you are telling them about a problem their immediate reaction is how to fix it and if they can't then they feel inadequate and get defensive. They just don't get that sometimes we just need them to listen (and I mean really listen, not just zone out and nod a few times) and just BE THERE for us.
My dp is exactly the same. If he can't solve a problem he can't see the point of talking about it, he can't understand why I feel the need to discuss things over which I have no control.
Do you have friends / close female relatives you could confide in about the birth and your worries?

hungrierhippo Thu 22-Jan-09 10:59:14

ginnny that is exactly it! He gives me 3 yeps and a 'what do you want me to say?' and then gets the hump!

I'm heavily pregnant and he has given up smoking - who is getting the most help, sympathy and support I wonder hmm.

I don't really have anyone to talk to about the birth as most of my friends haven't had children - and I want to talk to my husband about it! It's his baby after all and what I want to feel is that he is overcome with concern for my health well being and genuinely adores me for the marvellous thing I am about to do for our family. Instead I get the feeling that it's all a bit of an inconvenience for him and if I could make as little fuss as possible, that would be great.

I have visions of shouting through contractions with him sitting there saying 'see, told you you should have had an epidural!'

Not that I'm being sensitive for anything ............................

Dropdeadfred Thu 22-Jan-09 11:02:36

was he suportive last time?

hungrierhippo Thu 22-Jan-09 11:27:53

yes and no.

Labour was very long and I think he found it quite frustrating. He was rubbish at doing all the things they are supposed to do (massaging back, timing contractions etc) and did shout at me a couple of times for being irrational shock.

Once I had had an epidural and it became clear that I was to have a section, he was much better and much more supportive. I suppose because, even though I thought it was much worse, he had a much better idea of what was going on and there was a definite plan iyswim.

Having said that, in the weeks after DS was born he got very annoyed that I had hormonally cried to the midwife as the midwife would assume he wasn't looking after me properly and I was making him look bad shock As I say, he finds it difficult to see things outside how it affects him - much like our toddler.

becstarlitsea Thu 22-Jan-09 11:34:40

Is there anyone else you would like at the birth who would be more supportive? A woman friend or relative, who has had kids herself and supports your birth plan, or a doula if you can afford one? You could explain to your DH that you just want someone else to take the strain and help him out during the birth, so that it isn't so stressful for him, and that it isn't a slight on him, blah, blah, blah... It might be easier than trying to get him to understand a woman's perspective on birth which sounds like it's a bit alien to him.

He does sound pretty annoying, but I suspect that you're just venting here about the stuff that is annoying about him, and therefore he's bound to sound annoying. It's good to vent sometimes though...

moyasmum Thu 22-Jan-09 11:50:32

Agree with becstar, if he cant "suppport" you ,without you carrying him, then get someone else to do the job . He can be the taxi or child mind , go to work, or pace the floor outside, whatever.

I contacted the local Nct, because i didnt have anyone and suspected little support , they , on that occasion, put me in contact with a lovely person .dh got me there and child minded.

hungrierhippo Thu 22-Jan-09 12:10:39

Thing is he wants to be there and I want him there - I just want him to be supportive! It would make me feel worse to know that he 'got out' of something difficult that I needed from him because he was too useless. Could someone else have the baby for me please, not sure I'm up to the job!

We can't really afford a doula (although I would love one) and I don't think he would agree to it if we could. If you asked him I'm sure he would say that he thinks his level of support should be enough for me. He is constantly telling me I should count myself lucky that he is as great as he is. It normally follows with some comparison with his Dad (who I definitely would NOT have married) as if being better than one's father is all that can be hoped for.

He's really not a terrible husband and I am just ranting but I figure that's what Mumsnet is for.

KJTWINS Thu 22-Jan-09 12:19:28

hi all men are useless at things to do with birth i personally think it all scares them and they try and fix and cant my DP went walking on the day i had a bleed had to go to hospital and have an emergency section but i think he got a fright and wont admit it remember when you are pregnant hormones make everything seem worse i had terrible bad moods. good to vent though makes us all feel better

hungrierhippo Thu 22-Jan-09 12:24:28

Thanks KJ, that makes me feel much better.

Maybe we would all be better of if we lowered our expectations and sent them to the pub with a cigar!

ginnny Thu 22-Jan-09 12:29:51

I think you are married to my dp shock
Whenever he talks about when his dd was born (not mine btw, ex wife's) it is totally about him, how he felt etc. You'd think his ex wife wasn't even in the room grin
AND I also get the "well at least I'm not like my dad/brother etc".
I had my Mum with me when both my dss were born. She was fantastic and exP just stood in the corner looking green! He was very squeamish!

Dropdeadfred Thu 22-Jan-09 12:46:33

KJ...whilst i admit that there do seem to be a lot of men that get freaked out by birth etc i have to stress that my DH was FANTASTIC and i really loved him beingthere. I couldn't have done it without him.

hungrierhippo Thu 22-Jan-09 13:01:27

dropdeadfred you're not helping grin

SexyDomesticatedDad Thu 22-Jan-09 13:33:07

I thought I was pretty fantastic too and took an active part in each birth - DW delivered DS1 standing up with me supporting her so KJT not all men are useless - there are male midwives too!!

cestlavie Thu 22-Jan-09 14:01:04

I would say (as another guy) that certainly not all men are useless at births! What I would say is that, to be fair, his responses to you don't sound unsupportive, or self centred, or disinterested. They sound like a typical guy response.

As someone else rather succinctly said, women are (generally) good at listening and being supportive in a non-directional sense. Men are (generally) great at fixing things and organising things in a very directional sense. Birth and birth plans are probably a pretty good example.

If someones says to a guy: Here is a birth plan. At the end you will have a healthy baby and wife as quickly and with as little pain as possible. The guy will think, great. Perfect. I know what is coming up, and the outcome sounds perfect. Healthy baby. Healthy wife. Job done. Let's go with the plan.

If someones says to a guy: Here is a birth plan. At the end you will have a healthy baby and wife as quickly and with as little pain as possible. The guy will not think, well that sounds good but is it really what we want? Would a natural birth make more sense I wonder? Might it be easier just to go with it and take direction as necessary. Shall we just talk about it?

This is not him being selfish, I imagine. It's just a question of perspective. For him (and the vast majority of guys I suspect) birth is simply a means to an end. They want it to be objectively quick, pain-free and controlled with a healthy baby and wife at the end of it, exactly the same things they'd want if they were doing it themselves. It's therefore hard for us to imagine, for example, why someone would turn down pain relief. It's why no doubt he was much better once a section was decided on because then there was a clear plan to follow that made sense.

Maybe I'm generalising and he is in fact a self-centred dick when it comes to birth and pregnancy, but just thought I'd offer an alternative opinion.

downbutnotout Thu 22-Jan-09 14:12:07

Ooh, cestlavie is very wise!

That said, I do sympathise with the op. I am 39 wks pg and have depsaired of dh at times, as he never offers what I want and need most i.e. unconditional sympathy and support when i feel down. Instead I get a lecture along the lines of "Well, you better get on top of things now, because it'll be much harder when the baby's here and we have two children to look after". (Loving that "we" by the way, when guess who will be doing the vast majority of it.)

I second the advice of those advocating a birth compnaion. I'm not doing it because dh actually started to get the hump when I suggested it hmm - he felt usurped! You may find that studnet doulas will take on the job for very little or even free. Start a thread on here and you might just find yourself one.

And by all means rant - I am now starting to accept that I'm not going to change dh and I may just have to hold up cards with simple-to-follow intsrcutions like "Hug me" "Pat back and say there, there". Relying on him to instinctively understand what I need doesn't seem to work!

fruitstick Thu 22-Jan-09 14:23:49

downbutnotout, I think we may be married to the same man!

The cue cards is a great idea.
"You're great, of course you'll cope"
"Everything is going to be fine"
"There, there, it's ok"
"You'll always be perfect to me"

in rotation.

I'm convinced that there is a business idea in setting up a service, kind of like male prostitution, but where there is no sex, just someone asking and taking an interest in your day!

KristinaM Thu 22-Jan-09 14:32:53

its that whole men are from mars thing isnt it?

when we talk about things they want to fix them. if there isn't anything to fix or they cant fix it, they get annoyed/frustrated as they dont see THE POINT of the conversation

downbutnotout Thu 22-Jan-09 14:46:54

Ah yes, to paraphrase Professor Higgins: "Why can't a man be more like a woman?" wink

Honestly though it does make me laugh (when I'm not pg) as dh genuinely believes that he is doing his best to help and looks startled and not a little bit exasperated by the increase in tears/drama etc caused by his helpful little speeches.

I think there may be a market for the cards as well, fruitstick. Shall we go into business?

mamas12 Fri 23-Jan-09 23:34:25

Oh god i really hate to bring this down a level but your dh sounds like my xh he was so unsuportive (went 'off' me during pregnancy) and I do wish now I hadn't even had him there during th births I really do. It is a power and control thing he has no control over the pregnancy happenings in your body so therefore feels powerless. Get someone else there to focus on YOU, not baby not him but YOU.

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