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Is this as bad as I think, or perfectly normal?

(23 Posts)
bibiboo Thu 21-Apr-05 08:30:57

I am getting really worried that I don't love dh anymore. Since dd was born things have either been great or terrible.
These last few week we've done nothing but bicker and snitch at each other, had some blazing rows and I'm worried we don't feel the same for each other anymore. I know I love him and could never get someone as loyal and gentle as him, but I also feel so frustrated with him sometimes I could happily leave and never see him again (I think). This is unusual for us as for the first 5 years of our realtionship we never argued, when we moved in together we argued a bit, when we got married we argued a lot (in the run up) but that blew over, but since dd was born, I always seem to have cause to moan at him. I feel he isn't aware enough of what I do, when needs to be done etc. I'm always telling him what needs to be done for dd or in the house and then, I'm nagging.
We went for a meal last night to chat and have time without dd, but we both went to bed sad and a bit disappointed that it felt "flat".
Please tell me this is normal?

albert Thu 21-Apr-05 08:39:08

Sorry to read about that bibiboo but in my experience it is perfectly normal. How old is DD? Is she the first child? I have DS, now age 5 and when he was born I felt like I was forever nagging DH. It seemed to me that he didn't have a clue how much time and effort is involved in bringing up even the smallest baby. He was a very 'hands off' DH and I felt like I might just as well have been a single mum for the amount of help I was getting. Having said that, we are still together and very happy 5 years later. I think although they believe the understand how much a child will change their lifesstyle in reality they haven't a clue and expect life to carry on as before. But you are doing the right thing by talking about it, don't give up!

Nemo1977 Thu 21-Apr-05 08:41:18

It can be normal especially after having a little one. You need to talk to each other about what you want as having a baby completely changes your perspective on life...and even more so for mums i think. It could just be a lull in your relationship which we all have. DH and i have been together 10yrs and have had periods like that but I know i love him and he loves me and even if sometimes it feels a bit flat it can pick up again with a little effort. I do think u need to talk openly about it and see what happens from that

BubblesDeVere Thu 21-Apr-05 08:44:41

Bibiboo, i don't have anything to say to make you feel better, except that I know what you are going through, I couldn't have written it better myself.

beansprout Thu 21-Apr-05 08:49:13

Bibi, so sorry to hear you are feeling like this. It is normal though. A wise woman told me that it is compulsory in the first year or so of your first born's life to seriously question your relationship at some point and wonder if you did the right thing. Six months on it is dawning on me that my relationship with dp will never be the same again and I miss that. In fact, I feel really, really sad about that but I wouldn't swap Bean for the world and it's just a case of adapting to our new family shape. I've had a bit of practice of this with dp having a daughter so that helps I suppose.

I think the main thing is to know that it is going to be different now. Too much has happened in the last year for it all just to feel the same. I get scared that I will only love dp as the father of my child and that (and a great bit of projection here) we will have nothing in common when Bean leaves home (told you it was good!!).

We haven't gone out just the two of us yet, and I suspect that when (if) we do, it will feel a bit flat as the expectations will be pretty high if we ever do!

Do you know how your dh feels? Can you talk about this?

bibiboo Thu 21-Apr-05 09:05:08

We had a chat last night as MIL had dd for us to grab a meal out together. He said the things that are worrying him are:
*that I don't feel the same about him (I don't know how I feel, sometimes it's rage, sometimes, it's total love for this great man I've got, sometimes it's like I want to kill him for taking me for granted...)
*that he hates the fact I can't sit still and stop changing things in the house (we're not talking major renovation or all new furniture, just some new paint and change of curtains/ cushions after nearly 3 years)
*that I'm never happy with what we've got, I always want more (I admit I like to have goals and plans for what I want to have achieved, where I want to be in x months time or x years time, and I like seeing that happen through my efforts - he's just happy to plod along and see what happens)

Can we be together, being so different? I go, I do, I get, I make, I create, I innitiate etc etc. He stays, takes, goes-along-with etc. Is this the age-old argument of "I CAN change this man"? I don't necessarily want to change him, just want him to appreciate what I do (all the finances, all the admin stuff for the house, all the baby foods from research (veggie), to recipes, to cooking and blending, to labelling and freezing etc, all the decoration and decisions regarding what we have, what we need, the food shopping, the cooking, making our lunches, getting dd's bag ready for the next day, I could go on!)
He does things too, obviously, but maybe it's my fault he doesn't do more? I do tend to do things myself rather than ask him, but I like the way I do things and know they're a) being done and b) being done right when i do them. OMG, I am a control freak. Is that it?
Thanks for your reassurances, it helps loads being able to just tap it all out on MN and get reassured I am not heading for the divorce courts!

piglit Thu 21-Apr-05 09:27:45

I'm sure it's completely normal Bibi. I think that wise Beansprout hit the nail on the head when she talks about a sadness that our relationships can never be the same again. I haven't known dh all that long (less than 3 years) and in that time we've got married, had ds and have just found out I'm pg again . Sometimes I yearn for the (short) time when it was just me and him but, as Beansprout says, I wouldn't swap ds for the world. I guess it's just a case of adjusting to the biggest change we'll ever have to deal with and that will take time.

I almost snapped at dh this morning as he went off to a busy day of meetings and doing deals as I sat at the kitchen table covered in baby breakfast and trying to tell my 6 month ds that suddenly screeching at the top of his voice is really not funny.

beansprout Thu 21-Apr-05 09:37:19

It does simply sound like you are quite different. You are very organised, like to know what the outcome will be and want to work towards that, and he is just more laid back and prefers to take things as they come. I don't think it really matters how different you are, the problem comes when you don't like or can't accept that about each other. I can want to control things too, but I often have to ask myself how much it matters? It's not a disaster if it isn't done my way. It's just done differently. If I take being in control to its logical conclusion, I can ended up thinking of dp as a bit incapable whereas of course, he is not. No-one really wants to be treated like that though, even with the best of intentions on my part.

I've watched myself worry about getting things "right" and "organised" when what's really going on is some understandable anxiety around having a new baby and wanting to make everything safe and ok for him. Trouble is, rather than knowing that, it gets played out around other things. I've caught myself nagging dp and I don't like it, I feel better now I have let go and trusted him to do simple things! It's the age old question - is it better to be right or to be happy?

I would just give yourselves some time. Changes to your relationship don't come any bigger than having a baby. Dh is not just your dh anymore but dd's dad as well and I know for me, even though I knew dp as a parent before, it was a huge change, so it must be at least that huge for you. Give yourselves a bit of time and don't try to work out the answers to the big questions just yet. That's what I'm doing and I do feel better for it. Big hug to you.

beansprout Thu 21-Apr-05 09:40:17

I know how you feel Piglit. Dp started a new job just after ds was born. He is now Mr. Important and I get to clean up poo (all very important of course but frankly never on those lists in Cosmo on "how to feel great about yourself").

beansprout Thu 21-Apr-05 09:40:36

I know how you feel Piglit. Dp started a new job just after ds was born. He is now Mr. Important and I get to clean up poo (all very important of course but frankly never on those lists in Cosmo on "how to feel great about yourself").

Issymum Thu 21-Apr-05 09:45:18

Normal, normal, normal. Change, time pressure, new identities as parents and exhaustion take an enormous toll on a relationship. It's a well-worn phrase but it's a good one: 'Having a baby is like lobbing a hand-grenade into a marriage'.

A few things that helps us:

1. Kiss and cuddle anytime and anywhere you can. Grab a few seconds of intimacy, even if, maybe preferably if, DD is there. It reasserts that there are three of us now but there are still two of us.

2. Increase the number of times you tell DH that you love him. I find myself saying 'I love you very much, but stuff gets in the way.'

3. Dinner out doesn't work for us. We can talk non-stop for hours, but give us a menu, cutlery and a candle and we almost instantly run out of things to say to each other. Try the cinema or a small project (e.g. late-night shopping to buy something fun and uncontroversial) or, best of all, a drive in the country followed by a drink in a good pub. "Low key" is critical.

bibiboo Thu 21-Apr-05 10:48:45

You are all so wise! A good friend just emailed me to ask what was wrong today (I look a bit sh*tty) and I poured my heart out to her in the tv room. She just said "you two never argued before because you were in different countries, and the biggest decision you had was where to meet on the weekend, now you have loads of big things to make decisions on and there's a lot more at stake, that's bound to be stressful".
Loved the ahnd-grenade/marraige analogy - v true! I am going to tell that to said friend now who is planning on conceiving by the end of the year.

bibiboo Thu 21-Apr-05 10:51:01

cannot believe a month ago we were considering another baby! surely that would be marital suicide?!?!?!

aloha Thu 21-Apr-05 11:05:51

I think it's worth remembering that different doesn't have to mean better or worse, it can just mean different. So he's not as keen on redecorating as you are? It's not a crime! So he would feed the baby out of jars and you puree broccolli? That's fine. I'm sure he has some lovely qualities and abilities otherwise you wouldn't have married him. And I'm sure you have lots of wonderful qualities that he appreciates too. You sound pretty complementary to me, and I suspect the baby stress isn't helping at all atm. I can see both sides as I am also the one who wants the new house, changes the furniture around, plans the weekend...but I'm not one to spend hours over food (that's more dh's dept) or get clothes out for the next day. I know what it's like to want everything done 'my way' but I also know that it is oppressive and upsetting for dh if I push this. So I just bite my lip when ds or dd are dressed in a way I don't much like, or dh doesn't feed them what I would feed them. I actually had to force myself to stay out of the bathroom when he bathed ds as a baby as my instinct was to give instructions, which wasn't helpful. I think standing back a bit and just letting your dh have responsibility without giving instructions can pay dividends in the long term.

motherinferior Thu 21-Apr-05 11:12:54

Sweetie, just to echo what everyone else has said...it's normal, if horrid. I quite often think that DP and I are SO incompatible that we should go to counselling/split up IMMEDIATELY we were only together for five months when I got pregnant ...and then - mainly because he stoically points out that this is just a rough bit - realise we are actually pretty damn suited after all. Babies and children DO make it tough, for almost all of us.

bossykate Thu 21-Apr-05 11:23:39

bibiboo, i very much identified with your posts, seems like we are similar and married to similar men! i don't really want to change dh too much - he has tons of great qualities, but oh boy, his few downsides seem to be the sort of things that grate on me most! we also have a baby under a year btw - it is a very tough time.

issymum, thank goodness someone feels the same about nights out! we don't go out much either in the evenings - i don't miss that so much, actually, usually the kids are in bed reasonably early so i do find we get adult time alone in the evenings at home (i'd like to get away for a night or two alone though, but without family support it's not a possibility). when we do go out it feels so pressurised as though we absolutely must have a good time at all costs, and so it does sometimes fall a bit flat. i agree with your suggestions for other low key activities to take the pressure off.

aloha - agree that being different is not a crime. in many ways our differences are complementary and i try to embrace the good things too. what has helped me is to decide what is really really important to me (e.g. the kids simply must eat reasonably well, they must have their teeth brushed) and i do nag about those things, but stand back and bite my lip on other things (e.g. washing ds's hair with a lick and a promise).

we do both end up feeling taken for granted - me for my contribution outside the home not being valued, for my planning, research and organisation not to be even noticed, whereas he does sometimes feel too nagged.

with all our faults one thing we do well is discuss what is bothering us and try and work on things, and we also discuss and renegotiate the household division of labour on a fairly regular basis.

another thing we have really made an effort to do is to praise eachother for our different strengths, so he will say something like "i really appreciate it that you have taken the trouble to plan our meals" and i will say something like "you are really great at making up stories for the kids".
anyway, rambling not sure that is any help!

bossykate Thu 21-Apr-05 11:27:25

all that rambling and i forgot to say i think it's normal!

frogs Thu 21-Apr-05 11:51:39

Normal.

Change is hard on relationships anyway, and having a baby is probably the biggest change you'll ever make. It's hard for each person individually trying to work out what kind of parent they're going to be and to cope with all the practical day-to-day issues. And then each of you has to deal with the way the other person deals with those matters, and learn that other ways of dealing with things don't imply criticism of your own strategies. And you have less free time. And less sleep, and probably less money as well.

So it would be surprising if it were all as rosy as the soft-focus pictures in parenting books. I'm sure most women have looked at dh/dp in the year after giving birth and thought: "You are clearly the most irritating human being on the planet, why am I sharing my life with you?" Bickering, snapping, sniping, shouting, even swearing (though we try hard not to do that) at each other... dh and I've been there, and I'm sure we're not alone.

It does pass, if you give it time and put some energy and effort into relationship maintenance. The practical side of it gets far easier once you gradually establish a distribution of labour that works for all of you, and both of you know what to expect from each other. Don't assume he can read your mind, or that he sees what needs to be done in the same way that you do. Conversely if he does do something that isn't quite up to your standards, try not to get too worked up about it.

Emotionally it gets easier too as you discover what kind of parents you are, and where your strengths and weaknesses lie. But talk, keep talking about how you feel. And try not to have expectations about how you "should" feel.

It sounds as if you fundamentally have a great relationship that is trying to adjust to family life. Hang in there, and good luck!

piglit Thu 21-Apr-05 12:10:05

Frogs - "Don't assume he can read your mind". Brilliantly put and something I am only just learning (and I'm almost 37 years old ffs!!)

If you feel a bit low tell him - I used to sit at the kitchen table every morning with a face like a wet weekend as I looked at the crappy chores I had to do and the fact that I wasn't dressed by 9am every day. I told dh that I felt low and that being at home all day was so overwhelming that sometimes I wanted to run away. I told him I envied the fact that he went to work every day (even though his job can be so stressful at times) and met lots of people and that every day brought something new for him whereas my days were groundhog days. All this was news to him and after we had that chat he seemed to understand what my new life was like and I wasn't so bitter about the fact that he still had his old life. He's a wonderful dad and adores ds. I think we needed to let each other know how we felt about this huge change in our lives.

Marina Thu 21-Apr-05 12:23:09

Normal. I think one of my first posts on Mumsnet, when ds was just over a year, was raving about my dozy dh. I'm not sure if I even dared type the words "seriously questioning our future together" but there were times when I was...
As Frogs says, tough it out and keep talking. But I think a lot of us on here make relationships with sometimes gormless, clueless partners work, partly because we feel we have to, but also because we can still see their good points also and love them for those.
Once your dd is older and interacting more with you both, he will no doubt reveal himself as a lovely, loving dad. The "loyal and gentle" ones usually do
I found validating our sometimes squabbly post-baby relationship by reminiscing together about good times, really helped us both remember that although parenthood has changed us, we are also still fundamentally the same people who met and fell in love nineteen years ago
We also clam up over plates of food we have had cooked for us. Our ideal night out is a night in cooking dishes we have done together n times and sharing a nice bottle of wine. Or as Issymum rightly says, shopping together.

acnebride Thu 21-Apr-05 12:54:07

Normal.
Made a huge effort not to 'instruct' dh about ds and it does help. Also if he is good at something with ds, however tiny, praise him - and use it. I do cheesy things like telling ds how much he loves his daddy - obvious but I think dh likes it anyway.

Going out - don't stress it - but for another suggestion, a joint bath does wonders for our communication, which is amazing when you consider that our bathroom is so tiny we have a special bath with a corner off, dh is 18 stone and I am 14.5 stone. We don't need much water, put it that way.

sandyballs Thu 21-Apr-05 13:24:06

Very very normal I think with a young baby. I love the expression "a hand grenade into the marriage" .

You sound like you complement each other and also sound quite similar to me and my DH. We're "doers", they're "thinkers". I do know that I would hate my DH to be like me - couldn't bear to have two people like that in one house, which is probably why I chose him.

jazzysmum Thu 21-Apr-05 13:49:16

HI,

Im new to this board and am in a similar situation. Except I suppose, my relationship has gone down hill alot more ! My partner changed unbeleivably once our dd was born 2 years ago. he is lazy, controlling, and hates the amount of time i spend out and about doing things with our dd. he just doesnt have the time for her, and only puts on the doting dad act for other peoples benefit. I wished now I had nipped this in the bud as soon as I started to realise that things werent good after dd was born. Instead I just ignored it and were at the point now where we cant be in the same room together and its having an effect on our dd. We have been together for 12 years. But like it has been said by other people, sometimes you both do change. I'd definelty try and talk about it now, and not let it get as bad as I have. I think my partner is alot worse than yours, as by the sounds of it, he is a loving dad and does still love you. I can't say the same about mine ! Funnily enough, he was fine until we started to try for a baby. His Mum thinks he wasn't ready to be a Dad - but like I said, he was certainly a willing participant in the making department !
Hope you get a chance to sit and talk everything through.
jazzysmum

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