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DH is unhappy since becoming a father - Feeling lost... WWYD?

(37 Posts)
lostangel Thu 18-Jun-09 09:59:52

Hi all,

Just feeling a bit lost and wanted to see if Mumsnetters have any good advice for me. I've namechanged for this as I am somewhat embarrassed by what's happening. And DH knows I am a regular here so who knows if he will look?

DH and I have been together for 8 years and been very happy for most of it. We got married 6 years ago and had DS just over a year ago. He was very much wanted. We had 5 years to 'enjoy' married life first and we really did. Not partying sorts but we went out for dinners, short breaks etc. I consider DH my soulmate and I am sure he feels the same about me.

Since DS was born, things have been kinda tricky. DH's not a small baby person (which I knew!), DS wasn't an easy baby (cried a lot, very fussy and a right PITA grin) and I was somewhat depressed about being away from my family (I'm from another country though I have to say, I do love it here!) so things looked pretty rocky in the first 6 months or so but I also understand that that is pretty common.

Since DS turned about a year old, I honestly thought we had turned a corner. DS is now turning into a happy and beautiful toddler and I feel so lucky to have had him. We also conceived number 2 (due later in the year), it was sooner than we expected but I have a medical problem and we didn't know if it would happen TBH and we always said we wanted a second one close to DS's age.

But in the last few months, DH has been frankly a bit of a sh*t. Not obviously at first but basically, once in a while, something very small would happen and he would have the most amazing outbursts! Last night, I asked him about our phone bill (something he had done basically, agreed to some BT package and cancelled it but the bill showed we were getting billed for it). He went bonkers, called me stupid and banged the wall really hard with his fists. It's not completely out of character for him, when he does get angry in the past, he shouts and bangs the wall but gets over it quickly and usually apologises. What is new is the personal attacks on me, calling me stupid etc. I started back at work a few months ago as well and he has said things a couple of times about me quitting my job if I find it so difficult. He knows I love my job even though he gets paid a lot more than me and we could live on his pay packet.

This looks really bad typing it out but he isn't really. He has been working hard lately and I thought it was just work stress. Last night, I told him that frankly, he's been acting like a sh*t lately and there's been a few times that I have contemplated leaving him. I wouldn't really but the fact that it has crossed my mind frightens me.

He finally admitted last night that he doesn't feel completely happy with our home life, that he feels everything is centred on DS and we can't be spontaneous anymore. My feeling on this is that DS is only little once and being a parent does involve sacrifices. Bearing in mind I have never stopped DH doing what he likes, he's been on a ski trip with his mates, a stag do overseas in the last few months. DH is younger than me and I've always excused his 'selfishness' because of that. Also, DS is finally at the age where he has started to sleep through reliably in the last few months and we recently have had a babysitter so we could go to a wedding. And personally, I could see things getting better for us in that sense that we could go out and have dinner etc if we wanted as long as we organise babysitters in time.

I just don't think DH realises how lucky he is. He's got a great job he enjoys that pays well. We have our own home and enough money to do most things and planning a lovely 2-week luxury holiday in August. His main complaint is that we just don't do enough just for the two of us anymore. He loves DS to bits and he told me that on one hand, he works hard because he wants to buy us all a bigger house and a better life but on the other hand, he feels he can't go and do things without missing us. He's torned between wanting to be a family man but also 'enjoying' him being young and successful.

I feel so torned. I do so much for him and DS. I admit we don't have 'together' time but I told him he can change that but it's not just me. He doesn't try either, he's always been bad at planning stuff in advance. DH is lazy and we end up doing nothing or taking DS to the park or swimming etc. So we said we will get my friend to babysit next week and we will go for dinner. But part of me feels so tired and wonder if we will get through this. The sad thing is that I don't doubt the love he has for us and me for him and that we would still grow old together if we can get through this. We don't have any trust issues in the sense that I believe we still do love each other deeply but I don't know if we can get through this. DS adores his daddy and part of me feels sad too that sometimes DH comes home and just wants to sit and watch TV when he only has half an hour to spend with DS. Does DS deserve better? DH is a great daddy when he wants to be but does it always have to be on his term?

I just feel so, so sad by the whole situation... I just want to get this out as I can't talk about this to anyone in RL. I've got close friends but I feel that it's unjust to DH as he is such a great father/partner most of the time, I just don't know if I or DS are enough to make him happy anymore...

BBisfinallyPG Thu 18-Jun-09 10:48:33

well it sounds like he's lost, thats true but it also sounds like he wants his cake and eat it, what exactly is his issue? it seems to me that he resents your life changing for your children which seems very immature.

only you know if this will really change?

slushy06 Thu 18-Jun-09 10:50:21

I really feel for you you must feel like you are being pulled in two directions.

Sadly it has very little to do with age my dp was 22 when our little accident was born. He has a great job he loves which is a very stressful one but he still comes home and spends all night playing with our son.

My sil husband however is 37 and more like your dh.

I would point out that maybe your dp could sacrifice some of the time he spends with friends to spend with you.

It sounds to me like he has the best of both worlds, great job going on holiday with the lads and being a dad when he feels like it. The only sacrifice he has made apparently is his alone time with you. I think he is being selfish.

mumblechum Thu 18-Jun-09 10:54:34

How about planning some time on a regular basis, not necessarily in the evening. DH and I have one wednesday off per month (albeit our ds is a teenager so pretty independant).

We go for long country walks, picnics, pub lunches, local gardens, bike rides etc and it's really good.

When ds was younger and we went out for dinner we had a rule not to talk about him for one evening, which forced us to talk about other things - easier said than done, but it did work.

It sounds like your dh is under quite a lot of strain, and most main breadwinners these days must worry about losing their jobs - could that be a factor?

macdoodle Thu 18-Jun-09 10:58:48

he sounds like a total selfish twat to me ! My tolerance for these attitudes is frankly zero nowadays !
what exactly are his redeeming qualities - write them down - maybe he will look better hmm

madwomanintheattic Thu 18-Jun-09 10:59:45

by allowing him to carry on with his 'single' life - ski trips/ stag trips abroad, do you think he just feels excluded? so not able to take a more active part as he feels a bit like a sperm donor whilst you are now playing happy families?

<that does sound unnecessarily harsh, and is just very badly worded...>

i kind of didn't give dh any option really. he was left on his own with dd1 for the odd day/ weekend from a few months old, and so he had no alternative but to get a grip on his role in her life.

as all his mates start sprogging (like the stag trip chap) and actually start turning down this stuff, he'll slowly realise that he needs to grow up.

for example, a lot of old 'single' ski trip chaps now run one huge family friendly trip a year to a ski resort, with partners and children in tow...

you need to start giving him no option but to play a full part in his own life. if he is not prepared to do that,(when you go out/ away) then you can start asking long term questions. ds is so small still, it takes a few years for the 'new' family unit to shake down i think - not unusual to go through this stuff 2 or 3 times in the first few years of children's lives as everyone adjusts - just make sure you are giving him no option but to adjust lol.

Galava Thu 18-Jun-09 11:01:19

I think its quite a shock becomming a parent and realising that this is 'for real'. And sometimes this reality doesnt hit you for quite some time. Maybe thats it ?

Its a bit easier I think for mums, we have the pregnancy to grow and learn, and I guess it can be harder for the dad to become involved when the baby is little if you are BF etc.

FWIW, my DH is a bit crap too, he always has been especially when the kids were small. He's better now they can talk and hold proper converstions, but still ... not great !!

I think you need to talk this through.

Lizzylou Thu 18-Jun-09 11:06:30

Yes he does sound selfish and immature, but I do think that parenthood can come as quite a shock to some people (both sexes).
The hardest thing for me about Motherhood (aside from sore nipples and stretchmarks)was losing my independence and suddenly having to stop just thinking about me.
Whether he likes it or not, your DH cannot just pretend that he is footloose and fancyfree, BUT that doesn't mean that he can't still have fun.
How is he with your son at weekends?
What is your DH's relationship with his parents like?
Perhaps, as well as some nice grown up nights out you could have days out at the beach (rockpooling/kiteflying etc), Zoo, Theme Park with your son? That may show him that it is not just all hard work being a parent, it also allows you to release the inner child and do stuff you've not done since childhood.

lostangel Thu 18-Jun-09 12:04:21

Thanks for all your advice! It just feels good to have some people to talk to and listen to me.

The thing is he doesn't really go out that much. He doesn't really do pubs or drinking or that sort of thing. The only drinking he does is when he's on a stag do (and he's been on like one in the last year). I guess what he is mourning is the way we were able to go and watch a movie, meet up after work to go out for dinner, go shopping without it all becoming a bit of a mission. And I know when we got together that he loves the stability of being in a relationship and being with me.

Which is what puzzles me in a way. It's not as if we used to go out drinking and partying till the wee hours. We were always a homely couple.

BBisfinallyPG - DH thinks he is slightly depressed and needs to 'snap' out of it. If he is depressed, I just don't know if I can do anything to help him. Should I be encouraging us or him to see someone?

slushy06 - I do admit that DH can be selfish at time (but I knew this when I married him so can I complain now? No one's perfect!) but he is mostly wonderful. DS and our friend's two little girls adore him cos he can go to their level and comes out with the funniest games ever. That's what I find a bit sad, that he doesn't see this. I think he finds a little toddler hard to deal with but when he plays with them, they all adore him. And I don't think it's so much the lad's holiday he wants, he wants us to do stuff together but like I said, he hasn't suggested anything, I do feel part of the problem is him always leaving me to organise stuff! And mostly I am happy the way things are so it's a matter of different expectations maybe?

mumblechum - Thanks for your suggestions. To me, that is the most natural next step for us to take. I've babysat a lot for this couple we are good friends with and they know they owe use lots of babysitting favours! I guess deep down inside, I do fear if it is enough?

lostangel Thu 18-Jun-09 12:15:46

Sorry, had to leave and didn't realise I had so many messages. Thank you all!

DH is great really. He's generous to a fault. He makes me laugh. He is so loyal. He grounds me. He loves us. He works so hard to give us a better life. In a way, I guess we both work together really well and he misses that now that my focus is on DS. And I will admit that there is a part of me that think that DH needs more attention than I am giving him but like I said, with an active toddler and being pregnant and so tired, I can hardly think straight...

He realises that life can't go back the way it is and he doesn't want to but I do think he is struggling with the role of being a father. He comes from a very happy family while my family is rather more unconventional and I have gone through hell in my early 20s to now have a good relationship with my parents.

In a way, I wonder if his 'happy' family hasn't done us any favours. His mum has done everything for his dad, him and his sister. And he takes having a beautiful and healthy family for granted because that's what he had. While I appreciate what we have. I never had that. I didn't grow up with my parents and I remember as a child wanting that more than anything else in the world. But I can't MAKE him realise that iykwim.

DH is definitely better now than he was when DS was a baby. But I knew what he was like. I also think that he will be a million times better in a few years' time when DS can go and kick a football with him and go to theme parks that sort of thing. I wonder as well if the second pregnancy has anything to do with it as he said last night that things are much better with DS now but that we are going to 'do it all over again'.

Galava and lizzylou - I think you have hit the nail in the head in terms of parenthood being a shock for him. He said last night that people can warn you all they like about how it's the biggest shock ever and until you go through it, you don't ever realise... I tried to be positive about it last night and say that for me, the first few years were always going to be hard and that when the DCs are little, it will be a lot of sacrifice on our part. But they grow up so fast. And in a few years, we will be able to do more as a family and as a couple if we want to. I guess the vital question is whether we will make it through the next few years... Thanks for all your thoughts.

slushy06 Thu 18-Jun-09 12:19:38

Lost
You are correct my dp has always liked playing with kids and he finds it de-stresses him but I know myself there is only so much playing that you can do and some people find it hard to play with los. lately however dp has complained about the lack of us time so I suggested cinema but he said he would prefer it if we put ds to bed early and watched a film or play a game but do something that is just the two of us and he didn't want to go out because he said he wanted quality time so maybe that is another suggestion.

RumourOfAHurricane Thu 18-Jun-09 12:38:01

Message withdrawn

lostangel Thu 18-Jun-09 15:12:16

Thanks slushy and shineoncrazydiamond.

shineoncrazydiamond - You are right in that it isn't the shouting (and to some extent the banging on the walls) that worry me as it's something he's always done. He always said that he needs to vent that way and he's over it the moment he does it. I have to clarify that DH is NEVER violent and I would never worry about that.

And you are right about me mothering him, we had issues about that in the beginning but I found motherhood in the beginning completely OVERWHELMING and I recognise now that I was too controlling and I have made efforts to relax about that. And I still make a mental note everyday not to stress the small stuff and it does get easier as DS gets bigger. Thank you for telling me DH ain't all that bad! I needed to hear that too.

The thing is I know he will never leave us or cheat on me or anything like that. And I would never do that to him either. What's making me sad is that I don't want him to be unhappy with me or with us for the next few years till he finds his feet as a father iykwim. I feel lost as I don't know how much more I can do.

He just sent me an email: "Hi hon, I'm sorry about last night. I just want to let you know that I love you so very much; I don't want a life without you and munchkin in it and I miss the two of you whenever I'm away from you. I know that I complain and I'm moody, and you're right - I don't know how lucky I am. I also know that I need to get up and do things rather than just sitting around complaining about how boring stuff is. Let's go out next weekend for dinner. I really miss the two of us spending time together and we do need to do it more often. Love you."

I just hope it's enough for us to survive this rough patch... Thanks for all your support.

RumourOfAHurricane Thu 18-Jun-09 15:15:32

Message withdrawn

cestlavielife Thu 18-Jun-09 16:07:16

i dont think you should accept "the shouting (and to some extent the banging on the walls) ".

scary for small children to witness. do you want them to copy this behaviour as they grow up?

ask him to consider venting in another way? go outside and walk, smash a pillow silently etc.

on the rest, start by arranging regular time together - sounds like you can afford childcare/babysitter.

or go to one of those kid friendly hotels that provide a creche/baby sitting service; for the weekend? (and a spa treatment for pregnant mums!)

lostangel Thu 18-Jun-09 16:14:35

Thanks shineoncrazydiamond. I really appreciate that, I feel slightly better about it already though I still want to see conscious effort on DH's part to try to change things a bit. hmm at 11 years and still finding your feet. Argh!

cestlavie - The shouting used to upset me but it doesn anymore as he really doesn't do it that much. He hates me crying but that's what I do when I get upset. It's a sore point of contention between us - he wants me to stop crying everytime we fight and I want him to stop shouting everytime we fight. The negotiations continue. I won't put up with the belittling though... It's plain nasty. We will have another chat tonight for sure.

Have arranged a babysitter for next Fri/Sat so we can go out for a nice dinner. Though I have a feeling that we might need to organise this on a more formal basis for once a week/fortnight as I cannot imagine my friend would want to do this every week/fortnight!

Your last idea sounds like a fab one! Any suggestions? For our luxury holiday in August, we are planning to do one of those with kids' creche. We are not planning to dump DS on anymore. We do love spending time with him but would like an hour or two here and there for some alone/pampering time! Fingers crossed that we are all on track to sort this one out. DH called just now to check I am okay. I really hope he realises he needs to make an effort this time.

cestlavielife Thu 18-Jun-09 16:29:31

only read about them - tho did go to club med once...

www.all4kidsuk.com/child_friendly_hotels_cornwall_devon_dorset.shtml

www.childfriendly.co.uk/family-hotels/

www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/travel/holiday_type/family/article2133315.ece

www.luxuryfamilyhotels.co.uk/

www.friendly-places.com/categories/child-friendly/

rookiemater Thu 18-Jun-09 22:22:19

Hi lostangel can't offer much help on the relationship side but www.mynightoff.com is a great way to set up your own baby sitting circle.

lostangel Thu 18-Jun-09 22:40:06

Thanks everyone.

DH came home tonight very apologetic and pledges to change. He says he just cannot live without me or DS. We shall see. I told him that if we argue, we argue like adults and no name-calling etc. We are definitely going to make more of an effort to spend some time as a couple. It's been a bit of a wake-up call to me as to how much we have neglected us-time. People tell you that all the time but who actually pays attention to well-meaning advice until it is actually needed!

rookiemaster - That looks like a very interesting website! Have registered myself but have only one other person to invite <saddo> who is already babysitting for us this coming week! LOL! I know lots of mummies in the area but most of some form of family support... My inlaws are not much help in this area.

madwomanintheattic Fri 19-Jun-09 09:40:22

we use sitters for babysitting as i can't bear having to continually ask friends/ neighbours for favours, and we don't know any teens/ others looking for that sort of opportunity.
sitters is fab as they also will arrange you a babysitter if you're staying with friends/ granny wherever, as long as they have someone in the area. you pay a small monthly retainer fee and then just pay for the services you use - at the normal babysitting rates for your area. i've rung them the day before sometimes, and they have never failed to get me someone. all of their sitters are childcare professionals who are crbed etc...
(lol, i don't work for them...)
i like to have them on standby though! it means i never have to say 'i can't get a sitter'...

lostangel Fri 19-Jun-09 10:20:21

Hi madwomanintheattic,

Sitters looks interesting and very reasonable. Going to have a chat with DH tonight as to whether it is something worth doing as I agree with you that if we want regular nights out, friends ain't really a solution... Thanks! I feel a lot better today than yesterday.

Stigaloid Fri 19-Jun-09 10:33:43

Hmmm parenthood is hard. Sounds like you need to give him some attention. it is hard for a relationship having a child. My friends are very lucky as their parents are very involved and allow them to go away on weekends without their DD all the time. We are not so lucky and i can't remember the last time DH and I had a weekend to ourselves. It batters your relationship and if your DH is saying that it is affecting him then i would work on it as DC2 will only add to your work load and divert attention further. Do you have any family that can take DS for a night so you and DH can have time to yourself? Sounds like he is a little lonely and misses you. Perfectly normal - it's hard to juggle everything and you sound like a loving wife and mother, but if he is asking for some attention and his character is changing through the stress, i would try to give him some and also sit down without DS - maybe go for a nice meal - and talk about things. Also make some time for teh two of you - even if it is just a movie night at home together.

Congrats on your second pregnancy. Hope all goes well.

wonderswhy Fri 19-Jun-09 10:45:58

I have just seen this and I just want to tell you that you aren't alone and that you should have heart and focus on your lovely boy and coming baby. Do you have a support network around you that you can rely on? Are there RL friends you can confide in? Please don't see it as bitching about your H, but rather seeking support and advice rather than maintaining a glossy facade.

The links you received are fantastic and the upcoming dinner should lighten you H's mood. I think you are on the right track when you suspect the pregnancy to be a repeat of previous months and your H feeling sad at being cast aside. It's not true but a lot of men feel like that. I have one at home wink

I think for the weekend planning is really key. Book it in advance, print out tickets and go. Try this one WE a month and the other 3 you amble along. It's less pressure yet still every month there is something fab to look forward to which will give you nice and lasting memories.

Good luck for your holiday!

lostangel Fri 19-Jun-09 10:48:48

Thanks for the support Stigaloid. I do get the feeling it is not so much about him spending time with the boys etc but that he misses alone time with me. He has said it in the past but it's hard for me to do anything about it because DS can be so demanding! I know I am somewhat guilty of neglecting DH. I just assumed it would all blow over as DS gets older and easier... My family is not here but my inlaws are. They want to be involved but only on their terms (and to be fair, FIL has had a run of bad health lately) as they have two dogs they treat as their babies. It's often us dragging home and hearth to them rather than the other way, which doesn't help! But I am trying not to be too precious about DS now he is older (and definitely going to be less so with DC2!), it's hard to let go of my little boy though!

lostangel Fri 19-Jun-09 10:54:34

wonderswhy - Thank you for your kind words and suggestions. I do think trying to do going out one night once a week when we haven't made the effort in the past is quite full on so your suggestion is a nice one! I was thinking of putting a note through to DS's nursery asking if anyone is willing to babysit as well. I've asked the supervisor in the past and she has said she's quite happy for me to approach her staff for babysitting outside of work. That way, we get someone we trust with DS's care and it would be nice for one of the nursery carers to earn some extra money I suppose. Will try to work towards eventually leaving DS with the inlaws overnight (Yeeks!). I guess we did use to do fun things (Alton Towers in one day from London!) but things like that just seem impossible with a LO in tow! It's just so tough isn't it?

The first few months with DS was such a haze and traumatic for me. There was no way I was thinking of DH then! Thanks for all your support.

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