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DH is on the brink.

(55 Posts)
mampam Thu 06-Aug-09 10:29:36

I think my DH is on the brink of a nervous breakdown. If he doesn't have one I might.

We have got a lot of problems at the moment. We are in deep financial sh*t. Just before Christmas last year my DH had his overtime at work cut. This was worth over £500 a month to us so Christmas was tough to get through and in the New Year Dh's work hours were cut again down to 24 per week. To top this off his bosses were taking advantage of him, not being nice to him and made his life hell. They wanted him to work full time but only wanted to put half of the hours through the books and pay him cash in hand for the rest but not at his hourly rate, at what he would be earning after he paid the tax and NI(IYSWIM??). DH said no. They then proceeded to take on 2 more members of staff, obviously paying them cash in hand. To say DH hit an all time low was an understatement.

DH handed his notice in in April and started working for himself. He had work lined up all summer and a friend of his had encouraged him to leave his employment as he had loads of work he could pass on to him also. At the beginning of June, one of the people DH had been expecting to work for all summer turned around and said they didn't have anything else and no work has materialised from the friend either. DH picks up jobs here and there but it's not enough to even cover our rent and council tax each month let alone our other bills. As you can imagine DH feels awful about this.

I have 2 DC's from a previous marriage and to say that I don't get on with ex and his wife is an understatement. I am exhausted from all the times I have tried to reason with them. Ex and his wife had an affair which was the reason for our split but I really don't care about any of that. All I want is what is best for my DC's which is for all of us to be on friendly terms but DH and wife make our lives hell. DC's have are currently on their hols with their dad, are due back on Sunday, so 2 and a half weeks in total. I have only spoken to them 3 times. Everytime I try to call them ex's mobile phone is mysteriously switched off so I have to wait until DC's are allowed to call me. So instead of enjoying these couple of weeks without DC's I have been upset and I try not to show it too much to DH because I know he worries about me and I don't want to put more stress onto him.(and I've noticed when I talk to him about any of this he is shaking like a leaf).

DH is from up north (we live down south) and he wants to move back. Financially we would be much better off if we did as we live in a very expensive part of the country. It is a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel but the only problem we can see would be DC's father. I know he can't legally stop us moving but he and his wife are very good at manipulating DC's especially DD and I can see they could scupper our plans if they wanted to. I think it would be best for all of us as we would get a fresh start and a chance to make something of ourselves and I think the distance between ex and I would be good. DC's would get to spend more quality time with him, every half term and school holiday.

DH and I were TTC but I feel like we're in a catch 22 situation really. We've no money so couldn't afford a baby but I feel like if I was pregnant it would give DH a sense of purpose again, maybe give him some extra incentive to get a new job or some new work?
We're both so stressed we probably won't be able to conceive anyway.

One good thing out of all of this is that our relationship is just as strong as ever. We're not arguing about any of it and have realised that above all else we have got each other.

I don't really know what kind of response I want from this thread. Maybe someone can pull something out of it all and give me a different perspective/thought as I have got so much going around in my head that I cannot focus on just one thing.


claricebeansmum Thu 06-Aug-09 10:56:59

Didn't want to leave your thread unanswered.

You have an awful lot on your plate at the moment is probably all I can say so don't make any quick decisions.

How old are your DC and you do have a formal arrangement about residency etc? Are you really sure that your DD is really influenced that much by your ex? DC are pretty savvy sometimes.

TBH I would be holding off having a baby right now. If you do decide to move up north then that might be a better time as you can establish new friendships through the new baby etc.

Also, your DH needs to work out realistically if there is more work for him up north - there's no point in just running away.

Take heart that you are together and strong and you will get through this.

ipiratethief Thu 06-Aug-09 11:07:45

have you looked into what benefits you might be entitled too, to help with the financial strain?

Just a phone call to your local job centre, to make an interview? They would help you and dh fill in forms to allpy for things. if you went together it would be good, and would set you minds at trest that at least that part of the your problems was getting looked into.You might be entitled to working tax credits, housing ben (if you rent) and council tax benefits.

if you feel a move would be beneficial, to you as a family unit, then I would consider it. A fresh start, and the pressure off from the ex. Your ex will always have a right to see the dc's, and it can be worked out.

It's like a pressure cooker, i do know how you feel.

mampam Thu 06-Aug-09 11:18:45

DD is 9 and DS is 6 and are very much influenced by their dad and stepmum. Not helped along by the fact that they have a lot more money than us so its really fun when DC's are with them because they can afford to take them out etc, we can't.

DH and I have done research into moving and housing prices are a lot cheaper and there are definitely many more job opportunities. Can't/won't be able to move for about a year anyway as we don't actually have a penny to our name so are stuck!

Yes I suppose it does seem like we are running away but we would hopefully be running to a better future. It has almost become impossible for us to live in this area financially but socially too. Ex and wife have made things awkward for us socially too. I used to get on great guns with his family but he didn't speak to them for over a year because they came to my wedding. They are on friendly terms again now but they are uncomfortable being friendly to me as they know that they won't be spoken to if they are friends with me.

It's pretty much the same with our mutual friends too. I know they are not real friends if they act this way but it's got to the stage where DH and I won't accept anymore invites to things as we are ignored etc. This is a very small community so there is no escaping it.

I just don't understand why ex and wife want it like this. Surely it's best for the DC's if we all get on instead of there being this awful atmosphere looming over our heads???

ipiratethief Thu 06-Aug-09 11:25:16

I wouldn't call it runing away. You are entitled to be happier somewhere else. Why the hell not!!

I have a friend, whose ex dh left her for ow, and she has her life ruined all the time by them rubbing her nose in it. Sadly she wants to move back to the UK, but can't as her ex won't allow it, and a lengthy court case has just ruled in his favour.

You don't need his permission. I know he has rights, but you do need to be happy too.

sorky Thu 06-Aug-09 11:30:38

He can prevent you from moving up North if its a considerable distance away from your Ex I'm afraid. He could make things difficult by stating the children would be too far away for him to have regular access.
I wouldn't ttc atm either.

Might I suggest that you contact your Ex and his wife and try again to have a grownup approach (despite them) to raising the children, maybe even use a mediator. If you can be friendly/civil, hold out the olive branch (it may take a couple of times), then when you do come to look at moving in the next year it will likely be easier if you're all speaking/on decent terms.

Your Ex maybe more amenable, or less likely to put a spanner in, just because he can.

I hope you get sorted soon

mampam Thu 06-Aug-09 11:32:12

Thanks. I only want what is best for all of us. What's best for DC's is that they have a good relationship with their father so I would do everything I possibly can to maintain that relationship if we move but DC's also need a good start in life and with us never having any money, they miss out, this isn't good either and they deserve to grow up in a happy household.

DH deserves to be happy too and all this stress is getting too much for him (for me too really). To be in financial difficulty is bad enough but to have all of this other stuff looming over our heads too I couldn't even begin to describe what it feels like.

mampam Thu 06-Aug-09 11:37:06

I have tried the olive branch approach many, many times over the past 5 years but to no avail. I am nothing but friendly/civil towards both of them but they seem hell bent on making life as difficult as possible for me.

We wouldn't be able to afford a mediator unfortunately sad.

CarGirl Thu 06-Aug-09 11:41:46

Did you post about this a week or so ago? I don't think you really have a choice, you need to live somewhere cheaper and your dh needs a job. You can still facilitate contact between your dcs and their Dad, long weekends when there are inset days, more school holidays with them etc in addition to regular weekends.

mampam Thu 06-Aug-09 11:46:31

Yes thanks CarGirl I did post about moving. DH just seems to be spiralling towards some kind of meltdown and I feel powerless to help him.

Just want some perspective/opinions on our situation to see if there is anything we haven't yet thought of or is there is another way of looking at it?

CarGirl Thu 06-Aug-09 11:48:05

well def look into claiming benefits now, have you rang CTC and asked that you be assessed on current income status rather than last years income?

sorky Thu 06-Aug-09 11:51:19

Can I suggest something taboo?

Do you think your dc would be better off if the access arrangements were reversed? So they had residency with your Ex and all holidays with you.

I just ask because painful as it was, a relative of mine did this, but she wanted out of the marriage for another person. She wasn't already separated and in a different relationship.

She has 2 weekends in 3 and almost all holidays because she moved 300 miles away. The children reside with their father in the old family home, she originally intended to move the children but he went to court to prevent her from doing so.
It's all amicable now thank god, but was horrid for about 6 months after the move.
It was decided the best interests of the children were to remain in the community where they were, schools, friends, social life, extended family etc.

chickybabe Thu 06-Aug-09 11:53:28

Aww bless you. I think in situations lke this you need to break things down into managable chunks so you can deal with them 1 at a time.

Firstly defo get in contact with jobcentre plus. Have a meeting - work out what your entitled to - there is help out there. You can go online and make the application there. They phone you and arrange an appointment at your local centre. A bit of pressure off your financial status can help you see things more clearly.

This situation with your ex is bizzare. They had an affair behind your back, you (i'm guessing) divorce him, he marries her, you find a great guy and marry him and they have the cheek to make your life hell??!!! And using the kids?? The mind boggles at some people. You sound like an incredible mum, and I'm sure anyone who knows you will be in your corner.

Why have they got such a problem? Is it because maybe she got your man and then realsied how misirable he makes her? Is it because you moved on and are happy and he cant hack it? I'd find out if I were you I agree with the other poster - maybe arrange some mediation if they cant be grown up - this cant go on as it will affect your children.

I'm just at the begining of the end of my marriage - but if I can be as dignified and patient as you are being, I'll be very proud of myself. Remember you have DH and its so good your staying strong and when all this works out - which it will - maybe that would be time to think about another baby, and it will be for the right reasons.

Good luck xx

nje3006 Thu 06-Aug-09 11:55:51

I'm sorry things are so hard for you atm.

I agree with the others, I think ttc right now will just add more emotional and financial strain. Really doesn't sound like a good idea.

On the X issue I think we all see things from our own perspective. You say that X's phone is switched off when you have tried to call to speak to dc's. My partner has 4 kids with his XW and it drives us nuts when she calls to speak to them when they are on holiday with us. The kids don't particularly want to speak to her. It's about her needs not the kids, they're having a good time, they can talk to her whenever they like but they never choose to do so. She always asks us to call her to let her know we got there safely. We don't do that. It's drama making to wish the worst just b/c she doesn't get a call to say all is well.

So I don't know if some of the stuff with X is b/c the two of you aren't on the same page about things. Does he think you worry too much, want to contact the kids too much when they're with him? Do you worry about them when they're with him or is it that you just want to say hi?
Is that for you or the kids?

I also agree with the others, an X can stop you from moving away in some circumstances. I think it's called a prohibited steps order. DP recently refused consent for the kids to move abroad with XW. The kids really didn't want to go, if they had he would have said ok. So you might want to check with X how he would feel about a move by you before you make too many arrangements and then if he says no, see if you can get some (free) legal advice about where you stand.

Good luck


expatinscotland Thu 06-Aug-09 11:59:04

sorky speaks sense. it's not a given that you can move that far away and take the children with you. your ex could take you to court.

please hold off on ttc for now! you say your relationship with your husband is solid and as that is so then a baby can wait for now till you get better sorted.

although you feel distance between you and your ex would be good for you, your ex may not see it this way wrt to your children and, as their father, his opinion counts.

despite how you feel about him, he will always be their father and, in general and excepting abuse, it's usually good for children to have as much contact as possible with the non-resident parent.

Pinkjenny Thu 06-Aug-09 12:03:17

I don't mean to wade in with my size tens, but good lord nje3006, god forbid my dh ever divorces me and married someone who resents me calling my own children, or making sure they are safe.

CarGirl Thu 06-Aug-09 12:04:11

I think more than how many miles it would, how long would the commute between the 2 homes take, faster by train or will it have to be by road, happy to meet them half way etc?

I agree with phoning them on holidays. It is your ex's 2 weeks with his dc why would he want you on the phone all the time? Hard as it is to accept your dc probably aren't thinking much about you at the moment because they are happy with their Dad - which is a good thing.

expatinscotland Thu 06-Aug-09 12:04:24

'She always asks us to call her to let her know we got there safely. We don't do that. It's drama making to wish the worst just b/c she doesn't get a call to say all is well. '

Are you a mother, nj? Because if my kids were off on holiday and I wasn't there I'd like to know if they arrived safely. Nothing to do with imagining the worst, just think it's a courteous thing to do.

Hell, my ILs and parents do that if/when they take the kids somewhere.

mampam Thu 06-Aug-09 12:17:54

Just for the record I do not want to be on the phone to my DC's all the time and when I do speak to them I try and keep the call to a minimum.

So is it ok for me to switch off my phone so that ex can't contact DC's when they are with me not him???

Does it always have to be about what ex wants? Do I always have to go along with something just because it's what he wants? What about what I want?

sorky Thu 06-Aug-09 12:18:37

Could you ask your dc's to ring you when they get there?

I do think this is a perfectly reasonable request tbh. I don't really think you should expect to speak to them whilst they are with their father though, unless the children want to ring you.

In the situation I was referring to the eldest child had a mobile phone and would use this to ring the other parent when they wanted to.
If they don't ring you then it's safe to assume they're okay

I get where you're coming from, we're all mothers, it's our job to worry about them regardless isn't it? It can't be made any easier by having an acrimonious relationship with your Ex.

sorky Thu 06-Aug-09 12:22:05

No of course it's not, it's not about either of you getting what you want, it's about being fair. What I mean is, what is fair to both families?
What do your children want?

CarGirl Thu 06-Aug-09 12:26:21

the phone thing is hard to get right. Do you have set times for your ex to phone them when they are with you? If you don't and you find it intrusive why don't you sort something out?

I do think they should be ringing you to say they got there okay!!! I think people go away on hols it is a bit different because they want to get away from everyone & everything IYSWIM and nowadays the only way to achieve that is turning your mobile off.

mampam you clearly are trying to do the right thing by your dc but yes you have to put yourselves first some of the time and perhaps the needing to move is one of them.

What contact do your dc have at the moment and how would it be affected by moving away and what could be changed to make it more workable? Your dcs are older and they can sustain a close relationship with their Dad even if they can't see him every week.

nje3006 Thu 06-Aug-09 12:27:45

I agree that parents have a duty to check the safety of the children when they are out of their care. But when the children are with a parent, I don't think this is necessary.

Say we go on holiday and there IS a terrible accident. How will calling help? If something happens, their father will do whatever needs to be done. If something happens, he would call their mother straight away. We take the opposite view on the default position - if you hear nothing everything is ok, if something is wrong, DP will call.

Yes parents have responsibilities but unless there is some reason for believing the other parent is inadequate in some way, I don't see why the parent who doesn't have them at that time can't have faith that all is well. I'm talking about the situation where the other parent is responsible and capable.

I realise it borders on heresy on MN to question whether what mothers do is reasonable. I'm not saying that one way or the other is better, I'm just saying people have different views.

And sure you can say why should you go along with something just b/c it's something he wants. And he might say the same thing. It doesn't solve anything.

Putting on my flame retardant clothing...but just trying to put another POV...

sorky Thu 06-Aug-09 12:27:50

What extended family (on both sides) are close to you? It might be that it's not just your Ex who loses out in terms of access, but other family members too.

Do the children have a good social network of school, friends, family, activities?
If they do, is it fair that they give all that up to move to an area where they have to start again because of what you want?

Would your ex want residency? Would the children want that? Could you live with that decision?

I agree that contacting the benefits agencies might be the best option, with perhaps your Dh giving up work altogether until he can secure something more suitable. You may find you're able to manage a bit better with some financial assistance.

I do hope you get something sorted and your Dh feels better soon

mampam Thu 06-Aug-09 12:29:26

So is it fair that I've been bullied, harrassed and hounded, and I've been made to feel like a social reject by my ex and his wife for the last 5 years?

These people do not play fair. If they wanted to scupper our plans they would manipulate DC's regardless if DC's want to move. If they played fair I wouldn't have had to have put up with this shit for 5 years.

It's draining, I'm tired of it all and I shouldn't be sat here in floods of tears.

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