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Can anyone understand why this has upset me so much?

(32 Posts)
OrmIrian Thu 13-Aug-09 10:07:06

I am struggling with DS#2 atm. I have whinged about him on here from time to time. He's very demanding and tiring. He is stubborn as a mule and very uncompromising. Life with him is a series of battles. However he is also totally adorable and very loving. So.. we muddle along.

Recently he has been almost impossible to get to sleep. The last few nights I have carried out the termtime bed-time routine to the letter - bath, books, cuddle - that we had let slip a little during the holidays. Normally that works after a while - takes 10/15 mins before he actually goes to sleep.
But atm he simply can't get off. So most of my last 2 evenings have been spent getting DS#2 to sleep. I have a very sore foot, I am
creeping back into the depression that hit me last summer mainly because I can't run and I am working full-time whilst DH is at home with the DC.

DH went out last night and the night before to the gym. I have no problem with that, never have. But it did mean that I was coping with all of this alone. DS#2 will stay up till really late given the chance and because eventually I fell asleep with DS#2, DS#1 didn't get to bed till after 11.

I was talking to DH about all this this morning. His only contribution was to say 'we have to put a stop to this as it's killing our sex life'. Bugger the fact that it's wearing me to a frazzle, that it's making DS#2 tired and cantakerous, that my evenings are disappearing down the swanee, that I get no time with the other DC. Sex is a fraught subject with us at the best of times. I have a very low sex drive, DH doesn't. We compromise with once or twice a week. I'd never bother again given the choice and DH would do it more often. But the quantity hasn't really dropped recently.

Is it odd that his comment has bothered me so much? It felt like a slap in the face. Doesn't it seem selfish? I have had my doubts about our marriage before - the usual ones that hit any long-term relationship I guess - but I have always comforted myself that things were OK. But this, added to other little things, has really upset me. Does it seem daft?

cornsillk Thu 13-Aug-09 10:11:15

No it doesn't seem daft at all - your dh probably doesn't really how tired/stressed you are and is looking at it from his point of view. The 11p.m bedtime must be hard.

cthea Thu 13-Aug-09 10:12:51

How old are the DCs? Does your DH do enough with them during the day to tire them out? I can see why it annoyed you so much, you are tired and you didn't want another "demand" on you.

flier Thu 13-Aug-09 10:13:16

Sorry you're having such a shit time and of course I can see why he has upset you so much with what he has said. I think that, in general, men think firstly of themselves and sex - no matter what. We have to spell things out to them.
What did you say when he said it - did you spell out to him what you are going through and how you are feeling?

Hassled Thu 13-Aug-09 10:14:12

It was a pretty bloody thoughtless thing to say. But that's probably the extent of it - thoughtless rather than malicious. It was maybe something he had just been thinking about, so was the first thing out of his mouth, IYSWIM. But your reaction certainly isn't daft.

To be honest, I think you're doing pretty well with once or twice a week. That doesn't strike me as being an infrequent sex life. Is the incompatible sex drive issue something you can talk about easily with each other?

Hassled Thu 13-Aug-09 10:17:45

DS2 is 6, yes? (that's what it says on your profile). If he's 6 or older, you need to think Tough Love - take the approach that if he can't get to sleep that really is his problem and he can look at books in bed for as long as it takes. I've done this with my 7 year old DS3. Everyone needs a bit of evening time to restore sanity - you shouldn't have to be getting into bed with him.

OrmIrian Thu 13-Aug-09 10:20:58

Thanks. Its good to know I am not a total look. I was also taken aback by how much it upset me.

No hassled. We talk about it obliquely. TBH I tend to fight shy of the subject these days. I can't explain to DH how I feel and it's hard to tell someone that you don't want sex with them.

cthea - yes that is it. Another demand. It's a chore and I know it shouldn't be like that. I was worrying about DS and the sleep issue and all of a sudden something else urgent and important was put in my mental in-tray.

Roomfor2 Thu 13-Aug-09 10:21:00

Sounds like you are hurt that he completely bypassed the difficulties you are facing and just thought about his own needs - typical man, I have to say!

I think men are often more focussed on the 'practical' aspects, and concrete consequences, so a lack of sex (or what he sees as a lack) is something easier for him to identify than something more ambiguous like your feelings (which men just don't seem to get, do they!).

I wouldn't take is as a 'problem' in the marriage so much as just a problem of the difference between men and women in general. My DH does the same thing - can be having a huge conversation (or, me talking a lot by myself actually) often the only thing he will actually say back is something so trivial like that I got the number of times something happened wrong (it was twice, not three times!) or the date (that happened on Saturday, not Sunday!), and I'm left open-mouthed that in the grand scheme of the important 'discussion', all he can contribute is something so trivial! Makes my blood boil. But he does admit that often it is because he just agrees with everything I've said and can't think of anything else to say... I take that as a good thing. Perhaps the same is true here, and your DH heard and agreed with everything you said, but wanted to add his own gripe (the sex) into the mix. Men aren't very good at empathising or sympathising, so we will usually be disappointed by them if we expect them to say all the right things.

I would just be open and say you're struggling, tired, and a little hurt that he doesn't seem to recognise that and show you much support. Perhaps he needs it spelling out to him?

OrmIrian Thu 13-Aug-09 10:22:20

hassled - I only get into bed to read to him. The other problem is that the 2 boys share a room so DS#2 goes to sleep in our bed or his brother keeps him awake (and vice versa)

mrsboogie Thu 13-Aug-09 10:23:37

Selfish thoughtless git!! don't blame you for being upset.

If the boy isn't as tired as he would be during term time is your DH not getting him to do enough active stuff during the day? is he letting him lie in bed later than normal?

Tell him its his job to give him a good run out during the day and make sure he is tired at night.

Hassled Thu 13-Aug-09 10:26:43

My DSs2 & 3 share a room - bunk beds. They both have little lights - ones you can angle so one won't disturb the other, and one can be reading while the other's sleeping. Would that work?

Re the talking - I have a lot of sympathy; it's astonishing how difficult it can be to talk about something so intimate. What I don't have is a solution.

OptimistS Thu 13-Aug-09 10:28:48

Orm, I've read many of your posts on here over time, and I have to say that long before this post I'd reached the conclusion that your DH was a selfish individual and that you gave far more to your marriage than your husband. I wasn't in the least bit surprised to read what he'd said. Nor am I surprised that you're upset by it, and yes, I can totally understand why you're so upset. I would be too. It was probably a flippant, throwaway comment on his part, meant partly in jest, but it does giveaway the underlying feeling that he feels it's all about him.

I appreciate that if you're in a low spot in your marriage at the moment (which, as you say, does happen in many otherwise-successful long-term relationships), it may be that I am making an unfair judgement on your DH and that I am guilty of taking your perception of your relationship as fact, whereas the truth is often a lot more complicated of course. Unfortunately, I suspect that your perception is probably pretty accurate. Your other posts on various subjects suggest you posses a fair degree of insight into others and your own behaviour, so even if your thinking is a bit skewed I think it unlikely that you're completely off base.

Next quesion: What are you going to do about it? Continuing as you are is not an option and will benefit no one. You know your DH better than anyone. If he's just selfish (as opposed to abusive) and basically a decent person, then, if you love him, you can work with this and overcome it. You will need to establish clear boundaries over what is and isn't acceptable behaviour and ensuring that you both have equal time off. As a SAHD he is certainly entitled to a night out and a break from the DC. However, as a WOHM, you are also entitled to come home and put your feet up a couple of nights a week while he sees to DC. It should be a partnership and you should both have equal 'me time'. If you have trouble 'negotiating' things with your DH, perhaps Relate or similar might be an option.

Working on your marriage will require time and effort, and it's possible that you may decide it's not worth the trouble. In the meantime though you can achieve more immediate results with DS2's sleep problems. First of all you probably need to get rid of the habit of staying with him until he falls asleep. I'm not going to insult your intelligence by offering suggestions as I expect you've probably tried most of them already, but ask your HV/GP for a referral to a sleep specialist or try contacting one directly if you can afford it (averages about £400 I think). I understand that most problems can be turned around very quickly indeed once the true nature of the problem is understood (often the child doesn't consciously know) and the correct solution applied.

Sorry if the tone of this is a bit preachy. I don't mean it to be. It's just that when I read your post I got a flash of irritation at your DH because it's yet another example of a selfish man taking advantage of a strong, capable, caring woman. (I know it happens the other way round too).

I hope things improve and you get it sorted. smile

OrmIrian Thu 13-Aug-09 10:33:26

mrsb - thankyou. We have both been guilty of letting them sleep later to stop DS#2 being so vile. But he certainly has been 'exercising' the DC grin They spent all of yesterday in my parents' garden in and out of the swimming pool. DS#2 is simply the most un-tireable child.

hassled - I think little lights would help. DS#1 has one on his top bunk but I think it's is too bright - it tends to light up the room too much. If DS#2 was actually asleep when DS#1 went to bed it would be OK but he can keep himself away for hours.

Doodle2u Thu 13-Aug-09 10:41:35

Orm, I have an eight year old boy with the same problem. He has always been like this. He just doesn't seem to need as much sleep. He wakes up really early too and as he has to share a room with his sister (age 6) for now, so he wakes her up too. He can function with little sleep. She cannot.

He is on the top bunk. He now has his own light up there. He goes to bed at 8pm (more like 9 just at the moment coz of hols) and I leave him reading. No point fighting it anymore because nothing I do, say or threaten is going to make him sleep.

The deal is - he shuts up (he talks for England and if nobody is around or awake, he talks to himself!)....so, he shuts up and he is allowed to read. In the morning, he HAS to stay in the bed until 7am but if he wakes early, he can read.

To strike the deal, I've had to say no to all sleep-overs until further notice and at the moment, it's no to Cub Camp until he proves to me he can be considerate to other sleepers between the hours of 8/9pm and 7am. (Between you and me, I have no intention of NOT letting him go on Cub Camp but it was the strongest bargaining chip I had in my hand!).

Dunno about your DH - sounds like a throw-away comment to me. I would have been upset but I would have handled it differently.....I'd have ripped his head off and shat down his neck....but that's probably not great advice to anyone else! blush

OrmIrian Thu 13-Aug-09 10:41:46

Blimey optimist! Thankyou for that long post smile. I suspect that you are right in one sense at least. I do give more to our marriage than DH. But he is a decent guy and I suspect I could do a lot worse. And there are good things about him - that I don't appreciate enough. But I do feel that we are loving at cross-purposes IYSWIM. He wants us to have a one-to-one relationship that partially excludes the DC and sees them as an add-on. I want to have a family relationship that includes them as the very centre. But getting him to talk about any of this is impossible.

What to do? I don't know. But this might help me to accept that something maybe needs to be done. Thankyou.

WreckOfTheHesperus Thu 13-Aug-09 10:51:06

OrmIrian, you have my sympathies here, as it sounds like you are worn to the bone, and agree with most of other posters'comments.

It sounds like you've got everything on your plate that you can deal with right now, and that one of your ways of coping with the problems is the thought that your other plates are spinning quite happily. Now DH (with rubbish timing) has pointed out that one of those plates is actually not spinning for him.

Perhaps DH only made this contribution as he agrees with everything that you've said, but is also genuinely worried that you would "never bother" with sex given half a chance, that this is a real issue for him?

flashharriet Thu 13-Aug-09 10:53:02

Reading your last post, I think the issue is that you're both right! Family time is vital but "couple-time" <barf> is equally important too. I sympathise greatly because our relationship pretty much matches yours except I work part time and DH works long hours.

Someone v wise once said to me that the essence of a good relationship is being kind to each other above everything else. He's not being kind to you at the moment but obviously still has his own wants and needs, which is why his remark yesterday elicited the reaction it did from you. If he'd taken one look at you and said "I'll go to the gym tomorrow", dealt with the kids and given you a shoulder rub, he'd have had a greater chance of a shag, wouldn't he??

It doesn't sound like a dealbreaker to me tbh but it does sound like you could do with a night out together, or better still a weekend away, so that you can both speak and be heard about what's important to you.

OrmIrian Thu 13-Aug-09 10:56:51

We do try to be kind to each other - little acts of consideration, and gestures of affection. It's something I know that helps hugely. As does sex for him. But right now the DCs seem to be everywhere all the time. Whereas I am prepared to put up with that for the time being he isn't. And TBH i feel so cross with him that I can't imagine anything worse than being forced to spend time in his company alone.

GrinnyPig Thu 13-Aug-09 11:03:07

Flashharriets comments on being kind to one another are spot on. In your situation I'd be very tempted to quote them to your DH. A night out together to talk does sound like a good idea, although I personally wouldn't suggest the weekend away because your DH is likely to view it as a shagathon opportunity, rather than a chance to talk.

I have been a SAHM and now work part time. I have always done the majority of household chores and childcare which I think is fair enough as I spend much more time at home. Your situation is reversed and so, honestly, I believe he should be taking a much bigger role in your DSs sleep problems than you.

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Thu 13-Aug-09 11:14:56

Mm it sounds like there are several different things going on here and I can't really offer any help with a lot of them (e.g. don't know much about kids and sleep once past the toddler stage!).

But the comment from your husband reminded me of something that might just be useful. Before DS was born I picked up a book called "Babyproofing your marriage". Haven't looked at it since DS was born grin but it did have some eye-opening things in it for me.

Mostly it is a set of anonymous interviews with mums and dads about the various effects of having kids on their relationships; and one of the things I was surprised at was the men's comments on sex and just how important it was to them - which might go some way to explaining your DH's comment (tho agree it is still very thoughtless!).
Also they had women's comments on and reactions to the same thing, and saying similar things to what some people have said here (e.g. that being more sympathetic and helping more would get him in with a better chance!). So it might be an interesting read for BOTH of you perhaps?

I think it also covered the question about family vs couple-time to an extent, though can't remember that much - I really should read it again myself!

Uriel Thu 13-Aug-09 11:21:44

Orm - I would second (or third!) the suggestion about letting your son read/play quietly while the others sleep and you relax.

I was like this as a child and it was so BORING going to bed when you weren't tired. I remember playing for hours with a teddy, making up games in my head, cos I wasn't allowed to read or get out of bed.

One of my kids is the same and I let her have a later bedtime, even though she's not the oldest, and then she reads until she's sleepy.

And yes, your dh's comment would have bothered me too.

flashharriet Thu 13-Aug-09 11:54:14

Have reread your post and I think it sound vital for you to carve out some time for both of you each evening, preferably together but also for each of you to pursue your own interests. You don't say how old your DSes are but it's reasonable that they go upstairs at a certain time, even if they don't go to sleep, so you get to kick back and relax. If DS2 is still reading at gone 11pm but can function fine the following day (and crucially is not bothering you), then I would go with it, as long as DS1 can get the sleep he needs (presume having a bedroom each is not possible?).

OrmIrian Thu 13-Aug-09 12:05:14

flash - I go running regularly. That is my space. But I can't right now - which is one of my problems. DH goes out to the gym or to play snooker. But you are right about the DCs going to bed even if they stay awake. Then there might be some time for us. And no, until we move, there isn't a chance for seperate rooms.

OrmIrian Thu 13-Aug-09 13:43:38

I feel calmer now and I am sure that DH was just trying to mention a subject close to his heart (so to speak) so that I don't push it into the dusty corners and forget about it. Which I am likely to do. I think I just view it differently to him - to me it's an extra that isn't that big a deal, to him it's a fundamental. And I might think he is being selfish but he isn't really. Would still have appreciated a little more general support mind you hmm.

flashharriet Thu 13-Aug-09 13:46:50

I'm glad you're feeling better and I think you've completely hit the nail on the head in your last post re DH.

Is there anything you could do to replace running in the short term - yoga or pilates for example? - that would get you out of the house in the same way that running does? Sounds like it's a necessity to your well-being.

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