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Is separation from DP the only answer?

(30 Posts)
TeddyRuckspin Mon 22-Mar-10 12:59:41

I wasn't sure whether I should ask this in aibu, dadsnet, here or if at all...but I chose here because I think its a more complicated relationship issue overall and would hope to get a lot more responses here...

I'm trying to gage opinions and advice really. I've had a little trawl through some threads but have not come across any situations similar to mine where the man feels victimised..

a bit of background, been with DP for nearly 5 yrs, we have 11month old beautiful twins who I adore smile and we've been living together for about a year and a half. As usual in the beginning things between us were peachy, we spent a lot of time together, laughed and joke all the time, I felt we had a lot of common ground and shared similar interest etc

fast forward about 3 years, cracks started to appear in our relationship. One of the many issues was trust I reckon. I consider myself to be very sociable and have a largish group of close mates, when I met DP she also had a fair amount of friends too and appeared to be quite sociable, but sooner became more recluse and distant with her friends. I always believed this was potentially going to be a problem, but at the time she seemed to be comfortable with her choice and as such viewed me as her best friend, I on the other hand remained in close contact with my friends.

When it came to going out with mates, I noticed DP would become very irritated to the point of getting into a right mood whenever I was making meeting up arrangements, she once said she resented the fact of me going out, but I've never been able to get to the bottom of her resentment other than thinking it was maybe jealousy. Now, I 'd like to point out, I'm not like a lot of men who spend most evenings down the local boozer, or have an active interest in sports e.g football, rugby. I do however workout at the gym, no more than 3x a week mind (not so much in recent times due to baby care). Anyway I would probably meet up with friends roughly twice a month, cut down from maybe once a week, this to me was a big compromise as I missed the regular catch up with friends. sad

A lot of the issues we had, our way of tackling them was to brush them under the carpet! I know I know not a good way of dealing with things...and we soon realised this, as after a very short break up due to the rising hump in the carpet... we agreed to seek a counsellor.

At this time, DP was heavily pregnant, so a very critical and worrying time to be going through with all this...but if there was any hope in saving our relationship we needed this help quickly.

The sessions brought about some serious concerns, such as lost sex drive (me), general resentment (her) and lack of respect (both) It was very hard coming to terms with the truth. But the good thing about it was that it gave us a chance to air out our differences with one and other without locking horns, as we both have strong opinions, which only lets up with someone giving in...which I believe was usually me...no doubt DP would disagree but ultimately we both wanted to try and save the relationship. Unfortunately the sessions with the counsellor were brought to a premature stop due to DP pregnant condition, so we never really had any real closure, other than to go away with a couple of useful tips.

So four years in to the relationship, the tension is creeping back in, as we're finding it more and more difficult to get along. For the life of me I don't know why things have turned out like this, as sometimes we are fine and then next minute we can't stand the sight of each other. It was just only last month we had a lovely short break to Italy. DP is now off maternity leave and gone back to work and DC go to grandparents in the day. Like I said we have been living together for about 18 months and are renting a smallish one bed flat, before that we were both renting separately. Having DC had uplift the mood greatly but generally I find being a parent of two young babies extremely difficult and sometimes tiring, although now that they're a little older, things have gotten easier. I am not perfect but I like to think I'm doing the best I can as a father in providing for my family and I know I do a damn sight more for my DC than some other dads around I know. I'm working F/T in a pretty secured job that's paying me enough to get by and make contributions to shopping, rent and bills but its not the ideal situation I would like us to be in and would love like anybody else to have more disposable income. I use to squander money but with the help and advice from DP who's more stringent with cash I've since wised up and gotten serious about the future. e.g saving for a mortgage, saving for the childrens well being and general all round happiness such as nice holidays etc

But heres the glumness, I feel me and DP are not on the same page anymore. Not only that but I also find her a tad controlling, likes to order me about and does not give me enough credit and support for the effort I put in. I give her credit as a mother but I don't think we are equal parents when it comes to raising the kids...its normally she's right and I'm wrong, and any input of mine is usually turned down in a very condescending way, so often that it leaves me feeling like this useless person hanging around being ignored. But then if you asked her what she thought of me as a father, she would most likely say I cope very well at being a father, however I think that translates to; I cope very well at taking orders from her and as long as I continue to, we shouldn't encounter any problems!

I'm struggling to live like this and it's really making me feel dejected and unhappy sad I also don't want to make DP unhappy. It's the DC I'm most concerned about, due to the crap atmosphere I don't want them to feel the negative impact so much so that I often close myself away in opposite rooms away from DP just to prevent us winding each other up over petty things, and remember I said its a very small flat IYSWIM. DP just seems to have a constant chip on her shoulder. I also fear that should we were to part she would be a right b** about things, judging from her personality... there is a prominent side to her that comes across as very stern, she most definitely has a sting in her tail! although jokingly she's mentioned before, if we were to split I wouldn't have a problem seeing the kids ...I'm not so sure I believe her. albeit she'd makes things a little difficult (I hope I'm wrong).


But wait there's more!... and here is where it gets even more complex, we've been very silly and irresponsible, as just found out yesterday there is a possible third child on the way! shock I don't know what to think anymore... but really don't think I/we could cope mentally, financially or physically with another baby right now, especially when the relationship is on the verge of collapse, but DP is indicating otherwise....and of course I understand it's up to her to decide. But just the thought of having had 2 kids with a woman I'm no longer with anymore is very unsettling, let alone three!. Life is like pooey nappies right now!

GabrieleJ Mon 22-Mar-10 15:59:58

That doesn't sound good at all. The most important thing is your kids at the moment but that doesn't mean that you have to stay together because you have children.

If you don't enjoy spending time with each other and you shut yourself in a different room at home it does sound like the end of your relationship. I however believe that most of relationships can be saved if both partners wants to work on it and compromise. You have to tell her openly how you feel and that you want to work on it hard every day. You moved in together not long ago and had twins that is a big change. It can be hard to get used to everything being so different all of a sudden... It took me about a year to get used to all the changes and c clearly how better everything is after me and my husband had a baby, and even thou we didn't have major relationship problems it was hard thing to do.

Just c if you both want to save this relationship and work hard every day to do so.

Good luck

cheerfulvicky Mon 22-Mar-10 16:17:41

Bloody hell, it doesn't sound like a bed of roses, that's for sure. You two seem a little like me and my ex - we have just split up for similar reasons but are still living in the same house.

The thing is, there are some relationships where you can see objectively that with a lot of hard work and communication (communication is SO important) they could be good again. But, do either of you really want to put in that work, and are you going to? If you didn't have kids together, what would you do?

I find that children can really complicate things and muddy the water to the extent that people find themselves 'hanging in there' for ages in a situation where if there were no kids, they would never put up with the level of shiteness that some of these relationships have.
I don't know what it is about having children that makes people assume the kids will always be better off even if their parents are snapping and snarling at each other over their heads. But it sounds like you haven't fallen into that outdated thinking, which is good! It does affect them, and very little ones do pick up on atmospheres and arguments.

It sounds you just you alone would benefit from Relate, so you can sort out what to do. As you are both working full time, would things look vastly different if you split up, apart from you both being happier and having more space? As the DC's are with grandparents in the day, that sounds positive and like they would have some stability whatever happened. You sound worried that DP would stop you from seeing them, and I totally understand that. Some people are awful when they are angry and can do vindictive things.
I would definitely you suggest Relate to your DP, and if she doesn't want to go, then go alone. Does she know how bad things are, i.e that you are thinking of leaving? Or would it be a complete shock for her if you broached the subject?

Sometimes relationships run their course. However, don't underestimate the shock of having TWO eleven month olds. It take most relationships a while to recover from the whole baby thing! I hope you get a place for you to sound off - as well as MN - because it sounds like you need it.

LadyLapsang Mon 22-Mar-10 18:00:48

You both sound like you have a lot on your plate at the moment and it's bound to be a challenging time; combining work with raising two two young babies and possibly another on the way, especially when you consider that you haven't been living together very long.

I think you should both try very hard to be kind to each other and go back to counselling.
I'm a bit confused why you say you feel victimised though. Does your DP get a break from the twins and work as much as you do (at the gym and out with friends)? She may not be keeping up with her old friends as her life has moved on but she might want a break in other ways.
Try not to say / do anything rash, you are all under enormous pressure.

WhenwillIfeelnormal Mon 22-Mar-10 21:06:23

Teddy - having two babies is really, really tough on any relationship. I understand your concern about another one coming along so soon. What you two probably need more than anything at the moment is a break.

I was also a little confused about how much leisure time you have compared to your DP - but will say up front that this can really breed resentment. Do you take the twins out on your own at all, so that your DP can do what she wants to do?

If you are to become parents again, I'd really recommend some counselling again. I'd also start taking some practical steps to ensure you get help e.g. a local Sure Start centre or some local colleges encourage childcare course students to have placements with young families. Just an extra pair of hands at times really helps.

Having had two children very close together, it helped us at the time to talk, talk and talk again and to reason that the baby years do not last forever and that there would be light at the end of the tunnel. Your aim is to get through it as a team - and try to make eachother laugh occasionally at the sheer ridiculousness of the situations you sometimes find yourself in.

As gently as you can too, try to encourage your DP to branch out a bit more and re-connect with old friends. She could also start going to toddler groups now, although even that can be daunting at first with two little ones. Why not take them yourself the first time, or go as a family?

Keep talking, stop hiding away from eachother and recognise that you're both going through the toughest time - try to get through this with lots of small, but kind gestures.

TeddyRuckspin Tue 23-Mar-10 13:08:23

Thank you all for your help and advice. Regarding leisure time, I'm a very firm believer in the point that just because people become parents it doesn't mean they should give up all the hobbies and things they love doing, things that define who they are, in order to become brilliant mummies and daddies. If anything it probably keeps the relationship fun, fresh and healthy.

DP always has the freedom to do as she please, I would never discourage her from telling me she wanted a break from DC. I guess I could take the initiative to offer more to look after DC while she's goes out, however that's still no excuse. We are actually privileged that we have a good support network that will not hesitate to help out with babysitting, should we want to go out and spend quality time together. Frankly it baffles me as to why DP doesn't like to make more use of her free time for that reason it makes things difficult when one parent can see the importance of it and the other... well...would rather use that time to stay in looking after the DC. No matter how much love you have for your kids, surely that's not healthy for neither mum or DC?

..anyway we are going to talk it over tonight, hopefully it wont turn in to verbal war. sad

WhenwillIfeelnormal Tue 23-Mar-10 13:18:15

Teddy - it still sounds as though you don't look after the babies much by yourself - and this really could be causing some resentment. However good the support network, it's a big ask of people to look after baby twins - whereas your DP won't (and shouldn't) feel it's a big ask of their father.

Yes you're right that parenthood shouldn't mean abandoning all other interests, but most new parents find - and expect - that those early years are so consuming and tiring, old interests wane somewhat. Perhaps you haven't fallen in love with parenthood as much as your DP? She possibly doesn't understand why you don't want to spend every minute with the babies and you don't understand why she doesn't want to escape from time to time, like you do?

Condensedmilkaddict Tue 23-Mar-10 13:27:59

Sorry you're unhappy. But it sounds as though your DP is too.
Life/marriage is sometimes like that...it's not all romance and roses, especially when you are both working full time with young babies.
Why don't you ask her about the chip on her shoulder?
A wise person once said that if you want a perfect partner, you have to BE a perfect partner.
Why don't you try bringing home flowers tomorrow? Giving her a massage (she is possibly pregnant after all) or cooking her favourite meal.
Possibly she is exhausted. I would be - looking after twins, working full time and looking after your finances.
Sorry OP, but I think before you can walk away from this you need to put in a lot of effort. The problems you describe do not seem insurmountable. Really, you both have a stressful life, and need to make your relationship a priority and put some work into it.
In answer to your question, I think you would be a bit of an ass to separate from your DP at this stage, without giving it a really good try.

TeddyRuckspin Tue 23-Mar-10 14:11:45

@ WhenwillIfeelnormal, You are probably right, I think she has fallen in love with parenthood more than I Have.

and @ Condensedmilkaddict: Like I said I'm not perfect, so of course I'm not after a perfect partner. Right now I really believe the feelings of separation would be mutual. I'm trying to stay positive but I think she has already given up on the relationship to be honest.

tarantula Tue 23-Mar-10 14:33:26

I have to say it sounds to me like you do go out a lot esp as you have 11 mnth old twins. Gym 3 times a week and twice a month with friends is a huge amount IMO. Do you disscuss these arrangements with your partner before making them or do you jsut assume that she will be there to look after the kids?
also you say 'I know I do a damn sight more for my DC than some other dads around I know'. Perhaps you shoudl be thinking about how much you do in comparision to your partner nad not comparing yourself to some others fellas you know. Dp says that all the time too grin and the reply is they would get short shrift in this house thats for sure (but then he only says it to wind me up).as both you and your wide are working full time you should be sharing the responsibilities of hte kids equally.

probonbon Tue 23-Mar-10 14:54:37

Hi there, my interpretation is a bit different but bear with me. Her controlling sounds to me quite important. It sounds as though she needs to be "the one who knows about the twins" -- because it's what she has. You have other stuff going on, a full time job, your friends, a social life: and what could be going around in her head is this -- if she isn't the one who knows best about the twins, what does she have?

Being at home with small babies can really crush your belief in yourself like that and distort your perspective. It's just terrible to think, that's what you do all day and then one's husband comes home and on top of his full time job and busy social life he's also perfect at telling when their tired, or they always want to have a bath with him -- that kind of thing. So that means support looks like criticism. Honestly, it really can, I was like this. Support -- even "why don't you have a nap" looked to me like : "step aside, let someone more capable take over".

I could be completely wrong about this but it jumped out at me. Obviously your DP may not be like me at all but it's just another idea.

Combine it with the fact that you have no sex drive, which she'll probably take personally (I would) and maybe, forgive me if my interpretation is wrong, she's actually feeling pretty rubbish herself and in need of knowing that she's valuable to you as a woman, as a mother, as a partner. Not just valuable to you: valuable anyway, valuable to the world, still important outside nappy changing. It might look like very protective parenting but it can be masking terrible feelings of inadequacy.

You can't blame yourself of course, it wouldn't be your fault, but the answer would lie with you, which is different.

So if that's the case I don't know how I would address it but I definitely wouldn't be splitting up.

probonbon Tue 23-Mar-10 14:56:26

Well I'm stupid, I missed the bit about her going back to work. So that's my theory in the bin.

Unless, she's finding it tough at work and feels guilty about not being at home.

I don't know. But I think you should be aware that being supportive sometimes feels like criticism, which is pretty rotten really, but it does.

Longtalljosie Tue 23-Mar-10 15:18:43

Teddy - bear in mind your twins are only 11 months old. My DD is 7 months old and it's really only the last couple of months that I've truly begun to feel like I've got my groove back - and I've only got the one! Parenthood is exhausting - but motherhood can be even more so if, for example, you're always the one who gets up when they cry.

There are things you can do to make your wife feel more like she has the energy to resume her social life. Who does the laundry? Who tidies? Cleans? Do you have a cleaner? Could you afford one?

In addition - she's pregnant now so likely to be exhausted. How far along is she? If she fell pregnant when the twins were six months or so she's likely to be exhausted. What she needs is a lot of help. I'm not surprised she's a bit hmm at you going to the gym and the pub. I know it seems unfair, but if you do want the relationship to work, I would put all your energies for the next month into helping her recover some energy. Take the twins swimming on a Sunday morning, or out to the swings, so she can lie in. Arrange some babysitting yourself. If you've got the energy to be out on the town, you can, in the short term at least, divert some of that energy into making your DP feel loved and supported. It doesn't mean you'll never get that time back. But you have to consider if it's the most important thing at the moment.

SeasideLil Tue 23-Mar-10 17:30:41

With two 11 month old babies, no wonder you are both not at your best. I wouldn't assume she is wanting out at all, she is probably ratty and tired and finding it hard to work out whose in charge and a bit resentful, but those things are really not insoluable. If you feel like she is distancing you in terms of the childcare now, what do you think it will be like if you only see them once a week (and let's face it, if you work full time and go to the gym three times a week, it really will not be that often)? I'm not having a go at you, I really sympathise with feeling 'out of love' with your partner, but I think these are often stages in a long relationship and nothing you've said here seems to me to be terminal about that relationship. Perhaps you are a bit unrealistic about keeping the relationship 'fun, fresh and healthy' when your babies are probably not even sleeping through the night (and sleep-deprivation makes everyone feel and act just awful). But that will come back when they get a bit older, if you make the effort. My guess is that she is ratty and you are withdrawn, she's looking to you for reassurance at this time of stress and vice versa and neither are getting what you want at this second in time. However, I don't think with time and better communication (back to counselling?) this is at all insoluable.

I also agree that you go out a lot really with twin babies, three times a week and nights out with the mates and so on. Perhaps you should think about how often you go out together as a couple. I'm guessing it's not twice a month as with your guy friends. I think going out as a couple once a month is realistic, although if you are anything like me and my husband, we were so knackered when we went out, he actually fell asleep a couple of times when we were out, so perhaps the romance will take a little time to recover.

The first year after having babies is THE key danger time for couples to split up. I think you have to realise that your wife is still in there somewhere (buried under the strain of having carried and fed twins and going back to work) just as the loving husband you used to be (before you started going on the internet to avoid her every evening when you are not at the gym!) You have to make an effort to find each other again. If you've tried that, given it a couple of years and it doesn't work, fair enough. But quitting at the first sign of hard work after having twins is a bit on the wussy side if you ask me.

LadyLapsang Tue 23-Mar-10 18:45:54

Teddy,

Also think your DP might feel guilty about leaving the twins. Know I was consumed with guilt returning to PT work after maternity leave & wouldn't have left DS with a babysitter to go out and have some fun!

Know you say you have a lot of support around which is great (we didn't) but maybe she would like you to spend more time with the twins not hand them over to someone else if you could do it (when you are not at work).

If you cared for the babies on your own for periods at the weekend & helped out with housework I bet you would find she would be happier to go out as a couple now & again in a few weeks / months.

Don't give up.

fallon8 Wed 24-Mar-10 13:57:42

TRS...why the hell dont you use contraception? you will have 3 under 3,in a 1 bedroomed flat.It cant be that bad if there is a third child on the way, but how is anyone going to find any space and get time to themselves? and dont go buggering off down the gym,manhandling 3 kids,you wont need to go to the gym for exercise.

IWishIWasAFrog Wed 24-Mar-10 14:42:09

very helpful and constructive post fallon8 hmm

Nothing to add OP, I have a six month old and can relate to a lot of what you have written, so following the advice with interest. All the best.

Buda Wed 24-Mar-10 14:59:34

HI Teddy

"Regarding leisure time, I'm a very firm believer in the point that just because people become parents it doesn't mean they should give up all the hobbies and things they love doing, things that define who they are, in order to become brilliant mummies and daddies. If anything it probably keeps the relationship fun, fresh and healthy."

The above statement is great. A great theory. However the real world is a bit different when you have a baby. And even more different when you have two. You still get to do to the gym. You still get to go out with friends. And yes you say you would not stop DP doing similar but when exactly is she supposed to do that? She is working full-time and a mother to twins. She may very well feel guilty for leaving the babies and not want to be way from them too much when she is not working.

I would say that you both need to go back to the counselling tbh.

HappyWoman Wed 24-Mar-10 16:33:28

I too thought - wow 3 times a week at the gym - i wish i could factor that in.

Yes it is important to keep up a social life but i do believe the feeligs awoman has are very different.

As well as all the practical things your dp has to do i bet it is her that keeps records of the babies weight/health checks. Knows what vaccines they need/have. Is already thinking about and planning the next meals for them.

It is very difficult to 'switch off' and allow others to look after the babies (and i do think men find that easier too).

Its not a case of she doesnt want to go out - i bet she doesnt want to have organize that too - sometimes it is just easier to do it all than to tell anyone else what to do.

I imagine the 'giving you orders' is because she needs some help. Is there anything that you take FULL responsibiltly for - say even one meal a week (not just the cooking but the preparing ) or say the changing of the bedsheets/ cleaning the bathroom. Not just doing it when told but that is really your chore?

When my h had some time off it really opened his eyes to just how you cannot do anything with small children - they are always ill or need something... and whatever you try and do is a stuggle to keep to timetable.

probonbon Wed 24-Mar-10 17:26:31

so where is the op? that's a bit rude sunshine

probonbon Wed 24-Mar-10 17:27:11

whoops i missed your return smile

glastocat Wed 24-Mar-10 18:21:31

My god, she works full time, has baby twins, and you want her to go out and socialize too? hmm I bet she's knackered. You need to go to the gym less, parent more, and FGS buy some condoms!

foreverastudent Wed 24-Mar-10 18:30:43

sounds like a normal relationship to me

fallon8 Wed 24-Mar-10 18:45:31

I wish was a frog etc....

Its a pity someone hadnt given this"constructive" advice before,think about it.
1.mother of baby twins,hacked off already and then new baby on way.
2. her employers, having to give her more maternity leave.
3. grandparents already looking after twins,will now have 3 wee ones to care for.
4.Mr."I must got to the Gym and go out with my mates,"will have to stay at home more.
5. if they arent getting on,altho' with No. 3 on the way,im not sure about this,they are going to be stuck together even more.
Sorry, but I dont see why he is here whingeing, he is a big part of the problem, anyway, why is on here during the day? next we will get,"she doesnt understand me" Please..

TeddyRuckspin Fri 26-Mar-10 10:40:04

You all make some good points. Sorry I haven't kept up to date with the thread much, but I'm sure you can appreciate, especially you fallon8 that I'm giving more of my attention towards fixing my relationship issues rather than "whingeing" on mumsnet as you put it.. hmm

@ SeasideLil & LadyLapsang - You are right, I do notice her showing a sense of guilt when leaving the kids with others. When it comes to household duties, of course I don't leave it all up to her. I enjoy giving the DC bathtime and preparing meals.

@ Probonbon - How does one help out and show support without it coming across as criticism? I feel like I'm sort of just accepting fault here...

...Also before I get flamed anymore on the issue, I would like to remind you all that although I said I train up to 3x times week, what most of you seem to be ignoring is the point where I mentioned (not_so_much_in_recent_times_due_to_babycare) and truthfully I don't have a major problem with missing it, as it's to be expected, I merely mentioned it as a way of giving you all a bit of insight. But are MNers seriously saying meeting up with friends twice a month, is seriously overdoing it? I'm really not living this rockstar life you guys are making me out to, far from it.

Well to keep you all up to speed, with a day or two of not really talking we sat down last night and finally discussed things. I can't really say it went smoothly, but I left DP with the option of us going back to counselling, she thinks its too late for that and would rather go by herself, I'm thinking if she doesn't want us to go as a couple then it can't really help the situation we're in. Other than that I'm out of ideas.

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