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Don't feel DH and I are a parenting "team" - relationship suffering

(66 Posts)
newnameagain Mon 12-May-14 20:42:30

HI All,
I'm currently trying to get my life my sorted out! I'm trying to eat better, drink less etc.. and I've also started counselling to look at how possible issues form my upbringing may contribute to my ongoing bouts of stress/depression.
Anyway, one area that also needs improving is my relationship with DH. Trouble is I'm quite confused about how to go about improving it or even if it is possible, so posting here for some views to gain perspective etc..

Apologies if I dont get all the info out staight off, its all a bit muddled in my head!

so, we've been married 17 years and have dc. To get straight to the point I suppose my "main" issue is that I just don't feel that DH and I are a "team" when it comes to parenting. I never have. DC aren't babies. oldest is 15, but we have younger dc too and youngest is 6. I have always flet like this tbh since DS1 was a baby. Now to be fair DH does do a fair bit. He does about 90% of driving them to and from clubs/activities at evenings/weekends. He will cook when he can (though will have to ask me what to cook etc..) He will sometimes hoover/clean when he feels like it/when house is so bad he cant ignore any longer.He does work full time and often does extra work in an evening. I work 4 days a week. I can be more flexible with my hours so I do all school drop off and pick up 3 days a week. DH does school pick up one day, and one day is after school club. DH will OCCASSIONALLY do DIY type jobs but only after LOTS of asking and it can take MONTHS for them to happen. Mostly I will do stuff like decorating etc.. I do 90% of the cleaning, ALL of the washing (and we have several dc so there is a LOT)

and then the bit that gets me the most is I do ALL of the thinking/planning/organising/mediating/emotional stuff/remebering who is friends with who,who has a test coming up etc.../ALL of the planning,organising and shopping for birthday and Christmas presents etc... DH hasn't got a clue when it comes to this. He never knows what is going on at school, despite having as much access to letters that are sent home as me, never knows when one of them is going on a trip etc..
It just really upsets me so much, I try not to let it but the resentment just bubbles up in me and I spend a lot of time feeling angry with DH.

I've tried talking to him but he just doesn't get it. He will always come back with "but I tidy up/hoover/drive them to clubs" which is true, he does, but it's the responsibility of everything else that is overwhelming me. And then we always end up arguing and somehow I then feel bad, that I am being unfair to him.

I have read "wifework" and a lot of it really resonated with me.
But is this just the way it is and always will be. I've given up any hope of him changing now. Im not going to leave him, he's not an unkind man, but tbh I just feel so constantly let down by him and dissappointed it makes it hard to have any positive elements to our relationship.

So..any views? anyone else relate? How can I stop this eating away at me and try to improve our relationship?

RandomMess Mon 12-May-14 20:47:34

The "task" I delegated to dh in it's entirety is meal planning, shopping and cooking. I did have to bite my tongue and not complain about his choices etc but it has worked. I no longer have to think about it all!

Dh has learnt how tedious the thinking and responsibilty for something is and is now more appreciative of what I do and more involved for other areas.

I don't do his family gifts etc. anymore either, up to him!

cerealqueen Mon 12-May-14 23:11:20

I think you'll find you are not alone, by a long shot. I don't know how to deal with this either. Its exhausting isn't it?

cerealqueen Mon 12-May-14 23:13:21

I don't think DP does any 'parenting'. He does some childcare, but finds it overwhelming. He does some housework, often directed by me. he is a nice man who is good to his kids. That doesn't make him a parent.

takingfive Mon 12-May-14 23:25:52

I could have written your post five years ago except I was working full time and he was part time, and still I did it all. The most life changing thing anyone said to me was when a friend asked me how responsible I felt for my H. I knew it was daft to say 100% even though that's how it felt, so I said 85%. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I knew I was in trouble. How ridiculous that I felt so responsible for another adult human being. And that feeling of responsibility drove me into the ground in the end.

He is most likely capable of doing everything you want him to do, he's just choosing not to. Sorry sad

newnameagain Tue 13-May-14 07:06:26

Thanks for the replies. I'm sure I am not alone, and I'm curious how orders deal with it.You are spot on that dh doesn't do any parenting, only childcare.and yes he would be capable if he tried.he tells me he tried his best to think of things, remember things etc but tbh I don't think he realised just how much effort you have to put in.
But how do I do treating him for it and bring rally angry and it eating up our relationship? Or can I?

Bonsoir Tue 13-May-14 07:20:05

This is really difficult.

My DP was married to someone like the OP's DH. Unusually in my DP's case it was the mother who took no responsibility for parenting the DC. Despite a divorce and her DSs choosing to live with their father she still cannot understand that she didn't parent them. Many people, her DC included, have spent hours explaining what they expected from her.

I'm not sure that you can force someone to parent against their will.

takingfive Tue 13-May-14 08:05:51

Absolutely, no amount of telling made my H realise. I remember buying him a calendar so he could keep track of where the DC needed to be , particularly after school activities etc (all of which I'd arranged). He never used it, continued to complain that he never knew where he was supposed to be and I just ended up writing stuff on there for him which continued his dependence on me. He still tells anyone that will listen that he has no idea why we separated.

I think you have to accept your DH as he is and try very hard to not take on too much. Or you make the very hard choice to leave.

Greenrememberedhills Tue 13-May-14 08:19:06

I can't advise, but I can say that he is able to change.

I used to live like this. It was only when other issues led us to counselling, and he could see beyond a doubt that I was ready to leave, that he began to change.

I would say at the least that you should resist taking responsibility for his stuff, even if it all falls apart. If he can rely on you to be his safety net for the problem areas, he won't change.

Handywoman Tue 13-May-14 09:36:58

Same as takingfive some people are content to be this way but it was a big part of why I lost the love and respect for my STBXH. Now we are separated he does the bare minimum and complains of feeling 'like a childminder' but is strangely unable to reflect on why this might be....... hmm

newnameagain Tue 13-May-14 09:57:12

Sorry for all typos in last post. Was on phone, before my first coffee of the day! I have twice in the past totally lost it with him and told him I couldn't go on like this and wanted to split up. He just go really upset and said how hurt he was, and that I was his life etc...and that everything he did was for the family.... He will then try for maybe a week or so and be a bit better, BUT it never lasts.
I have actually stopped taking responsibility for his stuff. Her still misses things like doctor's and dentists appointment, but I don't remind him any more. Recently he has had some trouble at work which meant he did even less than usual at home and expected me to pick up any slack. It really annoys me, as I have a stressful, professional job too, but get no credence for that.
The I feel so totally and utterly let down by him it makes it hard to feel affectionate towards him. Which he then interprets as me not being willing to put any effort into our relationship, but I'm so exhausted with everything else.....even sex has begun to feel like just another thing on my to do list to keep someone else happy sad

Handywoman Tue 13-May-14 13:12:25

I really feel for you, OP. I am not surprised you don't feel affectionate towards him. This is not about him putting the Hoover around every now and again, it is about fundamental issues like respect, responsibility and partnership. These are vital ingredients for a healthy marriage which he just can't see the point of. I would spell thus out to him if I were you but I'm not the best person to advise here since my marriage ended last year when I had simply had enough. He was a miserable, angry, verbally abusive arse. Can't believe I stuck it out 14 years. I have never been happier since having kids than I have been this last year and will be marking one year separated as a very positive achievement!!! Keep posting and good luck.

BeCool Tue 13-May-14 13:30:57

perhaps ask your DH if HE wants to change and be involved with this?

Explain to him about the resentment and anger. Ask him what he thinks should be done about it? Ask him what he can do about it? Get HIM to make a plan to solve his problem.

If he doesn't want to / doesn't feel it is role/responsibility, well at least you will have got him to admit that and you can take matters from there.

BeCool Tue 13-May-14 13:31:54


unrealhousewife Tue 13-May-14 14:38:26

I think the key here is whether he wants you to be content and happy and what he's prepared to do to help you with that. Some women would be happy with this, probably he learned this from his mother and other women around him, but if it makes you unhappy there is a point where you have to think why he is in the relationship? I asked mine recently 'Am I just a means to an end for you? - someone who is there simply to facilitate your life?

I don't work 4 days a week like you OP and it's exhausting enough for me. Even if it's not practical help you need, you need to know that there is someone on your side.

I have learned to expect nothing from him and get on with taking care of everything. He has effectively made himself redundant (apart from breadwinning) but it feels very lonely when you finally see the reality for what it is.

BeCool Tue 13-May-14 16:29:26

Surprisingly, as a SP now it is much easier to organise everything and I don't mind all. It isn't a burden. But when I was with XP doing it all I too felt angry about it.

It is somehow much less hassle now - there is a very draining aspect about doing stuff alone in a partnership that isn't there when you are just managing yourself and the DC.

BeCool Tue 13-May-14 16:30:50

I think my point is that it's not just that he is opting out of his obligations, but somehow it adds to your load too.

Georgethesecond Tue 13-May-14 16:47:28

You have to work out what you can drop. You have already done his personal appointments, doctor, dentist and so on - well done. Maybe next you can drop presents and cards for his side of the family - put them on the calendar, maybe even remind him (no more than once - if he doesn't do it, he doesn't do it). How about making one meal at the weekend his responsibility, then if he doesn't organise shopping and cooking he can order, fetch and pay for the takeaway. Fir the school stuff, write it all on the calendar in the kitchen. He may still not know, but he won't have it ask you and he will have no excuse for not knowing. And you won't have to tell him, just keep saying "it's on the calendar".

He does sound quite busy - full time job, lots of kids, lots of taxiing?

newnameagain Tue 13-May-14 17:40:44

handywoman yes I think I do feel a total lack of respect from him. As if we (me and kids) aren't worth too much effort (emotionally/intellectually) ever.
becool I can understand exactly what you mean. If I was on my own I would still have to do it all, but the disappointment/sadness/loneliness/anger/resentment wouldn't be there!
unreal a lot of the time I do have that mindset - just get on with it, dont expect dh to remember/plan/contribute etc but it is soo lonly sometimes sad
george I don't do presents etc for his family - he doesn't think too either! I'm not sure what else I can drop without the dc suffering though.
You are right, to be fair, he is very busy. and as he always points out to me when we argue over this it's not as if he's out at the pub every night enjoying himself. Maybe I just need to let it go - maybe I am being unfair. But , I am busy too. If I'm not driving kids about to clubs etc I'm here putting little ones to bed, doing reading, sorting uniform etc. But still I HAVE to think of things/plan/organise etc. I have no choice
Oh, and I set up a google calendar which he can access on his phone and I put EVERYTHING on it, but still he doesnt know what is happening when. Used to have one in the kitchen - was the same problem then.

anyway have just had a big argument again with him. He asked me was I going back to work tonight - (Im not) and looked puzzled when I said no. Had obviously forgotten I was taking DS to a scout meeting (which is on the calendar and I reminded him last night. )
He asked me why I was annoyed and I told him really honestly how sad and exhausted I was by his never really knowing what was happening and he just had a go - told me he was trying his best, and he was sorry if that didn't make me happy but he couldn't do any more than that. Then made some comment about me going and "moaning to millions of people about him" which makes me think he has discovered this thread (has read threads I have written before and then challenged me about it) Anywa, so be it, if he wants to read what Ive written thats his look out I'm not saying anything he hasnt already heard and I really need to talk this through becuase it is making SO unhappy sad

I just dont see how we can move forward. In reality he will never be any different will he, not after this long. He says he loves me but tbh I just don't believe him. I do accept that I need to try harder in the relationship, but it is hard when I feel so hurt, let down and lonely all the time sad sad

Caucasus Tue 13-May-14 17:49:18

I think he probably honestly doesn't realise how hard you work - I imagine in his head he probably imagines he does 50%. Could you afford a cleaner, or some help like that?

If you work 4 days a week that's practically full time. If this was a film you'd go away for the week, and left with everything to do he'd realise how much there was!

newnameagain Tue 13-May-14 17:55:53

caucasus I sometimes fantasise about that! Me just going away for maybe a week or fortnight and then coming back to find him amazed and humbled and making comments such as "How do you it all all the time" "you are amazing" "I'm so sorry, I never realised, I'm so going to get my act together"...LOL
Unfortunately we cant afford a cleaner. I did consider it about 18 months ago but then DH was forced to accept a pay cut and downscaled jobs a bit so no chance now.

I feel so stuck sad

newnameagain Tue 13-May-14 17:57:09

and in reality although dh works full time he gets a lot more holidays than me too. so I would say our workloads are comparable.

Handywoman Tue 13-May-14 18:12:03

OMG he has seen this thread. Your true feelings are laid bare on here. If he can't see where your coming from then that leaves you with a big decision.

I would agree with that organizing everything like this is a helluva lot easier without the freeloader. So much easier to just get on with life without the resentment and burden.

Poor you, OP sad

newnameagain Tue 13-May-14 18:25:07

*handywoman" I suspect he may have shock sad, from the comments he made. not sure how, I have namechanged and tried not to give too much away, but he doesn't really like me posting on MN and has "tracked down" threads I have written in the past before.shock
I don't want to hurt him, and it isn't my intention to "moan" about him to strangers , but I just feel so bad sad
(also I have literally no friends and no one else at all I can talk about this with other than my new counseller)!
and in fairness I have told him exactly everything on this thread many times before, even down to my feelings around sex in light of his lack of respect/affection/thoughtfulness etc and he still doesn't get it sad

unrealhousewife Tue 13-May-14 18:29:05

Ideally if you are both working as good as full time you should have a lot more help in the house. If he refuses to help out, get a cleaner and bring in other services to help alternatively stop work for a while or work part time.

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