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Marriage difficulties after adoption

8 replies

user1479136681 · 20/07/2021 06:44

I guess this is pretty common after having a child, but the solutions are a bit different with an adopted child idk. Everywhere I've googled this is just like "girl, leave!" but I don't want to do that especially as our son has already been through so much change and only been home with us for 18 months.

I expected to have a hard time during the first year of parenthood, but it just seems to be getting worse! Especially since I went back to work (part-time).

My wife (I'm also a woman) never gets up in the morning - on work days she sleeps until she has to start work (wfh) and on weekends she usually sleeps until 10. I don't really blame her for this because she has a different circadian rhythm to me, she's just not a morning person. But I'm exhausted and I need respite at some point and I never get it - I can't seem to leave her and our son alone together for more than half an hour. She just seems to have no confidence with him. Then she gets upset because he's not as attached to her, but it makes sense to me because I do everything with him...

And also I do all the cleaning and almost all cooking (which is my least favourite chore). To be fair my wife does all the life admin like bills and stuff. But it used to feel like we were a team, managing life together, and now it feels like we're against each other.

Has anyone else had relationship problems like this and continued to struggle after the first year? We have good periods but the bad ones are outweighing them right now. We never fight in front of our son but we have fought, more than we ever have before!

I might suggest marriage counselling but I also think that having some structured 1-1 time for my wife and son together would help, is that something post-adoption support could do? Like play therapy together?

We don't have any parents nearby to help, we do have friends who can babysit but haven't used them yet as DS has been waking up quite frequently at night (also always me who goes in...)

Rant over!!

OP posts:
Mumtolittlesausage · 20/07/2021 10:08

Have you sat down and spoken to your wife about how you feel. Maybe she doesn't realise how much you're doing and that it's taking its toll on you. You say she does the administration like bills etc hut to be fair most stuff is allnpaid hy direct debit these days so I can't imagine there's that much to do. Adoption aside, you need to speak to her as soon as possible and explain how you're feeling

Jellycatspyjamas · 21/07/2021 06:29

I know with my DH it was tricky, after two weeks adoption leave he returned to work and more or less kept his usual routine while every single thing had changed for me. I usually took care of the day to day dishes, laundry, general tidying pre kids while he did the garden, general admin etc. In one fell swoop my workload doubled (more than doubled given I was also caring for kids) and his was pretty unchanged.

We had some very open conversations about how tired I was, how much my life had changed while his hadn’t hugely, on the surface, and how much I was struggling. Things are pretty equally split now and we’re back to working as a team and filling in the gaps for each other but it did take a while, with lots of tearful conversations to get there - my DH is a good guy, there were just things he didn’t see from my point of view.

In terms of your situation, I’d start with a conversation about getting up times, presumably if your wife doesn’t get up until she needs to she isn’t helping with the morning routine - which is when you need all hands on deck. At weekends you take turns at having a lie in - she won’t gain confidence with her child if she never cares for them and you need a break. How did you gain confidence with your child? I’m sure it didn’t involve structured support from anyone, you could look at Theraplay activities online to give her some starters but really she just needs to be present and much more engaged with your child.

Did she want to adopt? Did she understand the amount of care children need from both parents and the amount of sacrifice needed from both parents. She really needs to grow into her role as a parent and starting pulling her weight, you’re carrying far too much.

DodoBaggins · 22/07/2021 21:00

I'm really sorry for what you're going through.

When my OH and I had our BC, it didn't live up to his expectations at all. He had a completely rose tinted view of what parenting would be and it hit him hard when it wasn't like that. That led to him being very withdrawn with our LB, everything was for me to do because "he settles better with you". I started to completely regret having a child with him because he wasn't the father I thought he would be. After I got over the hurt and unfairness blindness that I had, I realised he actually needed help. We talked about his feelings and things got better.

Then when we had our AS the roles reversed completely. I ended up checking out and developing depression. I would leave everything to my OH to do. I just couldn't face doing anything with my LO. I found him hard work. My OH was the one to raise depression with me and I got help.

In both cases, talking to each other about how we were feeling was key. Being able to know that you can say something awful and not be judged for it is very important. We were talking to each other but also other people. Can your support network come in? When I had depression and OH was working my MIL and mum would come down and help me. You need a rest to, so can they help you?

I agree with PP. You can do theraplay but the first step is your OH doing more just day to day. Start small, but can she just do bit of time every day and then build up from there. Can she take the lead on bedtime with you being there and then take over after time? Or play with bubbles all together, she has the wand and you start to move away slowly until it's just them playing.

Your LO will want you. You're the main care giver and they are used to you meeting their needs more. But the only reason this is the case is because you've been the one to do it. LO will get used to it coming from both of you. You may just need to take it slow with the transitions.

I'm not sure of your OHs working hours but if it's "normal" e.g 8 to 6, 5 days a week then her sleeping in till 10 on both days is taking the piss. My OH works the above and we alternate lie ins on the weekend. I'm off work so I do the night time wakes but if I just can't face it, I give him a prod and he goes in.

He also got too comfortable with me being at home on adoption leave and stopped doing stuff around the house. I got a whiteboard and wrote down everything to be done that day between us. I asked him to look at it every day and do things. Would it be better for him to think of doing things himself? Yes of course it would but I'm ok with this. And that's the key thing. I'm happy with how we approach it for us. You need to find your happy balance with your wife.

Sometimes I think that being at home and taking more of the home and childcare load means the other person switches off. My OH learned to sleep through the baby monitor because he knew he didn't have to be the one to get up. Then on his get ups he wouldn't wake up and I did so I just went (mug!!!). After a while I wised up and now just prod him till he wakes up.

It's easy to adopt a sink or swim approach with them. It's how we had to learn, so why shouldn't they!!! But in the long term it won't help. Try to help out your partner with information you've had to learn and she won't know. E.g my LO won't eat cold fruit. That wasn't in the CPR lol. OH doesn't do enough dinners to have worked that out at the same time as me, so I told him. We both shouldn't have to learn as we go, we're partners and should help each other.

The first step is you telling your wife what you said here. I know it'll be hard but if you can't have this conversation with the person you're spending your life with and raising another person with then who can you.

BFJAdopter · 23/07/2021 10:29

Not much to add to other comments but I too adopted with my husband (both men) 6 months ago and it is so hard.
I am very much like you, do more than my fair share (always have) but being tired makes me short fused and everything grates on me more..
Communicate with your partner but I have learnt to not do all the things to the standard I used to do, the house is clean but not like it used to be, some days my toddler just gets jars of sandwiches at meal time, I go out (with toddler) and do things I enjoy i.e. we went for lunch together the other day somewhere I liked.
My husband needs to be told what to do, I literally write down a few bits that will help (hoover upstairs, go and get my car cleaned, go food shopping..) even though he is sleeping far more than me he is still tired and I find being clear really helps for us... Still working on how our relationship works now being parents though!!

Notmenotme · 23/07/2021 11:38

I think it's hard to find a rhythm, but potentially what you could try is giving her activities to take the child to - away from the house...

If I want some time alone, I'll book a softplay slot for my partner and my child to get them out of the house.

I do think, it sounds as though she is sleeping far too much - and circadian rhythm or not circadian rhythm, you need to tell her that you will be having a lie in so she needs to get up and do x y and z with the child...!

CasseroleRecipe · 28/07/2021 14:03

I can't seem to leave her and our son alone together for more than half an hour. She just seems to have no confidence with him. Then she gets upset because he's not as attached to her, but it makes sense to me because I do everything with him...

This really stood out to me. What was she like when you first brought him home? I suffered post adopted depression and for 3 months struggled to even be in the same room as our child. My poor partner did everything. I went to the doctor sharpish and was diagnosed. By 6months in, the tablets were helping and I was able to do care for LO but cried if left alone with her. I had zero confidence in my ability to parent.

It's not an excuse but could be a reason. I got myself to the doctors and got the tablets when I realised the depths I had sunk. I then worked hard to come out of it. Your wife needs to take responsibility.

AncientEmo · 28/07/2021 14:58

Thank you for all the replies! I felt quite guilty about complaining so I left the thread for a bit. We had a talk and she apologised and agreed to do more which was great!! But nothing has really changed. I said I wouldn't mind doing mornings if she does bedtime, but she says LO doesn't sleep when it's just her... There's excuses for everything.

It didn't start out like this! We had 5 months at home all together because of lockdown and it was great. We took turns having lie ins etc and did everything equally. When it started going wrong was when my wife was sent away for work for 7 weeks - very unfortunate - she came home at weekends but LO was quite rejecting of her when she came back and for a while afterwards... Then we fell into a routine we can't get back out of.

She works 8.30-5.30 although usually ends up working late at night.

I think we will have to start small. Tonight I'm hoping we can do bedtime together and she'll play with him. Then at the weekend they can go to the park together.

Donteatpurplebroccoli · 08/08/2021 08:54

Hi, 2 mom family here also and we’ve had similar our little one is 3 now. He has always settled for me better and wants me when poorly , in the night etc went through a long phase of only wanting me at bed time and me getting up with him in in night and in mornings - wife also is not great in mornings so I can sympathise!! We kept communication open and both aired our frustrations and for a while we were led by him but then it was getting to the point it was that it was affecting how the 3 of us interacted so we did a few nights bed time together then I went out before bed time saying goodbye and good night see you in morning etc and left them to it, he cried the first time and ended up dropping off to sleep in our bed snuggled up to her then the next night he settled for her in his own bed, she also did all the get ups for a few nights and just brought him in to our bed if he wouldn’t settle, which we never mind. I felt guilty for going out initially but had to keep reminding myself it’s his other parent I’m leaving him with not some random person! So although their relationship is different it’s still loving etc. I also felt I couldn’t leave them during the day for a while as they seemed to end up cross at each other so we would just revisit how we each manage various behaviours and I had to accept we both have slightly different ways of responding as much as we try and be consistent because we are different - This was challenging for me! But got more used to it over time and one night last week he actually sent me packing and wanted her!! It is exhausting but keep talking and acknowledging each other’s frustrations is so important so they don’t get pushed into little one and that you get to keep your grown up relationship in amidst all the madness!! We also organised a few hours to ourselves (the 2 of us) last week as had not had this for last 3 years (covid related latterly!) and that was great and we have acknowledged we need to do this more often! Also find family activity days at home are great to focus on all 3 of us together ie forget house work, mobiles etc and just do stuff together all day we both try and plan an activity to introduce at some point then let him lead rest of day choosing games etc. How old is your lo?

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