I was here and very active about 5-7 years ago, when my first marriage ended with my husband's infidelity. Although it took awhile, I really got my life back on track, went to law school, and was doing great when I decided I was ready to involve a relationship in my life (this was about 2.5 years after my husband left, I really wanted time to work on myself). I dated for about six months (through online dating mostly) until I met DH. He fit my "top ten wishes" list that I had posted on here to a tee, and everything seemed blissful. Things moved a lot faster than they probably should have because I got unexpectedly pregnant with DS, so we ended up moving in together and getting married fairly quickly. There were some early strains that I didn't recognize/acknowledge, though, and those have widened to the point of a chasm.
My husband is just not very mature. He doesn't clean up after himself at all, doesn't manage his own affairs at all (making appointments for himself, etc.) He won't help with the finances. He was a stay at home/homeschooling dad for a couple of years and it got pretty bad for the kids because he didn't work hard on any "teaching" and making it fun, he just bugged and yelled at them about doing workbooks. Even after we decided to enroll my older kids in school (which was a good decision and everyone was happy about it, we live in an area with excellent schools), he still didn't manage to work with then 3yo ds on anything unless I really pushed him too, and then it was the bare minimum. For instance, I'd worry that DS didn't know his colors or how to count and DH would reluctantly start working on that, but that was it. I tried to point him to online resources, get books for him with ideas on what to do, print out the library story time schedule, etc., and most days I think DH spent online and he barely even read books to DS, let alone anything enriching.
Meanwhile, my life was pretty stressful. I was working full time as an attorney, with a really horrible supervisor, and in a very stressful field. Luckily it was a state job so I had an 8-5 schedule, good benefits, and decent vacation time. But the stress was still adding up. I had an opportunity to get another job, with a big pay cut (50,000 down to 41,000), which meant DH would have to contribute to our income (he had gotton a year of unemployment so that had helped while it lasted but finances were a stressor too). We both agreed that it was a good choice, even though I expressed fear about the decrease in money. Turns out there was a big decrease in benefits and vacation time, as well. Then DH's job hunt never really materialized, I kept nagging him more and more, getting more stressful, it got to the point I was practically applying for jobs on his behalf because he just wasn't doing it. He kept saying having DS home with him made a job search impossible, so we found a drop in/part time sitter and he didn't take advantage of it (besides most jobs are online applications these days, so he'd go to the place and they'd tell him to apply online, but he didn't bother too). To top it all off we bought a house during this stressful crazy time, of course I'm the only one on the mortgage because I was the only one with income, and the house was more something he would like than meeting my own criteria, but it offered some potential rental income and seemed like a good investment, so we went ahead with it.
Finally I enrolled DS in preschool fulltime, at pretty significant expense, and DH reluctantly found a job after a few weeks. He sort of sabotaged it and lost it, then spent a few weeks at home by himself, not doing renovations to the fixer upper house or much of anything, and finally I found a job for him to apply to, did most of the application for him, reminded him to follow up, made sure he got to his job interview (he ended up being late by his own choices) and he miraculously got the job. He's been enjoying it but things were starting to not look too good there, his boss was having some complaints, DH was working really slow, etc. (DH is a trained boatbuilder/finish carpenter, who has previously worked in boatyards, cabinet shops, and been self employed. This job is in a high end European style cabinet shop, where he had to learn new things).
DH has had almost no support or nurturing towards me through all these stresses, and in fact, started to get really mean towards me. He even told me that it was selfish of me to have taken a pay cut and he'd been against it but afraid to say anything becuase I was a tyrant and never listened to him. We actually de-facto had a bit of separation as our family was living in the back guesthouse while the front house is all torn up, and I started sleeping in the front house by myself because I couldn't stand to be around him. Then I caught him chatting with an old mutual friend on facebook, what had obviously been a long ongoing conversation that he'd been deleting as he went along. Though I didn't see anything specifically inappropriate (other than lies about me being unwilling to go to counseling), it crossed all the boundaries I had been clear about and I confronted him about it. He said he hadn't done anything wrong and it was just a friendship and I was emotionally abusive.
The last thing really hurt, being accused of being emotionally abusive. I felt I'd really bent over backwards for so many things, but I also knew that I had lost so much respect for him and gotton more condescending to him as well (he refuses to pick up after himself, leaves his clothes and shoes all over the house, and I'd had enough of it...I'd tried being nice for years and it got to the point that it was interfering with our children cleaning up after themselves, so I'd definitely started to belittle him about it). DH also said he'd been depressed for a while (yes, I'd seen that, and I was as well). In some peripheral conversations around that time about his difficulties at work and extreme absentmindedness, he acknowledged his childhood ADD appeared to be back and said he wanted help and perhaps medication for it. It's been three months and he hasn't made it happen yet, though, he sets appointments and then lets them fall through, now he supposedly has another appointment set up but it isn't on the calendar and I don't know if I even believe it's real.
I've been going to counseling myself as well as Co-dependents anonymous meetings and workign on my co-dependency, because I know that is a trait I have that I struggle with. I've been making some good progress with myself and my issues. But he's not really making any progress on his own, and I'm to the point where I have to admit I'm not willing to let things go on this way. Our financial strain is finally down a bit, but I keep worrying he'll lose his job. We're finally making some progress on renovating the house, which is good, and is to DH's credit as he's the one with the skills. But I can't get past my frustrations with DH about not working on issues he's identified as being a problem, and I'm unwilling to continue living in a pigstye because he refuses to clean up after himself (the guesthouse we're in is a mini 2 bedroom, about 600 square feet, and it's not asking too much to me to keep it clean). We haven't tried couples counseling yet, and maybe it will help, but I think his unwillingness to make any changes will make it fruitless, and I refuse to have baseless allegations sent my way. And he's done absolutely nothing about the breach of trust from me finding him chatting with some woman online when he was pretty much refusing to talk to me. So, I feel in some ways we're at a standstill.
I'm going to try couples counseling, I'll have to set the appointments and make it happen, but I don't know if it will help. My guess is he'll just be silent in there, or whiney, or refuse to follow through. But I'm at least going to try. I've also thought maybe having two houses on one lot would be perfect for divorcing amicably. I could have my own space and keep it nice, he can have his, our kids can go between the too, we could be here for one another in ways that feel comfortable. I don't know how willing he will be to agree to anything like that, because right now he's very territorial. He's also sensitive about our son preferring me, and would probably not agree to move into his own space, because the kids would stay with me (not only do I meet 90% of their needs, but I am also the one who gets them up in the morning and drops them off at their respective schools).
The reason I'm posting here is...I miss my life as a single mom. I miss being self-reliant, having my own little orderly household, making positive steps in my life. I haven't been able to do much of that with DH, and part of it is him, but part of it is me, too. I'm co-dependent. I don't know if I'm capable of having a relationship that is healthy, because I don't know how to be healthy in a relationship. Maybe I'm just better off being by myself.
(hug) That sounds really terrible, he is a grown man not a little boy and should be acting as such. I see you empathizing greatly for him, but I doubt he is for you. You are important too.
Sorry I can't be of more help.
Talk about a blast from the past! MsChats and I have often wondered about how you were doing.
I'm so sorry to hear about this development in your marriage. Man, I remember when you first met him and announced your pregnancy and marriage.
Don't be too hard on yourself, particularly in regards to the codependency. We live in a very PRO-codependent society and, in all honesty, all relationships will have (and need, to a certain degree) some amount of codependency. The problem becomes more of an issue when you are not aware of your own codependency issues and when your boundaries become detrimental to yourself and your being. Awareness is the key.
There is nothing wrong with not being in relationship, but that doesn't mean it's because you don't know how to be in a healthy relationship. Your post sounds to me as though you are learning, growing and becoming very self-aware... all three of which are pivotal in being in a healthy, strong relationship.
You cannot change the past and the future is unknown. Just try to stay in the present, be kind to yourself and trust that things (with or without your husband) have a way of working themselves out for the best.
So happy to see you back again, although I'm sorry it is for this reason. But, you are a strong, determined and loving woman and I have no doubt that you will come out of this situation even stronger, more aware and closer to what you want as a result... regardless of what that end result is.
Thank you for your comments! It's nice to see you again too, Holland, I've thought of you and my friends online and really missed the support and companionship I had here. In that sense, it is good to be back!
I do think the feeling of failing "again" is really hard...as is the fear of hurting my children again. My oldest daughter heard DH and I arguing the other day (not loud, but since we rarely have, it struck her) and she came to me crying, not to talk about anything, just for comfort. I really am afraid of what will happen for them. And afraid that DH will not maintain a relationship with the girls if we do end up separating/divorcing. He already has tried a few things just with DS, which then DS doesn't want to do and I think everyone feels awkward about.
I'm sorry you're going through this. It's hard, but in my situation, it was actually a whole lot easier going from having two kids to just one, y'know? I'm definitely codependent as well, and it took me a while to realize that I couldn't fix someone else's mental health issues without their help, nor should I try. For me, it was really liberating to realize that it wasn't my job to fix him, and it also wasn't my responsibility to stay with him. My life is a thousand times better now.
Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
Seems like you've given your marriage your all and meanwhile your partner isn't really holding up his end. I understand how frustrating it must be to be with someone who isn't contributing to the household finances. My ex was like this: he only found work because I looked up the job postings, put together his cover letter and resume, told where where the interview was and how to get there, coached him through it, etc etc. He still lost jobs because he had a bad attitude, but there was always some excuse why it was the other guy's fault...He was always persecuted and victimized, which gave him an excuse to "rest" at home and play videogames all day. No matter what I did to help him, to try to give him the opportunity to grow up and be an adult, he never took it. Why would he when I was making his life so comfortable for him?
Coming to the realization that you're happier alone is an important and valid one.
Sounds so very hard...all I can say is what I say to myself every day...be good to yourself and the kids and trust...
Mom to two terrific kiddos, affirming every day that the Universe is unfolding as it should and all is well...
Well, a little update: we have a marriage counseling appointment set up for Monday. And yesterday morning, I was so stressed and tired of feeling stressed and asked DH to sleep in the other house, which he actually did last night and is tonight. It's helped my anxiety and discomfort tremendously, to have my own space. Tonight I asked him about buying a groupon for a dolphin cruise, we'd done it once before and had a blast, and after he seemed reluctant I asked if I should just buy one for me and the kids and he said yeah. It makes me sad, grievously sad. But I have been rereading my codependents books and also thinking about my future, the life I'd like to have, changes and choices that would make me feel like I'm back on track and progressing, and that feels good. So...overall, much better than a couple of months ago, when I didn't let myself feel anything, and better than last weekend, when all I felt was the sadness and none of the hope.
I'm sorry your second marriage isn't working. I think that is one of the hardest things about leaving my marriage. I'm worried that if I can't make this marriage work I might not ever be able to make any relationship work and if I want a relationship then I need to fight for this one instead of finding another one. It's very stressful. My stbx is the same way about being a big kid. I have to do everything for him. I think that is the part that makes the marriage the hardest. I need a partner not another child. I hope the marriage counseling will help you but I'm glad to see that you are at least feeling better about things. Good luck.
Michelle mom to DD , DS , & lil DD plus and spending my days