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DH and I need help

869 Views 11 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  lovetomom
Hi there mamas,

I would love some feedback,
My DH and I have been living in an unhappy relationship ever since our DD was born over a year ago. After she was born he wanted to share her with the world and I was a fierce mama-bear who tried to protect her and in my eyes keep her alive (she was low birth weight and I felt like I had a keep her hidden from the world, in my warm embrace for the first few months). I wasn't extreme about it, our family and friends came to visit and held her and spent time with us, I just didn't wanted to take a 6 hour road trip to show her off to DH grandparents in the first 2 months. For that he is still furious. Am I the only mama bear out there?

Anyways, now 13 months later - I am angry at my DH for how he treated me (in general) at the beginning and he is angry at me.

We have very different ideas about parenting and I am having trouble reconciling them. The biggest difference is food. I am a vegan most of the time who follows a macrobiotic philosophy and my husband is a coke drinking/ meat eating, couldn't care less about what he puts into his body, kind of person. This has always been a difference of ours but with a child I feel so haunted by it.

He is in favor of AP parenting, we share a bed, I am still BFing, he was only willing to compromise with vaccinations to the point where we postponed them till 6months and combined each shot with homeopathy. He is a good person but we just haven't got along since our babe was born and issues continue to make me feel like we can't make things better.

I know this is a long rant but I really need help. It's amazing how hard it is to tell the people I love (like my family and friends) that I am really unhappy with my DH, so instead I'm telling you.

Thanks for reading,
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Hmm, the thing that struck me was the issue over food. Why does it haunt you that your husband doesnt share your views on diet? As long as he isn't giving cans of coke to your child, does it really matter? I can think of a million worse things to do than to drink a can of coke or eat a steak (I do neither, nor does dh, but if he did, I don't think it would be a big deal).

It sounds like he's willing to compromise on some important issues, and he's supportive of some important ones. Now, if you were saying he was drinking beer, not coke, or snorting coke, not drinking it, then I think you'd have some cause for concern.

Sounds like you need to communicate about some of this past stuff and let it go. We all act a bit crazy when we first become parents. Holding a grudge over something a year ago isn't healthy. Can you get to a counsellor to talk these things through?

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I know it's not healthy to hold a grudge and i think I would put it behind me willingly but I feel like he just can't.

We saw a councillor all year long and it helped us work out some major issues but we are still here. Stuck.

Okay, I hear you about the coke and meat and you are right that DH wouldn't feed them to our DD. But he does drink beer, every day, not more than two, but still - EVERY DAY. How would you handle that?

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If dh drank beer, and it was not more than two, and not increasing, and his behaviour wasn't abusive or negligent because of it, I'd not mind one jot. Heck, if I wasn't constantly either nursing or pregnant, I'd like to drink one or two glasses of wine a day.

It seems to me that you're focussing on things that are really unimportant. It's his body. He doesnt see eye to eye with you about how best to nurture it. But he's not abusing it terribly, is he?

I eat too much chocolate. I would drink wine, if it was only my body, not my baby's that it went into. Dh doesn't do either, but he certainly doesn't see either as a problem for our marriage. So, I"m not perfect. I enjoy a glass of wine. I enjoy chocolate. I'm not an alcoholic, and I'm not overweight (well, maybe four or five pounds more than I'd like to be, but so is dh!)

Alcohol in moderation isn't, imo, a terrible thing. Now, if he's dependent on drinking two beers per night, it might be a sign of problems to come. But if it's a long term thing and just his way of winding down and enjoying his evening, why don't you try to relax and enjoy with him? If you don't like beer or wine, make it your routine to have an iced tea, or lemonade, when he has his beer. Talk to him while you sit together to drink it. Part of my love of a glass of wine stems back to when I lived in France. It was a part of the evening routine, cooking a good meal, sipping a glass of wine, chatting to friends, relaxing..................

Maybe if you saw it as a postive chance to bond with him, not a terrible thing he's doing to his body, it could become something you both enjoyed?

Of course, if he's an aspiring alcoholic, ignore all I said above.
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I understand how hard the post partum period (and well beyond) can be. My dh and I had issues prior to conceiving our first child, ds, in 1999. The first year after his birth was difficult as we figured out how to survive on intense sleep deprivation with our reflux baby who never slept. Some time after ds's 1st birthday, I read Passionate Marriage, by Schnark. It helped me figure out how to differentiate myself from the emotional collusion I was in with dh. How to maintain my sense of self and my needs without getting embroilled in my husband's dysfunction.

I was a completely AP committed mama who was very protective of ds, especially around dh's dysfunctional family. We finally decided to move to the opposite coast from where we were living (near his family). This helped tremendously. But some of our issues still remained. After our dd's birth last summer, I read Harville Hendrix, Getting the Love you Want. This book was instrumental in dh and I (he read it a couple months after me) finally addressing some of our issues in a meaningful way rather than putting bandaids on the problem that would continue to come up again over time.

It was a scary time, while we were trying to work things out so that BOTH of us would be happy again in the relationship. It was a difficult visit with my inlaws in June that finally forced the issue again (my dh not setting appropriate boundaries/limits with my inlaws, in a way that advocated for our family's needs). After a very hard week of both of us contemplating the options, 1) working on our relationship or 2) divorce.... we chose the first option. It's only been a few months but already we're communicating better and both of us feel our needs are being met. All this while parenting 2 young children and both of us working professionally.

At some point, I'd love to go to a Harville Hendrix couple's workshop... but that will have to wait until the little ones are older...

sorry for the lengthy post... !
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I really do not mean to sound offensive at all, but I do think when a couple plans to have a child, that they should discuss certain things and consider things about eachother before they have the child... things such as dietary choices, parenting styles, vaccines, schooling, etc. It just seems that if a couple waits to discuss all these things until after the baby is born, there is a good chance of frustration, disagreement, arguments, etc... as you are now experiencing.
I also think that many new moms are like "mama bears", a bit over-bearing, protective, etc. This is natural and healthy! But we also need to learn that the papa bears love their babies too, and quite often we need to soften our bear grip a bit, relinquish a bit of control, and try our darndest to find compromises...
About his diet~ you married him knowing he had a diet you don't like. You shouldn't expect to change him now. I know it can be frustrating. My dh is very similar. I do buy all the groceries and he eats what is in the house, and doesn't bring crap in the house, but if he is out he eats fast food, coke, candy bars, donuts, etc. But ultimately his dietary choices are beyond my control and I have to accept that they are his choices.
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i really appreciated your email. I have been contemplating all of the choices you wrote about and have been feeling stuck in my relationship with DH. I, too, felt like I needed to protect my DD from my DH's emotionally disfunctional family. However, now, we live in the same city as both sets of families and I have no choice but to see them. I resent them so much for the emotional turmoil they have put DH through and that in turn impacts me.

I think that the bottom line is that I have a Depressed DH and that I want him to feel better and I try to help him to do so but he takes crappy care of himself and therefore is emotionally unavailable for me. Being an AP mama takes so much energy (that I want and love to give) but I really wish that my DH helped me to emotionally restore my energy rather than taking so much more than I have.

In response to Bebe Luna, I wish marriage was as straight forward as you make it sound. My DH and I practised a healthy, vegetarian lifestyle together when we got married and for the year prior to that. His diet has dramatically changed since our DD was born. In terms of talking about how to parent before thinking of parenting - I'm not sure how many women do that. I for one, never heard about AP parenting until my DD was days old. I was intuitively practising it already but most of it hadn't been verbalized. After giving birth a wave of wisedom and knowledge was birthed in me along with my child. Discussing any of it before hand wouldn't have been possible because I wasn't in the mama bear mind frame.

Thanks for your responses and Mothernature, I'm going to look up those books,
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I found the Hendrix books through our library system but then decided they were so good I wanted to have my own copies. I ended up buying them at Barnes & Noble but you could also find them at

I know how hard it is to AP (under the best of circumstances) but when you're not getting nurtured by your partner, it's even harder to be emotionally refreshed and available for your little ones. My dh and I made a conscious decision to take a few steps in the right direction and after doing that, it gave us enough energy to continue on our journey to a more conscious marriage... Even baby steps at first could give you the hope to continue on... that light at the end of the tunnel...

The stress of the first year post partum is often HIGHLY underacknowledged. I did post partum doula work for awhile and it was so apparent that I was not the only one who had experienced a challenging period of time. It does get better if both partners are committed to sticking with it and working toward (even the smallest of changes can make a positive impact on the relationship) common goals.

I had to do a lot of personal growth work to get to a place where I let my dh "own" the resentment toward my inlaws rather than me taking it on.... once I was able to do that (and it took a long time), things improved with my inlaws (and as a result, improved with my dh). Yoga also helped... during the meditation part of my yoga class I would breathe in light, life, peace, and breathe out things I needed to rid myself of (resentment, anger, fear).... I had to get past how my inlaws treated my dh as he was growing up (in addition to how they treat him now as an adult child of theirs)... they were polar opposites of how we parent and it still affects all of us (not just dh) today... but it's dh's responsibility to do enough personal growth work to get to a place of setting limits/boundaries with them so he doesn't let them "enter" our family life in a negative way.... hope this makes sense.... !

Good luck! Hendrix is amazing....
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I highly recommend the Harville Hendrix books (start with Getting the Love you Want). DH and I use his techniques and principles alot and it's made our marriage just keep getting better and better.

One of the most important things we've learned is how to handle it when we disagree on something. We found that it is really really important and helpful if each is allowed to express their side of the matter in an atmosphere that is validating and supportive. So when your DH starts in about how upset he was that you didnt' want to go on that road trip, your job is to LISTEN. You don't have to agree, you don't ever have to agree with him. Just LISTEN. Nod your head, ask pertinent questions (so when I said "no way", how did it make you feel?). Make him feel as though you have truly HEARD him. You'd be amazed what a difference that makes. You must also validated his feelings. Again, this does not mean that you agree with him, or that you would have reacted the same way in that situation. You validate what he's feeling. "Oh, I see. That makes sense to me. I can understand now why it makes you so angry."...That sort of thing. You are sending the message that his feelings are important to you, even when you disagree with what he's feeling or why he's feeling it.

Of course, it works both ways and he needs to do the same with you. I have found that sometimes one partner is not as "into" this as the other (it really does require alot of effort to remain open and listening, rather than defensive). But I have found that even if just one partner is doing it at first, it still makes things less volatile (I've been doing this with my mother). You might see a real change in his attitude if he feels like his POV matters to you, and that you are upset his feelings got hurt.

There's alot more to Hendrix's stuff as well, but opening the dialogue and communication pathway is the first step.

Good luck!
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Piglet68, I concur with your thoughts on Hendrix... and so interesting that you are utilizing what you gleaned from Hendrix in other relationships (you mentioned your mother, for example)....I am attempting the same thing... It's amazing how "transferable" these skills are to other relationships (beyond marriages or partnerships). Hendrix has been useful to me in several relationships (personal and professional)... Getting the Love You Want was the most insightful book I have read on marriage. And second to that was Passionate Marriage (by Schnark).
i would like to say that i know how you feel when it comes to the food thing. for someone who was not raised on an ideal diet(who was?) i find it alot of work putting together healthy meals for the kids. so when he is home he gives the kids pasta and butter. this pisses me off because i work really hard and this is frustrating but he gets to just give them crap? to me pasta is good in additiong to something really nutritious but just pastaand butter , that is like a filler meal. so is it justone parents responsibility to make sure the kids get healthy food? i dont think it should be.
I bought the book and I am really enjoying it. I already feel so much better. Thank you for sharing it with me.
As for the "one parent only" ensuring that their kids eat healthily. I agree that it is very frustrating. Luckily my DH is supportive on my major issues but he is also much less active in contributing to our dietary lifestyle than I am. Has anyone had any luck on this end?
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