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I don't know what to do.

My baby's father and I have never had a great relationship. We are different in a lot of ways and used to have a lot of explosive fights. I have a lot of issues with anger and with handling emotions in general. He almost never shows emotion. Sometimes he looks and seems angry, but says he isn't. I'm not the only one to notice this. Sometimes someone will ask me why he's grumpy. It is embarrassing, quite honestly. I've asked him to try to seem less grumpy, but it never works. He says I try to change him by asking him to seem happy (as he says he is), or trying to get us to eat healthier as a family, or asking him to stop smoking.

We fought quite a bit while I was pregnant. I was so anxious about being good parents, and he just didn't seem to be getting it. I figured that it was easier for me as I was the one who was pregnant and that he would catch on after our son was born.

Well, the first couple of weeks after our son was born things were AMAZING. He was so helpful, so kind, and so loving towards me and our son. I felt so lucky and said so to him and to anyone who would listen. I was thrilled. But sure enough, as things tend to do, everything went back to normal. He went back to not being very helpful around the house, and we went back to fighting.

The fighting has been getting progressively worse. Tonight he ordered dinner for himself (I'm vegan and he's not, so I can't eat what he eats) and before I had finished feeding me and our 8mo SO was asking to go lay down. I still had to clean up, bathe our son, and get ready for bed. I got upset and we started fighting again. We fought all evening and now he's left. He doesn't drive so I guess he's just walking around. We are staying with my mom right now because our lease ended before we could find another suitable place. This puts a lot of stress on us, but I don't want to think that it's the only reason we are fighting. I feel like I hardly know him anymore. I want so badly to be a good mama, to demonstrate a healthy relationship, and show our son how to handle his emotions while still expressing them. And right now we are the opposite of good role models! It breaks my heart that our son hears us fighting, but it terrifies me that he might have a broken family. It even scares me to think I won't have more babies.

I just don't know what to do. I don't know how to fix this relationship, if it's even fixable. Maybe we just aren't good together.

I have considered counselling, but it is expensive here and we don't have coverage. The ones that are covered by our province have a long waiting list.

Have you gotten through a difficult time with your partner? Did you end up going your separate ways?

Sorry for length. Thank you for reading.
 

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:Hug This kind of thing is so hard, and it's worse when you have a baby to think of, too! My partner and I have been through a number of rough times, and so far we're still together after 20 years...but just last Saturday he left for a while, and was considering moving out, because he is having so much trouble getting along with our 9-year-old. I'd fix it for him if I could, but I can't; it's his problem to solve. I hope he won't end his relationship with me and be a lesser father to our innocent baby out of anger toward our son! It's really, really scary and frustrating. I know just how you feel.

We also have the same kind of recurring issue about his taking care of himself only (for example, arranging for food that's just for him) and then wandering off to relax, when I still have lots to do and often he has chores left undone. :hammer Now, up to a point I can accept that we have different senses of responsibility and different abilities to recognize another person's needs rather than having them spelled out. However, now that we have talked So Many Times about this type of conflict, I think that if he announces he's going to bed and I say, "But I need your help!" he ought to be able to understand that I need him to listen and then do some stuff, instead of yelling at me about how tired HE is.

Here are a couple of resources that have been helpful to us:

  • Are You an Asker or a Guesser? This article addresses a core issue we have: I feel loved when people think about what I might need or want and offer it to me, and when someone asks me to do something I feel obligated to do it; he feels that when he asks for something I ought to know it's okay to say no, and if I want him to do something he expects me to ask very directly and accept that he might say no. Just recognizing this issue and having it spelled out for us was very helpful.
  • Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix has really good, sensible advice and a bunch of exercises to do together to learn more about each other and what makes each of you feel loved. I'm pretty introspective, but I uncovered explanations for some of my feelings that were so deep I'd never been able to see them before. I also learned some useful things about him. Another perk of doing these exercises was that we realized we weren't in nearly as much conflict as a lot of couples and we agree on so much.
Counseling might or might not be helpful. We have had mixed results from it. If you can get your partner to sit down and talk with you regularly when neither of you is already upset--make a weekly "appointment"--you may be able to work through a lot of things on your own. Good luck!!
 

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I've also had a lot of moments with my SO where I wonder if we're going to make it through, but right now I feel positively about our future. I'm beginning to see bad moments (arguments, stress, tears, self-doubt, anger, resentment, etc.) more as bumps in the road than as insurmountable problems. While no two relationships are the same, and maybe your problems are worse than mine, I just want to reach out a hand and give you some emotional support in this difficult time for you.
Some of the most painful moments for me were in our son's first year. We were both trying to make that difficult adjustment into parenthood, and while we were both totally on board with our responsibilities, and in general agreement on parenting styles, it was still difficult for both of us. There were (and still are) financial issues, personality conflicts and confusion about roles and expectations. It was just heartbreaking for me to experience conflict with him in front of our sweet and innocent baby, who was just beginning to comprehend the world around him.
One thing that's helped for me is to take responsibility for myself, over and above everyone else. I can't control what he feels or does. If he is feeling badly, it's not my responsibility to "make" him happy; but I can create a home environment that is conducive to happiness... to a certain point. If I'm feeling badly, it's not necessarily his fault, or his responsibility to "make" me feel better. Sometimes I just need time to get through a certain emotion and back to normal. I have an easier time getting over things than he does, but I'm learning to just accept that he's going to be unhappy for a while if something happened to upset him, and not to take it too personally.
I often wished that I could go see a therapist just to talk through my problems with a neutral person who is able to provide some well-educated insight into our psychologies. But, I'm in the same boat as you. Not enough funding, and not sure if I would find someone who is the right fit for me. In the end, I managed to find plenty of resources both online and at the local library. I've learned a lot about myself and about relationships without having to spend a cent, and no one has interfered or criticized me for my efforts, which makes me wish I'd started reading up on these things much sooner! I've even learned to be a bit more assertive (though I have a long way to go yet) to get my point across without having devastating fights with my SO. I think he's also improved due to his own efforts (he also doesn't want to have disfunction in his family) and with the way I've learned to express myself towards him.
I know there will be more bumps in the road in the future (even some darn big potholes), but the journey is really an opportunity for growth for all of us. I hope we can teach our children how to have a healthy relationship. We both know, from firsthand experience, how important that is!
I wish you the best of luck!
Let us know how you are doing.
 

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I don't know what to do.

My baby's father and I have never had a great relationship. We are different in a lot of ways and used to have a lot of explosive fights. I have a lot of issues with anger and with handling emotions in general. He almost never shows emotion. Sometimes he looks and seems angry, but says he isn't. I'm not the only one to notice this. Sometimes someone will ask me why he's grumpy. It is embarrassing, quite honestly. I've asked him to try to seem less grumpy, but it never works. He says I try to change him by asking him to seem happy (as he says he is), or trying to get us to eat healthier as a family, or asking him to stop smoking.

We fought quite a bit while I was pregnant. I was so anxious about being good parents, and he just didn't seem to be getting it. I figured that it was easier for me as I was the one who was pregnant and that he would catch on after our son was born.

Well, the first couple of weeks after our son was born things were AMAZING. He was so helpful, so kind, and so loving towards me and our son. I felt so lucky and said so to him and to anyone who would listen. I was thrilled. But sure enough, as things tend to do, everything went back to normal. He went back to not being very helpful around the house, and we went back to fighting.

The fighting has been getting progressively worse. Tonight he ordered dinner for himself (I'm vegan and he's not, so I can't eat what he eats) and before I had finished feeding me and our 8mo SO was asking to go lay down. I still had to clean up, bathe our son, and get ready for bed. I got upset and we started fighting again. We fought all evening and now he's left. He doesn't drive so I guess he's just walking around. We are staying with my mom right now because our lease ended before we could find another suitable place. This puts a lot of stress on us, but I don't want to think that it's the only reason we are fighting. I feel like I hardly know him anymore. I want so badly to be a good mama, to demonstrate a healthy relationship, and show our son how to handle his emotions while still expressing them. And right now we are the opposite of good role models! It breaks my heart that our son hears us fighting, but it terrifies me that he might have a broken family. It even scares me to think I won't have more babies.

I just don't know what to do. I don't know how to fix this relationship, if it's even fixable. Maybe we just aren't good together.

I have considered counselling, but it is expensive here and we don't have coverage. The ones that are covered by our province have a long waiting list.

Have you gotten through a difficult time with your partner? Did you end up going your separate ways?

Sorry for length. Thank you for reading.
I think all relationships are different so it would be hard to compare one to another. I am sorry you are going through this :( :( I went through the toughest times with my ex-husband (yes, ex) when our kids were under 2 years old. It got easier as they got older though. He just wasn't baby-daddy material and I am too easily stressed when there is a baby in the house with all the other stuff to do and that just didn't mesh. It's not why we split up in the end, we split up for way different reasons - - - but I do remember having the hardest times getting along when there was a newborn/infant in the house.

Have you approached the idea of getting marriage counseling? Maybe taking a parenting class together? Having regular date nights and getting someone you trust to watch the baby on those nights? Just a few ideas.
 

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My prenatal/postnatal yoga teacher is kind of like a therapist to me :) and she has said in many classes to try not to make any big relationship decisions in the first year of parenthood, if you can help it. That this is a hard time for almost all couples, and it doesn't necessarily mean that your relationship is bad. Her words of wisdom have been helpful for me many times over the past 8 months as I sometimes feel like I don't even like my DH as a person. But just in the last few weeks we've been able to reconnect and it's reminding me of why we got married in the first place. I'm hopeful that things will continue to get better.

Hang in there, mama! Hugs and more hugs to you.
 
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