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My DH.. Sigh... I'm looking for ideas/support to help show DH that I DO care. I care so much, and hurts so much to hear him say that I don't. He'll go on to explain that I clearly don't care, and that I don't care that he believes that I don't, etc. The background here is pretty short-- we have a truly very good marriage, until recently, I guess. We just recently had baby #2, DD is now three. DH is under alot of stress both at work and with his family. He has always tended to deal with frustration/etc by distancing himself from me but this is much more than "normal." He is now going to bed with DD at 8pm, only an hour after he gets home from work. When asked why, he says it's because I don't care and we just fight if he is up. He is not helping at all with DS, to the point he is not holding him at all some days. I am just run down, with the new baby, DH gone all day and going to bed at 8pm, he is currently working Saturdays and is leaving tomorrow for a week out of town. This is all so unlike him, he is usually so sensitive and helpful. I read "The 5 Love Languages" and have tried to express my care for him in his love languages-- physical touch and words of affirmation. I know that much of this has to do with his stress, the new baby, etc.

I'm just lost here, and hurting. We have been together now for 11 years, married for 5, nothing has ever happened that hasn't been talked out, delt with, fought out, etc. But this, this is something else. He is avoiding me, not interacting with me, upset and angry with me. Tonight I had DS screaming in the sling, just screaming, while I was trying to deal with DD, change the sheets that she had gotten stuff all over, get her ready for bed, etc. I asked DH to help, but he "needed a break." Later on he told me that I "didn't ask, I just yelled and so he wasn't going to do anything to help me." He has always been inline with the AP philosophies and the idea that his "break" came before his kids is just shocking to me. Anyway, I guess I am both venting and looking for ideas/insight. Thanks.
 

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It isn't acceptable for him to heap all the parenting on you. You have a right to a partner and to not be happy with that. I thought it was important you know that.

I would guess that he is depressed. I would suggest that he MAY be projecting what he is feeling onto you. Because you are trying to be caring and he isn't. See how that works?

All the same, I'd guess that depression is the primary problem.
 

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I don't care how upset a person might be. You do not leave your partner "to the wolves" and take your "break" if you are needed. You just don't.

He might be WOH, but he is also their parent and you should NOT have to beg him on your knees to get him to help with the children HE created. Maybe yelling wasn't the best thing for you to do, but we all make mistakes. He needs to get over it and move on. Not helping with HIS children to "punish" you, is unacceptable.

I am not knocking anyone with depression. I have been depressed to the point of not wanting to ever wake up again. Really.

But, I had to do for my kids. If I hadn't, they would not have been clean, fed and care for. (husband at work, etc.) Then there would have been a real problem. There was no one else.

I would tell him that if he needs help, then you support it. Get help. But, the "punishing" you and refusing to help with HIS children is not acceptable.
 

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It sounds like you guys both need a break, to be honest. Is there any way you can get a sitter and go out for an evening, or over night? (my husband and I go to Charleston a couple hours away for the night when we need to 'reset' sometimes)

I think with kids its hard not to put them before everything else, all the time. Sometimes the relationship stuff gets pushed aside in the face of that, and if you both communicated well before recently, it just sounds like a bump in the road, to me. Its hard to have a real heartfelt adult conversation with the immediate needs of the kids and the stresses of parenting sometimes. Getting some time alone and away from everyone else would give you a chance to reconnect and talk when nobody is angry or frustrated or worn out.

I hate to go against the PPs but as much as I definitely think that kids are the realm of BOTH parents, if you're really yelling at him when you need help instead of asking him and working together, I think that has a lot to do with the results you're getting. I love my kids but if my husband yelled at me and told me to take one of them, I might take them, but I would tell him where to go in the process. It sounds like it was more about him being in the middle of a fight with you than about him not caring about taking care of his children. I have found myself, out of exhaustion and frustration, ripping my husband's head off or "making jabs" at him for not doing x, y, z enough or complained at him for not helping out with something, but it really has the opposite effect of my desire. I want him to help more, but I push him away with the way that I approach it. Its something I work hard on, trying to communicate in a way that he hears instead of "bitching" which he just sums up as that and doesn't listen to. (not saying thats what you're doing, just that from your post it sounds like thats how your husband is taking it)
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Jenlaana View Post
It sounds like you guys both need a break, to be honest. Is there any way you can get a sitter and go out for an evening, or over night? (my husband and I go to Charleston a couple hours away for the night when we need to 'reset' sometimes)

I think with kids its hard not to put them before everything else, all the time. Sometimes the relationship stuff gets pushed aside in the face of that, and if you both communicated well before recently, it just sounds like a bump in the road, to me. Its hard to have a real heartfelt adult conversation with the immediate needs of the kids and the stresses of parenting sometimes. Getting some time alone and away from everyone else would give you a chance to reconnect and talk when nobody is angry or frustrated or worn out.

I hate to go against the PPs but as much as I definitely think that kids are the realm of BOTH parents, if you're really yelling at him when you need help instead of asking him and working together, I think that has a lot to do with the results you're getting. I love my kids but if my husband yelled at me and told me to take one of them, I might take them, but I would tell him where to go in the process. It sounds like it was more about him being in the middle of a fight with you than about him not caring about taking care of his children. I have found myself, out of exhaustion and frustration, ripping my husband's head off or "making jabs" at him for not doing x, y, z enough or complained at him for not helping out with something, but it really has the opposite effect of my desire. I want him to help more, but I push him away with the way that I approach it. Its something I work hard on, trying to communicate in a way that he hears instead of "bitching" which he just sums up as that and doesn't listen to. (not saying thats what you're doing, just that from your post it sounds like thats how your husband is taking it)
I agree that yelling is not the answer or the way to get what you want or need, but I have a real problem with a man who would, in essence, say, "Well I am not going to help you with OUR children, because you yelled at me." I don't like being yelled at either, and boy howdy would I tell my husband off if he decided to yell at me like that. But, I would not refuse to do something to care for my children. That is wrong.
 

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Thanks for your replies. I have read "Five Love Languages." He is a physical and words of affirmation person. Which is part of why he responded the way he did to me yelling, it hurts him more because words mean alot to him (according to the book anyway). I do want to make it clear that I haven't yelled through all of this. This has been going on now for about a month or so-- him going to bed very early, working on Saturday's, not helping with the kids, etc. Through it all, I have made every effort to support him, help him, etc and I haven't yelled once. Last night was my last straw. Baby screaming, toddler tired and ready for bed, DH leaving to go out of town for a week, and NO help!

After I posted last night, we had a big conversation. He told me that I am "pushing him too hard" when he is already "overwhelmed and stressed out." I truly don't see in what way I am pushing him, I have stopped asking for help, for the most part, and he goes to bed at 8pm. I am doing 100% of the parenting, bills, housework, etc. except for putting DD to bed. That is is only responsibility. Now, my maternity leave is over in two weeks. Then what is going to happen?? I only work part-time but I can't hold this house of cards together when I am working!

I think that Demeter and Tinkerbelle are right in suggesting he is depressed. DH has a history of depression and is on medication. He is under a tremendous amount of pressure both at work and from his parents. I told him last night that I am just the outlet. That it's not that I am pushing too hard, or being unreasonable, but that he can't vent at his boss, or his parents, so I get it.

Jenlana- you are a right that we need a break. I won't leave DS overnight yet (he is only 7 weeks) but DD loves to stay with Grandma & Grandpa. I think we are going to leave them both and go out to dinner and a movie on Saturday and then maybe leave DD with them for the night.

I am just so sad and overwhelmed. He stormed off to bed last night and left this morning for a week out of town. I have tried and tried to set things right but I have accept that I am not controling this situation. There is nothing that I can do anymore except support and love him. It's just hard, when we are suppose to be enjoying a babymoon, to spend time together as a family. But instead, he is upset and angry, not paying any attention to DS, leaving me to parent solo and not just parent- but bills, housework, garbage, pets, cars, EVERYTHING. He has just checked out of our life as a FAMILY to take care of things that are stressing hime. He told me last night that I need to
(a) not "push" him to do anything (bear in mind that I asked him once last night to help, just once, and he defines that as pushing)
(b) understand that he is very overwhelmed and stressed and needs time to himself
(c) not wake him up if he falls asleep with DD but let him sleep
(d) not make dinner (!!!!!) because it is too stressful to have to "deal with all of that" when he comes home
and finally (e) not comment/complain that this is a stressful time for me too he "doesn't need to hear that, he knows it is hard on me and it just makes him feel bad."

What on earth am I suppose to do?!? I am just sitting here crying. I am just glad he is gone this week. I hope some time away from us will give him some perspective (it usually does) that he does love and enjoy his family. Anyway-- DD is into something in the bathroom (yikes!) gotta go...
 

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My DH did something similar to this a couple of years ago.

I did as he asked. 100%. I didn't yell, though I REALLY wanted to. I had PPD too, so I was really unimpressed with him.

He became a ghost in the machine for a couple of months. He REALLY didn't like it. He had to earn his way back "in." With me and the kids. I didn't cut him out, I just pretended I had a really useless ghost in my house.

I never talked about it. I just gave him what he wanted. I did not make supper for him, and never asked him what he wanted. At most I told him that it was there. I would set supper for me and the girls and if he couldn't be bothered to be part of the family I mentally ignored him during that time.

I not only did not ask him to do child care, I made sure he didn't do child care because he was a schmuck. I didn't put away his clothing, but put it on the dresser (I have a higher tolerance to disarray than he does). If he called I dealt with him like he was a professional colleague I didn't really trust - succinct and unemotional.

I slept in the other bedroom.

If he didn't like something, I shrugged. If I vaccumed I did it when it suited me not him. That sort of thing.

He also thought that my asking him things was "pushing" him. I still asked him to do things, but when he hadn't done them in a reasonable period of time I would do it. In front of him. I carried the big piece of furniture up the stairs. I changed the stinky bum, after taking her away after 20 minutes of him doing something more important.

I also had people over occassionally, so that they could see this set up. People he thought were good people. Having an audience seems to make a person more aware of how they look.

However, I had a mental time limit on this. If he didn't get his butt IN, I was going to throw it OUT after about 6 months.

I did one thing for him. I kept him abreast of the children's lives. What they were doing. How much fun they had today. When DD asked why Daddy doesn't do things with us. That isn't a guilt trip - it is the reality of the situation. If I had to explain my DH stupid behaviour to a 3.5 year old and 1 year old and make sure that they knew that Daddy loved them even though I was really unimpressed and thought it was unfair, he was going to KNOW what his children thought. "Why doesn't Daddy change the diapers?" "I don't know honey." "Doesn't Daddy eat supper?" "Apparently not." "Can Daddy come to the Zoo?" "I don't know what to say to that. You probably need to ask him."

I don't know if this would work with every guy. My DH wants a family, and he is a responsible guy. He just went through a really rough patch of being a big *(*&Y(&*)*! and tried a number of different tactics to not deal with his issues. I have a good relationship with my Dad, who helped me figure out how to deal with this immaturity thing that guys seem to go through at some point. (or as he now puts it, my Mom almost has him all trained up right now).

For my DH, getting what he asked for turned out to be a really good learning experience for him. But I did NOT cushion it for him. I didn't use kid gloves, or be sweet and clingy or hope that he would be seduced back in. I think that is why it worked. I meant it. If he wanted to be a ghost of a man, then I let him try it out. But I made it clear that I was not going to live like that forever.

Apparently be a ghost of a man sucks for a man with a brain and an ounce of integrity.
 

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Quote:
(a) not "push" him to do anything (bear in mind that I asked him once last night to help, just once, and he defines that as pushing)
(b) understand that he is very overwhelmed and stressed and needs time to himself
(c) not wake him up if he falls asleep with DD but let him sleep
(d) not make dinner (!!!!!) because it is too stressful to have to "deal with all of that" when he comes home
and finally (e) not comment/complain that this is a stressful time for me too he "doesn't need to hear that, he knows it is hard on me and it just makes him feel bad."
Seriously!!? Ya know, this really pisses me off. Especially (e). So you're just supposed to do everything *and* keep your mouth shut about it?!!? He is being incredibly selfish, how he could not see that is beyond me.
I think that this "you don't care about me" thing is his stuff, not yours.
I think both of you need to get completely clear on what you need from each other and find a way to work that out(I know, easier said than done!). Depression definitely sounds like a factor too.
Sorry, I don't have answers for you, just
Best of luck to you.
 

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Wow, that's really unfair to you. I like Demeter's approach. You can't live like that.

Do you have family around? Could you stay with someone else if you needed to? Maybe he needs a big old shock to his system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks again for your replies. Demeter- that is how things are becoming. It's so weird, after having DH be so involved with DD, to just check out of our lives so suddenly. It is like have a big ghost in the house. DD is always asking why he isn't doing XYZ, it's hard not to have an answer. I have a much lower tolerance for disarry than he does, MUCH lower, he couldn't care less. So the mess just aggrivates me, while he is oblivious to it all. He can't even be bothered to pick up his pants/dishes/etc.

I do have family around, alot of family, which is what is making this all possible. My mom and sister are both here usually one day a week (different days) and my FIL takes DD for a half day a week as well. We live in the same town as our parents, so help is here. I've been letting some info slip to FIL, because he is really good about getting DH's butt in gear when it needs to be. I don't want to be whining to his dad, but FIL struggled with depression as well and is a really good, caring father and grandpa.

We did have a good, long conversation tonight. I am really hopeful that this week out of town will be a "reset" for him. He use to go camping for a weeek every summer with his buddies and it always helped him focus on our family and how much he does love and enjoy us. I asked him point blank last night if he was planning on leaving us and he was shocked. I don't think he had any idea that I was this upset. He is just totally oblivious to everyone in the house. I hope that that alone helps some. We'll see....

And if it is related to depression, I am not sure how to proceed. I think he needs his meds adjusted, but I can't force this on him. I hope he is able to come to the conclusion, some time, that this might be depression and not just "being busy and overwhelmed." Anyway, thanks for the support... Any more advice, welcome!
 

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we're going through a similar situation at my house, and i could have pretty much written your post. i too think it's really a lack of self-care, but it's just easier to put it on someone else than to take resposibility for your own crap. i kind of did force dh's hand into counceling though. he's on prozac and i just don't think it's working for him, so i told dh he HAD to get some help b/c i COULD NOT live this way any longer. i told him i was speaking from a place of love, and that i don't want him to feel like he's feeling. he was mad for a while, but then he got over it and got his butt to a councelor, who immediately requested that he see a psych for an eval and some new meds. THANK GOD! his appt for the eval is this week, and i can't wait! the therapy is already helping alot, and i too found a therapist for myself to help me deal with all of this. it's really great to have a totally neutral and uninvolved party to talk to! you should check out this article if you haven't already--it really hits the nail on the head for us, and i bet it will for you too! hope things start getting better for you both!
 
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