FAQ

Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Announcement Icon
You can win one of three $200 gift cards. Complete our survey by 5pm, 30 June 2024 AEST to enter the draw. Your response will be anonymous so you can't be identified.

Dad not supportive enough

Lera30
Community Member

I am a new mum to a 4mth old and my partner is not supportive enough.I have no family here, he works nights for half the week and when he is home he sleeps and spends the rest of his time on his computer or xbox.He does however cook sometimes which am grateful for.Am missing normal conversation and I get annoyed as he would rather be online than spending time with his son.I don't stay at home all day either I go out a fair bit and lately I've found myself going out and staying out for hours just to prevent arguing about him being on his computer all day. It seems he cannot stay away from the screen and hv normal conversations, he has no friends and when I nag and he does sit down with us for while he is so grumpy he might as well be online!The gaming was a problem before baby but I could overlook it then by keeping myself busy with other things, he isn't a first time dad either and he is usually very caring and I was expecting him to be able to prioritise.Am I being controlling asking him to spend a bit more time with us and reducing his screen time.How much computer time do people find reasonable?

Another question... He says he gets angry when our bub or any bub cries if he is tired which I find really strange.if I had known I would never have had a child with him.It makes me a bit paranoid leaving baby with him and also if we have to go anywhere with him and baby cries in the car I just get so stressed out.He hasn't lashed out or anything but it's just worrying. All this constant bickering (on my part.. as he doesn't say much just gets grumpy if he is off his comp) about it all is really getting me down and lately I haven't been sleeping well which isn't good with a new bub...am sleep deprived as it is...i hv made myself an appt with my doc for an assessment so I can catch things early if I'm postnatal and I'm also due back at work soon and I wanna be as healthy as I can be to be strong enough for that and my baby.

Anyone have any thoughts on how to help myself and my partner?I do try to include him and thank him when he does help.

10 Replies 10

BballJ
Community Member

Hi Lera30,

Firstly, welcome to the forums.

What a tough situation you find yourself in, many dads would be so wrapped to have a new born, they would I would think want to give up most of their free time just to be with them. Everyone is different but and I am not saying your partner is a bad father by any means, I guess it's just how I view it as I cannot wait to be a father. Screen time for most people these days is a common argument between couples, this is the era we live in and how long is enough is anyone's guess, unfortuntly it requires you both to sit down and come to a happy medium on what is fair for both you two and the baby. I like that you are taking action with seeing a doc with the Post Natal Depression.... Does your partner have any existing mental health concerns of his own? Sometimes it all ties in if he had stuff in the past. My anxiety flares up when i think about the major responsibility of having a kid and my wife isn't even pregnant yet.

My best for you and your family,

Jay

Lera30
Community Member

Thanks for the reply Jay.I think he has some form of depression, he has admitted to being sad on accasion in the past and I have a feeling the excessive gaming is his way of coping.He won't get help though...

Don't be anxious about being a dad one day. It's a lot of work but the most beautiful feeling ever. When it does happen just be there for your wife...help her and talk to her and reassure her that she's doing a great job.be involved even if u don't know how.Mums don't know a lot too initially... We all have to learn!Best wishes, am sure you'll be a great dad.

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hello Lera, being a new dad should be beautiful as the baby begins to grow and does something different every day, but when your partner doesn't feel like this, it must be so disappointing for you and eventually for the baby.
To ask him to help and participate in all the daily chores, especially loving the time he spends with your child, is not too much to ask, because he was the one that made you pregnant, as I'm sure there weren't any repercussions back then, but now he has to face what he has done.
What I am really worried about is his anger, because only now he gets grumpy but it worries me that he doesn't go that one step further.
It's difficult to say whether or not he is depressed or whether he is regretting what has happened, unfortunately he probably won't tell you which makes your situation much harder to cope with, however he could be using the computer and playing the games as a way of self medicating but in the long run this is not going to help him nor will it help you.
You have a full time job raising a child because it's 24/7, something which some dad's don't realise, but when you see your doctor you have to specify that it's your partner that is getting you down, and although I'm not a doctor, I don't believe that you do have PND, but your doctor will say whether or not it is.
It is going to be difficult for him to admit that he may have depression, because if his attitude is that he gets angry he won't admit to it. Geoff.x

pipsy
Community Member

Hey Lera. He isn't a new dad so being around a new born is not his problem. Some first time dad's are a bit wary as a new born can be strange and scary. How is his relationship with his other child/ren? Is he able to relax with them or is he similar in nature? If it's been a while and his other children have grown and he's forgotten how demanding an infant can be perhaps this is part of the problem. It sounds as though trying to talk to him is difficult as he appears to be 'tuning' you out. He seems to be 'addicted' to the computer and is using that as a means of escape. When someone has depression, they will often try different escape mechanisms rather than ask for help which is sometimes viewed as a weakness. Geoff commented that asking him straight out if he is suffering depression could cause more problems. Do you have access to the computer yourself? Perhaps 'google' depression and the various symptoms/signs might give you a bit of guidance. Once you have a bit more knowledge, you may have some ideas on how to approach him.

Lynda

Lera30
Community Member

Thanks Linda

He has been through a pretty traumatic experience with his other child who is now grown up.He doesn't have anything to do with her anymore and has not spoken to her in years.We have been together 7yrs and I haven't met her.Bit of background info... It did take a bit of convincing to have our son as he initially didn't want another child. But he did seem happy enough to want to try again for my sake.We would have ended up going our separate ways otherwise. I really thought that another chance in a happier relationship this time will work well for him and give him something positive to focus on.

I really think he has just got so used to his gaming habits and if he is using it to self medicate it's just really irritating to have to change as per expectation. I also think he is a little bit jealous if that is even possible of our little fella but I just love seeing them together and he doesn't realise he'll get a lot more of my time and attention if he just gives us a bit more of his.

For now I'll try not to get angry, be positive in everything I say and maybe he'll slowly get it...I hope.

BballJ
Community Member

Hi Lera30,

Thanks for replying and for your kind words, I will take that advice on especially when the times comes.

I can see the gaming being a distraction for him, weather he is suffering from depression of some sort or what not, mine is music for my anxiety, his may very well be gaming but I am no where near qualified to diagnose or say yes thats it cause I don't really know just general advice from my experiences. Hope you both get the help you so rightly deserve to live a happy life together.

My best for you and your family,

Jay

pipsy
Community Member

Dear Lera. You've been together 7 years and you've never met his daughter, I presume she is with the mother. It sounds like it could have been quite an acrimonious divorce. May I inquire if he admitted to being a bit selfish with his time when you first met him. My ex had been divorced for several years when we met and he admitted to being extremely selfish as he hadn't had to consider another person in that time. He too had children, 2 sons who he'd lost contact with. His divorce had been acrimonious too. We married and our first few years were unpleasant to say the least. I am actually in the process of divorce, after 25 years of trying. It's taken time to accept we are simply unsuited as I self blamed and tried to adapt to him. My ex had also had gambling & drinking problems although these weren't part of our problems. He made it clear no children were included in our life. I'm glad to say that never happened, as he could never have accepted children. Whether you choose to remain or leave, only you know the answer to that. However, he is not going to change as he sees no reason to. He may make an attempt to bond with your son, but I think it will be a half hearted attempt to try appease you. Whatever your decision is we will be here to support and guide you as you are going to need help. Perhaps ask for a referral to a counselor/psychologist or someone who can help you with your emotions as coping with this is going to be rough.

Lynda

Hi Lera. There appears to be a whole bunch of red flags popping up here. What was this traumatic experience you speak of? Does he have any contact/involvement in his daughter? Was this his choice or was it because of his ex?? It's a little concerning that he didn't want another child and did it to make you happy and/or prevent a break-up. Did you talk about parenting responsibilities/expectations before you had your baby?

His gaming was an issue prior to the baby, so that is an issue in itself. If he's self-medicating with it, what's he self-medication for? He also works nights so he's got himself into a routine - one that's not entirely conducive to good health, relationships & brand new babies.

But to answer you're first question, no, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask him to cut down on screen time & spend more time with the family. The counter to this however, is that your degree of success is going to be extremely limited due to known red flags prior to baby (ie: pre-existing issues with screen time/disengagement, reluctance for another child, significant issues with a child from a previous relationship, etc). So I guess you'll only be able to expect so much.

Secondly, his anger issues regarding baby crying are likely to be multifactorial. A big part of this would be whatever his issues were/are with his daughter. Does he ever open up to you about this? Another factor would be disruption to his routine and fatigue. He's used to a heavily ingrained routine - add a baby & his normal coping mechanisms fly out the window. This might be linked to whatever anxiety/other mental health issues he may or may not have (ie: the reason he does nights, the reason he games so much, the new baby bringing up past memories/trauma/anxiety). The list might go on longer...

All this doesn't help you much though & I'm sorry, but what I'm trying to say is that his current behaviour is not to be unexpected going into it with what you already knew. That's not to say that you can't voice your expectations and concerns. You should. Ultimately he's made a decision to have a baby too, so he needs some accountabilty.

The main priority is getting you sorted out first. Discuss everything with your GP. Do u have friends who can help? It's really important to join a Mother's Group!! Perhaps stop what's not working for now - and that's having break from the bickering. Keep an eye on the anger. It might help for him to get professional help for a whole bunch of issues.

Thanks Apollo,

To answer a few of your questions... He doesn't have any involvement with his daughter partly because of his ex and partly due to the daughter herself.He got a girl pregnant not really knowing her when he was quite young and the whole thing was set up for failure there and then. Anyway he tried to be involved. Had his daughter over the holidays( she's interstate) and had her stay with him for a while when she was a teenager but she ended up being verbally abusive towards him and he had to let her go back to her mother.He hasn't spoken to her since and I can see he gets really stressed if her name comes up.His mom is forever trying to get them to talk...last time there was suggestion of her visiting he ended up drinking excessively.

We didn't talk about parenting responsibilities which in hindsight we should have , I never expected him to help much with housework because he never has, but I really did genuinely think without a doubt that he would be an excellent and hands-on dad, much the contrary to what am seeing as he is naturally very caring. You could be right in saying that our son could be bringing back bad memories that makes him a bit reluctant to try and bond.I do try to reassure him that it is a different kid...different relationship and situation but only so much I can do.Past couple of days though he hasn't spent as much time online...playing with bub a bit more and a little bit less grumpy...Hopefully he'll keep it up.

I don't have many friends that can just drop everything to help.My main source of support with baby are his parents when they are around.They've been wonderful and his mom has in the past given me some insight into his past with his daughter... much more than what he's told me. I'm not sure how much I can divulge to her as I feel sometimes she can be a bit dismissive and want us to sort our own things out....but I know she isn't a fan of the gaming either. I do attend a mother's group.

Yet to get that mental health assessment which has been postponed for next week as my GP attended to something else today but whether there's a problem or not I will ask for a referral for some counselling so I can try to keep my emotions in check.