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Alone and confused
Hi, I'm a first time poster.
I am married with 2 kids (6 and 2). Im a stay at home mum, as hubby landed a really well paid job 3 years ago, which meant I didn't have to work. This suited us well, as I was looking to retrain (couldn't face teaching any more). Hubbys job is quite stressful. For the first 2 years he worked away all week, coming home on Fridays. The past year, hes been home every night. He's developed type 2 diabetes, and has been hospitalised for stress related issues twice. He wont talk to me. He says hes stressed at work, and comes home to the kids being noisy, to a messy play room, to me wanting to talk to him, expecting him to pitch in with the kids showers, bed time, etc. He's been shutting himself in his workshop for hours after work each day, only seeing the kids at meals and to say good night. We don't talk any more, about anything, we have had no sex life for 18 months. I am constantly in tears over the way he puts me down, expects me to pick up after him - theres 5 days worth of laudry and wet towels at the end of the bed - and I'm expected to pick it up. I have so little self esteem left, but I REFUSE to pick up after a grown man. I don't think I'm expecting too much for my husband to respect me enough to not leave his dirty socks on the loungeroom floor for 2 days.
I've asked him to tell me what to do to help his stress, his response: leave me alone.
I'm really struggling here to know what to do. I love this man and my kids adore him, despite his short temper and the fact he never plays with them any more. His idea of parenting is putting on the TV. I live in Australia, my family are in Europe, and I've only a few friends. I guess what I'm wondering is, do I stay in this loveless marriage for the sake of my kids, or do I leave for the sake of my own mental health, which is suffering? Is there a way around this? He got up this morning and acted like everything was fine - after telling me his ill health was all my fault - and refusing to acknowledge that my (diagnosed) depression is partily a result of him shutting me out, and leaving me to deal with our enitre life.
I would really appreciate some advice. Sorry I was so long winded.
Welcome to Beyond Blue forums. It's good you've found your way here.
You are not long winded at all. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It can be so hard when you think you're on your own. But you're not on your own now. Beyond Blue forums can be very supportive.
When your partner shuts you out, your sense of self worth can worsen. And of course that doesn't help your depression at all. However, people with depression can and do live with others. Quite successfully. So there is still hope if you want to do something. You ask the question:
I guess what I'm wondering is, do I stay in this loveless marriage for the sake of my kids, or do I leave for the sake of my own mental health, which is suffering? Is there a way around this?
With your family overseas, you must feel isolated. Especially when you want to talk with someone about your relationship. It all sounds extremely difficult at the moment for you and the kids. Relationships take a lot of work to make them fulfilling and sometimes they can be more difficult than others.
You say you love him and the kids adore him. Then maybe think about talking with an organisation that help people like yourself, e.g. Relationships Australia 1300 364 277.
Do you have any outside interests, hobbies, sports? I ask that because, sometimes being at home with children all day can take it's toll on mums and dads. Mums and dads do need support, an outlet and intelligent conversation.
Are you seeing a doctor and a therapist regularly to help manage your depression? Having been a teacher, makes me think you need a bit more intellectual input to assist you when you are depressed.
You're doing very well though, you found your way here which is really good to see. Reaching out to people is okay. Talk with someone before making any decisions about your life with hubby.
Be gentle with yourself.
Thank you Pamela for your kind words.
I do feel really isolated, I have made some mum friends from my daughters school, but I wouldn't class them as the kind of friend you can discuss personal things with. I don't see a therapist - I don't have any days or evenings where I am child free. They are always with me.
I love to dance, and recently opened a class - its one class per week - and again, the kids come with me. I feel SO GOOD for that hour - I'm my old self. But then, I get home and it all falls back to the old ways - hubby is in his workshop or on the sofa, so I'm left to organise dinners, showers, homework and lunches, just one hour later than usual.
I plan on writing him a letter. He won't listen to me at all, so if I write it all down, hand it to him, and watch him read it, it should give me an insight into what hes thinking, and how he wants things to progress.
Thanks again for your kind reply, it meant so much.
Firstly, I’m so sorry you feel alone. I don’t have any family in Australia, I know it’s hard.
Is there a possibility that your husband also has anxiety or depression? Anxiety and depression can look a lot like a lack of caring.
When I’m most anxious, I come home and just want to be left alone for a while. My job is stressful with people asking me questions and wanting things from me all day. Getting home is my first opportunity to just stop. I don’t want someone asking me what I feel like for dinner the second I walk in the door etc Could it be possible that’s your husband is also escaping?
Whatever the reason though, him feeling bad is never an excuse to try and make you feel worse. My partner does this sometimes too. These days I either walk away or very calmly tell him he is being innapropriate.
One thing I would be mindful of is perpetuating things. Sometimes my partner is being a real ass, as much as I want to teach him a lesson I also know all I’m doing is making myself unhappy too. If a nice clean house will make you feel nice, then take the dirty pile and stick it in a laundry basket. You don’t have to wash it, but you can stick it somewhere that it’s not such an eyesore to you.
Try not to deprive yourself of things.
What would happen if you planned a date night? Something to remind the two of you why you got together in the first place?
Welcome to the forums, I hope you get what you came here for. I can see both sides in this, you’re at home with two young kids, picking up after them all day, and the last thing you want is another person to pick up after. But then like your husband, I’m not a particularly tidy person. My ex-partner was much neater than me and it was always a source of tension. I have a chronic medical condition and used to work in a fairly stressful job, so all I wanted was to come home to some peace. My partner used to take it as a direct affront against him, and it was nothing to do with him, I was merely exhausted and prioritized sitting down and unwinding over standing at the sink washing dishes. Because it was the only enjoyable “me-time” that I had. Rather than both of you dig your heels in, is there some way that you can meet in the middle? Would a cleaner 1 day a week help lighten the load? I think some out-of-the-box thinking would really help. I may hold off on the letter though, in the current environment I fear it might go down like a lead balloon.