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Question
Posted by: CC | 2010/10/25

Can I always be wrong?

Dear Doc
I am married to a man who I really love. We have been together for 7.5 years. We are pregnant now with my first child, his child out of his first marriage is 26 years old. I got to a stage where it feels that I made (and I can kick myself now for it!) my husband " the island"  of my life. I do everything possible to make life easier for him, all household tasks, cooking, paying bills, making sure fridge is stocked up, entertain his family on a very regular basis, pack every day a healthy food supply in for him to work, tolerate that he works every day and at nighttime Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and basically about 6-7 hours on a Sunday. He has his own business. On top of all of this I also have my own business and contribute to exactly half of all the costs of living etc, I basically look financially at myself. I had a talk, or let''s say tried to have a talk with him last night. I feel that I give all of this to our relationship on a daily basis, even the times that I really feel sick with my pregnancy and if he doesn''t work, every minutes get allocated to his family who lives in the same city as us. For example yesterday, we woke up and went out for a breakfast which did not last longer than 40 minutes, after that we had to visit his mother for 2.5 hours, after that his brother and wife for 2 hours, we went home and he spent 6 hours in front of his books and pc. In that time he doesn''t even lift his head to talk to me. Obviously after that he is also tired and jump into bed to sleep. I just feel that I put soooo much into our relationship and I need so desparately a man who sometimes also " give me an hour or so"  on a weekend to spend time with only ME! What is going to happen when we have a child in the house if his work and family ALWAYS take the first seats? I am at a stage where I consider to rather leave him now, BEFORE a child is born who will not understand if she needs to " beg"  for attention and love and a place in his very " busy"  world. I am sick and tired to be hanging around like a dog, which need to beg for a pat on the back or a bit of time and care. I am sick of only giving and not getting much back, how can I with open eyes expose a child to this too? I really love him, but I start to feel pathetic about myself for being so tolerant with a self-centered man. I am cross with myself that I accept that, I know there must be somebody out there who could put me (and the child on her way) FIRST in his life. I thought that a real man will ALWAYS put his wife and children first in his life? Why do I have to fight for a place???

Doc am I unreasonable and too needy? Should I leave now or???

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Gosh. You sound like the sort of wife many men long for and never find. But maybe you have neen so selfless in dealing with so many of his problems and in apparently expecting nothing for yourself, that you may have trained him to overlook your needs and assume his life should always be as untroubled or untedious as you make it for him.
Maybe his family gets the attention they do both for family habit and cultural reasons, but also because they ASK for it and you don't ?
What you desire is entirely reasonable, except that apparently it would need him to change the habits of a lifetime.
And just quietly hoping for a major change isn't realistic. As Purple says, try talking quietly with him, maybe focussing on the need for you BOTH to change patterns as the child's birth approaches ( obviously he needs to make the most change, but it'll feel more acceptable for him if he can see it as a mutual efort and as necessitated by his becoming a father than by facing the fact that he's been a pretty lousy husband for so long ).
Like a spoiled child ( which in many ways he is ) he needs gentle but firm handling to help him to grow into an actual adult, supporting as well as supported. Try to steer him towards marriage counselling, and as Soul suggests, emphasizing that you now need help and support around the home.
Of course one understands your sense of bitterness, but in a way he's like a drug addict, and you are like his supplier now complaining that he has become dependent on what you supply. After the huge investment you have made, don't give up now, but move towards the changes you all need now.

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Our users say:
Posted by: just a thought | 2010/10/25

i think you may be being a bit selective with the facts here- if he doesnt spend any time with u how did you get pregnant?

Reply to just a thought
Posted by: Soul | 2010/10/25

Sorry that is you gave him too much.

Reply to Soul
Posted by: Soul | 2010/10/25

You can''t blame him for things you decided to do for him, you spoiled him rotten. You did all these things cause you loved him and you wanted to do them for him and now years down the line you regret that.
You do need to speak with him about the time he needs to spend with his family (you and baby) his priorities need to lie with you before his extended family.
Just beware that when you do discuss this with him that you don''t accuse him of all the things you''ve done and are still doing for him, remember you started it and his not going to understand why you attaching him for something you wanted to do.
Bring to his attention that you need help around the house and you want to employ someone to assit you with the house and the baby and that he needs to do his share to.

Ending a relationship with your husband on what you''ve stated there is no cause to unless you''ve both been trying and had some form of marriage coucelling.

You have him too much and his used to it and to change that is not going to be easy.

Reply to Soul
Posted by: Purple | 2010/10/25

Because you have always done these things for him he has come to expect them and sees this way of life as normal.

Unfortunately when you have children, his life is not going to change (though you''ll hear him telling all his friends how tough it is and how little sleep he gets - and you can think about it as you sit there feeding and he sleeps through the entire hour long process every 3 hours or so).

Don''t just leave though, rather try again to speak to him about it. Perhaps write him a letter to read. Sometimes people interrupt and don''t listen properly when we try to talk, but if you write it down, they will sit and read it and do so a few times and then respond.

Remember also that in his mind, he might think that he is doing what is expected of him - he''s going out and working and running his business. I think some men don''t realise it is their presence that is wanted at home, not only what they bring in from the business. Remind him that you provide half of the finances. Also, perhpas you need to cut back on this a little and hire yourself a good house keeper who can also help you with baby.

Explain that you need help with things around the house from him and that you need him to devote time to you guys as a family and not just to his own family.

Just mention to your doctor how unsupported you feel though, because when you have a serious lack of support through pregnancy and with baby, it is one of the things that lead up to post natal depression.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/10/25

Gosh. You sound like the sort of wife many men long for and never find. But maybe you have neen so selfless in dealing with so many of his problems and in apparently expecting nothing for yourself, that you may have trained him to overlook your needs and assume his life should always be as untroubled or untedious as you make it for him.
Maybe his family gets the attention they do both for family habit and cultural reasons, but also because they ASK for it and you don't ?
What you desire is entirely reasonable, except that apparently it would need him to change the habits of a lifetime.
And just quietly hoping for a major change isn't realistic. As Purple says, try talking quietly with him, maybe focussing on the need for you BOTH to change patterns as the child's birth approaches ( obviously he needs to make the most change, but it'll feel more acceptable for him if he can see it as a mutual efort and as necessitated by his becoming a father than by facing the fact that he's been a pretty lousy husband for so long ).
Like a spoiled child ( which in many ways he is ) he needs gentle but firm handling to help him to grow into an actual adult, supporting as well as supported. Try to steer him towards marriage counselling, and as Soul suggests, emphasizing that you now need help and support around the home.
Of course one understands your sense of bitterness, but in a way he's like a drug addict, and you are like his supplier now complaining that he has become dependent on what you supply. After the huge investment you have made, don't give up now, but move towards the changes you all need now.

Reply to cybershrink

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