How to handle a problem wi/ husband

Over all my marriage is in a bad place. But I want to deal with it one step at a time. How would you handle this…?

Today I told my husband I felt disrespected and unloved because he dishonored an agreement we made, again. He made excuses and I expressed hurt and anger and asked why he disrespected our agreement again. Just more excuses and I asked why he didn’t care about my feelings. His response is because I am selfish basically for expressing my feelings…his words are to me it’s “all about me, me, my feelings, and so selfish…” that is what he was saying about me. Now I know he does this because he doesn’t want to be held accountable for his selfishness and inappropriate behavior. Basically he is more excited to stir up political debate on forums than to care about or do what is right. How can I explain to him that it isn’t selfish to express my feelings? I started out acting maturely about it, of course I always manage to go down hill when he treats me badly and I too begin to act uncharitably. He basically thinks I am being selfish and treating him badly and acting like jerk if I hold him accountable or tell him how I feel. I feel like sometimes I should separate from him.

whoa time out
there is a long way to go before even considering separation, or God forbid divorce
marriage encounter, retrouvaille, consult with our priest, visit a counsellor at Catholic Charities for referaral to a good marriage counsellor

get some help with communication strategies, which seem to be at the root of the problem you describe in OP

Well, done just about all of that. Every time a counselor holds him accountable he quits. We have been to many retreats including retrouvaille. Read many books… I wish I could fix our communication problem, but I can’t do it alone. There are other things more important to my husband than our communication.

It sounds like he is using the “selfish” argument to justify what he does. I can’t judge because I know nothing about the argument or conditions on the agreement or what happened…etc. But when people just flat out don’t want to listen to you, something is wrong. They are buying time or just trying to avoid dealing with the real issue. Does he ever express his feelings to you about something you did that made him mad? Or has he ever? You could talk to him and give him an example of how you respect his feelings when he expresses them and ask what makes your feelings different. Of course who knows if this will really help or not, he may just argue you in circles again. I’m just making a suggestion. Are there things in his life right now that maybe he is stressed out about? Has he always been this way or is this a recent change?

Maybe you could describe the situation in more detail so we could get a better picture of what’s going on. That would help with any advice.

The agreement was that he isn’t suppose to use the computer while caring for our 1 year old. He is on the computer constantly for work and leisure. Almost everyday I have to remind him, and he says becasue it isn’t in writing he forgets or didn’t realize it applied to a certain situation or whatever. Today I complained. Then he said well since it is ruined I am going back to the computer and he went back to do stuff on the computer while caring for our son which made the whole situation even worse.

Is that included if your 1 year old son is napping? Or playing in his play pen, or something like that? I ask, because having two kids, I remember in their baby years, that they took a lot of naps, and playing in their play pens, and I would do dishes or laundry during such a time…or even catch up with a gf by phone. (the internet was just coming into focus back then and we did not own a computer 15 years ago):o So, just wondering if he is using the computer during the ‘down time?’ Does he neglect your child during the time he is home taking care of him? If he is on the computer, and your son is crying his little heart out and going ignored, then yes, I could see being pretty angry. But, if it’s during the down time, I don’t see any problem with that. Just asking?

**It also makes a difference if the husband agreed not to use the computer at all during the time he watches the baby. It may be a case of “I’ll agree with this to your face but then do what I want anyway”.


Maybe there is more to the issue?

On the surface, as long as the child is not being neglected (taken to the extreme, child sits in a solied diaper with no food while dad ignores him and plays on the internet), a parent can do other things while caring for a child.

Would it be okay if dad read a book or newspaper while caring for the child? Watched a movie? Listens to music? How about working a crossword puzzle? Cooking dinner? Do you see how over the internet this could seem to be something odd to disagree over?

My point, is your rule about no computer while dad watches baby a reasonable agreement met by both of you? Maybe it is time to re-evaluate.

If you husband is a good dad, who cares for his child, who feeds and changes the child, keeps him safe and warm, plays with him and teaches him - maybe you could let dad do things his way when he is alone with Jr.?

Tonya, he obviously doesn’t care about your feelings. So trying to talk to him on that topic will only make him shut down.

This is an issue of child safety. A one year old can get into a lot of trouble if the child is not properly supervised. And if your husband is supposed to be watching the child and he’s off distracted staring at a computer screen (we all know how quickly time can fly and how the outside world can disappear when we’re staring at the monitor) he is endangering his child.

Perhaps if you implemented a schedule when he can get on the computer while you watch baby he could get his fix AND be a family man. Because one year olds turn into 18 year olds really quickly. And the time he’s wasting discussing transitory political news that will be OBE’d by July is time he should be spending with his own child.

This is NOT about your feelings. If you take it out of that realm and show him the big picture, he can’t argue so much. Or if he does, he looks like an immature teenage boy.

What’s he going to say? “I don’t want to watch the baby. That’s boring. I’d rather hang with my internet friends.”

His child needs him to pay attention and interact. Not stare at a monitor while baby plays with the plug in the outlet, or whatever small children do for fun these days.

Your husband sounds like a narcissist. You really can’t communicate with that mentality. Let me guess… he was perfectly wonderful and charming while you dated and it was all about you two doing fun things together, just the two of you. And you were gaga over him and he was the center of your world (just where he felt he belonged). Then when baby came along, so did the fights. Because now there was a helpless baby in the picture needing BOTH your attention, and as soon as the conversation stopped being about him all the time, he doesn’t want to talk anymore.

When people are angry and accuse things of being “all about you” it’s usually because they’re mad that it’s not "all about me."
I have read many political message boards and some people seem to have a whole lot of time on their hands. I suspect they go there because they think they have an audience who appreciates them and is hanging on their every word. And they get to be combative and belligerent with no consequences for that behavior (other than being banned, wherefore they go to other sites and start over.)

The internet is like a candy shop for the narcissist. They can incite and arouse discontent, get lots of attention, even if it’s negative. And it’s all about them. And too bad your husband can’t see that his own child would give him the most wonderful and worshipful attention at all if he tried to interact with him.

Maybe there is a nice way to say that to him. But it’s not selfish to ask that he take care of his own child.

You can password protect the computer and only let him on when his chores are done. But that puts you in the Mommy category. Which won’t help.

He needs to grow up. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Just know that your feelings aren’t germane to his world and you have to find another way to skin that cat. Good luck.

Love and Respect

Liberano! (((hugs))) first of all…how are you?:slight_smile:

I just wanted to chime in that we don’t know if he is using the computer (yet) when the baby is napping, or what. I never had to mother my husband, that can be rather unhealthy for a relationship. But, I agree that if he is neglecting his duties as a dad to be watching over and caring for his OWN son, then, I can see Tonya’s disappointment.

It is only while he cares for our son in the morning and before bed…awake time and my son is very active.

Yes he is neglectful while caring for my son if on the computer or watching tv. My son gets pretty fussy and wants me because dad is tuned in elsewhere. This is while I cook breakfast or dinner or do stuff around the house.

OOOOHHHHH…ok, I see. This is quite a different picture then. I can see why you are angry. And in some ways, he isn’t showing that he is trying to help you either. I might approach him about it, in more of a “I would like it if…” and fill in the rest. It helps to begin discussions with “I” instead of “you broke our agreement.” People, in general, do not like to be told “they are doing something wrong.” But, it is very hard to dispute someone’s comment, who is speaking about their own feelings. Now, if he still discards your feelings, maybe you could ask him to swap chores, and he can cook breakfast, or do another chore, and you’ll watch the baby. I bet it might change quickly! hee hee My husband likes to cook, so that would be a good swap, but truthfully, you shouldn’t be expected to cook and watch your son, while your husband is on the computer. Unless, he has a pressing project, and has informed you of that, that he needs to concentrate, he needs to be supportive. Hope this helps:)

WhateverGirl, that is a fantastic suggestion! :thumbsup: I for one would have much rather played with the baby than cooked or cleaned!

I bet when given the choice, he opts out of cooking. :wink:

That is a good suggestion, but my husbands answer to this when I have asked to trade was to order pizza or make a frozen meal. He won’t actually do the cooking.

I don’t have kiddies but this sounds similar to a situation described by an internet friend in the chat section of a music forum … her husband is one of these types capable of extreme focus on some things but who needs other things spelt out to the absolute nth degree before he "gets’ what the real requirements are.

If you said to me, “please look after the baby while I cook breakfast” I would assume that what you really mean is, “I need to be distraction-free and have the baby physically out from underfoot for the next 30 mins while I accomplish this task.” I would automatically know that this includes keeping the baby occupied and entertained so he didn’t go looking for mummy (and crawling round her ankles) or start crying for mummy (which she can hear and will distract her).

Do you think your husband “gets” this, or does looking after the baby in his book stop at physical things, like making sure he isn’t choking, soiled or poking paperclips into the GPO? So, if baby is physically OK, it’s fine for him to keep looking at the screen?

Maybe he doesn’t understand the bit about keeping the baby engaged and when the baby’s bored and therefore looking for mummy he just thinks, “oh well, he wants mum right now, not dad” and lets the baby make the decision.

If that were the case, then maybe “please look after the baby” could be expanded to something like, “please keep the baby entertained and fully occupied so he doesn’t get bored and come looking for me or crying for me because I need to get X, Y and Z done and I can’t do that with baby hanging onto me and it doesn’t help if I’m distracted by the baby crying for me.”

Could be right off the mark, it’s just a thought. :o

It sounds to me like he made more of an agreement than he had wanted to. Maybe he felt forced and he had no other option. Has your baby been injured when your husband is watching him? Why do you think that your husband is not adult enough to know whether he can do both things at once?

I find it interesting too that your initial post is all about your feelings of being disrespected and not one of concern about your child. Maybe it seems to your husband that your feelings of being in control are really more important to you than the issue of child safety.

Just trying to offer an alternative perspective here…

While forums can sometimes make things seem different than the actual meaning, this also sounds to me like perhaps there is a bit of a control issue here… seems that he cannot do an adequete job of watching the baby or of cooking dinner. Perhaps, just maybe, you could take a different stand.

Maybe take turns, he cooks every other night. If he chooses to order pizza or cook a frozen meal, unless you have dietary conditions that make this problematic - smile and say thank you and enjoy a slice of pepperoni.

Maybe, once again, this is a problem of definition?

Maybe to you, “cooking” means a hand-prepared meal with nice presentation that indicates you’ve made an effort to please your family rather than just “feed” them.

Maybe to him, “cooking” means getting something to eat on the table 'cause we’re all hungry. Pizza or a frozen meal fulfils the requirement.

Bear in mind that I’m an engineer (;)) but if I was asked to “do the cooking” and I put a microwave dinner out and someone then passed comment that I “won’t actually do the cooking” then I personally would feel just a tad maligned. “Cooking” = “turning cold food into hot food” and that’s just what I did - whassa problem? :confused:

What do you mean by “do the cooking”? What is important about it you that isn’t met by a frozen dinner or pizza? Can you communicate that whatever-it-is to your husband?

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