Hi everyone I am new to posting so I hope I do this right. I have been reading advice and threads on here for awhile now and you all have such good advice and I hope you can offer me some. I am the mom of 4 boys, the youngest is 5 weeks and the oldest is 9 yrs. The problem is that all too often my husband is the 5th boy! He wants me to pick out his clothes in the morning because he has such a hard time matching and in his profession he needs to look professional. I have to remind him about hygiene which greatly stresses me because these things are not important to him and they are to me. I am frustrated! I know he wants affection but I have such a hard time feeling affection for a man who stinks and treats me as though I was his mom. I feel numb and to be honest struggle to have feelings of affection and I have no desire for intimacy. But perhaps the biggest struggle for me lately is that when he gets mad at me (which has been every day this week) he simply shuts down and goes upstairs to sleep. I am left not only with all the kids but feeling incredibly angry at him for acting this way. He won’t talk about anything he’ll just ignore me and sleep away the day or the night. Last night I was finishing the bath of one of the boys and he was calling me to come down. I kept telling him just a minute I was in the middle of something. When I came down (about 5 min later) and asked him what was wrong he said he just wanted me to sit by him. I was flabbergasted because I am always knee-deep in something (and no he doesn’t really help) and he wants me to drop everything and “be with him”. Since I was annoyed, he went to bed and left me with the kids. I followed and tried to talk to him and he eventually locked the door and when I came to bed a while later he asked why I was there and wouldn’t give me any room, yada yada yada. He wanted me to go downstairs on the couch with the baby and sleep which I eventually did. I am so frustrated and really disappointed in him. I feel as though I am losing my respect since he shows me none when it comes to handling disagreements. What do I do? How do I get past the disappointment in him? Almost all important dates (anniversary, etc) are marred by this type of behavior. Thank you reading all this, it has been cathartic to write. I just want peace.
Have you first ruled out that he may be suffering from depression? Sleeping a lot and not taking care of personal hygiene I know are two signs for sure. And I think inability to make decisions may be one too. Just a thought.
It sounds like you and your husband are lacking communication. It seems to me that, whether he should or not, he feels like you are neglecting him by not wanting intimacy and spending so much time with the children. He’s right in the sense that you need to spend alone time together. Of course, he needs to take care of himself and help with the children at least once in awhile.
Seems that you guys need to have a very long, possibly with an impartial third party like a priest or a Catholic counselor. Then you both need to continue communicating your needs and feelings every single day.
Welcome to the forums.
I have a couple thoughts to share with you. With a 5 week old baby, you’re still recovering and maybe a little post-partum. He really needs to be helping you out. Maybe he doesn’t understand that having a baby is hard work. You’re probably not getting much sleep, and if your portrayal of his behavior is accurate, he’s acting pretty childish and hard to take. Locking the door is pretty juvenile.
If you haven’t already done this, can you sit down quietly some evening when it’s peaceful (with 4 kids, is it ever peaceful?) and talk out your feelings? Sometimes when my husband was driving me crazy, I’d ask him to just sit and listen as if he was someone else and not the source of my problem. No comments or defenses, just listen to what I have to say about my feelings and needs, and think it over for a day. Then he was able to see it from a different perspective. It’s hard to do that, see things from the other person’s perspective, but we did learn to do that for each other. We were both surprised about things we were doing to each other.
Maybe you can put his clothes in outfits in the closet, so he can just grab them. Maybe he needs Garanimals with the tags to show him what goes together. Maybe he just doesn’t realize how much he’s asking of you.
When he wants you to come sit with him, you could say something like, “I’m giving Johnny a bath. If you could get Timmy and Steven ready for bed, we’d have time to sit and talk in about 20 minutes.”
I’ll be praying for you. Four is a lot of kids and a lot of work for you. Do you work outside the home? He may be feeling a lot of pressure too, being responsible for the financial welfare of he family. I think one of the biggest problems people have in marriage is making the adjustments life requires. Things change and we all have to be flexible enough to change with them. This may not help much, but as one who’s been through this, you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers.
The advice given above seems sound and I don’t really know what to say apart from the fact that you don’t have any obligation to intimacy with someone who won’t wash. He needs to wash himself or forget it, that is my opinion, and I would be against any concessions in the matter of personal hygiene. I find it unconceivable for a man to take the bed and send the woman onto the couch. She should always get the better accommodation. I won’t continue because I have no wish to inspire any negative feelings between you and your husband. However, his behaviour is not right. It’s either wrong or caused by some depression and despair. At any rate, he needs some serious talking about it and perhaps therapy.
Now, a bit more personally, if I were you, I would let him know what kind of behaviour is unacceptable. And exactly so. To spare future disagreements and discussions. He just needs to know what you can’t handle and to meet strong opposition at some point, or he will push the boundaries - even without ill will. It just works like that, I think. It may sound cruel and all, but it will get things solved the fastest way and probably with minimal pain (or minimal sum total of pain). I think if he sees that you won’t leave him, but at the same time won’t accept his behaviour and there won’t be any discussion of it (that is discussion of concessions), he will get a hold of himself and deal with it. But take into account that I’m younger than you are and have never been married, so you may need to take my advice with a pinch of salt.
I read your original post again, and he is displaying symptoms of depression. By the way, has your OB cleared you for resuming relations yet? Don’t jump the gun on that. Be sure you’ve had you 6 week (I haven’t had a baby in 26 years, so maybe things are different now and 6 weeks isn’t the milestone it used to be) check up. Not wanting to do that now is perfectly normal, his hygiene notwithstanding.
Let us know how things are going…keep in touch.
You feel like your husband is your fifth child because he is acting like one, right down to needing to be told what to wear and when to bathe and pouting when he doesn’t get your attention right away. He needs to be told that his attitude and behaviors are not manly and in no way acceptable. You are his wife, his lover and his helpmate, not his mother. When the two of you are home the family and the home are both of your responsibilities, not just yours. He gets off work and comes home – you never get off work.
I think the suggestion for counseling is a good one. It might help you to become more comfortable asserting your feelings with him and him to become aware that being a husband and father involve a lot more than working, coming home, sitting on the couch and watching you continue your workday. It would be great if you could get an older, male, Catholic counselor who could mentor your husband. Sometimes I think men take this advice better from other men.
One of my friends’ husbands was the “I work my 40 hours and do nothing to take care of the kids or help with food, laundry or cleaning” type. Then he decided he wanted her to home school. One of his friends, whose wife also homeschools, had a serious discussion with him about **his **responsibilites in a homeschooling home. This man explained how taxing homeschooling can be on top of everything else and how he always made sure that when he came home from work he took over for a few hours in order to give his wife a break. It really helped.
You had to sleep on the couch? With a five week old?
Uh, no, I don’t think so.
:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:
I am going to calm down a little bit and then I will write more.
For a man to treat his wife like this is not acceptable.
He’s being more immature than the baby. You are not unreasonable being frustrated. Has he been like this through the entire marriage, or just since this last baby?
It sounds to me like a good Catholic counselor or a talk with a priest may be in order.
Or, if you have a handy doting grandparent or aunt around who can watch the kids for a weekend, try retrouvaille or a Marriage encounter as a start, if he’s willing.
It sounds to me like your husband is feeling neglected. NOT that I am saying in ANY WAY that he should behave the way he is doing!!! He seems to be trying to get your attention by sulking and opting out. You must be exhausted!
I can fully understand you not wanting to deal with this, with 4 children a new baby!
Is there any way you could make a time and go out with him? The 2 of you, (or 3 if baby is b/fed) and talk about these issues?
Maybe setting aside some time to be with him may help. But is sounds to me that something more is going on here.
You are in my prayers
All of your respnoses have been very helpful. I am glad to see I am not going insane! I do need to clarify some things, yes I have thought that my husband may be depressed but he does not believe he is and therefore will not consider the option of counseling. If there is a problem it is me, he is just reacting as he likes to say. I know I am part of the problem, I am frustated with my own lack of affection for him and so it must be hard for him as well. Last night he kept coming near me and saying after the kids went to bed I had to say some things to him. Let me tell you all I fought myself over apologizing. I know God calls us to forgive and also to be the “bigger person” but all I do is apologize and he doesn’t like to reciprocate. Finally he said all I had to say was I love you and that is all that should ever be said. Last night I was still struggling with feeling angry and disappointed that I really didn’t want to hear it all again. When we “talk” it is more he talks and I have to listen because inevitably it is all about how it is my fault and we have to rehash it. Yes he has been this way most of our marriage and I am at my wits end! Pray for me and thanks for all the responses. God bless you all
oh my dear… i see all the signs in this quote that were there in my marriage… please go to a counsellor immediately and seek help… it doesnt have to be for his depression… just go to a christian counsellor for your marriage… i am sure that even he will agree that you guys have problems in your marriage. Please dont wait till it becomes incurable…
Please do something NOW!!!
If you can’t get your husband to go with you, please consider going to counseling alone. It will help you cope, and by you going and showing independence, it may make your husband follow suit.
Both of you will need to commit to change. Since you are the one who posted, I am suggesting that you seriously reflect on what YOU can change to make your marriage better.
I say this because I have been there many times. Sadly, it was easy for me to pick on my husband and blame his actions for the condition of our marriage. Of course, many things were his fault but I spent very little (if any) time reflecting on my own faults. I am not suggesting that your husband is blameless, just pointing out that there is very little you can do to change him if he does not want to change.
I am giving this advice because I am looking at the bigger picture, which is your SALVATION. Pray for yourself, focus on your faults, ask Christ to help you and** change**. When you focus on changing your faults you will become a better Christian, wife and mother and your entire life will improve. We are all called to pick up our cross in life and carry it with the same love and committment that Christ did. Your cross may be that you are currently in a difficult marriage. Carry your cross with love and love will bring you out of this. Hope this helps, I will be praying for you.
Except for the hygiene issue, this sounds EXACTLY like my first marriage.
Please do what I didn’t do: go to a counselor - one based on the Catholic faith!! I went to secular counselors, who did not help at all.
Good luck and God bless!
Well, I am furious with your husband as I write this that he would make you go onto the couch with a new baby. That is a disgrace!
That said, my father gave me one piece of marriage advice, and that is this…
It is human nature to see the faults in your spouse, and it is our fallen nature that seems to concentrate on those faults. Dad told me to make a point to see all of the good things my husband is. This is different from the reminiscing for what used to be, so keep that in mind.
I was in a really bad point in my marriage when Dad told me that, but it was the beginning of everything turning around.
If you start with that, and it will take some time, some affection will follow and then grow.
There is no way you are going to change his parenting style by talking (as you’ve said, he doesn’t let you anyway) so you need to reconcile yourself to being a single parent, for all intents and purposes. You will find yourself much more peaceful when you are not expecting his help in the first place. A good routine, and good discipline with the children will keep you from being exhausted. I have 6 children who I homeschool, and my husband is away 2 weeks+/- per month, so “single parenting” is something I know of. Remember all of the wives who’s husbands are in Iraq, and it’s easier to pick up our own crosses.
As for his hygiene, I would make no apologies for asking him to shower before bed, or when he gets home from work. You can deflect the focus from him by “blaming” yourself. Tell him your hormones are still screwy, and you like the freshness of mint and Old Spice.
We went few some similar things earlier in our marriage. In hindsight, it was due to the stress my husband was feeling over being responsible for a growing family, while trying to finish school and support us.
He felt overwhelmed (sound familiar) and without help or support. I was tired, focused on the baby and my pregnancy, feeling sorry for myself for what I did not have…basically, we both felt pretty put upon, and sort of got to blaming each other for it.
Both of us needed to feel love, support, acceptance and honesty from one another. Both of us needed a chance to say to each other, “man, this is really hard, and sometimes scary, and not what I expected or dreamed…I’m glad I’ve got you on my side.” Because we really did love each other, but we didn’t love how stressful the situation was.
Also, sometimes moms get all the goodies from the kids. Special “magical” moments, even on the hard days. Lots of hugs, kisses, etc. Lots of physical contact…sometimes too much. Dad comes home, every one is tired and mom can’t stand…literally, to have one more needy paw near her body. And dad, who’s been looking forward all his stressful day for a hug, a smile, a “gee, it’s good to see YOU.” (not just the groceries you picked up, and your paycheck, and someone to take over the kids", but it’s good to see YOU, gets nothing but "did you remember to…and I could use some help here…and not tonight, can’t you see I’m tired?
For many people, the following applies, women express their feelings of love through physical affection, men find their feelings of love in physical expression. Many men really don’t fully feel their love for their beloved without the closeness. This doesn’t mean intercourse three times a day, but a real physical closeness. Sit with me while I eat, watch TV, bring me a drink, knead my neck after work, etc. Those things allow a man to feel, fully his love.
We can give all kinds of reasons, excuses, rationalities for how they should act, feel, etc, but we’ll do better if we deal with reality, how it is for both people involved. The reality is that real human need doesn’t go away because we’ve had kids, or been married over five years, or whatever. She needs what she needs, he needs what he needs.
Also, many families have become way too kid focused. All time, enery, and money goes into the kids. That is used as a reason and excuse for why we aren’t there for our spouse, our selves, our God.
Often marriage counselors will tell you to make a date night, a chore chart, etc. etc. ARghhh. What we need is not to turn our lives into a formula, that just gives us another thing to fail at…“honey…you didn’t do what the chart said…you were fifteen minutes late for date night” What we need is common sense, and a desire to be a partner, not a whiner, not a winner, not a victim.
This is life. This is how it is. It’s hard. For everyone. It’s no one’s fault. That is just how it is. It’s hard for him too. Can you see that. How hard it is for him too. I’ll be he misses you like crazy.
Cheddarsox and Exiled you both were told me things I really needed to hear and think about. It amazes me how God works through people in order to work on you. Thank you. Exiled you mentioned in your post that each of us have our own crosses to bear and they are all different, sometimes I forget that. My husband was in Iraq for 12 months and away from home for training and post deployment for a total of 15 months. Our 3rd child was only 15 months when he left and 2 1/2 when he came home. I did get used to single parenting and pretty much being alone- it was a difficult adjustment when he came home I won’t lie. It is something many military families feel, it is an oxymoron for sure- you miss them but darn it is hard when they get back. Much has changed. That said, it has been over a year now since he has returned, but the depression of what Iraq was (no he was not on the front lines, he is an officer and fortunate to be inside while over there) and all he missed and the fact that he saw I “didn’t need him” something I can’t explain to non-military wives just a fact of the deployment. I ultimately need to focaus on his strengths and goodness, thank you for that wonderful insight! I will do less grumbling and more seeking peace within my spirit. I’ll keep everyone posted and thanks again for all the great advice! You all are great
I think there is more here than simple despression. Get the Catholic counseling ASAP (I would go to exceptionalmarriages.com/ they do over-the-phone and personal).
Are you an eldest girl or upper middle in your family of origin? Is he the baby of the family? Either of these factors could cause what I term Sense of Entitlement (not a shrink term by any means, just old lady knowledge). Somewhere along the line, even if he is not a youngest or low-end middle child of this nuclear family, in addition to any depression he might or might not have, he thinks you owe him your undivided attention, no matter how he behaves. So, in addition to counseling and possibly medication for him, you need some skills to cope with your husband in order to survive.
These are just some practical choices for you. Feel free to moderate them to your needs.
First and foremost: He has GOT to wash. Non-negotiable. Daily shower. With soap. 15 minutes. He is setting a bad example for your boys, who will associate all things male with him. “Daddy doesn’t take a bath/ shower. Why should we?” If he can’t handle that little item, then sorry.
The clothes thing: This is an easy fix. On one heavy-duty hanger, place first his pants, folded on the bar. Hang over it a matching shirt. Hang over that a matching sweater. If he has to wear a tie, put that on there, too, around the hook part. If he has trouble coordinating underwear (so red undershorts don’t pop through light colored dockers), put that on the hook part of the hanger, too. The rings leftover from the gallon milk jugs can be used for socks, and those loaded rings go over the hook. Don’t let him buy his own work wear, and stick with certain colors.
And check the local dry cleaners or laundromat for prices on cleaning men’s shirts, trousers, and laundry by the pound. In the midwest, it is easy to find a dry cleaner who will even do wash n wear trousers for $2.50 a pair, and men’s shirts for $1 each. Your husband will look pressed every day. Laundry by the pound means it gets washed, dried and folded by the laundromat staff. Even if you cannot do it all the time, right now, you need the break.
The lock on your bedroom door needs to go, now, first day he is not home. Load up the crew on Tuesday (I assume your eldest has school that day) and go to Wal-Mart, K-Mart, or the hardware store. Buy a doorknob without a lock or button. They are very, very easy to install. Your other choice is to take a coat hanger and poke around in the hole on your present doorknob until you click against the metal component that holds the door shut. He obviously does not have the energy to change it back. Put the doorknob with the lock away in a place where your husband will not find it. Someday, God-willing, you will both want it back.
Make it clear to him that you have given birth to HIS four sons. That means you TELL him. You cannot force him to assist you, but you will no longer pick up his clothes. If he wants clean clothes, the dirties have to go to the hamper or dry cleaning pile. If he loses his job because he does not have clean clothes, then it is clearly HIS fault, not yours. Do not pick up after him. If the cat or dog piddles on his clothes, too bad.
Tell him you will set aside a regular time of 30 minutes to an hour, just for him, every night. Make it a part of your schedule, and make it a defined period of time (example: 9-9:30 PM). Give him that time, undivided by the boys, provided he has washed.
And you should never to allow him to kick you out of your own bed! Put the baby’s bassinet, playpen, whatever you use, next to your side of the bed if necessary, along with some of his diapers and changing equipment. Flop right on top of your husband if he blocks you! If it breaks the frame, too bad.
You are in my prayers, and I do not take that lightly.
With a 5 week old baby, it is no surprise that you guys are both feeling stressed and acting less than perfectly loving.
Lots of the posts on this thread contain good insights, so there’s no need to repeat.
But one thing I didn’t notice: have you considered simply each writing a list of what you want and forming an action plan?
I mean, very specifically, what do YOU want? What does HE want?
It could go something like this:
Hubby will bathe the older boys and put them to bed. I will lay the baby down for sleep. We will cuddle and watch tv for a half hour.
Sometimes just spelling it out can make both parties feel acknowledged. It can take the edge off his sulking and crying for attention (leaving the room, ignoring you, berating you, are all forms are crying out for your acceptance and attention) and it will also help you by giving you a partner in caring for the children.
People do this every day in business. Party A wants this, Party B wants this, both parties agree to do X and everyone is happy.
You could get really creative and make a little contract, sign it and post it or make copies. Just looking at it will remind you that he will satisfy your needs and you will satisfy his needs.
Sometimes that is all a guy needs, too. A constant reminder!