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Am I being ungrateful?


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#1 burg3r

Posted 08 November 2012 - 09:54 PM

I need some advice, and an outside perspective on my relationship issues.  As you can see, I've gone anonymous for this post.  I guess because I'm embarrassed, and don't want our family to be identified.

Bit of back story:

DH is naturally a very quiet and shy person.  He is extremely intelligent, a good loyal person and kind to DD.  He is easy going and not argumentative.  He is very good at his job and earns very well.  He does FIFO so he is away from home a lot.  He is the sole bread winner in our family.  

I am a SAHM.  It wasn't always this way, but for practical reasons, I am now at home.  I organise our whole lives.  I make every decision, I look after finances, bills.  Basically everything you can imagine except for making money.  It's not because I'm a control freak.  It's because DH is away and also because he doesn't want any input into things.

Ok, so here's the issue - I feel like DH doesn't want to participate in life, he just opts out, he just doesn't talk.  Really much at all.  If I didn't make him talk he probably wouldn't say a word.  He doesn't talk to me, or any of his friends or family.  No one.
He won't initiate anything, I will organise everything, he doesn't want to have to think about anything.
He doesn't want to talk to me.  Maybe this is my fault?  I'm at the point where I think there is something wrong with me and that's why he doesn't want to talk?
I feel like I'm going through life alone, and when I need to discuss things with him he doesn't really want to know.  He doesn't want to know about the issues, and he doesn't want to know me.

It kind of feels like I'm a single mum on centrelink for the most part.  Financially, we are comfortable, but take that away, and I feel like a single parent most of the time.

I've been feeling like this for 2 years now and half of me thinks 'suck it up, he is a nice person, he works so hard, he shouldn't have to do anything else' but then the other half of me thinks 'arghh! I'm so fed up of you being so comatose! why won't you talk?! or react! or do something!'

Am I being ungrateful?  Am I being ridiculous?  Am I asking too much of him?  Are my expectations too high?

I've told him how I've felt numerous times.  Recently I've suggested we go to a counsellor but he refuses.

I guess I just need another person's perspective on this as my family and friends don't know.  So I've just been thinking this and going through this for the last few years and feeling really confused about the whole situation.

Sorry for the super long post!!

#2 Feral Becky

Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:05 PM

Has he always been like this or has he recently become withdrawn?

#3 howdoyoudoit

Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:08 PM

I think your feeling lonely. When you say he doesnt want to talk about it...what do you mean? does he get annoyed, peeved off etc or is he matter of fact?

My DH is a bit the same..he is content in his own skin, he is happy with working,with us,the kids etc but if I never made him leave the house to go socialise he wouldn't. If I didnt organise our holidays he wouldn't either. When we are out or away etc he does enjoy himself and isnt grumpy but he is here nor there with it. In a lot of ways we are opposite but we do "get" each other. I could go out every night and talk all night, travel all the time whereas he doesnt have the same needs but we compromise with each other. Sometimes he stays with the kids and I get a fix with friends over wine/dinner etc (conversation that is! lol) He does infuriate me some days being like this but also I wouldnt want him the same as me. Some more convo at night would be nice sometimes but he is tired etc. Your DH would be very tired working FIFO as well..takes a lot out of them and probably is happy the way things are... I cant suggest anything other than maybe leave him with the kids when he gets home so you can get out with a friend for drinks/movies etc and try slowly without pushing/nagging him. He might also be depressed working 12hrs days so long stretches

#4 burg3r

Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:19 PM

QUOTE
Has he always been like this or has he recently become withdrawn?


He's always been a bit like this, as this is his natural personality, but it's probably gotten worse recently.  

I think before I didn't mind because at least he was talking to me and we were close and getting along.  But now, I can't even say that.

I don't think he's hurting or damaged or anything.  Nothing traumatic has happened, he had a good childhood, no one has died.  So I don't think some major trauma has caused him to become withdrawn.





#5 Cath42

Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:21 PM

When you say he doesn't talk, do you mean he's quiet and reserved or do you mean he literally ignores you for hours or days on end and refuses to interact at all? If he's ignoring you and any attempts you make to initiate conversation, you have a pretty serious situation on your hands.

#6 burg3r

Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:27 PM

QUOTE
I think your feeling lonely. When you say he doesnt want to talk about it...what do you mean? does he get annoyed, peeved off etc or is he matter of fact?


Yeah, I'm definitely lonely in my relationship.  

When we have to discuss something it will go like this:
1.  I initiate the conversation
2.  He will be on his computer and I'll have to bug him to pay attention to listen.
3.  He will begrudgingly listen, and give a short reply, or say 'i don't know what to do'
4.  I'll be annoyed and try and continue the conversation anyway.
5.  He'll say 'i don't know' again or something like that.
6.  I'll be grumpy and then work out the solution by myself

I know I'm not perfect, and there are probably better ways to go about things.  But it's like getting blood from a stone!!!



#7 burg3r

Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:30 PM

QUOTE
When you say he doesn't talk, do you mean he's quiet and reserved or do you mean he literally ignores you for hours or days on end and refuses to interact at all? If he's ignoring you and any attempts you make to initiate conversation, you have a pretty serious situation on your hands.


Probably a bit of both.



#8 Lim Lam

Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:31 PM

This sounds like my exDH....


QUOTE
It kind of feels like I'm a single mum on centrelink for the most part. Financially, we are comfortable, but take that away, and I feel like a single parent most of the time.

I've been feeling like this for 2 years now and half of me thinks 'suck it up, he is a nice person, he works so hard, he shouldn't have to do anything else' but then the other half of me thinks 'arghh! I'm so fed up of you being so comatose! why won't you talk?! or react! or do something!'

Am I being ungrateful? Am I being ridiculous? Am I asking too much of him? Are my expectations too high?

I've told him how I've felt numerous times. Recently I've suggested we go to a counsellor but he refuses.


My bold. I have no answers but wanted you to know you're not alone .

#9 Aribika

Posted 08 November 2012 - 11:42 PM

I can relate to the organising everything part and the fact that it's easier that way because they are away a lot of the time.  I can also relate to the frustration of trying to have a conversation with a DH who has his nose to a computer screen.  In all honesty I was ready to walk away from my marriage because my DH was more interested in the computer than me.

Is this a big part of the problem for you?  I think you have every right to engage with your husband on several levels and I don't think you are ungrateful at all to want to have a conversation and to want some input from him.  

I do understand that the FIFO life can make it difficult to retain a connection with a partner and it takes effort on both sides to make that happen.

I also understand the feeling of beating you head against a wall trying to engage someone when they don't want to and starting to wonder if you are the problem.  Your expectations do not sound too high.  

There seems to be a lot of things at play for you and you have every right to want to improve things.  Although I'm not sure exactly what you need to do I will say that I think small specific requests are the way to start.  

For example my DH would spend nights out in the shed on the computer and I asked for one night a week with no computer.  Be prepared to negotiate.  Explain to him that you are lonely.  Be prepared for him to complain and then hopefully come back with a begrudging compromise.

Although it is no excuse.  Bare in mind that it can be very isolating for him to be away at work.  Particularly if he spends nights alone in his room.  He may feel like you don't need him if you are handling everything so well on your own and he might just be too lazy to bother trying.

Good luck.

Lorraine

Edited by Aribika, 10 November 2012 - 12:38 PM.


#10 CallMeFeral

Posted 09 November 2012 - 12:19 AM

Sounds like what my DH would be like if left to his own devices. He's also a natural 'veg out'er at home and it drives me nuts, and makes us very distant, me very lonely, etc etc. Thank heavens at least he's not on FIFO, and is VERY good around the house, but in terms of conversation, he seems to be able to be fascinated with every tom d*ck and harry and hold long conversations with strangers... but not me.

The only redeeming feature is that he's aware of it, he listens when it really upsets me, he tries to improve, we go to counselling occasionally, etc etc. So at least I know he's trying.
If he just invalidated my feelings on it and refused to go to counselling, I'd be seriously unimpressed.

Sorry that's probably not much help OP. But no I don't think you're being ungrateful. He's leaving all the relationship maintenance to you, and a marriage is a two-way thing.

#11 kabailz13

Posted 09 November 2012 - 12:32 AM

Sounds a fair bit like my DH (who has ASD).

It sucks and is really hard at times. Other times it works really well for both of us.

Realistically, I signed up for this life when I married him. He is absolutely wonderful at doing the things he needs to do. Outside of that, it is very easy to interpret him as selfish and ignorant. That isn't the case at all, he is just very much happy to be in his own world.

Sorry I have no advice.

#12 TwinkyBear

Posted 09 November 2012 - 12:33 AM

My husband worked FIFO for a couple of years and he acted in much the same way.  Like you, I looked after everything on the home front.  I wanted to make his time home hassle free.  Unfortunately, it completely disconnected him from the family.  He wasn't responsible for child care, finances, housework or any of the responsibilities associated with family.  He spent his time home on the computer or out with friends, and at one point told me that he felt like the mine site was more of a home than what our house was.

I eventually discovered that he'd gotten in touch with an ex-girlfriend via Facebook and was talking inappropriately with her.  He had a meltdown when this was discovered and we separated for months.  He was eventually diagnosed as bipolar and was told that the social disconnect and swapping from day shift to night shift constantly had put him in depression.

We eventually reconciled and he no longer works away.  He is simply not cut out to be away for extended periods, working long shifts and odd hours.  I now insist that he participate in hum drum, every day family activities.  When I took care of everything, I also felt like a single parent; he felt like a young single guy with no responsibilities.  At least when we separated, single parenting was no shock to the system!

I honestly believe that it's very important when someone is working FIFO that you work hard to incorporate them in regular family tasks.  Despite the 12 hour shifts, the jobs generally aren't overly strenuous - I say this as someone with many family members and friends working FIFO.  Of course they need some downtime, but they need to feel part of the family as well.  I think it would be a good idea to start placing some more of the family burden on your husband and consider that he may currently feel very disconnected from "real" life.

#13 Futhermore

Posted 09 November 2012 - 06:20 AM

If it it his natural personality then I don't think you can or should change him.  If it is the work amplifying his natural tendancies can you put a time limit on when he will stop so you have a goal and something to look forward to?

As a naturally quiet/introverted person I absolutely hate it when my partner acts like something is wrong with me because I am not very social.  I enjoy my time alone or with very small groups of close family.  It is who I am.  I am not chatty and parties bore me.  I don't try to change him from extrovert to introvert  so why should he try change me?  The more I am pushed to talk and socialise the more I clam up and the less I say because it is just not natural for me.

Have you asked how he feels about his lack of interaction and how he feels when he is pushed to interact more than he wants to?

My aprtner is also FIFO and I try to have the big jobs done before he gets home (lawn mowing ect) but he does family things when he's here - cooks meals and bakes and does school runs.  I take care of the finances but we set our financial goals together and decide how we will go about it together and then I am just the one moving the money around and paying bills ect.

Edited by ~maryanne~, 09 November 2012 - 06:25 AM.


#14 Cath42

Posted 09 November 2012 - 07:02 AM

QUOTE (Aribika @ 09/11/2012, 12:42 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I can relate to the organising everything part and the fact that it's easier that way because they are away a lot of the time.  I can also relate to the frustration of trying to have a conversation with a DH who has his nose to a computer screen.  In all honesty I was ready to walk away from my marriage because my DH was more interested in the computer than me.

Is this a big part of the problem for you?  I think you have every right to engage with your husband on several levels and I don't think you are ungrateful at all to want to have a conversation and to want some input from him.  

I do understand that the FIFO life can make it difficult to retain a connection with a partner and it takes effort on both sides to make that happen.

I also understand the feeling of beating you head against a wall trying to engage someone when they don't want to and starting to wonder if you are the problem.  Your expectations do not sound to high.  

There seems to be a lot of things at play for you and you have every right to want to improve things.  Although I'm not sure exactly what you need to do I will say that I think small specific requests are the way to start.  

For example my DH would spend nights out in the shed on the computer and I asked for one night a week with no computer.  Be prepared to negotiate.  Explain to him that you are lonely.  Be prepared for him to complain and then hopefully come back with a begrudging compromise.

Although it is no excuse.  Bare in mind that it can be very isolating for him to be away at work.  Particularly if he spends nights alone in his room.  He may feel like you don't need him if you are handling everything so well on your own and he might just be too lazy to bother trying.

Good luck.

Lorraine


I think this is very good advice. I also agree with what CallMeAliG said: your husband is leaving all of the relationship maintenance to you.

I have no experience of FIFO, but I'm just wondering if FIFO can be blamed for a lot of this. The women I know who have partners in the armed forces find that when those partners come home after months away on deployment, or weeks away on courses, they jump straight in - they're playing with kids, catching up with mutual friends and getting stuck into the maintenance that needs to be done around the house. I'm sure there are exceptions to that, escpecially if PTSD is a factor. Perhaps FIFO is different in that people aren't away for such long blocks of time and the constant travelling is tiring.

What your husband needs to understand is that FIFO is hard for you, too. You're effectively having to function as a sole parent. He may as well be living in another country and never coming home for all the effort he puts in when he's at home. Quite frankly, when he has a child and a relationship with his wife to maintain, spending every waking hour doing God knows what on a computer is not good enough. You deserve better, and your child deserves better. And snapping at you and making it clear he wants you to go away when you dare to ask for his attention is appalling. The computer addiction may be a product of having nothing else to do on his time off on site, but he ought to be able to shelve it when he's home. What, exactly, is he doing on this computer? [And it's a rhetorical question because I know you can't know the answer to that, and nothing about this situation is your fault]. Is he playing mindless games, or surfing the net, or talking to someone he shouldn't be talking to? Whatever he's doing, he doesn't want to be interrupted.

I think the first thing to do, if you can, is to ban that bloody computer while he's at home, or at least insist that he restricts it to being an occasional activity. He won't participate in anything while he's sitting in front of that computer; it's a time suck and it's antisocial. If he won't compromise, the next step is to demand to know what he's doing that is so absorbing and all-consuming. He may tell you and he may not, but at least he'll know you're onto him if he's doing something he shouldn't be doing. Another idea is to organise a short holiday for your family to go on at a time when he's home and unlikely to be called back to work unexpectedly. It will be harder for him to spend all of his time on the computer if you're on holiday; he'll be too busy taking his child to the beach or doing things that neither of you usually do.

*edited for spellling*

Edited by Cath42, 09 November 2012 - 07:03 AM.





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