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Thread: Partner prioritises gym over family

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2018
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    Partner prioritises gym over family

    Hi all,
    I really would love some advice here.

    My partner and I have two year old twin boys and, as they are growing up I am wanting to establish proper family time - sitting down together to eat dinner as much as possible for starters.

    My partner however, is saying that he can only commit to a family dinner on Sunday and the occasional Friday or Saturday night because he 'has' to go to the gym after work. He has a very stressful job and works long hours (up at 6:15am, starts work at 7:20am and walks in the door around 5:30pm most nights. He doesn't get lunch breaks). However, I also have a stressful job parenting twin toddlers and working from home when I have in home care for the boys. To me family mealtimes are crucial as a way to reconnect and unwind together and to show our children that we value our time with them. At the moment he comes home and spends about 30 minutes in the house, getting changed out of his suit, changing a nappy and brushing a set of teeth and then he's out the door to the gym and doesn't get home until 7:30-8pm. Since the boys have been born I have eaten dinner alone every night and I now am sick and tired of it. He is refusing to consider other options such as setting up a home gym in the garage so we can work out together, or getting up at 5am a day or two a week in order to free up some time in the evening to be together as a family.

    In all honesty, I don't feel that I am asking too much. He BEGGED me to have these children as I always had the red flags that he would be too committed to his schedule to prioritise family time. I felt that if I can't beat 'em, join 'em, so I started doing HIIT classes Wednesday and Thursday which means that he is currently with the boys on those days until I get home around 6:25pm. However, given the importance of family mealtimes I am wanting to change my schedule so that we can all sit around a table and eat together. He isn't willing to budge in the slightest on anything and thinks I am expecting too much of him. I cannot fathom how asking for family time outside of the weekend is expecting too much. I ask what his colleagues do and he says they are up at 5am to run, but he hates mornings and refuses to consider that. I'm gutted. I feel I have two choices. Suck it up and live like a solo mum Monday to Friday or pack my bags and go. I'm not afraid to leave although he is very financially controlling so I don't have a penny to my name. A recent family inheritance went straight into a joint account and he shifted it into a term deposit account so I don't even have access to my grandmother's money to help me start again. He makes a huge amount of money, so it's really no object to him. Basically, he earns 10x what I do currently, which is very frightening for me as I consider needing to go out on my own. I should add that he works hard to provide for our family and is very loving towards me and the children, but he is very fanatical and OCD in many ways and is flat out refusing to budge on our schedule. When I asked him if he was willing to consider shifting his schedule so we could do some family dinners he lost his mind and then told me he was 'done with our relationship and we are over'. This feels insanely irrational to me as I feel my expectations are quite normal and not too much. Why wouldn't we spend some time enjoying out beautiful children together and reconnecting? I am so emotionally disconnected and irritable with him that I don't want sex either, which is ticking him off. He blames everything on something else - my period, my mirena, my sore back. He's told me I am hard to please and negative and have no friends because I am 'scary to be around'. I found that a bit weird because he was the one who hit the roof when I asked if we could have some family dinners.

    Has anyone been through this? How did you work it out? Any advice? I can't sleep and am getting sick from the stress of it.

  2. #2
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    I think you're being too rigid about "family dinner" - he is offering you once a week and you want 7 times a week. His work schedule means he cannot do breakfast, I get it. I work out in the morning (but only for 30-35 minutes, total time needed is 40-45)and I really couldn't work out at night as a rule - too tired. And I really need that morning work out desperately for mental and physical health. I do wait on weekends to do it later in the morning to accommodate my husband. I can relate to your husband's need for gym time at the time he needs it -that's "his time" to unwind and destress. I would love to work out at 5am if I could (even better than 7:20 which I do on weekdays) - but if you said I had to work out at 5PM that would be really challenging, almost a no go.

    I would find another family activity he can do with them. What time is bedtime? If it's 8pm -or if it can be -then from 7:30-8 he should do something with them -story time, singing, maybe a "tour" of the house with one on his shoulders at a time. Maybe you can join in. We have a 9 year old. We do not do family dinners. Mostly because of work schedules. I completely get the specialness of family dinners and I've read a lot about their importance. And I don't think it's the only way to reconnect (honestly for me I find it hard to eat in a relaxed way around young children and find that playing with them is far more connection than eating together).

    And -working out is really good for him -he's not asking to go out and have a few beers every night instead of being with the family.
    So he says once, you want 7 times - how about if he guarantees you twice a week (i.e. Friday and Sunday) and then an occasional third night.

  3. #3
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    The family dinners are really a symptom of something much deeper and more worrying going on in your relationship.

    The financial control, the fact that he effectively hijacked your inheritance and put it somewhere you could not access it, holding the relationship to ransom when you asked him to shift his schedule to fit in more family time together... All these are really quite sinister methods of control, and are likely to get worse rather than better with time. Can I just ask, has your relationship isolated you from your friends and other support network, or has it always been like that? I doubt that your mounting stress levels have very much to do with the lack of family life per se, and are also your body letting you know very clearly that something's wrong.

    Whatever, you need to get legal advice and find out what your rights are before doing anything. Leave the issue of dinners aside for now, and work out how you can make your current existence work for you.

  4. #4
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    Second what Nutbrownhare wrote. I should have paid more attention to the other aspects of this.

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  6. #5
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    Originally Posted by Sammie40
    A recent family inheritance went straight into a joint account and he shifted it into a term deposit account so I don't even have access to my grandmother's money
    Wait wait wait!!!!!!! He put your grandmother's money into an account to which you have no access?

    This isn't about dinner, or workouts, or sex.

    This is about control. This is about far more than control.....this is the beginning stages of something far, far worse.

    Please, see a lawyer. He may have moved the money into a place you cannot even find. You may need to find a forensic accountant. Please, I'm begging you, go get some legal advice, and find a women's shelter that will keep you and your kids safe.

  7. #6
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    Your husband has less hours than many of my friends. I am wondering why he chose to be a father . He is incredibly selfish, and his behavior is unacceptable.

    Have you considered couples counseling?

    Why did you do that with the investment? That is nuts. If you are in the US, you are entitled to that inheritance money. It is not his to share, if you divorce. I would seek legal counsel.

    Is is so important to have some financial independence, as we see here. He is a control freak! I would get away from this guy.
    Last edited by Hollyj; 11-19-2018 at 09:46 PM.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member itsallgrand's Avatar
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    You should look into your legal rights and also get a financial advisor for yourself. Family dinners are the least of your concerns right now. You've placed yourself in a situation where you and your children are totally dependent on your husband. He's using that as an opportunity to seize control. You said you saw red flags prior to deciding to pregnancy and to deciding to be at home. You then placed your inheritance in the joint bank account.
    I really don't understand why? Is it about living at a certain level of material comfort or did you lose your grip on control over your own life prior?

  9. #8

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    Originally Posted by Batya33
    I think you're being too rigid about "family dinner" - he is offering you once a week and you want 7 times a week. His work schedule means he cannot do breakfast, I get it. I work out in the morning (but only for 30-35 minutes, total time needed is 40-45)and I really couldn't work out at night as a rule - too tired. And I really need that morning work out desperately for mental and physical health. I do wait on weekends to do it later in the morning to accommodate my husband. I can relate to your husband's need for gym time at the time he needs it -that's "his time" to unwind and destress. I would love to work out at 5am if I could (even better than 7:20 which I do on weekdays) - but if you said I had to work out at 5PM that would be really challenging, almost a no go.

    I would find another family activity he can do with them. What time is bedtime? If it's 8pm -or if it can be -then from 7:30-8 he should do something with them -story time, singing, maybe a "tour" of the house with one on his shoulders at a time. Maybe you can join in. We have a 9 year old. We do not do family dinners. Mostly because of work schedules. I completely get the specialness of family dinners and I've read a lot about their importance. And I don't think it's the only way to reconnect (honestly for me I find it hard to eat in a relaxed way around young children and find that playing with them is far more connection than eating together).

    And -working out is really good for him -he's not asking to go out and have a few beers every night instead of being with the family.
    So he says once, you want 7 times - how about if he guarantees you twice a week (i.e. Friday and Sunday) and then an occasional third night.
    Thanks for response. I'm not asking for 7 family dinners, I am asking for more than 1 or 2. I think 3 would be a good start. Bedtime should really be around 7pm, they are only little boys. He doesn't get back from the gym until nearly 8pm. I agree on the concept of other activities though and that could work.

  10. #9
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    Please read what I wrote in response to nutbrownhare. I agree that the dinners arenít the real issue and agree with the others.

  11. #10

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    Thanks for your post. He is the breadwinner and I was on maternity leave and then decided to not go back to my full time job as I valued my time with the kids. So yes, we have been totally dependent on him while I establish my business. That's life as a new mum on maternity leave isn't it? I didn't place my inheritance in a joint account, he works at a bank so he set up the account in both our names. Of course legally it's then both ours. However, when I initially raised the topic of the inheritance he brought up the fact that his father gifted us money to help us out in our new home and therefore any money that comes in is 'ours' not 'his' or 'mine', which I took to be a fair call.

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