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I think we're in a downward spiral with no future direction


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Many of you know my rather (lengthy) history on here. Anyway my wife and I have been together (married) for 2.5y, together for 11 years overall.

 

Recently we had our first child, T, about 3.5 months ago now.

 

Ever since delivery, and home from the hospital - our relationship has changed very drastically.

 

Some points regarding that:

  • There is zero intimacy
  • There is zero lovey/dovey anymore. We dont even kiss good bye or she ask how my day is (at work). Although I ask her how the day went with T
  • Our relationship has turned into one of a business relationship (e.g. has x been done for T today)
  • Everything is about T. I now sit as 3rd, 5th, 10th wheel depending on who is around.
  • I'm put down constantly (e.g. you dont do x for T) - even though I do a tremendous amount for him (giving in a bottle at midnight - she breastfeeds), getting up at all hours to be there for support (help getting adjusted to breastfeed, or transfer him from crib to her), playing with him, baths, diapers, watching him during the working day for 15-30min (I work from home some days)...along with holding down a full-time job.
  • Everything I do to provide for T currently is taken for granted, and anything I do is not appreciated even the slightest bit. She hasnt once said "thank you" for anything I've done in the past 3 months despite me thanking her especially after a rough day of T babysitting.
  • My wife, in my opinion, is un-pleasable - despite my best efforts to support her, and most importantly my son.
  • My wife feels the need over the past 3 months to constantly be going on road trips with him on weekends, and during the week. My current ability, if hes home, is 30 mins to support him and her after i get off work for the day, and he goes down to sleep. On weekends shes been going 1.5h away almost every weekend for the past 3 months. This negatively affects my ability to spend days, such as weekends, with my son developing that bond. I've spoken countless times with her about this, and how its affecting my ability to develop a strong bond with my son, and her too.
  • To expound further on that last point - the reason I ask that she doesnt go every weekend to see her family is - priority #1 is for us to begin developing memories, and experiences as a family. Instead she'd rather allow our only 3 month old son to develop a 'bond' with his cousins who are much older - 5+ , instead of with his biological father.

 

With all that said, I recently went to do my first psychologist appt yesterday to discuss this all further. Keep in mind this is my first appt with this particular doctor, and the doctor suggested I either divorce her or separate at the least. The doctor further mentioned that there were way too many problems to solve in something like marriage counseling (and this doctor is a marriage counselor) when I asked her if marriage counseling might help us.

 

What are your thoughts anyone? (Please be frank, but kind ... in a really rough state of mind right now) . Thanks

Edited by a_lifters_life
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Sorry you're going through this. You both may be incompatible or have lifestyle choices that negatively impact the family as a whole and your personal well being. I would receive a second opinion if you feel this psychologist is dismissive of your marriage or if you feel you aren't being heard. It might also be a good idea to take some of his points and think about them/think them over. He may have some meat to his advice and it's just difficult to hear. Parse that information down and make decisions that are best for you.

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Kids change the entire dynamic. At 3 months old, your son is still a relatively new thing in your wife's life. I really do understand why you are feeling the way you do, but your wife is also bonding with the baby that she carried for 9 months. It's still early days yet.

 

I don't, however, agree with the therapist that told you that your marriage isn't worth working through. All marriages are worth trying for. If you've explained to your wife that you're missing that bonding time with her and your son, and she's not receptive to making changes, then either a) you give her a bit more time to adjust, or b) you ask her to go to marriage counseling with you.

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Kids change the entire dynamic. At 3 months old, your son is still a relatively new thing in your wife's life. I really do understand why you are feeling the way you do, but your wife is also bonding with the baby that she carried for 9 months. It's still early days yet.

 

I don't, however, agree with the therapist that told you that your marriage isn't worth working through. All marriages are worth trying for. If you've explained to your wife that you're missing that bonding time with her and your son, and she's not receptive to making changes, then either a) you give her a bit more time to adjust, or b) you ask her to go to marriage counseling with you.

 

Yes, this, I agree. I also have a T by the way (but he is 10 years old). OP - She's not babysitting T -she's his mom, it's different. Maybe you just meant that as shorthand. Can you not go with them on the road trips -do you have to work? And if you do how would you have time to bond with him at home? Please do explain.

 

She might have post partum -has she been checked? She's probably ridiculously tired too. You sound like you're doing your best to parent your son when you are home. I'm glad you ask how her day was and it sounds like you mean it and want to know the answer. What I wanted when my son was 3 months old and my husband came home? I wanted him to take over so I could use the restroom alone. Or maybe heaven forbid take a shower. I did not want to kiss him because often I smelled bad like spit up, etc. He got that I think LOL. I am not saying you do this but once after 13 hours straight with our infant son he came home and I asked him to take the baby and change the diaper etc. His parents called at that moment. Not an emergency at all. I fully expected him to talk to them AND change the diaper which is what I would have done if I even took the call. Nope. And he didn't understand why that 15 minute phone conversation was so hard for me.

 

So just check in with yourself and her and make sure that she's getting the kind of support she needs. Especially with the nursing and sleep deprivation she's probably pretty darn fragile right now. And those roadtrips -I bet her parents help with the baby and distract him and she can -yup - use the restroom in peace and maybe sip coffee that isn't luke-cold. Be curious not furious and get more information. Good luck to both of you.

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Sorry for the pain and confusion.

 

I don't know what the state of your relationship was prior to conception, but a brief scan through your threads here leads me to believe it was pretty fraught. A baby, generally, will take any crack in a relationship and turn it into a chasm.

 

What you're describing, in ways, is what everyone goes through during the early months—the chaos, the lack of intimacy, the lack of sleep, the sense of everything hanging-by-a-thread—but without the genuine faith that your union is strong, loving. When you last had that faith, only you know. But without that faith, the baby becomes a proxy test instead of what it is: a crazy, overwhelming chapter in your shared lives, to say nothing of a tiny human that needs diapers changed. Those diapers are just that—diapers—not something you change in exchange for love and intimacy.

 

I don't quite know what to say. Ironically, I'd say that if you want your marriage to work you have to be able to put the question of your marriage to the side for a bit. Say 3-6 months. You've clearly documented, in bullet points, what making that question your priority gets you: misery, disappointment, and worldview that makes everything, from diapers to love drives, a verdict on you.

 

That is a pressurized and unsustainable place to be, as a person in the world, and certainly as a parent. So I'd make the therapy appointments more about changing that mindset a bit than saving your marriage. Once you can see things a bit more broadly—including yourself—I think you'll find the answers to some of the most biting questions present themselves without needing to be extracted under duress.

 

In other words: yes, your marriage might end. It also might not. You are not going to know that answer by Friday, though if you spend every minute from now till Friday asking that question you're just putting the writing on the wall.

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This is your first child and what you are experiencing is something nearly every couple goes through after they have a baby. Your wife is dealing with postpartum healing and recovery, lack of sleep, and essentially having her body held hostage by another human being for an indeterminate length of time... you are dealing with the feelings you outline above.

 

It's very early days with this baby so if you are able to stick it out then this will likely pass. I wonder if the therapist said that to wake you up, using reverse psychology to get you to think about whether you really do want to work on the relationship. Sometimes they do want to gauge the readiness of people to work on their issues. At any rate, as it was the first session, maybe it's worth doing a few more to see where this process takes you.

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Is she seeing her parents weekly, because you made them leave the last time they were over? I remember the thread vaguely, so excuse me if I'm getting it wrong. I can imagine taking away her support system has only created a wider gap between you two. Have you considered that whatever happened between you and her family may have made her resentful and contributed to the lack of affection?

 

She's just had a baby and is probably incredibly fragile still and possibly even suffering from post-partum. When I had my daughter I needed support from all sides and couldn't have imagined dealing with a family feud on top of the general work that is a newborn.

 

I understand you are helping where you can and I believe that in your mind you're doing your best. I still can't help feeling that you seem a bit entitled and don't really look inward to how you're contributing to this. Have you considered inviting her family over for lunch on the weekend? Or grill in the yard with everyone? She seems torn between both worlds.

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It sounds to me like she is sinking into her own little world and is having trouble keeping her head above water. She probably needs your help to get back to land level.

I'd start with getting her out of that house with baby 24/7. It's not healthy to make anything, not even your baby, your entire world like that. Find a way for her to her out. She might resist, but what she's doing isn't working. If you have pat time, I'd take it. If not, maybe you need to look into other outside supports for her.

The weekends, maybe some of those she can go just herself, and you spend daddy time . Other times, family time ( the 3 of you ) and sprinkling of her taking the baby to see her family.

These are just ideas. Point being, mama going on as she has been doesn't work, so you do something else.

She needs to go to a doctor too, to access where she is at physically and pyschologically.

Heck, even of her going to work part time would help, you find a way to do that.

 

But she needs to get snapped out of this insulated world she is hiding in now , where she's acting like it's her and baby and you on the outside. You need her back, the baby needs her back, and it's not sustainable.

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It sounds to me like she is sinking into her own little world and is having trouble keeping her head above water. She probably needs your help to get back to land level.

I'd start with getting her out of that house with baby 24/7. It's not healthy to make anything, not even your baby, your entire world like that. Find a way for her to her out. She might resist, but what she's doing isn't working. If you have pat time, I'd take it. If not, maybe you need to look into other outside supports for her.

The weekends, maybe some of those she can go just herself, and you spend daddy time . Other times, family time ( the 3 of you ) and sprinkling of her taking the baby to see her family.

These are just ideas. Point being, mama going on as she has been doesn't work, so you do something else.

She needs to go to a doctor too, to access where she is at physically and pyschologically.

Heck, even of her going to work part time would help, you find a way to do that.

 

But she needs to get snapped out of this insulated world she is hiding in now , where she's acting like it's her and baby and you on the outside. You need her back, the baby needs her back, and it's not sustainable.

 

I try to help, I constantly am saying on Friday afternoons (when less busy at work) or the weekends - I've offered to take him all weekend long, and have "daddy daycare" and she go up and spend time with her family or

 

She refuses and then claims she thinks im incapable of doing that on my own (total bs). She just wants control.

 

She just got back from a night at her brothers house - 2.5h away, and wont even let me hold T so that she can pee or relax a bit. Again, she wants all the control, but at the same time wants to put me down incessantly (and my family).

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OP, you have been posting about how unhappy you were with various aspects of your relationship for years now... and while that doesn't invalidate how you feel now, I am wondering how much longer you want to let this continue. Maybe your therapist has a point... the relationship is not a happy, your wife seems done, nothing has changed and in fact it's steadily gotten worse... maybe it's time to accept that you can't fix it and start the process of moving on.

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I hope this does't come out wrong, but I've generally found that when we are frustrated by someone who "just wants control" it's because we are frustrated that we have lost control—that we "just want control" we feel we're entitled to.

 

You are describing a power struggle, with a child in the middle. This might feel like that right now, and you may be prone to viewing life's challenges through that lens, as may she, but in reality it is not. It is two people, both on wobbly ground, trying to raise a child.

 

If you can't see it like that, all humanity is lost. You sound like someone determined to "win," but there is no winning here, or even losing. It may very well be that all empathy between you two is lost, that you are each incapable of seeing the other as a human being rather than an adversary. If that's the case, the best steps—for you, her, and your child—are figuring out a non-romantic co-parenting arrangement. If you have any interest in something else, you need to adjust your outlook, to let go of the power-grab narrative, the win-loss narrative, and get back to the human narrative.

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I hope this does't come out wrong, but I've generally found that when we are frustrated by someone who "just wants control" it's because we are frustrated that we have lost control—that we "just want control" we feel we're entitled to.

 

You are describing a power struggle, with a child in the middle. This might feel like that right now, and you may be prone to viewing life's challenges through that lens, as may she, but in reality it is not. It is two people, both on wobbly ground, trying to raise a child.

 

If you can't see it like that, all humanity is lost. You sound like someone determined to "win," but there is no winning here, or even losing. It may very well be that all empathy between you two is lost, that you are each incapable of seeing the other as a human being rather than an adversary. If that's the case, the best steps—for you, her, and your child—are figuring out a non-romantic co-parenting arrangement. If you have any interest in something else, you need to adjust your outlook, to let go of the power-grab narrative, the win-loss narrative, and get back to the human narrative.

 

For me its not a power struggle at all. I want the best for T, but i cannot have relationship with T because of my wife. I literally see him for 30 mins when I get done work, and on weekends the past 3 months shes primarily been away with him.

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It is very hard to relinquish care of your child sometimes even to the father . But I would stop fighting about her family with her family don’t even bring up her family . She’s running to them because you were always fighting about them .

 

But what you are describing is pretty common for couples with a child for the first time . It takes about a year to sort your life out after you have a child. I wanted no intimacy I mean none nothing nada . Don’t touch me don’t look at me for about four months because I had a lot of physical trauma and mental trauma . I was exhausted from breast-feeding every two hours 24 hours a day . My son was really high maintenance and special needs . And I wanted no grief whatsoever just care . Then when he was 15 it was kind of when we started getting our life back .

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With all that said, I recently went to do my first psychologist appt yesterday to discuss this all further. Keep in mind this is my first appt with this particular doctor, and the doctor suggested I either divorce her or separate at the least. The doctor further mentioned that there were way too many problems to solve in something like marriage counseling (and this doctor is a marriage counselor) when I asked her if marriage counseling might help us.

I wasn't there but I don't believe any doctor would or could ethically say such a thing.

Certainly not after talking to you for a mere 50 minutes.

 

Talk to another therapist. Either you misunderstood or this one's wack.

 

Though uncomfortable and sometimes challenging, your issues are pretty text book actually. Adjusting to the demands of new a baby and readjustments in intimacy happen to almost every couple. I find it hard to believe any professional would simply tell you to get a divorce.

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Damn. So cussing out her mother and getting on your wife's case for giving hand-me-downs without His Highness' consent didn't butter her up? I say that only partially to be an ass. Between your history prior to the kid and the events that have transpired since, it just baffles me you're so unaware that you think the baby popping out is somehow the straw that broke the camel's back.

 

Look, I'm not happy that you essentially can't be the kid's father during the weekends, but you've forced her to choose between you and her family. So she chose you on the weekdays and her family on the weekend. And honestly, she sounds checked out. I think this feeling is much more mutual than you believe it to be. It may be best to take advantage of his period of apathy to negotiate the best interests of your child and co-parenting separately before it turns into animosity.

 

But do feel free to throw marriage counseling out there as a Hail Mary. Whenever there's a kid involve, I do think all options should be exhausted before making such an impactful life decision for him or her.

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Your wife just had a baby. Literally. Less than 16 weeks ago. Breastfeeding makes her feel "overtouched" and not in the mood. a 6-10 baby came out of her vagina. It takes time to feel normal again and her hormones are messed up. Having a baby dependent on you is a radical change....and your concern is sex?? If something that big came out of your wiener or your rear, you would NOT feel like being intimate either. You should appreciate your wife for the life she has brought forth (with your help, obviously), but still, and do what you can so she gets the rest she needs instead of acting like a toddler fighting for attention with a new baby in the home

 

And guess what -- emotional tension makes women want sex less so if you are picking fights with her parents, that's a definite libido killer.

 

Yes, having a baby makes the parents feel like they are coworkers for awhile vs lovers. Things will change. but it takes time.

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For me its not a power struggle at all. I want the best for T, but i cannot have relationship with T because of my wife. I literally see him for 30 mins when I get done work, and on weekends the past 3 months shes primarily been away with him.

 

So you spend time with T AND your wife. When T is walking around, there will be more time to spend one on one without your wife present, but now, since T depends on your wife for nourishment, you aren't going to get much "one on one guy time" with a less than 4 month old baby. You can catch up about the day with her while she is breastfeeding. Its not a "i need to spend time with my son alone" deal at this point. If you are not so set on winning, you may do better

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Going against the grain here, I think it's wrong of her to be taking off every weekend with the baby. I think it's wrong she berates him. I think it's wrong she's using the baby as a pawn in her passive aggressive resentment towards him.

She can be as angry, tired, whatever, and maybe she has some good reasons. But he's the father. He gets equal say.. She does not get ultimate authority over baby simply because she is mom and breastfeeding.

I believe him that she's using the kid as a way to try and gain control.

OP has reacted badly in the past, but she does undermine him. The foundation here has rot. There isn't trust in each other, understandably.

 

I don't think, even though I've not been a mom, this is normal having a kid issues. I think having a child would test the strength of what is already there, and for them, the foundation was already cracked. So this just puts more pressure on it, and they are both reacting to that.

 

Still not ok for her to try and use the kid as a means of punishing him and strengthening herself. It's a baby. Not a pawn.

And for all OP has done, he's never tried to put a wedge between her and the baby. She's doing that with him, and it's not right.

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Going against the grain here, I think it's wrong of her to be taking off every weekend with the baby. I think it's wrong she berates him. I think it's wrong she's using the baby as a pawn in her passive aggressive resentment towards him.

She can be as angry, tired, whatever, and maybe she has some good reasons. But he's the father. He gets equal say.. She does not get ultimate authority over baby simply because she is mom and breastfeeding.

I believe him that she's using the kid as a way to try and gain control.

OP has reacted badly in the past, but she does undermine him. The foundation here has rot. There isn't trust in each other, understandably.

 

I don't think, even though I've not been a mom, this is normal having a kid issues. I think having a child would test the strength of what is already there, and for them, the foundation was already cracked. So this just puts more pressure on it, and they are both reacting to that.

 

Still not ok for her to try and use the kid as a means of punishing him and strengthening herself. It's a baby. Not a pawn.

And for all OP has done, he's never tried to put a wedge between her and the baby. She's doing that with him, and it's not right.

 

Yes, I agree with this.

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I think he should defer to her and go with her to her family on weekends or at least reach a compromise. It could be they help her a lot or simply provide emotional support they need. I am a bad example because my husband was gone 2-3 days a week starting when the baby was 2 weeks old, for business trips (I knew this in advance) so he already didn't see our son for at least 2 days a week and this increased with business travel. But we made plans together and if we weren't together it was because one of us was giving the other person a break of some sort (I could not breastfeed therefore he could feed the baby). I'd want to know if she is motivated to have him spend time with the baby (meaning motivation for the weekends- even if more than one -and why he is not going). I was extremely motivated -it was a given-never thought about it in any other way so that might be where the issue is.

 

I do think a postpartum mother who breastfeeds especially -and the baby is still in the "4th trimester" as they call it -gets more veto power, more say in time spent with the baby, and she needs care more than the father, all else equal. But if she doesn't want him to spend time with or bond with their son that's a whole different ball of wax and that's only going to continue even past this newborn/infant stage- that's what needs to be addressed because it informs a lot of her choices and behavior/reactions.

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Going against the grain here, I think it's wrong of her to be taking off every weekend with the baby. I think it's wrong she berates him. I think it's wrong she's using the baby as a pawn in her passive aggressive resentment towards him.

She can be as angry, tired, whatever, and maybe she has some good reasons. But he's the father. He gets equal say.. She does not get ultimate authority over baby simply because she is mom and breastfeeding.

I believe him that she's using the kid as a way to try and gain control.

OP has reacted badly in the past, but she does undermine him. The foundation here has rot. There isn't trust in each other, understandably.

 

I don't think, even though I've not been a mom, this is normal having a kid issues. I think having a child would test the strength of what is already there, and for them, the foundation was already cracked. So this just puts more pressure on it, and they are both reacting to that.

 

Still not ok for her to try and use the kid as a means of punishing him and strengthening herself. It's a baby. Not a pawn.

And for all OP has done, he's never tried to put a wedge between her and the baby. She's doing that with him, and it's not right.

 

I agree with this. Your feelings do matter, OP. You have valid reasons to be upset and you're not being heard and you should be.

 

However, she still is very much postpartum and that can make any woman feel insane and feel completely unbalanced.

 

You two need to work together on making it through this phase in your marriage. A new baby changes things. As a couple you are struggling because of all the massive changes and lack of sleep, change in dynamic etc.

 

I think for now, you need to be more understanding one both ends. (I know, easier said than done). But things will get better as you both get more used to the changes and find ways to work around the problems.

 

It takes time.

 

Marriage counselling can definitely be beneficial and I think it's really important to try everything you can to save your marriage and find a way through this.

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I am not familiar with your previous threads, but it does seem like you've had quite the rough road. I agree with one poster that it is not right for her to take the baby away every weekend. T is very young. I am not a parent, but most of the ones that I know prefer to keep their newborns tethered at home for a while for fear of sicknesses.

 

Can I ask a stupid question? Do you two ever talk about the state of your relationship? Have you brought any of your bullet points to her attention in a calm, collected manner? Your attitudes toward each other are not affecting T right now, but as he/she gets older..tension between parents can be felt and will have an impact. I think marriage counseling is a must. There are services that offer counselling online, through chat or through video message. Maybe even just a book that you two can go through together to start. But something has to be done. If she doesn't want to seek any type of help and has completely checked out and made up her mind, it may be time to split.

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I try to help, I constantly am saying on Friday afternoons (when less busy at work) or the weekends - I've offered to take him all weekend long, and have "daddy daycare" and she go up and spend time with her family or

 

She refuses and then claims she thinks im incapable of doing that on my own (total bs). She just wants control.

 

She just got back from a night at her brothers house - 2.5h away, and wont even let me hold T so that she can pee or relax a bit. Again, she wants all the control, but at the same time wants to put me down incessantly (and my family).

 

My friend was like this when she had her first child. She just took some time to relax and let her husband participate. But she did relax and he did get a chance to help. They have two more kids and they've been married now for 14 years. I'm not saying your wife is correct, but she is a new mom and she's probably wound up tight and overwhelmed with worries and concerns for the well being of her baby.

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