on our last legs

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Just Landed
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on our last legs

Post by Woko » Tue Oct 11, 2016 2:16 pm

My wife and I are at a crisis point. We are going through quite a difficult time at the moment.
We have 3 children, a 6 year old, a 4 year old and a one year old (my wife returned to work after maternity leave last January.
I work full time – Monday to Friday, 9-5, my wife does Monday Tuesday Friday 9-5. On the Wednesday and Thursday she is at home with our two youngest.
Our 4 year old son was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum 3 months ago – which we expected. We kind of knew before he was diagnosed so when we received the official diagnosis, we were sad for the afternoon but then it was back to normal the next day, I think we had slowly grieved the diagnosis in the 12 months prior.
He doesn’t sleep great. He used to stay awake until around 10.30pm before nodding off but would sleep until the next morning (the other two sleep fine). We recently tried him on melatonin which helps him go off to sleep, but now he generally wakes up 4 or 5 nights a week which involved him waking from 2am until about 6 am, and has been like this for two months. We take it in turns every night – I will do the first 2 hours with him, my wife will do the last 2 hours and vice versa. Obviously sleep deprivation is a big thing in our house at the moment,
However, for many years – and I’m talking from probably before we got married 7 years ago, there has always been issues in our relationship. My wife has suffered from depression several times in the past and suffers with anxiety. Truth be told I am extremely tired of dealing with these problems. Nothing can ever be straight forward, everything always has to be a major issue. I can understand this but as soon as the anxiety comes I am always left to try and pick up the pieces, be it whilst she goes upstairs to have some space, goes out to get some air. The anxiety makes me feel stressed and anxious myself and after such a long time I am finding it increasingly irritating. She has had counselling but stopped the last load half way through as she thought she was better, she won’t go back.
We seem to go through phases where she is happy, and the rest of the house is happy, to when she is stressed/anxious and the rest of the house is anxious. We are not an old fashioned family whereby she does all the chores etc, granted she may do a little more than me when she is off with the kids and has 10 minutes, but when I get home I don’t stop, tidying up, tea time, I do bath time, get them into PJs, take them to bed, put washing on, tidy the kitchen etc and, then tidy when I get down – before we finally sit for tea at about half 8/9.
When she is going through a stressful time I hate being in the house, she will shout at the kids and have no patience with them. She has a go at me for minor things and will put in sly digs such as ‘are you going to be ion your phone all night’ – when I am anything but!
On top of that our sex life is non-existent – we have had sex around 5 times this year. I understand why this is – high stress levels, tiredness and we do not get any help with the kids at all.
I get sad about our relationship, I don’t feel appreciated, loved and I feel like I am an acquaintance in the house. When I try to raise this, she says she understands but then doesn’t respond in any way. She will tell me to initiate at bed time, which I try and get knocked back constantly. She won’t initiate it. I get sitters sorted for a few hours together, she wants to go to B&Q or go shopping for something.
I understand that I am always going to be near to the bottom of the list. I have told her that I feel like we are not a married couple but we are instead just a team for the kids to work together. I don’t feel happy as a husband and wife but we do work as a great team as parents. Her response was that she does feel like a married couple. I have tried to tell her that I am finding our marriage life difficult, but there is never a response. I have tried cooking meals, massages, baths, organised a baby sitter for a night out here and there. Ordered in food from her favourite restaurant, given her time for herself to do whatever she wants, but there is never any response. I have told her that I feel unloved, I have no confidence, I can’t concentrate but nothing is done.
I am now feeling really down, I recently told her that I feel down and couldn’t really explain why, but said it is a cumulative thing, but I just needed a hug. Her response was to shout at me and demand that I told her why I was down. I told her that as someone who had gone through depression then she should understand that you won’t always be able to figure out the root cause straight away, but that had no effect.
I have a wife who barely physically engages, doesn’t try and listen or responds to my issues and who just thinks everything is ok. I have three options. Go leave her, go through counselling and resolve it, or go through counselling and leave her.
I am after any hints or tips or advice in the meantime. If we did not have kids then I would have left a long time ago.

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Re: on our last legs

Post by snail » Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:31 pm

Remembering your first post about this relationship 5 years ago, I think your wife is the sort of person who finds stress difficult to deal with, and to be honest your routine does sound absolutely exhausting. I think she was always rather self-centred and fragile, and the situation is making those things worse - she might feel she has no energy left at all to deal with any problems you raise, or to respond to your affectionate gestures. I think she has tended to dominate you, and perhaps feels that you will always be around no matter what so she doesn't need to engage with you now.

In the short term, is there any chance of either of you cutting back your hours, or her stopping her job completely? With three young children, one autistic, for both of you to work most of the week as well just seems so punishing. Exhaustion must be affecting how both of you are acting and perceiving things.

In the longer term, I would suggest marriage counselling (such as Relate). If she won't go, she won't, but you can go on your own, which may show her you are serious, and will help you decide what you want to do. I think you owe it to the children to at least try to make it work before leaving.
These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.

Najwa Zebian

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