Marital Troubles

So let me write a little about my day. I went for a lovely long walk with my 17 year old and the dogs in the countryside. I taught my 12 year old son about abstract art and Wilfred Owen as part of our home education journey. I chased freelancing opportunities and kept up with blogging work. I did not clean much at all today which is very unusual.

I fell asleep later in the afternoon. I find this happens from time to time since I got closer to middle age. Apparently this is not unusual in women of a certain age.

My husband works from home and was working away all day in the office popping out at lunchtime for food supplies. I asked him to bring me something nice and he bought a tasty cream cake. He also suggested we should go out together mid-week instead of reserving that to the weekends. I think this was a response to me saying last night that I get a little bored being stuck out in the countryside all the time during the week.

Tonight, he started cooking. I went to ask if I could help. He did not reply so I said “Hello!” reasonably loudly but only because he has hearing issues and says I mumble. Also the cooking was making noises too. I had no bad intention. If I had, I would be honest about it. He lost his temper. He accused me of stupidity and said I was lacking in sense. He also strangely said I was talking in a psychedelic and Green Party way.

When I put a metal spoon towards the pan to pick up food, he grabbed it and threw it across the kitchen. It was pretty clear by now that he was and is extremely angry with me. He says I never praise him. He says I shout at him and criticise him all the time.

I think some of this is stemming from me saying last night that I would consider returning to the United Kingdom especially if my teenage son goes back there. I am not sure how I feel about having a sea between us. I love it here in France but I also think I have learned a lot from being here that I could apply positively back in the UK. I could also fancy getting a job and making a difference in some way like I used to many years ago now.

I am by no means clear what I want to do. I do love it here and the community is so friendly and I do enjoy the bars, the food and the beautiful surroundings. We are not far from the sea and I always love trips to the coast.

I would still love that marriage you think about when you are full of romantic notions. I thought I had a real “us” relationship for a long time. Then I found out that my husband was addicted to porn and had joined more than one dating site. I was so hurt by that for a long time. It still disappoints me but I now have enough self-belief to think it was little to do with me and all about him and his values.

As I get older, I do wonder about what makes my husband tick. I do not fully understand why he is not in touch with his children from his first marriage, his grandchildren and his great grandchild.

I don’t know why he promised he would get involved in the home education journey and has done so little in the last few years which I feel leaves an awful lot of pressure on me when I am also juggling other things. Mind you to be fair, he does not get involved in much parenting really. He will tell the children off. He does not really get involved in establishing values, teaching them or ensuring they keep clean and so on. He does cook for them regularly. He is not all bad by any means.

He says I think I am perfect. I don’t. I know I can be moody and I know that according to him and others I over-analyse things. I just think I analyse things and that’s OK and very much part of who I am. I am not a domestic goddess by any stretch but I do try hard on that front. I annoy him by stacking things up wrong when I wash up and so on. I honestly do try to do the right thing. Too often, it feels like I am trying to shove a huge boulder up a hill and the slightest thing will result in him losing his temper and that boulder rolling down the hill again.

He shouts a lot. I don’t like it. He says I am a shouter but the children tell me it is him who shouts. I think so too but in arguments like tonight, I guess my voice probably does increase in volume. I know this is not good.

It’s like a whole heap of things are becoming clearer to me. I don’t like that he hates us making fusses around birthdays, Christmas and other special events. I like to have daft tea parties and stuff like that. He does not see the point and thinks birthdays and so on are just another day. So I always feel a bit stupid for making the effort although I know it is worth it because the children have those good memories. I have a milestone birthday coming up soon and he has done nothing towards it. I know you should not expect it but it would be nice to have the faith he would treat me on that special day in some way. I should point out that if I pointed him to a shelf and an item in the supermarket, he would buy me whatever it was.

I think perhaps at core I am an independent woman who really can’t understand why I don’t have it anymore. I would like to reclaim it but don’t know if I have it in me or the strength now I am older. I do know going into bars and being treated well has made me feel so much better about myself. I toy with the idea of asking for help of some of the customers or owners. Although I would like to keep the marriage going in many ways, I also feel it would be so relaxing to not have to walk on egg shells trying to work out what I can do to make my husband happy. I hate my intelligence being resented. I can’t actually help having the brain cells I do. Also if I am honest, I don’t particularly want prizes for great housework. I want to be valued for who I am and what I can do rather than listening to a litany of all the things I get wrong.

I recognise that there is an irony in writing this post which is presumably over-analysing things. I also realise this post includes criticisms of my husband so perhaps he has a point in thinking I am super-critical.

I think if I had the strength, the finances and the courage, it would be lovely to have a key for a front door of my own and also to get my bank card back for good. I let him have it for convenience but then on nights like this feel so stupid for doing so,

The weird thing is I used to think stuff like this and get all solar plexus painful and tearful. Sometimes I would take off into the night on my own stupidly putting myself at risk. That does not happen anymore so I am hoping I am feeling my strength a little more. I guess I just feel I would like to do things my way however wrongly for a change almost to see if that could work better. Trying to please clearly is not working.

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36 Comments

  1. mummuddlingthrough September 27, 2018 / 8:22 pm

    Oh Kate it sounds like you need a hug. Sometimes thrashing everything out on the keyboard can help work things out in your own mind, and I hope this has helped you a little.x
    Thanks for sharing with #CoolMumClub

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      October 8, 2018 / 2:02 pm

      It has helped hugely. When I first wrote it I was a bit embarrassed but then worked out I really don’t need to be. Sadly is seems a very common tale and I am seeing the issues now for what they are effectively narcissism and emotional abuse. I feel that I am stronger now and can build on that. Thanks for your support.

  2. mackenzieglanville September 28, 2018 / 12:19 am

    This is a powerful and also vulnerable post and I am so glad you wrote it, it can help our thought process when we get it out and the re-read it with fresh eyes and see how we feel. You should not be treated like that, it is never ok to be put down especially when it is by the person we are choosing to spend our life with. I hope you find your way through and open yourself up to a positive future. Thank you for linking this up with #ABloggingGoodTime

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      October 8, 2018 / 2:05 pm

      Thanks so much and the process of writing it and then seeing how other people viewed the situation has proved so helpful. I feel stronger and can build on that moving forwards. We do have a lot of very good times together which is why I find it so complicated but we do always seem to end up with him denigrating me in some way. Having said that I can be very vocal about his faults too when we get into an argument so not entirely just him although I do feel if he treated me well in the first place, this would not happen. I am in a more positive place emotionally than I have been for many years. I clearly lost sight of the best of me a while ago but it has come back slowly but surely and I know I deserve a good future and will work to carve it out. Thanks so much for your support.

  3. An Ordinary Mom September 28, 2018 / 5:01 pm

    May you find the answers that you need and the courage to reach for them.

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      October 8, 2018 / 2:06 pm

      Thanks for caring enough to comment. Your comment reminded me a little of the very wise Saint Francis of Assissi prayer.

  4. Spectrum Mum September 29, 2018 / 8:55 pm

    Wow what an amazingly honest post. I agree that you are in a strong place you must be to put this together so well! I hope writing it was cathartic. Take care! #POCOLO

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      October 8, 2018 / 2:08 pm

      Thank you and yes a very open and honest post. No real point dressing things up. It ain’t pretty and important to at least have the respect to state my own truth. I am feeling so much stronger since writing it. I need to work on a very good future for myself and intend to do that one baby step at a time. Thanks for your support and writing always helps me

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      October 8, 2018 / 2:09 pm

      It really has. Made me insist on having my bank card back for starters. Also very good to have both male and female views on the situation. Have read so much now as a result and starting to see what sort of marriage I am and work out a future that will be good one baby step at a time. Thanks for your comment and support

  5. moderatemum October 1, 2018 / 11:32 am

    I don’t know you but I am genuinely concerned for you. And I kinda lost my shit at him having your bank card. Please make your first step getting it back, it’s not convenient, it’s controlling. I’m struck by so many other things too. Are you over analytical or are you questioning? Is there a ‘wrong’ way to stack dishes? Is it wrong to expect the person you love and have bore children for to treat you on what is commonly accepted as an occasion to show care and attention to our dear ones? (Answer, no btw). There is someone super critical in this relationship and I’m not convinced it’s you. I understand this is a snapshot and tells one side of the story but sometimes distance provides clarity and I am very distant from this situation. I think you too would benefit from some distance. Perhaps returning to the UK to get your son settled should he move? I am sorry you are hurting but very pleased you are speaking up, it’s the first step in the process. I don’t know that that process is but I urge you to start it.

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      October 8, 2018 / 2:13 pm

      Thank you for caring and commenting. I do not think I am under any physical threat as together 20 years and never happened so doubt it will now. But the emotional abuse takes its own toll and I am now defining it has that and speaking my own truth which has to empower me I think. I have my bank card back and don’t intend to give it to anyone ever again. So I guess I took notice of you and have started the process. I love it here so don’t massively want to leave just yet if at all. Having said that I know I can be happy back in the UK too but would miss new people here but then again there are support networks in the UK too. One baby step at a time I think, I sense my husband feels the change in me and does not like it. He seems to be putting a lot of positive effort into things just now. But I am very much on guard and taking notice of comments on here and elsewhere. Thank you so much

  6. Jeremy@ThirstyDaddy October 2, 2018 / 1:27 am

    sorry to hear all of this kate. I try and keep stuff like this out of my blog, but know that you aren’t alone in looking at your spouse and wondering what happened. Excuse my language, but the truth is that marriage is fucking hard and to be honest I really don’t understand sometimes how anybody manages to stay together for long

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      October 8, 2018 / 2:16 pm

      Thanks for commenting and yes marriage is a minefield. So many have commented in a way that suggests my situation is far too common. I am by no means perfect and feel let down so can point out my husband’s flaws (or what I see as flaws) quite vocally which obviously he does not like one bit. I know it could be seen as over-sharing but writing this and getting outsider views has made my heart and mind move forwards. Baby steps to a new future when I work out exactly what I want. Thanks again – meant a lot for a man to comment to be honest

  7. Mrs Mummy Harris October 2, 2018 / 2:47 pm

    I hope by writing this you felt it was helpful and therapeutic? There were many aspects of this post that I resonated with, I think part of it is the stresses of marriage and perhaps us intelligent ladies cannot comprehend how something so simple can be difficult for others? The other day Hubby struggled to get his head around taking one baby and Ben up the stairs to bed… Carry baby and hold bens hand whilst he walks up with you? Simple?!?! apparently not.
    perhaps have some accessible funds for yourself so if you want to go out for an hour just for a breather you can?
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week.

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      October 8, 2018 / 2:19 pm

      Thanks for commenting and yes by writing this and getting feedback I do feel stronger. Writing about stressful stuff is always therapeutic for me and owning my own truth is too. I feel your idea of time out without my husband is a really good one and I promise to pursue that. My view is that is a bloke takes on an intelligent woman he should respect her and not resent it when he has made that choice, Then again I guess you could say I took on someone who loves to look at other women, porn, drink and smokes so should not complain. But I guess I have the right to carve a future I want too. Thanks for making me think and for being you. Your scenario also made me smile a little too which helped. How can they say we are the weaker sex?

  8. Rosie Doal October 2, 2018 / 3:33 pm

    Oh Kate this has made me really sad. I am sending you a virtual hug right now. I don’t think you’re making a fuss over minor things. I also like daft tea parties and birthdays and Christmas – like you said to give good memories for the kids. My hubby doesn’t get the fuss but over time he’s just let me do what makes me happy. He knows he won’t win anyway! I think sometimes you need to vent about this and share it with like-minded people. I do hope bashing it out on a keyboard has helped you. But if you are unhappy, that’s no good to anyone. I hope you can sort this out x #TwinklyTuesday

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      October 8, 2018 / 2:22 pm

      Thanks for the comment and support. Here’s to continuing to make good memories daft or not. Writing this helped loads. I know some will judge me for it but that is their issue and not mine. Nobody has to read it after all. I am not unhappy totally at all. I am unhappy when he disrespects me and he seems to fail to understand that things like his obsession with porn has hurt me a lot whether the world thinks I should feel like that or not. I am determined to have a great future and moving towards that when I work out exactly what I want from life but at least now I am asking that question and believing I can work towards it. Thanks again for being there

  9. viewfromthebeachchair October 2, 2018 / 4:55 pm

    Wow. There is a lot here. I hope you are able to navigate a future that makes you happy. #triumphanttlaes

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      October 8, 2018 / 2:23 pm

      Thanks and your comment although brief helped loads because it made me realise there is a lot to navigate so I do need to do it slowly and carefully. Thanks and yes happiness has to be key.

  10. endardoo October 3, 2018 / 10:48 am

    This sounds like a first step in a necessary process. Your husband needs help … I know the danger is here, we are only getting your side, but if even half those things are true, he needs to stop being a dick, and take on board he is a huge cause of your anxieties. And probably your children’s too. The lack of engagement with his children? Sounds narcissistic to me, and people like that are very hard to work with. Not easy, but you really have to ask yourself if you value spending your time with him. I hope financial considerations don’t prevent you from doing what might ultimately be necessary … #DreamTeam

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      October 8, 2018 / 2:30 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment which meant a lot because I already value your judgement from your blog. Also you mentioned narcissism and I have read up a lot on this now and it seems my OH really does fit that definition which means I can also see tools for moving forwards for me. I do enjoy his company a lot of the time and we do have laughs and good times but then again I have to question where the balance lies if it always or often ends up in me being disrespected yet again .Also over the years I have lost a lot of respect for him. The world seems to think I am wrong to think so but I think an obsession with porn when you are in a committed relationship is childish especially when you know it hurts the one you purport to love. I think porn, dating sites (signs up and then does nothing from what I can tell but why should I be grateful for that?) lack of sense with money, putting work, booze and cigs first is just not what I really wanted from a long-term relationship So I have to work out what to do and whether to stay or go but at least writing about it has started a heart and mind shift so I feel stronger emboldened by the comments on here and elsewhere. Also I feel less stupid because now other women tell me they go through similar. Thanks so much

  11. Daydreamer mum October 4, 2018 / 6:40 pm

    Hi Kate , you know how much I think of this piece of writing!! I also think it’s a huge , brave step towards making sense of things in your own mind before you can make any big decisions!! #BlogCrush

  12. mummuddlingthrough October 4, 2018 / 8:38 pm

    I hope you have had a better week Kate xx Thanks for sharing at #CoolMumClub

  13. Vi October 5, 2018 / 9:36 am

    Oh it’s so difficult isn’t it? Marriage is such a juggling act, I find I feel like I am balancing on a ball while juggling most of the time! x

  14. A follower who cares October 5, 2018 / 9:54 am

    You are in an abusive relationship. I say that in the kindest and most supportive way, but there are so many red flags here. I was in one myself, for 7 years, and it’s hard to see from the inside, but this is not normal. There is anger, there is the threat of violence (throwing other objects in anger IS a threat of violence even if you are not touched yourself), there is control – you have been isolated from your country, you have been kept at home with promises he would help with schooling and he hasn’t, which stops you from getting a job and living your life and finally, the biggest control of all – financial control. Your children tell you he shouts. Your children know this isn’t normal. Please please please talk to someone about this. This is not “marital troubles”, this is an abusive relationship and you and your children are a victim of domestic abuse even if he is not physically hurting you.
    PS. You don’t have to publish this. It was just the easiest way to anonymously reach you. Please read the link, in particular the early warning signs.
    Sending you lots of positive thoughts. I know how hard it is to get out of this, because I’ve been there. But you can.

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      October 8, 2018 / 2:36 pm

      Thank you and I hope you can see by publishing your comment, I am agreeing with your diagnosis and valuing myself more. I have no intention of making speedy decisions as I need to work out what I want first. I see the abuse for what it is and think he is a narcissist from what I read. I have also signed up the Freedom Programme. I have my bank card back and will not be giving it to him again. I would point out for accuracy that I chose to come to this country and in fact he took a lot of persuading and being here has given me more strength as I have met people who appear to value me in my own right so I guess that is why I am wondering why I put up with this shit from someone who purports to love me. Thank you and I will keep working on me. In fact, I think that is a big change – I am now working on me rather than him. Thank you and I read the link and will keep revisiting. My gut tells me my future will be brighter

  15. Emma Reed October 5, 2018 / 11:49 am

    I don’t think you are over analysing anything and I am surprised at his behaviour and it sounds as though you are going through a very tough time. It seems like you are weighing up whether to try and fight and make it right or to flee. That is of course up to you but you do need to do what will make you happy in the long run xx

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      October 8, 2018 / 2:40 pm

      Thanks for your comment and support. Yes, you have it right. Not going to make some mad quick decisions but something has shifted in my heart, soul, body and gut. I think this means I feel stronger and means I have worked out I cannot change him but I can change me!

  16. Rachel ~ Kids, Cuddles and Muddy Puddles October 8, 2018 / 1:47 pm

    Oh Kate, I am sending you a great big virtual hug. You have had some fantastic comments from others here, certainly food for though. I think we have all felt trapped at times, but I think you need to work on not being so isolated. Getting your bank card back would be a great start. We are with you all the way! Good luck. I hope you find the courage to take the next step in your journey, where ever that may take you. #TwinklyTuesday

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      October 8, 2018 / 2:01 pm

      I have had the bank card back for about a week now I think. I usually end up handing it back for convenience but not this time. Have also worked out how much money needs to go out on bills and food etc. and given my OH a run down. He has given me the right amount so that’s positive. Thanks for your support – just good to know people are out there listening and caring a bit.

      • Rachel ~ Kids, Cuddles and Muddy Puddles October 8, 2018 / 7:00 pm

        That’s what I love about the blogging community; there’s always someone who will take the time to “listen” and reply. Sounds like you’re a bit more positive than you were in your post, so that’s good. x

  17. Annette, 3 Little Buttons October 8, 2018 / 10:37 pm

    Oh no Kate… this isn’t right. Sending lots of hugs. Emotional abuse is just as bad as physical abuse. Even just wearing someone down, taking away their belief in themselves or making them feel wrong because they are not doing things to the exact specifications as laid out by their partner. I’m almost lost for words. I hope getting this down on paper has made things clearer for you. Perhaps it’s a step to taking back control. Be strong. Thinking of you. Don’t forget that you have the right not to stay in a situation that you don’t feel comfortable in. #dreamteam xx

  18. thewillowtree1 October 9, 2018 / 12:52 pm

    Such an honest post. Sending lots of hugs. Have you considered marital counselling? keep strong

  19. Jo - Mother of Teenagers October 9, 2018 / 3:50 pm

    I was struck by the raw and emotional power of this post. It is tough to write about something personal but equally of course if it is cathartic and I hope that by sharing and receiving so many objective responses you find a solution and way to move forward. Ultimately we all deserve to be happy and marriage should be a jointly respectful union. It sounds at the very least that same changes need to be made. Wishing you well on your next steps. #coolmumclub

  20. Dynamic Dad October 13, 2018 / 8:59 pm

    I suspect I may be the only male commenter here – and the only one to raise a slightly different flag. Please, hear me out. Your story has a familiar ring to it, although I was the one who walked away. I will admit to raising my voice and occasionally throwing things in anger, although I was also the one who genuinely feared being hit. I would regularly flinch – an automatic and uncontrollable response to a situation I felt uncomfortable in. I’m still not convinced I was being emotionally abused (I certainly have been since, by another woman – and left rapidly), rather she was being emotionally ignorant – of how the things she said or did affected my feelings, and eventually my feelings for her and the relationship. I raised my voice or threw things to vent my anger – without ever contemplating striking her. For you, there are certainly flags, but not all of them red – communication failures and a lack of empathy and understanding led to the end of my marriage, and I am certainly much happier out than I was in. That’s not to say they couldn’t have been overcome. The bigger issues started when we lived abroad – as you do now. Do be careful about casually dropping terms like narcissism and emotional abuse – they have profound consequences on both sides. For you, you’ll see nothing else – the symptoms of a hangover and morning sickness are similar at first glance – but they are not the same thing in any way. For him, the accusation could destroy and self worth and confidence (which sounds fragile already) as well as demonise him in the eyes of his (your) children, friends and family. Perhaps this is why his relationship is non existent. I could of course be completely out of tune – but I’d rather you double checked than test for witches by drowning.

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