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Not my husbands priority

(38 Posts)
Frufru Tue 09-Apr-19 00:45:55

My husband of 33 years works 6 days a week, long hours. On Sundays, particularly since his step father died 6 months ago, he gets up early and goes to his mothers. she always has a list of jobs for him to do ( he has a brother and sister who live nearer his mother and see her every day) he doesn’t come home til lunchtim. So, basically we do not spend any time together, my MIL has behaved dreadfully to me and he had witnessed this, so I just stay away from her whenever possible!
This weekend was the first time he had the whole weekend off......and he spent all weekend catching up on jobs here and his Mothers!
I’ve tried discussing this with him but he really doesn’t understand why I’m so upset....I feel I’m the bottom of his list of priorities 😢

Starlady Tue 09-Apr-19 02:31:49

OhIt , FruFru, I'm so sorry. I get that you would like to spend more time with dh, just relaxing together or going out, etc. It may be that he just has a very strong work ethic and thinks that working long hours and doing jobs around the house is his way of showing his love for you. As far as his mom is concerned, he may feel for her, too, especially since his step father died. The fact that his siblings see her every day might make him feel more obligated to give her one day a week. Unless there are other underlying tension between you that might cause him to avoid being with you, I think it's about these other things.

But you say he's home by Sunday afternoon. Have you tried planning something for that time? Tickets for a show or plans with friends? Telling him you want to spend time together and waiting for him to do something about it, clearly, isn't going to work. So you may need to be more proactive. What do you think?

sodapop Tue 09-Apr-19 08:28:08

I can't really add much to Starlady's post. You have a caring husband, things may well settle down soon and his Mum will be able to cope more. If it doesn't maybe you need to talk to your husband and his siblings about a Rota of weekend visits. You say he spent the weekend doing jobs at home and for his Mum, he is obviously doing his best to help everyone.

M0nica Tue 09-Apr-19 08:45:39

He sounds like the traditional s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d woman!! Trying to keep up with work, domestic responsibilities, looking after elderly relative etc and something has to give and it tends to be the most immediate relationship because you are expected to understand.

What are all these little jobs that require him to be with his mother every weekend? I can understand that there may have been a backlog of little DIY jobs after his step father's death, but surely after six months all these have done.

I think he has got himself on a wheel like a hamster and is so overwhelmed by a need to be seen to be pulling his weight, he can think of nothing else. Could you book a weekend away for the two of you somewhere. He is legally entitled to several weeks annual leave, so to take an extra Saturday or Monday off is within his statutory rights.

You needn't go far and many B&Bs are not expensive.
Just go to your nearest tourist area. 60 miles takes me to the south coast or the Cotswolds, wherever you live somewhere is in reach. A weekend away will break the cycle and hopefully you will have time to talk.

jaylucy Tue 09-Apr-19 10:30:19

I agree with the other 2 postings - he feels he has an obligation to go and see his mother every week and maybe he is the DIY go to because his siblings are useless at it? Or maybe his mother just feels better asking him to do the jobs? Personally, I'd rather he cared for his mum than not however she has treated you in the past!
I'd make the most of a nice quiet Sunday morning without him, and get on with jobs you've missed during the week or taking the advantage of the time to sit and read or take up a craft, then perhaps arrange to go out for a meal with your husband when he returns say once a month?
This situation will not go on forever, so also could be another reason why he likes to spend a big chunk of his free time with his mum!

DeeDum Tue 09-Apr-19 10:32:32

I'd go out for the day if I were you, meet up with a girlfriend and chill,
Definitely let him come home and cook his own meal if that's why his home at lunchtimes?

Feelingmyage55 Tue 09-Apr-19 10:38:29

Could you suggest that he takes one Sunday a month for just the two of you? His mum would still have him there three out of four. I would make him a lovely lunch and a great Sunday dinner because he will still be with you for the major part of the day. Think of places to go in the afternoon that he would enjoy - he clearly works hard but needs reminding to look after you and himself too.

Grammaretto Tue 09-Apr-19 10:51:07

It's often the other way around and complaints are about him hanging about all day!
Have you retired before him? I'm not sure I quite understand your situation.
I also have an OH who has to be busy and who spends time with his parents without me.
It's not because they dislike me but they like him to do jobs about the house and talk about the old days before I came on the scene
I like it that we have our own interests and are not too dependant on eachother .
As others have said, you need to book time with him.
I hope you succeed.

FountainPen Tue 09-Apr-19 10:51:50

If you flip this over, his mother would probably argue that you have her son’s company for six days of the week when he’s not working and have done for 33 years while she only sees him for a few hours on a Sunday morning.

It isn't true that you and he do not spend any time together even if it is only an evening meal, a few exhausted hours in front of the telly and then bed.

His mother is recently widowed so cut her some slack. By the sound of it neither of you give him a break if he has to spend his rare weekends off catching up on jobs in both homes.

It isn’t fun being caught in the middle of two needy people. Why not help him out by doing some of those jobs at home yourself or going over to his mother’s with him to give her a hand? If things have not been good between you and she, now would be the perfect time to bury the hatchet.

My neighbour’s son got drawn into a similar cycle after his father died. He used to say to me how he longed to have some time entirely to himself with neither his wife nor his mother making demands on him. Your husband may feel the same so cut him some slack too.

H1954 Tue 09-Apr-19 11:23:31

Personally, I would make my own arrangements for the weekends; spa days, shopping trips etc that don't include him. Go with some friends and make your own decisions. Next time he has a weekend off and has to fend for himself maybe he will understand your true worth in your relationship and stop letting his mother monopolise all his waking hours!

starbird Tue 09-Apr-19 11:24:09

Do you know if your husband would like to go out on Sundays for the day or afternoon? Maybe he would like to relax in front of the tv and just enjoy being at home with you there too?

If so, do you have friends and/or family that you can go out with on Saturdays so that you can relax together with DH on Sunday afternoons?

Alternatively, you could go to a pub for lunch on Sundays before going back home. As suggested, ask that he spends one Sunday a month or even alternate Sundays at home. Even if they can’t do DIY surely other family members can invite his mum to lunch sometimes. It sounds like she is making up the jobs to get his company. Is there any chance you could visit her with your husband, just occasionally?

It would be a shame if your husband felt torn between the two of you. He sounds like a gem, wish he were my son!

Barmeyoldbat Tue 09-Apr-19 11:37:00

Some good suggestions here, Sunday lunch and if he doesn't turn up then no meal on Sunday. Book a weekend a way is a great idea, we go away for a great many breaks staying at Premium Inn or Travellodge, cheap but really comfortable. If he won't go then could you go on your own, you would probably only have to do it once. Good luck

Telly Tue 09-Apr-19 11:38:19

I would not think that its too much to ask that he goes to his mothers one morning a week and does little jobs around the house. In fact he sounds like a good sort of guy. I would make more of the time that you do spend together as has been suggested. Go out for lunch when he comes back, have something to look forward to. This does seem to be his way of coping with the fact that the two of you don't get on. He may feel like he is walking on eggshells.

Emelle Tue 09-Apr-19 11:44:51

There are some rather harsh comments on here especially as we don't know the whole story but I do have sympathy for you Frufru, as I am in a similar situation. I don't really know what to advise. I just hope you can work through this and come to an arrangement that suits all of you.

Dinahmo Tue 09-Apr-19 11:51:38

Whatever you do, please don't make him feel guilty. My father, an only child, used to visit his mother every Saturday when she lived about 50 miles away. He would return home with a migraine. He didn't particularly like his mother and she was never keen on my mum. I loved her, but that's another story. He developed cancer and, at that time (35+ years ago) there was a theory that people who buttoned things up might be more likely to suffer. He was one of those people - he never talked about how he felt but his my siblings and I would have understood.

I do think that you are luckier than some. I used to work with someone whose mother-in-law lived with my colleague and her husband for more than 30 years - she said that she had heart problems and DIL didn't get on with her.

icanhandthemback Tue 09-Apr-19 12:00:01

A lot of young people have a date night when things start to go slightly pear shaped. I can appreciate how you feel because you obviously want some quality time with your husband. My daughter has the same situation as you and she doesn't find it easy either whilst the rest of the world looks on, admiring her husband's kindness to everyone else along with his work ethic. Meanwhile she is quite lonely and resentful because she feels she is the last person to be considered.
Maybe you can have an evening meal out once a week when you get time to actually sit and talk. I think the request for 1 Sunday in 4 is not too much to ask either. I'd be inclined to gild the lily with by not nagging him about spending too much time with others but telling him how much I miss him, how I hadn't appreciated how much I loved his company but am missing it now and how lovely he is but you would like him to slow down a bit so he doesn't join his stepfather.

Eglantine21 Tue 09-Apr-19 12:00:11

I’m sympathetic too. My husband was a total workaholic. His workplace was where he felt happiest. You know the saying “When they die, nobody ever says “I wish I spent more time at the office.” That wasn’t true for him and in fact he was still going on about work in his last hours.

What we had was a definite, non negotiable, which was Sunday brunch (after he had been to work on Sunday morning) afternoon outing and Sunday night chill out.

Maybe it’s the time he spends at work that needs to be cut, not the time he spends with his mother. Good luck though. I never managed it!

glammanana Tue 09-Apr-19 12:09:36

I think your MIL is very lucky to have her family calling in every day of the week and making sure she is coping after the loss of your FIL there are many people out there who do not get this level of support.
Please don't class yourself as needy you are his wife and deserve his company did he do this when his father was alive or just the past 6 mths maybe things will get less as the time goes on.
I would sit down with him and tell him how much you miss his company not just to do household jobs but to be your companion on days out etc.

25Avalon Tue 09-Apr-19 12:24:06

Is your mil in competition with you to get his attention and using the I'm on my own tactic? If so then so far she is winning. I think I would go round there with your dh to see just what he does do whilst there. Are all these jobs necessary as someone else has said? If you go then you will soon find out and she will have to accept you as a pair rather than trying to drive a wedge between you. She would probably love to split you up and have him live with her. My mil never lost the opportunity to put the boot in and once she lost her h seemed to spend a lot more time thinking how she could score one over me

teaforone Tue 09-Apr-19 12:40:40

I know quite a few mothers who expect this from their sons and wonder that they don’t realise the added stress they put on their sons/daughters. My husband died in his 40s and I have a lovely son who has had a child later in life and is self employed. They only live 20 mins away and there are many times I would like help with things that need attention but I cope because his family come first and he needs time for himself as well. I realise I am lucky because financially I can afford to get jobs done and there are some wonderful gardeners , plumbers and handymen in the village where I live. Life is so short and although it would be nice to have him to myself more often, I want him to enjoy being with his own family and visit me when he has time, either on his own or with the family, just to chill, so I do understand what you are saying Frufru.

GoldenAge Tue 09-Apr-19 12:40:52

Frufru I can see how sidelined you must feel but I think the onus is on you to make changes somehow or other as it's clear your hubby is setting into what he feels to be an obligatory routine that he can accommodate. He believes he has a duty to his mother which is understandable, and as his siblings visit regularly during the week he feels he must also pull his weight, but it does only leave you with half a day of his company, so maybe the time has come for you to make overtures to your mil in some way despite her nastiness to you. You say it's your choice to keep away from her but perhaps a rethink is necessary in order to reassert your needs for your hubby's company. Perhaps suggest that instead of hubby going over to hers early Sunday morning and spending time with her doing jobs, he asks his siblings to do the jobs as they are more frequent visitors, and he brings his mother back to yours so that you can make lunch for the three of you, or maybe go out together for lunch, and then persuade him to take her back (with you) mid-afternoon and do something as a couple thereafter. You need a break to the routine otherwise it will go on forever. I also wonder why he works six days a week and long hours - is there no possibility that he can remote work for a couple of days each week and be in the house with you - are you at home all day lone, or are you working yourself? I know as a bereavement counsellor that after a death new routines can be established that were only ever intended as emergency/interim measures. It seems to me that your hubby has stepped into a new role for himself and that whilst it's natural he might want to offer this level of care for his mother, it's by no means necessary that it should become exclusive. You have to step in one way or another if you don't want this to continue - have you actually asked him how long he envisages this pattern of visiting will last - is it going to be forever? Do you have children and grandchildren? It seems like a straight choice between splitting his time between you and his mum but really that's not very healthy.

gt66 Tue 09-Apr-19 13:10:21

I haven't read all the replies, so apologies if someone else has mentioned or suggested it, but I wonder, if given a bit of time his visits will become more sporadic, once he feels his mother is coping and there are less things to do?

I had a similar situation a few years ago, with my husband feeling obliged to visit a close relative every weekend and my suggestion not to go so often was met with 'I can't abandon her', so I kept quiet and slowly the visits started to become further apart.

crazyH Tue 09-Apr-19 13:12:49

A caring son will make a caring husband....so you are lucky Frufru x

newgran2019 Tue 09-Apr-19 13:52:00

I feel similarly about my husband of 32 years, who retired in 2017. No, it wouldn't suit him or me for him to be 'hanging around the house' all day: I'm still working as a freelance and like to potter at times, whereas he prefers to keep busy. When he goes out I can set my own timetable a bit! But I've always felt that he put work (he worked far longer hours than he was paid for), church commitments and the children before me, and now it's church and my mother, who has narcissistic personality disorder and prefers my husband to me. I'm grateful to him for taking on many of the caring duties so I can work, but she takes advantage and treats him as if he were her husband, not mine. He rarely does anything just for his own pleasure; almost always for duty, though if that is his choice I ought to accept it. As I have persistent back pain too we can't get out as much as normal, so our relationship is rather like that of housemates, not a couple. I feel very torn over all this!

icanhandthemback Tue 09-Apr-19 14:06:53

I know quite a few mothers who expect this from their sons...and daughters!
My mother goes on continually about how my children should be doing their bit for me. When I point out that both parents work, have very little time to themselves and have the right to their own lives, she gets very sniffy. I just don't want my kids to end up like me, running around like a blue tailed fly after an ungrateful mother!