My hus­band is des­per­ate to start a fam­ily, but I feel I need more time

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - MARY O’CONOR -

My hus­band and I have been mar­ried for a cou­ple of years and are still young. I love him and he is kind to me but there are bumps in the road that I am find­ing hard to deal with and I don’t have any­one I can turn to for ad­vice.

He doesn’t have any real fam­ily and wants to start one of our own. I’m busy try­ing to start up a busi­ness and he just can’t un­der­stand why I want to put it off for an­other few years.

I’m work­ing 12-hour days, al­most seven days a week and his re­sponse to these wor­ries is “it will never be a good time”.

My job is also phys­i­cal so to take time off for the third trimester or post­par­tum I feel would be detri­men­tal to all I’ve been work­ing to­wards.

I have ex­plained that I do want to start a fam­ily but not just yet. I don’t know what to do.

I feel so much pres­sure that if I don’t give him a child soon he will leave me for some­one who will.

I am also so busy he does a lot of the chores. When I am there to help, ie load the dish­washer, hang the laun­dry or make beds, he tells me to “leave it, I’ll do it, you don’t do it right”. It’s ex­tremely frus­trat­ing to be told I don’t do enough in the house and when I do help it’s not good enough. This is start­ing to af­fect my self-es­teem and self-con­fi­dence.

He can be hard to talk to and when I do bring things up about chores he turns it com­pletely around like he is a vic­tim — “I’m wrong, sorry for do­ing the laun­dry” — and it turns into a heated ar­gu­ment and he could ig­nore me around our own house for days.

I re­ally don’t know what to do. He never used to be­have like this. What do you sug­gest?

I would be in­ter­ested in coun­selling but he’s so stub­born I think he would be an­gry I even brought it up and it would cause an­other ar­gu­ment and an­other few days of cold shoul­der­ing.

AI see what you mean about bumps in the road. But please keep telling your­self that they are only bumps and you will get over them. Ev­ery mar­riage goes through ups and downs, par­tic­u­larly in the early days when the cou­ple are getting used to be­ing to­gether full-time if they haven’t lived to­gether and some of the wed­ding glow has faded and re­al­ity bites, some­times quite sharply.

There are two dis­tinct prob­lems here. The first one is the ques­tion of start­ing a fam­ily and the sec­ond is the smooth run­ning of the house­hold.

I can un­der­stand why your hus­band is anx­ious to start a fam­ily. Peo­ple with­out sib­lings of­ten speak of their long­ing for a fam­ily of their own.

You are al­ready a fam­ily of two which he nat­u­rally wants to ex­pand. You prob­a­bly have sib­lings and that, com­bined with the stresses of start­ing your own busi­ness, means that you are in no hurry to have chil­dren.

It would help if you were to put a spe­cific time on it and so tell him that in, say, Jan­uary of 2020 you will do your ut­most to get preg­nant and that in the mean­time you will work on your mar­riage and try to have the best pos­si­ble base for your fu­ture chil­dren.

Re­gard­ing the house­hold chores I think you should be very grate­ful that he is do­ing his share and try not to take things too per­son­ally when he says you don’t do it right. What he re­ally means is that you don’t do it his way — there is ac­tu­ally no ‘right’ way.

He is also try­ing to find his role in the mar­riage — you don’t men­tion any­thing about his job but he may be feel­ing a bit left out when all the em­pha­sis is on your new busi­ness.

It might help you both if you had a dis­cus­sion ev­ery Sun­day about the week ahead and de­cide who is do­ing what re­gard­ing shop­ping, cook­ing, laun­dry and all the other things that make up your rou­tine. That way you may feel more that you are a team rather than pulling in op­po­site di­rec­tions which is what is hap­pen­ing now.

The re­cently de­ceased US Pres­i­dent Ge­orge HW Bush was mar­ried to Bar­bara for 73 years. In an in­ter­view about the suc­cess of their mar­riage one of the things he said was that cou­ples should never stay an­gry with each other. He ac­knowl­edged that they are go­ing to have ar­gu­ments for sure, but he warned ‘Don’t go to sleep be­ing an­gry’.

I think that is some­thing you both need to think about, given that you go for days with­out speak­ing. I re­alise that your hus­band is the one who doesn’t speak to you but that in turn must make you an­gry.

Have a talk with him about all of this, telling him how wor­ried you are about the state of your re­la­tion­ship.

Don’t ap­por­tion blame but in­stead ask him what you could both do to make things bet­ter be­tween you — apart from im­me­di­ately getting preg­nant which may be his an­swer if you don’t set the bound­aries. Then sug­gest that both of you work on mak­ing it good for each other be­cause com­pro­mise and un­der­stand­ing are nec­es­sary to have a suc­cess­ful mar­riage.

Good luck with your new busi­ness and, in time, with start­ing a fam­ily. You can con­tact Mary O’conor anony­mously by vis­it­ing www.dear­mary.ie or email her at dear­[email protected]­de­pen­dent.ie or write c/o 27-32 Tal­bot St, Dublin 1. All cor­re­spon­dence will be treated in con­fi­dence. Mary O’conor re­grets that she is un­able to an­swer any ques­tions pri­vately

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