Saturday, April 1, 2023
HomeRelationship AdviceI think my daughter killed my relationship with my husband

I think my daughter killed my relationship with my husband

My husband (29M) and I (28F) have been together for 8 years now, married for 2. Not too long after the wedding, I found out that I was unexpectedly pregnant with our daughter. I always wanted to be a mother and though the timing was a bit earlier than expected, I was happy to be fulfilling this dream of mine. My husband also wanted kids, but much much later. We always thought we would figure the right time naturally in the course of our marriage, but a slight oversight in IUD timing changed that forever.

Fast forward to now and we have a beautiful, healthy baby girl just over 1. Being a parent has been difficult, but well worth it for me. I don’t think my husband feels the same. We had to make a few big sacrifices to ensure we had support for my daughter – we moved closer to my family and farther from our friends, I had to change jobs, and my husband went remote. It’s been difficult as my daughter was very a colicky baby for most of her life, but the past 6 months have been a real 180. She’s giggling and walking and becoming everything I imagined a baby would be.

My husband however is still struggling as a parent. He frequently passes off child care activities, is quickly “done” with spending time with our daughter after more than two hours, and comments on how we always have to take care for her and he wants a break. He travels for work for 1 week/month so he gets plenty of time away from parental duties, but he wants a big grand vacation with just me.

Finances have been tighter since my new job pays less and the added expenses of child care, so a vacation isn’t really feasible.

He’ll never say it, but I think he blames my daughter for stealing the life we had before away from him and I don’t know what to do. I hate the idea that a piece him doesn’t want our daughter and it’s driving a wedge between us. We’re just not as happy as we were before. We fight, we’re tired all the time, we have sex once every month or two month. I’ve tried to be positive one, the sexy one, the strong one, and carry both of us, but at what point do I decide he’s just not father material and move on? I don’t want my daughter every feeling like she’s unwanted, I’m worried staying with him will be signing both of us up for unhappy life.



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45 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve seen a lot of couples go through this. Having kids is HARD. Even when they’re really really wanted.
    Have you talked directly about this with him? Have you considered couples counseling?

  2. Talk to him. Couple’s therapy would help facilitate the conversation. It may be stress and exhaustion. It may be a lack of interest in the infant stage that will fade as the child grows up. It may be depression. Or it may be precisely what you’re fearing: remorse and completely checking out.

    The point is that you may be wrong. Before you take action that you can’t take back, I encourage you to find out for certain rather than guessing at the problem based on your perspective.

  3. I feel like you glossed over a MAJOR point. He wants a vacation with you. It seems he feels like he lost his wife when you turned in to mommy. Kids need alot of attention but honestly, so do marriages.
    Make one on one time. Get in to couples counseling so you guys can figure out how to communicate and grow together instead of apart.
    You’re assuming he doesn’t want to be a dad but he honestly may be just having a hard time adjusting. Give him grace and the benefit of the doubt and start having conversations about how he feels. Do it without judgment and validate his feelings. And then he will hopefully in turn do the same for you.

  4. >how we always have to take care for her and he wants a break. He travels for work for 1 week/month so he gets plenty of time away from parental duties

    He doesn’t want a break from your daugther to be working. He wants to have a break WITH YOU. You have to be a couple as well, not just parents.

  5. I understad your need as a mother to provide for your child even if you have to struggle in other areas of life. But, as the child of a woman who made too many sacrifices for her child, I wanted to tell you that taking care of yourself and your partner is very, very important as well to keep your baby’s environment a happy place. Knowing everything my mom lost because of me made me grow up with a lot of guilt, and sadly guilt is also something that’s always made me “easy target” for certain kind of people. There’s no way to know what the future holds but one thing is sure, we need our parent’s stability and love more than any material thing they can buy us.

  6. You might want to stop framing this as a thing your daughter did because

    It’s not something your daughter did.
    Thinking it is will have an impact on the way you treat her. Seeing as your partner is intent on doing that, it’s going to be that much more important you don’t.

  7. I don’t get it. What’s so wrong about finding time for just the 2 of you to go away? I love solo trips with my husband, and most of the time we don’t go all out. Maybe a trip to Bora Bora isn’t in the cards right now, but there aren’t any Air BnBs close to you where you can go and have a couple days alone? You could just make dinner together there, watch tv, have sex – just have some time like you both planned on before you got pregnant. My guess is that he’s struggling more with the fact you don’t seem to care that you don’t have time together. Things don’t have to be so black and white that you either take a huge vacation or you leave him for not being father material. There has to he some middle ground, if both of you are truly happy together and want your marriage to work.

  8. Can you afford therapy?

    >We had to make a few big sacrifices to ensure we had support for my daughter – we moved closer to my family and farther from our friends, I had to change jobs, and my husband went remote.

    Even outside of having a child, these are huge life changes. It sounds like you guys moved away from his support system. With the added context of having your first child recently, he could be suffering from postpartum depression. You guys should address this now before your kid is old enough to start realizing their dad feels this way about them.

    Edit: Also, please don’t blame your kid. They are a baby. They didn’t ruin anything.

  9. You know a good way to make a resentful parent? Ignoring that people need to be more than a parent for a relationship to be successful. I’ve seen so many relationships ruined because one of the parents, usually the mother becomes consumed by motherhood. Often due to a combination of societal expectations and fathers not carrying their part of things. However, in many cases, it’s due to mothers just suddenly no longer being interested in being wives and partners.

    You are criticizing him for being done with kid time after 2 hours as if that’s a short amount of time. That’s actually a long time to spend directly with a kid! That’s far from the uninterested, uninvolved father you are implying he is! That’s solid time spent together! I’m a single father with full custody of my three boys and I definitely need a break from them after spending a couple hours, especially when they were young! It’s easier now because we can play more sophisticated games, watch movies and shows that are more on my level and share more interests, but when they were toddlers, I needed breaks!

    You outright say that what he has asked for is more time with just the two of you. He wants his wife back! Why did you move to be closer to parents if you can’t get any help and alone time! You should be doing date nights at least a couple times every month, if not once a week.

    You are in very real danger of losing your family over this, and it’s not because your husband resents his daughter, it’s because you have basically abandoned him. Your daughter needs her parents, but she doesn’t need you guys to the level you think she does. She does not need constant attention, all day every day. She does not need to be with you 100% of the time. You guys can and need to take breaks, invest time, energy and emotion into each other. You need to demonstrate how to have healthy relationships, both romantic and family relationships. Those mothers who make motherhood their entire identity often end up losing contact with their children too, when they feel overwhelmed and overbearing.

  10. In the near term, and since you have moved closer to your family, is there someone in your family you can pay (or not) to care for your daughter while you have ab adult weekend.

    Long term, you clearly need to have some counseling both as a couple and him by himself. This isn’t going to be resolved either way until this situation resolves itself.

  11. Does your husband blame you for ‘slight oversight’ in IUD timing? I’m not sure what that means but it sounds like he clearly wasn’t ready to be a dad, and you were ready to be a mother and IUDs are usually pretty incredibly contraception so I wonder if he’s not articulating certain feelings about that.

  12. I feel like it also needs to be pointed out that your daughter is just now getting to the stage where dad is relevant in her life. The first year (and sometimes longer) dad doesn’t really get to do “dad things” with the kids. This really became apparent to my wife and I when we had our third. He breastfed for the longest out of the three (7 months or so) so she felt like she was tethered to his feeding schedule. It also didn’t help that he was a week early, still weighed 10 lbs, and was feeding like a 5 year old from the moment he was born. A few months into having to adjust to this new schedule, I could tell there was some mild resentment coming from my wife so we respectfully got into it one night after the kids went to bed and I made her come out with it. She basically confirmed as such asking for more help with the youngest and I had to point out that, daily chores and having to wrangle the older two aside, there quite literally wasn’t anything else I could do to help out with the baby, specifically. She realized I was right (should have gotten that on paper) and apologized for being hormonal (didn’t really need to apologize) and we went on to adjust. I was able to start taking on more help with him a few months after because he started to grow into “dad territory”. Go on any of the parenting subs and you’ll see plenty of people in your same situation and plenty more saying a response that looks just like mine.

  13. He needs therapy right now. He’s isolated from work, friends, you don’t mention his family. Save up do what it takes make plans for the two of you (no baby) to be gone for a week this spring. He needs it more then you can imagine.

  14. >We had to make a few big sacrifices to ensure we had support for my daughter – we moved closer to my family and farther from our friends, I had to change jobs, and my husband went remote.

    This is the important part. His life was turned upside-down completely. He’s no longer near *his* friends or coworkers, but close to *your* family.

    Your daughter may have been the trigger, but it’s more about how you’re prioritizing her way more over him. Is he an extrovert? It will take him years to rebuild the social network that he needs.

    Encourage him to participate in young professional meetup groups, or join some local clubs.

  15. When I read the title, I thought this was referring to a step daughter, yikes.

    Your language is really problematic, OP. You keep referring to your child as “my daughter” even though you’re talking about the daughter you and your husband both parent. You even talk about divorcing him and potentially removing him from his daughters life. I just have to say, I’m highly suspicious your daughter would grow up saying “thank you for taking me away from my dad who was struggling with becoming a parent when he didn’t want to be”.

    The way you talk about the situation does sound like you’re pretty insensitive to his struggles and perspective. I could totally imagine why you might find it hurtful that he just wants to get away from being a parent all the time (and maybe even a little jealous that he has a chance to), but I would really examine how you feel that contributes to his worthiness of being a dad.

    From the way you write, you’re really attacking him and if he’s struggling with being a parent, it’s going to compound. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy. He’s going to be a worse and more distant parent if he feels criticized and judge by you. Couples counseling can really help get to the root issues here, so I hope you two are willing and able to budget for it.

  16. >**I always wanted to be a mother** and though the timing was a bit earlier than expected, I was happy to be **fulfilling this dream of mine**. **My husband also wanted kids, but much much later**. We always thought we would figure the right time naturally in the course of our marriage, but **a slight oversight in IUD timing changed that forever.**

    i’m not sure how often people miss their IUD timing (i understand it’s not 100% effective in preventing pregnancies, but have not heard of people missing IUD timing personally).

    reading how you mentioned it’s your dream to have a kid, and how it’s a result of an oversight of IUD timing on your end, your husband may have felt obliged to keep your daughter despite his preference for a “much much later” time. He could also feel baby trapped by you. If you both aren’t able to communicate your thoughts & feelings well (your husband is trying but it sounds like you aren’t interested/listening), you guys may want to look into couples therapy to resolve the issues.

  17. I mean, you had an unplanned baby when he wasn’t ready, moved away from friends and the life you had, and you’re also financially worse off. I’d be miserable too, but that’s exactly why I fried my tubes out years ago. Hard pass. I really feel for your husband, he’s stuck in a life he doesn’t seem to want.

  18. Due to your phrasing of the title I thought you had a daughter from a previous partner that was sabotaging the new marriage.

    He seems to have checked out of being a dad, you seem to have checked out of being a wife, it seems you might both be letting each other down on opposite fronts here.

    As others pointed out, he didnt say he wanted time away from the kid (as you say he is away with work), he wants time alone WITH YOU. He didnt want kids untill much later, becase he wanted to be married to you and be a married couple without all the responsibility of children first. Things happened and he didnt get that at all, instead you together uprooted your whole life to adapt. That is a huge change for someone who didnt feel ready for it yet and wanted to wait.

    I think you both need therapy/counseling, both one on one and as a couple, to figure out what is going on, what you need from each other and if you can find a way to do that as a team.

  19. Okay- here’s what I read

    -You got pregnant “accidentally”, by which I mean you weren’t actively trying or had a plan

    -You moved away from where you and husband lived, and had established a life, to be closer to YOUR family.

    -Your husband had to go from working in an office to remote, meaning not a real separation between job and home

    -Your child was very colicky, while your husband was working remote, having just moved to a new city, away from his friends and his established life

    -Is done after 2 hour of doing activities, which is not really that big of a deal. You can easily put her in a safe area (like put a gate in a playroom).

    -Your husband wants to go away with you just to reconnect, and you think he gets enough of a break from parenting since he travels for work

    -You present yourself as the perfect partner, while looking negatively on your husband, yet your post places the blame on your daughter “I think *my daughter killed* my relationship..”

    He has never actually said he doesn’t love his child- but parenting is hard, and throw on all the additional changes. He doesn’t have support in his new town, you do since you moved to be with your family. You seem to present as you do all the work, but haven’t considered the number of sacrifices he has made either.

    Try actually going away- it doesn’t need to be far or expensive, but even a staycation in a different part of your city where it’s just the two of you. Make date nights a priority, once a week or once every other week, so you can just step back and be together. Being a parent doesn’t mean you can never date your spouse.

  20. Your daughter did nothing wrong. She didn’t kill your relationship, don’t blame a child.

    You made the choice to have a child. It’s between you and your husband to maintain your marriage, not your kids.

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  22. >but a slight oversight in IUD timing changed that forever.

    What slight oversight? Whose oversight?

    I’m thinking he didn’t want a baby yet and resents you for it.

    Either way your child is here and she shouldn’t grow up feeling unwanted. Talk to your husband and try and get to the bottom of it, suggest counselling as an option for you both. If he’s unreceptive to those then be blunt and say you don’t see a future together because his actions are making you feel he doesn’t want your daughter and if you are picking up on that then so is your daughter.

    Good luck OP.

  23. I think you need to reframe your phrasing of the problem. Your daughter didn’t do anything – she’s innocent. It sounds like your husband has trouble being a present parent – counseling may help.

  24. Couple therapy can help and also read The 5 love languages by Gary Chapman. I’m not in a relationship , maybe one day, but that book changed my whole perspective on marriage. He talks about almost everything. Please try it. I wish you all the best ❤️. The good thing is that he still wants to spend time with you, everything will eventually work out.

    EDIT: He talks about how to bring back that honeymoon phase back through the love language of your partner and yours especially after marriage and after having children.

  25. >I think my daughter killed my relationship with my husband

    What a horrible way to frame this. It seems like you both might have some resentment towards your daughter and you should both seek counseling.

  26. I don’t think he blames your daughter for what happened, I think he’s bitter that you decide to keep the pregnancy knowing that it would make things difficult.

    He never got to enjoy just being a married couple with you, it was marriage and straight to being a father before he was ready.

    Now you’re struggling and he hates it, which is completely valid.

    Also, YOUR daughter? Don’t you mean “ours”? She’s his kid too

  27. You daughter didn’t do anything. No point in pointing fingers at her.

    He sounds like a man who misses his wife and life.

    You admit he didn’t want children for a long long time. You messed up the contraception and seemingly very happy to be pregnant. He then had to move away from friends and I’m guessing his emotional support network, no longer works where he did and is now remote apart from 1 week a month. Income is down, due to job change and childcare, which also posses the question why did you move?

    While you got the baby, you have your family close by…

    He sounds depressed and unhappy about the whole thing, he asked for a holiday the two of you, you say no.

    Talk, get couples counselling or prepare to live unhappy/separate.

  28. >at what point do I decide he’s just not father material and move on?

    Uh?? It’s a bit too late for that isn’t it? He’s a father now. I think it’s pretty clear from your post that you’ve never even attempted to talk about this with him. Idk how that wasn’t your first step.

  29. If this sub had some continuity , 75 percent of the posters here would say she emotionally abusing him for making him sacrifice his life/work/friend’s and family for her.. (I don’t believe that by the way but highlighted for the sake of overt hypocrisy)

    That being said, OP…. Your husband is an equal part to your family.. it’s ok to find a baby sitter and spend at least one night every couple weeks together. You need to make it a priority to balance both marriage and parenting(he does aswell). There needs to be balance in life to be successful and happy.. truly happy. If one facet of the equation is unbalanced then it will overtake the others and lead to situations like this…doesn’t sound like counseling is needed but definitely sounds like communication need to be opened up between you and him (not a Reddit forum).
    In short make time for each other or you won’t need to after divorce.

  30. My husband had PPD. I didn’t even know it was a thing but he turned into a whole different person. He seemed selfish and distant but I could tell he was depressed and I knew he wasn’t cheating. The man still uses a flip phone, has no social media, and it couldn’t have happened at work. He also, despite how he was feeling, still always came home and was there albeit unhappy. Parenthood was just a shock to him. Not having as much attention even though I tried. He wasn’t a dick. He didn’t act like a child but I could just tell something was very wrong.

    If you can, arrange a weekend getaway or at least a staycation. You moved near family, I’m assuming so they could help and be near the baby. Take advantage of that. And this may sound like old school advice but I’ll take the down vote risk, make sure you’re still being his girlfriend. Be affectionate, compliment, sit on his lap, jump his bones in the shower out of nowhere. It’s all very doable with a baby and does wonders for your marriage. It seems like he may be missing YOU. I’m not suggesting taking time from your baby, or that you have been ignoring him, but he may just need a bit more.

  31. I don’t know if it’s already been said but you get plenty of warning on the IUD.. I’m sorry but this smacks of, OP wanting to get pregnant and doing so knowing hubby did not want a child yet. She stated “I always wanted to be a mother and though the timing was a bit earlier
    than expected, I was happy to be fulfilling this dream of mine. **”My**
    **husband also wanted kids, but much much later.”** I don’t think this is a simple thing to fix where hubby goes to therapy and is all better. the dynamics of what this marriage was supposed to be was changed on purpose and he knows and he can’t verbalize it because he will hurt the child in the end.

  32. Sounds like he’s feeling overwhelmed and trying to adjust to everything. As a father that’s had to adjust his life several times for his family, I can relate. If you have a job and taking care of a baby, he feels neglected and not a priority in your life. He probably feels some resentment and feeling trapped at this time. I’m sure he had lots of plans in his mind, that he now feels he can never accomplish. He needs more alone time with you and more positivity. Guys stress about money, work, and how to be the best partner, and now a father.
    You might think he’s being an asshole, but he’s really just trying to adjust to the situation. Praise him for being a good man…a good provider, and how much you appreciate him. Don’t leave a good man and make it %100 worse on him, right when he needs you the most. Your baby will thank you later.

  33. Your kid is 1 (and isn’t responsible for anything). Some people don’t like the baby stage, and you know your husband didn’t want a child right now. The fact that you’re thinking about dumping him or have decided he’s not father material because he’s unhappy right now really demonstrates what you think of him…and that you’re a problem here.

  34. Yikes, it sounds like you babytrapped him and moved him away from his support system. And now you wonder why he’s miserable? Parenting by itself is hard enough without losing your friends/family, having to change jobs etc. I think you should be reflecting more on yourself and how you could make him feel better about these changes. He has told you more than once that he needs one-on-one time with you, why haven’t you been prioritizing that?

  35. Since you admit you were irresponsible with your birth control and messed up, I’m guessing your husband may resent you because he feels baby trapped. You definitely need couples counseling.

  36. Sound like post partum depresion and not that your husband hates your daughter…you should go to coulceling for that and algo for couples counceling…thats never a bad idea to comunicate better

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