AIBU to think you can still stay together for the sake of the children and it work out(273 Posts)
we cant seem to live together anymore. things out of our control his depression and my lack of tolerance to live with it anymore. we have one child. 80% of the time we are just living as lodgers no arguments. every once in a while it kicks off but we both shield our son (either in school or asleep). therefore i feel it will be worse on him if we seperate as we can actually live with eachother. no physical contact, very little emotion, just going through the motions. i feel deep down we still do love each other but i feel trapped and stuck but because i can just get on with it (other than it flaring up once in a while as i'm sure other couples do) think its better for ds. he is my focus, my world, my reason for living. so aibu to think this arrangement is less damaging for him? he is 5 btw
If you think you're son doesn't know there's something wrong, you're probably mistaken. Kids are very clever and much more aware than we give them credit for.
If you want what's best for him, split up for real or fix your relationship.
Children can sense the tension in the home.
You should either end it or go to couple therapy and work to get the relationship back on track.
As a child of parents who tired 'staying together for the kids'...No. It won't work. Your child can sense that you are both unhappy, and you are raising him with a very skewed sense of what a relationship should be that he will carry into adulthood. Plus - why would you put yourself through being miserable for the next what? 16 years?
Children are resilient, if you can split and remain civil in regards to your child/contact etc, all involved will be much happier.
I tried to do what you are doing for a few years. Eventually, he left me for an OW last summer.
I don't think what you're doing will work longterm. Do you really want to have similar regrets and waste as much time as I have done? Why 'settle'?
Could you take some time alone to think about what you want from life and how you could make it happen?
So for the next 11 years you want to live without, any adult affection a kiss on the cheek, a hand hold or a hug. No interesting adult conversation. No one to listen to your hopes and fears for the future. Unable to offload your work stress. No love.
Well your a braver woman than I.
You only have one life to be happy.
I did this for a while. It was hell on both myself and ex. We had nothing left to talk about, time spent together was him watching TV on one sofa, me on the computer on another. Weekends stretched out longer and longer. A day at work became a joy - which then affected my son as all weekend I was living for the Monday just so I could be out of the house and interact with someone.
In the end, it came down to a friend pointing out that, even if our behaviour wasn't having a noticeable impact upon DS at that time, that we were demonstrating a very unhealthy relationship to him, and that it could have repercussions through his adult life.
thanks for the replies. mimsy thats exactly how weekends are. other than the no affection we sometimes hug if i pester him enough but both very affecionate to ds we dont talk bad of one another to him. dont think i could cope with him crying for his daddy is we did split. i am prepared to live like this (all i've know for last 5 yrs) for his sake.
My parents did this. It was shit and affected me and db mentally, even 20yrs after leaving home. I don't have the heart to tell them it was the wrong decision, so I'll tell you instead.
oh lord i figured you'd all say this. fuck! anyone that do it with young kids how did they cope?
How do you think it benefits your child to model a loveless, affectionless relationship for him? Is that what you want him to perceive as the model for a normal home?
Try thinking about it from that perspective instead of the one of him crying for his daddy.
Is his depression related to or exacerbated by the state of your relationship? He's not likely to improve much living as part of a sexless, affectionless couple. Suppose you split up and he massively improved and was able to be a far more beneficial role model for your ds?
What about you and your needs? It's wonderful that you love your son and put him first but he can't be your whole world, it's not healthy for your or him and could be a massive guilt-trip for him in later life, feeling that you sacrificed your life for him.
You say for his sake but it's not doing him any favours believe me! You would be doing the complete wrong thing, not speaking bad of someone is not a loving relationship. You say for his sake - would you lime him to grow up to treat women the way he sees you and his father? No emotional connection etc... Because this is what you are showing him is normal.
Your resentment towards each other will grow the longer this goes on, and your son will not thank you for it.
do you not think your son senses mum and dad dont like each other dont interact or have fun with each other, I am not sure if this is a blip in your marraige and you can sort it or not but dont kid yourself your son doesn't know something isn't right, I dont mean to sound harsh I really dont but having lived in a house like yours for years it is horrible,
Yes, but you're not helping your son - you are showing him an unrealistic, cold, unhappy relationship as his blueprint for his relationships in the future. I have 2 separate adult friends whose parents thought this was a good idea - my friends have no idea what constitutes a healthy relationship and neither of them think well of their parents decision.
I did that and in hindsight really wished I hadn't. It didn't work. I was resentful and frustrated and gradually respected ex-h less and less (he wasn't depressed, he was just a pita). My dd says she noticed that we never kissed each other goodnight like her friends dp's and knew that I, in particular, was very unhappy and was always preparing herself for impending divorce. It's no environment for a child to grow up in imo and in and I wished I'd had the courage to go it alone for her sake and mine. I look back on all those unhappy years and think 'what a waste." It makes me v sad to think about it. And it's definitely had an effect on dd's relationships with men.
every relationship can have bumps in them My own marriage was a bit rocky for a year or 2 but you have to work at it not talking to each other and being like lodgers must be really tense,
he had depression very bad both on meds due to it. things fine before hand. thats what makes everything worse .. wish he would give me a black eye or have an affair so i have a valid reason instead of being a heartless bitch. he wouldnt cope without me. but the years are flying by and ds getting older. dont apologise anyone for being harsh i need to hear these things. we still do fun things together and put on the front for ds and some of it is genuine as i still do love him so much. anyways may put on some tea but will be back. thank you so much for the replies. have no one in RL to talk about this.
If the depression is the main cause of the problems why not get proper (doctor, counsellor) help to address the depression and help him to get better? If you want to stay together anyway, then everything you do to help him helps you too. But if you have already tried all of this and it hasn't worked......
I had a friend at school whose parents stayed together 'for the sake of the kids'. I remember her saying she wished they would just split up.
I have another friend whose parents lived together but had separate lives. She knew that as soon as she moved out they would split up. Why would you put that pressure onto your own child?
Please don't think he won't know, he will and he won't thankyou for it. Have you thought about getting counselling, or help for your H's depression? How about Relate? Have you tried any of this?
It's very common for people to feel that their partner wouldn't cope without them, especially if the partner is depressed and gone into that 'learned helplessness' trap. Following that logic you would never be able to split, even when your ds has left, in case he couldn't cope without you. What hope does that leave either of you?
The good thing is that you are not at each other's throats so you can discuss what to do rationally.
I bet if you had a trial separation you (and he) would be amazed at how well he responds to having a sense of independence and hope for the future without being bogged down in guilt and regret.
I posted this nearly two years ago. Nothing has changed. Everything still works and no-one has a clue. I'll leave you to decide whether you think it is a good idea or not:
I have name changed. I do not want what I am about to say associated with my regular name.
I am unhappily married. Desperately unhappy.
DH has NO idea. DD & DSD have NO idea.
I smile, I play, I say I Love you, I have sex (and pretend to enjoy it). I ensure that DD sees me cuddle her father at least once a week. I say things like "you should ask dad about that, he's really good at that sort of thing" to DSD, even though I dont believe what I am saying. Those girls have no reason to believe that I am not totally and happily in love with their father.
I decided to do this. I decided that their happiness was more important than my own, and I want them to believe that we are in a happy marriage. I do not want DD to see us divorce, I do not want DSD to have to go through it again.
2 years ago my marriage almost broke up. It was horrible. DH was awful, violent, threatening and abusive during that period. DD saw it and it really affected her. I decided then and there to stop arguing, to stop trying to get away. DH believes we worked through our problems and we do not have them any more. NO, I just decided to stop letting our problems bother me. Now I do not care what he does.
DH believes I am happy. I am not. I let him get away with anything he wants, and I smile about it. I will never divorce him, but in reality it would be easier if he died.
I may have resigned myself to this life for the next 50 years - but it is a choice I have made for the children and I am happy with my choice.
That is the saddest thing I have ever read, changenamer.
That sounds awful changenamer.
Especially after your DD witnessing violence and abuse, I dont quite know how you can justify making that choice 'for the children'
OP all you will be doing is showing your son a really horrible example of what marriage/relationships are about.
I think you all deserve more than that.
I am a child of divorced parents and I can assure you after their split was much better than while in the 'making a go of it' stage.
Don't stay with your DH out of any guilty feelings regarding his mental health either.
changenamer you're making yourself a prisoner in your own marriage. You only get one life.
OP I recall reading about a study that showed most of the 'damage' to kids whose parents were divorced stems from the marriage before the split, not after. You will all be better off in the longer term with an amicable break up IMO.
Your ds can still see his dad, daily at first if necessary - he may not 'cry for his dad' and may actually be better off living without the tense atmosphere - unless of course you can make your relationship better/make it work
Jeez, I am lost for words, changenamer, that is so sad. You say you are happy with your choice but I don't believe you are really. Please believe you don't have to do this.
Having said that, I am in a similar(ish) position. DH had an affair last year. We are supposed to be working through it. The reality is that we are getting nowhere. But I'm still playing the game.
fluckered - this is a 'do as I say, not as I do' post but please consider getting out soon. Your DS is young, and it will be hard, but he will cope. Probably more easily now than later.
If you're really happy, namechanger, why name change? Why not stand up and say 'this is me and this is my life'?
namechanger i feel for you. i dont think things are as bad for me. dp isnt violent towards me never has. he hasnt done anything wrong as such. thats what makes it harder. have tried all the counselling things and he is improving slowly but surely. but i feel immense damage has been done while i'm living with him through this. i get so upset and frustrated and anxiety through the roof in bed alone at night i want to break something let it out. have cut myself once never did it again. its just bottled up. sometimes we talk and its fine and i realise how much i love him and things will get better. other times i feel the opposite and resent him and feel trapped. he is a different man to what i met due to depression but perhaps its me being an intolernat bitch and should cut him more slack. i just wish someone could tell me what to do.
We can't tell you what to do but we can listen and help. Perhaps the age old MN advice of getting some space would help you? You don't have to decide to leave permanently/divorce but could you spend some time apart whilst he works out his problems? Perhaps if you wren't together all the time you could help him more?
BTW you are not an intolerant bitch
Because I don't want to Tee. I am happy posting here, regularly, under my 'own' name. I don't post about my relationship at all so I'm not lying to anyone, I just don't want people 'knowing' me and feeling sorry for me. Well, obviously aMNHQ can see through the name change, but I can't do anything about that!
Please don't feel sorry for me anyone. I am at peace with my decision and its actually quite easy. I wobble every so often, but generally it doesn't affect me and it certainly doesn't affect the girls - they have NO idea. Oh and my girls didn't see any violence previously, they did hear the nastiness and arguments, but believe we resolved our issues.
What I would say to the OP though is that my life is very different to hers - my DH thinks everything is fine between us, hers knows it isn't. My secret is mine alone and it is easier that way.
I'm good though, promise, don't worry
That was a wee bit unfair tee people can namechange and say things if they like, an dhave a bit of privacy
Both the OPs and namechanger's situation sound so incredibly hard. Personally I couldn't stay together for "the sake of Dd". That's not to say I wouldn't try very hard. I would definitely try counselling since I know that all relationships can get rocky at times and all kinds of things (illness, work stress, children etc) and sometimes you can have really angry, resentful feelings towards your partner for a while and then, once the situation has passed, or been resolved you feel TOTALLY different. Is he getting help? Are you getting help to deal with your feelings? That would be my first port of call. You are not an intolerant bitch AT ALL and you are NBU to be considering splitting up. You sound like very loving parents, that wont change because you're not together.
fluckered, if you are going to do this, you need to give careful thought to what you are going to tell your ds
it will be a horrible thing for him if he grows up believing that his mum and dad are a loving couple like any other and then finds out, maybe when he is going through puberty, that you have just been pretending
this happened to a couple of people I know and it affected their ability to trust a partner for life: after all, if your own parents could lie about love, why should you trust anybody?
one of them has never had a stable relationship; they have always broken up over trust issues
another case is affecting a friend of dc who is now in his teens: he had no idea his parents' relationship was a sham since he was a baby, so blames himself for their breaking up; everybody else around them knows the truth and one day he is going to find out how too
I am not saying relationships cannot be based on friendship or mutual respect
but if you lie to dc and pretend it is love when it isn't, then they won't know what love looks like and may make some dreadful choices when their own time comes
as for staying in a relationship and pretending you are in love after your dd has witnessed abuse, ChangeNamer, what you are saying to her is: "These are the choices a woman should be making, this is how I would like you to choose." And is it?
You do need to BOTH realise that things are not right though and BOTH want to resolve them.
I do get what you're saying changenamer because, to a lesser extent' I am saying the same thing. I have made a choice and I am living with it. I strongly believe, though, that it is not the right choice for everyone.
fluckered - if you could truly say you were happy with what you are doing - fine. But if you are so unhappy and frustrated that you are even thinking of cutting yourself, I don't think you are in the right place. And you won't be doing your DS any favours at all.
My parents are still together though my younger sister is still at home so maybe they are like namechanger and her husband and my mum muddles through they seem happy , there was domestic violence for a few years well a lot of years That stopped in my teens , perhaps people just muddle through marriage
fluckured children are very perceptive and I don't think you can shield your DS from your unhappiness. If you do still love him, I think that you should have some marital counselling to see if you can work through the problems. If you can't work through the problems best to go your separate ways and hopefully you will both find other loving relationships.
FWIW my DH's aunt and uncle did this - stayed together for their DC.... sadly DH's cousin so disturbed he committed suicide aged 25.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
ach wrong thread sorry will get it removed
Oh dear, this is why I name change Tee
Once again, the girls have NEVER seen any violence. Neither of them think that anything is wrong, so they won't necessarily make the choices I have made. Honestly, they believe ours is a good relationship.
Sorry OP for hijacking. I thought my experience might be helpful is all, for you to see it can be done. But it is your choice of course.
She may not have witnessed actual physical violence but she did witness abuse yes?
You did say it affected her badly?
I think whether "staying together for the sake of the kids" is a good idea depends on your relationship.
I think if it's like changenamer's breaking up might be a better option. Sounds like you kind of know that too, changenamer ? Your happiness is as important as anyone else's you know ?
If things are more like in OP's relationship I think it's a harder call.
I guess my philosophy is that my happiness is as important, but not more important, than everyone else in the family. My DC's are now pre-teens - for now I'm focusing on getting through the teenage years - and yes, as happily as possible for everyone. Then I'll re-evaluate I think. We might very well stay together beyond that, into our twilight years, but I can't think that far ahead ATM !
DH was awful, violent, threatening and abusive during that period. DD saw it and it really affected her
How can you say she has no idea? or that she thinks yours is a happy relationship? showing her that a so called happy relationship includes the above is really bad.
I do feel for you and don't mean to 'get at you' but I think you are fooling yourself.
OP, everything you write was my life, a month ago. Absolutely everything. I'd been biting my tongue for years, not saying how desperately unhappy I was in our marriage (because once you say something, it can't be unsaid), keeping it together and burying my own wants and needs for the sake of DH's mental health and for the sake of 'keeping the family together for DS'. Who is also 5, just like your son.
A month ago, I finally found the courage to say to DH (after another stupid bicker) that this is no way to live, that it wasn't working. His reaction - that he entirely agreed, but similarly lacked courage to say so - staggered me.
The last month has been bloody difficult, I can't deny it, as we start to unpick things and work out who goes where and when - but because there was fundamentally nothing 'wrong' (i.e. abuse, being at each other's throats etc. - though there sure as hell wasn't anything right either) we've been able to go about it with much the same atmosphere in the house. We haven't actually told DS in black and white yet, but we've started to prepare him by talking about a 'boys only' flat and suchlike. He is coping well and clearly knows something is afoot, but we can pave the way together and actually tell him when the time is right (extremely soon, I think). Here, the fact that you and your DH are not constantly rowing in front of him will be your biggest strength.
I looked at my life and knew that I owed it to myself to make the decision to separate sooner rather than later. I owe it to our son, to raise him as best we can apart, but know that we're no longer skewing his perception of what a healthy adult partnership should be. And I owe it to my husband, who can't give me what I need, nor I him. That's no way to live. It really isn't. Everything pp's have said rings so very true to me, being in the midst of it as I am. Yes, it's bloody hard and we certainly have our moments, but I still don't regret it for an instant. We're a long time dead, love.
That is very sad NameChanger. It seems like such a waste of your life and your potential.
How would you feel if when they were 25 they admitted to you that they always knew you weren't happily married? I think that is quite likely to happen.
My DM used to lie in bed and listen to her parents (my gps, now both dead, they stayed together til the bitter end) being forcedly polite to each other or shouting at each other. She used to pray they would get divorced, and this was in the 50s when it was not the done thing and she would have been bullied at school.
FWIW that fact you can't tolerate his depression anymore doesn't help him you know. Leaving your needs out of it for the moment, if you leave, you give him the opportunity to a) get help and b) meet someone who can deal. You are not the only woman in the world. I know that sounds harsh and I don't mean to be, but you are not the only one who can 'save' him. You are not seeing the wood for the trees.
Changenamer , just . And I'm not sure the right decision. You are telling DD that if she marries badly she should also stay in it. Are you sure that's a good thing? Sounds like you're just pushing the misery into the next generation.
Actually, the way your post is written sounds like you know it's not ok and your subconscious is quietly screaming.
Have just read your further posts fluckered and it doesn't sound like you're in a good place either.
Something someone posted seemed very helpful on another thread ... just simply that if you're not happy you can leave you know - there doesn't have to be another reason or other justification.
I probably think more people should split up than do really. I'm not really sure I believe in the institution of marriage any more - I feel like I got married because I wanted to have kids and that's what you do. I'm a bit jaded by life I think.
we're a long time dead
Oh and once my DM raised it with my GM and GM was astonished she has realised anything. Kids are acutely sensitive... Just to state the obvious.
Though I will add that DM was the oldest of 5 - 2 are married happily (DM being one of them), one is very unhappy, one is divorced, and one was happily married until her DH developed a debilitating condition and now feels very, very trapped. She won't ever leave either.
Please don't. Even if you don't argue it can be heartbreaking for a child to see 2 people they love so cold and unemotional with each other.
My parents stayed together for us (me and brother). It was hell. The worst bits were not the arguments but the coldness and simmering resentment.
Also, the reality is probably that you won't manage another 13 years like this but that one of you will meet someone else. Better to end it before it gets to lies and cheating.
ChangeNamer101 Tue 26-Feb-13 18:42:46
"Once again, the girls have NEVER seen any violence. Neither of them think that anything is wrong, so they won't necessarily make the choices I have made. Honestly, they believe ours is a good relationship."
Isn't that precisely the problem: they see something that is not love and are told that this is what love looks like. It's as if you were eating cardboard or some other non-food stuff and pretending this is what good food looks like.
can't be long now, but situation is very close to mine, which i considered starting a thread about, but was too worried what you would all say. hopefully will be back later after toddler bedtime.
Amber, DD was 3 and all she remembers is "That time I had to stop two grown ups shouting at each other mum" she says that with a grin. She has seen friends parents split and says she is glad we aren't like that. She tells her friends that "mum and dad never argue"
I remember the nightmares and the clinginess, but she doesn't. I know it was affecting her back then, so i made the decision for it to stop. She didn't understand a lot of the things she heard, if it happened now she would - so it doesn't happen now. DH and I never even have cross words now, I let things go, I don't care what he does, I ignore a lot.
She sees nothing but the good from me. It's hard to explain, but we are a very good team me and her. It's us against the world
I don't need to be happy. DD and DSD are what is important. As long as they are happy then I am. I don't need DH, don't rely on him and therefore I'm not let down by him. I live for DD - she makes me happy and that is all I need.
I get what you're saying changenamer and i can see that it's not like he's throwing you down the stairs every night, but that's a lot of pressure for a little girl - to be the one who makes you happy when DH doesn't.
fluckered. Your DHs depression seems to be at the heart of things.
I assume he has been to the GP about it? Have you or him any idea why he might have it?
ChangeNamer101. Can I gently ask if you have depression? Dont answer if you dont want to. I was just thinking that I would have thought that all the emotional suppression might have some reprecussions in some way or other.
...Then again as my PP proves, an unhappy marriage doesn't neccessarily mean that the children of the marriage will be unhappy. Oh, what do I know?
other than your post worries me for some reason
Anyone who thinks this is just plain wrong.
How desperately , heartbreakingly sad. How can someone think so little of themselves?
What happens when the children leave home and there's just the two of you?
Someone upthread said you only get one life. So very true.
It pains me to say this, but I have never forgiven my mother for doing this (staying together with my father). She always says I was protected, I didn't know what was going on. But eventually they did split up, and when I found out the truth, it made a lie of my childhood. I can barely remember most of my childhood, but I remember the agony of finding out my parents weren't who I thought they were. Even now I have a forced relationship with my mother, we play the exact same game that she played with my father, pretending that everything is ok, when in fact I can't stand her to hug me. I hate that she made me her ally rather than be my mother, and do what would have been best for all of us, she congratulates herself for her sacrifice, but it seems utterly selfish to me.
I get what you are saying changenamer, but don't underestimate how it will shape your DDs view of relationships.
Isn't that precisely the problem: they see something that is not love and are told that this is what love looks like
The above by cory is spot on.
This situation is happening to a family member of mine. They won't split mainly because her parents believe in staying together at all costs. The whole family are miserable, the children are definitely affected. It is heartbreaking to watch.
What everyone else has said but really.have you thought about what will happen when your children leave home and there you are, alone with someone you can't bear - has this honestly not occurred to you?
Even if your children don't realise now, they will. It dawned on me at 11. My parents are still married, 20 years on. I am still resentful I had to watch that growing up, though I am thankful that, after a few false starts in relationships when I believed it was normal to argue constantly/have nothing in common, I am now in a healthy relationship
What wasted lives. I feel sorry for anyone doing this to themselves.
This isn't how a relationship is suppose to be. What are you teaching your children? That it's better to be in a relationship and unhappy than be out of it and be happy?
That really makes me sick. I can't read this any more.
I hope both the OP and ChangeNamer or what her name is get some help. You both sorely need it.
Amillionyears, no I've never had depression. I'm generally quite an upbeat person. I think I was probably heading into it when DH and I initially had our problems but stepping back and letting go helped. If I don't care what he does I don't need to be unhappy. Thank you for asking though.
Don't worry about me or DD panpiper, thank you but really don't
Ada, When DD is gone DH will be happy in his bottle, I'll have other interests (I do now) and I won't actually have to spend much time with him.
Your post makes it sound like you take pride in martyring yourself for your child.
I am baffled as to what awful awful thing will happen to their children if split up. Life will go on, they will still have two loving parents. Why on earth would anyone sacrifice their own happiness in this one short life we have, just to protect their children from something that really isn't a big deal?
My parents divorced when I was 15,not pleasantly and out of the blue. But it wasn't the actual split that was awful, it was my dad's behaviour afterwards. In splits where both parent behave sensibly and with their children's best interests at heart, the children generally report it wasn't a problem for them.
I consider my and DH's happiness to be just as important as my DDs'. In A family, everyone has to compromise on something so everyone gets the best out of life. That is only right and healthy.
Sorry to be blunt but I find that almost unbearably grim, quite horrific in fact. I think I'll follow Tee's lead.
I'm a child of two divorces - 4 when my biological parents parted; 21 when my stepfather left my mum for another woman.
Please believe me: it is a) easier on the kids the earlier in life you do it and b) life is much nicer with two happy parents who happen to be divorced than two utterly miserable parents who are staying together for your "sake". At that point you are as good as placing responsibility for your own happiness on your children and it is so frigging unfair.
Changenamer I think trubbanot could be your dd 20 years from now.
You'll either waste your life away being very miserable or eventually decide to break free and your dd will find out her childhood was a lie. Look at the amount of people on this thread who have lived it, how can you say it's for the best?
Just because you don't show upset doesn't mean your relationship is good for them. You say you just ignore what he does now, so they still see a father who does what he likes while mummy just takes it. Still not a good example on how to be a strong independent woman whichever way you look at it.
Amber, Tee and others worrying about my DD, I refer to my first post:
I smile, I play, I say I Love you, I have sex (and pretend to enjoy it). I ensure that DD sees me cuddle her father at least once a week. I say things like "you should ask dad about that, he's really good at that sort of thing" to DSD, even though I dont believe what I am saying. Those girls have no reason to believe that I am not totally and happily in love with their father
I'm a good actress. They see love. I wouldn't want my life for my kids and I won't let it happen.
I would worry more about the day when the children found out that you have told them a lie. I have seen the fall-out of this and it has left incredibly unhappy and angry children. Where is the point of making your dd happy now if it is going to make her doubly unhappy later in life? Do you think you will care less about her when she is older? Or that her capacity for suffering will be any less?
Changenamer, why not get a divorce though?
What is soo awful about a divorce that makes it so much worse than your current existence?
Sorry, missed a few words in my first sentence.
I am baffled as to what awful awful thing people think will happen to their children if they split up.
They will never find out. Never.
I will not divorce. DH will stand a good chance of becoming resident parent. Not because he will want to, but because he knows it will hurt me. I could not live with that and will not take the chance.
I'm a good actress. They see love. I wouldn't want my life for my kids and I won't let it happen
That isn't love though.
Your DD is so much more likely to end up in an unhappy shitty relationship through growing up with your example of 'happy' or 'good'
Sorry but you are damaging her already.
"I'm a good actress. They see love. I wouldn't want my life for my kids and I won't let it happen."
And how will you prevent it happening if you allow them to be taken in by good acting? Isn't that setting them up to be deceived by somebody else?
And what will you do if they find out at a vulnerable age that what their mother was was not a truthful person but a good actress? Will they feel the same towards you afterwards?
(Remember even if you swear never to let the truth out, you can't be sure your dh won't one day.)
As soon as your son is old enough to go out into the world - and I'm talking 7, 8 years of age here; not 18 - he will see other, happy families and how they interact with each other, and realise like never before that it's not right at home.
And ever after you will be modelling the wrong sort of way to have a relationship for him. If you think you're doing him a favour by sticking it out, you're mistaken.
Split up now - short-term pain for long-term gain. The bigger picture, and all that. Figure out where your deepest loyalties and obligations lie - are they with your grown adult DH, or your son?
You're making excuses.
Is it about saving face?
Were people opposed to your marriage?
I'm following tee now I don't think I could stay rational if I continue on here.
Btw change your Dh must be loving his life, your basically one of those stepford robot wives and he can just walk all over you without any repercussions.
Plus he's won hasn't he? He was violent to you and you just backed down and "fixed" the relationship by doing whatever he wants.
I hope one day soon you'll realise that your still in an abusive relationship and deserve better
Could you tell us please, changenamer, what is so bad about divorce that you will sacrifice your entire life to avoid it? What terrible thing do you fear will happen to them? If you don't want your life for your children, lead by example, not by lies, by living the life you want them to have.
I'm go to go against the grain here. My folks have been married for nearly 49 years and know plenty of people who did this and it worked to the point where their kids truly had no idea.
Nobody's that good an actress.
When your children go into their friends' homes and see actual happy, easy, loving families at work, they'll gradually realise what a sham is going on at home.
You need to give your children credit for some intelligence, perception and insight.
ChangeNamer101, genuine question, are you really planning on staying with your DH forever? I didn't realise that. I thought you had made a plan to stay till your Dd and Dsd were older. Not judging you, it's none of my business but I worry that you say that you don't "need" to be happy. What....never?
changenamer, I really hope your dd does not end up like me. I am a fuck up, honestly, I am like gritted teeth or a permanent headache, because I have learnt from a master the art of lying through my teeth. But my mother knows, she must know as I did that it's all as fake as the marriage you describe. Living in the shadow of a martyr mother is not a great way to learn how to be.
I really hope you can find some honesty in your life, which will make for happier lives for all of you.
Bowing out now.
I don't understand what you're saying, expat - are your parents happy or not? If you think they're not, then how can you say you had/have no idea?
I get the impression that ChangeNamer101 is a very good actress.
I dont think I could fake anything for even one evening.
It would also make me have a very tense stomach.
I dont know what to say ChangeNamer. Does anyone know in rl?
expat, if your folks knew about it and were able to tell you, surely there is a good chance the children suspected too?
Splitting up is really painful and stressful for everyone involved but I just cannot imagine what sort of conversations you will have with your Dd and Dsd when you and they are older. When you tell them that you were never happy, only stayed for them, did not think that your happiness was important. Would you want them to behave like this in their future relationships?
I guess I am coming from the other side of this. I am one of 5 children and my dad had an affair when I was 14. My dad sat me and my elder sister down and told us that he was staying with mum because he couldn't afford not to because financially, with 5 children he couldn't leave.
And I am glad that he stayed. Dad got a job 100 miles away. He worked away through the week and came home at weekends. They are both retired from their old jobs and have starter a business together. They bicker constantly but do completely support each other.
Who's to know whether they would have been happier apart?
My dsis had an affair 5 years ago and left her husband for the guy. Her dd now has very little contact with her dad. He has a second family that she doesn't get on with and has no father figure. My dsis is in a rubbish relationship and wishes that the hadn't left her husband. Her dd has missed out on so much.
Things aren't always great with Dh but like you, we have vowed to stay together for dd no matter what. Neither of us could bear to be away from dd and neither of us would take the other away from her. But then, I think Dh and I really do love each other and will get through this...
Testing namechange ... post to follow
I have recently discovered that a mum I know hates her H with a passion. They've been together for nearly 15 years and from the outside, no one would know. They have 2 DDs, the younger one is only 5 - and they still do family outings and holidays, so the children don't know. BUT - she is on something akin to Valium to help her refrain from killing her H.
The children don't know. No one that she doesn't tell knows. To all intents and purposes, it's a great family - but there's this deep dark secret that she holds within herself. I don't know whether or not her H knows, probably not.
Sounds a lot like changenamer (but isn't her).
As the child of divorced parents, I see a lot of crap in the press about how getting divorced is always damaging for children.
OK, it was not ideal - I have had some unhappy times. No, I am not a perfect person but then I don't expect I would have been anyway. I have had some periods of (not very serious) depression and panic attacks, like 25% of the population.
But I am fine. I did well in education, I have a good job, I'm in a good relationship, like pretty much all my friends with divorced parents.
My stepmother gets on my nerves often - such is life. I like my stepfather a lot. I have a good relationship with both my parents.
Would it have been worth my parents putting up with a marriage which I can now see was patently not viable for my life to have been about 10% more pleasant? Not really. Bit of a waste of time, if you ask me.
Some friends of my parents impliedly criticised my parents for getting a divorce and have stuck out their marriage 'for the children' and now seem slightly disappointed that I am not a car crash of a person, but am in fact doing just as well as their children. And my parents are happy with their new spouses.
I think the biggest risk is that your DH will eventually realise that he is living with a faker. He would have to be pretty emotionally dense not to realise. He may feel unloved/rejected but not know why because on the surface everything is normal. Perfect conditions for him to go off with someone else.
Why would he stand to become resident parent namechanger101?
Thumbwitch they may not 'know' but do you imagine that is a nice environment for those children?
It really isn't.
Katniss, I think what you are describing is something totally different: a couple who love each other and are prepared to work through difficulties are not the same as a couple who are just "good actors".
The point Cherries brings up is important: sooner or later, children, not least daughters, will come to an age where you have in-depth conversations about emotional matters and they ask questions; it is part of growing up.
I see nothing wrong or harmful in looking a 16yo in the eye and say we had great difficulties but managed to work through them. But as for saying "oh it was just an act"- I can't even begin to imagine how harmful that would be to a young person. And as for looking a 16yo in the eye and lying to them...
My two cents - my parents did this. Of course we were aware of their misery. But more importantly - it is terrible for a child's long-term self-esteem to be told that two people made themselves horrendously unhappy "because of YOU", "for YOUR sake". I was 35 before I finally accepted that I was NOT responsible for my parents unhappiness - they chose to be unhappy. I spent most of my life feeling guilty and thinking how happy they could be if only I did not exist.
Moreover, I remember being 28 and asking a married male colleague about his mistress. He had no mistress; I just assumed he had when he talked about the woman he loved. It had genuinely never occurred to me that a man might be in love with the woman he married.
Sorry to make this all about me, but just want you to be aware of some possible long-term implications.
Finally - you deserve more than this! It's not exclusively about your children; you are important and entitled to be happy too. Being a mother is only one aspect of your identity. Just saying.
Oh God, I really wasn't expecting the third degree here and I am very conscious that we have hijacked the OPs thread, I'm sorry OP.
DH believes we worked through our problems and we are now happy. He is happy. Most of our problems were a result of his drinking and subsequent paranoia. He is a 'functioning alcoholic'. His drinking is controlled around the girls and I don't give him any reason to fuel the paranoia.
I won't rock the boat unless the girls start to be affected. If DH did something that upset the balance I would act. Whilst the girls are clueless I am content.
I don't have an awful life, far from it, just a marriage that for me at least is unhappy. I am not hurting anyone but myself.
I am sorry that I seem to be making other posters angry. It was not my intention. I cannot make you believe me, but please consider that I am the one living this and know how it works.
I feel protective of you ChangeNamer101.
I imagine that speaking on here, even with a name change, must be hard for you.
Would I do it no. I would seperate. Dont know how it would work childwise, if you seperated.
Ducks, on paper he is a SAHD and primary caregiver. In reality he is unemployed with a school age child and wife that works. I still do everything at home, but I am not at home. He would twist it.
If he is an alcoholic then surely he wouldnt get the children?
Im not angry, Im very sad for you.
changenamer I know feel like you don't need it, but I am sending you a large squashy hug.
It is your life, of course.
but please get the fuck out the moment the kids are old enough
Temp exactly - that was some of the pressure my mum felt. She was also the eldest so she felt very exposed and responsible. Fortunately mum is a very tough cookie and is a very well-rounded person but two other of my aunts are very fragile.
Yes sorry for the highjack OP, but I think it is a useful one tbh.
You really are fooling yourself, I hope you realise that before any more damage is done to your DD.
X posted. Im still confused as to why he would get the children.
Do the courts favour the parent who doesnt work and stays at home then?
An alcoholic wouldn't get residency.
Sorry, I said I was bowing out.
I am the one living this and know how it works. You are not the only one living this, your daughters are too, these are their lives, and they are based on lies.
It really chills me reading your posts.*Whilst the girls are clueless I am content* Actually makes my stomach lurch, I can imagine my mother congratulating herself with the same platitude.
Your husband is an alcoholic (so was my father), I can't see how you can keep this lie going.
It's your life Changenamer obviously but when you say you are "desperately unhappy" and that it would be easier if you husband died people are going to feel worried for you. That is no way to live, I don't care what you say.
I remember your original post Chanenamer, it has always stayed with me as I am in a similar situation. I'm sorry if you feel got at, I think you are have been very brave to admit your situation - anything to do with staying for the kids is always very unpopular on MN.
FWIW I understand where you are coming from. And while it doesn't make comfortable reading for others and is clearly not an ideal situation, I genuinely believe that sometimes it can be the lesser of two evils. Only you know your DH, DD and DSD and so only you really know if that is the case here and it is not for others to judge.
The one thing i know from experience is that one of the hardest things is going through it alone so I hope you have good support in real life. If you ever need to 'chat' feel free to PM me. I wish you and your DD much love and happiness for the future.
I don't think anyone has "got at" changenamer, just expressed concern for the long term damage her choice will do to both her and her children. It seems to me that the only one winning in that situation is her husband, who gets sex, a clean house, the bills paid, and doesn't even have to work, either inside or outside the home. We're keeping on at you out of genuine concern for you and your children. You deserve better. They deserve better. Your lazy abusive husband doesn't.
Thankyou isitjustmethen, I am feeling rather 'got at' and will pop off soon. I had different replies 2 years ago, but then I suppose I didn't explain quite so much. I don't really have real life support, but I know my life could be a lot worse and that comforts me.
Trub, Amber, Duck, My husband is a 'functioning' alcoholic. The girls do not see it. He drinks from early evening and goes to bed, drunk, shortly after DD. I see the wobbling and hear the slurred words but DD doesn't. DSD probably does, but would assume it is a weekend thing rather than every day. I don't drink at all now, DH has put me off.
I would think that the courts would favour the person who has always been the primary caregiver and on paper that is DH. I don't know how I would get the court to believe DH is an alcoholic if he said he wasn't? Where is the proof?
In any case, even if I was to get residency, DD would still have to go to him, and he would be drunk. I won't risk that. She has never been alone with him on an evening.
When DD gets a bit older and stays up later, how will you shield him from her ?
Install him in the shed ?
Truthfully AF I do not know, I hadn't thought of that. I will need to reevaluate then. He is not a horrible drunk though, just a snoring,sleeping idiot that talks shite. I prefer it when he goes to bed.
I wasn't suggesting that posters were having a go Annie but that it may feel like that to ChangeNamer
ChangeNamer - I choose not to talk about my own situation in real life as I don't want to worry people or have them feel sorry for me, especially as relationship aside i am very happy with my life. I'm always here if you want to offload, I really mean that x
I don't believe he would get residency truely.
I wouldn't send my child to stay with a drunk either, they just wouldn't go. I would hope that that would make him seek help for his alcoholism. I would certainly present that to court if he went down that route.
If it didn't then it would be sad, but Id rather have my child miss out on a relationship with their father than be around one who was an alcoholic to the point of not being able to care for her [if that is the case]
Women leave abusive shitty marriages all the time, it isn't easy but nothing is as bad as living like that.
but I know my life could be a lot worse and that comforts me
Your life could also be a lot better too.
It sounds horribly hard, ChangeNamer, and you must be exhausted. I am sorry you felt got at; I think a lot of us who went talked about the effect on the children have older children ourselves and know how quickly they change and how they become vulnerable in a totally different way.
Yes Im sorry too that you feel got at, I dont know you from adam, but I dont like to think of anyone living a perfectly avoidable horrible life.
I also think as an adult you are entitled to make the choice to stay, but as a parent IMO you cant act selfishly, you cant choose this life for your DD, or at least you shouldnt.
I would feel incrediably guilty if my parents stay in an unhappy marriage for me.
Changenamer that is such a sad post
Please reconsider. You deserve better. Anyone deserves better.
My parents split for 10 months, and divorce loomed. In the end though, they stayed together, mainly for convenience and because I was only 13.
They played their parts very well. Went out for dinner regularly. Went on holidays. Socialised with friends. Went for walks together and held hands. I never heard a cross word between them. They listened very politely to each other, asked polite questions, sent Valentine cards...
Didn't make any difference - I knew there was an emptiness between them, and that it was all false. Even at 13, I knew that - and I think I would have known it even if I'd been years younger, too.
It made me feel so sad inside, and quite desperate - because I couldn't possibly, possibly let on that I knew it was all wrong between them. How could I? It obviously meant so much to them, that I believed it was all okay - because they were doing it for me.
The guilt I felt, and the frustration were enormous. I hated the hidden agendas, and the play acting - even at 13, I knew it was so wrong.
Wow, I mentioned earlier that the Op's situation was similar to mine, but the thread has moved on a lot since then - I again only have a minute, but think I may bow out of this thread, wishing the OP and Changenamer all the best with their decisions, and when I am brave enough, start a thread with my question.
CN, your husband sounds like a shameful secret that you have to keep. I think I was on your old thread, my memory is a little hazy.
The shame isn't yours. It appears you think it is, however.
I really don't understand why you are just marking time until you can no longer shield him from your dd. You are waiting for her to be negatively affected then ? That doesn't sound right to me. Why not end your marriage before that happens ?
I assume that if you were to dissolve this sham, he would go to pieces when he realises his crutch has been removed. It sounds rather cruel, but when that happens (as it will...eventually) then you insist on supervised contact which is essentially the role that you are fulfilling now.
But you get your life back, instead of nannying a dysfunctional man.
I feel that I've been a bit aggressive on this thread. Changenamer and I'm sorry for that.
I really wish you, your DD and DSD all the best. You all deserve better. Good luck to you.
* Fluckered*, I hope Changenamer's posts have given you food for thought.
Changenamer, you deserve so much better than this. Why not go and see a family law solicitor or two (the first half hour is usually at a low cost or even free, but clarify this when you make the appointment. The CAB can give you a list of the solicitors in your area who do it.) to find out where you would stand regarding residency in the event of a split? Even if you don't act on it, knowledge is power.
I wish you both all the best.
My parents split up when I was 6, both went on to have happy relationships with other people. Whilst I can remember being upset the first time I left my mum to spend the weekend with my dad, my over-riding feeling about the split was it meant 2 birthdays, 2 Christmas' and 2 holidays each year. My mum left my dad for another man, so my dad had 3 or 4 serious relationships before finding the right one - I loved this as most the women he dated had kids too, so it made weekend visits extra fun! Neither of my parents spoke badly of each other in front of me or my sister and as we were so young, I think we just accepted this as normal. What I'm trying to say is handled well, separating doesn't have to damage kids.
In fact, I think the younger the child, the better they tend to deal with it. from what i've observed with friend's family break ups is you can encounter more problems if you wait until the children leave home as they understand what is happening and can feel like they need to take sides.
That said, if you think you can work through this with your husband, then do it and get help, but please don't resign yourself to an unloving relationship, it's not healthy for any of you.
Ok, my parents married in the 67, and I was born in 79. They are both the traditional sort that just don't believe in divorce.
My mother is a bad tempered sort, and shouted at all of us, all the way through my childhood. I remember her thowing a carving knife at my Dad over christmas dinner, but violence was unusual.
What I do remember is the screaming rows, night after night when I was supposed to be asleep. I used to lie in bed crying, wishing they would divorce, but they never did.
I have two older brothers.
DB1 - married to a banshee of a woman - hard to say if he's happy or not
DB2 - single - never brought a partner home - I don't know how he view relationships other than him saying once that he had seen a couple of close friends married in their 20s and divorced in their 30s, and he was glad it hadn't happened to him.
Me - married, good happy relationship, but have spent years dealing with depression.
My parents - really seem to love each other - they have spent over 40 years together, have grandchildren and interests in common. They also both have their own interests. My Mum is glad that they stayed together. My Dad is not likely to discuss it with me honestly.
Thank you everyone. Again OP, my apologies, I didn't expect this to happen to your thread.
Sometimes I feel sorry for myself. I look at others and wish I had the hearts and flowers they have. But I am mostly satisfied with my lot. When I am feeling evil I imagine DH dying and being able to mourn him. In truth I mourned him long ago, my love for him died 4 years ago and I've been 'going through the motions' ever since. Sometimes when he is drunk I sneer at him before I can stop myself. Then I feel guilty. He never remembers though. He doesn't remember anything we talk about once beer 5 is on board.
LeQ you have scared me. I like you a lot but I don't want to listen to you. You make sense.
You are right AF, I am ashamed of him, and I am ashamed of myself. I am ashamed that I didn't do something, that I didn't walk when DD was just a babe, when I didn't love DSD the way I do. But I didn't, and I bear that cross without malice. I just can't do it now, I reall can't and I have accepted that.
He would collapse if we left. DD and I are probably the only reason he keeps a lid on the drinking. At weekends he may start at 2, and goes to bed to 'stretch out his tummy from such a big tea mum' at 7 and often doesn't reappear. On holidays he will drink pretty much all day and I resent him more then. Right now he opens his first can the minute I walk through the door. Without a reason to hold back (DD) he will drink himself to death.
I have never spoken like this to anyone. A friend knows quite a bit, knows what he is like but not the extent. There are divided loyalties in play.
I enable him, I know that tonight and I am ashamed. I cannot do this here any more. I don't want these wounds opened.
Thankyou isitjustmethen, maybe I will one day. But not yet.
Oh god yes, it's horrible when your parents are keeping a secret from you and you have to pretend that you don't know. You feel all sick and churned up inside.
It's a hard one. If you actually LIKE your husband, but perhaps you aren't very loved up and don't have sex then maybe that's not too bad - your dc will see you respect and like each other.
But, if there's no warmth or respect there, if you secretly loathe the guy most of the time, your dc will pick up on this however hard you try otherwise.
FWIW my parents pretended to be happily married but it was all a sham, I don't say lightly that it has wrecked my siblings and I from having decent marriages,in fact none of us has ever got married as we are so aware of how shit it can be.
CN, don't regret opening up here
Your denial has a finite lifespan
Keeping it forcibly clamped down fools no-one, and won't fool your children
Your life was not given to you to enable the dysfunction of another. By doing so, you devalue yourself and no favours are meted out to your children.
All the best to you Changenamer.
You and your DH are a role model for your son. You are modeling how his future behavior with his own partner should be. Do you want your son to quietly stay in a loveless unhappy marriage?
Your son should be observing a healthy parental relationship - where fun, love, meaningful friendship and resolving arguments are all clearly seen.
My mum did exactly what namechanger is doing. I first realised when I was about 9. I had a very unhappy childhood, it's such a huge responsibility to put on your children. After an awful time in my teens/early 20s I finally sorted my head out, spent a fortune on counselling and am now finally, at 31 in a successful relationship. It took me a lot of work not to end up in the type of relationship I had modelled to me by my parents.
I still feel angry at my mum for doing it when she says 'but I did all that for you'. I used to beg her to leave my dad, wish that I was dead, self harm and even attempted suicide to make it all stop.
I have a strained relationship with my mum and no relationship with my dad now. Do what you want, but don't expect your kids to thank you for it.
Changenamer, I don't want to sound harsh, and I appreciate it has been hard for you to open up about this. But why have you taken the responsibility for his drinking upon yourself? Surely you realise that it's his choice to drink? He has no reason to change, you're there to pick up after him and since you "gave up" he has no incentive to stop in the form of your pressure. You are enabling his drinking by staying with him and making it okay.
Why should be stop now? He gets to drink as much as he likes, his DC are there, his wife enables and supports him, his house is cleaned and tidied... he has everything going for him.
You say that if you leave him, he will drink himself to death. Well, that's his choice, isn't it? On the other hand, it might be the kick up the bum he needs to realise he needs to stop. Because as an alcoholic, he will need to straighten up before the courts allow him unsupervised access.
I'm baffled as to who you think is actually benefiting from the current arrangement. You aren't, in either the long or short term. Your DC won't be in the long run, when the truth comes out (which it will), and your DH will die from his alcoholism, because you're not giving him any reason to stop.
So why, really, are you doing it?
My parents finally separated a few months ago, and all I and my siblings felt was relief. When we were little they were convinced we had no idea they were unhappy, but to someone who lived with them 24/7 it was patently obvious that they couldn't stand each other.
However much I tell myself it's irrational, I can't make myself believe I'll ever have a happy, healthy relationship with a man, because the most significant relationship in my life was nothing like that, however hard dp pretended.
My parents divorced when I was eleven. They remarried when I was twenty seven. Which basically makes me think if they'd tried hard enough, they could have avoided the sheer bloody hellish nightmare that was their divorce, our subsequent shitty childhoods, my ridiculous father issues, not seeing my dad for years at a time and a mountain of resentment I have against them both. My dad died last year and I all I could think of was the wasted years. So if you think you could make a go of it, really really try.
ChangeNamer, you are so convinced this is the best thing for your daughter but how are you so sure she won't end up like all the posters here, knowing her parents relationship is a dysfunctional sham?
What if she is as good an actress as you think you are?
Sorry, ChangeNamer, my friend told a very similar story to LaQueen about how difficult it made her childhood to always have to pretend in front of her mother that she didn't know what was going on. She was the one who ended up with trust issues.
I actually met a girl this weekend who knows I'm no longer in a relationship with dds dad. And she congratulated me. Her parents stayed together 'for the kids' and split up when the youngest turned 18. This girl is carrying so much pain & had such a tense and unhappy childhood. She and her siblings grew up in a pressure cooker of emotion. Her parents thought they were protecting her but it was so damaging. Children are excellent at picking up the unsaid!
This girl is young, bright, beautiful, educated, everything ahead of her, but is crippled by her experiences in the family home. She is beginning counselling shortly. She could only dream of growing up with separated parents, who were honest with themselves and each other. It was very sad to see.
Op, hope you're ok. I'm not saying it's easy. But things could be better than you've ever imagined.
Changenamer, I hope you find courage life is so short. Get some good legal advice and go from there. Please dont be held back by fear.
To return to the OP...
fluckered - do you feel this thread has been at all helpful, or just worrying?
OP, this was me around a year ago. Christmas 2011 everything came to a head and I told my husband I wanted a divorce, his response 'Why, you've got no grounds!' He'd been diagnosed with stress, then depression, then come off the anti-depressants cold-turkey and turned into a complete lunatic.
His behavior killed all the love that I used to feel for him, and for months I would drive to work every day in tears chanting to myself, 'you can divorce him' over and over.
It felt the way that I imagine you might, I didn't want to be with this man anymore but I also didn't want to be 'the bad guy' and leave him when he was unwell and it wasn't his fault. In the end I decided that if he had so little self-respect to insist on staying with someone who wanted out then I would make the most of it. After all I could do what I wanted and if he decided he wouldn't take that anymore I got what I wanted. I drew my line in the sand, I knew exactly how much I was prepared to take and under what circumstances I would decide it was truly over and leave him, although I never told him about it he's managed to stay on the right side of the line so far.
After that I took back control of my life, he rarely goes out anymore, his choice, so I have regular child-care whenever I need it, ds2 is 8, if there's something I want to see at the cinema I go see it, I've joined a Martial Arts club and generally go 2 or 3 times a week which has done wonders for my self-confidence. I've taken up running, I'm doing a half marathon later this year. I write fanfiction, I work full time and I love my job.
What I've found is that since giving up on caring what my husband thinks or feels, I'm now actually happy, which was quite a revelation when I realised it, and whilst I doubt I'll ever again love him the way I did, things are definitely getting better, I certainly don't hate him anymore either.
"LeQ you have scared me. I like you a lot but I don't want to listen to you. You make sense."
This actually isn't about you doing the best for everyone, or trying to do the right thing, or trying to keep life normal for your DD, is it?
This is actually about you feeling too helpless to actually change the situation, and take some brave pro-active steps to genuinely doing the best for everyone, and genuinely doing the right thing, and genuinely giving your DD a normal life.
So, you have deluded yourself that by staying put, and being passive, and basically not having to take any genuine responsibility for your life - that you are being a hero, a SuperMum, and doing all this for your DD...
Very, very sad - because I think deep down, you know what you are doing isn't the right thing. But, right now it feels like the safe thing, and the easy thing, yes?
Oh darling girl I think you already know the answer. Why not trust your instincts. Bite him in the arse and tell him to p.o. You deserve to be treated better than this x
I genuinely believe, it was because of the stresses/anxieties I experienced thanks to my parents faux reconciliation/faux marriage - that I embarked on a pretty disastrous relationship with an older bloke when I was 15 (he was 22).
He wasn't physically abusive, at all, but he put me under a huge amount of petty emotional abuse. He regularly had me in floods of tears, and had me so uncertain that I didn't know whether I was coming, or going
But, of course...I had been well trained in pretending that everything was absolutely fine...and I had been well trained in not discussing emotions, or revealing the truth of the matter...
And my parent's faux marriage, had left me feeling so sad and uncertain, that I foolishly asumed 'that this was as good as it got'...
I endured 3.5 years with the hapless twat, before finally realising that I really didn't need his crap anymore, and dumped him.
But, the after effects lingered long into my twenties.
So much of what people have said on this thread has resonated with me. My parents also had a sham marriage - they pretended for years it was fine, then when I was 15 it became clear that neither of them could carry it on, both had affairs (which I found out by snooping in my Dads briefcase), cue messy divorce where my mum revealed she had kept together for the sake of me and my sister. And how I should be grateful for this. Thanks mum I also imagine her giving herself a congratulatory pat for martyring herself like this.
Like LeQ, I was brought up being good at pretending everythings fine which has had a real knock on effect in my personal life, cue a series of shitty relationships, one took me 6yrs to get out of and realise I didnt have to pretend to him and my family everything was ok and take crap off him. It may seems like a short term fix but its not. The problem is you can't undo the damage this lie will cause. Please look at the long term solutions and conseqeunces.
But staying together because it seems to be the best option for all doesn't have to mean living a lie ? I guess it's a matter of degrees of happiness/ unhappiness for everyone when making difficult calls (ie. decisions)
Maybe that's a clue to things, whether you feel you are having to pretend about your relationship ?
Not read whole thread but my mum stayed with my dad for a long while "for our sake" I remember crying tears of relief as a child when they finally sat us down and said they were splitting up.
Couples on the brink who don't think their kids know they are struggling to live together are sadly mistaken.
It's hard to explain, but we are a very good team me and her. It's us against the world
Changenamer101, you are burdoning your children to fulfill an adults role. You are getting your emotional needs met solely by your children, who are not mentally or emotionally capable to handle your adult needs. This is grossly unfair and downright selfish. You say you are doing this for your children's needs, but you are not. You are doing this to alleviate your enormous feelings of fear and guilt. What a thing to teach your children about the world. What a burden to bear. This will be your biggest regret in life.....and your children's.
Nothing wrong to me though about caring more about your relationship with your children than any other relationship. Seems very natural to me. Unlike my mother I put my children before my partner - I think many in our generation do.
Doe I really agree with you.
I was only 13, when my parents initially split up - both my DBs had left home, so my Mum turned to me as her emotional support. The burden was incredibly crippling for me
Then, when her and Dad were supposedly okay again - she still relied on me far too much for emotional support and succour (because of course, my parents weren't okay at all, and their relationship was a husk).
This is a massively unfair responsibility and burden to place on any child. To this day I still harbour a lot of resentment towards my Mum for leaning on me like she did, when I was so young...it made me feel trapped, and suffocated, and helpless
And, I genuinely think it damaged me for life - I very quickly feel trapped, I hate responsibility, and I avoid needy people like the plague.
Very long thread, so haven't read it all. IMO it's actually teaching your child nothing by staying together 'for them'. It's not teaching them nothing about a healthy, stable, loving relationship, it's teaching them about martyrdom. A child doesn't need to unhappy people living in a house together 'for their sake'. In fact, when they are old enough to realise this was the case it's likely that they'll feel guilty about this. Split up, have your own lives and be happy. Your child is only 5 and a split at this age is much less damaging at this age than when he's older. You can both be better, happier people and therefore better parents, apart.
In fact if we're saying a split is in the best interests of the children then surely you could say it's not damaging at all (as least bad/ best option in circumstances)
This post has made me so sad.
Nothing to add except assuring the OP you can't pull it off forever. One of you will eventually find a happier way.
Nothing wrong with working through the hard bits, having counselling and moving on. Pretending things are fine is just silly IMHO.
Nothing wrong to me though about caring more about your relationship with your children than any other relationship. Seems very natural to me. Unlike my mother I put my children before my partner - I think many in our generation do.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with putting your children before your partner. But that's not what fluckered and ChangeNamer are doing in the slightest.
They're prioritising their partners' needs above everyones - their own and their children's. If only they would put their chidren first.
Agree with Midnight - the OP isn't putting her child first. She's unable/reluctant to make some very hard and brave decisions...and so is choosing to stay passive. And, is then deluding herself that she's being a martyr.
I wasn't going to come back, but I would like to just say a couple of things.
Changenamer101, you are burdoning your children to fulfill an adults role
No I'm not. Maybe what I said was just badly worded, but DD and I are great. She has lots of attention, lots of fun, lots of love and everything she needs. She wants for nothing, emotionally or otherwise. She knows how much I love her, she knows how important she is, she is a completely normal, average little girl.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with putting your children before your partner. But that's not what fluckered and ChangeNamer are doing in the slightest Yes I am. DD, and to an extent DSD, are head and shoulders above anything else in my life. They are what is important. They are all that matters. They are happy.
They're prioritising their partners' needs above everyones - their own and their children's Not in any way. You could not be more wrong. DD comes first, DSD second and me third. DH barely registers.
I won't open up here any more. I don't need to. I'm happy with what I am doing and, more importantly, DD is happy. I don't need to be told I'm selfish by people who aren't living my life. My daughter is my world. I choose to live my life to make her happy, and its working. I don't care about anything else. Everything else is just filler.
A few of lequeen's posts really resonate with me too. My mum used me as her emotional support. It made me have to grow up faster than I should have and was totally unfair.
As both a child of divorce and someone whose marriage did not work I can say I know where you are coming from and if both are 100% on the same page about this and if you are working with the aim of improving things and rebuilding your relationship then this a good plan.
Just going round in circles of getting by and not being able to function as a parental unit isn't a good plan. Your DS will pick up on it and not be able to put their finger on what exactly is wrong, may decide it is something to do with them that is wrong. What happens when they reach 18 or whenever and move out if you are still keeping up this routine of living together but not showing affection or just a normal communicative relationship? Separating then may make your child feel for years they have been holding you back and causing you misery of having to live together. What about holidays? Or family events like Christmas or birthdays? Are you able to enjoy these?
I think if you have the mindset that you CAN stay together when things get tough and work it out AND if (unlike my father and ex) your DH shares the same idea, then you need to also be prepared to take the next step of working through your problems with a professional.
It can be done, and if done successfully it is good for your child, but if not and you can amicably split and retain your DH's relationship with DS- then that might be best.
ChangeNamer But, you don't truly believe what you've just typed, do you? Not really.
Because if you did, then you wouldn't have said that 'you didn't want to read my posts, because they made sense.'
If you were working towards something, with your DH prepared to also try and meet you half way...if you were taking positive steps to improve the situation together, then no one here could blame you.
But, you're not. You have plugged your fingers in your ears, thrown the gear-stick into Neutral, slapped 3 coats of quick-dry varnish on your life and declared it good.
But, it can never, ever be good enough. Not when you are keeping your DD in a life where the emotional landscape is so screwed, and where she won't witness any genuinely loving/positive relationship between her parents.
Okay, so she's only 5 now, so you can fool her. But, pretty soon she will spend time with her friend's parents, she will see how they are with each other. She will experrience the atmospheres of genuinely happy, loving homes.
In comparison, she will look at you and your DH, and she will know there is something wrong. She won't be able to articulate it, but she will sense the wrongness. And, she will sense the atmosphere in her own home is emptier, somehow.
By the time she's 13 (just like I was) she will see very, very clearly that there is something horribly and fundementally wrong between you and your DH.
Because Change you are not a good enough actress to pull it off. You aren't. No one is. Helen Mirren couldn't pull it off.
No one can convince anyone else, long term, that love/happiness is present, when it simply isn't there.
"My daughter is my world. I choose to live my life to make her happy, and its working. I don't care about anything else. Everything else is just filler."
That is a hugely onerous burden to place on any child OP. I promise you, she won't thank you for it. And, I speak from experience.
My parents' marriage was fine on a day-to-day basis... but my father was quite detached and self-sufficient, while my mother was quite insecure, and really suffered from not having someone to confide in and share feelings. So I got cast in that role, until I went to university and wanted to separate and have my own life. My mother found this terribly upsetting.
Like LaQ I find needy people very hard to cope with, and have never had a long-term relationship myself. My life is lovely, and I'm very happy being single... but maybe because that's I could never see anything that great about being married?
You keep telling yourself all that baloney you tried to feed me. It sounded like a cheesy movie script, not real life. Maybe someday you'll believe it. I sure as hell don't. And neither will your daughter.
You are not SuperMum. You are not Jesus Christ. You are not Mother Theresa. You are not Ghandi. You are a Human Being who is flawed and has made a mistake. Own it. Mourn it. It is your mistake, not your child's.
I don't need to be told I'm selfish by people who aren't living my life.
You are being told you are selfish by the children of mothers like you. Heed our warning.
Changenamer101. I think LaQueen is trying to say that no matter how good an actress you are, that there will come a point when your DD and probably DSD too, will realise that it is an act on your part.
I think, that because your DH drinks a lot, that the realisation that all is not what it seems, will come to her as early as 9 or 10 years of age.
Do you have a plan at all about that?
Dont want to put a burden on you at all, so again dont answer me if you dont want to.
Sorry was referring to Changenamer101's response, not LaQueens (which was brillant).
Moon I get very, very
panicky uncomfortable if I think people are overly relying on me, and I hate neediness, it makes me want to run screaming for the hills.
I love the very bones of DH...but, I also love the fact that he is quite an independent chap, and we have never lived in each other's pockets. I couldn't bear it, if he was one of those DHs who always wanted to be with me, all the time, 24/7 ... 'Oh, can I come shopping/meeting your friend/visiting your Mum? Nooooooo, stop it, let me have some private space FFS'
I know this aversion has been hard-wired into me, because of the emotional responsibilities I encumbered from my Mum during my teenage years.
Sorry you are upset Changenamer, no one is trying to be unkind. It is just that you have said yourself that you are desperately unhappy and that your life would be easier if you DH was dead. You have also basically said you are going to carry on in this miserable situation for as long as it takes. You can't expect people not to find that concerning. Yes, of course it is your choice, your life but don't be surprised that most people find that a sad, worrying set up where your feelings come at the bottom of the heap. I hope you are ok and that things work out for you. I do think people have offered very thoughtful advice.
Hello Amillionyears. I don't know. I suppose I will tell the truth. But I haven't planned for it because I have no reason to believe she will ever know that I don't feel as I should for her father. It's been at least 4 years, and in truth probably longer than that; 4 years was the camel/straw point. No-one else knows, no-one has 'guessed'. Not our family, not our friends. We don't argue, we spend time as a family (we are quite isolated in a way - we only do 'family friendly' things, and our friends respect that), I work hard and my time at home with DD is precious.
We all tell each other that we love each other all the time, there are lots of hugs and affection. An outsider wouldn't guess that anything was wrong on seeing us, so I am confused by Internet posters who can 'see' otherwise. It upsets me, but because I respect many of the posters who have commented (though not all), I am going to do some soul searching and check what I am doing. AF is certainly right that I enable DHs drinking, and I didn't see that before. I could challenge it, but then we will argue and where does that leave DD? I need to decide which is the lesser of the two evils.
Last night was hard on me because I worried about what people were saying, but in the cold light of day I can see that my experience, my life, is removed from what others are saying. Tonight the posts seem more aggressive, so I will leave it there. I get that people don't like what I am saying or doing but again I am hurting no-one but myself, and that is my choice.
An outsider wouldn't guess that anything was wrong on seeing us, so I am confused by Internet posters who can 'see' otherwise
That's because you have been honest on here about how you feel and what you are doing.
If you were posting as usual in your usual MN name no one would be saying this, so that would be the same as in real life.
Tonight the posts seem more aggressive, so I will leave it there. I get that people don't like what I am saying or doing but again I am hurting no-one but myself, and that is my choice
I think the point is that many who have been in your DDs position feel that they were hurt by being the child in your current situation.
"An outsider wouldn't guess that anything was wrong on seeing us, so I am confused by Internet posters who can 'see' otherwise."
Change I could definitely see there was something wrong, even at 13...there are fake smiles and real smiles, and fake hugs and real hugs, there are empty atmospheres and warm atmospheres. I knew the difference, sadly.
One of my close friends has finally confided in me that her marriage is at a really low point, and has been for the best part of 2 years...she's hidden it very well, and we haven't spent much time with her and her DH, and when we have, it's all been congenial.
But, I knew nearly 2 years ago, that something was wrong.
It's 101 tiny, tiny nuances. A slight flatness to the voice, a slight angle of the head, and tiny difference in the body language. The subtle omission of certain things.
Like I said, no one can convincigly pretend love, for any length of time, when the love doesn't actually exist.
It is useful to share experiences, but every relationship is different. A 'bad' relationship can improve, people change and people fall back in love. Hence no one else can say that it is a good idea to split, or a good idea to stay together for the sake of children.
People who stay together try to justify their decision, people who split try to justify theirs. People survive either way.
Love is very complex and no one can decide for someone else (except perhaps when there is criminal activity/ abuse).
People should share their stories, but for goodness sake- stop judging complete strangers!
Also, children pick up ways of behaving from their parents, without even being aware of it... and are affected for the rest of their lives by the dynamics in their household as they're growing up. Your DD may be oblivious aged 5, but at 10, 15, 20? What about when she starts getting interested in boys and you need to talk to her about adult relationships and how they should work?
Since your DH is an alcoholic, though, I imagine the situation will reach crisis point considerably before that.
Hello Changenamer. I'm glad you're still here and haven't been frightened off, and yes, some of us probably have been a little aggressive, but that's only because we care passionately, not because we actually want to cause you any pain. I hope you can see that.
When I need to think very hard on something, I try to strip it down to its very bare bones by removing as many confounding issues as I can.
What I see as the basic facts in your situation are these:
1) You are raising your children in a house with an alcoholic who doesn't pull his weight with domestic chores.
2) He has a tendency towards violence.
3) In order to protect your children from these violent tendencies, you enable him to drink as long as it falls with "acceptable" limits. You don't challenge him; you have submitted to him over his drinking and allow it to continue.
4) You force affection with a man you feel nothing for. And hope your children won't notice. You say you know they won't notice but previous posts on this thread provide some evidence that this a very dodgy assumption for you to make.
5) Your DDs will grow up thinking that it's okay/normal for a man to not work either in or outside the home, while the women provides the money and takes on the domestic responsibility.
6) Your DDs will grow up thinking it's okay/normal to be an alcoholic.
7) You have made a choice to continue with this situation indefinitely.
8) You are suffering through this choice you have made and are denying yourself a normal, happy relationship with someone else.
9) You are denying your DDs a genuine example of a loving, happy relationship on which to model their own. Nothing false is ever a good as the real thing. Not even close, no matter how good a fake it looks on the outside.
9) There is a high likelihood your DDs will suffer in the slightly-longer term as a result of this choice you have made, either when they start to challenge his drinking, or hit their teens and start acting up and stir up those violent tendencies again.
10) There is a high likelihood your DDs will suffer in the far-longer term as a result of this choice you have made, when they have trouble with normal relationships as adults, again as evidenced by women on this thread who have lived similar lives to your DDs.
I've asked you before, twice, and you haven't answered. Please tell us what terrible thing you fear will happen if you left him, that is worse than anything I've outlined above?
KlickKlackknobsac - yes, bad relationships can get better, if both partners work on it. But for that to happen, both partners need know there is actually a problem. I don't think anyone would deny that apparently failed relationships can be revived. But to live a lie, where no-one benefits? Why?
Great post from Annie.
They're prioritising their partners' needs above everyones - their own and their children's. Not in any way. You could not be more wrong. DD comes first, DSD second and me third. DH barely registers.
So leave him, then.
You know you don't mean this for a second. Of course you're prioritising your DH. Everything actually revolves around your DH.
If he barely registered, you'd leave him. But he doesn't barely register. He's the enormous, ever-present white elephant in the room, which everyone is tiptoeing around, living their lives around.
I might be missing the point here, but what makes you all think that if NC left her DH she would get custody of her DSD?
I can understand staying with a man I didn't love it it meant I could protect a child.
Hey Fluckered just so you know you ar not the only one. My veiw is we had these kids together we will bloody well raise them together. I would rather tell my kids their dad is dead then he has left them. i have yet to come across a child from a broken home who is happier about it than they would be if their parent s stayed together. i suppose we at least live fairly amicably, maybe if it got the point where we really hated each other or violence or drugs/alcohol was involved it would be different. but it all very civilised and polite and for personal fulfilment Ihave my friends who i could not live without!
She was talking about her own DD not her DSD who I assume lives with her mother the majority of the time.
She said DSD is only there at weekends.
i have yet to come across a child from a broken home who is happier about it than they would be if their parent s stayed together
You've not read the thread then?
Also my home wasn't 'broken' it was fully intact, just my parents were not together.
I would rather tell my kids their dad is dead then he has left them
Well, you've just met me then, Doubletroublemummy2. I'm very thankful that my parents split. I'm pissed of with my dad for then ignoring me, but that's a separate issue.
You realise that parents can still both be wonderful and involved parents to their children without actually living under the same roof, yes?
why can't they do it under the same roof??? if they are not resentful to each other or fighting, but sharing the accomodation and the job of raising children why is it always better to be in a different house just because they aren't in love?
My parents where forever honest, constantly pointing out each others flaws, always on the verge of splitting up, they are now over 60 and still forever at each others throught all in the name of honesty! when DSis and I would ask why not split up, they said they loved each other!?!?!?!?
I don't see how my situaton is damaging for my children, as for DH TBH he is more than a little oblivious so no harm , i don't hate him, but I'm not in love with him either and maybe when the girls are older i will tell them about it
What example are you settings your dds Doubletrouble? That they don't deserve/can't have relationships that make them happy? Because I was in your dds' situation and that's what I learned.
Absolutley they can and do, and like i said when they are older we can talk about it I can try to tell them what mistakes I made and how they can possibly avoid them, but they are only 4 yrs old and I believe that at this age family stability is vital. Maybe when they are older I may reconsider, maybe things have changed by then, unlikley but heres hoping.
the example i hope i would set is sometimes people make mistakes, but they are not always the end of the world.
Hi OP, are you still here? Just wondering what your thoughts are on how this thread has developed?
Hello Annie, thank you for your post, lots more to think about.
I will not divorce. DH will stand a good chance of becoming resident parent. Not because he will want to, but because he knows it will hurt me. I could not live with that and will not take the chance. How do I prove to the court that DH is not safe to have DD and DSD alone? How do I prove a functioning alcoholic is an alcoholic? How do I prove that they wouldn't be looked after?
And when you say 5) Your DDs will grow up thinking that it's okay/normal for a man to not work either in or outside the home, while the women provides the money and takes on the domestic responsibility Like a SAHM? Sorry to be flippant but I don't see the difference. She sees me cook because she knows dad is a bad cook, and the cleaning is done after she is in bed so that I have time for her.
And Amber She was talking about her own DD not her DSD who I assume lives with her mother the majority of the time. Yes but I cannot guarantee residency of DD, and if DH and I split I wouldn't see DSD again. I cannot do that to her, or me.
And this I can understand staying with a man I didn't love it it meant I could protect a child. This is my reasoning.
Thank you all for your comments.
i empathise. if i were to get divorced, i would end up broke and debt ridden, and maybe only see my children half the time. i would probably not be able to bring them back to my home country to visit, since my husband could easily claim i was abducting them
i could stay married, and make the best of it, and though i would be stuck here, at least get to go home to visit, and bring my children to see my country.
for me, it would be a no-brainer. my children might see me making do in a marriage, but how happy and fulfilling does my post divorce reality sound?
it is not always as easy or clearcut as some posters make out.
i would say though that in my own case, if i were this unhappy, i would only suck it up until the kids had left home, no way would i be around any longer than that
Barring threads about sexual abuse, I would say this is one of the grimmest threads I have ever read on here.
I agree flippinada.
And Amber She was talking about her own DD not her DSD who I assume lives with her mother the majority of the time. Yes but I cannot guarantee residency of DD, and if DH and I split I wouldn't see DSD again. I cannot do that to her, or me
So because of your need to be involved with your DSD, you are willing to subject her to your dysfunctional marriage?
The residency of your DD thing, he doesn't have residency of your DSD so why would he want/get residency of your DD?
From the experiences of people close to me, there is much allegation and little proof involved in such matters, get a good solicitor and stick to your guns.
I do not believe for one minute your DH would get residency of your DD under the circumstances.
Neither do I.
And do you know what? It's really not about all the things you do do, to try to pull the wool over your daughter's eyes. It's about all the things you don't do. Which she will see in other relationships as soon as she goes out into world (i.e. very soon).
You know, sitting up chatting until gone midnight, putting the world to rights. Flopping on the sofa, with DH's legs over you, watching TV. Grabbing each other when a song comes on the radio and samba-ing badly around the kitchen. Taking the piss out of each other. Having private jokes. Raucous, shared laughter. Exchanging glances which convey full conversations without a word having to be said. Your children coming into your bedroom in the morning and finding the two of you sleepily entwined. Etc, etc.
A million and one little things that loving couples do, that existing-together couples absolutely do not.
I agree with with you flipp - I think this has to be one of the most depressing, and soul destroying threads I've ever read on MN, absolutely harrowing
I think the OP is actually terribly selfish, but she has skewed reality in her own head, to the point where she is the heroine of the act. Horrible, horrible
In what fucked up reality, is it somehow better and more noble to raise a child in a house, with parents who can't bear each other, and where the DH is a violent alcoholic?
It's not a reality I recognise, and neither is it a reality that I think most other rational adults would recognise either.
Doubletrouble, you seem to be speaking of a different marriage to fluckered and ChangeNamer; if I get you right, yours is not actually a marriage where you and your dh have lost respect for each other or feel hostile, but simply one where you have fallen out of love (whatever that may mean). I don't think two adults taking a joint responsibility to stay together under those circumstances will do any child any harm, particularly not if they are prepared to be open and positive about it when the children grow older.
But fluckered was speaking of her lack of tolerance of her dh and ChangeNamer of actually fantasising of his death. That is a totally different level. Neither of them was mentioning a situation where two adults could openly make an honest decision: ChangeNamer was talking about being an excellent actress and concealing the truth from her dd.
From what I have seen in life, two people who respect each other and decide to stay together as friends can provide a very stable family life for their children.
People who disrespect each other but pretend affection otoh will force their children into pretending too as they grow older, and those are the children who always seem to speak with great bitterness of their childhood.
The problem has often seemed to be that when the children realised that their mum was lying convincingly about her love for their dad, they didn't trust her on any other subject either: if she could be such a good actress about that, perhaps she was an equally good actress when she pretended love for them?
If their dad could lie convincingly to them, maybe other men did too and you could never be sure of any protestations of love?
And teenagers who feel they have to act and cover up what they know to spare their parents' feelings often end up with enormous levels of self hatred.
I have recently seen a teenager become aware that nothing he had been told or show about his parents' relationship was actually true, and it was sickening to see how the ground was suddenly pulled from under his feet and he was left doubting that anything he had learnt in life was to be relied on. This could have been avoided if he had been told calmly and cheerfully 10 years earlier that your dad and I are not actually a couple any more, but we are still spending a lot of time together so we can both be with you because we both love you.
So those of you who stay in marriages that are accompanied by a genuine inability to respect your partner, please do think about how you are going to handle this when they grow old enough to demand honesty. Not filling their ears with recriminations of your partners, surely, but please find a gentle way of being honest before the ground is suddenly pulled from under their feet.
cory - that is one of the best and most insightful posts I've seen on MN.
As a child of such a marriage (where the parents have no respect for each other), I can say you are bang on the mark. I have issues with believing that others might really love or like me, despite what they say, and both myself and my sibling suffer from depression.
Changenaming - All I'll respond to is this: SAHP's actually work in the house. Your DDs see your DH doing nothing. So that is what they will expect of the men in their future too.
Everyone else has covered all the other points.
cory that post sums up exactly how I felt as a teen.
This thread has been quite cathartic to read, as someone who grew up with parents in a marriage like this. I always wondered how I turned out so fucked up, my parents were together, surely only 'children from broken homes' feel like this.
Lots of counselling sorted me out in the end. Interestingly, the relationship I now have with my mum is quite distant - polite, friendly but distant with little genuine affection on my part. Just like the one she modeled to me by staying with my dad.
AKiss - interesting, my relationship with my mother is also very strained.
For all those who are considering staying in this type of relationship - are you willing to lose that long term relationship with your children?
Cory your presumtions are based on information I haven't given, but anyway. I think if people really believe theat most children grow up in loving families where mommy and daddy are true loves dream, then they are misguided. There are more "dysfunctional" relationships out there than any other. We just don't talk about it. One thing I have learnt, that I hope my girls learn before they make a mistake like I did is that we are each responsible for our own happiness and cannot rely on someone else to make us happy. My relationship with my husband may not be good but my relationship with myself is. I have found out how to be happy in myself and maybe if I had figured this out before I married "a man who made me happy" i wouldn't have made that mistake. But i did and now I have to live with it. I don't intend on keeping this a secret from teenage girls but at 4yrs old it's a bit much to try and explain adult relationships. so in the evening when we sit in silence staring at the telly and i glance over and feel extremely disappointed in my choice of man i remind myself that i have two beautiful girls out of it, and that financially times are a bit tough at the moment, but if we spilt then we would probably not be able to clothe the kids. Also if I leave him I wold not have another man in my life anyway so may aswell co habit with this one.
and while there are various shades of grey in this topic, my children will be far happier than the children of a mum who moves from man to man in th pursuit of happiness
Doubletroublemummy2 - your post is very sad. You think you have the choice of your DH or going from man to man? And that you might as well stay with him because at least then you have a man? Why not just be single? Why do you need to have a man in your life at all?
I think if people really believe that most children grow up in loving families where mommy and daddy are true loves dream, then they are misguided
I think this thread is proof that people don't think that at all.
and while there are various shades of grey in this topic, my children will be far happier than the children of a mum who moves from man to man in the pursuit of happiness
There is a middle ground, not every woman that leave a shite relationship goes on to move from man to man. you acknowledge there are shades of grey, but you seem to think that as there are worse bad things, it makes your own bad thing acceptable.
I despair at all these children growing up with such crappy examples of relationships.
have to go to work soon, but:
Amber: I do not believe for one minute your DH would get residency of your DD under the circumstances
But if I posted DH's POV (what he would tell a judge) "I was a successful working man when DW got pregnant against my wishes. I gave up work so that I could be a SAHD. I gave up the opportunity for a future career to support DW in hers. I have been at home all the time with DD since she was born, taking full care of her and attending all her needs. She is now at school. I do all the pick-ups drop offs and attend all the school functions. DW is rarely at the school. I do all the cooking and cleaning. I have a couple of beers in the evening. Suddenly DW wants to divorce and expects me to give up my child"
The truth is that we had a contraceptive failure and I refused to aboort. He left work before was pushed. He was offered more work but didn't actually want it, and used DD as an excuse not to take it. I've always done the majority of the care for DD including all the nights even though I was at work and he wasnt. He runs the hoover over the front room, never cleans anything else in the house. He warms up food I have cooked on Mondays, opens a jar on Tuesdays, buys pizza on Wednesdays and I do the rest of the cooking. He has at least 6 beers between 5-7 every night and more on the weekends.
But how do I prove that?
What if I am right? Imagine I am. Imagine for a second that the Judge is taken in by him.
DD then spends Mon-Fri with a man that will happily live in a dirty house. Will eat junk food or not at all. Will not wash clothes, clean kitchen, scrub toilets. Is drunk every evening, so no more activities or god forbid ability in emergencies (he once slept right thorough a fire alarm, didn't hear it at all). Will slag her mother off at every available opportunity. She will visit her mother in some shithole at the weekends because that will be all I could afford and I will resent paying him to keep her when I know that he isn't. Oh and she wont see her sister as much unless I take them both - and I doubt I will be allowed to.
Tell me how that is better than what she has now? Honestly, truthfully, do you really think that is better?
Midnight: You know, sitting up chatting until gone midnight, putting the world to rights. Flopping on the sofa, with DH's legs over you, watching TV. Grabbing each other when a song comes on the radio and samba-ing badly around the kitchen. Taking the piss out of each other. Having private jokes. Raucous, shared laughter. Exchanging glances which convey full conversations without a word having to be said All of that happens. The only thing that doesn't is the bedroom thing, because he sleeps most nights in the Study. DD accepts that because his snoring is legendary - to the point of separate bedrooms on holiday.
LaQueen: In what fucked up reality, is it somehow better and more noble to raise a child in a house, with parents who can't bear each other, and where the DH is a violent alcoholic? DH was violent 4 years ago, DD did not see it and he hasn't been violent since. She's not in a house with parents that can't bear each other - DH is very happy, I pretend to be happy. See my post above about the life she could have.
Oh my goodness, it's not a choice between one miserable man, or lots of different men... Why would you think it is?
I think if people really believe theat most children grow up in loving families where mommy and daddy are true loves dream, then they are misguided.
Who thinks this? Plenty of children grow up with two separated parents, much happier apart.
Sorry ChnageNamer - but your posts are becoming increasingly frustrating to read.
You're not fooling a single person on this thread. You might - might - be fooling your daughter now. But don't forget. At a certain point, everyone looks back on their childhood with adult understanding. What do you think your daughter will see? When you're not deluding yourself, that is.
Why Midnight? Why are you so sure that you are right?
You said before that it was all about the things I dont do. But when I've said that isn't the case, you've cahnged track. I'm very frustrated as well.
Midnight: You know, sitting up chatting until gone midnight, putting the world to rights. Flopping on the sofa, with DH's legs over you, watching TV. Grabbing each other when a song comes on the radio and samba-ing badly around the kitchen. Taking the piss out of each other. Having private jokes. Raucous, shared laughter. Exchanging glances which convey full conversations without a word having to be said All of that happens. The only thing that doesn't is the bedroom thing, because he sleeps most nights in the Study. DD accepts that because his snoring is legendary - to the point of separate bedrooms on holiday.
And yet a little while ago on the thread, you said 'DH barely registers' in your life. So which is it? All of the above, loving scenarios? Or 'barely registers'?
And separate bedrooms, indeed...
What if I am right? Imagine I am. Imagine for a second that the Judge is taken in by him
I understand your fears and yes that scenario you paint of how it would be if he got residency is horrible, but I know that judges are not stupid and have seen situations like yours before.
With the past violence detailed in what you would present to the court too, I think your case would be stronger.
I know sometimes men do get residency and that may even be the right decision in some cases, but I have known of men who were in fact good dads get only EOW/partial holiday contact, so I really don't think a judge/court and everyone involved would be fooled by someone like your DH.
He has managed to make you think that he is the one holding all the cards, but really he isn't and I think anyone on the outside would see that.
Changenamer I have been in an unhappy marriage where I've feared my DH getting custody, so I honestly don't believe your story is as simple as a lot of people think it is.
In the even my DH was much more reasonable when I said that I was leaving than he might have been. I once read that many men threaten they will go for custody, but in the event they rarely do if they've not previously been that bothered about their kids.
Everyone here bar those who are in similar situations has said the same thing from various prospectives. either as a child who grew up in it, or as an adult who got out of similar set ups.
None of us here are buying what you are saying, I think that some of your posts have alluded to the fact that deep down neither do you.
I know it is hard to see things clearly when you are ensconced within a situation, but from the outside it is crystal clear.
What your DH has managed to do is to convince you that you have no way out, but honestly, you do.
Changenamer101 is doing what she thinks is the best for her DD.
Have you consulted a solicitor at all about the what would be the legal situation if you were to seperate from your husband?
It might be best to find out, so then at least you would definitely know the legal situation, rather than guessing it.
but in the event they rarely do if they've not previously been that bothered about their kids
From what you have said, I think your DH is far too lazy to actually go for residency, even if he wants to hurt you, I think at the most all he would do is threaten it.
Because that thought is understandably awful for you, the threat of it is enough to make you stay.
He is playing you.
Earlier in this thread, I accused you of putting your DH above everyone else. Above your DC and above yourself. And you refuted that, saying 'he barely registers'...
Now, when I outline some of the things loving couple do naturally and instinctively, you're rushing it to say you do those things, too. So it seems you do put your DH first, above everyone else. Faking a loving relationship with him so much, that you do lovely things to and with him, even though you wish him dead.
You're the one changing tack with your story, not me.
And yet a little while ago on the thread, you said 'DH barely registers' in your life. So which is it? All of the above, loving scenarios? Or 'barely registers'
Are you misunderstanding me on purpose Midnight, or am I just expressing myself badly? The 'barely registers' was in reply to a comment about the hierarchy of importance in the family, about prioritising, and in order of priority to me DH does barely register. DD is the most important, DSD is the second most important.
It is because DD is the most important that I make sure she sees me do things like that with her father. I don't think the seperate bedrooms thing is that unusual, I know quite a few people on MN that say they do it, and their marriages are fine. On the odd occasion that DH does go to the 'marital bed' I sleep in the study and DD doesn't even know.
With the past violence detailed in what you would present to the court too, I think your case would be stronger Unfortunately Amber I cannot prove the violence - Honestly if I could I would and I wouldn't be so scared. It was during a very bad period of approx 4 months where he was physically and emotionally abusive. I never reported the violence, and it amounted to sly digs and kicks and one tumble that he could probably explain away. I certainly explained it away, and people had no problem believing me, and of course it was 4 years ago, with no repetition so I feel stuck.
It wouldn't hurt to speak to a solicitor though and see what they say.
You are right Edie, and I did a couple of years ago but the prognosis wasn't great. I also spoke to WA 4 years ago but they couldn't help. They gave me some advice and were lovely to me, but ultimately circumstances were against us. It wouldn't hurt to try again, but I certainly wont get my hopes up.
Divorce is no more damaging to children, in itself, than moving house or an older sibling leaving home. Manipulative behaviour from either parent, of course, can be damaging, bit this happens within relationships as well as after divorce.
We (women) need to let go of this guilt we feel about a relationship "failing" when the reality is it's just not working out (and that's fine.) So much healthier to show children that it's okay, in fact, desirable, to walk away if you're not happy and nothing is fixing this.
Dear Changenamer - so, an honest relationship with your daughter isn't your priority
Because that's what it boils down to.
One day she will find out about all this. She is not stupid. And she may not see your actions the way you do.
I completely understand what you are trying to do. Thinking you are a good actress and can pull this off is not sustainable though. I understand that your priority is your daughter's well-being, and given that, you have worked out this plan and are prepared to sacrifice your own happiness.
But when it comes down to it, the best way for a little girl to be happy and normal, in the long run is for her mother to be happy and free. Whatever you do now, you are teaching your daughter is how a woman's life should be.
I know you don't want people saying things like this, because you feel you have got it all sewn up/under control, and that you are sure you are doing the right thing.
However good an actress you are, you are still allowing your child the experience of living with an alcoholic, who you rightly say you are enabling, and this will not be disguised.
Changenamer - although I have been adamant on this thread that parents who don't get on should split up, rather than stay together 'for the children', I just want to say that I can see that your situation is more complicated than the usual. I feel dreadfully sorry for you.
I can understand your fears over the risks of leaving and possibly putting the children in a worse situation. I don't think anyone would argue with that. I think the reason you are getting a hard time is because you ate saying the situation won't affect the children, which is kidding yourself at best. If you presented yourself as choosing perhaps the least worse option, but were realistic about the risks, then maybe the comments would go a different way.
So sorry, fluckered , to address another poster before you, but I really hope the comments addressed to Changenamer are helpful to you too.
Just supposing ChangeNamer did leave/divorce her DH - and he didn't go for residency - her DD would still have to spend time with him alone. He's a functional alcoholic, how can that be a good thing?
ChangeNamer - while I agree that children are a whole lot more astute than we sometimes expect, I think you probably are protecting your DD (and DSD) at the moment. But at what age do you think this should stop? Perhaps once your DD is old enough to express a preference as to whether or not she stays with her dad, and the courts take notice?
I think it's about 14 when the courts listen to where children want to live isn't it? Again, this is the kind of thing a solicitor could advise you on. Of course you might get different responses from different solicitors, so maybe see a couple?
Changenamer, I think you could still report it now.
4 years ago he was physically abusive and threatening, since then you have been living under the threat of it happening again, you have chosen to disengage so as not to 'wind him up' for a repeat performance. That is emotional abuse and living with the threat of more violence hanging over you, you have stopped arguing back and that is the only thing that is stopping him from doing it again.
changenamer You have my support and empathy. Life is often black and white when you are looking in through the window from the outside. I think if you are happy in yourself, regardless of the relationship with hubby then you and your girls should be fine. I spent years getting angry with hubbies drinking and his inability to think of anyone but himself. shortly after the girls where born we had one last screaming row and that night i decided, he was no longer important enough to agrue with. I tried on a few occasions to tell him how i felt, to encourage him to drink less, have conversations explain to him the difference between intimacy hand sex, but it goes in one ear and out the other so I don't bother anymore. as far as I'm concerned he brings in the pay check and provides some sembalence of a male role model. the girls love their daddy, and without us in his life I am certain he would start drinking at breakfast time and die of liver failure in 12 months. I'm not that unhappy that i need to put my girls or even him through all that at the moment. As far as how feel about him, i just feel sad,.for him
Why couldn't WA help 4 years ago? was it because you wouldn't report it to the police?
her DD would still have to spend time with him alone. He's a functional alcoholic, how can that be a good thing?
If it is that bad, if it were me, I wouldn't send my child for contact. You only need to read some of the posts on step parenting to see that Mums do that and there doesn't seem to be much to be done about it.
Allegations of alcoholism would be enough to insist on supervised contact, I personally know a woman who has insisted on supervised contact for that reason. If a Dad wants to move on from that he needs to prove himself.
When your DD is older, she will be an added witness to your DHs drinking. So DH should no longer be able to concince to a court, or anyone else, that it doesnt happen.
But at what age do you think this should stop? Perhaps once your DD is old enough to express a preference as to whether or not she stays with her dad, and the courts take notice?
Yes Thumb, that makes sense. Initially I was doing this for life. Thinking that when DD is old enough to 'not need me' as such I would remain married and living with DH, but be more assertive about what I want/need. No more pretending, no more sex etc. Live like flatmates I suppose. But maybe as DD gets older and can see/understand more then I can look at it again. All my decisions were made when she was 3/4/5. Now we are a couple more years down the line it makes sense to re-evaluate. But right now I wont change what I am doing, because it works.
Why couldn't WA help 4 years ago? was it because you wouldn't report it to the police?
It was more complicated than that Amber, but TBH, especially the way this thread has gone I'm really concerned about 'outing' myself, and if I told you why, it would. I did speak to someone on the phone, and they were lovely, really sympathetic and give me advice as to things I could do when my circumstances changed, but actual physical help they could not provide.
Yes amillion, I hadn't thought of that.
In my case, my parents held on until a few weeks before my 18th birthday, right after my younger brother's 16th.
I've a feeling I've seen elsewhere that children as young as 12 are allowed to make their own decisions re. contact, does anyone else know if that's the case?
It's still a long way down the track though, Changenamer. I think perhaps it would be an idea to let the "perfect" relationship mask crack sometimes, let your DD and DSD realise that things are not all ok. Because then it will be less of a shock when you do leave (and really, much though I sympathise with your choices, you cannot do this forever - only as long as your DD really needs to be kept safe)
Amber - from Changenamer's point of view, if she can't prove the alcoholism, on what grounds would she be able to insist on supervised or withheld contact?
Ok changenamer, fair enough if you are worried about outing yourself.
There are other agencies that could help/could have helped you though, if you google your location and domestic violence you will find something.
Thumbwitch, Her DH has been violent etc to her which had an effect on their DD as stated in her first post, I think the easiest way would be for her to report the violence to the police. I know that is a big scary step because it makes it 'official' and 'real' but that is what I would do. Having it officially recorded is key.
"Yes Thumb, that makes sense. Initially I was doing this for life. Thinking that when DD is old enough to 'not need me' as such I would remain married and living with DH, but be more assertive about what I want/need. No more pretending, no more sex etc. Live like flatmates I suppose."
Changer what is wrong with you, psychologically, that you intend staying in such a fuck-wit marriage, even after your DD leaves home?
Because, there is something very, very wrong.
I've read this in it's entirety.
I think perhaps when life disapoints you, it is natural to try and protect yourself from further sadness.
Sometimes we get it right, and sometimes we don't.
I'd be very curious to know what relationship Changenamer101 has with her parents as a child and now. This thinking is not spontaneous in an adult that has had a happy, healthy upbringing.
What traumas did you suffer through, Changenamer that led you to believe you are in a battle of life with no hope of winning? Who told you you are not worthy to receive the love you do deserve? What role models did you have for adult relationships?
As children, the wrongs of our parents are imprinted on our psyche permanently. The lucky few realize what damage was done and can work hard to overcome this. The rest plod on deluding themselves that this way of living is normal and repeat the cycle.
I would have more sympathy for you, but you are using your children as a shield against the world. Awful.
Quite classic upbringing Doe. Parents still happily married, brother and sisters all married with kids and only one divorce (and remarriage) and one death. Quite a large extended family, again all quite close. I'm the youngest, lots of cousins my age, lots of company. Childhood was great really, not loads of money but not poverty stricken. Dad worked full time, mum part time. Did well at school, no bullying or anything like that. First job was shit but second job I'm still in now, albeit in a more senior capacity. No traumas or tribulations, still in touch with childhood friends. I left my home town for work but travel back often to see family and friends. I'll be devastated when I lose my parents as will DD and DSD.
I'm quite hardened, don't have much time for whinging and whining. Have no time at all for people that blame someone else for their ills or think the world owes them a living. Im open to a point, quite blunt, no need to be coy. But at the same time my private life is mine alone. Very aware that no matter what there are a million people worse off than me and I'm very grateful for that.
I don't think there is any point in trying armchair psychology on me. I don't think I am 'worthless' or any bollocks like that. I just think DD is more important than me and I'd rather make her happy (and do) than me. Over and above all of this I really don't see why that is wrong. I would give my life for my daughter if we were in a life and death situation, most parents would, surely? All I am doing is giving up a part of my life now to ensure she is happy and safe.
I don't know what the future holds, no-one does, but telling me I am damaging my daughter now is wrong. I'm not. I'm doing my best for her.
Giving up a part of your life is understandable. Certain hobbies or nights out or money for nice clothes, etc. all the little things parents normally give up (sacrifice) for their children, that's ok.
To deny yourself your basic human rights to love, security, safety, a sense of well-being, self-esteem, self-love, independence and freedom of thought. You have none of those.
This is not a Black-and White situation. You don't have to deny yourself to give to your children.
Bottomline: A happy mother is a happy child.
(Yes, your daughter is probably oblivious to it all now. Your daughter is too little to understand adult reasoning. At 7 years of age, or sooner even, children begin to understand right from wrong.)
So you have two years to figure it out I suppose. From your stubbourness on this thread I imagine it'll take you that long at least.
but telling me I am damaging my daughter now is wrong. I'm not. I'm doing my best for her
You think you are and you are telling yourself that you are.
Why don't you take on board people here's experiences of growing up like that?
What do you think is different about what their parents did and what you are doing?
I'm quite hardened, don't have much time for whinging and whining. Have no time at all for people that blame someone else for their ills or think the world owes them a living.
Now I know it's not the done thing to link to other threads but in this situation I think it might be helpful.
There's one in relationships which has been started to support adult children of alcoholics.
No need to say any more I think.
Just read the last ten pages and am horrified at your situation, Changenamer.
Whilst I can see that you are doing what you think is best for your DD and DSD, and while they are small (how old is DSD?) it may actually be the case, please believe me, as a child of a similar marriage (with one hell of a lot more intermittent shouting, which took place after we had gone to bed but we heard it all, nonetheless), it won't last.
As soon as your DD is old enough to have a mind of her own, she will start asking questions, maybe answering back - how is your H going to react to that? If he's anything like my father was, it will be badly. Such men are lovely fathers while their daughters are compliant and well behaved. Any sign of anything else gets treated very harshly.
She will notice the drinking. We all did, once we were old enough. Although she didn't mean to (I hope), as the eldest my mother used me as her emotional crutch and then would rewrite history, whitewash things, lie to my face to keep up her facade of a happy, loving family. She couldn't even admit it to us while we were all living with it and now denies it ever happened and tells us we 'exaggerate'. Or the subject will be changed. The consequence of growing up being told that what you witness/feel/hear isn't true is that I can't trust people. Not even my lovely DH, not completely. It has scarred me.
One thing I saw in your original post really worried me - that you 'big up' your H to your DSD even though you don't mean it - do you really think she won't suss this out and start to despise you for it? Does her mother do the same (big him up)? Because if not, the conflicting messages are not going to be doing her any good at all and will lead her to distrust you.
When my mother gets maudlin for my (now-deceased) father and goes on about what a great provider and a generous man he was, I shrivel inside and it makes me dislike her intensely because she cannot admit her marriage was anything other than a success, even now he's gone. I suppose the lies become a habit and then become your own version of the truth if you keep them up long enough . Much as I love my mum, I have no respect for her because of this. Is that how you want your DD/DSD to view you?
You missed off the from your passive aggressive last post DoeEyed. Are you normally like this?
Love isn't a human right, but it if was I get plenty of it from DD and DSD. I don't need the love of a man, or to love a man to make me happy. Everything else in your list is happening too, so...?
I am a happy mother and I have a happy child. I'm an unhappy wife is all.
Amber Why don't you take on board people here's experiences of growing up like that?
But I have and as a result I am looking into the future and what it may hold. I've only been posting for a couple of days, I'm hardly going to make changes that quick am I? DD is 7, she sees nothing wrong with the way we live and is happy, healthy and loved. I go out of my way and against my feelings to make sure she sees nothing untoward.
Or do you think that she'd be better off living as I described above?
If it is a case of the lesser of two evils which would you pick? And don't say "but that might not happen" - what if it did?
Ada, DD is 7 and doesn't know what an alcoholic is, has never seen her father drunk (or me for that matter) and doesn't suffer because of his drinking. I shield her from all that.
Thumbwitch, I think the mask slipping idea is a sensible one, thank you for your understanding.
fluckered, I note that you say you and your H still love each other, deep down. I do think it's worth trying everything to see if you can make the situation better. Is your H properly medicated for his depression? Have you tried couples counselling?
Changenamer, I'm glad you've said you'll go back for legal advice. I can see why you are worried about the residence issue, so ask specifically if in the event of a separation, it would be possible to require your DH to make an undertaking not to drink alcohol during contact visits, along with a hairstrand or breathelyser test. I'm not sure what is legally possible, but ask your solicitor what kind of evidence would be acceptable in terms of his excessive drinking. Maybe you can start putting together your case for residence before you leave. Fwiw, my ex tried to claim he was the primary carer because he has a rather uneven employment record, to put it kindly. I left, taking DD, so established the status quo that I was the primary carer.
I can see why you think you're making the best decision, but you'd better make damn sure you're basing your reasoning on a realistic post-separation scenario. It would be rather tragic to waste so much of a life based on mistaken assumptions about the law.
I think we all want to do the best for our dcs, but living our lives with authenticity matters. I'm not arguing for parental selfishness, but if we are not authentic ourselves, how can we set that example for our children?
My parents had times of happyish marriage, and times when they were at war with each other. They will be celebrating 40 years of marriage this summer. They married young, and I don't think they are well suited, but divorce has never been an option. I'm actually glad they've always stuck together, and I expect my brothers would agree. It was only when I watched DH's lived up parents together, and asked him how often they argue, that I realised how turbulent parents marriage is.
But I have and as a result I am looking into the future and what it may hold. I've only been posting for a couple of days, I'm hardly going to make changes that quick am I?
No, of course not, I wouldn't expect that at all, but it's the way you seem to be pushing forward with the argument that it's not that bad and it's not affecting your DD adversely, even though others here have recounted how similar has affected them. you don't seem to see the parallels. You are still stating categorically that it is all fine.
DD is 7, she sees nothing wrong with the way we live and is happy, healthy and loved. I go out of my way and against my feelings to make sure she sees nothing untoward
I don't doubt she is loved.
But so many people have told of how they knew despite their Mums putting on an act. Again I don't understand why you think it will be different in your case when you admit that your actions are not congruent with your feelings.
^Or do you think that she'd be better off living as I described above?
If it is a case of the lesser of two evils which would you pick? And don't say "but that might not happen" - what if it did?^
How about this, you carry on as you are and it will go the way others have described. You are not happy and your DD grows up with an illusion of a good relationship, but one day it will come crashing down.
Or, you make a change, you are single but happy, you daughter lives in an honest household where what she sees is how it really is. She is happy and you are happy.
Don't say 'that might not happen' what if it did?
I understand you must feel got at Changenamer and that's understandable. It's clear from your posts that you're a loving mum who wants to do the best for her daughter, and step daughter. That really does shine through.
I know a seven year old doesn't know what an alcoholic is, why should they? But they won't be seven forever and will soon realise something is not right even if they don't know what that something is.
If you take anything from this thread, I hope it's the eventual realisation that your and you're daughters deserve better than to live your lives in this way.
But you answered my question with a question Amber. I'm listening to you and taking what you say onboard, but thats a bit unfair of you. Can you not see what I am saying? Can't you see how hard this is?
I can answer yours - of course I would rather be single and happy with a happy daughter, who wouldn't be?
But DD won't be happy living in a shit tip with a father that goes to bed at 7, even if she didn't see the drinking. Or a father that forgets to feed her because beer means he has no appetite and all the other myriad of things that would make her life untenable.
Sensibly what I had taken from this thread is that it needent be forever. I need to find out what age DDs wishes will be taken into consideration and I need to find out if there is any way of proving alcohol abuse. They are probably the only things, realistically, that I would have on my side. I think if I cannot prove the alcohol abuse then I'm screwed and I will have made things worse for all of us.
If I had a 50/50 option I would rather DD hated me for 'lying' to her than hated me for tearing her family apart just to make me happy.
DSD is of an age (senior school) that she would recognise heavy drinking, if not alcoholism, but I am loathe to drag her into this. Her mum is an above average drinker I would say, ie wine every night, but that is seen as normal these days isn't it? To me it's excessive, but that's because I don't drink at all (and when I did wine turned me into an idiot far quicker than any other drink).
Maybe IMHO some posters could have gone a bit more gently with Changenamer (especially now we learn she's only recently started posting) but I know the challenging has been well intentioned (and we are well known as a nest of vipers after all !)
What I hope you take away from the thread is a gradual realisation that how you're living now may not be, and needn't be, forever.
In cognitive therapy there's the idea of challenging people during counselling to consider whether they 100% believe what they are stating as their position or whether maybe there could be some grey areas, perhaps a few chinks of light beginning to shine through into some of those darker places.
I think this is why changenamer is here on the thread.
Wishing her and others love, luck, and courage anyway x
Just X posted with you there Changenamer and really pleased to see you saying that what you'll take from the thread "is that it needn't be forever"
Good luck with the journey
While I disagree with what changenamer is doing, I do believe that she is doing what she thinks is best for her child. Isn't that all any parent can do really?
While I still feel angry towards my mum for staying in such an awful situation, the counselling taught me to step back and try to look at it from her view point. She honestly believed she did the right thing, she still does to this day. I just feel so incredibly sad for her that she wasted most of her life - she thinks it was worth it.
I've had to let go of that, accept that we have very different ways of looking at the world and go on to hopefully not repeat the same mistakes when I have my own children. I'm sure I'll make other mistakes though.
This whole thread makes me so sad. As a chld if divorced parents I know 100% I would never 'stay together for the kids' too many people get hurt
My parents stayed together... It was hell! However now we've all left home the seem happy:/
sorry i havent been back til now. my head has not been right for last few days. and tbh i feel namechagers situation is a bit different to mine so didnt reply. thanks for those that replied to me. namechanger dont be sorry you havent hijacked perhaps was a good thing and will help your situation. one thing stands out that i resent is being accused of being a "martyr". but i cant even argue the point as havent the energy. we have tried all of those counselling .. together/seperately ... helps for a while. both on anti ds. his are being upped the whole time. on 4 different meds daily. i am still up in the air about what to do its in the back of my mind the whole time. i guess time will just slip by. am kind of numb to it at this stage. guess it makes me spineless and weak wont argue with you. but thanks for listening.
You don't think we all deserve to be loved? The right to have love if you want it? How sad.
If I had a 50/50 option I would rather DD hated me for 'lying' to her than hated me for tearing her family apart just to make me happy.
What family? You don't have a 'family'. You have a shell.
And just to make me happy? Have you missed the point of the thread? This isn't about you, this is about your children.
I must keep in mind you have brainwashed yourself for the last four years and no, you won't see reason in the space of a few days.
My abrupt posts stem from the anger I still harbour against my mother who put her own needs above mine and yet told herself and me how self-sacrificing she was. Grand Martyr and all. What a crock of shite. But at least you won't have to deal with me any more deeply than as an annoying poster that will soon be gone. But it could be worse.
I could be your daughter in 10 years.
Change, I know this is really hard for you. I know it isn't as simple as just making a decision, you have to act on it and that is the scary bit. I do understand.
I answered you with a question just to show there are other options, I think Ive answered already anyway, I said firstly I don't think you could be forced into sending her under those circumstances but I hear you on the proving it part and that is something to look into.
I think it was AF that touched on enabling his alcoholism, what you say about him being sole carer on visits and him being drunk, don't let the thought of that stop you moving forward, it may well be the wake up call to him to get his drinking problem in check. That is his decision though and not one you should feel you are responsible for.
I'll give you an insight to why I am banging on a bit, I know how it feels to be scared of rocking the boat, scared of how things will be after you leave and scared if it is indeed the right thing to do. I was with my EX for about 15 years, I wasn't happy and I knew I/our relationship wasn't his priority, we didn't have the same problems that you are having, but there were good enough reasons for me to leave him.
Probably because my own parents had divorced, I really wanted my family unit to work, I think I hung around longer than I should've because of that. I am aware that that may have hurt my children.
I did leave him and I will not lie and say it was easy, financially it was really hard, He had always provided well for our family while I was a SAHM but I knew before I left that he would be able to dodge paying if he chose to. That was what he did in the end and he hasn't paid a penny towards their upkeep since.
He was angry, he had manipulated me into feeling I didn't have options and I think he played on my insecurities. He threatened me, real serious threats too. He threatened to walk away from the children, then he threatened to go for custody, he also threatened me personally, It was all just words though and because I just called his bluff he didn't go through with any of it.
He has regular contact and is pretty friendly with me nowdays, the first 4 months were the hardest.
So despite all of that and the big changes in circumstances, moving/finance etc, I am so much happier, my boys are happy, their dad is happy and they get to spend time with him without any atmosphere. He has certainly behaved better in the long run than I thought he was going to.
I have thought a few times what if we had stayed together, because I know I could have, but it was fake and I am genuinely happier now.
So I do understand how hard this is.
It could be so much better for you and your family than how it is now.
I think Changenamer needs some time to process all of this.
I agree with that amillionyears.
...and sorry for the mahoosive post
Don't be sorry, it was great Amber -
And well done to you !
Sounds quite tough at times, but worth it x
Thanks Juggling, definitely worth it.
Just seen the OPs post
guess it makes me spineless and weak wont argue with you. but thanks for listening
Not at all spineless or weak, I hope that you get some clarity soon.
OP, you are not spineless and weak. You are doing your best now. Ditto CN, I can see where you're coming from - and who's to say that in a few years, you may think differently? Not to say you should but just that we can really only do what we believe, in our hearts, is best at that time. For instance, a person would have to be an idiot to go into a marriage, or other long-term relationship - including parenthood, thinking your decision was bad. At the time it is the right thing. But shit happens. Because the OP and NC feel this way now is up to them and them alone - none of us have walked a mile in their shoes. And as their children grow older, maybe seeing them less physically reliant - and far more vocal - will spur these posters to take different courses of action.
NC - your DDs will at some point comment on the drinking. I'd keep it as ammunition. Don't write it off or gloss over it.... Just saying.
Best to you both.
Have read most of the thread. Just to add - no it doesn't work staying together for the sake of the children. My parents did. We all lived this facade of a "happy family". Actually it was quite frightening to live like that for a child. How it affected me was never feeling able to talk about how I felt (because the expectation was that everything was happy). I had panic attacks and anxiety for years as an adult, and counselling for years too (which worked!). The panic attacks were repressed emotion - it was how I learnt to deal with all my emotions. I was angry with my mum for a time too, though now I completely understand why she felt she wanted to stay/ hide her true emotions, and I love her to bits.
She also says even now that we were sheltered from the worst bits and we had "no idea" there was anything wrong. Of course we knew. It wasn't a good way to grow up (to put it very, very mildly). My relationships have not been happy ones, and I link it to that. I learnt to turn my back on pretty major problems.
The good news is, now in my 40's and fairly recently out of a terrible marriage (which I did find the courage to walk away from - but that at one point I thought I'd never find the courage to leave. I also went through all the agonies of thinking would it be better to stay for the sake of my children. Now I have left I can't imagine even considering that would have been better. There is NO comparison to how I feel now, and how I felt then.) I finally feel confident and happy!
But my advice to those with small children in unhappy marriages - I think the most powerful message you can give them is about what is right/ acceptable in a relationship, because ultimately that is what they will carry forward into their own relationships. If you teach them to put up with misery, and put themselves second (even if you think you are hiding it) then that is what they will "choose" as an adult (subconsciously I mean). I would do everything I possibly can to avoid that for my own dd.
Have to say, I agree with Doe - in so far that the OP really doesn't have a family to keep together. She really, really doesn't.
Everything she does, everything her family do, is based totally on lies and pretence, and denial. That's not a family, well not in my world anyway. That's just a group of people, related by blood, living under the same roof.
And, like Doe I harboured so much bad feeling towards my Mum, for so many years. Because I was so resentful of her Martyr Complex 'Oh, but I did it all for yoooouuuuuu, because I loved you soooooo much.'
No. You didn't, Mum. If you'd really loved me, really, truly loved me, you would have taken some very brave, and hard steps, and been a stronger woman. You would have been a woman I could admire, and look up to. A woman who was selfless enough to realise that some short term pain, was more than worth the long term gain.
But, NC, for instance is terrified she may lose custody. While it may be unlikely, it's a risk, isn't it? The desire to stop that happening must be overwhelming. She is putting herself in a position where she is there for her girls, and while it's not ideal, I can see why she feels that way. Imagine if the alcoholic, lazy arse twisted things and got residence?? How dreadful for those girls. FWIW, I suspect things will change once the girls are older and they begin to question things (and see the truth of what their DF is)...
If you'd really loved me, really, truly loved me, you would have taken some very brave, and hard steps, and been a stronger woman. You would have been a woman I could admire, and look up to. A woman who was selfless enough to realise that some short term pain, was more than worth the long term gain.
LaQueen you are bang on the money!
fluckered, I we shouldn't be conflating your situation with changenamer. Is there any way you could get a break from your H - could he go to family for bit, for example. You both sound trapped and miserable, and if it's possible to have some time apart, it might clarify whether you miss each other and both feel you're ready to make another effort. Or you might find your depression lifting, and that's another answer.
I know it's easier said than done, and not everyone has helpful family, but if there is any way of making the experiment, it might make things clearer.
That's good advice, Nickname. Crumbs, you are coping with your own depression, OP, and that of your DH. Do you have any support from your GP? Or can you request some CBT? You sound so exhausted.
(And, FWIW, I don't think the posts inferring weakness etc are especially helpful to someone who is ill.)
Hello Fluckered, I'm sorry that all my shite took over your thread. I really didn't expect so many comments (or judgements) on my situation, but then this is MN - I was a bit naive. I hope that things go better for you soon. I am very lucky with my situation, and I feel for you, sincerely.
Juggling, thank you for your kind words and understanding, but I should point out that I'm actually a MN regular under a name change. My 'posting for 2 days' comment was meant to say 'posting about my situation'. I don't want to mislead you and I'm sadly well aware of how viperish this place can be . Your good wishes are gratefully accepted though.
AmberLeaf. I do understand what you are saying, and why. I cannot agree with all of it though. I've discovered today that the only way to 'prove' an alcoholic is with court ordered Liver Function Tests - but there has to be a reason (ie previous Drink Driving convictions etc) for them to be court ordered. Oh and LFTs aren't always conclusive. In America they are starting to use hair strand tests, but not here.
I seem to be between rock/hard place - the only way to prove DD would be in danger is for DD to have already been in danger - and DH punished. If that had happened I wouldn't be here now.
Things are never that easy are they
(Oh and LeQueen, you keep saying OP when I think you mean me. I don't want poor Fluckered to be tarred with my brush, as its not fair on her and you are being rather 'robust' so could you just clarify so she doesn't feel bad please? Thanks)
fluckered - I didn't realise both you and your DH are on meds, that makes everything harder. I absolutely know it's incredibly to make a decision on strong antiDs - getting through the day is the most you feel you can aim at.
But equally you know you won't feel like this forever, and when you can see the wood for the trees again perhaps you might have a rethink?
changenamer You feel it's working now and I'm not going to argue with you. I can also see why you worry that custody might be a my word/his word situation.
But how about this: by the time your DD is, say, 10 (possibly younger depending on her maturity) there's a very real chance she'll be seeing more than you want, partic if she's up later in the evenings. That gives you (say) three years to plan your getaway with chess-like, meticulous, accuracy. Start making notes of his drinking. Report any situations. Squirrel money away. Expect him to cook and clean more and make it clear to your DD and DSD that if you don't do it, he doesn't. And, as another poster pointed out, let the mask slip a little.
Basically, set yourself up to win custody further down the line.
This isn't a life sentence. Gather your armies now for victory in the future.
Edit: "I absolutely know it's incredibly difficult to make a decision on strong antiDs - getting through the day is the most you feel you can aim at."
God, what an awful time of it she had, Panpiper. for her and all children of alcoholics who go through shit like this.
But Changenamer will, I believe, get herself and her DD out of that situation before it becomes like Meg Henderson's.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
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