Just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone for responding when I needed support. DH and I have since talked a lot and he does not want us to split up but he wants things to be different - go out together more and have fun. He still says sex is out of the question but we are going to couples counselling next week. As per your queries - in his job it is normal to work away and come home at weekends or for 2 weeks per month and two of our friends/neighbours have husbands doing exactly the same. So that in itself was not a problem and I could go and stay with him at weekends so we could do new stuff in a new place. He assures me that there is absolutely no one else real or hoped for. I don't think I am being a mug believing this as I genuinely don't know when he would fit anyone in! I still feel low because its a bit like being in limbo and we may eventually separate because more than anything we have drifted apart and become friends rather than lovers. Whatever happens think mumsnet is a great support network and thank you all.
OP, very sorry to read this. I expect you're feeling awful. Did this really, truly, simply come out of the blue? It sounds like an extremely complicated situation and I think you are better off talking about it at length to someone in real life.
My worries are that he is indeed edging away from the marriage, and I think he is asking rather more from you than is perhaps fair. If I were you I would be asking him a lot of hard questions about what he does really want and what is in his mind.
I'm a woman but it sounds like he's asking for space to see if he can do any better on his own (or possibly with someone else, but you haven't nentioned any suspicions) whilst you maintain the status quo at home so he can return if the grass isn't greener. Sorry, but that's how it looks,
I'm 28, been married 3 years. I'm struggling to see how this will work, & I think he is letting you down gently for future departure.
Your children will cope with the news, an ex gf's dad left when she was 18 and although short term it was hell, med to long term the dad has a relationship - your hubby should man up and split with honesty and dignity.
Me personally, even at my tender age, I have experienced sexless relationships and sampling greener grass, and it was an enormous mistake, I'm very lucky to have been given a second chance.
After 30 years together and being in our early 50's my husband left me shell shocked by asking this weekend if we could have a secret trial separation. He will get a job and flat in another part of the country and come home for weekends most of the time. He wants me to stay in the family home and act as if nothing is amiss so that we do not upset our grown up children or family and friends until/unless we have to. He worries that the children he loves will be hurt unnecessarily and no longer adore him if they find out. The working away from home was not a surprise as we have discussed this before and it will make him feel happier about his work and get him a last promotion to keep him working until he retires, so I had already gone along with that anyway. Our last child left home a year ago and we have always had an intermittent sex life, with me wanting to work on ways to get it back on track but him reluctant unless it was his idea to go for counselling. I knew we needed to work on things and that neither of us was happy with the ways things were sex wise but I hoped we could work on it together, rather than by putting 500 miles between us. He says that he still loves me and is happy with the friendship and team ness of our relationship, but unless he has the space to get a perspective on our relationship he will not be able to work out if he values what he has enough with me to stay together. He thinks the time apart might make him appreciate our marriage and me more and he wants to work on saving it. He says that if he stays he will never be able to have sex with me again because he just isn't interested but if he goes and does decide he values us enough he will choose to return and work on intimacy. I don't want to throw away 30 years or lose the person that I love but am I being a mug giving him space? Is there any chance he will value the ordinary and familiar me over the exciting new life? Or should I just accept that he thinks this is a good way of letting me down gently and preparing his kids for the inevitable? I want to be my usual loyal and supportive self but it is a challenge as I feel like my heart is being broken in slow motion. I would really appreciate a male point of view as I am torn between waves of grief, anger, hope and loss. What is he really asking for?