Not sure if this is a good place to start

(23 Posts)
sosaddad Mon 15-Feb-16 13:44:12

Hi....I am a dad, so firstly I don't know if posting anything here is appropriate, but I'm keen to hear some views on my situation from an independent female perspective. I'll try and summarise:
we're both 49
Married 23 years this year - mostly great
3 brilliant children, 18, 17 and 13
I am a pretty full on guy, alpha male, run my own business and quite a gregarious and extrovert character
I have just left my business at the end of January following a tough 2 year period and am restarting again
My wife has stayed at home to raise our children (who are v balanced and fantastic), so has not worked for 18+ years
I have supported us financially with big mortgage, 3 x private schools, etc etc.
It's been very hard for the last few years and financially, we have been up against it and liquidated all assets to pay for school fees and are now left with just the equity in our home and some income for the consulting work that I do.
The last few years have been very tough for us and also on our marriage and the pressure has spilled into our personal lives.
I have been too heavy handed on my wife and her emotions and pushed her too hard
She has lost her "spirit" and identity and feels crushed, bullied and manipulated by me
She has detached from me emotionally probably over the last 2 years.
We have had a lot of emotional friction over the last year, but have not ever sought any outside help.
In the run up to the 18th Jan, we have had no professional help, but I have felt we're "losing it", but my wife has always been accusing me of being the problem. I have tried to help her by telling here to find happiness and do more things for herself and have pushed her to make a decision about the direction of our future
On the 18th Jan, she told me she wants a divorce and 2 weeks later I received a draft petition from her.
In the last 4 weeks, we have spent just a few hours in total discussing this, but she is adamant she wants a divorce and that it is 100% my fault.
Our collective friends are stunned and she has not discussed any of this with them. In fact I do not really know who she has spoken to apart from her immediate family and a few outsiders
Her mother and father came over last week (they live in Ireland) and I was told by her father in no uncertain terms, our marriage is over and I am 100% to blame.
I still love my wife with all my heart and I do not want a divorce, but I don't have a choice.
We have missed out a big step in the process having gone from lots of relationship problems to a full divorce in about 1 month, with no counselling or professional intervention.
It feels like she has just hit the eject button out of fear and panic and wants to run away without thought for the collateral damage to children and friends/family or where this course of action will really take us
I know there is no easy way around a divorce and it is one of the most painful experiences and also that eventually, we'll be OK but do not see any good coming from this and despite my faults as a husband, this just feels profoundly wrong

I'd love to hear some comments

Thanks, with a very heavy heart
x

BoyGirlBoy3 Mon 15-Feb-16 14:04:42

I could be your wife, as in I have been a stay at home parent for 17 years, and have had the same number of children, I have no marriage problems, but I can't tell you how strange I feel generally. My children are now growing up fast, there is no guide book for this part of life. You get married, your one of the 'lucky' ones, who doesn't need to work, you listen to your husband when he says 3 children is enough, but inevitably the children need you less, then what for the good girl, who has done everything by the book, there is washing and cooking, but small children want to go places with you, you lose that, and its a big loss. I really feel a 'project' might help me and my husband, like moving, or doing up a house, or something like that, but everything costs money, and you never have less than when your children are older teenagers. Tell her you love her, and work out a plan of how/where you can live, that she could have confidence in.

sosaddad Mon 15-Feb-16 14:12:53

that's so interesting in regard to the point about as the children grow up and become less and less dependant on their parents. From a mum's perspective this must be even harder and probably makes you hang on even more at the expense of relationships and your own happiness.

I anyone else ever feels like this; please don't let it become too late. Find a project, a hobby or something that fulfils you, makes you happy and confident and gets you back to the true person you are. Don't blame anyone.

BoyGirlBoy3 Mon 15-Feb-16 14:19:26

In terms of relationships, remember a relationship is essentially a series of exchanges, that build trust. Begin again with her, tell her you will meet her at a time that will fit well with her schedule, turn up on time, buy her coffee, be happy and present, and try to build it again, piece by piece, just like the first time, good luck.

sosaddad Mon 15-Feb-16 14:26:00

thanks so much for this. There is no rule book for matters of the heart; as you say it is just a series of exchanges that centre around trust and I guess a key aspect is to try and maintain appropriate communication, which is very hard to do as our situation is currently very one-sided in direction. I will live in hope and reflection.

Guiltypleasures001 Mon 15-Feb-16 14:34:13

Hi Dad

Lovely, with respect living with an Alpha male is tiring and overwhelming, from your post it seems that all the big decisions were yours to make as well as finance, or maybe even because you were financing them.

You also freely admit you have been heavy handed with her and her feelings, in some respects this sounds like the worm has turned. You have lost control which you admit is your normal day to day mode, and now your out of control and flying without a parachute.

This is new territory for you, and there will be lessons to be learnt from it, I also feel that playing the Alpha male part can be tiring for the Alpha too. Allowing her to have this control back in her life is something you need to give her if you truly care for her well being.

Now might be the time for you to see a professional and really reflect on your part in this breakup, it sounds like you have some insight already, I tip my hat at your honest post it can't have been easy.

sosaddad Mon 15-Feb-16 14:54:37

Yes! I think I have now recognised the extent that I have influenced and controlled her and the control has now shifted entirely towards her; that's probably a good thing in some respects, but only a very small token of what needs to happen and it may be too late sad. I guess it is like everything in life....it's about creating a balance. Getting the right balance is so hard, particularly when one's life is under pressure. Like millions of people, we all have to deal with work, family, children, spouses, friends, health etc. You can't do it on your own.

God I wish I could have a chance to explore other options with my wife. We are both good people, with sound values and principles; we are blessed with our children and have great friends and family. From here, we have so much to gain in our lives and everything to lose. The last few weeks have been intolerable and you're right that it was very hard to post my thoughts.....I have never done this before on any website.

DoreenLethal Mon 15-Feb-16 15:01:58

Find a project, a hobby or something that fulfils you

If you are with the wrong partner, no hobby is going to fulfil you.

I have been too heavy handed on my wife and her emotions and pushed her too hard
She has lost her "spirit" and identity and feels crushed, bullied and manipulated by me

But some crochet will sort her out, eh?

Alternatively, she gets a divorce and freedom from the bullying and manipulation. What's not to like?

Fourormore Mon 15-Feb-16 15:04:31

What do you think you could have done to make things better?

A hobby was never going to be enough for your wife.

QuiteLikely5 Mon 15-Feb-16 15:06:58

You must accept everything she is saying as her truth. Just what did she say about you? Think about it and accept it was true at least from her perspective.

It is also possible that she has been very unhappy for a long time but now that you have lost your financial backing, her only incentive to remain has faded.

BoyGirlBoy3 Mon 15-Feb-16 15:11:14

To be fair, I suggested a joint 'project', maybe not all that clearly, but that's what i meant. What I was trying to get to, is that after your children go beyond needing you a great deal, maybe age 12, depends on the child, life doesn't have the same structure, and defined goals, it once did, and if you have been a stay at home mum, you have every right to feel 'lost'. I don't have the answer, I just understand a part of the problem.

sosaddad Mon 15-Feb-16 15:22:55

I do know that I can only affect the conditions for her happiness and not her actual happiness. She must pursue the things that make her happy and TBH that may not include me; I pray not. My biggest issue is that we have not tried to save our marriage and after 24 years that is such a shame and a waste of life

I have caused a great deal of damage and I realise that, but I want to sort things out, but that is very hard to do as well as to try and live in her perspective when she has shut down her emotions with me. I think I know some of what I need to do and I'd rather we spend the next 5 years repairing our current life than trying to create a new one.

I have to go out now and will check in later, but thank you all for sharing your thoughts.x

Gobbolino6 Tue 16-Feb-16 05:49:16

I think it's hard from your thread to work out what's gone on.

I'm concerned by some of your comments, though. While I'm sure your wife isn't perfect (no one is), and while I'm sure she has her own struggles, you sound like you might be rather controlling and possibly emotionally abusive? I don't know, it's a shot in the dark. What has she accused you of?

Allgunsblazing Tue 16-Feb-16 06:46:15

Nobody turns around after 23 years of marriage and serves divorce papers just for the sake of it. The backstory is most probably huge. Let her be, OP, you've done enough damage by the sound of it.

Curlywurly4 Tue 16-Feb-16 07:08:37

Your post is very vague and missing details about pushing her to do things, make decisions but I agree it sound like you have been controlling, coercive and domineering for a long time and now she wants out.

Is you wife on mumsnet?

sosaddad Tue 16-Feb-16 07:30:17

I have been controlling and over dominant and emotionally abusive. The hardest thing to deal with is that my actions in that respect are subconscious. I have never deliberately done anything to hurt her: I love her. I've always believed I am doing the right thing for my family. I think of late, I have just pushed too hard. That said, I have spent the last 6 months studying mindfulness and meditation and it has been very helpful to me. If we can't save my marriage, I will just have to accept my mistakes and move on.

I dont think my wife is on Mumsnet: I'd love her to join this conversation though

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 16-Feb-16 08:02:03

Having been in a slightly similar position to your wife. She has seen a chink of light in her life and is running towards it nothing you can say or do will stop her. Once you realise you have been squashed, bullied and emotionally abused and see a way out you never, ever want to return to it.
You may feel you have missed a step out, however, your wife has climbed a thousand steps to get where she is.

DoreenLethal Tue 16-Feb-16 08:27:44

I have been controlling and over dominant and emotionally abusive. The hardest thing to deal with is that my actions in that respect are subconscious. I have never deliberately done anything to hurt her:

I dont think my wife is on Mumsnet: I'd love her to join this conversation though

I don't believe you OP. Posting on a female space goading her into responding is another method of control.

I don't believe that your actions are subconscious [do you do this with other people or just your soon to be ex wife?].

Guiltypleasures001 Tue 16-Feb-16 10:27:14

Op it's quite telling when when you say " we can't save MY marriage" unconsciously or not this is still about you. All the mindfulness in the world isn't going to save the marriage, 18yrs of domination abuse and pushing is soul destroying.

You need help separately your future relationships will suffer the same way, and I doubt your not treating your kids much different. It might be an eye opener for you to ask them the truth of what it's been like living with you.

If you want the best for your wife then give her what she wants, and don't make things hard for her
Maybe you can salvage some sort of friendship, but saying you know your controlling and abusive is a start, but it's not an excuse. The real work if your serious about change starts now, letting go of the reigns will go against everything you know and believe.

AnotherEmma Tue 16-Feb-16 10:36:35

Are you fucking joking?!
You've been emotionally abusive and you want our sympathy?!
You're not getting mine.

You need to accept that you've treated her badly and be honest with friends and family about it. Treat her with the respect that she deserves as you go through the difficult process of separation and divorce. That includes respecting her decision.

The most loving thing to do is to acknowledge the damage you've done and let her go.

I wish your wife every happiness.

AnotherEmma Tue 16-Feb-16 10:38:47

If you really are sorry and want to change, you could do this:
www.freedomprogramme.co.uk/men.php

sosaddad Tue 16-Feb-16 10:53:50

Lonecatwithkitten That's very insightful and I see that now. Thank you.

Guiltypleaures001. The reference to we saving my marriage was a typo and is not about "my" at all.

I am actually letting go of the reigns and the right outcome will transpire. I will just do my best for my family to get through to the other side, whatever that looks like.

In making a post here I am not goading my wife or looking for sympathy, I simply want to get a wider and independent perspective than that of my own or my/our friends and family, who obviously have an emotional attachment. It has been really helpful. Thank you all

I really appreciate you all for taking time to share your thoughts as we are all probably in a place that we'd rather not be. I wish you all well. X

DoreenLethal Tue 16-Feb-16 13:38:36

I simply want to get a wider and independent perspective than that of my own or my/our friends and family

And yet you picked a specific female space to do this in. Strange that.

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