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How do you know for sure that you should leave?

(431 Posts)
Apty Sat 01-Sep-12 21:59:21

Relationships are full of good and bad. What do you do when you are confused about the balance and how bad it really is?

My instincts tell me to leave sometimes, and then at other times that seems like the worst thing to do.

Do you reach a point when you know?

fridakahlo Sun 02-Sep-12 20:23:28

My story (which someone asked for)is, in brief I married someone who I never should have married in the first place but due to ongoing mental health issues I felt like I really had no choice.
It is only now, that I realise, I would have been better off collapsing totally back then, getting sectioned and starting the process of re-building myself several years ago. But then I would not have my two beautiful children, so who knows.
I spent the first year and a half of my dd's life pretending everything was fine and I was wonderfully happy, while thinking about suicide.
Got to a point where I went to the GP for help, which was the start of the bumpy road to recovery, while dealing with a husband who really did not get it and wanted to continue pretending every thing was fine, he has also admitted that quite a lot of his behaviour to me has been emotionally abusive to me over the years.
So I tried to leave him, in 2009, but he persuaded me to have another go and enter marriage counselling, when it all transpired between my husband and my counsellor, that the bad things were mostly my fault (did not mn back then), bearing in mind that I had been struggling with my mental health for years.
So at that point, I went back to pretending everything was fine, he had a couple of job offers in different places and I thought perhaps moving would help in some way (how, who knows?)
We moved to NJ before we did we agreed that if I felt I was struggling, I would be able to seek out a therapist.
When we had moved, it did of course, get worse, his working and drinking increased and despite many positives, the negatives increased.
April 2011, I was starting to feel homicidal towards him, at which point I said to him, "Time for that therapist", to which his answer was basically no. I had started reading mn by this point and was really beginning to grasp the unhealthy aspects of our relationship.
When he said no to the therapist I had no mental faculties for dealing with the situation in a healthy positive manner so basically started looking for any way of making myself feel better, which mainly involved extra marital sex.
There is a long thread on here detaling my insane summer last year, feel free to search for it.
I have been pretty much stable since last December, not acting out ect.
Husband has stopped.drinking, is around more and is much nicer to the kids, we have been having marriage therapy but for me the changes feel too little too late and I don't trust them to be long long term, plus I should not have married him in the first place.
This is all complicated by the fact I have long term fatigue issues, I will have to go back to the UK to get a divorce, the kids could not come with me, at least not in the short term.
Oh and due to the past mental health issues, I have no idea how I would cope on my own as well.
So kind of stuck.
I know that was long but that was a summary of the issues as they stand.

Apty Sun 02-Sep-12 21:34:28

Frida that's an awful lot of obstacles in the way for you. Are your children still quite little? Do you think that your dh makes your mh issues worse or does he help?

Agree about getting back sense of self - that's so important, you completely forget who you are when you're bogged down in all of this. Work has been a good escape for me but lately i've been too stressed and anxious to feel like I'm doing a good job at anything. With jobs and children it's hard to find the space to do nice things sometimes but I do need to try.

VanderElsken Sun 02-Sep-12 21:39:30

Read 'too good to leave, too bad to stay' by Mira kirshenbaum. It diagnoses the truth and gives you a solid answer as much as is possible.

fridakahlo Sun 02-Sep-12 22:28:08

Thanks for the support,.I shall be ordering the book over the next couple of days.
I am sure I will get to the right decision sooner rather than later.

ThistlePetal Sun 02-Sep-12 22:59:22

I am also hoping that getting a bit of space away from DH will give me time to sort my head and self esteem out, seems like good advice.

Apty it is so difficult to find this time and space, I guess especially so for you, but even just having a long bath can be useful time out, or walking to work/ home from school run... Listening to loud music helps me zone out of real life for a while too.

Frida I hope you do reach your answer, sounds like you've had an arduous journey so far - I'm finding the book really helpful and quite different to other relationships books, but haven't worked right through it yet.

My DH is away for the week so I will get the space I've been asking for (initially when I asked he actually started following me around and buying me presents - unheard of - had to ask counsellor to spell it out to him and he seems to listen to her). He's promising to start making some of these promised changes this week so we shall see. I'm still thinking it's too little too late, trying to stay open to the possibility it's not.

Feckbox Sun 02-Sep-12 23:06:50

Oh my goodness. I SO relate to hiding in my own house , even from my children sad

TotallyKerplunked Mon 03-Sep-12 01:10:10

I'm in the same sort of situation sad.

DH is a good man and we have had many good times so it is so confusing and he loves DS and our families would never forgive me.

I'm just so unhappy, I dread DH coming home from work and weekends are torture. I can't really explain why its just so many little things. The relationship is cloying, from the moment he moved in he gave up his friends/hobbies and made it all about us which sounds wonderful but I have things I used to love to do which he has gradually stopped as I can't cope with the sulking. The constant sex groping, the selfishness of not even letting me have a hour lie in (our DS is a non-sleeper 1 yr and counting) without banging around is really pushing me over the edge.

But I am so consumed by whether all this is enough to ruin so many lives? My DM told me I had made my bed and at least he is not violent but I can't imagine another 40 yrs with him. What do you do when you've got no job and are reliant on another?

fridakahlo Mon 03-Sep-12 01:27:04

The constant groping is never a good thing, before I dropped my basket, every time I bent over I would get my arse slapped, every time we would hug, I would start getting a stiffy rubbed against me.

God that makes me feel sick. Kudos to my DH, he would never treat me like that. In fact, if anything I don't get any sort of sexual behaviour outside of the bedroom. Maybe it would help if I did - it would help kep some sort of thrill alive i n my head.
I've noticed - I feel like I'm detaching mentally from him. I am closing down all sorts of emotional responses when he talks. Like - there's a problem and I think 'It's because of XYZ (if it is, not if it isn't - i am not that horrible!!!!) and so you caused it, you sort it, nothing to do with me, my dear.....'

DOes anybody else do that? It worries me. I should be engaged mentally with him.

fridakahlo Mon 03-Sep-12 06:39:43

I guess in your shoes, lost, I would sit down and think about whether I wanted to reconnect with him and then if I did, try and think of ways of doing that. If I did not, figuring out why not would be important to me too.
You could always try relate, on your own perhaps?

ThistlePetal Mon 03-Sep-12 07:26:11

Kerplunked, I so recognise what you are saying - my DH has also over the years let his own friendships dwindle away to nothing.... And I dread him coming home, as he has been so dependant on me to run his life and he is just this big presence waiting to be guided....

And I have a fairly toxic mother who would see my leaving him as a great big stick to beat me with. So there will be less than no support coming from my parents - if anything I'll end up having to prop them up too as I'll have disgraced the family once again and they will create a drama of their own....

But these aren't reasons to stay another 40 years, are they (I'm trying to convince myself as much as you here!)?

I know from reading other threads that CItizens Advice might be able to help you work out how you can support yourself if you do leave. If you can see how it would work then that's one less barrier to leaving.

Lost - my DH hasn't even tried anything sexually of any sort for some time now (again, once I stopped taking the lead, it all just stopped) - and I do think it's part of the problem - the odd thrill would have been nice....

Stayed up late to finish the Too Good to Stay book.... Still processing it but very worthwhile read indeed!

Feckbox Mon 03-Sep-12 07:53:13

Did the book held you decide ? It did not really help me. I KNOW I want to be apart from him already.
IT JUST SEEMS TOO CRUEL ON HIM AND THE CHILDREN TO MAKE HIM LEAVE

ThistlePetal Mon 03-Sep-12 08:04:52

Well Feck, I'll reflect on it a bit more today, but right now I could say the same as you! There were definitely 5 or 6 questions I answered No to.... So it confirmed my worst fears that I do want to leave. Still not convinced I'd be happier, because of the upset it would cause (and lack of support as above....). But maybe those are short term problems and in a year's time we might all be happier....

Aargh! I'll report back later.....

Toastwithatwist Mon 03-Sep-12 09:28:46

I've been lurking for a long time and registered to send a message on a this thread, specifically to Coconutter but it may help others.

I was one half of a 'golden couple'. We were destined to be together, people commented on how amazing it was we found each other, we were going the full distance, and we were solid. No children (I never wanted them, he was ambivialent at best - although I think he'd be a terrific father).

Except we weren't a golden couple. We loved each other very much (still do), never argued, there was no abuse or affairs. But we weren't married. There wasn't a marriage there, there was two fantastic housemates and friends. We knew about it, talked periodically, made a few big efforts to sort things out. Nothing changed - we were fantastic at being friends, but not very good at being married. last summer I got home one evening and sat in the car knowing I didn't want to be there. A couple of days after that we talked, a bit, and I said I was going to a friend's for a few days. That was a Wednesday evening, and he was distraught.

The Saturday morning I looked at a flat, having agreed to go 'home' again that afternoon. He rang me (we'd agreed radio silence for the few days) and explained that he'd realised that when I came back, I wasn't coming back to live, but for us to sort out what happens next. I'd started to tear off the plaster if you like, he finished it.

So we split up. I live in a lovely flat near my new part time job, I'm managing to keep up with the PhD I'd started before the split, I have an insane cat and I'm seeing a lovely guy. I helped my ex choose a suit at the weekend, he was trying for us to organise another meal (me, him and my fella - who he knew I liked before I did), I helped revise a speech he's giving next week for work, he bought me a funky hat to say thanks for the suit help. He's paying for the divorce next summer, I'm buying the meal out to celebrate. We're still desparately good friends. It can turn out ok. There have been no regrets about having been married, just a sadness for a while that it didn't suit us. There's no bitterness, anger or hurt.

Sorry - bit of an epic. But I just wanted to tell you my story in the hope it might help. Good luck to you all.

hersuit Mon 03-Sep-12 09:53:31

It's so hard to know what to do. I don't feel like our relationship is bad enough to cause the massive upheaval that a split would cause. Aside from the major concern of upsetting (damaging?) the children, and breaking his heart, we have a business together. It would be very messy. But I'm not happy. I like him a lot, he's the loveliest, kindest, most caring person...but I don't fancy him at all. And I definitely fancy other men. So confusing.
I blamed our problems on my depression for a long time but after good CBT & ADs I don't feel depressed anymore. In fact I'm so much more confident, I think it's making me lean towards leaving the relationship.

Coconutter Mon 03-Sep-12 10:35:43

Hersuit I know exactly what you mean. I really feel for you. I have a good life, I could have a good life with him, but after CBT I am much more confident, like you, and I don't rely on him like I used to - and I want more than good, and he deserves that too. He is such a good man. He thinks I am his world and I don't want to hurt him any more than I already have but I don't know if I can give him what he needs any more, and vice versa. It's so hard sad

dnjr Mon 03-Sep-12 10:53:11

I've read the thread and Im hoping that you can all maybe give me some advice.

I basically started going out with a guy who was not completely out of a long term relationship a year ago (although he led me to believe it was much further on and over it at the time). I invested alot of time in the relationship and was patient and understanding as to why he didnt tell his family friends etc about me. He has a son with his ex and I was too patient about meeting him. Things did progress but slowly and I'd given it until he'd finished renovating this house (which compromised a lot of time) to see if things changed and if they didnt I was ready to end it.

I fell pregnant however. He was desperate for me to have a termination, justifying that it would just be a mass of cells and nothing more. Having had a termination when I was younger, I couldnt go through it again even if it were at such an early stage.

I found out at my 12 week scan that Im expecting twins and this was another shock. At first he was realistic and said I couldnt really have a career (I am in the last year of a degree so havent been in f/t work) and would have to look after the twins. Then he changed his mind and said he'd resent me for not bringing any financial contribution to the household and has put pressure on me to expect my parents to give a handout just because they're not badly off.

We've had many arguments about progression, where we'll live and how he cant afford it on a 30k salary. His house is still co-owned with himself and his ex and she's been understanding over me staying there frequently and recognises that I will need to live there. The problem really is with him. One minute we're progressing to get his son who he has half of the time, ready for siblings and me living there and then the next he wants space. He asked me to hide upstairs when his ex's mother came to collect his son for the day. Things like this are a regular occurrence and I feel as though he's ashamed of me.

We had a particularly big argument last week when I simply said that I didnt want to get overly expectant of my father and said we weren't working. He would rather be on his own, he doesnt know if he can get over the resentment towards me and we are two completely different people. The amount of times I get one extreme of character to another is that frequent I almost dont know how its going to be from one week to the next and Im due to give birth in December.

I've stayed because I have wanted to give the twins a family but then I feel its unhealthy for me to be like this on such a continual basis and should be enjoying my pregnancy.

ThistlePetal Mon 03-Sep-12 12:26:39

Hersuit and Coconutter - It does seem that your increase in self confidence, which is fantastic for you both, is helping you to see that you could be happier on your own. I'm fairly sure that someone objective would say to nearly all of us on this thread, that we should set ourselves and our partners free so that everyone has a chance to find happiness, whether on our own or with new people. It's so painfully difficult to make that decision though, isn't it? Whilst it's reassuring that other people are in the same boat, it's also terribly sad sad.

dnjr - hugs to you, you have such a lot to deal with right now. I think all you can do just now is work on how you feel about your situation, and maybe take solutions or even an ultimatum to your partner once you're sure how you feel. Maybe a counsellor could help you (as an individual) to unpick? Lots of luck to you, and keep posting.

OliveandJim Mon 03-Sep-12 12:37:19

It's difficult to give advice without knowing the full story but I tend to come from the following perspective: for me relationships require hard work on a pretty regular basis. I hear far too often wasn't happy so I dumped him. I have the feeling that a lot of people do not put the effort it takes to make a relationship work anymore.
DP is depressed and mind f*cked for life by his extremely narc mother and it does get hard sometimes (routinely) but I would never contemplate leaving because we made the choice to have children together, how I could I leave him especially when he's not well. What example would I set for my kid, daddy's not well so we're leaving him because I can't cope? Wouldn't DS fear that I'd leave him too one day if I can't cope with him either?
My parents fought for decades and managed to stay together. They were times when they seriously contemplated divorce but never did and at 65 they are blissfully happy together. Marriage or any form of relatiohsip takes a lot of efforts on everyone's side.

Tilly80 Mon 03-Sep-12 13:40:36

I really feel for you OP. I'm currently unhappy in my marriage ( I posted a few months ago about my H's suddenn obsessionw with religion). I was even unhappy before we got married which says it all really! But now we have 2 DCs - 3yrs and a newborn. It breaks my heart to think of them not seeing daddy every day if we split. And I know it'd break his heart also, which is why I'm such a wimp and haven't yet done anything about it. But i'm so unhappy, not coz he's nasty in any way but coz we're so different. I do fancy other guys and I hinestly would be pleased if he turned around and told me he was habing an affair as that'd be my exit! I don't have the guts to leave him at the moment purely coz I'm unhappy and think we'd both find happiness eventually with other people. I think we need counselling, but when I suggested this about a yr ago he refused to come. I'll bring it up again soon though.

Can any single parents tell me how you deal with bdays and xmas? That's something that worries me about how to divide it equally.

Good luck OP - it's such a hard decision but as others have said, you only have one life. x

dnjr Mon 03-Sep-12 13:43:03

Thank you thistlepetal, I've given him many opportunities to live a separate life and on the last occasion of isolation from his life, I said I couldnt do this any more and either he wanted us to be a family or we went our separate ways. We had the 20 week scan and I believed everything would be better once he told his son but a week of happiness is then followed by 2 weeks of unsettled feeling.

Oliveandjim, I understand entirely what you're saying and had a similar conversation recently with a friend that every relationship takes work and the ones which dont are those that are blessed. I've had counselling in the past after a nervous break down when I was 23. I became acutely aware of myself and how I could be considered in a relationship. The problem is when you are the only person working at a relationship (which I am) it feels like a constant uphill struggle and for what? I have justified on so many occasions that he has not grieved his 10 year relationship, he is not happy at work, he has had stress etc but he does nothing to help himself despite being aware from time to time that his life isnt right. Its great when he has a lightbulb moment but then never acts on it and things remain status quo.

I always believe that things can work out and generally hopeful of any situation; so many friends have said that they dont feel I'm treated properly and should get out but I'd not wanted to for the sake of giving my children a family (plus I didnt want his son to be even further confused that me and his dad didnt work out). But now I feel I've been pushed away one too many times and I don't know if being upset on such a frequent basis is healthy for me during pregnancy and if it would just be better allround to call it a day

Athendof Mon 03-Sep-12 13:44:40

I'm sorry, but would you like your children to be talking to their partners in the future about how messed up they were for their father/mother problems, but the other parent never decided to leave?

My ex was also a son to a narcissist, which he workships and fears in the same measure. ' If she is disappointed on him he can cry all night despite being a grown up independant man in his 40s. When H started acting towards DS in exactly the same way, I thought it was perfectly reasonable for someone to break the cycle.

fridakahlo Mon 03-Sep-12 16:25:40

dnjr, I really would not be tying myself further to this man, he sounds like a total headcase and will really not be what you need around when you are dealing wuth being mother to two babies .
Establish yourself as relying on yourself now and then you will not have to be worrying about the impact his behaviour will be having on your life at the next stage, on top of everything else.
The first few years will be hard but from what you have written here, with him involved emotionally with you, it will only be harder .

Apty Tue 04-Sep-12 20:10:36

Toastwithatwist - your story sounds so positive, it's great that you managed to do what was right for you both and stay good friends - it shows that it's possible. I wonder if the children thing does make this much harder as you put their needs automatically above your own as a parent.

dnjr - it sounds so difficult - it really doesn't sound like he's committed to this relationship at all but he's been really cowardly in the way that he keeps you at arms length but hasn't ended it. I really agree that you need to be as self sufficient as possible, especially emotionally, so as not to get repeatedly hurt by him. I wish you lots of luck and strength.

oliveandjim - i've thought the way you do for years and years - and what you're saying has really stopped me doing anything for a long time. Maybe you're right, and people throw things away too easily - but look at all the people on this thread staying out of fear of the unknown, not wanting to hurt other people, not wanting to be selfish - women live in unhappy relationships for YEARS - they don't just jack things in on a whim. I don't want to wait until I'm 65 to be happy if I'm going to feel like this for years and years - I don't think I can be a whole person while I'm struggling with this.

fridakahlo Wed 05-Sep-12 01:02:36

Well, the decision has been taken out of my hands. Which is both good and bad.
Good because I will be getting the finalization I desire.
Bad because I have to leave my babies behind and only see them every few months for the next three or four years.
Feeling kind of majorly gutted, don't eant to leave them but I feel I will already be rocking their world enough with my departure, never mind dragging them away from their home and friends.
They will be with their father and he is a good dad, always knew that he would be.

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