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Am I not trying hard enough?

(105 Posts)
AzureBlue Fri 07-Dec-12 14:03:27

After 23 years of marriage, 4 kids, 14 months of counselling (which we have recently stopped) I find I just do not want to be with my husband any more. But he says all I need to do is think more positively and make little moves like touching him or sending a loving text and it will all be OK.
I would really like to be in love with him as I cannot see how we can ever afford 2 places to live, and the children will not have two parents to care for them together.
How do you fall in love with someone? He is a good person.

AzureBlue Tue 11-Dec-12 15:20:22

Thanks for all the advice...plenty to consider.
Think I'll look at all options - will read the Lovedare book to see if can offer any ideas, and also get my finances in a better order and look into what would be reasonable to expect in a split.
I think keeping the whole house would mean plunging DH into penury. He would have no savings and no house and I'd still have a mortgage (actually I don't think I regularly earn enough to get a mortgage)! Not a great way for the kids to see how to be considerate and decent people. Even if a court granted this it just would not be fair.

ladyWordy Mon 10-Dec-12 19:41:01

Sorry = worry...

ladyWordy Mon 10-Dec-12 19:35:49

Azure, this is nothing to do with being with a long term partner; and your DH's lack of empathy is assuredly not a 'man thing'. Lack of empathy can occur in men and women, and it makes for very disheartening relationships.

As you describe it, you're living with a pretty chilly, controlling individual. Not a loving, healthy man at all really. His being happy and bringing you a cup of tea in the morning does not mean your relationship is ok, or that he is ok.

You're talking about a relationship where one partner is deeply unhappy, and the other thinks everything's fine (note, he doesn't actually care that you're unhappy. Normal men care about the happiness of their partners. That's what love is. )

It's also a relationship where you're unable to discuss anything, since you fear the silent treatment if you argue. Silent treatment = controlling behaviour....and it seems to be working.

Also, your DH is a man who left you pregnant and close to death, yet instead of cleaving to your side as any loving man would, he runs away to teach Sunday school! shock What was he teaching, the redeeming power of love? It's something you do, not talk about. (Sorry, that was me metaphorically ranting at your H, not at you.....But you see my point.)

Azure, this is quite a bit worse than you think. And it won't improve.Take some time to visit a solicitor and get some clarity on your financial position.

Try not to sorry about disrupting your children's lives too much. Chances are they are suffering too, even if they aren't showing it.

WakeyCakey Mon 10-Dec-12 18:38:45

OP you really do deserve a better life than this!
you aren't happy and the whole situation is clearly dragging you down.
Your DD may only be 9 but that is no reason not to sort your life out.

I had an unhappy childhood and I really resent my parents for that. they were always referred to by myself and my sisters as 'the couple who are too lazy to get divorced'.

They don't get on at all, i think my dad is an an 11 month silent treatment bout at the moment and it is horrible. We won't even go to visit them because of this.

your children are important but they need to see you happy to get happiness in later life.

What would you be suggesting if this was your DD?

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Mon 10-Dec-12 18:14:54

He sounds like a sexist prat TBH. He doesn't 'love' you because he doesn't really consider that you are a person - you're a 'woman' which means marriage is about you attending to his domestic needs and being grateful to him.

As others have said, get some legal advice WRT what specifically would happen in a divorce. Don't pay any attention to anything your H says, he has not got your best interests at heart, he just doesn't want to have to do his own housework and, by the sound of it, likes presenting himself as a Happily Married Man. However, he's not prepared to put any effort into the marriage himself.
WHen you have all the facts then you can decide what to do. And remember that if you decide to leave he can't stop you. No one is entitled, either legally or ethically, to force another person to remain in an outgrown or unsatisfactory marriage.

AndrewMyrrh Mon 10-Dec-12 17:58:09

Yes, I am always a bit hmm with religious types who care more about being perceived as being upstanding and devout rather than actually being there for their spouse when needed.

garlicbaubles Mon 10-Dec-12 17:09:42

Azure, I started reading your thread with an open mind. I think there are things one can do to generate more of a loved-up feeling in a partnership that's gone stale. I even think it can be worth doing this when only one partner has lost the feeling. But, I'm sad to say, reading your thread has made me dislike your husband. I feel you'll be a happier, more fulfilled and generally more enchanting individual when you are single.

The first red flag was where you said you're realising it's possible to have fun, thanks to your hobbies and renewed friendships. If you only realised that fun is possible outside your marriage, then that marriage has not only been joyless for you but has closed your mind to the very possibility of joy. This is no good. In 23 years, a good marriage would have been at least 30% fun. Hell, my parents had a godawful war of a marriage but even theirs was about 25% fun!

I'm deeply unimpressed by an inconvenient weekend away, in which you had to prioritise economy over comfort. That wasn't a treat; it was an imposition. If this is as good as his romantic gestures get, he's in no position to lecture you on relationship building. In fact, the whole lecturing thing is extremely offputting. Why should you be doing all the running, making all the effort? His efforts seem rather feeble at best.

His behaviour when you had pneumonia was unforgivable. I can only imagine how ghastly it must have been for you, to feel so poorly and to realise your partner had given you up for dead, yet still couldn't be bothered to come and comfort you! One of the primary reasons for forming a long-term commitment is to have support when things are bad. When your partner cannot face supporting you, he fails you and, in a meaningful sense, nullifies the commitment. A partner who's done this has no right to demand continued commitment.

I think his demands on you are founded in a recognition that you actually deserve better than him. He's trying to tie you to him by guilt, fear and obligation. This won't work long-term and is bad for you now. I also don't like what it's teaching your children.

You don't need permission to end a marriage.

AndrewMyrrh Mon 10-Dec-12 16:57:10

Does he have aspergers?

Lueji Mon 10-Dec-12 16:53:22

Essentially, it's the same advice as usual.
Seek legal advice.
Only then you'll be able to really make plans and know what to expect.

BTW, a coleague divorced her husband for lack of support during her cancer treatment.

If he is generally nice, but not empathic, etc, then you have a choice of accepting him as he is or leave.
Particularly as he doesn't seem to want to work on himself.

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Mon 10-Dec-12 16:28:33

Good advice from xenia there

AB, in this day and age no-one is forced to stay married and living with someone if they don't want to

Xenia Mon 10-Dec-12 16:24:25

AB, my children's father did not want to move out and was happy married. However as I earned 10x what he did he could not prevent the divorce and he could not prevent my buying him out of the house and he got more money than I did as I earn more. If you only earn a quarter then it is fairly likely you would get the house - it would not be a 50.50 split. We were advised that he could be forced out once the finances and divorce were organised if necessary. In the end he left after decree absolute and money and property transfers.

It is likely your husband could be forced to move out at the same stage. In our case it took 7 months. Unless the house is too large for your and the children's needs and unless the children would choose to liev with him it is likely he would have to pay 25% of pay for the children and also may support to you as you earn a quarter even if that means he just moves to a tiny bed sit and does not get his equity out of the house until the youngest is 18 or you remarry or move another man in. It might be worth talking to a solicitor for an hour eveni f you haven't decided to split up just sdo you know where you stand.

AzureBlue Mon 10-Dec-12 15:26:37

No way could I work more...I work every week-day (and work calls during swimming lessons etc) most evenings, often through to eleven or twelve, plus most Sundays.
Need to get down to my accounts to see what I actually do earn. Certainly a quarter of DH or less.
I think my DH would never accept leaving the house - he sees it as ours...his as much as mine.

AzureBlue Mon 10-Dec-12 15:22:50

He kindly brings me tea in bed in the morning and loves looking after the children. He will do child-care when he is at home to enable me to work or do classes etc.
He is scrupulously honest and principled. And intelligent.
Maybe it's a man thing that I feel he lacks any empathy with me. eg when I was complaining that after 3 visits (to deliver her shopping to her) in 1 week and a weekend away with me, my mother was saying I never had time for her...the response of DH was 'at least you weren't born in Cambodia" (ie I might have died before I hit 5? hmmm). So maybe it's a guy-thing and I need to just cool it - it's normal. I did not grow up with any men in the house or at school so don't know really.
It would be nice if he'd said "yes, I understand".

Xenia Mon 10-Dec-12 15:11:41

Why could you not stay in the house and he continue to pay the mortgage and some costs (and you perhaps get a bit more work to help make ends meet)? Also if your income is lower you might get tax credits etc.

oldwomaninashoe Mon 10-Dec-12 14:53:04

Op your Dh does not sound very "lovable" person, so that is why you are having difficulties. He thinks you are at fault so is waiting for you to make all the effort not realising it is a joint affair.
You cannot make yourself love someone unless they are lovable in some way, is he making himself lovable? What would he have to do for you even to feel vaguely fond of him?
Think hard OP if you see no answer, and he is unlikely to make any effort, perhaps it is time to go it alone.

AzureBlue Mon 10-Dec-12 14:16:18

Don't think I can hack the Lovedare/Fireproof stuff as I lost all faith when DH chose to teach Sunday School over visiting me in hospital when I was v v v ill with pneumonia and 3 months pregnant. So upset to discover I had been put in the bidding prayers (ie I was going to die).
We have unpacked this in counselling - he could not face the fact I might die. I still find this a delicate issue, however. I do understand now why he did this, but still feel if push came to shove he would run away from me again in similar circumstances. It is hard to emotionally lean on someone in this situation.

Lueji Mon 10-Dec-12 14:07:27

It's always hard to be the one complaining.

Ex didn't have any problems living with me and he would have continued, except for his abusive attitute, and then physical abuse.
Also because he was living in a nice place, off my salary and doing very little work in the home.

Do you have a clear idea of what it would take for you to enjoy living with your OH?

AzureBlue Mon 10-Dec-12 13:10:45

Given that DH has been like a rabbit caught in the headlights since I told him I was unhappy over 2 years ago, I cannot see how to improve things at all. He says he feels under such pressure and so miserable that he cannot work on the relationship - and as he is happy with me, then he (justly) throws at me - what am I doing about it? Things are now so strained and awkward between us it is hard to spend any time with him at all - one reason I have found an exercise class and an adult education class to occupy my time, even if it means I see less of my kids sad

Given the downward spiral, I do dwell on divorce but the actual timing and how to split up are beyond my imagination...I can picture a flat in a year's time with my kids, but not how to get there.

Smallest DD is only 9 so would want to stay locally near her school and friends. I care full-time for her (I work only school hours, or when she is in bed at night). So terribly traumatic to be moved from her house...would I need to try and find a bed-sit to live in and go and sleep there after doing the child-care until DH came home?...not sure I can afford even this. Another DD in AS year so cannot jeopardise her exams - maybe summer holidays are the time to mention it? But still either DH or me would have to go somewhere that was not the family home...where????It's an impossible conundrum.

So back to plan 1 and trying to enjoy living with DH!

Back2Two Sun 09-Dec-12 19:40:13

It's clear that is isn't a situation where love and respect can be worked for and re-gained: as the love, at least, was never truly there. I would suspect then the respect was fairly fragile.

*life would be perfect if only I enjoyed being with him"

It's not a lot of frigid miserable feminists crowing "leave the bastard" is it?
It's a group of women (including feminists) who think life is too short to spend it unfulfilled, unhappy and in the confines of a relationship that does not allow you to find your happiness potential along with probably your creative and social and romantic potential. Hence, missing out on the real stuff of life. There is a lot of love in mumsnet, it's just that it often has to be tough love.

Xenia Sun 09-Dec-12 19:27:15

1. YOu don't need his permission to split up.
2. Why would you have to sell the home? If you divorce him and remortgage and buy out his half of the equity you could stay where you are and he has to leave OR if you cannot afford that it may be he earns more than you do and you get to stay until the youngest child is 18 or you remarry and then you sell assuming the children will stay with you.
3. How old are the children - which of you would they choose to live with after a divorce?

AndrewMyrrh Sun 09-Dec-12 18:57:28


WantToMakeThingsRight Sun 09-Dec-12 18:54:50

Sounds to me like you may have fallen out of love with him and the way I see things is your have a few options
either work together with your partner to try and improve things and try to work to getting love and respect going again or look to separate.

You say that he loves you how does he feel with the current position

It should not be about you falling into a roll you have to want to do it

good luck lookup lovedare it might help I don't know

my wife told me that she was deeply unhappy and I took it upon myself to make things better 2 weeks ago we could not spend time in the same room now we are getting along way much better and each day we make a point of trying to improve things further

make quality time for each other if this is what you want to do

SleighbellsRingInYourLife Sun 09-Dec-12 18:54:42

"In the past disagreements have resulted in a week of silence from DH. Now we are both expert at avoiding this."

Stonewalling someone for a week is emotional abuse.

If you've become expert at avoiding that abuse, no wonder you are unhappy.

You don't owe him a marriage.

dequoisagitil Sun 09-Dec-12 18:52:45

You don't need his permission to split up.

AndrewMyrrh Sun 09-Dec-12 18:48:32

Talk about a hi-jack hmm.

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