Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Yet another male wanting some advice

(89 Posts)
SummerDad Tue 11-Dec-12 23:50:04

I have read on these threads that living in a bad relationship for the sake of children is generally a recipe for disaster as children have problems in their relationships when they grow old. I want to know how much can that affect children in the long run.

A bit of background, I have been in a pretty cold and sexless life for last eight years which has only changed us for worse over this period. We have a two years old child and we are living together for the sake of our child now mainly because we don't have any close friends of family here and we both want to play an active role in his life.

We are never abusive or shouting at each other but this sexless marriage has started to crack my nerves now. We even sleep in different rooms.

We never argue much with each other as we don't happen to discuss much. Though sometimes when my wife is agitated she can be a bit loud. I need some realistic advice regarding this as I don't want my child to go through the same issues we have been facing.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Tue 11-Dec-12 23:54:34

I know a couple that, before they split up, were very emotionless and cold with each other. I think it was much better for their children to split up. The reason is that the parents are both in loving relationships now and the children see what a loving relationship looks like, actually two loving relationships. Before, they must have thought that married people don't touch, kiss, laugh, smile with each other.

Is that what your child is seeing now?

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Tue 11-Dec-12 23:55:32

I do have to ask why you stayed for 8 years and have a child when surely it might have been better to break up years ago.

Bestof7 Tue 11-Dec-12 23:58:18

If you're deeply unhappy in your relationship, and have either tried to make it work (counselling?) or don't want to make it work... then split up. And do it while your DS is still young. Don't wait for the poor little guy to hit Year 6 before ending a relationship you should have ended while he was 2.

Of course it's best for the kids to have happy, loving parents living together and caring for them together. But you don't have that, so you'll need a Plan B. And Plan B could turn out to be much, much better for him than the status quo.

SummerDad Wed 12-Dec-12 00:04:11

Thanks MrsTerrysChocolateOrange, we do all the family stuff and generally we are quite amicable with each other in the public. We are two very different people with different interests and have very different values. I am not sure what were we thinking when we got married. I can understand the logic to some extent as I have seen exactly similar relationship between her parents but I cant understand why would somebody pickup so deeply from their father and not from all the other people around. I have developed a very deep paranoia about relationship and I don't think I would be able to start a new relationship for a very long time. Assuming she starts a new one, it could be more or less a similar experience. Either way my child would see two very unhappy people deeply hurt by a failed relationship. I am really confused.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Wed 12-Dec-12 00:10:21

Amicable is what I am with acquaintances. Not my DH.

I agree that your child could see two very unhappy people deeply hurt by a failed relationship for a while if you split. However, that could be true for twenty years if you don't split up. Just because on paper you are together, doesn't mean it is a healthy relationship.

SummerDad Wed 12-Dec-12 00:10:28

I do have to ask why you stayed for 8 years and have a child when surely it might have been better to break up years ago.

We both wanted to make it work, I know five years sounds a long long period to keep trying but that's how it is. I agree with you it should have ended in the first year as we were never compatible with each other.

likeatonneofbricks Wed 12-Dec-12 00:12:15

Why did you get married and stayed for SIX years in what must have been cold and sexless marriage and then decided to have a child? confused Maybe your wife thought you accept this kind of r-ship and she sees it as normal, but why did you stay? it's best to split up now imo, you don't really know what's round the corner, and some counselling will help to move on, so you may well end up in a good r-ship if that's what you really always wanted.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Wed 12-Dec-12 00:12:21

That is interesting. You stayed together for 5 years, even though it was not good in the first year. I'd say you both have a great deal of work to do on yourselves. You will have to teach your child about relationships. What will you teach her/him about settling?

likeatonneofbricks Wed 12-Dec-12 00:13:27

cross-posted to and extent!

deleted203 Wed 12-Dec-12 00:19:42

I wouldn't presume to tell you what to do with your life, but I do think it would be fairly damaging for a child to spend their time with two parents who are cold and unaffectionate towards each other whilst living in the same house. The kind of chilly politeness I envisage between the two of you has to be awful to live with. I think as your child grows older it is sending a fairly sad message as to what a 'normal' relationship is like, particularly as I am assuming he/she will be an only child. I do worry that your child will end up either miserable at home and desperate to leave, or will repeat the pattern of your relationship in their own future relationships as this is what they will expect. Either way, I don't think it sounds a healthy way of bringing up a child. This is just my opinion, but I feel that it would be better to bring the relationship to an amicable end now (if possible) and for you both to move on with your individual lives whilst both being involved in your child's life.

SummerDad Wed 12-Dec-12 00:24:21

We come from families where divorce is highly discouraged so we dragged it way too far which was the biggest mistake, we both realise that now.

I am not sure if I am still ready to end the marriage, probably I am waiting for my nervous breakdown. Surely, a healthy normal person needs some intimacy in life.

SummerDad Wed 12-Dec-12 00:30:20

I feel too resentful about some of things which my wife has been doing to us so I try not to go into details of why and how things happened in case I end up foul mouthing about her.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Wed 12-Dec-12 01:39:58

living in a bad relationship for the sake of children is generally a recipe for disaster as children have problems in their relationships when they grow old. I want to know how much can that affect children in the long run.

I came on here two or three years ago. In despair because my marriage was cold and distant, sexless, classic case of growing apart. It didn't really occur to me to leave. I would look around the house at all our stuff and wonder how on earth I could dismantle this shared life. I was horrified at the thought of destroying our children's security and breaking up the family unit.

Fast forward three years and we have separated. I called time and am now living in my own house with the kids, though when their dad moves into his place in a week's time we will be sharing custody.

I am so much happier and my relationship with the children has really improved because of this. Of course I feel guilty.

But it's really early days and I have no regrets and feel more and more like myself every day.

I can honestly say that I might not have done this without MN. Or I might have done it later - and I wish I had done it sooner.

Going on here made me alert to the idea that children are not benefitted by 'staying together for the sake of the children'. I was actually shocked that more people thought that presenting the children with a crappy model of relationships was worse than splitting. But it gave me strength and they have coped OK.

It's been horrible though and if you can save things I urge you to.

If you can't, get out. Life is too short. I also think that the OLDER children are, the harder it is for them.

Good luck x

BoerWarKids Wed 12-Dec-12 01:51:27

So this isn't even a once happy relationship gone awry; it wasn't even good at the start?

I think you should get divorced.

Dear Summerdad, I found your OP very sad to read. In a nutshell, I agree with everyone else. I too am, as a rule, in favour of saving a relationship, particularly as I have experienced for myself how much things can change over a few years, but it just doesn't sound like there is really anything to work with in your case. If you can think of something, I urge you to try and build on it.

As this is such a long standing situation, I don't want to make light of it by giving petty advice, but that's just what I'm going to do. Try to do something fun together, but without 'pressure' to have fun, if you see what I mean. Think of something that you know she enjoys, maybe a live comedy show, or romantic comedy, and go for a drink/coffee after and chat about it. Just to see if there is still any common ground left, and without having to talk all night.

I know people do, but I find it impossible to imagine living in a sexless marriage. The rejection would hurt too much. I really feel for you. In the end, only the two of you known the whole story, and can make an informed decision. But I would leave, the sooner the better.

cafecito Wed 12-Dec-12 02:22:19

I think you should call time on it. You may find you are both relieved. 2 is young, it's harder older than that. I was in a really awful relationship for 6 years. I knew in year 1 it was a disaster and it became harder and harder to leave, and an element of the sexless, coldness became normal anyway. I left, finally. Much happier, I feel like a complete person again. Your life is about you, not just your children. You deserve to be happy and I'm certainly happier being single, not even in another relationship, I feel much less lonely than I did when I was in that one.

EdithWeston Wed 12-Dec-12 02:58:59

When did you last talk to DW about this? And in what terms?

If you are both hiding hurt, and both unable to express your feelings, then you are both being dishonest to each other and that is no basis for a future together. Feeling hurt, and anger, are both normal, and although you do need to exercise some control on how you let those feeling show, suppressing them is just like leaving a pressure cooker unvented - the eventual explosion is all the more powerful and destructive.

If you think there is the possibility that she is just as miserable as you, then there might still be hope to improve things (probably involving counselling to learn how to identify the real issues and how to deal with them in a healthy way). If you do not think you can both commit to working on it for as long as it takes to break the avoidance/withdrawal/withholding patterns that have grown up in your relationship (possibly in order to avoid the vulnerability that goes with opening up about your real needs and emotions), then a split before a crisis may prove the least damaging option.

Well it's not sexless if your child is 2. It can take a while to restart after having a child.

How about going to Relate and getting some couples therapy - neither of you should want to live without intimacy (not just sex).

Yes, better to split than be unhappy and model unhappiness for 20 years if it doesn't work.

AgathaHoHoHo Wed 12-Dec-12 09:10:07

You are showing your child a really bad example of what an adult, couple relationship is like. An example he will probably take into adulthood and replicate himself. Why wouldn't he? It is what he sees as normal.

You probably need to split up. You need to come to some agreement to amicably parent your child between you. You need to do some work on yourself/you self-esteem to understand why you have lived like this for all of these years, and to understand how to change your mindset for the future.

You say you come from a family where divorce is discouraged. What was your interpretation of the adult relationships around you when you were growing up? Were they happy and affectionate, fun and respectful? Or were they a variation of your current one?

Helltotheno Wed 12-Dec-12 10:05:34

I am not sure if I am still ready to end the marriage, probably I am waiting for my nervous breakdown. Surely, a healthy normal person needs some intimacy in life.

OP whatever you do, don't wait passively for a 'nervous breakdown'. Start thinking about a positive future where you can co-parent with your wife. Forget what a 'healthy normal person needs', you can't go on that because in fact everyone needs different things. Some people need a lot of intimacy, others don't, both in and outside relationships. Some couples have a lot of sex, others have barely any and are perfectly happy. There's no point comparing yourself to others, this is about your life and your setup.

What worries me most is not the lack of intimacy, more that there doesn't seem to be the basis of a 'friends' relationship between the two of you. Is that the case? Have you thought about how things would be between you if you were to split and share care of the DC?

I'm going to give you a gentle kick in the behind here and say ... Stop Wallowing!! Sit down on your own first and plan out how things would be logistically if you split, ie jobs, finances, care of DC etc. Then talk to your wife. Tell her that things are not working the way they are and you both deserve a chance to be happier and show your DC something more positive.

Whatever you do, forget what other people think. A life lived on the basis of other people's opinions is a life not lived, ime. Do the right thing for you and your family.

maleview70 Wed 12-Dec-12 11:44:50

I was a child who lived in a house with hate, no love, arguments, 3 week silences etc....

My mum and dad were together 40 odd years before he died. God knows why because theirs was not a normal relationship.

It has affected me completely. I shy away from
Intimacy and this cost me my first marriage and if I carry on it will cost me my 2nd too.

That's how it affected me.

Abitwobblynow Wed 12-Dec-12 12:16:30

Edith Weston is on to something.

Misguided protection is at the root of a lot of problems. Why don't you want to tell us your resentments in case you badmouth her?

How are you supposed to identify what the problems are, if you don't talk about them?

That you don't want to get divorced means that SOMETHING works for you, so my advice is for YOU to go to counselling, and then to invite her to go to.

What do you think? Sorry about the lack of lovemaking, it is the saddest thing.

LessMissAbs Wed 12-Dec-12 12:25:22

I'm amazed at the number of children born out of sexless marriages...

You are being very passive. Are you aware that the coldness is the marriage is quite likely just as much to do with you as your wife? Why did you get married and have a child if you felt like this?

Take responsibility - its either going to continue like this, or you do something about it, such as divorce, counselling, working on it. If you do nothing, it will stay the same. Its surprising that you need that pointed out to you.

WakeyCakey Wed 12-Dec-12 19:18:30

You say you resent your wife. This is totally fair, but you bed to imagine how much your child will resent you.

Just talk to your wife, she is obviously unhappy too.
Get away from your dc for a night and be brutally honest with her.
Separation and divorce sounds much nicer for your child then growing up to not know about friendship and intimacy.

take this from someone who is damaged by my parents doing this exact thing. I wish they had separated, I would of loved to see them happy but never have.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now