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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.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Wed 12-Dec-12 19:48:47

Wakeycakey wishes her or his parents had separated. It's amazing the number of adults who think this about their parents.

And it's also amazing the number of adults who think their parents did the right thing splitting and finding happiness out of a bad marriage.

It really puts the lie to the Daily Mail view that it's the worst outcome for children.

SummerDad Wed 12-Dec-12 20:59:43

I am sorry for the late response, but after a long day at work and putting my little one to bed I have just got some free time now. I really want to thank you all for your responses, makes a real difference if you got someone to listen to.

It is mainly the element of intimacy more than sex in our marriage which I miss. My wife has never refused for sex but I find it quite repulsive in fact, so I withdrew slowly. I do, however, realise that this disinterest of hers could be due to other non-sexual problems in our relationship.

* 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.*

This is exactly how I am feeling now, and that is why I say I am probably close to a breakdown.

How about going to Relate and getting some couples therapy - neither of you should want to live without intimacy (not just sex).
I did discuss this option with her but she does not want to go to Relate. She is a very closed person, she has friends but never shares anything with them. Most of our problems are based on her mistrust that I hate her parents and siblings but she won’t even discuss it with them. Years ago, I dared to discuss my misery, not the sexual part, with a childhood mate and she has not forgotten that yet.

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?
I would say my father was a dominant person and there was some friction in my parent’s relationship but they were very passionate. After 40 years of marriage, they still can’t be away from each other. My parents in law have more or less an “amicable” relationship similar to ours, they have slept in different rooms for Goodness knows how many years!
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.
I have thought about this a lot. Bringing up our child has been a real struggle so far as we don’t have close friends or family nearby. I really doubt she would be able to cope with a bit more stress of single parenting which will affect our child indirectly.

*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.*

I know what the problems are, we both have problems more in terms of values of life e.g. I don’t recall when was the last time I pretended to be something which I am not while she can lie to people to keep up the appearances. I want to keep a balance in personal and family life and make an effort to make myself free for my family and myself while she would prefer to have another round of cleaning if she manages to find a bit of time free. I would like to go for long walks along the canal and to the parks and to the cinemas and theatres or watch a romantic comedy while she would spend all of her weekend in a shopping mall and list goes on. Two people can be different but at the very least what they can do is to make an effort to be a part of activities the partner likes.
She is a good person overall and I can’t think of inflicting the pain of separation on her. Secondly, I have started to see most of women as manipulative and stubborn which is incorrect but I feel scared what if I step into another scary marriage.

Zazzles007 Wed 12-Dec-12 21:27:34

Hi there SummerDad. Its not often that I feel compelled to reply to a post in relationships lately. However, I am hoping that I have something to add.

Because you and your wife have different values in life, it means that you are fundamentally incompatible for one another. Values stem from your basic outlook on life - ie are you a glass half full kind of person (optimistic) or are you a glass half empty kind of person. You sound like a glass half full person -you see life as something holding promise and wonder, and look for positive people and experiences. Your wife is a glass half empty person - she's sees the world as a fearful place, with danger around every corner.

Unfortunately, this doesn't bode well for your relationship, and this is why it would be better for you, your wife and your child if you split up. Not only is it not good for you to be with someone who doesn't reflect your values, remember that your son is modelling his concept of women and his relationship with women based on your time spent with your wife. The adage "Give me me the boy up to the age of 7, and I will give you the man" is true in some many ways. Your son is already learning (unconsciously rather than consciously) that relationships with women are not loving and caring, they are 'amicable'. As others have urged above, please think seriously about splitting up. Not only do you deserve to be with someone who can actually 'see' who you are and how wonderful you could be in relationship, but your son deserves to see how great a relationship with women can be too.

And before I get lambasted, I would give the above advice a woman in the same situation as well.

Hope this helps.

Abitwobblynow Wed 12-Dec-12 21:33:34

Summerdad: dont' wait for her to go to Relate.

YOU find some counselling, go, tell her you are going, and ask her to come with you. If she refuses, GO ANYWAY.

Apparently this cuts through the denial that there is something wrong more than anything else.

With the new skills you gain, you can change your behaviour, set boundaries, challenge her (kindly) and see if she will move. If she won't (my H won't) then you make plans for the next step.

Good luck. I don't think we were put on this earth to be miserable. But we must look at our part to play, too.

SummerDad Wed 12-Dec-12 21:40:49

Zazzles007 Thanks very much for the kind words, I am not sure I am a glass- half-full person any more. Seeing my father as a dominant person with us and my mother, I always wanted to offer a lot which has not materialized sadly. Still, I would not blame my wife as she is suffering equally if not more than me.

I want to be present in my child's life as a positive fatherly figure who he could play with and who could be his best friend. I really doubt it will be possible if I separate from my wife, I will be made to beg for any access to him.

The responses on this post have provided me a lot to ponder over. I want to really thank all of you for giving wonderful advice.

FestiviaBlueberry Wed 12-Dec-12 21:41:34

"I want to keep a balance in personal and family life and make an effort to make myself free for my family and myself while she would prefer to have another round of cleaning if she manages to find a bit of time free."

Eh? Cleaning? Why? Is that because she has to do all of it? Or because she has some kind of OCD?

"I would like to go for long walks along the canal and to the parks and to the cinemas and theatres or watch a romantic comedy while she would spend all of her weekend in a shopping mall and list goes on. "

Sounds like you are fundamentally incompatible. You don't have the right to demand intimacy from someone who doesn't want to give it, but you do have the right to go and seek it elsewhere.

Agree with others, take some responsibility for your own feelings and relationship, go to counselling yourself without her if she won't go and stop being passive. It sounds as though you could have a perfectly amicable co-parenting relationship and it's not your problem to worry about whether she could cope with being a single mum- that to me sounds as though you think she isn't a very competent person, you say that she is good at pretending to be something she's not - that sounds as though you don't like or respect her very much, why would you want intimacy with someone for whom you have no respect? Can you cope with being a single dad and a reasonable, cooperative co-parent? Relate will help you to do that, if that's what it turns out you need.

FestiviaBlueberry Wed 12-Dec-12 21:42:28

Why would you have to beg for access to your child?

Sounds like there's an awful lot you're not telling us summerdad.

SummerDad Wed 12-Dec-12 21:43:45

Abitwobblynow I am really going to give your idea a try. At the very least, I would be able to shed off some of my negative outlook perhaps, I hope.

SummerDad Wed 12-Dec-12 21:54:32

Eh? Cleaning? Why? Is that because she has to do all of it? Or because she has some kind of OCD?
She is obsessed with keeping her house immaculate. I won't call it OCD but it is more than what her friends and close members of family do.

It sounds as though you could have a perfectly amicable co-parenting relationship and it's not your problem to worry about whether she could cope with being a single mum- that to me sounds as though you think she isn't a very competent person, you say that she is good at pretending to be something she's not - that sounds as though you don't like or respect her very much, why would you want intimacy with someone for whom you have no respect?
People who know me would say I don't undermine any person. We both work full time, her work occasionally requires odd hours on evenings, nights and weekends while I can even work from home if I need to. Result is that we never had to arrange for a child care apart from the day nursery. As I said, we don't have any close family or friends nearby so we are on our own.

FestiviaBlueberry I hear these horror stories all the time how some people use their children as weapon when things go wrong. After all these years, I really don't find myself confident to take a chance on this as my child is the most beautiful thing which has ever happened to me and everybody around me knows how much I would suffer without him.

Zazzles007 Wed 12-Dec-12 21:58:31

SummerDad, I am quite saddened by your last response. You sound like someone who is trying to do the best they can under the circumstances. Who recognises the past hurts brought about by your father on you and your own family, and who is trying to rectify that by being a positive role model.

I have nothing further to add at this point, but will watch your thread. Good luck with thinking this through, as I am sure there are some big decisions to be made in near future.

foreverondiet Wed 12-Dec-12 23:19:10

Summerdad I think that to start with you should get some counselling / therapy on your own to talk through this with someone in real life, sounds like a very sad situation.

Noted that your wife doesn't want therapy.... some comments from things you said:

"I would like to go for long walks along the canal and to the parks and to the cinemas and theatres or watch a romantic comedy while she would spend all of her weekend in a shopping mall and list goes on"

Surely this all becomes a bit irrelevant with children - eg I have 3 children aged 2-9. None would spend the weekend in a mall - manageable ONLY for short periods if they need shoes (ie they HAVE to come) and other than the toddler in a buggy can't see the other two walking along a canal, although they do like the park with their bikes. eg DH and I happily married - I like the gym - eg I go on Sunday morning first thing and he looks after the kids - he isn't interested in the gym and it doesn't matter. DH likes museums - so we seek out the most child friendly ones and go as a family.

Ultimately though I think you need to give her an ultimatum - come to therapy together to work through issues or you get divorced as not realistic to stay faithful in a marriage where there is no intimacy (both sexual and emotional).

Also not sure why you would have to "beg for access?".

Abitwobblynow Thu 13-Dec-12 07:57:32

Yes, do go to counselling and learn a new way of being. It is NEVER a waste of time!

There is a lot of conflict avoidance/passive aggressive and displacement activity going on in your house, isn't there?

If you provide the leadership (reach out to a new way of doing things, learn to talk) your wife might surprise you.

Do you have no friends because you are both shy? Why do you have no friends?

You sound very depressed and isolated. Life won't always look this bad, but stop looking at your wife, and tackle your own contributions. It really is that basic as taking the plank out of your own eye. The only person you can change, is yourself. Once you start changing, she will no longer be able to relate in the same way.

Good luck.

SummerDad Thu 13-Dec-12 20:31:55

Zazzles007, foreverondiet , Abitwobblynow and all who have posted on this thread so far
Thanks a lot for I want to thank you all once again for being so supportive and giving such a good advice. I have been reading all these posts again and again and I feel I could see things from a different perspective now.

foreverondiet: "Also not sure why you would have to "beg for access?" ".
I am under the impression that some parents do use their kids as a weapon to torture their exes and the system generally supports women more than men. I don’t feel very optimistic about her response in case there is a breakup. I may be wrong but lately I cold only think of the worst case scenarios in the life.

Abitwobblynow: "There is a lot of conflict avoidance/passive aggressive and displacement activity going on in your house, isn't there?"
I was not aware of these psychological terms and after I did some research about them, I can definitely relate to most of this.

Abitwobblynow: "If you provide the leadership (reach out to a new way of doing things, learn to talk) your wife might surprise you."
This is exactly what I have trying to do so far but every time, I suppose, I failed miserably. The posts on this sub-forum have given me a new insight about the psyche of women. Coupled with counselling, I hope I could make things better. I know she is a good person, I could have done better to get the best out of this relationship for us.

Abitwobblynow: "Do you have no friends because you are both shy? Why do you have no friends?"
Well, she is quite reserved sort of person and making new friends is bit of challenge for her due to her reserved nature, busy life and anti-social work pattern. I could make friends easily but normally the partners and wives of my friends don’t get along well with her, God knows why. She does not seem to like many of them any way.

I don’t know what exactly would be my plan for next few weeks right now but I am feeling quite hopeful. Thanks to you guys …

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Thu 13-Dec-12 21:08:32

ALl children really need is to have one or more adults in their lives who love them. The adults don't need to love each other, though they need to be civilised to each other. It's not a bad thing to end a marriage if the marriage isn't happy, and you do not need the other partner's permission to end the marriage if that's the right thing for you to do.

Getting some counselling for yourself does sound like a good idea, whether you get it from Relate or elsewhere. As everyone has said, your current unhappiness won't change unless you do something about changing it. Do the sensible thing of seeking advice and help (rather than sulking or having an affair), and you will hopefully make your way to a better life for all three of you.

SummerDad Thu 13-Dec-12 23:21:11

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh I beg to differ with you on this. Despite all these problems, I still believe that adults do need someone to love them also. We are very much civilised with each other but that is not sufficient for both of us. Call me a weak person but I find it really hard to simply walk on my partner without realising the damage it might cause to her. True we are going through a lot of damage at the moment, but still ...

This thread was actually meant to get some opinion about any possible effects of the divorce on my child and not to show any sulking. I would again say my wife is a good person in general, just we have two incompatible personalities. I am sorry if I have turned this into a moan.

AgathaHoHoHo Fri 14-Dec-12 10:23:32

I don't think you have turned this thread into a moan (but it's your thread so would be ok if you did smile). You have just reached out to ask for advice and try to find solutions for your situation.

I hope things improve for you all, but would reiterate again what others have said. Two parents apart are better than two dysfunctional ones together for children.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Fri 14-Dec-12 13:09:57

SummerDad: I wasn't suggesting that you stay in your marriage without love, I was explaining that the parents of a child do not need to love each other to be good parents ie if your relationship with your wife is not working, ending it is not such a terrible thing.

My son's father and I are not in a couple-relationship; we are on good terms with each other and our son is happy and knows he is loved.

FestiviaBlueberry Fri 14-Dec-12 19:40:52

So long as you are both determined to put your child's interests before your own and to genuinely cooperate with each other to do so, putting aside your resentments etc., then you will be doing your child a favour by splitting, if the alternative is to live in what sounds like a pretty appalling relationship.

Counselling can help you get to a place where you are capable of doing this; it's not always just for "saving" relationships - lots of relationships really aren't worth saving - it's to enable the two people who are in it, to evolve their relationship from husband and wife into cooperative co-parents. So it would be valuable if your wife would do it as well, but obviously you're not in control of that.

SummerDad Fri 14-Dec-12 21:24:31

I would say I am feeling more composed and rather well-oriented after sharing this with you all and after having so wonderful support. Over the next few days, I would be thinking about the steps I need to take to make the situation better, will come back to you guys for more advice hopefully. I need to think clearly where to start from though.

On a lighter note, sometimes I feel a bit strange to be browsing a mainly female-dominated forum but I can't help it smile, tons of good advice and lots of wonderful people are here on this forum.

SummerDad Sat 15-Dec-12 11:12:19

Ok, so I have picked up some areas where I can make the changes. First is the finances.

I just wonder what would you consider a fair financial arrangement in terms of bank accounts, payment of bills and other expenses, any personal allowances.

Abitwobblynow Sat 15-Dec-12 11:15:37

Just remember SD, like an affair, this does not mean 'the marriage is over'. It does mean 'things, and ESPECIALLY both you and I, are going to change [and that might mean the marriage if we are unable to do so].

Good luck. Can I say: you CANNOT make these changes on your own. If changing entrenched, imprinted, built-in ways of being and doing were that easy, we would all change! You need professional help (counsellor).

Feel the trepidation, and go.

SummerDad Sat 15-Dec-12 11:28:40

Abitwobblynow I understand what you mean. After reading many posts on the forum during last few days, I have realised how women can feel strongly about things which may seem minor to men. I am looking for a suitable time when I could talk to her about counselling for both of us or at least me in case she does not agree to go with me. Surely, there are things which I can change without getting her involved so I want to give that a try.

Work on yourself. Your wife will notice the changes and will have to like or lump it. You both sound very resigned to this bloodless union and it doesn't have to be this way.

Dozer Sat 15-Dec-12 13:24:29

If you were my friend I'd advise counselling (for you alone) and legal advice, especially given your concerns about her potentially making shared custody/access difficult.

No point in relate if you don't love each other IMO.

SummerDad Sat 15-Dec-12 13:56:45

ok thanks for your replies, would you recommend any counselling services in particular in addition to Relate.

I would like to have some advice about the finances though as this is one of the points she does not feel happy about. As a part of changing me, I need to make some changes here but at the same time, I want to be fair with myself too thats why I am interested to know what is a probable female definition of "fair" when it comes to finance.

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