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Stay at home dad - no longer at home

(83 Posts)
Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 13:56:14

Not sure what i want from this thread to be honest but am struggling a bit and i think getting it down can be a help in itself.

My husband walked out the day before New Year with no real warning. He says he no longer loves me but thinks I'm great and wants to remain friends. We have two DC; DD who is 3 and DS who turned 1 two days before he left sad I work FT and he was the SAHP - something he says he loves and wants to continue. This is where i am struggling so much.

I know it is me he has left (made that quite clear) but i am finding it so painful to be around him. I am signed off work until mid Feb as can't face returning at the moment so I am home too. He wants to basically pick up where he left off - so being with the children when i work but not living here or being with me. I feel this is unfair but obviously don't want him to not see his children (who adore him). He just gets the fun bit while i do the nights, bath time, bed time, the early mornings on any day off i have... H even had the balls to say 'that's what you get with kids though' when i had a bitch about it!

DS is oblivious of course but DD knows something isn't right and i think this could confuse her even more...

He has stayed with the children since DD was 6 months for which i will be eternally grateful but i think he needs to find some work so he can start to support himself - he is currently staying with MIL, the most passive woman who will just let him stay and do fuck all (her other DS was unemployed for 7 years whilst living with her!) I don't want him to use the kids as an excuse ('couldn't take that job as i was looking after the kids' kind of thing) but think him not working is all part of the problem!

We're going to regular counselling as of Monday but I don't know what i want from that anymore - have gone from desperately wanting him back to enjoying time one on one with my kids and realising how selfish he is being!

Sorry this is long and rambling... I'm just so unsure of everything!

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 26-Jan-13 14:01:56

"He says he no longer loves me but thinks I'm great and wants to remain friends"

So that's OK then... hmm That statement is what you call 'having your cake and eating it'. Time he got in the real world. You do not walk out on your family and then think everything is going to be tickety-boo and you're all staying big buddies.

Do not let him swan in and out of your home. He's now a 'NRP' (non resident parent) and not an au-pair. You are going to need legal advice because your ex seems to be living in la-la land.

NatashaBee Sat 26-Jan-13 14:05:37

I would definitely get legal advice. What do you both plan to do long term with regards to residency of the children? Since he has been their main carer, he may try and argue that they should live with him, and you should pay maintenance.

StripiestSocks Sat 26-Jan-13 14:05:45

I think I would get legal advice fast. If he wants to leave you he needs to set up home himself, with space for the kids. then you each have the kids however much time you two deem is the appropriate split between you. Then maintenance flows from that. You have to sort child care for your days.

I don't think it is ok for him to basically opt out of some of it and not the bits he likes.

Why are you going to counselling if the relationship is over?

tribpot Sat 26-Jan-13 14:06:23

I don't usually like the 'what if the genders were reversed' arguments put across in some relationships posts, but as my ds also has a SAHD whilst I work f-t I can relate to the situation directly.

So all things being equal, he would be entitled to ask you to leave the family marital home whilst he (the children's primary carer) stayed in it with them. As they are only 3 and 1 childcare costs would prohibit him from being able to do much paid work just yet. You would pay child support (spousal support I think is now very unusual) and he would have to manage his finances.

Instead he has offered an alternative which means you get to continue to live with the children, whilst he comes in daily to care for them in their home. I appreciate that is emotionally difficult but it seems like the best option for your children from what you've described. Yes, it means you have the morning and evening shift - having children for the entire day in between is hardly the 'fun bit', though, unless they just play games and trash the house? - but the alternative is that he does the morning and evenings.

I'm guessing there must be more to the story given you've been signed off work til Feb, but on the face of it what he's proposing doesn't seem that selfish. How would you propose to have the children looked after?

SamSmalaidh Sat 26-Jan-13 14:07:08

Well, in most situations the children would stay with the primary carer (him) and the other parent would move out of the home after a split.

I don't think it would be in the children's best interests for him to get a job and them to go into childcare, would it?

So, what would be the better option - him staying in the family home and you moving out and having access, or him living with his mother but doing childcare when you are at work?

MisForMumNotMaid Sat 26-Jan-13 14:13:51

Take things one step at a time. Remember to breathe.

You have a few weeks to make a start on a plan for moving forward. You're doing well, this buys you that vital breathing space you need.

You talk a lot about him and his set up. He has had the upper hand because he's made his moves. You however, hold as many cards. You are also in a strong position because you're working.

You need to focus on what you want and with him gone how you want your household to run.

Child care and access are obviously things very high up on your list of issues. Does your MIL live near by and is her house a suitable environment for your DC's some of the time in the day or even occasionally overnight?

There are so many ways you could choose to go but if you want him to keep access, he's unlikely to work and provide maintenance and you feel yourDC would be safe at our MIL's then could you treat him like a childminder and drop them off there on your way to work? It would make hand over less intrusive of your home.

Have you ever looked at childcare options in your area?

Have you thought about contacting a solicitor yet?

StripiestSocks Sat 26-Jan-13 14:13:54

Yes potentially OP should leave but then the DH has to take on financial responsibility for the house, maybe work or on benefits, with the OP paying maintenance for the children depending on the time split. Not the OP moves out and still has to maintain his whole life for him because he is living in a fantasy world.

He has moved out. Get legal advice on that basis. Do not try to work with him or negotiate until you have had legal advice, as he sounds too flighty to be sensible.

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 14:19:29

Thanks for the replies... and good to get different view points.

I am signed off so long because it was just so sudden. We were together 9 years and I'm just blindsided at the moment.

Those of you saying about it being a good solution - you are right but it just feels that he gets to just carry on with no real change whilst i have to accept his feelings for me have gone whilst mine are still strong! I also get that he is the main carer but i can't bear the thought of me being out of our home, looking in, when this was all hiatus decision. Maybe I'm the selfish one?

we're going to counselling as originally i wanted to save our marriage and try to restore his feelings but i just don't know anymore (there was a long waiting list which is why we're only just starting now)

LineRunner Sat 26-Jan-13 14:20:00

Really sorry, OP, this is happening to you.

I was wondering half way down your opening post how on earth he was supporting himself, then I saw that he moved back in with his mum. What's the story, there? Sounds pretty immature on the face of it.

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 14:40:28

He's very close to his family - all live locally and see each other a lot whereas my parents live abroad and i no longer speak with my DB (incident with DD and his dog).

MIL is lovely but firmly on his side, rightly so as he's her son, but seems to think i have PND (tough first year with DS as he was a bit of a non sleeper!) I went back to work when he was 7 months but continued to do all the night wakings which could be numerous, which just knackered me out. DS better now but haven't caught up and this is not helping.

Sorry if this feels like drip feeding, am just wallowing a bit.

i just wish he could've talked to me rather than leaving... He says he's been unhappy since March sad

arthriticfingers Sat 26-Jan-13 14:46:38

Might be worth asking H if he wants to move OW into the family home or set up a childfree life with OW when their love nest is ready.
Not Sorry to be blunt.

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 14:56:10

OW? I don't think he has one.. presume you think he does? I really hope not sad

Charbon Sat 26-Jan-13 14:56:53

I'm sure you probably realise that the main reason for men to leave a relationship suddenly is someone else?

When parents separate, regardess of who was the primary carer it doesn't help children or the separating couple if both parents continue to care for them in what was the family home. If the separation is permanent, children need to get used to the idea that life has changed, whereas if family life is more or less unaltered (appreciating that the main change here is that he's not there in the evenings) they tend to harbour hopes that their parents will reconcile.

It's also very important to you as the person who has been left, that your home becomes your own private sanctuary that is not open to him coming or going any more.

My sense is that he has met someone else but is waiting to see whether that works out or not before making your split and any changes to family life, more permanent.

I therefore think there is a large bit of this picture that is hidden to you and that you need to bear that in mind before taking any big decisions.

But for now, work with what is in the open domain. He is saying that he wants out of your relationship, but he doesn't want his life to change drastically. His losses are therefore fewer than yours and psychologically, the greatest motivator for change is loss.

I'd hold on the counselling because I don't think he will give up his secrets and while a therapist might be suspicious, he or she can't make him tell the truth.

Instead I would tell him that he needs to get his own place and parent the children in the daytime there, or you will need to work out a new arrangement about work/finances/childcare that does not involve him parenting the children from the family home. Point out that you need to get on with your own single life now that you are separated and that this will require him to parent his children at night and at weekends as well as in the daytime.

tribpot Sat 26-Jan-13 14:59:03

t just feels that he gets to just carry on with no real change whilst i have to accept his feelings for me have gone

Which, unfortunately, is how it goes when one partner falls out of love. He may have already grieved for the end of the relationship. It sounds as it is irreparable, which is very sad. It also sounds like he hasn't been, and continues not to be, honest about his feelings if he's prepared to go to counselling when he clearly sees no future in it.

However, all that aside, the priority is to find an arrangement that makes family life tolerable for all concerned. Your feelings about your marriage need to be separated from your feelings about him as a co-parent - and of course I do appreciate this is easier said than done! If the counselling could be a safe space for you to talk about how to separate your lives with least impact on your children's wellbeing, that sounds helpful. If it prolongs the agony of uncertainty about the state of your marriage, that probably isn't.

Him coming to the house each day may not be fair but it's probably the least worst solution for now.

Charbon Sat 26-Jan-13 15:02:10

By the way, IME when departing spouses are that specific about a month or date when they first felt unhappy, this usually coincides with a convenient point in time before they started an affair. However, further investigating usually reveals that by that month/date, they had already met the other person and had started to check out of their relationship in order to have an affair.

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 15:19:41

I really hope there is no-one else although I guess, looking back, there are a few signs - staying up later than me every night, no matter how late I left it.. being on the internet a LOT, going out for an hour to go to the local shop for a couple of bits...? I put it down to needing a break from looking after two small children as I do realise that the 'day shift' isn't all fun and games!

Re the date - due to his snoring and DS's night wakings, we agreed he'd sleep on the sofa for a while as I was already feeling very sleep deprived and this seemed like a good solution at the time. This is when he said things started to change for him - so I feel guilty that he felt shoved out but I honestly didn't know what else to suggest (DS wake, I feed, take 45 mins to get back to sleep, DS wakes about half hour after that, and on and on) As soon as DS was in his own room, he moved back in but i guess the damage was already done.

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 15:24:05

Some really good points about the counselling - I do think he is going just because he thinks he should rather than because he wants to repair things. I am now leaning towards using it as a way to understand what went wrong as I just feel so clueless right now and as a way to help keep things friendly for the children.

We have been to the introductory session which explained how it all works and I do realise it isn't a fix it solution but as he can't seem to talk to me normally, this seems like a good place for him to tell me what he does feel!

It's just so hideous!

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Sat 26-Jan-13 15:29:05

Your poor thing. It must have been an awful shock for you.

When did you notice things starting to change? I'm wondering why he didnt give you the chance to fix things before he walked out? OW maybe sad

tribpot Sat 26-Jan-13 15:29:39

Interesting that he's chosen a date where the 'blame' can accrue to you, then, OP. What you did was perfectly sensible for your circumstances at the time, and not a valid reason to check out of a marriage. But well chosen to give you the 'if only' factor of wondering what would have happened and thus distracting you from the rather obvious signs that something was a bit off, whether an OW or something like online flirting, perhaps.

You're in limbo waiting to try and see if the relationship can be salvaged. But he says he doesn't love you and he walked away. What does he think the counselling is for?

LineRunner Sat 26-Jan-13 15:33:16

Skillbo My ExH lied about the OW even to his own parents for some time after he left. He wanted mediation but but was a sham, it was just to look good.

He met her at work but your H has plenty of time to meet someone online during the day as well as at night.

I think he needs to set up home on his own and then you would be wise to require him to parent his children 50-50 (care and finances) so you can have a life. Life with him (and his mum) currently sounds very flat.

I would get counselling just for yourself, if you would like to. Look after yourself. Good luck smile

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 15:33:46

Puds - I didn't really notice things changing. It's only now, looking back, I wonder at some bits. One of the things I am most angry about is the fact that I had no opportunity to try and salvage things before they got to the point where he felt his only option was to leave. I am not a monster, honestly, and don't think I am that hard to talk to but he obviously thinks I am.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 26-Jan-13 15:40:55

Get legal advice. His status as SAHD is muddying the waters here. These are very, very young children, he has walked out on the family leaving them behind and he is not offering to look after them at his new premises but to keep popping in and out of your home. How are you meant to move on from this emotionally if your ex is hanging around like a bad smell?

SamSmalaidh Sat 26-Jan-13 16:20:22

Do you have enough money for a deposit for him to move into a rented flat with the children and claim housing benefit and income support? Then maybe you can work out an arrangement for you having them one or two overnights during the week and some time at the weekends.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Sat 26-Jan-13 16:33:19

sad Skillbo, he is obviously an utter wanker if he didn't even give you a chance to fix things.

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