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Should we wait until exams are over before we split?

(28 Posts)
truthtotell Sat 26-Jan-13 16:48:06

Relationship with H has reached rock bottom - no one else involved, no 'big' issues like drink or dv but his laziness and selfishness has worn away any love and respect I had for him. He feels it's all my fault for being 'cold' and 'addicted to conflict'.

We have one ds (13) and my priority is to protect him and make sure we don't make any more of a mess for him than we already have. I always assumed ds would be generally ok with us splitting as H is so useless, does so little that he might as well not be there.

Last summer I packed up all H stuff after a row where he stormed out. Ds asked what I was doing, I told him I was sick of H's behaviour and wanted to give him a wake-up call. This was the first time I had openly showed ds how bad the relationship is. He was amazingly mature about it to me, said perhaps we were both in the wrong. Later texted all his friends very distressed.

When OH came back I told him to either take his stuff and go or else unpack it and make a resolution to improve. He did neither - left his stuff in the bags, muttered something about maybe getting a flat and just carried on as before.

Anyway, ds is taking 4 gcse's this year and will be taking more in years 10 and 11. Not to mention A'levels. The last thing I want to do is screw up his education - I have suffered the relationship for so long it seems almost irrational to finish it at such a crucial time in ds's life. So should I just carry on with it at least until ds has finished his gcse's?

That depends on whether you think it is more healthy for him to live with two warring parents, or split between two happier parents.

Two and a half years is a long time.

No, I'd be wanting out now through legal separation rather than sticking this out for yet another two or so years. Your H will not change.

What do you want to teach your child about relationships - both of you are currently teaching him damaging lessons. He does not need another minute let along a couple more years of his parents private war.

Charbon Sat 26-Jan-13 17:11:07

I think you made it worse for your son involving him in a threat that you didn't carry out.

Life is much worse for children who have to witness unhappy parental relationships, especially if they are drawn into the conflict.

Better to separate now. If DS is on a modular syllabus, he can re-take any GCSEs that are adversely affected over the next few months, but given the government's plans I'm assuming he will be doing linear courses from Year 10 with final exams at the end of Year 11? By that time, you could have him settled into a new routine and a calm, argument-free home.

truthtotell Sat 26-Jan-13 17:23:51

Yes, I feel terrible about ds being drawn into the bag-packing thing but I was so full of anger at H it was at least a good outlet. I didn't carry out the threat as I decided that if H wasn't going to change perhaps I had better change my reaction to him. I have tried hard to be calmer, even went away for a couple of weeks to learn meditation. For a while it helped but I find day by day it is being chipped away by my resentment.

Thing is, I suppose he has grown up in this atmosphere..will a couple more years make a big difference..I don't know what to do for the best.

He will take final gcse exams in year 9, 10 and 11 as part of his options charbon, under the new rules I'm not sure how much leeway he will have to retake.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Sat 26-Jan-13 17:26:34

I read that as you being addicted to cornflakes hmm

Have you spoken to your son about 'D'H leaving?

If not now then when? Next year your son will be sitting some more GCSEs, in two years it'll be A levels, then you won't want to upset his first year at uni. It won't get easier and in fact staying together just for your son is likely to backfire as he'll be able to sense the bad atmosphere which will not only affect his academic life but also may shape his ability to form relationships.

Your son is in year 9 so he's sitting some exams early. He'll easily be able to resit these.In fact, if his school operates like the one I work in, it'll be expected that he sits some exams in year 9 to "bank" at least a C if possible, then resit in year 10 or 11 for a higher grade. If you split now he'll have time to adjust and settle before he reaches the point where there will be no resits.

A friend whose parents stayed together for the sake of the children's exams. My friend knew her parents wanted to split and says the atmosphere in the house was awful. She felt responsible for their relationship and ended up depressed and got disappointing exam results anyway. She's sure she'd have been a happier teen and got better results had her parents split earlier.

truthtotell Sat 26-Jan-13 17:36:50

I haven't talked about it to ds since the incident last summer.

I haven't discussed it really with H yet so it seemed too early - i'm all over the place with it tbh. I keep thinking that if only H would change even just 10% I would be so much happier that the atmosphere would be quite different.

It's not as straightforward as that with the exams baking, he sits two gcse options this year and there won't be space in the curriculum for him to do them next year as he'll be on to the next two option subjects and three different sciences with exams plus english etc etc

Charbon Sat 26-Jan-13 17:38:12

I'm sure he'll be able to re-sit. This is as much to the school's advantage as it is to the student's. In any case, I'm assuming that these GCSEs achieve only a percentage of the overall result - i.e. 25% at most would be the norm at this age. Don't let this be a barrier to splitting.

Charbon Sat 26-Jan-13 17:39:25

Is this a state school in England? Because I've never come across this system you're describing,

badguider Sat 26-Jan-13 17:44:13

Don't think it will be easy to split when your ds goes to uni. Students leaving home need to know that 'home' as they know it is still there - I knew a few students whose parents split in their first year of uni and all were deeply disturbed by 'was my while childhood a lie?' thoughts.
If you're going to do it, do it now.

truthtotell Sat 26-Jan-13 17:44:31

Yes it's a state school in the uk. 2 options studied in yr 9 with exams at the end of the year. 3 science exams chem, bio, physics then 3 more yr 10 and 3 more yr 9 to make them up to full 3 gcse qualifications. Yr 10 study next two options.

Also sitting eng lit although they have made provision for him to resit this in yr 11. Maybe I should have posted this in secondary ed!

truthtotell Sat 26-Jan-13 17:45:06

*Should say 3 more yr 10 and 3 more yr 11

truthtotell Sat 26-Jan-13 17:47:45

I don't think he's under any illusions about our relationship after last year but thinks that we could possibly work it out with give and take. I think he would hate the disruption esp if we have to move.

Okay so a more complex exam timetable than I thought. However the principle remains. Better now than when he's sitting the exams for core subjects. Better now for everyone's peace of mind and quality of life. Kids are resilient in some areas more than we give them credit for. He'll probably cope better with a split now rather than the effect of waiting for it based on the bag incident and atmosphere in the house. Staying for his sake is likely to have a longer lasting negative effect on your son in terms of his emotional wellbeing and ability to form positive relationships. Exam results are important but long term emotional wellbeing is far more integral to a happy adult life.

Charbon Sat 26-Jan-13 17:52:39

In Year 9, many schools don't broadcast the options about re-sits to either students or parents because they think it's better for students to treat each exam as the final chance. But the truth is that re-sits advantage the school and the final results and they are always an option within a modular exam system.

Your later posts though don't convey the certainty about your marriage being over as much as your OP. Would couples counselling be worth a try?

QuickLookBusy Sat 26-Jan-13 17:53:23

Much better to do it this year I think.

He'll have exams from now until the end of sixth form. You can't wait that long to separate, if that's what you want.

meditrina Sat 26-Jan-13 17:55:08

There will always be something on the horizon which won't be ideal during a split.

Your decision now is whether you really want to separate, or if you really want to stay and work on the marriage.

In your shoes, I would start working on the practical aspects of a separation and tell H at is what I was doing. If that doesn't serve as an 11th hour kick up the arse, nothing will. At which point you put the plan into action.

If it does shock him in to marriage saving action, it will help if you have an idea of what you actually want him to do not just what he needs to make slightly more accommodating comments about.

TheSecondComing Sat 26-Jan-13 18:03:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

truthtotell Sat 26-Jan-13 18:12:18

Impossible to tell what H wants, he is so secretive and of course the situation doesn't exactly encourage either of us to open up. I think he is probably thinking the same thing - tough it out until ds is older and I accept the advice on here that is a bad plan.

I think I will go to relate and at least I can talk to someone impartial about it. We once went for a couple of sessions with someone paid for thru work. I found her a bit odd and she admitted that she usually did motivational stuff for business not couples counselling.

I can't see us mending the relationship but if we can at least get to an affectionate friendship that would make any split far less traumatic.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 26-Jan-13 18:12:30

I don't think you should stay together for any reason if you think its over. Its a long time before A levels.
I take it that your ds is your first priority here with you talking about his exams. At 13 he is young to be taking GCSE's this year, which means he is very bright. If and its a big If it had an impact on his education he has another 3 years before he is expected to take GCSE's.

I also think the other issue is that between you and dh there seems to be a lack of action, but lots of arguments. Maybe one or both of you aren't ready to call it a day yet.

Good luck, whatever you decide. It is not easy being in limbo.

TheSecondComing Sat 26-Jan-13 18:25:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

truthtotell Sat 26-Jan-13 18:45:27

Yeah, I've tried all kinds of talk over the years - always initiated by me, sometimes calm and rational sometimes blunt and probably quite aggressive, often in floods of tears. H will always sit and listen and in the old days would often agree that he was in the wrong but it never leads to any real change.

I don't doubt he is sick of the bickering but he never makes the connection that he has the ability to stop it happening.

Charbon Sat 26-Jan-13 18:54:31

The reference to 'in the old days' and the 'secretive' behaviour suggests that something about your relationship dynamics has changed in recent times. What do you think is being kept secret from you?

truthtotell Sat 26-Jan-13 19:04:40

Perhaps just bad wording on my part charbon - I think 'closed up' might have been a better description. He doesn't feel comfortable talking about feelings even if he is in turmoil underneath it all where I would rather have things out in the open. I do think he is capable of being secretive - I think he's the type to just up and go one day.

I don't think there's been a massive shift in the dynamic, just a gradual realisation that I can't get him to change or to care more which has made me more unkind towards him almost out of self-preservation.

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