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.

What a cliche but where do we go from here? DH does not love me anymore...

(33 Posts)
notashock Sat 23-Feb-13 23:29:46

Not sure why I am posting here but I need to make sense of this. Have NC-ed for this as though not a prolific poster, I do know people from RL on MN. History - Been together 12 years, married for 10. Two DCs, 5 and 3. DH has been 'off' with me the last few days. Anyway, after a particularly sullen day, we have had a talk tonight about us.

It's such a bloody cliche, we have been together 12 years, fell in love instantly. got married after 2 years. Waited 5 years to have children because we wanted to be ready. Ha bloody ha. To say parenting has not come easy to either of us has been an understatement of the year. Also, DC1 not a particularly easy child. He tests us to the absolute limit of our patience. DC2 is a very laidback child (thank god!). Neither DH and I have been 'happy' for a while. Have had a particularly testing and stressful 6 months and there are moments where I have fantasised about leaving DH but I always thought at the back of my mind, once the kids got to school and DS1's behaviour got more 'settled' we will have time to focus on us again. Our behaviour towards each other, TBH, has not been kind or pleasant. Snappy, testy and lack of patience...

DH works in a highly stressful job while I work PT and like most working parents, we struggle to find time for anything. Also lack of family support (my family is not local and his family, while local, is rather hands-on) means we just struggle on most days and are exhausted.

Back to today, DH has confessed he has had a spark with someone he works with and that has basically led him to question everything about us as he doesn't feel that way towards me anymore. He has NOT had an affair (emotional or physical) or even contemplate one and I believe him. I had a MASSIVE crush on a singer a few months ago and was completely obsessed with him for quite a few weeks and I think that was my equivalent if that made sense.

After hours of talking (which we really should have done a long time ago), we have established that 1. our 'disconnect' started happening when we became parents. 2. he is not a 'natural' father, don't get me wrong, he loves our DCs but he has not found being a dad easy 3. he doesn't know what to do next as the thought of breaking up our family is horrendous yet he cannot see himself living like this for the next few years, let alone 10/20/50 years. I, on the other hand, still think we have a fighting chance. He has agreed that our marriage is worth fighting for but while I think we could still make it, he is not so sure. We both agree we were very happy in our first few years of our marriage and that the whole parenting lark has taken its toll on us big-time.

So we have agreed we are going to be nice and kind and talk to each other for a change to begin with. We are looking at couples counselling (how do I go about this, finding the right one?) and we are going to make an effort to do something together every week (and get a babysitter) and maybe give it 6 months? I still love him but I DO get where he is coming from, we just both have not been happy with each other for a while. But then again, the thought of breaking up our family breaks my heart completely. I am sitting here now and feeling remarkably calm and we both agree we feel better for having talked about it though it's not good news evidently. But we have both carried resentment against each other for so long, it feels like a relief it's 'out there' and in fact, we are talking to each other normally for a change and not being snappy/dismissive. Does anyone have any experience of going through this with their partner and coming out the other side? Feels at the moment it could go either way and I am sad about it.

Am going to bed now but will read posts in the morning. It's been a gruelling day. sad

notashock Mon 25-Feb-13 13:56:07

He is sad, guilty and sorry about the spark he has for her and he is contrite enough to agree that he needs to cut contact absolutely out of work (no socialising that sort of thing). I know deep down, he can be selfish but I had no idea what kind of father he would be until he became a father and it's a little too late to dwell on that now. We really had such a brilliant relationship in the beginning, lots of laughter, adventure and connection and we lost most of it along the way...

The thing is I am actually not that worried about making it alone and sometimes do think we may be better off without him BUT at the end of the day, he is the father of our two very beautiful children and to break up our family is a devastating thought. The boys love him to death. And we have so much going on as a family, just bought our 'forever' house, DC1 settled into his new school after we yanked him out of another one. DC2 started pre-school in same school. It's also complicated by other circumstances I don't want to go into as it might identify me. He is looking at places we might go to for our little break away so he has not been completely complacent in letting me organise everything. I do feel we can get back what we had but I agree with you all that he needs to want it too. I've confided in my best friend today and she has made me feel slightly better but I still feel sick to the stomach at the thought of hurting my two beautiful children. And I don't care if I can shift 100% of the blame on him, my children WILL be hurt if our relationship ends whether it resulted from his or my actions and I owe it to them to at least try and get over this.

Charbon Mon 25-Feb-13 14:00:57

Sadness, guilt and sorrow are disproportionate emotions for merely fancying someone else, so if you're seeing those then something more guilt-inducing has happened.

You can't build a good relationship where there are secrets and lies, although some couples manage a functional marriage in these circumstances.

Charbon Mon 25-Feb-13 14:03:01

Are you evading the question about precisely when he met her because it coincided with the stressful period and you don't want to link the two?

notashock Mon 25-Feb-13 14:09:36

Charbon I have asked several times in all honesty what has gone on and he has promised he has been completely honest. DH is a very black/white person, I know what he is like and I do believe him. I cannot do more than that. Our relationship has gotten so bad to a point that I have fantasised about leaving him but for me, I recognise that how I felt was unreasonable, under very stressful situations and could be overcome with time. I shouldn't have left feelings like that fester away in me either to the point that we both clammed up about our feelings. Ironically, I felt we were getting to a place where we could have tried to move on past things but didn't know how to so maybe counselling etc will help but maybe it won't and I will have to accept that possibility. We have both agreed on the counselling and he will have to come clean then if he hasn't come clean before. I agree with what you are saying but I am doing my best in difficult circumstances. Again, I appreciate your thoughts but I can't sit here and argue with you about whether I believe him or not!

Charbon Mon 25-Feb-13 14:17:35

If you had to make a major business or purchase decision that would affect the rest of your life and that of your children's, would you accept the word of the person who had an investment in you sealing the deal, without doing your own research and checking out their claims by consulting independent sources and information that cannot lie?

This is no different.

MadAboutHotChoc Mon 25-Feb-13 14:51:08

Have you done any digging yet?

His emotions are well out of proportion if it was only a spark.

I bet the rough match in your marriage started when this woman came onto the scene - if you read Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass, there is a very good section about how and why the cheater creates a gap which is then filled by the OW.

AnyFucker Mon 25-Feb-13 18:11:25

There are lots of people who lie in counselling, so I wouldn't put your faith in a counsellor getting the truth out of him if he is not prepared to give it

The thing is, if he really wanted this to work, the best thing he could do is give you the truth. I hope he has. Because if you find out later that he hasn't, it will be a lot harder to get over.

And yes, I would have expected he would be researching places to go for his reward. Family money being spent on trying to keep the attention of a man with a wandering eye, who has no consequences. I worry for you.

tessa6 Mon 25-Feb-13 20:33:04

It's possible that in broaching the subject, he realised how much he had to lose with you and your newly honest communication has reignited a hope for him your relationship could recover. He may then, privately, shut down all contact and communication with this other woman and recommit in counselling, whether or not he has told you the full truth.

But I'm afraid if he has said he isn't sure he loves you anymore, and made reference to this spark, it's probably he is minimising the extent of things. EVERYONE does this. That's what's s important to realise. That infidelity is almost always minimized initially by the unfaithful partner. it's the norm, not the rarity.

I would strongly suggest snooping on technological devices and receipts. And think about what opportunity he has had for infidelity if any.

It's a good step to do counselling and all that stuff, of course, and you may be right. But keep your wits about you. it is very very rare for a man to talk about breaking up his family without someone lined up in at least a semi-serious fashion. Sorry to generalise but in my experience here and in life it is true. well done for tackling it. I hope you feel better. But in short, he may well have told her he's giving it 'one last try' with you. You sound pretty together and strong so I imagine, as long as you look after yourself first, you'll be okay.

In answer to your question at the top, of course sometimes flagging relationships sort themselves out sometimes, but this sounds unusual, so make sure you're getting the whole truth, and frankly from sources other than him, he has every possible motivation to lie.

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