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Can somebody help me please - how do I make them understand???

(576 Posts)
Overtiredmum Thu 18-Apr-13 19:41:19

I have been with my DH for 12 years, married for 7 and we have two beautiful children, DS 7 and DD 4. DH is a wonderful dad and a good husband, problem is that for the last year or so I have just drifted apart from him, to the point I am just so unhappy, we have finally separated.

This has only been since last week, and we are slowly starting to tell friends and family. The problem is I feel like I am beign ganged up on, no-one really understands how I feel and that I need to do whats best, which in everyone elses view is patch things up with DH for the sake of the kids! But thats the problem, I have been "patching" for the last year, now I just feel like I am barely surviving day to day.

Since having DS, I have worked evenings. I am fortunate that I have a good job which enabled me to continue my career, but working in the evenings, 5-11pm. DH works days 7am to 4pm, which meant we have never needed additional childcare. But also meant that we had very little time together. I have always tried to do the lions share of stuff at home, maybe a couple of times a week he will need to cook for DC, but apart from that I do everything, and then I go to work. My day starts at 6am and finishes about 12.30am when I crawl into bed.

For the last 4 months or so, everything has just gotten on top of me. Growing up, my parents had an unhappy marriage, splitting up on numerous occasions, my DF being always at work, my DM being the primary care provider. My DM made sacrifices for her own happiness, and they stayed together and are companions for each other in their retirement. But I watched this growing up, and can now see my life heading in the same direction. I have tried to talk to my mum about my feelings, but she is of the view that I should stay put, that I could never do any better, a companion is better than a partner and to "think of the children". I can see having a companion works for her, she is 65 - I am 38?

But that is my problem - I am doing this for my babies. For the last 4-6 months they are picking up on my unhappiness. DS is at school all day, but DD is home for 3 days a week - I spend whole days crying, with her drying my tears, telling me she loves me and it will be OK. Thats surely not healthy for her?? My DS has a nervous thing he does with his eyes, which he cannot seem to stop. I feel like I am being a terrible mum, I need to be happy, surely if I'm happy I will be a better mum?

Together as a family, the DC continually fight and argue, fighting for my attention and love.

So, I have broken DH's heart by asking for a separation. This was last Friday. He stayed at his mums for the weekend but came back every day. Every time he left, I felt a great sense of relief, the DC calmed down, played together great, and we had fun. Thats sounds awful I know. The minute he walks back through the door, I am uncomfortable, it is back to square one with the fighting and arguing. For the first time ever, he took them to the park at the weekend on his own, they loved it.

I am just so unhappy, and I feel I am being pushed into a corner. I have had some really dark days during the last few months, I have been drinking a ridiculous amount of alcohol. This past few days have been so tough, I know he doesn't understand, but I feel relief that he now knows at least, and I haven't even felt the need for a drop of alcohol.

I have made an appointment to see a Relate counsellor next week on my own, although don't really know what to expect. I just want to sit down and talk to someone who doesn't know me, or how great DH is.

I just feel drained. I am continually trying to explain that I am just so unhappy, that it is reflecting on the DC, and that I feel to be the best mum I can, I need to be happy, and if that means being apart from DH, then so be it.

Sorry - long and rambling, but needed to get this out of my head. I feel terrible for breaking the heart of a good man - but I have one life, don't I owe it to myself to make the very best of it for me and my DC? I love my DH, but more as a brother. We just returned from a 10 day holiday together, I had hoped the time together would help - but I felt like I was away with a stranger sad

So opinions please - am I doing the right thing?

CinnabarRed Tue 23-Apr-13 16:09:04

The OP's H will NOT help do the cleaning/cooking etc.. He is coming back home from a hard day at work and he is doing a physical job

Except he is coming home to help because he's in sole charge of the children for tea, bath and bedtime. (I know that in one of my previous posts I said he was working 8 hours while the OP was doing 18, but I was only factoring in his hours actually in his paid employment. When you do the maths on the same basis as the OP, he's doing at around 14 hours from waking to getting the DCs to bed. Still not as much as the OP, which needs to be rebalanced, but not as unequal as it first seemed.)

Look, I really don't like the way that the OP's DH has treated her recently, particularly over the past 24 hours. What I genuinely can't tell is whether he's hurting and lashing out, or is showing his true colours as a vile abuser. But, like quietly, I'm uncomfortable advising her to LTB when she is definitely exhausted and possibly depressed.

OP, I'm really glad that you're speaking to a counsellor. You need someone in real life who can help you understand whether your DH is fundamentally decent or not. (And who isn't Your Mother.)

Questioning Tue 23-Apr-13 16:54:38

I don't think he will because he has never done it. The OP has done all the washing, cleaning and cooking, not him. What he has done is to look after the dcs for a few hours and put them in bed. A babysitter has done for me before.

Ok that's better than nothing at all but when this guy is also saying that she is lucky that he is doing so much... I can't see him raising to the challenge tbh.

And beside, she has already decided to leave the marriage. What she needs is support in doing what she thinks is best for her when her H is very slowly trying to drag her down with his comments (such as 'you are unwell') so much so she is worried about going to see a counsellor on her own....

Overtiredmum Tue 23-Apr-13 17:27:45

Thank you again everyone, I really do appreciate people's honest opinions and support. Not sure I'll be able to answer everyones questions, but I'll try grin

The counsellor this morning was enlightening. I spent most of the hour in tears, but I found that I didn't recognise the person I was talking about, and that was me.

She said that I am very obviously unhappy, and that without any real support on the outside world, it will make things so much worse. She said I am looking for justification, not to seperate, but to be happy, and that I deserve more from myself and definitely for my children.

As for DM, she thinks that maybe she is feeling guilty for her past decisions, but she is displaying that in the wrong way. She does think it best I keep her at arms length, ultimately, the counsellor doesn't think she will be of much support to me, and I feel I should just let her been a grandmother to the DC.

For the first time I don't feel judged, bullied and told how I should feel. I actually walked out of the office starving hungry, I've hardly eaten anything for the last week.

I wish I had seen a counsellor before. At this stage I don't have the answers, but I can see the fog clearing and I feel more at ease.

wordyBird Tue 23-Apr-13 17:36:18

For the first time I don't feel judged, bullied and told how I should feel.
- that's great, Overtired. I'm so glad you made it to your appointment.

You definitely do deserve more; you will gradually feel better as that fog clears. flowers

Overtiredmum Tue 23-Apr-13 17:42:46

She also said I seem to be accepting the whole blame, and if I am to ever move on, I need to accept that it takes two for a marriage not to work, for whatever reason. I need to stop blaming myself, then maybe I will feel more deserving, at the moment I just feel selfish.

CinnabarRed Tue 23-Apr-13 17:45:44

Great news that you clicked with your counsellor - I hope your sessions continue to bring you clarity and peace.

fubbsy Tue 23-Apr-13 17:54:20

Glad you found the counselling helpful overtired and you are feeling more at ease. smile

SissySpacekAteMyHamster Tue 23-Apr-13 18:08:24

Oh that is great to hear, the counsellor is obviously on your wavelength, and hopefully you can open up to her and work through your feelings.

Fab that you have a third party involved who doesn't judge you and who you feel comfortable with.

Agree with the advice to keep your mum as the grandparent. Keep her out of the loop, she is not on your side!

Overtiredmum Tue 23-Apr-13 18:42:36

I have a long way to go, H is still not understanding. I've told him we are have no future, but we need to be united for the DC, and hes just told me that theres no point me having the counselling then if I know what I want sad

wordyBird Tue 23-Apr-13 19:05:44

I think he is deliberately not understanding...

There is every point in having counselling because it's what YOU want, and your voice needs to be heard. It's not just about the marriage: it's about you, your needs, your feelings, and your life. You need somewhere to speak, and be heard, and so form a path forward.

Fleecyslippers Tue 23-Apr-13 19:09:54

I actually think that you need to go to counselling WITH your husband. I'm really sorry but I still don't see enough issues and attempts to 'fix' those issues for you to be able to justify leaving your marriage. In the space of a few pages your husband has been turned into a manipulative bully by MN. Is he REALLY that monster ? Or is he a decent, kind, hard working man who has, like many other people before him, been side tracked by the pressures of a young family, a mortgage and the bills to pay. Yes you sound exhausted and its no wonder but being a lone parent is not a path I chose lightly. I worry about the things that your counsellor has said to you tbh. My experience of goid counsellors is that they actually make very few assertions or assumptions themselves and this one sounds as if she hasan awful lot to say.
I don't mean to sound harsh but I think you are throwing your marriage away too easily and it's no wonder that your husband is hurting so badly. I think that there are loads of practical things that you need to think about addressing regarding finances and childcare etc which could help make the grind seem less daunting.

Overtiredmum Tue 23-Apr-13 19:10:37

He keeps telling me I have to fight to save us, I have no fight sad

Overtiredmum Tue 23-Apr-13 19:12:04

I appreciate your opinion Fleecy, but if it is making me unhappy trying to love him?

Questioning Tue 23-Apr-13 19:24:47

Fleecy, this from the OP's counsellor:

She also said I seem to be accepting the whole blame, and if I am to ever move on, I need to accept that it takes two for a marriage not to work, for whatever reason.

Her H has not shown in any way at all yet that he is willing to make some effort too. He hasn't asked her what he could do, what was making her unhappy. He hasn't proposed her to change. No he has just been blaming her again for the failure of his marriage.
It takes two to tango. If eh isn't ready to amkle some effort, the OP can try as much as she wants, it won't happen.
Actually she has tried on her own for the last year or so. It hasn't worked.

I have no doubt that her H has some default and some bad points even if she hasn't talked about it. Perhaps trust the OP that she knows her situation well and her H well enough to know it's too late for 'working on her marriage'?

Lostwithoutacompass Tue 23-Apr-13 19:26:42

Hello overtired, my marriage is coming to an end and although not quite as extreme as your mum, mine took months to become more supportive and understanding but from her perspective I think she was panicking at the thought of me being a single mum with three young children, how I would cope etc.. My dc was in total denial and I think after 10 months of me first bringing it up we are just about starting to be on the same page. Not that its a comparison but just to empathise that it's a long, difficult and lonely journey when you are the one who isn't happy anymore.

I didn't want to carry on following your post without telling you that you have my support and I think you are being really brave. I went for one session of counselling and was relieved when she told me it was ok to want to be alone. I was very nervous before going, cried lots through it and actually cried lots for the next few days. I felt emotionally floored but i think it was the relief of talking about it and not having to justify myself about how I feel. Keep on eating and looking after yourself. My only advice is listen to yourself, take your time but believe in yourself and your gut instinct.

Anyway, hang in there my lovely, there will be better times ahead. x

cjel Tue 23-Apr-13 19:35:22

OP, whilest I don't think what you h and dm are saying is right I wonder if its what they see,? You are drinking crying and exhausted all the time - you may not be well. It could very well be that it is your marriage that has caused it . I'm glad that you got on with counsellor and hope you can explore more as you go on. I would also urge you to go to your GP they may advise something as well. I'm not saying that your problem is 'just'tiredness and that a good nights sleep and you will be fine, but It sounds like your H leaving may not cure all your problems - you will still be shattered and get not enough sleep. I also find his behaviour this week really nasty and unhelpful. You have at last got him to see you are seriously unhappy and expects you to sort yourself out. One of your first priorities sounds like it could be to get him out of the house so you have real space not just weekend evenings.

JustinBsMum Tue 23-Apr-13 21:11:04

Growing up, my parents had an unhappy marriage, splitting up on numerous occasions, my DF being always at work, my DM being the primary care provider. My DM made sacrifices for her own happiness

I think this is part of your problem, growing up with a messy family life will leave its scars. Perhaps you would have sorted out the problems with DH before now if you had had a more secure childhood, perhaps you wouldn't have worked yourself into exhaustion.

If you speak to a solicitor so that you know where you stand you will be able to make your own decisions rather than being swayed or confused by DH and DM, so that could be your next move.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 23-Apr-13 21:26:36

overtired You will get through this thanks

Your DH is going through the change curve - I'm sure your counsellor can explain it to you - his emotions will follow a pattern which includes denial, depression and anger before moving on to experimentation and acceptance. Unfortunately, it can take a while for that journey to be completed.

As for your DM- you'll need to detach. My DM wouldn't stop involving herself in the issues between ex and myself when we were separating (initiated by me) - he turned to her for support and she was only to willing to give it at my expense.
She said some very hurtful things; based partly on the fact that she accepted and believed my ex's presentation of the facts without question. I've had no contact with my DParents for over three years now; they are in regular contact with DD via ex and he spent part of his honeymoon with them last year !

BedHanger Tue 23-Apr-13 21:56:34

I cannot believe how many people on this thread are responding to a woman incredibly distressed by the fact that no one in her life is listening to her when she says she wants to end her marriage...

by telling her that she doesn't know what she's thinking and she doesn't really want to end it.

Bizarre.

CinnabarRed Tue 23-Apr-13 22:22:46

That's not fair. Several of us have said that making important, life-changing decisions at a time when you're incredibly disstressed is not necessarily the most sensible thing to do. I for one would feel terrible if I advocated LTB and then the OP posted an update 6 months later saying that it turned out she'd been in the depths of depression and bitterly regretted the loss of her marriage. I'm normally one of the first to advocate LingTB, but what if she is having a nervous breakdown, say?

DaffodilAdams Wed 24-Apr-13 04:13:51

Well if Overtiredmum is having a break down then her husband is appearing quite happy to let that happen without offering any support and in fact appears more than happy to add to her stress levels. I mean really. Making someone change their job because he doesn't want to look after his own children? Can you imagine if the OP was making him do that? Or can you even imagine that would be a realistic option? Would you want to be with someone who cares so little about you?

These are not the actions of someone who is worried about their partner or who wants to save a relationship. They are the actions of someone who is punishing their partner. He is expecting her to fight for them yet not offering or doing any fighting for the relationship himself. He has not accepted any responsibility for the relationship breakdown. He even thinks that the OP going to counselling should be for his benefit i.e. so that the OP has some epiphany and comes back to him.

Overtiredmum has he ever even asked what he could do to make things better at any stage in this process (especially before you split)?

CinnabarRed Wed 24-Apr-13 09:20:15

My dad had a breakdown and walked away from his marriage. I think if you'd asked him at the time he would have said that no-one was listening to him or trying to understand his needs. They were, of course, but he couldn't process it. I say I think that's what he'd say it felt like because I can't ask him - he killed himself when he realised what he'd lost. So no, I'm not going to suggest that the OP LTB at this stage in the thread when there's no evidence whatsoever that she's tried to talk to him about change. If she come back and says she's been trying to get him to step up for months and he's refused then I'll change my tune. But until then, no.

Lemonylemon Wed 24-Apr-13 09:36:14

He keeps telling me I have to fight to save us

OP: Why is it just you who needs to do all the work regarding your relationship? Your counsellor is right about the fact that it takes two to make a marriage not work. He's bailing out of all responsibility for it.

cjel Wed 24-Apr-13 09:42:47

How are you this morning OP. I'm thinking about you.x

"He keeps telling me I have to fight to save us,"
Yes, that's confused me too. What can he possibly mean? It's as if he's remembered some trite phrase from an eighties melodrama confused. If anyone should be fighting to save the marriage it should be him - taking on the responsibilities that have ground the OP down and giving her space to recover. Pulling his bloody finger out, not sitting back and telling his exhausted and unhappy wife that she HAS to fight to keep him. What an arse he is to see his marriage in these terms.

OP, I hope you're feeling OK today, yesterday must have been emotionally exhausting for you.

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