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I am thinking of sending a letter to my husband: what do you think?

(88 Posts)
BranchingOut Sun 21-Apr-13 14:16:56

Dear DH

There have been a number of times in the period since DS was born when you have said that you held doubts about our relationship and questioned whether you would rather be separated/divorced. The most recent was a few weeks ago, in the car returning from our visit to X TOWN, and again when we were talking in bed the following night.

So I have had plenty of opportunity to think about what the future might be like as a separated couple. I have had to accept that hurt and live with the fact that, although these statements seem to gradually get brushed under the carpet, we continue with our day to day existence knowing, both of us, that you are not fully committed to me and to our shared future. I also increasingly have had to accept that the feeling you don’t really want me, for my own sake as your wife or the woman you love. I can’t remember when you last paid me a compliment or said that I have done something well. I feel that you just tolerate me, put up with me as second best, something mediocre, because I ‘come with the package’ of the house, DS and being a family man. This comes from your body language, from what you say and how you speak to me, especially in front of DS.

Accepting this is painful and I have had to look elsewhere to retain my pride and sense of self-esteem: to my own rational mind, to the love of my son, the pleasure and fulfilment I get from work and study, to the colleagues who value my work and to the occasional contact with my sister or friends.

Likewise, I feel that another casualty of our present relationship situation has been the opportunity for me to show weakness. I try really hard to keep on top of everything: working, household stuff, studying, being a good and patient mother to DS. But sometimes I need your help. Last Tuesday evening was one such time, when I was feeling low and mentally and emotionally exhausted from dealing with DS. This morning was another - I didn’t want to ‘make you the bad guy’ and I am sorry if I gave that impression, I just wanted practical help in getting home safely with the bags, scooter and a heavy three-year-old who had been trying to run away. But you seem to resent me having needed your help in these parenting situations, on Tuesday in particular. I would love to return to the feeling of give-and-take, that I can help you out when you need it, without recriminations, and that you would do the same for me.

The option that you have alluded to several times is to go our separate ways. Yet I do want to remain married. You know me better than any living person. I still love you and also hold you in high regard as father to DS. I don’t want him to grow up in a separated family, without the advantages that we could give him if we remain together.

Likewise, I don’t want you to be unhappy. I am sorry that you are unhappy. Why would I want you to be anything other than happy?

I want to be with you and I am prepared to ride-out a time of difficultly. I have often said that this phase of parenting is known to be hard work, for all couples. But I feel that we, together, need to make positive changes and a fresh commitment to our marriage.

Some ideas of what this might mean in practical terms:

Committing to an evening together, in the diary every week
Committing to a night away together, every six weeks.
A series of counselling sessions
Attending a parenting course together
Using a relationship textbook or workbook to bring a new perspective

I am sure that neither of us wants to live in this situation of uncertainty indefinitely and if necessary, I think we should agree a point in time when we review the situation and decide if we want to move forward together or make alternative plans.

With love, as always,
(signed)

WishIdbeenatigermum Sun 21-Apr-13 14:26:07

Great letter. Reasonable, unblamey, very coherent. I can imagine receiving it and reacting well. My only caveat would be would your dh 'get it'? Does he write and think like that?

CutMyFringe Sun 21-Apr-13 14:28:54

OP, I could have written that letter almost word for word, except that I don't think I love my H as much as you do yours (mine has made me deeply unhappy with his ongoing doubts and simmering resentment).

Anyway, I think that that is an honest, constructive letter, it comes across warmly and hopefully. I would send it and hope he steps up. He doesn't appreciate what he has, does he? So sad.

I am so sorry you are going through this , OP.

You're letter sets out clearly the hurt you're experiencing from your somewhat emotionally unavailable DH at present. Yet despite all this, you just want him to be happy .

I am afraid I don't have any great advice. You sound incredibly courageous and deserve better than this

Dryjuice25 Sun 21-Apr-13 14:31:46

Very well thought out and thoroughly articulate.

It's true you really can't live like this any longer as it's quite evident that it's killing you. I would send it and resolve this situation as your second and third paragraphs speaks volumes about this man and the state of your relationship. How awful for you.

I'm sorry you're hurting but his dithering suggests someone who wants out. But good luck with this. You sound like a good mum and person so it would be his loss...

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 21-Apr-13 14:34:50

Use the letter as an aide memoire but say it to his face. You should be able to talk to the person who is supposed to love you and you should be able to say what you want to say and know you'll be listened to and taken seriously. If you're resorting to writing letters it means you either fear his reaction or you think you'll be igored or dismissed. And that doesn't sound good to me.

Lizzabadger Sun 21-Apr-13 15:05:35

What is the back-story?

I wouldn't send the letter. I am sorry to go against the majority but I think it comes across as vicitimy and needy. In any case it's probably better to talk face to face.

Why would you want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with you though?

BranchingOut Sun 21-Apr-13 15:43:30

I have already tried to say the majority of it face to face at various times, but it is very difficult to get my point across. He is about 50% more articulate than me...

If I say things about the way I feel, he will say stuff like 'it's all about you isn't it.'

Lizza, no, I don't want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with me! It wasn't always like this...grin

Which parts come across as victimy/needy?

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 21-Apr-13 15:50:52

I think it's a good way of getting your thoughts in order, OP, but I wouldn't send it. It's like a business letter with feeling in parts and I think a conversation would be far better. What do you intend to do? Give him the letter and watch him read it? See his contempt for you when he reads what you've boiled your relationship down to?

I'm a believer in speaking from the heart when the person you're speaking to is in there. Your letter doesn't do that at all, I think it veers between cold/analytical and pleading/semi-loving and it doesn't gel. If you really want to send a message in legalese, get a solicitor and pay them to do it for you.

balia Sun 21-Apr-13 16:00:30

I think if what you are going for is genuine honesty and an opening for moving forward, you need to acknowledge that if he feels really miserable and not able to commit to improving things within the marriage, that a dialogue can start with the purpose of sorting out how to end it. I think that is what you are getting at in the last paragraph but it is a bit vague.

<quietly hand holding>

BranchingOut Sun 21-Apr-13 16:02:21

Contempt from him is nothing new, I am afraid! This is a man who didn't speak to me for eleven days once, called me to a meeting to discuss things, then who showed me no affection for the subsequent five months while he worked out if he wanted to stay with me or not.

I am intrigued by your description of 'a business letter with feeling in parts', because I felt that I was writing quite emotionally. Maybe that is where we are these days? I think that I have had to harden myself somewhat, which in turn limits how open, trusting and loving I can be.

I was planning to send it via email.

Bumply Sun 21-Apr-13 16:05:55

Ive done the letter thing with my then partner.
He had just shut off mentally from me and conversation of this sort was impossible, either because he had comebacks on everything before I'd had my day, or because I would cry and be incoherent.
Obviously it's not ideal, but then neither is the situation.
Try handing it to him at a time he can read it with you there.

BranchingOut Sun 21-Apr-13 16:25:06

Did it work?

Servalan Sun 21-Apr-13 16:28:44

Oh I so feel for you. I've done the letters thing with my husband for years because it was a way of expressing my feelings reasonably without getting my words twisted or it turning into a nasty argument.

A few nights ago I was looking at letters from back in 2009 - and was able to see that actually, nothing has changed.

I think putting your case and seeing if you can work on it is fine, but however reasonable you are, and however constructive your ideas are, please don't be disappointed if you find nothing changes or if your constructive ideas get dismissed.

You can suggest and invite change - but if your DH doesn't want to change or think he's the one who needs to change then he won't.

Then again, my relationship with my husband has finally ended after I realised I can't put myself through any more rejection or disappointment - so I might not be the most objective person to comment...

Really hope it works out differently for you

purrpurr Sun 21-Apr-13 16:32:39

Branching, it sounds like it's already over. How else can he treat you this way?

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 21-Apr-13 16:39:47

Branching... I guess I was saying that your letter is neither one nor the other. I don't think it will emote much from him anyway.

I'd not bother corresponding with him in writing at all. If it's gone that far - and it sounds as if it has - get a professional in to write him a letter to end it.

Paraphrasing the excellent and not at all gorgeous Alan Rickman in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, "... it will hurt more".

You deserve better, so much better. That wasn't clear in my earlier post - it is now. I wish you the very best.

MrsSpagBol Sun 21-Apr-13 17:00:48

I think you should send it as a final opportunity for him to make an attempt to either participate in the marriage, or not.

I dont get the "victim/needy" comment as imho, there is no shame about being honest or wanting to fight for your marriage and/or family unit. I think pride should not come into it if you still love him.

That said, I would mentally prepare yourself for a reaction that you may not like ie no change or confirmation that he does want out.

For me personally, it would benefit me to know that I did all I could and clearly and calmly expressed my needs and expectations, even if I did not get the outcome I desired.

I wish you the very best flowers

"Contempt from him is nothing new, I am afraid! This is a man who didn't speak to me for eleven days once, called me to a meeting to discuss things, then who showed me no affection for the subsequent five months while he worked out if he wanted to stay with me or not."

That doesn't sound like he has any respect for you whatsoever. So when he finally decided to stay with you did he apologise profusely and shower you with love? Somehow I think not sad

balia Sun 21-Apr-13 17:15:55

From what you've said, it is highly unlikely that your DH will respond honestly or fairly or even politely to this letter. But that in itself will be a clear sign of his contempt and lack of interest in you. But it seems to me that he is giving you very, very clear signs already.

I think you should invest some equal time into a letter to yourself. Imagine you are writing to a really good friend. Set out some expectations of yourself, practical steps to take and ask yourself; are you fully committed to your life, future and happiness? Set out some possible reactions the letter you have written to your DH and what you think you should do about them. You've said you want to stay married to this awful person - perhaps it would be valuable to explore why.

Then you may find you don't need to send him a letter at all.

wordyBird Sun 21-Apr-13 17:21:52

I'm sure he can't really be 50% more articulate than you... You come across as very articulate to me. Perhaps he is just skilled at arguing, or twisting your meaning so that you cannot get your point across (which can be very exhausting to deal with).

This made me very sad for you:

Likewise, I feel that another casualty of our present relationship situation has been the opportunity for me to show weakness. I try really hard to keep on top of everything… But sometimes I need your help. Last Tuesday evening was one such time, when I was feeling low and mentally and emotionally exhausted from dealing with DS. This morning was another - I didn’t want to ‘make you the bad guy’ and I am sorry if I gave that impression, I just wanted practical help in getting home safely with the bags, scooter and a heavy three-year-old who had been trying to run away. But you seem to resent me having needed your help in these parenting situations.

Needing help is not weakness, and no-one should be made to feel that it is. Moreover, parenting is partly a series of tasks to be done, by parents - not one person, with the other complaining when asked to do their part.

Healthy, normal parents don't have to be asked to do parenting tasks, and they don't complain they've been made the bad guy when their three year old needs attention. Nor should anyone have to tell the person they love that helping each other out, without recrimination, is something they would like to experience. It's just normal – what is love about, otherwise? What would be the point of a relationship without that. sad

You sound like a very patient and conscientious lady. I hope you get the outcome you need.

fengirl1 Sun 21-Apr-13 17:31:45

Branching, I hope this doesn't sound too brutal - if so, I'm sorry. Like other posters, I was in this position, writing letters, notes and emails. I think you really need to examine why you are hanging on in there. I did it because I still loved him, wanted my dcs to belong to a two parent family and was also proud of how long we had managed to stay together. Suffice it to say, it made bugger alls difference in the end - nothing changed. Ultimately, I told him to go when I couldn't ignore the knowledge he didn't love or care for me any longer. I could kick myself that I didn't do it years sooner. Don't be me....

BranchingOut Sun 21-Apr-13 17:51:37

Am I committed to my future life?
I don't know.

I feel a bit low today and sometimes I feel as if my ties to life are not very strong. Not many close or functioning family members, friends seem to move away or always be busy. DS and DH are mostly all I have.

BranchingOut Sun 21-Apr-13 17:55:21

We have been together for so long that I would scarcely know how to unpick ourselves from each other.

Telling him to go would not work. He would not go.

BasilBabyEater Sun 21-Apr-13 18:01:06

I'm not really sure what to say about this letter, you're clearly very unhappy but I just feel the need to point out that 11 days not speaking to a partner because you're upset with them, goes way beyond contempt. That extended silent treatment is defined as an abusive behaviour and you should be aware of that.

BranchingOut Sun 21-Apr-13 18:04:58

In fairness, the 11 days plus five months episode was 2010-11, and I did decide to forgive that and put it behind us in order to give the marriage another try. So that is not really part of the present situation, just an illustration of how he has been in the past.

Although it does also illustrate how bloody desperate i am in order to have accepted that at the time.

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