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slightly wierdy offer from DH, not sure whether to accept

(72 Posts)
picpoul Tue 14-Jan-14 20:34:31

I told DH I'd like to separate a few weeks back. We nearly split in the summer then thought we'd managed to sort things out but I feel like we're kind of back to square one and I'm not really sure I want to share my life with him.
Things aren't AWFUL, He's a lovely, lovely man, and a great father and I do still fancy him very occasionally...so I do wonder what the hell I'm thinking some of the time. I'm still very confused. We've had 3 rounds of couples counselling, and I've had counselling & CBT & ADs myself because I always assumed I was the problem- cos why wouldn't anyone be happy with someone like him?
Problem is, I feel loads better about myself now, and the better I feel about myself the less I want to stay with him, which is unfortunate.
Anyway, he was supposed to be staying away a couple of nights a week to give us some space but he couldn't bear being away from the kids, and I felt so bad for him, I've said he can stay all the time but in the spare room. We're both happy with this. However...
We were a little tipsy the other night and I confessed to having some fairly strong attractions to other men and he said he wouldn't mind if I had flings as long as he didn't know about it. YIKES. He would want the same freedom.
That's a bit strange, isn't it? Doesn't that mean he either doesn't think much of himself, or of me? Or, is that an option? Do people do that and manage it ok?
There is a certain appeal because I don't want to break up our family either, and not for the sake of a fling. But, because I'd don't really love him, isn't it best that we both have a chance at finding something better, and that long-term, for everyone's mental health some short term pain will be worth it? Or something.
Or maybe I should just be grateful for what I've got and stay with him.
Can someone tell me what to do please? I'm doing my own head in trying to work it out.
TIA.

JumpingJackSprat Tue 14-Jan-14 20:43:00

I suppose it depends if you're sure that you don't love him any more. People do have o pen relationships but I'm not sure I could.

Joules68 Tue 14-Jan-14 20:47:00

Doesn't set a great example to your dc does it?

Open marriages work well in some cases... No idea what the criteria are though. I'd imagine they would be different for every open marriage in terms of level of disclosure, honesty with other partners, guidelines about what you are allowed to do, with whom, and when, and all that sort of thing.

If he wants the same freedom, does that mean he doesn't love you any more either?

What would happen if you or he fell for someone else?

Lots of questions. I'd say if you are going to go down this route, you need a very open and frank discussion about it at the outset.

picpoul Tue 14-Jan-14 20:48:06

He confessed to kissing someone a while back. He told me about it in the summer and I was really surprised that I didn't care. At all. Made me a bit sad actually cos I think that's very telling.

And hide it from the DC!

Fairenuff Tue 14-Jan-14 20:49:52

If you don't want to be with him it's best to separate properly. Living together can become awkward (if one or other of you has a new partner for example) and confusing to your children.

An open relationship can work but you would have to firmly set the ground rules and be sure that you could both handle it emotionally.

I suspect that he just doesn't want to lose you and thinks that this is the only way he can keep you. If that's the case, don't do it, he would suffer terribly.

picpoul Tue 14-Jan-14 20:50:35

No joules, it doesn't sad
I've already fallen for someone else, so there's that additional complication. They don't feel the same way though, and anyway they live far away so there's no chance of anything happening. I don't know how I'd feel if he fell for someone else.

OneForEachHand Tue 14-Jan-14 20:51:07

If you don't love him, you don't love him. I've been with perfectly lovely men but haven't stayed with them. Don't drag it out if that's not what you want, because you'll be unhappy, and your DH will be unhappy, and along the line your children will pick up on it and they too will be unhappy.

Do you really want to 'be' with someone but sleep with other people at the same time? Some people do it and it works for them. Do you think thats something you'd be happy doing? What if you met someone you genuinely fell in love with while still living with your DH?

I know if it was me I'd end it. You don't sound happy in this relationship and to be honest, neither does he.

picpoul Tue 14-Jan-14 20:52:07

That's my concern, Fairenuff. That would be awful.

Bloodyteenagers Tue 14-Jan-14 20:52:34

Aside from still living together, are you still a couple?
If you both still consider yourselves to be a couple, then you need to work on that.
If you both consider the relationship over, then neither of you need permission to sleep with other people, and the relationship doesn't need to be open.

picpoul Tue 14-Jan-14 20:55:36

OneForEachHand, I think I would feel a bit grimy about it. And would feel weird hiding it from friends and family. It's not really how I saw my life going, but there you go.
Is not being in love with my husband enough of a reason to break up our family though? I feel so guilty all the time that I can't just get on with it. I do love him, we love and care about each other a lot. It's the him being my partner bit I'm not sure about.

picpoul Tue 14-Jan-14 20:57:57

Bloodyteenagers, I think it's more the pretending to others that would do my head in. I can feel morally free to sleep with other people but not sure I can cope with the deception. Plus, I am a terrible blabbermouth and my friends will all know about it the first time I get pissed with them...so secret situations no good for me.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 14-Jan-14 21:00:03

It's a terrible idea. He's clutching at straws & thinks that giving you permission to see other people is better than the alternative i.e. living independently and not seeing the DCs as much as he'd like. You said he tried it and couldn't cope. However, I don't think he'd cope with his suggestion either. Living with someone and them not finding out you were seeing someone else? How much sneaking about would that involve? Totally unrealistic.

That's the aspect to resolve therefore... how to separate, live independently and for him to be fully signed up for shared parenting. The half-way house won't work on any level - for you, him or the DCs.

picpoul Tue 14-Jan-14 21:03:38

Oh god. I agree with everybody. I'm not fit to make a decision about this.

Bloodyteenagers Tue 14-Jan-14 21:12:14

Why do you need to pretend to others though? You are either together or not. If you are not together, and people who know you judge you for leading a single life, then they clearly are not friends.

If you are going to pretend to be still together, what about the children mentioning that you no longer share the same room. It will happen.

Or what happens in a year or more and you are both still living this charade. But one of you meets someone and get serious want to start having sleep overs? You cannot say for certain that this wouldn't happen.

Or what happens if one of you get jealous of the other being out a lot? The other person stuck indoors. The animosity will grow.

OneForEachHand Tue 14-Jan-14 21:13:39

At the end of the day, yes it will break up your family, but can you imagine the damage to all of you in the long run if you stay with someone you don't really want to be with? Plenty of parents split and still raise well adjusted children, no it's not ideal but neither is the situation you're in now.

TheDietStartsTomorrow Tue 14-Jan-14 21:18:25

What is the point of being married if you are both not faithful to each other and are having sex outside the marriage? What is the point of the marriage then? You're not in love with each other, prefer to be without him and will have sexual partners besides him. What does your marriage stand for?

picpoul Tue 14-Jan-14 21:24:00

Dunno...this is such a wierd situation. If he was horrible to me, or to the kids it'd be a lot simpler to make a decision. But he's not, he's lovely. And I missed him when he moved out. But I don't want to be his partner so it's not fair to keep him hanging on is it?

Inertia Tue 14-Jan-14 21:29:14

Parenting in an amicable and co-operative way isn't dependent on you remaining married. It's not an issue of marriage or total family breakdown, there's lots of middle ground.

If you are both totally happy with the open marriage scenario then there are people on here with more expertise about how this can be made to work. However, the danger is that you don't seem sure, he seems to be offering it as a way to not have to move out, and he doesn't want honesty between you. It strikes me as the sort of arrangement that would only be successful if both parties are totally happy with the ground rules, and you're not.

The danger is that if things change , or one partner changes their mind, or people find out , the resultant upset is likely to be more damaging than a clean but co-operative separation now.

Fairenuff Tue 14-Jan-14 21:34:23

How old are your children OP?

picpoul Tue 14-Jan-14 21:38:45

They are 3 and 5
I feel very uncertain about everything aside from the fact that our relationship isn't right.

Tonandfeather Tue 14-Jan-14 21:50:59

I'd have thought he'd had more than a kiss if he's now suggesting you both have flings. I'm not getting the picture of a man devastated at the loss of his relationship, more a fear of change and living a different life.

Neither of you are in love with eachother, so it's better to separate cleanly and bring the children up amicably. Children aren't done any favours watching parents who have no intimacy.

PedantMarina Tue 14-Jan-14 22:02:53

The only way to do it is to not pretend. At all, preferably, but definitely not to each other. I know people in open relationships, and it works just fine, yes, even with kids*. But it really does take a "team effort" on the part of the couple to make the logistics doable. (*And, no, I'm not saying that an open couple should be telling children and the neighbours "Oh Mummy's off shagging somebody...")

You have to be in the right frame of mind to do open. If you're only doing it because you're waiting for the "real" love of your life to come along (particularly if the other party isn't), it's probably a recipe for disaster. The main successful open couple I know believe that they're meant to be together, and who sticks what into where (protected, of course! don't get on that soapbox) has nothing to do with anything.

But even amongst others, a general consensus seems to be that sex is merely something physical and as long as whatever their specific permissions are adhered to, there is no betrayal. If you can lay down some guidelines that you KNOW you can stick to, it could just work.

I don't think this really describes your situation, though - his requirement that he doesn't learn about it rather says otherwise. Also, more generally, it sounds to me like you're happier on your own (not just to do with sex).

picpoul Tue 14-Jan-14 22:35:26

Yes i think this may be a way of avoiding the inevitable for us both. He really doesn't want to split up and still loves me so it would be an unfair situation. Not equal. not open and honest, just sad.

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