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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.

headinhands Tue 14-Jan-14 23:05:52

I think the problem here is the limit he has tried to place on you as in having a fling. What happens if you fall in love? Are you happy to feel you can only have a certain type of relationship to keep the status quo? It's a bit like him saying 'I'll play happy families if you only ever wear black trousers'.

Twinklestein Tue 14-Jan-14 23:13:07

An open relationship would only really work if you were both on the same page and fine with the other seeing other people.

As you don't love your husband you would inevitably fall for someone else.

So yeah I agree with everyone it wouldn't work.

An open relationship is not going to work in this situation, because he's desperate not to lose you. Unfortunately, the more desperately he grovels, the more you will pull away, because there is something profoundly offputting about desperation.
Please bear in mind that however 'lovely' he is, you are not obliged to remain in a monogamous, romantic, sexual relationship with him if you don't want to. There are few things more poisonous than having to live in close intimacy with someone who wants love and sex that you don't want to give him/her. You will end up feeling disgusted by him, he will end up bitterly resentful.
It is going to be difficult to extricate yourself, because not only will you feel bad about hurting his feelings (this is understandable, only psychopaths get pleasure from hurting others, but you don't owe him your life and your love just because he loves you) you will also get a certain amount of pressure and bullshit from other people to the extent that you shouldn't leave him, because he loves you, because he isn't violent or repulsive, and because being single is a Terrible Thing.
Being single is fine. Longterm monogamous relationships don't work for everyone. They don't really work for a very high proportion of the people who engage in them, but social pressure sometimes keeps people living together despite boredom, unhappiness, sexual frustration and mutual contempt, which is so unnecessary.
Good luck, OP. It's better for children to see that there are a variety of ways to live and to co-parent, than to be fed the usual bullshit about heteromonogamous relationships being the only desirable goal.

Tonandfeather Wed 15-Jan-14 00:44:29

Gosh I'm just not getting a man who's desperate not to lose the poster. Maybe because he's been messing around himself?

If any of your inertia is because you think you're going to break his heart, maybe that really isn't going to happen and you're over-estimating his depth of feelings for you.

This just reads to me like a guy who doesn't like change, doesn't want to disturb his parenting routine but feels fine about you both having sex with other people, but not eachother.

Fairenuff Wed 15-Jan-14 08:21:53

I don't think he's fine about them both having sex with other people because he said she could have 'flings' as long as he doesn't know about it.

Therefore, he is saying she can have sex with others but not become emotionally involved with them. And he doesn't want to know about it because it would hurt him. So he's not fine at all.

I think he thinks this would be some sort of compromise but he hasn't really thought it through. He is asking OP to lie to him and to keep her true feelings hidden. That's not healthy for anyone.

picpoul Wed 15-Jan-14 20:35:56

SGB, you make total sense as usual. Dunno why we think so little of ourselves that we'd consider staying in an unhappy situation just cos we think we should.

Tonandfeather, I'm not sure how heartbroken he really would be either. I do believe he loves me, and I love him, but this isn't a good relationship. I think, like me, he's bought into the idea that there is only this one way of being happy and is scared of the alternative. I'm really scared of being alone, and life will be harder with the kids being so young but this feels wrong.

Fairenuff, it doesn't add up, does it?

This has been so helpful, thank you all

Tonandfeather Wed 15-Jan-14 20:54:21

What I'm getting from what you've said about this relationship is mutual respect and probably fondness, but not the sort of love, bond or chemistry that could support a monogamous relationship long term. Both of your heads have been turned and it seems like you both see your sexuality being expressed with others in the future, but not with eachother.

After your last post I'm even more of the mind that what you might both be feeling is a sort of co-dependence, not love. It's hard to extricate yourselves from a conventional set up that on the surface works well and gives stability and continuity.

There's a difference between ego and love. My take on why he doesn't want to know about any flings you might have is to do with not wanting a bruised ego, not pain or massive hurt. Similarly, you say you felt no real hurt when he admitted his own indiscretion.

It shouldn't be as hard as people make it to acknowledge that like friendships, some relationships are "for a season". This one appears to be one of them and really it's no big deal or failure.

differentnameforthis Thu 16-Jan-14 05:19:02

It's the him being my partner bit I'm not sure about.

You really shouldn't be doing anything until this ^^ is resolved. I don't say that to be judgemental, but the potential for this to go tits up, for all concerned. Too much potential for hurt.

Once you are SURE about what you want wrt to your 'd'p, then you can decide what you want to do & start getting involved with other people.

Jan45 Thu 16-Jan-14 10:58:18

But you're not really a family anyway in the respect that you don't have a sexual relationship together so really you are just fiends with children, I'm sure he could survive two days without seeing his kids, sounds like both of you are just stalling cos neither of you want to go through the upheaval, doesn't sound like there's any love there, well on your part anyway. I think living together and seeing other people would be absolute madness, what's the point? Best to make the break, he can still see his children as much as he wants. You clearly have fallen out of love with him, don't settle for second best, there will be someone else out there for you.

Joysmum Thu 16-Jan-14 11:26:39

Generally speaking, any alternative sexual lifestyles only work in the strongest of relationships. However empty your relationship seems now, this is nothing compared to the hurt and complications of an open relationship.

beachside Thu 16-Jan-14 21:04:15

This works for so, so many people.

How many people do you know, or know of, where one partner is having an affair and the other is turning a blind eye? I know of two, hang on, thinking, 2 definitely... maybe 4 couples where this is happening.

It works for them, it works in France, in Italy, Germany to a lesser extent, so why not give it a go?

Why totally wreck the family unit when an alternative exists? Kids are way better with both parents in their lives, and as parents you have one job - to do the best for them.

And as for not being a family as there's no ''sexual relationship together'' Ha ha!! Thats honestly funny. Totally wrong and totally funny. There's enough threads on here about no sex / lack of sex, so those posters aren't in families either?

Fairenuff Thu 16-Jan-14 21:24:02

Why totally wreck the family unit when an alternative exists?

Why stay in an unfulfilling relationship when an alternative exists. Why not live your life fully and freely, without having to lie and put on a pretence.

Kids are way better with both parents in their lives, and as parents you have one job - to do the best for them.

Kids are way better with both parents in their lives, loving them, encouraging them, supporting them, teaching them how to live honestly and happily with partners that they respect and love.

Parents do not have to be together to achieve this and, of course, many cannot achieve it together because their own disappointment and dissatisfaction with life impacts their family.

Don't cut off your chance for a happy and fulfilling relationship by staying with someone out of misguided belief that it's better for the children. What does that teach children. Is that what you would want for them as adults?

Tonandfeather Fri 17-Jan-14 01:56:01

I don't know any couples where one is having an affair and the partner is turning a blind eye.

I have known couples where one is having an affair and people THINK their partners must know about it, but have no actual proof that's the truth on account of them minding their own business and not asking the presumed blind eyer to confirm or deny it.

Is that what you mean beachside?

Lweji Fri 17-Jan-14 03:11:08

I do know of one couple, but she is almost an invalid and is not happy about it anyway, but she'd struggle alone.

Jan45 Fri 17-Jan-14 12:07:53

Beachside: I don't know anyone who this works for and can't believe someone is saying it's a good idea.

A relationship without sex imo of course is not a relationship, it's a friendship, yes it could be still construed as a family unit but not in my eyes.

Having an open relationship will teach your kids that when things go wrong it's okay to cheat on each other cos that's effectively what you would be doing, hardly a good example to set.

I'd rather be honest with my kids and tell them it's not working for mum and dad and time to separate, that way both can then go on to find partners more suitable and hopefully have a happier life, happier parents mean happier children.

picpoul Fri 17-Jan-14 16:45:23

Thank you everyone, this is all so useful.

Had a big chat with DH (yes, he is still dear to me despite everything!) and expressed concern about his motives for suggesting an open relationship based on what some of you were saying.

I said I thought he was trying to save the relationship but that he could end up very hurt and the fact he didn't want to know about it was a worry. I also said what if one of us meets someone else?

He says that as we're each others first and only sexual relationship he thinks we should both be free to have different experiences and that if he changes his mind and can't bear it, he'll tell me. And if one of us meets someone, so be it.

I think that we're just stalling because the upheaval feels like too much to bear. But I know I'm much happier in a separate room to him and think I'm just working my way up to full separation.

Final complication, I am totally in love with someone else. He doesn't love me (does fancy me, does want to be my friend) but is starting a family with his lady so that's that really. It really hurts and it's making me mistrustful of my feelings about my relationship with DH because it's all obviously connected. I don't want to throw away our relationship because of lusting after someone that doesn't want me.

Fairenuff Sat 18-Jan-14 11:39:21

Wait a minute. I think there may be a bit more to this than you realise.

You are pining after someone who is not available to you. You have emotionally checked out of your relationship and are examining your feelings. You feel that there is very little to work on and that you have lost the connection with your dh.

You would be happy to end the relationship and stay on good terms with each other. Ideally, you would have an amicable separation and stay on good terms.

This would allow you to have time on your own, to come to terms with the end of both relationships and to start building a new life where you can freely meet people and honest relationships with them.

Your dh, on the other hand, is asking you to allow him to keep all the comforts of home without, as you say, all the disruption a separation would cause. He wants permission to sleep with other women whilst you are at home looking after his children.

He is not looking at moving on with his life, he just wants sex. He even told you that he wants to keep his options open. The life he is suggesting would be so emotionally damaging to you. One day, you will wonder why you let him treat you like that.

I think a trial separation of at least 3 months would be the best way to gauge how you feel. You can agree that, during that time, you can both see other people if you want to. But the big difference is that you won't have to lie about it or sneak around. You will be free to come and go as you please without having to hide it from anyone.

You will also be able to tell how much you miss him and want him back, if at all. It is a big upheaval, but that's how the end of a relationship is. Best to have a quick clean break than let it struggle on and slowly fall apart.

The only way to make him moving out into a less painful scenario is for you to be genuinely glad that he he's going. That would mean your relationship breaking down to a point that you don't really like each other any more, which I'm sure you don't want.

And that is the worst option for the children too.

picpoul Mon 20-Jan-14 18:51:03

I'm at the point now where I know I want to move on. It's his birthday on Wednesday so I'm waiting until after that to speak to him but I'm going to ask him to find somewhere to live.
I realised today that the main things holding me back were worrying about what my parents will say, and the fact that life will be much harder without him here to help get the kids ready in the morning or be home so I can go out with friends occasionally...not good reasons to stay.
Thanks everyone for your very helpful contributions. It's a relief to have made a decision.

Fairenuff Mon 20-Jan-14 19:49:01

I think working out what you want is the hardest part of it. If you start adding in all the complications of what other people will think, or what obstacles you might face, you will be frozen to the spot.

I hope the talk goes well and you can come to some agreement. Whether or not it is a permanent separation will become more clear to you I think, as time goes on.

beachside Mon 20-Jan-14 20:14:21

Hmm, maybe I didn't explain it well...

The whole, what the eye doesn't see, the heart doesn't grieve over, type thing. If one was to say, 'cheerio darling, I'm off out for a shag with a random I found on the net. I'll be back later, don't forget to put the cat out and turn the heating off,' then it wouldn't be acceptable for many. If it was totally discrete, quiet, calm, non emotional stuff, not discussed, not thrown in the partners face - I reckon that could work for some.

Tonandfeather Mon 20-Jan-14 20:24:18

I thought that's what you meant beachside. So...deceiving and lying then, really. To turn a blind eye you'd need to know about it wouldn't you?

Good decision and good luck Poster.

horsetowater Mon 20-Jan-14 20:37:11

I can't quite believe your post before last OP - you actually love someone else, you know this, but he doesn't love you back. You have 'let' dh move back in with you but actually you want him to move out?

You really need to sit down with a pen and paper and un-confuse yourself.

It's as though you are spinning lots of plates, won't let any of them fall. You're letting go but pulling back, your pulling someone in and not letting him go. And now you are considering an open relationship.

The thing that strikes me most about your post is that you would fall in love with someone that doesn't love you. There is something very odd about that.

I think you need to get men out of your life completely for a while and focus something else, maybe your children.

picpoul Mon 20-Jan-14 21:48:52

horsetowater Sorry, I don't understand why it's weird to fall in love with someone that doesn't love you back...it happens to people all the time doesn't it? Just part of the complicated business of relationships, I thought. Or does it mean something about me?
I'm not considering an open relationship. I was offered that option but I don't want it. I think you're probably right about steering clear for a while.

picpoul Mon 20-Jan-14 22:01:04

horsetowater Sorry, I don't understand why it's weird to fall in love with someone that doesn't love you back...it happens to people all the time doesn't it? Just part of the complicated business of relationships, I thought. Or does it mean something about me?
I'm not considering an open relationship. I was offered that option but I don't want it. I think you're probably right about steering clear for a while.

picpoul Mon 20-Jan-14 22:01:33

So confused I posted twice...

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