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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.

horsetowater Mon 20-Jan-14 23:09:26

I think falling in love with someone that doesn't love you back is more like a crush. I think most people subconsciously cross people off the list that are unavailable or incompatible. It seems you might be actively seeking out these people. So yes, it is unusual behaviour, especially if you have children where you would want stability and security rather than risk.

shey02 Mon 20-Jan-14 23:30:30

Sounds like a case for letting go.

PicardyThird Tue 21-Jan-14 08:34:33

I do feel rather sorry for your dh, OP - not saying that to condemn you, just responding to the situation you present. What is your set-up - do both of you work outside the home, who is the main earner, etc.? If you both work FT, for example, and share care of your dc, might it not make more sense for you, as the one who wants to move on from the relationship, to move out and your dh to stay in the house with the children?

In any case, I do think you need to make sure parenting is as shared as possible. This may mean - if the children stay with you - you also downsizing so your dh can afford a home which is suitable for having the children a considerable proportion of the time. I can well imagine how hard it will be for him being away from the children and you need to consider that. If he moves out to a small flat and you stay in the house with the children, he has lost everything through, it seems, no real fault of his own. Be fair to him. (And again, I am not saying this to blame you. It does seem as if you have tried).

Joysmum Tue 21-Jan-14 09:09:03

The trouble with a solution like this is that it deflects away from the issue, and open relationship is a distraction from problems at home. Actually, problems at home need to be solved, not avoided.

KouignAmann Tue 21-Jan-14 09:37:22

OP I have been through this whole set up and come out of it divorced. Looking back it is possible that when I was at the point you are, mooning over an unavailable married man and wanting to leave my H, that it could have been salvaged.

If at that point instead of pressuring me to have sex and prove that I still loved him when I was clearly saying to H that I didn't feel anything for him he had backed off, got busy and sociable I might have worked through the infatuation and settled down again. Instead as SGB says there is nothing more repulsive than someone desperate for you to love them.

Have you gone non contact with your crush? It will take at least a year to get over that. Don't do anything hasty! There is too much at stake.

picpoul Tue 21-Jan-14 13:08:17

GouignAmann, Not gone non contact yet. I've been friends with him for 20 years, that would be too hard to do just now. I've also been a little bit in love with him that whole time too. Idiot that I am, I fell head over heels the moment he showed any interest. I think that's mainly because the situation at home was so bad though, I was looking for an escape route.

PicardyThird, I feel sorry for my DH too. I just don't know what else to do. I don't love him and it's not fair to keep him in the house just because it makes life easier. I've been over and over this, wondering if it can be salvaged and if I could love him again and whether I'm just self-sabotaging or if I finally have enough self-respect to move on from this relationship...AAAAARGH. I don't know that I'll ever be sure, this is such a huge decision.

I cannot contemplate for a second moving out of the house. Both children would be very distressed- not that they'll be fine with their Dad moving out- but I'd rather stay in an unhappy relationship than live separately from them. They're only 3 and 5.

We both work full-time but I'll work from home more if we separate. He now earns enough to support a home by himself. I think that's also held me back in the past, that we couldn't afford 2 household. I think we could manage now, although it would be a struggle.

horsetowater Tue 21-Jan-14 13:58:19

Are you sure you've loved someone a bit for 20 years? I thought love was all or nothing. Are you sure it wasn't a soul-mate thing, or even a relationship that could have been love but you wouldn't let it happen?

As your posts progress it sounds as though you have commitment issues, and possibly other issues relating to letting go or disengaging. Perhaps you haven't a good understanding of what love is and have low expectations?

You said you have been through counselling several times but perhaps this is what you need to pursue further before you make any decisions.

Having children of 3 and 5 is hard work, it's possibly harder now than it will ever be because you have one at school, one at nursery, lots of complex childcare arrangements etc. Perhaps this strain is getting too much and put you out of kilter? It does most people.

It does sound as though your relationship is over but I wonder whether you've ever really let it begin.

Fairenuff Tue 21-Jan-14 16:56:51

I don't love him and it's not fair to keep him in the house just because it makes life easier. I've been over and over this, wondering if it can be salvaged and if I could love him again and whether I'm just self-sabotaging or if I finally have enough self-respect to move on from this relationship

Your dh is not making attempts to salvage the relationship, he is asking to sleep with other people. I don't see how you can reconcile this tbh.

You won't know whilst you are living together, each of you fantasising about a different life. You mooning over a lost crush and him desperate to experience sex with different women.

Is there any chance he could rent a flat for 6 months so that you could live separately and see how you both feel. If it's wrong and you genuinely want to be together 'forsaking all others' then you can work on building a relationship together again.

But if either of you feels happier, more free and able to live how you really want to, then you will know it's the best choice.

picpoul Wed 22-Jan-14 11:47:56

horsetowater I was being flippant. Soul mate thing on my part, and yes a relationship that I wouldn't let happen because of intimacy issues. Also, don't think he has quite the same depth of feeling as me.
I also think you may have a point about never letting this one start.

fairenuff we've moved into separate rooms properly- he moved all his stuff out last night. I'm really glad of the space. I do think trying to live separately is the way forward but I'm worried about the upheaval for the kids. They won't understand the 'trial period' thing, will they?

My DH and I separated for 18 months when my DDs were 3 and 5. Now they are 10 and (almost) 8 and they remember that Mummy had a flat but everything else is quite hazy. I wouldn't worry about them too much - kids are pretty resilient.

"Mummy and Daddy just need some extra space right now but we love you very much and you'll be able to go over to the flat and play and even have a sleepover!"

I think it would be a lot harder if they were older TBH.

horsetowater Wed 22-Jan-14 12:20:16

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.

Just reminding other posters that this is probably why he suggested an open relationship. You didn't put this in your OP.

How it affects your children will depend on your set-up at the moment. If you both have the same amount of time and one to one time with them they will miss both of you equally. Not always the case but it's worth thinking about.

And yes it will be a lot harder when they are older - at this age you can move home and it won't be such a problem as their friendships aren't as established.

I would consider counselling first, you clearly have commitment issues that you will take with you into the next relationship. In the meantime he might move on and meet someone else and build another family and there is no going back.

What I've found from these boards is that men find a new partner fairly quickly.

picpoul Wed 22-Jan-14 15:03:42

horsetowater I didn't put it in the OP cos I thought it wasn't relevant to THAT conversation but I guess it is. I'm a bit jumbled up about it all. I thought it was irrelevant also cos DH has NO idea...but maybe on some level he does?

Hearts thank you, that's very reassuring. Are you back together now?

horsetowater Wed 22-Jan-14 16:16:13

Now I'm confused - did he know you were interested in another man before he proposed the open relationship? Also when in the sequence of events did your OM start showing an interest in you - was that before or after the open marriage thing?

Fairenuff Wed 22-Jan-14 16:33:57

To young children, whatever happens in their family is 'normal' because they don't know any difference. The only time that they will be upset is if the adults give them cause to be upset by their behaviour towards each other.

So rowing, shouting, slamming doors, saying mean things to the children about each other, not having a routine or being repeatedly let down at the last moment are the things that bother children.

What they want to know is, who is looking after me, what will change and what will stay the same. Tell them, in plain, age appropriate words the facts about what will happen to them. They don't need to know the ins and outs of adult relationships.

picpoul Wed 22-Jan-14 16:59:26

horsetowater he didn't know there was anyone in particular, just said that I was finding myself interested in others and I thought that was a good indication I was disengaging from the relationship. OM first showed an interest about 6 months ago (well. actually about 20 years ago but I didn't realise what was going on...) We used to be very close but he lives abroad so v rarely see him last few years. However, he's been home a lot this year because his dad is dying. Which probably explains why he's been acting a bit crazy like and trying it on.

fairenuff thank you. Although my 5 year old is the most inquisitive little boy ever so I'm not sure we'll get away with a simple explanation!

mat690 Wed 22-Jan-14 17:25:01

Guess you have to decide whats more important to you, the welfare and integrity of your family or your sexual desire.

picpoul Thu 23-Jan-14 14:28:08

The welfare of my family is what's most important to me. DH's welfare is also important to me.

We're both trying- and failing- to find a way to stay together because neither of us wants the trauma of separating.

Fairenuff Thu 23-Jan-14 16:49:17

The welfare of your family does not rely on you being together. If you are happier apart, then the children will be happier like that too. It would be preferable to being brought up in an unhappy home where marriage is modelled as something that must be endured.

shey02 Thu 23-Jan-14 21:30:31

Second that Faire. Sounds like not separating will be two lives wasted... Imagine your children as adults looking back and commenting on your lives, they wouldn't want that for you or their dd. And I don't think it's much about sex at all, the bigger picture is happiness. You're doing your best, but you both deserve happiness again, to fall in love again, so does he, to feel alive again. The road to that will be bumpy, but the risk otherwise is that it just becomes an existence doesn't it.

horsetowater Thu 23-Jan-14 22:49:16

I think it makes sense not to stay in a relationship that isn't working but I can't help feeling that OP has issues that will follow her into the next relationship. My concern is that they separate, he finds someone else and moves on, and she then regrets the separation. I think she's been thinking the grass is greener and has commitment issues. Her DP sounds really supportive and caring and the proposal for open marriage was his last ditch attempt at keeping her happy as she had 'fallen in love' with someone else. The fact that she even considered this is concerning, indicating very low expectations from a relationship and a family.

So I say OP, be careful what you wish for because you might get it. Good luck whatever you decide.

picpoul Fri 24-Jan-14 17:37:57

horse, this is my biggest fear. I'm awaiting a counselling referral, hopefully I'll be able to make some sense of stuff.

Thanks everyone

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