Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
How do you tell your spouse it's over?(33 Posts)
We have been together for over a decade, married for a short while, he has been really badly behaved in the past and over time I have just lost the will to try to keep this going.
His behaviour has at times been really aggressive, he can be really spiteful if we argue although that isn't very often nowadays.
I know that he has been unfaithful in the past although not for a long time as far as I can work out.
I think the biggest thing though, is that we are just too different. He is so negative about people, life in general, I try to be positive as much as I can. I hate going out with him, he gets incredibly drunk and can then be very nasty, I'm a happy drinker and I never get so ratted that I can't speak without slurring. People have commented (ie friends and family) before about his behaviour when drunk. Some of his friends only came to our wedding for an hour or because of his behaviour on a lads trip.
He doesn't like my friends and I don't really like his. Just nothing in common I think.
I am going through a pretty stressful time workwise at the moment and I think it has just cemented in my mind that I don't have the headspace to try to make this work anymore.
I have to go away for work quite a lot and the last time I had such a brilliant time because I could just be me. At home I have to be a completely different person.
I recently met someone and I am hugely attracted to them, I don't think I would be if things were as they should be at home.
The kicker is that after years of him being a git he is all of a sudden being very loving / clingy. Wants to cuddle, tells me he loves me all the time. I just find it suffocating. I don't want to have sex with him, I don't want him to cuddle me.
It's awful because I know I'm probably making him feel crap and I don't want to hurt anyone. I do try to be kind to people as far as I can.
So, how do I tell him? I know he will be devastated, he will quite possibly become very angry and that worries me too.
I just don't even know how to start a conversation.
Tell him that your aren't happy in your relationship, don't see how it can be improved so you can be happy, and therefore want to split up.
You just tell him any old how. As long as you tell him, and ACT on your decision (ie don't let yourself wobble and be persuaded to 'give it another go'), it doesn't matter what words you use.
If as you say you are frightened he will become very angry, it might be worth asking someone to be with you (or nearby and contactable by phone) just in case.
Good luck - you're doing the right thing
Thank you. I know in my head I just need to say it but then I end up telling myself it's not the right time.....
I think it will be a massive shock to him. He has told me a few times he doesn't want to be married to me but that was during arguments so I don't know that he actually has considered that if you see what I mean.
Arrrgggh. That is all.
I have awful butterflies all the time thinking about this and I'm not sleeping.
I really feel for you. Your post could have been written by me. I realised I couldn't live like that anymore and without too much planning of what I would say I just said one morning "I want to separate as I am so unhappy". I won't pretend it wasn't awful as it took a long time to sell the family home and sort it all out but now 18 months later my DS and I live in a lovely calm, happy home. I no longer suffer with crippling anxiety and can do exactly what we want when we want. I am so glad I found the strength to do it as staying would have destroyed my sanity. In your heart of hearts you know what you want so put yourself first and do it. Be happy. Life is full of challenges but being happy shouldn't be one of them. Good luck.
I could have written your post. Just think, you are one conversation away from freedom. I would be very matter-of-fact. But I agree. You need to mean it when you say it
Pippin thank you
Do you mind me asking how your husband reacted? I know that mine is going to be very bitter, he has a past history of being bitter with exes. But I also know that he will be so incredibly upset and I hate to do that to anyone.
I'm basically going to be taking away his security, his home life in one fell swoop. I am a bad person I think.
The trouble is, it's not that I don't love him, I still do. But I know that we are just not going to be happy in the long term. And I just don't love him like I should, just his breathing irritates me. I am so nasty.
Of course I don't mind you asking. He was surprised when I said those words but then said he wasn't as he realised I was unhappy because our relationship had just broken down to nothing eventually. He played many mind games on me. He was bitter. Not at first but it slowly seeped in. We continued to live together for a further 8 months after due to the house sale. He behaved quite strangely and not consistently, one minute behaving as if nothing was happening and clearly in denial, the next bitter and spoiling for a fight or slapping me on the bottom when he came in the kitchen. I felt it was all to get a reaction which I refused to do. It took everything I had to remain strong though. I kept very very busy, I took up running, did anything I could to stay out of the house in the evenings, accepted every invitation, whatever it was. If you are able to I would recommend moving out. No contact is the way forward. One thing I was sure of was although I was scared the relief that I had instigated things and started the process off was immense and only made realise even more how much happier I would be away from him. Please do it. I know how hard it is but I survived and from what you say friends and family will not be surprised and will help you. They did for me. I am always here if you want to vent, ask questions anything. I got through a lot of the stuff you end up feeing from kind wise people here. PM if you want to. Thinking of you.
Ps you are not nasty. It sounds like he has been horrible to you and has disrespected you by behaving so badly in front of family and friends. I had exactly that too. I realised that anyone who thought anything of me would never put me through that. They make you think they care about you but they care about themselves otherwise they would behave better. Like you I felt bad, felt sorry for him etc but that is only a picture you build in your mind about how you think they are feeling. You don't know that for sure. My ex's bitterness came from how much I was inconveniencing him. Please don't think you are a bad person, you are not. You deserve to be happy and respected and cared for. Escape and you will give yourself the chance to receive that someday.
It took me ages to tell ex husband when we split. We first split in 2006 then we kept getting back together over a period of about 18 months. I finally had a moment of clarity and decided that I was going to file for divorce. I started the process online and then calmly rang him up and told him it was happening. You just have to have the courage and conviction to know that it's what you want and follow it through. Good luck
I emailed him! Sounds awful but I tried talking to him, he just called me a selfish bitch. Tried talking again - nothing. So told him I would email him. He's pretending like it's not going to happen. I too have thought about how horrible this is for him.....then I realised he that he is not thinking about how horrible the last 18 months have been for me.
I just said it. I didn't even realise I was going to, I had planned to get my stuff together and call women's aid and go to a refuge. He was emotionally abusive and one day when I realised it was 2pm and the only way he had addressed me all day was as "bitch" (get me a drink bitch, are you going to tidy up this mess bitch, etc) I just opened my mouth and said, "I've had enough, it's over". It has been messy and painful all round, but his behaviour has just proved to me and everyone who initially thought I was being dramatic that I was right to leave. My DC and I are moving into out own house this weekend, 4 1/2 months after leaving. Despite how difficult it has been we are all three of us much happier. The kids have flourished and I'm starting to find my old self again.
It is hard, but worth it. You deserve happiness.
If you think he's going to be difficult, aggressive, nasty or worse, you don't have to do it face to face. In that scenario it's perfectly acceptable to write him an email, or pack up your things and go leaving him a letter.
Your OP implies that not only are you very different kinds of people, but that he has killed any love for him with his bad behaviour. I'm amazed that you stuck by him when he cheated. Any person who cheats risks losing their relationship, he was lucky he didn't lose you then and it has contributed to him losing you now.
You are not responsible for his own poor choices, and you are no longer responsible for his emotional wellbeing.
Thanks all, I've had a bit of a sleepless night thinking about all this.
He doesn't know I know he cheated. I think he would deny it endlessly if I brought it up. Basically, a couple of years ago I found condoms in his bedside table, the packet was open and a couple were gone. He swore blind they were from when we used condoms when we first met. But actually, we have never used condoms. Ever.
Also, I caught him out lying about going to a football match with a female sales rep, he told me it was a bloke. And then I found messages between him and a girl from work arranging to meet for a drink the same week we got married. I don't think he slept with that one but I do think he was having a good old flirt up.
He is away at the moment for a few days and is being very very loving on the phone, sending me soppy messages. It makes me angry; with him because I think he is reacting to my indifference and it's all too late and with me because I feel like I am going to cause him a lot of pain and upset.
I do think I owe it to him to tell him face to face, I need to get my big pants on and work out when to do so.
I think in my head I have given myself until the summer to get it done. I am swaying thinking that after I have done it I will miss him and it will be a mistake but then I remember how I feel sick when I know he is on his way home. Not because he's particularly abusive but just because it's another evening of silence and the occasional strop from him. I dread weekends, all he wants to do is go to the pub and drink at home in between playing on his PS4. All I want to do is, well, anything but that really!
Every night he has a dig at me because he says I go to bed too early and I'm boring. I just don't want to sit staring at a tv all night though so I go up and listen to music or read.
I know this can't continue, pippinlongsocks your words really moved me. It makes me feel normal to know that actually someone else felt like this and that 18 months on you're fine.
I haven't felt normal for a long time, we don't even kiss properly when we have sex and it's so routined and just not right.
I think I'm having the typing equivalent of verbal diaorrhea but it feels awesome to finally let it all out. I can't even be this honest with my friends, they are all very lovely but very rigid in their views on marriage.
You owe him nothing. Funny how they pick up on when things may not go their way.
I had a bit of a light bulb moment with X. I had been withdrawing for months. Same as you, married for a short time, together eight years. I arranged to go stay with a friend, packed a bag for me and waited for him to wake up and told him it was over and I didn't love him. Friend came and I got into the car. Saw him once more to argue again about finances but at the end he said are you sure and I said yes, sobbed my heart out in private just me and my dog saying goodbye to her, got my stuff boxed up and ready to be shipped and got on a plane 2 weeks later back to the UK. It was a bit easier in that sense to leave him half a world away as he wasnt just round the corner!
Best thing I ever did. However you do it (you could just pack and leave and send an email he really doesn't sound very nice - do you want to deal with that?) just stay firm. There will be some really dark days ahead and you question everything but the underlying relief is enormous.
Get a solicitor as well, get some legal advice ad to where you stand if you have joint assets. I did my divorce online as we agreed privately and it was so cheap but you may want to have someone else to talk to.
Good luck with whatever you decide
You are normal and you will be fine. The reason you feel the way you do is because you are normal. I totally get what you are saying about the physical side of your relationship. For me that felt so so wrong and I began to believe there was something wrong with me both physically and mentally in that respect. I realised though that I had completely shut down and that was what felt so wrong, a cold emptiness started to seep into everything I felt. Please don't feel bad, you are completely justified in wanting to move your life forward to better times. I too got completely sick of sitting in front of the tv night after night because ex had been drinking. I too apparently went to bed too early! Funny now that I have my own home I stay up happily watching what I want to watch and don't seem to need anywhere near as much sleep. All these little positive changes will be clear to you too. Say the words and start the rest of your life and be happy. You deserve it. You can do it.
If you fear an aggressive reaction to the news then do contact Womens Aid 0808 2000 247 and ask their advice.
Thanks both. The support on this thread is fantastic, I fully thought I would be flamed for being a cold hearted cow. That cold emptiness and withdrawal is exactly how I am feeling and I have definitely been feeling that there is something wrong with me, as if something is missing and I'm not capable of loving anyone properly?
It's so good to hear that I'm not the first and probably won't be the last either to feel this way.
Yes I definitely sleep less when he is away, I feel more like me.
I am going to do it, not quite yet I think, I want to be more organised first as awful as that is.
Thanks Cogito, I've spoken to a friend previously and we did kind of plan for that eventuality. Probably not a bad idea to call at some point though.
Not awful but organised to be prepared. He doesn't sound like the sort to make things easy for you. You're doing the right thing.
I did some research on where best to divorce X and where I was going to live. It helped me realise I could leave and I could do it on my own, quite therapeutic.
I was tired of speaking to a brick wall and being neglected. Only having a few words a day spoken to me, and normally about the dog, made me realise what a farce it was. You are totally normal and totally able to love and care. Just not with this man.
he's not talking to me at all at the moment, the atmosphere is just awful. He was away til Sunday, came home, lasted an hour and went out until gone midnight.
Pretty much the same last night but came in slamming doors and waking up dd and I. I haven't slept really since he got back, this is so ridiculous.
I have a feeling we will have had the conversation by the end of this week, it really can't continue.
He gets angry if I'm working, he gets angry if I want to go to bed, he gets angry pretty much whatever I do. Utterly bonkers.
Don't feel too sorry for him.
The reason he's being so 'lovely' - ie pretending to be a decent person - is because he can sense that you don't care anymore. And that scares him, because he wants his whipping boy/security blanket/kickable dog to stay put and carry on making his life comfortable.
And as for taking away his security - well he took yours away a long time ago didn't he?
Leave and do your daughter a massive favour.
If you think he might kick off, prepare - get all financial details you might need copied (don't forget any pension stuff of his and detaild of bank accounts), copy all photos etc. to memory sticks that you can take with you. Do you have friends or family you could stay with for a week or so? You could go to stay with them and tell him from there, which will give you the chance to have the shock and the pleading and the anger over the phone - where you can cut conversations short, stay safe and protect your dd.
Depending on his reactions, you might then be able to go back home until separation is sorted... but it sounds as if he might make life difficult.
I think you have to tell him straight. Pack a bag first and retreat somewhere overnight while he digests/cools off. Before you go, tell him firmly that you will call the next day. Don't string him along - that is cruel.
I'd also consider offering to go to separation counselling with him. It will give you a safe place to gain closure and may reveal that he's as unhappy as you are.
Keep a bag packed with a few necessaries and either leave it with an ally or where you, but not he, can get your hands on it for a last minute flit if you need to.
If there's any sign that he might ramp up his actions and start to get physical, e.g. Punching walls or throwing things, call101 and get it logged. Obviously if he gets personally physical dial 999. If he's logged on 101 they'll prioritise your call.
Stay strong and firm. As another poster said before you are only one conversation away from a life change that can only be better for you and your DD. He is throwing his toys out of the pram as he knows he is about to lose his audience. You can do it. You owe him nothing. Thinking of you.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.