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Is this the end or do we keep flogging the horse?

(16 Posts)
SurreyCanal Mon 29-Jun-15 11:48:02

I posted this on another board, but i think it actually belongs here (not sure how to move post)

My husband and I are on the verge of splitting up. We have a four year old daughter and have been together for 9 years.

Part of me just wants to end it. I'm just so done with both of us trying to make it work, but not getting anywhere. It's exhausting and the atmosphere is oppressive at the moment. We can't be what the other wants us to be. And we're both very unhappy and depressed at the minute from this.

But I don't want to give up. I'm not a quitter. I might not like him very much at the minute but I love and care for him. I worry about him. I want to be happy with him but I don't know if it's a pipedream.

How long should we, or can we, keep holding on? I feel unreasonable and guilty because I want to throw the towel in. It would be easiest in a way because we'd get on better as friends. Yet at the same time, the idea of us not being together makes me so so sad. Either way, it's going to be shit isn't it?

MerryMarigold Mon 29-Jun-15 11:52:26

It depends what you mean by 'keep holding on'. If all you have done is bury your heads in the sand and carry on 'trying' in the same ways you have been, then nothing is going to change.

If you have tried:
- Counselling
- Regular time together as a couple without children around
- Frequently talking
- Encouraging each other
- Trying to change things you know upset the other person

If you have both done these things and nothing is changing then yes, I'd say it's over. If only 1 of you is prepared to do these things and the other isn't, then it's also over.

Not quitting isn't about carrying on making the same mistakes. It's about embracing change, and both of you need to do that/ want to do that.

MerryMarigold Mon 29-Jun-15 11:54:04

PS. I say this as someone who has come back 'from the brink' as it were. It takes work, but I think it's worth it in the end. It took my dh longer than me to see things were rubbish, but he did get there, and he was committed to doing everything it took to make things better. Still takes work though!

SurreyCanal Mon 29-Jun-15 12:31:02

We talk. We try to make time for one another, albeit not recently because we are not enjoying each other's company. We've come back from the brink a few times now, which is why it feels like a never ending circle.

Counselling is a great idea, but due to my shift work and no one to look after DD, I don't know when we could make it happen.

I'm glad you managed to make your relationship work - that's a positive example of continuing to try!

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 29-Jun-15 12:41:43

It may come to pass that you may be better off apart and happier than to be together and miserable as you are now. Your 4 year old is likely picking up on all the vibes between you and wonders what is wrong between her parents.

If one of you as parents is not equally willing to put the effort into the relationship then you are better off apart now.

You would not be quitting by actually calling time on this. Any one person can get too easily caught up in the "sunken costs" fallacy when it comes to relationships but what you forget here is that the damage has already been done.

Is this really what you want to teach her about relationships?.

Joysmum Mon 29-Jun-15 12:51:09

we can't be what the other wants us to be

If that's the case then you are flogging a dead horse sad

MerryMarigold Mon 29-Jun-15 13:01:34

In my experience though, negativity is a never ending cycle and pretty much everything about the relationship/ other person is bad. You don't enjoy each other's company, you have unrealistic expectations of each other etc. etc. Once you get into that place (I was there!), it is very hard to shift anything without a lot of help. But the good news is, with the right help, it can change quite quickly. It's like one chink of light lights up all the rest! If you can't get the counselling/ manage it somehow (change job, change shifts, get babysitter!), I think it's going to be a very long and depressing road.

My only warning would be: don't expect it to be different next time. You may be happier without any relationship, but possibly not with another one. In my experience, people with relationship issues tend to bring them to a new one, whether it's unrealistic expectations or difficulty communicating. You may not be happier next time and you will be balancing who has your kid for Christmas, who has her on her birthday, who has her full stop. Not to mention money issues etc. I am sure you have thought about all this, but it does seem like you are not doing everything to save it. Even if it is as radical as changing job so you can get counselling. Unless he's abusive or uninterested in a future together.

Thenapoleonofcrime Mon 29-Jun-15 13:08:31

Merry I found your post interesting because I have also been through these phases with my husband, especially in the first few years of the marriage and especially when the children were little, they really were a vicious circle in which neither of us felt heard or that our needs could be met. It was also a time of immense stress in our lives for other reasons. We didn't have therapy, but we are now, more than a decade into the marriage, much much happier, and positively enjoy each other's company most of the time with the odd dip. I can't really explain why we didn't call it quits, because I'm sure it was that bad at times, but we did't and I'm glad we didn't.

I don't have any great advice, except to see whether you have never had those happy times, or whether they have just retreated in the face of the stress of little children/life/debt or whatever. If you have never got on terribly well, then there's not that much to rescue. If you did get on very well though, but are finding this life stage hard, I think there may be more hope. The fact that you say you would get on better as friends makes me think there is something solid there to be saved but you have got stuck in negative thoughts and actions which are dragging you all down.

MerryMarigold Mon 29-Jun-15 13:11:36

That's a good point, Napoleon, about getting on as friends. I am now starting to think about when the kids leave home (yes, it's 9 years away, but we're half way already!) and having things in common (we need to begin developing common interests as we don't really at the moment), getting on well as friends, is definitely the biggie when you have no kids to focus on anymore.

MerryMarigold Mon 29-Jun-15 13:13:41

1 thing you can try (which is actually ridiculously difficult) is to say 1 nice thing about the other person everyday. Blimey, it can be really, really hard, but is one way to break that negative cycle.

Wordylicious Mon 29-Jun-15 13:14:49

A divorce lawyer whom I went to see said that divorce is such a horrible process that you should only go through it when you feel there is no other route available - a huge weight lifted off my shoulders at that moment and I decided to step back from the brink.

reasonstobecheerful123 Mon 29-Jun-15 13:15:59

"We can't be what the other wants us to be. And we're both very unhappy and depressed at the minute from this."

Have you both identified what is 'wrong' for both of you in the relationship and made any changes? Or is there ongoing resentment/boredom/whatever that is unspoken that is making you both unhappy?

Thenapoleonofcrime Mon 29-Jun-15 13:19:37

merry I am not sure that you have to like the same things, but I think it's about being supportive, so my husband has some interests (which are not interesting to me) but I support him to attend events, or go along a couple of times a year to things. He supports me a lot in my career. We do also like hanging out, meals out, cinema, nothing fancy or exciting, but just doing stuff together.

My new mantra, which is working much better is to think 'how can I support him?' I've found the more I support him to do stuff he wants to do, the more he does support me in everything. It seems to have changed the dynamic quite a bit from 'why is this person against me?' which is what I used to feel, and he used to feel about me- it's the vicious circle idea.

I do also think those early years with kids are murder on any relationship.

That's not to say, OP, that this means the good outcome is for you to stay together. It may be you are better as friends, who knows? You don't say enough about what the problems are to try to see if they might be viewed in other ways or worked on (e.g. if you really don't fancy him any more that might not be fixable). It is worth seeing if you could get more of an upward positive circle going- if you can't, you can't and you will know if you have done everything you can.

TheSnowFairy Mon 29-Jun-15 16:05:45

Agree with Napoleon and Merry.

Also been in similar position with DH - my advice is really simple.

Be nice to each other.

It's amazing how much changes from that small step. You stop resenting and only seeing the bad in each other.

MerryMarigold Mon 29-Jun-15 18:03:52

That's nice and simple SnowFairy. I agree.

Napoleon, the point about supporting is spot on. I think we still suffer from that to some extent and tend to blame rather than support. We are better than we used to be.

In terms of fancying, it is hard when you dislike each other. Dh and I didn't have sex for 4 years!!! We had to start being nice to each other first, and that came later.

Pinklaydee1302 Mon 29-Jun-15 19:14:15

I split from my hubby almost 4 years ago and now we are best mates. Everyone comments how well we get on and because I was with him 11 years I didn't want to let him go completely (I.e tried our best to be amicable ) and also we have our DC and it works for us.

Sometimes it's better to be just friends

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