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Yet another male wanting some advice

(89 Posts)
SummerDad Tue 11-Dec-12 23:50:04

I have read on these threads that living in a bad relationship for the sake of children is generally a recipe for disaster as children have problems in their relationships when they grow old. I want to know how much can that affect children in the long run.

A bit of background, I have been in a pretty cold and sexless life for last eight years which has only changed us for worse over this period. We have a two years old child and we are living together for the sake of our child now mainly because we don't have any close friends of family here and we both want to play an active role in his life.

We are never abusive or shouting at each other but this sexless marriage has started to crack my nerves now. We even sleep in different rooms.

We never argue much with each other as we don't happen to discuss much. Though sometimes when my wife is agitated she can be a bit loud. I need some realistic advice regarding this as I don't want my child to go through the same issues we have been facing.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Tue 11-Dec-12 23:54:34

I know a couple that, before they split up, were very emotionless and cold with each other. I think it was much better for their children to split up. The reason is that the parents are both in loving relationships now and the children see what a loving relationship looks like, actually two loving relationships. Before, they must have thought that married people don't touch, kiss, laugh, smile with each other.

Is that what your child is seeing now?

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Tue 11-Dec-12 23:55:32

I do have to ask why you stayed for 8 years and have a child when surely it might have been better to break up years ago.

Bestof7 Tue 11-Dec-12 23:58:18

If you're deeply unhappy in your relationship, and have either tried to make it work (counselling?) or don't want to make it work... then split up. And do it while your DS is still young. Don't wait for the poor little guy to hit Year 6 before ending a relationship you should have ended while he was 2.

Of course it's best for the kids to have happy, loving parents living together and caring for them together. But you don't have that, so you'll need a Plan B. And Plan B could turn out to be much, much better for him than the status quo.

SummerDad Wed 12-Dec-12 00:04:11

Thanks MrsTerrysChocolateOrange, we do all the family stuff and generally we are quite amicable with each other in the public. We are two very different people with different interests and have very different values. I am not sure what were we thinking when we got married. I can understand the logic to some extent as I have seen exactly similar relationship between her parents but I cant understand why would somebody pickup so deeply from their father and not from all the other people around. I have developed a very deep paranoia about relationship and I don't think I would be able to start a new relationship for a very long time. Assuming she starts a new one, it could be more or less a similar experience. Either way my child would see two very unhappy people deeply hurt by a failed relationship. I am really confused.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Wed 12-Dec-12 00:10:21

Amicable is what I am with acquaintances. Not my DH.

I agree that your child could see two very unhappy people deeply hurt by a failed relationship for a while if you split. However, that could be true for twenty years if you don't split up. Just because on paper you are together, doesn't mean it is a healthy relationship.

SummerDad Wed 12-Dec-12 00:10:28

I do have to ask why you stayed for 8 years and have a child when surely it might have been better to break up years ago.

We both wanted to make it work, I know five years sounds a long long period to keep trying but that's how it is. I agree with you it should have ended in the first year as we were never compatible with each other.

likeatonneofbricks Wed 12-Dec-12 00:12:15

Why did you get married and stayed for SIX years in what must have been cold and sexless marriage and then decided to have a child? confused Maybe your wife thought you accept this kind of r-ship and she sees it as normal, but why did you stay? it's best to split up now imo, you don't really know what's round the corner, and some counselling will help to move on, so you may well end up in a good r-ship if that's what you really always wanted.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Wed 12-Dec-12 00:12:21

That is interesting. You stayed together for 5 years, even though it was not good in the first year. I'd say you both have a great deal of work to do on yourselves. You will have to teach your child about relationships. What will you teach her/him about settling?

likeatonneofbricks Wed 12-Dec-12 00:13:27

cross-posted to and extent!

deleted203 Wed 12-Dec-12 00:19:42

I wouldn't presume to tell you what to do with your life, but I do think it would be fairly damaging for a child to spend their time with two parents who are cold and unaffectionate towards each other whilst living in the same house. The kind of chilly politeness I envisage between the two of you has to be awful to live with. I think as your child grows older it is sending a fairly sad message as to what a 'normal' relationship is like, particularly as I am assuming he/she will be an only child. I do worry that your child will end up either miserable at home and desperate to leave, or will repeat the pattern of your relationship in their own future relationships as this is what they will expect. Either way, I don't think it sounds a healthy way of bringing up a child. This is just my opinion, but I feel that it would be better to bring the relationship to an amicable end now (if possible) and for you both to move on with your individual lives whilst both being involved in your child's life.

SummerDad Wed 12-Dec-12 00:24:21

We come from families where divorce is highly discouraged so we dragged it way too far which was the biggest mistake, we both realise that now.

I am not sure if I am still ready to end the marriage, probably I am waiting for my nervous breakdown. Surely, a healthy normal person needs some intimacy in life.

SummerDad Wed 12-Dec-12 00:30:20

I feel too resentful about some of things which my wife has been doing to us so I try not to go into details of why and how things happened in case I end up foul mouthing about her.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Wed 12-Dec-12 01:39:58

living in a bad relationship for the sake of children is generally a recipe for disaster as children have problems in their relationships when they grow old. I want to know how much can that affect children in the long run.

I came on here two or three years ago. In despair because my marriage was cold and distant, sexless, classic case of growing apart. It didn't really occur to me to leave. I would look around the house at all our stuff and wonder how on earth I could dismantle this shared life. I was horrified at the thought of destroying our children's security and breaking up the family unit.

Fast forward three years and we have separated. I called time and am now living in my own house with the kids, though when their dad moves into his place in a week's time we will be sharing custody.

I am so much happier and my relationship with the children has really improved because of this. Of course I feel guilty.

But it's really early days and I have no regrets and feel more and more like myself every day.

I can honestly say that I might not have done this without MN. Or I might have done it later - and I wish I had done it sooner.

Going on here made me alert to the idea that children are not benefitted by 'staying together for the sake of the children'. I was actually shocked that more people thought that presenting the children with a crappy model of relationships was worse than splitting. But it gave me strength and they have coped OK.

It's been horrible though and if you can save things I urge you to.

If you can't, get out. Life is too short. I also think that the OLDER children are, the harder it is for them.

Good luck x

BoerWarKids Wed 12-Dec-12 01:51:27

So this isn't even a once happy relationship gone awry; it wasn't even good at the start?

I think you should get divorced.

Dear Summerdad, I found your OP very sad to read. In a nutshell, I agree with everyone else. I too am, as a rule, in favour of saving a relationship, particularly as I have experienced for myself how much things can change over a few years, but it just doesn't sound like there is really anything to work with in your case. If you can think of something, I urge you to try and build on it.

As this is such a long standing situation, I don't want to make light of it by giving petty advice, but that's just what I'm going to do. Try to do something fun together, but without 'pressure' to have fun, if you see what I mean. Think of something that you know she enjoys, maybe a live comedy show, or romantic comedy, and go for a drink/coffee after and chat about it. Just to see if there is still any common ground left, and without having to talk all night.

I know people do, but I find it impossible to imagine living in a sexless marriage. The rejection would hurt too much. I really feel for you. In the end, only the two of you known the whole story, and can make an informed decision. But I would leave, the sooner the better.

cafecito Wed 12-Dec-12 02:22:19

I think you should call time on it. You may find you are both relieved. 2 is young, it's harder older than that. I was in a really awful relationship for 6 years. I knew in year 1 it was a disaster and it became harder and harder to leave, and an element of the sexless, coldness became normal anyway. I left, finally. Much happier, I feel like a complete person again. Your life is about you, not just your children. You deserve to be happy and I'm certainly happier being single, not even in another relationship, I feel much less lonely than I did when I was in that one.

EdithWeston Wed 12-Dec-12 02:58:59

When did you last talk to DW about this? And in what terms?

If you are both hiding hurt, and both unable to express your feelings, then you are both being dishonest to each other and that is no basis for a future together. Feeling hurt, and anger, are both normal, and although you do need to exercise some control on how you let those feeling show, suppressing them is just like leaving a pressure cooker unvented - the eventual explosion is all the more powerful and destructive.

If you think there is the possibility that she is just as miserable as you, then there might still be hope to improve things (probably involving counselling to learn how to identify the real issues and how to deal with them in a healthy way). If you do not think you can both commit to working on it for as long as it takes to break the avoidance/withdrawal/withholding patterns that have grown up in your relationship (possibly in order to avoid the vulnerability that goes with opening up about your real needs and emotions), then a split before a crisis may prove the least damaging option.

Well it's not sexless if your child is 2. It can take a while to restart after having a child.

How about going to Relate and getting some couples therapy - neither of you should want to live without intimacy (not just sex).

Yes, better to split than be unhappy and model unhappiness for 20 years if it doesn't work.

AgathaHoHoHo Wed 12-Dec-12 09:10:07

You are showing your child a really bad example of what an adult, couple relationship is like. An example he will probably take into adulthood and replicate himself. Why wouldn't he? It is what he sees as normal.

You probably need to split up. You need to come to some agreement to amicably parent your child between you. You need to do some work on yourself/you self-esteem to understand why you have lived like this for all of these years, and to understand how to change your mindset for the future.

You say you come from a family where divorce is discouraged. What was your interpretation of the adult relationships around you when you were growing up? Were they happy and affectionate, fun and respectful? Or were they a variation of your current one?

Helltotheno Wed 12-Dec-12 10:05:34

I am not sure if I am still ready to end the marriage, probably I am waiting for my nervous breakdown. Surely, a healthy normal person needs some intimacy in life.

OP whatever you do, don't wait passively for a 'nervous breakdown'. Start thinking about a positive future where you can co-parent with your wife. Forget what a 'healthy normal person needs', you can't go on that because in fact everyone needs different things. Some people need a lot of intimacy, others don't, both in and outside relationships. Some couples have a lot of sex, others have barely any and are perfectly happy. There's no point comparing yourself to others, this is about your life and your setup.

What worries me most is not the lack of intimacy, more that there doesn't seem to be the basis of a 'friends' relationship between the two of you. Is that the case? Have you thought about how things would be between you if you were to split and share care of the DC?

I'm going to give you a gentle kick in the behind here and say ... Stop Wallowing!! Sit down on your own first and plan out how things would be logistically if you split, ie jobs, finances, care of DC etc. Then talk to your wife. Tell her that things are not working the way they are and you both deserve a chance to be happier and show your DC something more positive.

Whatever you do, forget what other people think. A life lived on the basis of other people's opinions is a life not lived, ime. Do the right thing for you and your family.

maleview70 Wed 12-Dec-12 11:44:50

I was a child who lived in a house with hate, no love, arguments, 3 week silences etc....

My mum and dad were together 40 odd years before he died. God knows why because theirs was not a normal relationship.

It has affected me completely. I shy away from
Intimacy and this cost me my first marriage and if I carry on it will cost me my 2nd too.

That's how it affected me.

Abitwobblynow Wed 12-Dec-12 12:16:30

Edith Weston is on to something.

Misguided protection is at the root of a lot of problems. Why don't you want to tell us your resentments in case you badmouth her?

How are you supposed to identify what the problems are, if you don't talk about them?

That you don't want to get divorced means that SOMETHING works for you, so my advice is for YOU to go to counselling, and then to invite her to go to.

What do you think? Sorry about the lack of lovemaking, it is the saddest thing.

LessMissAbs Wed 12-Dec-12 12:25:22

I'm amazed at the number of children born out of sexless marriages...

You are being very passive. Are you aware that the coldness is the marriage is quite likely just as much to do with you as your wife? Why did you get married and have a child if you felt like this?

Take responsibility - its either going to continue like this, or you do something about it, such as divorce, counselling, working on it. If you do nothing, it will stay the same. Its surprising that you need that pointed out to you.

WakeyCakey Wed 12-Dec-12 19:18:30

You say you resent your wife. This is totally fair, but you bed to imagine how much your child will resent you.

Just talk to your wife, she is obviously unhappy too.
Get away from your dc for a night and be brutally honest with her.
Separation and divorce sounds much nicer for your child then growing up to not know about friendship and intimacy.

take this from someone who is damaged by my parents doing this exact thing. I wish they had separated, I would of loved to see them happy but never have.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Wed 12-Dec-12 19:48:47

Wakeycakey wishes her or his parents had separated. It's amazing the number of adults who think this about their parents.

And it's also amazing the number of adults who think their parents did the right thing splitting and finding happiness out of a bad marriage.

It really puts the lie to the Daily Mail view that it's the worst outcome for children.

SummerDad Wed 12-Dec-12 20:59:43

I am sorry for the late response, but after a long day at work and putting my little one to bed I have just got some free time now. I really want to thank you all for your responses, makes a real difference if you got someone to listen to.

It is mainly the element of intimacy more than sex in our marriage which I miss. My wife has never refused for sex but I find it quite repulsive in fact, so I withdrew slowly. I do, however, realise that this disinterest of hers could be due to other non-sexual problems in our relationship.

* Feeling hurt, and anger, are both normal, and although you do need to exercise some control on how you let those feeling show, suppressing them is just like leaving a pressure cooker unvented - the eventual explosion is all the more powerful and destructive.*

This is exactly how I am feeling now, and that is why I say I am probably close to a breakdown.

How about going to Relate and getting some couples therapy - neither of you should want to live without intimacy (not just sex).
I did discuss this option with her but she does not want to go to Relate. She is a very closed person, she has friends but never shares anything with them. Most of our problems are based on her mistrust that I hate her parents and siblings but she won’t even discuss it with them. Years ago, I dared to discuss my misery, not the sexual part, with a childhood mate and she has not forgotten that yet.

You say you come from a family where divorce is discouraged. What was your interpretation of the adult relationships around you when you were growing up? Were they happy and affectionate, fun and respectful? Or were they a variation of your current one?
I would say my father was a dominant person and there was some friction in my parent’s relationship but they were very passionate. After 40 years of marriage, they still can’t be away from each other. My parents in law have more or less an “amicable” relationship similar to ours, they have slept in different rooms for Goodness knows how many years!
I'm going to give you a gentle kick in the behind here and say ... Stop Wallowing!! Sit down on your own first and plan out how things would be logistically if you split, ie jobs, finances, care of DC etc.
I have thought about this a lot. Bringing up our child has been a real struggle so far as we don’t have close friends or family nearby. I really doubt she would be able to cope with a bit more stress of single parenting which will affect our child indirectly.

*Misguided protection is at the root of a lot of problems. Why don't you want to tell us your resentments in case you badmouth her?

How are you supposed to identify what the problems are, if you don't talk about them?

That you don't want to get divorced means that SOMETHING works for you, so my advice is for YOU to go to counselling, and then to invite her to go to.*

I know what the problems are, we both have problems more in terms of values of life e.g. I don’t recall when was the last time I pretended to be something which I am not while she can lie to people to keep up the appearances. I want to keep a balance in personal and family life and make an effort to make myself free for my family and myself while she would prefer to have another round of cleaning if she manages to find a bit of time free. I would like to go for long walks along the canal and to the parks and to the cinemas and theatres or watch a romantic comedy while she would spend all of her weekend in a shopping mall and list goes on. Two people can be different but at the very least what they can do is to make an effort to be a part of activities the partner likes.
She is a good person overall and I can’t think of inflicting the pain of separation on her. Secondly, I have started to see most of women as manipulative and stubborn which is incorrect but I feel scared what if I step into another scary marriage.

Zazzles007 Wed 12-Dec-12 21:27:34

Hi there SummerDad. Its not often that I feel compelled to reply to a post in relationships lately. However, I am hoping that I have something to add.

Because you and your wife have different values in life, it means that you are fundamentally incompatible for one another. Values stem from your basic outlook on life - ie are you a glass half full kind of person (optimistic) or are you a glass half empty kind of person. You sound like a glass half full person -you see life as something holding promise and wonder, and look for positive people and experiences. Your wife is a glass half empty person - she's sees the world as a fearful place, with danger around every corner.

Unfortunately, this doesn't bode well for your relationship, and this is why it would be better for you, your wife and your child if you split up. Not only is it not good for you to be with someone who doesn't reflect your values, remember that your son is modelling his concept of women and his relationship with women based on your time spent with your wife. The adage "Give me me the boy up to the age of 7, and I will give you the man" is true in some many ways. Your son is already learning (unconsciously rather than consciously) that relationships with women are not loving and caring, they are 'amicable'. As others have urged above, please think seriously about splitting up. Not only do you deserve to be with someone who can actually 'see' who you are and how wonderful you could be in relationship, but your son deserves to see how great a relationship with women can be too.

And before I get lambasted, I would give the above advice a woman in the same situation as well.

Hope this helps.

Abitwobblynow Wed 12-Dec-12 21:33:34

Summerdad: dont' wait for her to go to Relate.

YOU find some counselling, go, tell her you are going, and ask her to come with you. If she refuses, GO ANYWAY.

Apparently this cuts through the denial that there is something wrong more than anything else.

With the new skills you gain, you can change your behaviour, set boundaries, challenge her (kindly) and see if she will move. If she won't (my H won't) then you make plans for the next step.

Good luck. I don't think we were put on this earth to be miserable. But we must look at our part to play, too.

SummerDad Wed 12-Dec-12 21:40:49

Zazzles007 Thanks very much for the kind words, I am not sure I am a glass- half-full person any more. Seeing my father as a dominant person with us and my mother, I always wanted to offer a lot which has not materialized sadly. Still, I would not blame my wife as she is suffering equally if not more than me.

I want to be present in my child's life as a positive fatherly figure who he could play with and who could be his best friend. I really doubt it will be possible if I separate from my wife, I will be made to beg for any access to him.

The responses on this post have provided me a lot to ponder over. I want to really thank all of you for giving wonderful advice.

FestiviaBlueberry Wed 12-Dec-12 21:41:34

"I want to keep a balance in personal and family life and make an effort to make myself free for my family and myself while she would prefer to have another round of cleaning if she manages to find a bit of time free."

Eh? Cleaning? Why? Is that because she has to do all of it? Or because she has some kind of OCD?

"I would like to go for long walks along the canal and to the parks and to the cinemas and theatres or watch a romantic comedy while she would spend all of her weekend in a shopping mall and list goes on. "

Sounds like you are fundamentally incompatible. You don't have the right to demand intimacy from someone who doesn't want to give it, but you do have the right to go and seek it elsewhere.

Agree with others, take some responsibility for your own feelings and relationship, go to counselling yourself without her if she won't go and stop being passive. It sounds as though you could have a perfectly amicable co-parenting relationship and it's not your problem to worry about whether she could cope with being a single mum- that to me sounds as though you think she isn't a very competent person, you say that she is good at pretending to be something she's not - that sounds as though you don't like or respect her very much, why would you want intimacy with someone for whom you have no respect? Can you cope with being a single dad and a reasonable, cooperative co-parent? Relate will help you to do that, if that's what it turns out you need.

FestiviaBlueberry Wed 12-Dec-12 21:42:28

Why would you have to beg for access to your child?

Sounds like there's an awful lot you're not telling us summerdad.

SummerDad Wed 12-Dec-12 21:43:45

Abitwobblynow I am really going to give your idea a try. At the very least, I would be able to shed off some of my negative outlook perhaps, I hope.

SummerDad Wed 12-Dec-12 21:54:32

Eh? Cleaning? Why? Is that because she has to do all of it? Or because she has some kind of OCD?
She is obsessed with keeping her house immaculate. I won't call it OCD but it is more than what her friends and close members of family do.

It sounds as though you could have a perfectly amicable co-parenting relationship and it's not your problem to worry about whether she could cope with being a single mum- that to me sounds as though you think she isn't a very competent person, you say that she is good at pretending to be something she's not - that sounds as though you don't like or respect her very much, why would you want intimacy with someone for whom you have no respect?
People who know me would say I don't undermine any person. We both work full time, her work occasionally requires odd hours on evenings, nights and weekends while I can even work from home if I need to. Result is that we never had to arrange for a child care apart from the day nursery. As I said, we don't have any close family or friends nearby so we are on our own.

FestiviaBlueberry I hear these horror stories all the time how some people use their children as weapon when things go wrong. After all these years, I really don't find myself confident to take a chance on this as my child is the most beautiful thing which has ever happened to me and everybody around me knows how much I would suffer without him.

Zazzles007 Wed 12-Dec-12 21:58:31

SummerDad, I am quite saddened by your last response. You sound like someone who is trying to do the best they can under the circumstances. Who recognises the past hurts brought about by your father on you and your own family, and who is trying to rectify that by being a positive role model.

I have nothing further to add at this point, but will watch your thread. Good luck with thinking this through, as I am sure there are some big decisions to be made in near future.

foreverondiet Wed 12-Dec-12 23:19:10

Summerdad I think that to start with you should get some counselling / therapy on your own to talk through this with someone in real life, sounds like a very sad situation.

Noted that your wife doesn't want therapy.... some comments from things you said:

"I would like to go for long walks along the canal and to the parks and to the cinemas and theatres or watch a romantic comedy while she would spend all of her weekend in a shopping mall and list goes on"

Surely this all becomes a bit irrelevant with children - eg I have 3 children aged 2-9. None would spend the weekend in a mall - manageable ONLY for short periods if they need shoes (ie they HAVE to come) and other than the toddler in a buggy can't see the other two walking along a canal, although they do like the park with their bikes. eg DH and I happily married - I like the gym - eg I go on Sunday morning first thing and he looks after the kids - he isn't interested in the gym and it doesn't matter. DH likes museums - so we seek out the most child friendly ones and go as a family.

Ultimately though I think you need to give her an ultimatum - come to therapy together to work through issues or you get divorced as not realistic to stay faithful in a marriage where there is no intimacy (both sexual and emotional).

Also not sure why you would have to "beg for access?".

Abitwobblynow Thu 13-Dec-12 07:57:32

Yes, do go to counselling and learn a new way of being. It is NEVER a waste of time!

There is a lot of conflict avoidance/passive aggressive and displacement activity going on in your house, isn't there?

If you provide the leadership (reach out to a new way of doing things, learn to talk) your wife might surprise you.

Do you have no friends because you are both shy? Why do you have no friends?

You sound very depressed and isolated. Life won't always look this bad, but stop looking at your wife, and tackle your own contributions. It really is that basic as taking the plank out of your own eye. The only person you can change, is yourself. Once you start changing, she will no longer be able to relate in the same way.

Good luck.

SummerDad Thu 13-Dec-12 20:31:55

Zazzles007, foreverondiet , Abitwobblynow and all who have posted on this thread so far
Thanks a lot for I want to thank you all once again for being so supportive and giving such a good advice. I have been reading all these posts again and again and I feel I could see things from a different perspective now.

foreverondiet: "Also not sure why you would have to "beg for access?" ".
I am under the impression that some parents do use their kids as a weapon to torture their exes and the system generally supports women more than men. I don’t feel very optimistic about her response in case there is a breakup. I may be wrong but lately I cold only think of the worst case scenarios in the life.

Abitwobblynow: "There is a lot of conflict avoidance/passive aggressive and displacement activity going on in your house, isn't there?"
I was not aware of these psychological terms and after I did some research about them, I can definitely relate to most of this.

Abitwobblynow: "If you provide the leadership (reach out to a new way of doing things, learn to talk) your wife might surprise you."
This is exactly what I have trying to do so far but every time, I suppose, I failed miserably. The posts on this sub-forum have given me a new insight about the psyche of women. Coupled with counselling, I hope I could make things better. I know she is a good person, I could have done better to get the best out of this relationship for us.

Abitwobblynow: "Do you have no friends because you are both shy? Why do you have no friends?"
Well, she is quite reserved sort of person and making new friends is bit of challenge for her due to her reserved nature, busy life and anti-social work pattern. I could make friends easily but normally the partners and wives of my friends don’t get along well with her, God knows why. She does not seem to like many of them any way.

I don’t know what exactly would be my plan for next few weeks right now but I am feeling quite hopeful. Thanks to you guys …

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Thu 13-Dec-12 21:08:32

ALl children really need is to have one or more adults in their lives who love them. The adults don't need to love each other, though they need to be civilised to each other. It's not a bad thing to end a marriage if the marriage isn't happy, and you do not need the other partner's permission to end the marriage if that's the right thing for you to do.

Getting some counselling for yourself does sound like a good idea, whether you get it from Relate or elsewhere. As everyone has said, your current unhappiness won't change unless you do something about changing it. Do the sensible thing of seeking advice and help (rather than sulking or having an affair), and you will hopefully make your way to a better life for all three of you.

SummerDad Thu 13-Dec-12 23:21:11

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh I beg to differ with you on this. Despite all these problems, I still believe that adults do need someone to love them also. We are very much civilised with each other but that is not sufficient for both of us. Call me a weak person but I find it really hard to simply walk on my partner without realising the damage it might cause to her. True we are going through a lot of damage at the moment, but still ...

This thread was actually meant to get some opinion about any possible effects of the divorce on my child and not to show any sulking. I would again say my wife is a good person in general, just we have two incompatible personalities. I am sorry if I have turned this into a moan.

AgathaHoHoHo Fri 14-Dec-12 10:23:32

I don't think you have turned this thread into a moan (but it's your thread so would be ok if you did smile). You have just reached out to ask for advice and try to find solutions for your situation.

I hope things improve for you all, but would reiterate again what others have said. Two parents apart are better than two dysfunctional ones together for children.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Fri 14-Dec-12 13:09:57

SummerDad: I wasn't suggesting that you stay in your marriage without love, I was explaining that the parents of a child do not need to love each other to be good parents ie if your relationship with your wife is not working, ending it is not such a terrible thing.

My son's father and I are not in a couple-relationship; we are on good terms with each other and our son is happy and knows he is loved.

FestiviaBlueberry Fri 14-Dec-12 19:40:52

So long as you are both determined to put your child's interests before your own and to genuinely cooperate with each other to do so, putting aside your resentments etc., then you will be doing your child a favour by splitting, if the alternative is to live in what sounds like a pretty appalling relationship.

Counselling can help you get to a place where you are capable of doing this; it's not always just for "saving" relationships - lots of relationships really aren't worth saving - it's to enable the two people who are in it, to evolve their relationship from husband and wife into cooperative co-parents. So it would be valuable if your wife would do it as well, but obviously you're not in control of that.

SummerDad Fri 14-Dec-12 21:24:31

I would say I am feeling more composed and rather well-oriented after sharing this with you all and after having so wonderful support. Over the next few days, I would be thinking about the steps I need to take to make the situation better, will come back to you guys for more advice hopefully. I need to think clearly where to start from though.

On a lighter note, sometimes I feel a bit strange to be browsing a mainly female-dominated forum but I can't help it smile, tons of good advice and lots of wonderful people are here on this forum.

SummerDad Sat 15-Dec-12 11:12:19

Ok, so I have picked up some areas where I can make the changes. First is the finances.

I just wonder what would you consider a fair financial arrangement in terms of bank accounts, payment of bills and other expenses, any personal allowances.

Abitwobblynow Sat 15-Dec-12 11:15:37

Just remember SD, like an affair, this does not mean 'the marriage is over'. It does mean 'things, and ESPECIALLY both you and I, are going to change [and that might mean the marriage if we are unable to do so].

Good luck. Can I say: you CANNOT make these changes on your own. If changing entrenched, imprinted, built-in ways of being and doing were that easy, we would all change! You need professional help (counsellor).

Feel the trepidation, and go.

SummerDad Sat 15-Dec-12 11:28:40

Abitwobblynow I understand what you mean. After reading many posts on the forum during last few days, I have realised how women can feel strongly about things which may seem minor to men. I am looking for a suitable time when I could talk to her about counselling for both of us or at least me in case she does not agree to go with me. Surely, there are things which I can change without getting her involved so I want to give that a try.

Work on yourself. Your wife will notice the changes and will have to like or lump it. You both sound very resigned to this bloodless union and it doesn't have to be this way.

Dozer Sat 15-Dec-12 13:24:29

If you were my friend I'd advise counselling (for you alone) and legal advice, especially given your concerns about her potentially making shared custody/access difficult.

No point in relate if you don't love each other IMO.

SummerDad Sat 15-Dec-12 13:56:45

ok thanks for your replies, would you recommend any counselling services in particular in addition to Relate.

I would like to have some advice about the finances though as this is one of the points she does not feel happy about. As a part of changing me, I need to make some changes here but at the same time, I want to be fair with myself too thats why I am interested to know what is a probable female definition of "fair" when it comes to finance.

Dozer Sat 15-Dec-12 17:59:28

The professional counselling body is BACP, you can search for your nearest people. Look at their approach, which should be on their site.

Re money, the MN consensus seems to be that the ideal is for almost all money earned to go into a joint account; spending/saving etc agreed mutually; money for personal use (eg gifts for each other, hobbies, nights out with friends, or whatever!) goed into individual accounts (this need not be totally equal, eg if one person "needs" more).

It is generally deemed unfair if the higher earner (usually the man) has more power over how much of "his" money is spent and what on.

FestiviaBlueberry Wed 19-Dec-12 21:33:57

It's not true that there is no point to Relate if the relationship can't be saved.

Relate can be incredibly useful in helping people to manage a break-up in the most civilised, reasonable way they can, without beginning to attack each other.

It's not just to repair your marriage. It's to help you manage the break up so that you are capable of co-parenting with the minimum of damage to your children.

For that alone, it's worth going.

jingleallthespringy Wed 19-Dec-12 21:59:05

What do you mean when you say your wife is unhappy with the financial side of your marriage? What is the current financial situation and why is she unhappy with it?

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Wed 19-Dec-12 22:33:41

Equal amounts of spending money to spend on yourself, that's the key to a fair financial arrangement in a marriage. To clarify: that's what's left after the bills have all been paid including whatever the DC need (lunches, hobbies, new clothes etc). There are too many stories of marriages where all the surplus money (even if it's only £10 a week) is claimed by the man to treat himself - or where the supposedly 'equal' share of leftover money isn't at all, because the wife is expected to pay for all the DC's needs out of her 'share' and the husband spends all his share on himself.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Wed 19-Dec-12 22:52:41

Agreed SolidGold. I do budgeting with people as part of my job and see it all the time. Beer for the DH is a need and clothes for the DC are a want. My theory is that the fairest way is normally for all the money to go into a pot; bills, savings, DC's needs are paid, then what is left is split between the partners.

SummerDad Wed 19-Dec-12 22:55:16

jingleallthespringy When we got married, all our salaries went into a joint account and all the expenditures were paid from that account, this was the time when we I earned more or less the same.

Then comes the tricky phase. I got a research scholarship for three years. During this time, though I had parallel income from some teaching assignments etc at the university, my earnings were less than hers. After a few months, she diverted her salary to her own account without telling me.

When I asked the reason to do so, she was like don't you trust me. During this time, all of my income was being used in full for the expenses while only a part of her salary was used. Around the end of this phase, we made some investment. I was surprised to find that she wanted invest in her own name as it was "her" earned money. I was shocked to know that's what it was all about.

As I restarted my professional career, things have changed. Continuing the same arrangement i.e. 50/50 contribution in the expenditure, now only a fraction of her salary is saved while a big chunk of my salary remains unused. I can feel clearly that she is not comfortable with this "unfair" arrangement.

Sorry for the long story but without the background, it won't make much sense smile.

foreverondiet Wed 19-Dec-12 23:38:14

I see your point about begging for access, yes can see that sad but equally she might need your help and money so it might not come to that.

I agree with the others re: spare money, although I wouldn't mind if DH has spare money that he saved for our future, more resentful if he spent spare money without consulting esp if the amounts were big! We have one bank account, totally shared, although we do each have some investments in our own names (him more than me). Don't really understand marriages where finances aren't shared.

I also think you could buy some self help books on improving marriage and leave them lying around. She might read (less threatening that counselling) plus you might find something helpful.

Goodluck.

foreverondiet Wed 19-Dec-12 23:44:21

re: fair money think fairest now, if you want to try to make amends is to set aside an amount equivalent to the amount she invested for your own savings / investments and go back to sharing all money into joint account.

SummerDad Thu 20-Dec-12 00:10:26

I don't know, I try hard not to think about the past because more I think about it, more hurt I feel. I feel a part of me has died going through all this and I am not the same person any more, find it very hard to trust anyone's affection really. It seems money and material gains and so called self-reliance are dear to some people more than anything.

jingleallthespringy Thu 20-Dec-12 10:31:56

It doesn't sound like you're in a marriage tbh. From what you say it looks like she does her own thing entirely and is not committed to being in a partnership. No wonder you feel you have died sad

Please get along to counselling at your earliest convenience. You need a professional to support you through your next steps and to validate your experiences. You sound in a great deal of pain and my heart goes out to you.

It may be an idea to call Womens Aid re advice about the legalities. 0808 2000 247. They will listen to you and support you as well as giving you concrete practical advice if you ask for it. Try to call between 7pm-7am as the lines are busy these days, sadly. Don't be put off by their name - your position is precisely the type of situation they are there to support.

Keep posting if it helps.

jingleallthespringy Thu 20-Dec-12 10:38:42

You can't go on like this SD. You have to save your life.

AgathaHoHoHo Thu 20-Dec-12 14:37:01

You deserve so much more out of life than this.

SummerDad Thu 20-Dec-12 22:53:40

jingleallthespringy and all thanks a lot for your kind support. Reading through all the comments once again, I find myself of being guilty of making my wife look like a monster while she is not so. That's why I did not want to talk much about the negative things.

Having said that, I am feeling quite better after sharing this all and having all this wonderful support from every one. Under the guise, perhaps this thread also turned into another "hold my hands" thread not sure how does that sound for a male op though smile

jingleallthespringy Fri 21-Dec-12 07:06:19

She may not be a monster iyo but she is not committed to being in a partnership from what you say. Transferring her money from your joint account is a big no-no, particularly as she didn't even discuss it with you . It looks likely that you are in an abusive situation. Please get along to counselling at your earliest convenience to discuss your situation as it is worrying how low you are.. however, I wondered if you see a breakdown as the only way to convince your family/culture that the marriage is killing you?

You may rally, thinking 'aw, it's not so bad' but OP it clearly is bad. Please address this as soon as you can.

Thinking of you. Keep posting if it helps. and here's my hand <squeeze>

SummerDad Fri 21-Dec-12 08:55:49

jingleallthespringy First thing in the morning I see this message and it makes me smile. Posting on here has restored my confidence in women a lot. Thanks very much for such lovely words, I am sure I am going to have a wonderful day smile

SummerDad Fri 21-Dec-12 09:00:05

I am not bothered about my family/culture any more. I just want to be there with my son every day and want to see him grow every day, it is such a joy smile

2712 Fri 21-Dec-12 11:00:45

I'm a bit confused reading this thread.
You claimed that you were unhappy as it was a sexless marriage. But later in the thread you said she never refused to have sex with you but that you found it repulsive.
So is it sexless or not?

SummerDad Fri 21-Dec-12 11:23:59

2712 It was me who initiated it whenever we had it. I never felt wanted and slowly I just withdrew myself too.

jingleallthespringy Fri 21-Dec-12 19:22:27

So painful sad

A fate worse than death tbf. There's a proverb about it somewhere...

SummerDad Mon 24-Dec-12 19:40:08

Feeling pretty low, no idea what should I do?

SummerDad Thu 27-Dec-12 09:41:36

I have identified an employee assistance programme at my work and have had an initial confidential online chat with them. Though it was just an online chat, the experience was quite exhausting. I am supposed to call in for further discussion but I am not sure if I have courage to be open about my personal issues to someone in the real life, is this normal ?

TheLightPassenger Thu 27-Dec-12 10:15:14

yes, it's completely normal to feel v wary of opening up to a counsellor. Give it a go though, it's better than waiting to have a breakdown.

glitch Thu 27-Dec-12 11:51:24

Hi SummerDad,
Your relationship sounds very similar to the one I had with my STBXH. We ended up in quite a cold, unloving relationship with both of us wanting more but not really from each other. We were moving in different directions and although we really wanted it to work we just passed each other by.

We went to relate as a make or break, try everything for the sake of our DS. It ended with us separating but I feel like it was worth it as we know we tried our best and it was the right decision for us both. It meant the split was amicable so we can still speak to each other easily and make joint decisions about our DS.

I think you are very brave for trying to resolve your relationship issues, so many people bury their head in the sand and hope it will just sort itself out.

SummerDad Thu 27-Dec-12 14:37:06

What scares me more that it would be either make or a break. If it was only in my hands, I would do everything to make it work but not sure where would it lead to. I have talked to my wife about going for counselling but she remained quiet, hasn't said anything to me since. Sometimes, I feel I have zero emotional intelligence, can't ever figure out what's going on in a woman's head.

jingleallthespringy Fri 28-Dec-12 01:08:30

She seems to control you with what she doesn't do, by an absence of what should be there but isn't. A withholding somehow. It makes me feel quite ill to read it. As I said, it's extraordinarily painful to be on the end of, truly agonising.

here are some of the proverbs I referred to (above):

Better to have a dish of vegetables where there is love than juicy steaks where there is hate.

Love unexpressed is like a slap in the face.

A counsellor will support you in making sense of what is going on (yes, it is hard to get started with a counsellor. Perhaps write something down to get it clear in your head? You could also present what you've written to the counsellor to save explaining it all. You could use this thread..?).

When you said your wife remained quiet, what do you mean - did she say nothing at all, no reply at all? Do you also mean she hasn't spoken to you at all since, or hasn't spoken to you about this since you mentioned it?

YOu have said that she does what she wants to do without discussing it with you eg she transferred the funds from your joint account to her account. Either she is chronically incapable of speaking to you or she is controlling you. Both are desperately painful for you.

You may not be able to figure out what's in a woman's head - most men wail about this btw! - but your wife is being particularly opaque.

Zazzles007 Fri 28-Dec-12 01:33:05

Hi SummerDad, the EAP sessions with the counsellor sound like a good idea. I am interested in knowing why they are online rather than in person. Without the physical cues (mannerisms, voice, facial expressions etc) it can be harder to click with someone. You don't seem to have a problem bring up things with your wife and I am wondering if the online method of communication is contributing to this uneasiness in opening up.

Also if you are searching for more information, there is a really good book that I read earlier this year. The book is "The Psychology of Romantic Love" by Nathaniel Branden. This book opened my eyes as to what a real relationship should be. I am a product of a dysfunctional family, where my father would have these silences - the longest one I can remember last 5 months. As a result, I have trouble engaging with men in the right way, and am only just re-learning and undoing my past habits. Please get this book (or one similar) so that you can reset what you will and will not accept in a relationship.

Hope this helps.

SummerDad Fri 28-Dec-12 21:06:50

jingleallthespringy thanks for your comment, it really helps a lot. Well, when I spoke to her about the counselling I said politely that we really need to do something about our life as we can't keep our heads buried in the sand pretending all is well. I told her how I have found by doing so much research on the internet this environment could be detrimental for our son in the later life so we can't afford to live like house mates, we really need to do something about it. She did not reply to this and went quiet for a few hours until our son slept.

First time in eight years, she came to me and said lets talk. Then for more than an hour, she kept talking me about her POV in our relationship. I did not interrupt her even for once and only listened. After she finished speaking, I explained things she raised one by one taking responsibility where I was wrong or not mindful or simply ignorant.

I am not sure what lies ahead but we both felt rather relieved though I am still determined to go for counselling because I need to sort out the mess in my head. I did not ask her again what she thinks about going there.

She has a genuine problem with sharing with anybody even with her close friends. I am glad that she opened up first time in our relationship. I would give the credit to lovely and supportive posters on MN whose posts encouraged me to address this issue openly with her.

Zazzles007 The EAP counselling sessions would be arranged face to face and not via chat, sorry for making it confusing. Though telephone option was available, I preferred the initial contact via online chat just to confirm how does the system work in terms of confidentiality with the employer, payments, number of sessions etc.

This service is confidential and employer does not know who is attending it. The employers are billed according to the number of people receiving these services. Once you call them and fill up a questionnaire, they send you to one their counselors for face to face sessions.

Thanks for recommending the book, I have gone through its contents on amazon it really looks good. Please feel free to share any links/books which you may find relevant. I want to do my best, don't want to live with any repentance.

Zazzles007 Sat 29-Dec-12 01:30:01

SummerDad, I would also recommend that both you and your wife read Nathanial Branden's other book, "The Six Pillars of Self Esteem". This book is essential reading for those who are trying to heal both past and current hurts, no matter who they are, or the nature of the hurt.

I have been using the self esteem book as my bible, as a guide to how to live my life as a real adult. In my opinion, the above 2 books I have recommended go hand in hand. I hope that with all the different things you (and your wife) are doing will help the relationship.

Good luck smile

SummerDad Sat 29-Dec-12 01:43:37

thanks Zazzles007

Sandra442 Sat 29-Dec-12 01:51:20

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

AgathaHoHoHo Sat 29-Dec-12 02:13:32

That's not a particularly helpful comment Sandra442.

marriedandwreathedinholly Mon 31-Dec-12 12:11:59

Where are you both from OP? Reading between the lines it sounds as though you are both a long way from your own culture and are both struggling to fit into a slightly alien environment where you are unsure of the "rules" - using that word reservedly, as well as struggling as a discrete partnership/unit within it.

Seconds counselling but I suspect there is more to this than just the relationship between you and your wife. FWIW I think you both need help either as a couple or separately and I'm not sure whether what will help your son to grow up in a functional environment is enirely about splitting up or staying together. It sounds as thouh even if you split up that year son is likely to grow up in a very isolated way.

I hope you all find a way through this. Could you go back to your families where there might be a support network for you all. Why are you both so alone?

MiniLovesMinxPies Mon 31-Dec-12 14:12:19

My first thoughts are that your wife has unresolved issues from her own upbringing that she is unable and unwilling to address. She is rather "self-sufficient" she has no need of emotional support, no need of intimacy and has reduced her expectation of others down to just practical necessity. In short she is repressed, emotionally and physically and I would think that comes from a rather "dry" and joyless childhood. Her early experiences of watching the dialectic btw her parents is what she has internalised as normal. She may even feel that all her emotional needs are being met......so assumes yours are too.

I would go to the counselling individually. I don't know whether you can resolve the issues together, I think your wife would at first need to acknowledge that she has a problem, when in fact she probably won't perceive let alone accept that she has some sort of issue, hmmm It will be almost impossible for a self sufficient repressed person to generate the desire for intimacy and emotional support. It may simply not exist. That isn't her fault and suffice to say she may feel very scared because she feels unable to cope with demands for intimacy and affection. Terribly sad for both of you.

Would you consider just living together as friends? You clearly are very supportive in a practical sense which suits her but as evidenced by your near breakdown, you are being lost in this.

jingleallthespringy Mon 31-Dec-12 16:09:17

I don't necessarily agree that your wife would be 'incapable' of intimacy (physical and emotional) - you can't know until/unless you do the work. I too am getting the sense of a very repressed family/childhood (or culture?) and that she could be extremely shut down. HOwever, we are reading snippets in an internet account and, although the pain you are experiencing is very clear, we aren't professionals and can't possibly know the true components of what may be going on here. That would take time and the 'work' I referred to earlier. The fact that your wife was recently able to talk to you at length is imo a good sign - at least you have something to go on and she is prepared on some level to address what may be going on between you.

SummerDad Mon 31-Dec-12 21:55:17

marriedandwreathedinholly , MiniLovesMinxPies and jingleallthespringy

Thanks for your comments again. I agree with most of what you say. I have found a lot of insight about relationships and I am already trying to bring some changes on my behalf which won't warrant any active participation on her behalf but I can see the positive results so far.

I feel mentally so messed up that I need to sort out my own thoughts first, counselling is the first stop. Before starting this thread, I was feeling so lost and in pain but now I feel a lot better.

Let's hope the new year brings about a lot of hope and happiness for us all. I wish you all kind souls a lot of prosperity and happiness in the new year. smile

Zazzles007 Mon 31-Dec-12 22:53:10

Summerdad its great that there is a positive post from you, and you are starting in the right place - by figuring yourself out first, and bringing about changes in you.

As you may well be learning, each of us is only responsible for ourselves - we are all on our 'own' at the end of the day, and we must all save ourselves. I too am encouraged that your wife has finally opened up to you and explained her side. Please keep posting, its great to see the progress happening.

Hope you are having a great New Year as well smile

SummerDad Tue 01-Jan-13 00:00:32

Zazzles007 things are really changing for better now, would be difficult to describe everything here what I have changed because I don't want to be flamed for such a knob at certain things wink

Happy new year to you all ! smile

jingleallthespringy Tue 01-Jan-13 00:23:16

It takes two though SD. I don't want to rain on your parade but it will take both of you being committed to whatever work needs doing to address the difficulties between you. It sounds, however, that she is prepared to address things re the long talk.

Happy New Year to you SD. I hope this is going to be a turnaround year for you smile

SummerDad Sun 20-Jan-13 23:05:39

jingleallthespringy You are right, it will take both of us to be committed. She seems least interested to change the status-quo though. What maximum we both can get from each other is an amicable relationship and nothing like exciting or romantic.

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