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I want to leave my DH but I feel so guilty

(40 Posts)
FliptheCoin Fri 25-Oct-13 12:18:32

Please can you help me make my decision? I’ve lurked on these pages for a while (looking for answers to my own problem in the posts made by others).

In a nutshell, I’ve been with DH for 12 years and we have 1 DD who is 4 (just started school). The problem is that my feelings for him have changed and I no longer fancy him and truth be told I no longer want to be with him (in fact if it weren’t for DD I’m 99% sure I’d have split with him). The problem is I worry about the consequences that us splitting up will have on DD.

I told DH how I felt about 4 months ago and I was shocked at his response. I really was expecting him to say that we should split up because I couldnt believe he was happy either. In actual fact he told me that he really didn’t want to split up, thought it would be terrible for DD, that he still loved me a lot and would try to change the things I had issues with. To be fair to him, he has made a real effort (e.g spends more of his spare time with us now, helps more, tries to be less grumpy and argumentative). I’m impressed with how much he is trying to make it work. The problem is that despite this I still don’t feel like I love him as I should and I’m not sexually attracted to him in the slightest.

Any advice appreciated.

BurtNo Fri 25-Oct-13 12:45:42

if you were attracted to him once it might be recoverable but you shouldn't have to put up with a sham sexlife - can you bear his touch or does it feel wrong?

FliptheCoin Fri 25-Oct-13 12:54:32

Being attracted to him feels like a distant memory. It's hard to describe but I suppose I feel like I tolerate his touch but I avoid sex and intimicy if I'm honest. I know that's not fair on him.

passedgo Fri 25-Oct-13 12:57:41

Do you feel affectionate towards him? Hugs or other physical closeness?

FliptheCoin Fri 25-Oct-13 13:06:13

We;re not physically close but I know he wants to be. Again I'm aware that I avoid it. I'm quite an affectionate person which is why I feel so mixed up.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 25-Oct-13 13:13:13

I think you've been very honest but, if it's not working for you, it's unfair (verging on cruel) to keep this hanging over him while he frantically tries to be a better man. There are consequences to splitting up but the consequences of living in a one-sided arrangement where there is no affection and intimacy is only tolerated, then the consequences of staying together are likely to be more damaging in the long-run. To your DD as well as your DH

Have the courage of your convictions and, if it's never going to happen, be honest and call time

FliptheCoin Fri 25-Oct-13 13:19:06

Thanks for the replies. You're right Cogito, it's not fair on him and I'm very much aware of this. Deep down I know what I have to do. I just need to grow myself a pair of balls.

Dahlen Fri 25-Oct-13 13:27:40

Guilt has to be one of the most destructive emotions there is. Nothing good ever seems to come of it.

I tend to view guilt as self indulgence. It s a form of naval gazing. Your guilt being used to trap you in the marriage is actually making things worse for everyone else. Far better to be pragamatic about it. Own it and say, "you know what? Yes, I'm going to hurt you, and for that I am deeply sorry, but if I stay I hurt both of us."

You owe your H courtesy, respect and honesty, but you don't owe him the rest of your life at the cost of your own happiness. We're each responsible for our own.

Having parents who live apart doesn't hurt children; warring parents hurt children and can do so whether apart or together. Nasty divorces damage children badly, but if you handle your divorce with integrity on both sides your DD will adjust to the changes quickly and without scars.

FliptheCoin Fri 25-Oct-13 14:07:33

I know you're right. but I worry that he'll hate me (I really don't want that), I worry that we won't be able to divorce with integrity on both sides because he'll feel hurt and hard done by and therefore his prophesy of it "being terrible for DD" will come true. And of course I worry that DD will find it hard to settle in the new arrangement and become more of a handful that she already is.

Lweji Fri 25-Oct-13 14:13:17

If he will hate you, then he is not really a good person.
If he is a good person, and he loves you, he should understand that you don't love him anymore.
If he loves his DD, he should do his best to be the best dad (also ex-partner) he possibly can be.

Maybe the fact that you know he can turn nasty is the reason you don't love him anymore?

DoYouEverFeelLikeAPlasticBag Fri 25-Oct-13 14:19:40

Oh OP - take a look at all the threads about affairs to realize the damage that happens when people don't have the courage to just leave a relationship if it's not working.

Letting it drag on when you've acknowledged that it isn't working will only damage you both in the long run. In my experience, once you've let that cat out of the bag, there's no going back. People can trundle on for years sweeping it under the carpet, but it will come back sooner or later. The older your DD gets the harder it will be to eventually split.

If you can deal with this with dignity and integrity, when your only crime is to fall out of love with someone - then hats off to you. Hold your head high, you're being a good, strong person.

Your DD will be fine flowers

Giveatossagain Fri 25-Oct-13 14:22:58

Flip I am in a similar situation and it's hard, I am struggling to grow those balls too but Dahlen is right I need to 'own' it and do it.

I have reached the stage of being envious with all those who post on here who have left relationships they weren't happy with and starting to wish he'd have a fling or up and leave of his own accord. Pathetic I know. His mum already hates me just for him making him miserable by telling him I'm unhappy and causing him so much stress and worry and like your DH he's keen that we stay together.

Is there any particular reason you've grown out of love with your DH or is it just one of those things? I am well aware that being unhappy is the only reason you need to leave a relationship but is there anything that is worth working on in your relationship?

Dahlen Fri 25-Oct-13 14:47:42

If your H is the sort of man who could behave that badly on divorce, he can do an awful lot more damage to your DD if you stay together unless you allow the marriage to run entirely on his terms, which will not only damage you but damage your DD's future as she learns marriages work by self-sacrifice.

Lots of people handle divorce badly. The good news is that most people are decent. After an initial wobble, they get their act together, and any damage inflicted on the DC is repairable. If it doesn't get better, there are things you can do to limit the damage and in a way it validates the decision you made to leave.

Your DD will definitely have a period of adjustment, as will you. That's to be expected. It will quickly pass.

Don't let fear rule your life. Don't hide behind your DD. Lots of parents worry about their DC but the reality is that this is a smoke-screen (as much for themselves as for others) for fear of the unknown and for being thought of as the bad person. It is impossible to please all of the people all of the time. But it is perfectly possible to act in a way that works in the best interests of those who matter - you and your DD.

babyseal Fri 25-Oct-13 14:59:53

I felt so guilty about ending things with my exp that it was making me ill, but amongst other things two of the pieces of advice I received stuck with me and helped me throughout; 1. That I was freeing him up to maybe meet someone who was in love with him as well 2. That my dc would be damaged by being brought up using an unhappy relationship as their blueprint for their own adult relationships.

We split a year ago, and it was really shit and hard. Sometimes it still is, but I am happier and he, lo and behold, has met someone else and they seem well suited and happy. I do still feel sad and guilty that the dc's parents are not still together, but I am beginning to see it more as unfortunate circumstance, rather than being my fault.

It takes guts to make the decision to leave, and it is extra difficult if there is no "reason" except your own unhappiness as we still live in a society where as a whole people women aren't expected to put their own happiness higher up on the agenda than the "good of the family" . Good luck doing whatever you decide to do flowers.

Overtiredmum Fri 25-Oct-13 15:29:13

I agree with what babyseal said.

I am now four weeks into a new life. DC and I have our own home, H moved back to his mums. I have tremendous guilt at making the decision, and I have had every conceivable accusation thrown at me, especially having an affair - no-one can grasp the fact that I was just unhappy, there has to be a reason for it.

My family have cut me off from any relationship with me, because I "am causing my DC irrepairable damage by not staying" as babyseal said for the "good of the family". But, do you know what? Both I and the DC are happier than we have been in months, if not years. The DC are getting better quality time with the father than ever before.

The tunnel is long but the light is so bright. I'm under no illusion that times will be hard sometimes, but I'm sure we'll be fine.

Stay strong OP.

FliptheCoin Fri 25-Oct-13 16:03:29

Thanks for your advice. It means a lot and is helping me think about this rationally. There is nothing I want more than for us both to handle it with integrity and mutual respect. My dream scenario is that we support each other through it and end up being friends. Not sure if that's unrealistic though given that he still loves me.

He's a good person although he has his faults as I know I do too. My feelings for him changed when DD was born. It put a huge strain on us and for many reasons I won't go into I felt let down by him in my time of need, but my mistake was not confronting him at the time. I thought that if I did then we would split and I couldn't handle it because I was too run-ragged and sleep deprived to cope with that. Now I'm in a position where even though he's changed, I just can't move on and just don't feel the same about him.

It took me ages to convince myself to post here but I'm so glad I did. It'll take a lot of psyching myself up to tell DH the inevitable, but I know it's the right thing. I'll keep you posted as to how it goes.

passedgo Fri 25-Oct-13 16:06:56

Blimey Overtired, your family sound horrendous. I can't believe that anyone would cut off their own child just because of this. I think I remember you. I also remember you babyseal and one of my favourite pieces of advice to people is - Let him go, he will find someone else, they usually do. He will be OK.

Don't feel guilt.

passedgo Fri 25-Oct-13 16:08:35

Being there in someone's hour of need is the deal-breaker really. If it doesn't happen at the time, it can't be fixed later.

babyseal Fri 25-Oct-13 16:33:30

Overtired that is really shit how your family have been. I have always been close to my Mum and not so close to my Dad, but when we split they showed their true colours. My Dad just said I didn't need to explain, I obviously had my reasons, and he would support me without having to know them. My Mum was really unsupportive, could hardly bring herself to look at me, until I was forced to give her a blow by blow account of all the reasons I didn't love exp anymore, stuff I didn't really want to talk to her about sad.

Flipthecoin, I don't want to be negative, but I also dreamt we could split on good terms; my exp was horrendous for months, but at the time it really helped me to focus on the fact that I was doing the right thing. We are now approaching a place where we are friendly in front of the kids and he is acting more like a normal human being towards me now he has regular shags a lovely new partner grin. I am not saying a non-acrimonious split isn't possible, but prepare yourself for it being a rocky ride for a while. So worth it though smile. Picture yourself in a year... where do you want to be?

Oh, and the dc are fine. It has affected them yes, especially ds who is 5 and really sensitive, but I dread to think how much years and years of a miserable Mum would have affected them.

FliptheCoin Fri 25-Oct-13 19:28:22

Big respect to Overtired for knowing you did the right thing despite being disowned by your family. (I hope mine react better than that!) I'm glad you and the DC are happy and hopefully in time your family will come to their senses.

babyseal - I know it'll probably be awful for the first few months, especially in the interim while we work out finances etc and trying to keep it together for DD, but as you say time can only improve the situation. I just hope he doesn't act like an a-hole but I guess that's out of my control. In a year from now I hope to be living independently, with enough money to eat and pay the bills. I'll be happy with that.

Giveatoss - I hope this thread has inspired you to think about dealing with your own situation. Good luck with what you decide.

raspberriesareforever Fri 25-Oct-13 19:52:01

flip it sounds to me like you are flogging a dead horse and the relationship has run it's course. You are being unfair on DH if you have no feelings left for him. As long as your DD knows each parent loves her and providing you both ensure that she is not emotionally hurt in the process and continues to see you both as loving parents then you should make the brave move and move on with your life. Good luck.

Giveatossagain Fri 25-Oct-13 20:08:53

Thanks Flip like you I thought when I told DH I was unhappy he'd feel the same (is a miserable git anyway!) but he thought all was pretty much ok and doesn't want to split.

I also have stupid guilt/worry about the impact on the Dc's and am well aware that may be a bit of an excuse to stop myself making the decision. I am reminded by friends who have been through this that the Dc's will be fine and have their own relationship with DH.

This thread has been helpful. Thanks for posting.

Giveatossagain Fri 25-Oct-13 20:11:51

Thanks Flip like you I thought when I told DH I was unhappy he'd feel the same (is a miserable git anyway!) but he thought all was pretty much ok and doesn't want to split.

I also have stupid guilt/worry about the impact on the Dc's and am well aware that may be a bit of an excuse to stop myself making the decision. I am reminded by friends who have been through this that the Dc's will be fine and have their own relationship with DH.

This thread has been helpful. Thanks for posting.

Giveatossagain Fri 25-Oct-13 20:13:07

Apologies for the double post. Bloody phone.

Bigbird01 Fri 25-Oct-13 21:03:01

Flip - I know exactly how you feel. Our situations are extremely similar, including the age our our children (big twins in my case).
I told my husband in January how I felt - he promised things could be better / encouraged me to stay etc.
More and more over the last few months I have felt that things haven't moved on at all - yes, he has tried to work on some of the things I had raised, but the underlying problems are still there.
Anyway, the Kids are staying with Grandparents next week for half term and last night DH decides to book a restaurant for us to have a meal together... All of a sudden I started shaking and that was it - the words just came out and I told him it was over.
Last night was not fun and today he seems convinced that he can change my mind, but I have deliberately started telling people as it is making it more real and I don't want to let myself be talked out of this! He seems to think that changes will make it right, but the underlying problem is that the idea of spending my old age with him once the kids have grown up fills me with dread.

For all that it is horrid at the moment, I do feel that the weight has started to lift off my shoulders - it may be some way off, but that glimmer of hope for a happier future is there.

I know the kids will be fine - I can't be the mum I want to be when I feel this unhappy so it can only be better for our relationship if I am not with him.

Stay strong. The moment the words come out is the hardest, but once they're out there don't back down - stay true to yourself and you DD will be fine!

Bigbird01 Fri 25-Oct-13 21:04:13

B/g twins, of course! Although they are a good size! :-)

Minime85 Fri 25-Oct-13 21:15:33

I am in your DH's position. finally it had to be me saying enough is enough you want to split up don't u. he hated telling me how he had changed. the guilt he was filled with was poisoning him. we never thought it would happen to us and friends and family will be shocked. we decided two weeks ago. there has been lots of tears on both sides. two dds to take care of and put first. I do believe we will be friends and have tried to support each other. we were conscious that the longer it continued as it was it would breed hate and bitterness. also older dds got harder it would be for them. good luck. be fair to him. be fair to yourself. that way you all have a chance at happiness.

Overtiredmum Sun 27-Oct-13 18:39:55

OP how are you? Xx

FliptheCoin Mon 28-Oct-13 15:21:40

Hi Overtired. I'm still trying to find the courage to do this. Hardest thing I've ever had to do.

Overtiredmum Tue 29-Oct-13 15:26:43

Stay strong x

babyseal Tue 29-Oct-13 19:21:19

I echo overtiredmum, keep posting if you need support. thanks

FliptheCoin Tue 29-Oct-13 21:33:26

I know I'm going to do it, just keep putting it off. There's a thread in relationships at the moment about tips for a happy marriage which is actually helping me as it's highlighting all the flaws in my relationship.

Giveatossagain Wed 30-Oct-13 09:21:05

Flip I feel the same on reading that thread. I want someone who supports me and makes me feel valued and adored - sadly I am at The Enemy stage... But but he is a good dad, he's hand sewing Halloween costumes for the Dc's as I type and is engaged with them but the dull responsibilities of things I've been wanting sorted for months (car MOT, DIY etc) remain undone unless I nag and cajole. He is like a petulant teenager, adult life and things that he knows are important to me slip by. There is no chat or rapport with him and I have reached the past caring stage. Must man up and speak to him. It's effing hard though.

Keep posting.

suspiciousmind29 Wed 30-Oct-13 10:31:17

OP, I haven't read all the thread, but the way in which you described your relationship and your feelings, is spookily similar to the situation I was in a year a go.

I was with my ex for 10 years, we have a 7 year old dd, but truth be told, I knew we weren't right for one another from really early on. I too, told him eventually how I felt, which was basically that I still have strong feelings for him, but I wasn't sexually attracted to him and his reaction was identical to your partner. I was shocked because I knew if my dp told me that they didn't desire me at all, I wouldn't/couldn't stay with them. It would destroy me.

Then, a year a go, I took the plunge and we broke up officially. It has been hard, I'm not going to lie, but overall, I am definitely happier without him and DD coped much better than I thought she would.

I can't tell you not to feel guilty about how your DC will cope, cos I would be a complete hypocrite. I currently have a thread running about how guilty I feel for DD. Even though she seems very happy and has a better relationship with her dad, I still sometimes think how sad it is that we won't be a 'proper' family anymore. Some of the replies I had have been really helpful though. I would recommend you had a look at it.

I completely understand your concerns, but you know really what you have to do. I really hope it works out for you.

Pm me if you like. Like I say, our situations sound very similar, so it might be useful for both of us smile

butterballs9 Wed 30-Oct-13 12:33:44

I'm in a not totally dissimilar situation only I have been married a lot longer and my children are now at college. I got a lot of flak when I broached the subject of having an open marriage or other options.

I don't know why, really. Everyone seemed to be taking the side of my husband. But the fact is, he doesn't want to change the situation. He wants to remain married to me. Like you, I have been quite surprised and a bit amazed by his reactions as if he had told me that he was feeling trapped in the marriage (which is pretty much what I have told him) then I would do something about it.

Or, to put it another way, if I felt HE wasn't happy in the marriage I would actively find ways to improve the situation whether that meant - open marriage/separation/affair (yes, I have told him he can have an affair but he doesn't want one!)

I am nervous about divorce - there are huge financial implication plus both our families are extremely negative about divorce and his family has religious convictions over divorce - as far as they are concerned it is just something you do not do, whatever the circumstances.

The other aspect of it is that I do not want to leave the family home. I just don't. Neither does he.

The one thing that I have considered doing, when I have moments of thinking that I can't go on like this, is drawing up a legal separation so that we could stay in the house but our relationship would be as co-parents/house mates, at least for a time.

That might allow us both some space to see what we both want. And the grass may very well not be greener, as people pointed out before. In any case, the very last thing I want to do is get into another monogamous relationship or - God forbid - another marriage. No thanks! Been there, done it, got the T-shirt and once is more than enough.

For me, I think the only thing that will work is couples' counselling where I can put my side of things in front of an impartial person so that H can really try to understand where I am coming from. No doubt he has things he too would like to say - I think that because of his religious upbringing he sees separation/divorce as a failure so has huge issues around that. Plus his mother was a bit of a martyr and ran around after his father, always putting his needs first (that was kind of the default mode in those days though, to be fair).

butterballs9 Wed 30-Oct-13 12:38:58

And, whether people want to admit it or not, I happen to believe that there are a lot of people out there in not dissimilar situations. They are reasonably comfortable in the marriage or relationship but.......when I look around at my friends I would say most of the are in that situation. They just don't want to rock the boat for financial and other reasons. Ironically, mine looks like one of the better marriages - at least we still have a physical relationship, sometimes at any rate. I am amazed by the number of female friends who have confided in me that they no longer have a sex life with their husband. It makes me wonder what the husbands' say to their friends. Are they all really not having any sex, or are they just not having it with their spouses??

FliptheCoin Thu 31-Oct-13 19:52:13

Perhaps the hardest thing is that we get on ok and don't really argue, but equally we don't communicate about feelings at all. The day-to-day is ok, when there are the distractions of daily life. It's the special times like Christmas or holidays when I realise things aren't great. Last Christmas I swore to myself that I wouldn't be with him for another one! I just hope we can remain friends, but I have a feeling he'll make me feel like crap for doing this. He's away for a few days now though.
I know two things: 1. The thought of growing old with him depresses me greatly. 2. life is short, and you only get one go at it.
Thanks for your posts.

Overtiredmum Thu 31-Oct-13 23:04:32

I wish I could tell you it's easy. I can't. It does get easier though xx

Giveatossagain Fri 01-Nov-13 09:03:50

Flip I could have written your last post. Day to day we can get on about the Dc's and practicalities and we rarely argue but don't communicate either. We have tried marriage counselling and we're told to make one slot to have a 15 min talk about our relationship in the week between sessions. We didn't even manage that. I can take responsibility for not initiating the discussion but since he is the one that wants to save the marriage (after 2 years of seeming to have been utterly disnegaged) i did think he could have made the effort. Overall marriage counselling did not resolve anything really. So now we exists in a polite hinterland where we deal with the Dc's but both know we are not happy. It's frustrating and I am still filled with sadness at the thought of divorce.

toffeesponge Fri 01-Nov-13 09:12:04

Have you told him how you felt after the baby was born and how him acting as he did made you feel then and still has an effect now?

When you fall out of love it is possible to get the feelings back if you are open and honest but if you don't want to try or haven't tried properly then it isn't fair to have him fighting for something he has no chance of ever winning.

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