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AIBU to think you can still stay together for the sake of the children and it work out

(273 Posts)
fluckered Tue 26-Feb-13 16:56:53

we cant seem to live together anymore. things out of our control his depression and my lack of tolerance to live with it anymore. we have one child. 80% of the time we are just living as lodgers no arguments. every once in a while it kicks off but we both shield our son (either in school or asleep). therefore i feel it will be worse on him if we seperate as we can actually live with eachother. no physical contact, very little emotion, just going through the motions. i feel deep down we still do love each other but i feel trapped and stuck but because i can just get on with it (other than it flaring up once in a while as i'm sure other couples do) think its better for ds. he is my focus, my world, my reason for living. so aibu to think this arrangement is less damaging for him? he is 5 btw

Tee2072 Tue 26-Feb-13 17:01:25

If you think you're son doesn't know there's something wrong, you're probably mistaken. Kids are very clever and much more aware than we give them credit for.

If you want what's best for him, split up for real or fix your relationship.

McNewPants2013 Tue 26-Feb-13 17:04:53

Children can sense the tension in the home.

You should either end it or go to couple therapy and work to get the relationship back on track.

ChristineDaae Tue 26-Feb-13 17:05:37

As a child of parents who tired 'staying together for the kids'...No. It won't work. Your child can sense that you are both unhappy, and you are raising him with a very skewed sense of what a relationship should be that he will carry into adulthood. Plus - why would you put yourself through being miserable for the next what? 16 years?
Children are resilient, if you can split and remain civil in regards to your child/contact etc, all involved will be much happier.

CremeEggThief Tue 26-Feb-13 17:08:56

I tried to do what you are doing for a few years. Eventually, he left me for an OW last summer.

I don't think what you're doing will work longterm. Do you really want to have similar regrets and waste as much time as I have done? Why 'settle'?

Could you take some time alone to think about what you want from life and how you could make it happen?

lollilou Tue 26-Feb-13 17:16:21

So for the next 11 years you want to live without, any adult affection a kiss on the cheek, a hand hold or a hug. No interesting adult conversation. No one to listen to your hopes and fears for the future. Unable to offload your work stress. No love.
Well your a braver woman than I.
You only have one life to be happy.

MimsyBorogroves Tue 26-Feb-13 17:16:30

I did this for a while. It was hell on both myself and ex. We had nothing left to talk about, time spent together was him watching TV on one sofa, me on the computer on another. Weekends stretched out longer and longer. A day at work became a joy - which then affected my son as all weekend I was living for the Monday just so I could be out of the house and interact with someone.

In the end, it came down to a friend pointing out that, even if our behaviour wasn't having a noticeable impact upon DS at that time, that we were demonstrating a very unhealthy relationship to him, and that it could have repercussions through his adult life.

fluckered Tue 26-Feb-13 17:21:27

thanks for the replies. mimsy thats exactly how weekends are. other than the no affection we sometimes hug if i pester him enough but both very affecionate to ds we dont talk bad of one another to him. dont think i could cope with him crying for his daddy is we did split. i am prepared to live like this (all i've know for last 5 yrs) for his sake.

brainonastick Tue 26-Feb-13 17:23:00

My parents did this. It was shit and affected me and db mentally, even 20yrs after leaving home. I don't have the heart to tell them it was the wrong decision, so I'll tell you instead.

fluckered Tue 26-Feb-13 17:25:07

oh lord i figured you'd all say this. fuck! anyone that do it with young kids how did they cope?

tinierclanger Tue 26-Feb-13 17:25:10

How do you think it benefits your child to model a loveless, affectionless relationship for him? Is that what you want him to perceive as the model for a normal home?

Try thinking about it from that perspective instead of the one of him crying for his daddy.

yellowbrickrd Tue 26-Feb-13 17:26:07

Is his depression related to or exacerbated by the state of your relationship? He's not likely to improve much living as part of a sexless, affectionless couple. Suppose you split up and he massively improved and was able to be a far more beneficial role model for your ds?

What about you and your needs? It's wonderful that you love your son and put him first but he can't be your whole world, it's not healthy for your or him and could be a massive guilt-trip for him in later life, feeling that you sacrificed your life for him.

ChristineDaae Tue 26-Feb-13 17:27:00

You say for his sake but it's not doing him any favours believe me! You would be doing the complete wrong thing, not speaking bad of someone is not a loving relationship. You say for his sake - would you lime him to grow up to treat women the way he sees you and his father? No emotional connection etc... Because this is what you are showing him is normal.
Your resentment towards each other will grow the longer this goes on, and your son will not thank you for it.

mrsjay Tue 26-Feb-13 17:28:54

do you not think your son senses mum and dad dont like each other dont interact or have fun with each other, I am not sure if this is a blip in your marraige and you can sort it or not but dont kid yourself your son doesn't know something isn't right, I dont mean to sound harsh I really dont but having lived in a house like yours for years it is horrible,

wigglesrock Tue 26-Feb-13 17:29:47

Yes, but you're not helping your son - you are showing him an unrealistic, cold, unhappy relationship as his blueprint for his relationships in the future. I have 2 separate adult friends whose parents thought this was a good idea - my friends have no idea what constitutes a healthy relationship and neither of them think well of their parents decision.

Yotamsrazor Tue 26-Feb-13 17:31:28

I did that and in hindsight really wished I hadn't. It didn't work. I was resentful and frustrated and gradually respected ex-h less and less (he wasn't depressed, he was just a pita). My dd says she noticed that we never kissed each other goodnight like her friends dp's and knew that I, in particular, was very unhappy and was always preparing herself for impending divorce. It's no environment for a child to grow up in imo and in and I wished I'd had the courage to go it alone for her sake and mine. I look back on all those unhappy years and think 'what a waste." It makes me v sad to think about it. And it's definitely had an effect on dd's relationships with men.

mrsjay Tue 26-Feb-13 17:32:14

every relationship can have bumps in them My own marriage was a bit rocky for a year or 2 but you have to work at it not talking to each other and being like lodgers must be really tense,

fluckered Tue 26-Feb-13 17:33:52

he had depression very bad both on meds due to it. things fine before hand. thats what makes everything worse .. wish he would give me a black eye or have an affair so i have a valid reason instead of being a heartless bitch. he wouldnt cope without me. but the years are flying by and ds getting older. dont apologise anyone for being harsh i need to hear these things. we still do fun things together and put on the front for ds and some of it is genuine as i still do love him so much. anyways may put on some tea but will be back. thank you so much for the replies. have no one in RL to talk about this.

MSP1 Tue 26-Feb-13 17:34:41

If the depression is the main cause of the problems why not get proper (doctor, counsellor) help to address the depression and help him to get better? If you want to stay together anyway, then everything you do to help him helps you too. But if you have already tried all of this and it hasn't worked......

Pobblewhohasnotoes Tue 26-Feb-13 17:42:12

I had a friend at school whose parents stayed together 'for the sake of the kids'. I remember her saying she wished they would just split up.

I have another friend whose parents lived together but had separate lives. She knew that as soon as she moved out they would split up. Why would you put that pressure onto your own child?

Please don't think he won't know, he will and he won't thankyou for it. Have you thought about getting counselling, or help for your H's depression? How about Relate? Have you tried any of this?

yellowbrickrd Tue 26-Feb-13 17:42:31

It's very common for people to feel that their partner wouldn't cope without them, especially if the partner is depressed and gone into that 'learned helplessness' trap. Following that logic you would never be able to split, even when your ds has left, in case he couldn't cope without you. What hope does that leave either of you?

The good thing is that you are not at each other's throats so you can discuss what to do rationally.

I bet if you had a trial separation you (and he) would be amazed at how well he responds to having a sense of independence and hope for the future without being bogged down in guilt and regret.

ChangeNamer101 Tue 26-Feb-13 17:50:56


ChangeNamer101 Tue 26-Feb-13 17:52:29

I posted this nearly two years ago. Nothing has changed. Everything still works and no-one has a clue. I'll leave you to decide whether you think it is a good idea or not:

I have name changed. I do not want what I am about to say associated with my regular name.

I am unhappily married. Desperately unhappy.

DH has NO idea. DD & DSD have NO idea.

I smile, I play, I say I Love you, I have sex (and pretend to enjoy it). I ensure that DD sees me cuddle her father at least once a week. I say things like "you should ask dad about that, he's really good at that sort of thing" to DSD, even though I dont believe what I am saying. Those girls have no reason to believe that I am not totally and happily in love with their father.

I decided to do this. I decided that their happiness was more important than my own, and I want them to believe that we are in a happy marriage. I do not want DD to see us divorce, I do not want DSD to have to go through it again.

2 years ago my marriage almost broke up. It was horrible. DH was awful, violent, threatening and abusive during that period. DD saw it and it really affected her. I decided then and there to stop arguing, to stop trying to get away. DH believes we worked through our problems and we do not have them any more. NO, I just decided to stop letting our problems bother me. Now I do not care what he does.

DH believes I am happy. I am not. I let him get away with anything he wants, and I smile about it. I will never divorce him, but in reality it would be easier if he died.

I may have resigned myself to this life for the next 50 years - but it is a choice I have made for the children and I am happy with my choice.

Tee2072 Tue 26-Feb-13 17:57:13

That is the saddest thing I have ever read, changenamer.

AmberLeaf Tue 26-Feb-13 18:00:27

That sounds awful changenamer.

Especially after your DD witnessing violence and abuse, I dont quite know how you can justify making that choice 'for the children'

OP all you will be doing is showing your son a really horrible example of what marriage/relationships are about.

I think you all deserve more than that.

I am a child of divorced parents and I can assure you after their split was much better than while in the 'making a go of it' stage.

Don't stay with your DH out of any guilty feelings regarding his mental health either.

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