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Am I being selfish breaking the family up?

(67 Posts)
viviennewestood Sun 03-Jul-16 15:49:48

I've just officially ended my relationship with dd's dad. I could have settled and never been fully happy (even though he says I'll never be happy with anyone because I won't let myself be) but I'm 26 and I think I deserve better.

Our dd is almost two and the main reason holding me back from ending things sooner was because I wanted her to have an unbroken family with parents who live together and are happy with each other but I just can't do it.

He's a decent guy, would never cheat on me or hurt me, but we clash and most of the time we don't get along. We have very different levels of maturity and have different senses of humour.

I can't help feeling guilty about making this decision in terms of how it will affect dd but I have to think about my own happiness and if I'm unhappy then she'll surely resent me for not changing things when I had the chance to?

The final straw was this morning. Last night I went out for the first time in months with my friends and this morning he 'let me' stay in bed and took dd out so that I 'didn't have to look after her' - he said I'm this in response to me asking him how he tries to make the effort with me and our relationship.

I need the brutal honesty of AIBU today.

EatShitDerek Sun 03-Jul-16 15:52:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wobblywonderwoman Sun 03-Jul-16 15:53:07

I think you are young at 26 to be that unhappy. It's hard to know. Did you see yourself with him before Dd?

Have you spoke to him?

callherwillow Sun 03-Jul-16 15:55:04

If you feel your daughter will be just as happy or happier if the two of you are apart then no.

Otherwise, yes, but understandably so.

MidnightVelvetthe5th Sun 03-Jul-16 15:55:44

Its a fallacy that children are happier with parents who despise each other yet stay together. No child has ever said 'I'm so glad you stayed in that unhappy relationship for me'.

You are doing the right thing if you are not happy, children generally know if their parents aren't getting along no matter how well we think we are pretending, they can sense atmosphere & mood.

Are you OK? Do you need advice about what to do next?

Well done, it takes courage to face up to a relationship that isn't working & to make that choice. It will get easier & at some point down the line you may well look back & wonder why you put up with it for so long wine

viviennewestood Sun 03-Jul-16 16:07:41

I've tried speaking to him about it more but he loses his patience and won't take his eyes off of his phone for longer than a couple of minutes to have a conversation about it.

It upsets me when he says that I'll never allow myself to be happy with anyone because he's basing this on the fact that I lost my mum a couple of years ago and was severely depressed and that obviously took a huge toll on our relationship through no fault of my own. He still sees me as a weak person who can't cope with real life but the truth is that I'm much stronger than I ever was and the only time I feel weaker is in his company when he makes me feel that way. We used to be happy even throughout my grief after my mum died but when dd came along shortly after that's when things turned sour. He said earlier that the only thing that makes me happy is dd and that I'm 'obsessed' with her, whereas I think I'm just a normal mother who has unfortunately been through a lot in the last few years and just grateful to have something so amazing and precious in my life.

Early last year he moved out and went to live with his friends because we live an hour and a half commute away from his work and thought it would be good for us to have a break. I agreed but assumed this break was for a couple of weeks at the most but he never moved back. In the last few weeks I've been looking at places to move to near his work so that we can be a family and it's making me realise that I don't want it.

girlywhirly Sun 03-Jul-16 16:59:35

It sounds to me as though neither of you are happy in this relationship. He sounds as though he has never adjusted to becoming a parent and the responsibility of it, and is jealous because he has to 'share' you with DD. Saying that you are obsessed with her when you are simply an attentive mum.

I think it would be better for you both to separate.

nicenewdusters Sun 03-Jul-16 17:35:42

No, not selfish at all. It's not selfish to want to be in a fulfilling relationship with the father of your child. He sounds immature, and unable to deal with being part of a family as opposed to just your partner.

If the relationship is already "broken" for you then so is the family unit. You're not actively breaking anything, just allowing you and ultimately him to find a happier path in life. As a pp said, nobody on MN ever said I wish my really unhappy parents had stayed together so I could grow up in misery.

Your daughter (who I assume is very young) will adapt. She'll be much stronger and better equipped for her life ahead with a happy, strong mum who is not prepared to suffer just to conform to the 2.4 stereotype.

Good luck, you'll know in your heart what the right decision is. Remember, you only get this one life, there are no prizes for staying in an unhappy relationship.

AvaLeStrange Sun 03-Jul-16 17:38:53

You are absolutely doing the right thing.

I settled with my H - for all the reasons you tried to stay in yours. We had the different interests, sense of humour etc and I can totally relate to you say he makes you feel weaker with him than without.

It is much more difficult to leave 20 years down the line with a teenager in tow.

Get out now and make the most of the rest of your life. You can and will be happy with or without another partner. You won't be if you stay with this guy.

viviennewestood Sun 03-Jul-16 22:13:37

He says that I'm expecting the honeymoon period to last forever and that what I want isn't realistic. In reality I think he's worried about his own future and the fact that one day I will move on and he might regret not trying harder. He frustrates me so much.

viviennewestood Sun 03-Jul-16 22:14:13

Ava are you still with your husband?

Hassled Sun 03-Jul-16 22:19:16

The fact that you still think he's a decent guy means that you'll probably end up as very effective co-parents. My first H was always a decent guy - just a terrible husband, and we were very wrong together. But we salvaged a friendship out of the mess and were both good parents who discussed things and agreed and had a united front for the DCs. It made life so much easier for all of us, especially the DCs.

So stop worrying about being selfish and focus on the best outcome for your DD, which isn't you staying in an unhappy marriage.

MaybeDoctor Sun 03-Jul-16 22:23:08

He moved out and hasn't moved back?

I don't think it is you who has to worry about breaking up the family - he has already taken a very decisive step.

Cutecat78 Sun 03-Jul-16 22:25:03

What EATSHIT said.

I split with DS2 dad when PG.

He's never known us together.

MitzyLeFrouf Sun 03-Jul-16 22:26:46

OP he already moved out over a year ago. No point letting this half relationship limp on.

trafalgargal Sun 03-Jul-16 22:44:56

You aren't living as a family so there's no family to break up.
You never know he may spend better quality time with his children without the background of a struggling relationship. Just because you've split doesn't mean he can't be a good Dad.

viviennewestood Sun 03-Jul-16 23:22:41

Yeah it's really messed up that we've been trying to carry on when he doesn't live with us any more. It's like he thinks he's doing me a favour by looking after dd on the weekend when it's what he should be doing a lot more of! He is a good dad but becomes very lazy and let's me do all of the work. It needs to stop.

AvaLeStrange Mon 04-Jul-16 00:01:03

Have PM'd you

RaarSaidTheLion Mon 04-Jul-16 00:28:42

This book is a very illuminating study about he long term effects of divorce on children

The author followed the lives of children over 25 years, and it follows both children of parents who split up and parents who stayed together, including parents who stayed together in marriages which were not fulfilling.

Basically, the study found that children do better when the parents stick together, even if the parents are unhappy. It concludes that the only time parents divorcing/splitting up is better for children than them staying together is if a parent abuses the other parent or a child.

It's not a comfortable book to read. It basically says that in most cases, divorce is worse for children that parents staying together. Divorce is often better for the parents, especially the father, but not for the children.

It would be much more comfortable to think that the interests of the parents are the same as the interests of the child/children when it comes to couples breaking up. But unfortunately this study concluded that they aren't.

So divorce can improve the lives/happiness of the adults involved, but it is unlikely to lead to better life outcomes or increased happiness for the children.


RaarSaidTheLion Mon 04-Jul-16 00:33:08

If it helps, he is the one who moved out, so he's the one who created the situation that is damaging to your child. The main thing is whether the parents live in the same house as one another most of the time. If that doesn't happen, it's immaterial whether the parents are still in a sexual relationship or not.

So he has been selfish, not you.

Liiinoo Mon 04-Jul-16 01:04:44

Raar, I am a child of divorce and I work with troubled young people and my (professional.anecdotal and personal) experience would bear out the conclusions of the book.

IME this doesn't mean that separated parents will inevitably lead to irretrievably damaged children, but it does mean that both the parents have to put extra effort into maintaining relationships with their children and each other. I think it is important that as the children grow up they are given an outline or idea of the parental relationship they came from even if they cannot remember it. I have no memories of my birth father and have no idea who he was, what he did or when and how he left my life - that is a big gap in my identity.

OP - this sounds like a monumental step for you and your DD but you sound like a loving and devoted mum I am sure you and your STBX will work this out to ensure your DD gets the best of both of you.

FairyDogMother11 Mon 04-Jul-16 01:46:19

I was relieved when my mum left my father. My siblings were too young to remember and I would say they're happier for it; I remember arguments and abuse and suffering. I wouldn't stay together just for the kids because they benefit from happy parents, not from miserable ones.

GreatFuckability Mon 04-Jul-16 02:29:18

I don't remember a time when my parents were together. It hasn't had any negative effect on my life, because its just how its always been.

GarlicStake Mon 04-Jul-16 02:36:01

You're already separated, and have been for a long time confused He's got a right nerve, saying you're the one with attachment issues! He can't live with his wife & child and finds it weird that you're bonded with your baby.

Plus, he sounds like a waste of space when he is around.

Honestly, my love, you're not breaking up anything that exists.
I think this current 'not really a partnership' must be taking quite a toll on you, even if you think you've adjusted. Putting a proper end to it is the right thing to do for all three of you.

With any luck, it'll turn out that he is the decent guy you believe him to be and DD will have two happy parents putting in separate efforts for her. I fear you may be overestimating him, though ...

Wishing you and DD much happiness in your future together flowers

OfficiallyUnofficial Mon 04-Jul-16 02:53:46

So the Meade is "stay in an unhappy marriage because science says it won't fuck your kids up as much"?

Awesome just what I needed to read...

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