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no sex and trial separation - can it work?

(12 Posts)
jan5 Tue 04-Jun-13 23:32:49

After 30 years together and being in our early 50's my husband left me shell shocked by asking this weekend if we could have a secret trial separation. He will get a job and flat in another part of the country and come home for weekends most of the time. He wants me to stay in the family home and act as if nothing is amiss so that we do not upset our grown up children or family and friends until/unless we have to. He worries that the children he loves will be hurt unnecessarily and no longer adore him if they find out. The working away from home was not a surprise as we have discussed this before and it will make him feel happier about his work and get him a last promotion to keep him working until he retires, so I had already gone along with that anyway. Our last child left home a year ago and we have always had an intermittent sex life, with me wanting to work on ways to get it back on track but him reluctant unless it was his idea to go for counselling. I knew we needed to work on things and that neither of us was happy with the ways things were sex wise but I hoped we could work on it together, rather than by putting 500 miles between us. He says that he still loves me and is happy with the friendship and team ness of our relationship, but unless he has the space to get a perspective on our relationship he will not be able to work out if he values what he has enough with me to stay together. He thinks the time apart might make him appreciate our marriage and me more and he wants to work on saving it. He says that if he stays he will never be able to have sex with me again because he just isn't interested but if he goes and does decide he values us enough he will choose to return and work on intimacy. I don't want to throw away 30 years or lose the person that I love but am I being a mug giving him space? Is there any chance he will value the ordinary and familiar me over the exciting new life? Or should I just accept that he thinks this is a good way of letting me down gently and preparing his kids for the inevitable? I want to be my usual loyal and supportive self but it is a challenge as I feel like my heart is being broken in slow motion. I would really appreciate an independent point of view as I am torn between waves of grief, anger, hope and loss and cannot get my head round it. What is he really asking for?

catkin14 Wed 05-Jun-13 09:39:46

I may not be much help Im afraid but here if it helps. Reading your post from the outside it seems as if he wants his cake and eat it and seems very unfair to you? If he decides he wants to be with you will you ever trust him not to do this again?
If your children are grown up they can cope with this, mine are in their early 20's and have been a huge source of support to us both, they knew we were not happy together and wanted us to be happy!
You have to do what feels right to you, I found a Relate counsellor on my own a huge help. I left my H of 27 years so it was a major decision.

You may get a lot more replies if you post on relationships board?

orangepudding Wed 05-Jun-13 09:50:35

It seems to be that he wants to try living the single life for a while and if it doesn't work out you will be waiting for him.

If you do separate then it shouldn't be secret, your children are adults they will cope and give you some support hopefully. If your children find out at a later date he made you keep the separation secret I imagine your children will be far more upset with him when they find out than if they were told at the start.

DoingItForMyself Wed 05-Jun-13 09:52:41

So sorry you're going through this. I agree with Catkin, it sounds like he wants the freedom of separation without being seen as 'the bad guy'. Its almost as if he can't bring himself to end it properly, so he's doing it in stages. Sorry to be blunt, but could there be someone else?

If it is truly a trial separation then people do need to know, because in the event of a 'real separation' you would be getting emotional support from friends and family to help with the transition to being single, not just left floundering on your own.

If you really want to know what life will be like living apart then you make your own decisions about who you can tell, how you break it to your children (btw, they are adults and will cope fine, my DCs age from 6-13 and coped absolutely brilliantly, even though it has an impact on them directly, having to visit ex at his new house & seeing me in a new relationship etc.)

Your DCs will be fine about it once they get used to the idea, its not what any of us hope for, but its a fact of life that relationships don't always work out. And if you do get back together, that's just a bonus.

FennCara Tue 11-Jun-13 07:17:14

Tell him you are happy for him to go, but there will not be an option to come back. This, more than a trial separation, should tell him whether or not he values the relationship. You won't drive him away if he wasn't already going.

Sorry you are going through this.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Tue 11-Jun-13 07:28:31

I think you will need the support of others.

If it is a trial, remember to tell him that you are trialling it too - if he decides to come back, you may well have moved on.

cluelessnchaos Tue 11-Jun-13 07:29:50

Sounds like he is trying to manipulate you into doing what he wants when he wants. Threatning you with no sex if you don't go along with it and maybe sex If you do. It does sound like there might be someone else but he arrogantly thinks he can wangle this situation.

I would be inclined to absolutely agree with the separation but with no guarantee for a reconciliation, that is all out in the open and no he is not welcome to come share your bed at weekends. Maybe he might get a taste of what single life is like by his secret set up but you won't. Has he always been this selfish?

TheDoctrineOfAllan Tue 11-Jun-13 09:13:22

Why does he think he is more important than you?

Why does his desire not to look like the bad guy trump your need for support in telling others?

PopDeJilly Fri 14-Jun-13 10:14:16

Sorry you are going through this. Do you think that maybe he is going through a midlife crisis. Quite often when the last of the children have left, there is a sense of loss and you start to question your own life. Perhaps he does just need a bit of time. Tough on you I know, but if you still want him, perhaps that's the way of thinking about it.

scaevola Fri 14-Jun-13 10:18:14

You are either separated or you're not.

If he wants to separate, then you can't really stop him going.

But it should not be secret. You need the support of whichever family and close friends you choose.

I was wondering who he might be co-habiting with during is weeks away?

jan5 Mon 08-Jul-13 16:18:21

Just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone for responding when I needed support. DH and I have since talked a lot and he does not want us to split up but he wants things to be different - go out together more and have fun. He still says sex is out of the question but we are going to couples counselling next week. As per your queries - in his job it is normal to work away and come home at weekends or for 2 weeks per month and two of our friends/neighbours have husbands doing exactly the same. So that in itself was not a problem and I could go and stay with him at weekends so we could do new stuff in a new place. He assures me that there is absolutely no one else real or hoped for. I don't think I am being a mug believing this as I genuinely don't know when he would fit anyone in! I still feel low because its a bit like being in limbo and we may eventually separate because more than anything we have drifted apart and become friends rather than lovers. Whatever happens think mumsnet is a great support network and thank you all.

jan5 Mon 08-Jul-13 17:17:23

Forgot to add that I also want things to be different and agree we need more fun and going out!

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