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Is This What Divorce/Separation Feels Like?

(22 Posts)
JandLandG Wed 05-Aug-15 00:20:13

OK, firstly, I'm a chap, but on here anyway; just wondering if this is finally it. Just looking for another point of view.

The situation briefly: Appearance of nice house, nice place, healthy, happy, confident, bright young kids.

70 per cent of the time things are absolutely fine.

I think it's fair to say that we probably wouldn't be together if it wasn't for the wonderful children as our personalities and preferences have diverged over the years perhaps, but nonetheless, I'm all in on this marriage and want nothing more than to live in a happy family home.

Actual situation: My wife is often (3/4 months of the year say) really not wanting to be with me. Anything that goes wrong is my fault. She's all focussed on me being to blame.

I'm a decent, family man, decent job and money luckily enough (though sometimes away with work for 3/4 days at a time), silly, quirky sense of humour that she finds a bit daft, but educated, civilised, serious would-be intellectual when the mood takes me.

She's turned very insular and even paranoid of late. My attitude is always to be warm and open, and she won't even allow anyone around to the house.

Possibly because they'll make a mess. Her obsession with hygiene is a major problem; she cannot sit still if there's an old cup of milk in one of the kids' bedroom for example.

I like the place tidy, but have priorities.

I can't count the amount of times she's been, for example, inside ironing the kids' clothes when we've been out enjoying the sun or chatting to neighbours or whatever.

She's great at helping the kids out with school work, but as part of her saying a few inappropriate things in front of the children, recently claimed after I'd heartily congratulated our daughter on a super end-of-term report that it was all down to her (my wife) helping our girl over the year.

God, that was a new low.

She's been diagnosed and treated for mild depression in the past - in sickness and in health and all that - but this just feels like her being horrible and nasty to me.

I'm her only constant, loyal adult friend for decades. I encourage her to do as much as poss and relax and enjoy herself.

I think I might have had enough.

Its not nice to be not wanted.

Especially when I'm confident I'm decent fella just trying to enjoy what should be the prime of my family life.

Dunno. What does anyone think? My only priority is not to fuck the kids up. Does divorce/separation always fuck the kids up?

Any thoughts welcome...its obviously extremely difficult to get across the nuances and subtleties of the situation, but there we go.

midnightvelvetPart2 Wed 05-Aug-15 07:37:46

Hello JandLandG, welcome to mumsnet brew

Sounds like an awful way to live. Its odd that its happening only 30% of the time, are there any triggers or reasons why her behaviour occurs?

If you are basically only staying for the childrens' sake then you probably need to rethink your marriage, sorry. Its never a good idea to stay married solely for the children as they are more perceptive than you'd think & will know something is wrong. Also you are modelling what an adult relationship is for them, is this relationship what you would consider healthy for them to see as the norm (perhaps ask yourself what you would say to your child if they took your place in this). No child has ever said that they are glad their parents stayed in an unhappy marriage for them and once the initial disruption of separation is over, then the children have a chance of a happy home where everyone loves & respects each other.

But then if you are not staying purely for the children and would like to find a way forwards then you need to talk to her. Have a very honest conversation with how you feel unwanted and ask her about the hygiene issues etc and see how she feels. It sounds as though your communication is non existant at the moment, so opening it back up would be a good place to start. Its unlikely that your wife has turned nasty for no reason x years into a marriage and she may have her own thoughts of which you are unaware.

I'm hesitant to mention it but it also sounds as though your wife has detached from you, emotionally. Is it at all possible that she's having an emotional affair with someone else, as that would maybe account for the sporadic lows and jags that she has and blaming you for all of the problems would deflect her guilt, if you see what I mean...

Ultimately it comes down to what you want though, if you have had enough and wish to separate then that's OK. You can't stay in an unhappy marriage and I respect you analysing yourself to see if you are part of the issue. If you are below 90 smile then you have a large chunk of life still to be lived and you need to get back out there & find a relationship that makes you happy! Maybe have a conversation as I've said above & decide where you want to go from there. If you decide to go then take legal advice about your joint assets etc & ensure you have a bank account in your own name.

Hope the talk goes well, if you need to post again then feel free smile we have a lot of male posters on mumsnet & you are most welcome brew

JandLandG Wed 05-Aug-15 10:57:26

Thanks so much for this; a really well-written and thoughtful analysis and it's very much appreciated to get the ball rolling, at least.

Obviously, I haven't really spoken to anyone about it really is good to hear alternative voices.

Don't get me wrong, its not that awful, all of the time; just awful 30 pc of the time and the much of the rest of the time is spent treading on egg-shells in case anything triggers things.

Stress/worry/anxiety is a trigger for her; but everything there is seems to be made into a big deal...except for the really important things that are completely ignored, or the significance of which is not recognised.

When I urge her to relax and enjoy life, she treats this as a wind up and storms off. She always thinks there's a hidden agenda or people are trying to fool or trick her; and she'll constantly try to second guess people's wants or preferences or what's best for them...almost always being exactly wrong every time.

I've tried to steer her away from this, but, as I say, I really do think her judgement's shot.

Its very hard to communicate in a meaningful sense with her about difficult issues...she'll just shut it down or storm upstairs or find some hoovering to do or something. That's very much her comfort zone.

I've mentioned that I want to be married to a grown-up, modern woman and not a 1920's skivvy...its meant to be a gee-up and a plea for sanity, but it's probably just taken as a insult.

I don't know why she's turned away from me so much; just reading on here about all the monstrous behaviour and attitudes that seem to go on; blimey, its a different planet to ours, but nonetheless, I reckon this time it's over.

Its been like this for many years and I might have had enough.

I'd be amazed if she was having an affair...I don't think it's physically possibly the amount of time she spends tidying up(!).

Joking aside, she's a sexy little thing, I still fancy the pants off her, but again, that's never really been her thing either. That doesn't bother me, but I want to show the children the way, I want to show the children a modern, happy, grown up relationship, but that doesn't seem possible much of the time.

Stick or twist time. Again. I might choose differently on this occasion, but there's no way I'm walking out, there's no way I'm forcing the children to move away from this nice house in a lovely community. They are my only priority.

Minime85 Wed 05-Aug-15 16:08:45

Hi there. Does your last paragraph then say you've decided to stick?

I think I felt similar to your first post in many ways. I wanted that family home etc but something didn't feel right. I pushed exh to deal with it and talk and he wouldn't. 6 months later I was told he didn't love me anymore. 3 months after that we separated. Once some things are said there is no going back.

I won't te you its all fun and roses because it isn't. Telling the kids is just literally and metaphorically heart breaking. To know they will never have that one home again hurts still now.
BUT, I wouldn't go back. I'm glad we divorced. The kids are OK. They seem to cope well with the challenges having two places to live brings and now both exh and I have new partners (who have kids so there is another thing to consider). I hate having to share them though. To have a competition with ex on who gives most fun etc
BUT I'm happy. Ex is happy. Our kids see their parents are friends and can be amiable and now have loving relationships with new people who make them happy and they get to be part of all of that too.

I think if you are going to twist then you have to do your upmost to keep the kids at the forefront of everything. We do that but by god it's hard having to take them to his like I will have to tomorrow for 4 days.

It's a new kind of parenting. There is no going back. I hate that they have to go and hope to god they don't feel the anxiety I sometimes feeling about it all. But in answer to your question I don't think it fucks them up. If the parents deal with it as best they can and keep communication open. I hope not anyway and will do my damnedest to protect my dcs

Good luck

mrsdavidbowie Wed 05-Aug-15 16:12:49

she's a sexy little thing

Zillie77 Wed 05-Aug-15 22:17:38

I do think that marriages can be pulled back from the brink of disaster, but it is essential that both partners be committed to making it happen! It cannot happen from the efforts of only one person in the marriage.

Does she give any indication that she would like to see things improve, or is she happy with the status quo?

TheoriginalLEM Thu 06-Aug-15 06:14:24

It's all about you isn't it

Cabrinha Thu 06-Aug-15 08:46:25

Ha, MrsDavidBowie got there first!

Sexy little thing? hmm

You know throughout your messages, you do come across as incredibly patronising. I thought it from your other thread (that brought me here) when you said you'd basically plucked her from her working class background and shown her the world hmm

She's not happy.
She has depression (which is not the same thing as just not being happy, I'll make that clear because of the juxtaposition of my statements)
If she's become obsessive about cleaning, it is because she's unwell.

If she took away from your daughter's pride at a school report by claiming the achievement for herself, that's wrong.

But I get a sense of a person who is stuck in a life she's not happy with either, where her contribution is not recognised.

Does she work? It doesn't sound like it. And could be hard to if your work takes you away.

She's got no friends - that's awful. Sounds like you chose where you'd live, what you'd do, where you'd go. I'm reading between the lines there, but your comment about seeing new people and places - it just comes across as all about you.

You don't say anything about what support YOU are giving her, or her GP.

My friend is a GP and uses the term "SLS" sometimes related to depression - Shit Life Syndrome.

I don't know if divorce is the answer, but her life doesn't sound like it's making her happy right now.

I'd park thinking about whether divorce would fuck up kids for now, and think about whether your current life is fucking her up.

Cabrinha Thu 06-Aug-15 08:47:34

And FFS, stop infantilising her with "sexy little thing".

She's a grown woman.

newstart15 Thu 06-Aug-15 10:45:35

It does seem like your wife is very unhappy and perhaps you are struggling to understand why as you feel you have provided a good life for her and the children. Being a stay at home parent can be so draining as there is often little 'job' satisfaction. I have done the full on career and stay at home role and whilst work can be tiring it's also fulfilling, fun and often energising. You get the sense of achievement that's not replicated by being at home.

I think the comment about your daughter's report was her attempt to be appreciated and be seen as adding value. Can you relate to that?

Has your wife seen a GP for a general check-up - does she feel low at certain times of the month or year? It might be worth getting a physical checkup.

When we are with a partner who is struggling with life/depression it's difficult not to take their reactions personally however if the marriage is good 70% of the time it seems like its worth working out what can be done to help.

When I urge her to relax and enjoy life, she treats this as a wind up and storms off

This is your perception of the situation however a 3rd person might view that interaction differently. Have you tried asking her what she wants? Does she need to have an outside person to talk to who can help her shape the life she wants?

JandLandG Thu 06-Aug-15 10:56:25

ok, cabrinha. I understand where you're coming from and it's obviously difficult to get across the situation and all its subtleties and nuances, but you have read a couple of things wrong there.

I do appreciate the time and effort to post though.

I knew that phrase wouldn't go down well; I was going to write 'sexy little fucker' but changed's meant to convey a decades-old visceral physical attraction that we seem to have; a factor that binds us together even in this fairly dire situation. (I don't consider myself a slf, by the way...but in my book, as long as you're not defined by it, to be one must be one of life's great gifts!)

anyway, that just one of the complications of this whole thing that I was trying to convey. obviously everything's not black and white with easy decisions to be made and easy solutions to be found.

couple of other things you wouldn't have been able to tell from my initially posts: firstly, we're both from similar backgrounds and as youngsters just developed plans to develop our lives and enjoy life's great adventure a little more than perhaps more conservatively-minded people might. we wanted more than a safe office job in an accountancy firm and we got it.

secondly, she really initiated and worked in complete partnership with me when we thought of a relocation many years ago. i'm not about to go ordering people about as to where we live etc. we're lucky where we live, there's a lovely supportive community here...people are confident, educated, curious and open and warm in the main...I just wish she was able to use it as a resource and network to enable her to relax and enjoy her life.

I think I mention elsewhere that I've done all I possibly can to support and help her expand her horizons; don't get me wrong, she's not completely cold and wary of everyone and everything else....and that slf phrase earlier was also intended to convey an innate attractiveness she little fuckers naturally get on in the world, don't they? people instinctively like her, but she pushes them away and struggles to sustain friendships...

SLS sounds like a fair enough phrase, and one to be used with people on a variety of backgrounds, but it doesn't need to be like this here and with our lovely kids.

I have to say that I do disagree with most you say there, but I'm more than happy to take everything everyone says on board in a search to solve this massive crisis in our lives.

The only important thing is the children.

And the sexy little fucker herself, of course.

wednesdayblues Thu 06-Aug-15 10:57:27

I think once you have children you really do have to think about the impact on them.

My stbxh had an affair, left when I found out and now lives with her, so my choice was taken away. A marriage is a partnership and I think you should BOTH make the decision, not just you. A lot of my anger at my ex is that he made the decision, and not both of us. In a way he took the cowards way out, that you are not - and that is admirable.

But there are certainly impacts on kids if you separate - logistics is particularly hard and moving house. if you work long hours it is not uncommon for dads to only see kids every other weekend if your wife was the resident parent; but how old are the kids?

it does sound like your wife might be depressed and perhaps is focusing on housework/ the kids when she might benefit from working or other interests. But it sounds like you've tried to talk to her already, but you maybe need to think about how you are communicating.

Can you make sure you have "couple time" to try to reconnect if you're not already doing stuff together? this might help communication

I'd suggest try to look as your relationship as a couple before making any rash decisions by yourself. Once things are said, they cannot be unsaid..

good luck!

TheoriginalLEM Thu 06-Aug-15 16:06:04

i think i may have just been a little but sick in my mouth.

Your wife is unhappy. In fact she sounds unwell.

Stop telling us how great you are and take ownership of the fact that not all of this is down to your wife. The breakdown of a relationship takes two.

And no, you don't have to be a sexy little fucker hmm to be happy and do well in life.

TheoriginalLEM Thu 06-Aug-15 16:07:39

oh and don't kid yourself, whilst divorce may well be the best option, it WILL impact on your children.

JandLandG Thu 06-Aug-15 16:16:42

And no, you don't have to be a sexy little fucker to be happy and do well in life.

Theoriginal.......the quote above certainly doesn't reflect what I've written, does it?

it sounds like a nasty, small-minded response for the sake of it.

not helpful, in all honesty.

apologies, newstart, I missed your post earlier...thanks for your analysis and time...useful...she's been, and needs to go again, I suspect...but as with all of this, I just wonder if I've had enough.

but in sickness and in health an all that...

TheoriginalLEM Thu 06-Aug-15 17:01:04

Why small minded? i have read both of your threads and you have spoken about all the things your wife has done wrong and how it makes you feel. You belittle her by calling her a sexy LITTLE fucker (none of us need to know this) "i am still very attracted to her" might have brought about a kinder response. I am talking to you though, not your wife, I am sorry if you don't like my opnion but i can only tell you what i think, and what i think is that you aren't taking responsibility for your feelings and failings. (we all have failings, scary as it sounds).

I unfortunately know a thing or two about living with someone who has mental health issues. My partner probably did feel like he had enough, lots of times. Thing is, he stuck by me. I think he is glad he did. I KNOW my DD is glad that her parents are still together and happy. We ARE happy, it was shit, believe me, it was shitter than shit but we stuck together. There was probably an element of staying together for DD, however if things had stayed the way they did then it woldnt have been the right thing to do.

What changed? Well, life to a certain degree. I got help, in the form of medication and counselling and things are much much brighter.

What do you want? how do you want things to be? how do you think you can acheive that?

But if you have had enough, don't string your wife along any more, it isn't fair on anyone. It WILL impact on your children, there is no sugaring that pill but I speak as someone whose parents stayed together when they shouldn't have and i grew up in a domestic war zone. Maybe thats why i have mental health issues now....

There is no right answers. If you manage an amicable divorce then yes, your children will be fine in the long term. If it turns acrimonious and they are used as pawns then you will fuck them up, but if you can't sort out your issues you will fuck them up.

JandLandG Thu 06-Aug-15 19:57:31

ok, I do appreciate that more-considered reply.

using the diminutive is a well-known and well-understood way of conveying affection and approval.

ever been to a cosy little restaurant or seen a good little film?

the word when used like that is not 'infantilising'

and she is little.

TheoriginalLEM Thu 06-Aug-15 20:39:48

it doesn't imply respect. little old lady. little man who delivers the groceries. cute little kitten.....

Ivegottogo Thu 06-Aug-15 20:49:39

I involuntarily made an ugh expression when reading the 'sexy little thing' comment in your op and I think 'sexy little fucker' is probably worse.

It doesn't sound like a great marriage and She is obviously not perfect but you do sound patronising and full of yourself.

Cabrinha Thu 06-Aug-15 20:53:58

I don't think anyone in the history of film going has ever said "a good little film".

JandLandG Fri 07-Aug-15 02:09:14

Really? Ex-Machina's a crackin' little film, isn't it?

Oh, god...I'm getting dragged in.

Thanks for the input, everyone...its been useful, it really has...we'll see what happens. I'll continue to try to lead and guide if possible; not really my natural position but if I can show the way to others in my family that it's ok to be relaxed and happy, I think I'll be doing the right thing.

Of course I'm not always relaxed, confident and happy myself, but I'm convinced that's the place to be for peace of mind,stability and the ability to be there for others if they need you.

Thank you all, again.

Zillie77 Fri 07-Aug-15 02:53:49

Good luck, it sounds like a difficult situation, I hope it all works out well.

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