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Advice from those who have instigated a split

(28 Posts)
soundless Wed 11-Aug-10 10:08:47

This is a very difficult post, I can't quite believe I am writing it, but have to face up to facts. I feel a bit of a fraud as there are so many posters on here that have put up with terrible behaviour from their partners and are wanting to split. My dh has not 'done' anything, but, over the last few months, we have drifted apart. Briefly - been together 15 years, married for 5, one child, aged 9. On the surface we have the perfect life - both professionals, nice home etc and we have shared some fantastic times together.

Now, for several reasons, things have changed - my career has progressed very quickly which has built up my confidence (I met my husband quite young and years ago, admit that there were times I was probably quite reliant on him in many ways). I feel very comfortable in my own skin and have begun to feel quite suffocated by the intensity of his love. We have very different interests which doesn't help. A few personal things have happened (such as bereavement) that have made me (I feel) become a very different person to what I used to be. I have also stopped fancying him and find it extremely difficult to be intimate. I feel that I look at him like a friend or brother and I love him dearly in this way. These problems may not sound like to big a deal, but my gut feeling is that I need to be on my own (we would share custody of our child of course)and my future not mapped out (as he would have it) with him. I do not wish to be with anyone else and I don't for one minute think that the grass is greener.

I have undergone some sessions of counselling, and although this has really helped me to understand dh's feelings, it hasn't changed my gut feeling of wanting out. I know the implications are huge - the emotional impact on all of us (particularly our child), financial impact, and the fact that I have thrown away a relationship that I imagine many people would stick at. In saying that, my husband is very much an 'all or nothing' man - he knows things are not okay and, although prepared to work this out - in fact, hes desperate to work this out - he has told me that he wouldn't be happy to stay in a marriage that isn't 100%.

I am not sure entirely what advice I am looking for - I would be interested in anyone who has instigated a separation, particulary when there was no specific reason such as adultery. I know its going to cause such emotional hurt to my dh and it will be the hardest thing I've ever done. I am also interested in how people practically went about dealing with this. We own a lovely home together and I feel that I couldn't ask him to leave, as this is not his 'fault, although we would have to sell the house at some point as it belongs to both of us, and neither of us could afford to buy the other out. It just feels like such a major mountain to climb and I never thought I would be in this place, but I can't ignore my gut feelings.

proudnsad Wed 11-Aug-10 10:16:43

Hi - I'm sorry for the turmoil you're going through.

Many posters will vehemently disagree with me, but I'm going to be brutal here. I think you need to think VERY carefully before blowing your family apart over a 'gut feeling' and a feeling of dissatisfaction.

I'm a child of divorce, it's devastating and the issues and problems never ends (that sounds very drama rama, but what I mean is the impact resonates even now with stepfamiles/Christmasses/step granchildren/old wounds and counselling for many of us step siblings. I'm 40, they split 25 years ago).

No offence intended for those who have split up with dps, I know sometimes it's a must and I know you all care deeply for your children.

Remember this - you will be inflicting a lot of pain. The grass is not always greener. Think long and hard.

AllThreeWays Wed 11-Aug-10 10:23:16

I agree with proud and sad. I instigated a split with my ex and it was devastating to all. Do not do it because of a few months of feeling dissatisfied.
I really truly believe it is possible to fall back in love with someone in time and with help.
Right now you just sound selfish.

soundless Wed 11-Aug-10 10:24:47

Thank you proudnsad

I understand what you are saying. I have and still am thinking long and hard but fear that things will get worse - my husband and I are talking openly at the moment - obviously we are shedding lots of tears and have talked about how to 'fix' this. I know many couples could come to some kind of mutual agreement - life is never perfect and neither are our marriages. I have some close female friends who know they themselves are not entirely happy, but stay for the sake of the children. I absolutely admire them, but also know this isn't without complications. My husband and I don't row very often, but I still wonder whether our dc picks up that things aren't right.

soundless Wed 11-Aug-10 10:30:54

Possibly I do sound selfish, although I have tried to sum up some very complex feelings in just a few paragraphs, feelings which have been accumulating for many months. The stuff about my job for instance may sound very flippant, but, I do believe we are shaped by our experiences, and the point I was making is that I am now a very different person to what I used to be. I think it is normal for people to change and for this to have an effect in a relationship. The trick is obviously to accept/manage these changes (my dh has changed in some ways as well) and and stay together happily. I have agonised over how to do this (this is why I have had counselling) and, as I've said, my husband and I are talkers and have spent hours thrashing this out. I don't want to come across as selfish, I was just hoping to talk to others if they have ever been in a similiar situation.

minibmw2010 Wed 11-Aug-10 10:34:43

Soundless, I don't think you do sound selfish, I personally think you sound very brave and honest. I am also a child of a "broken home" (hate that phrase) and personally I wish my parents had taken the decision to split (couldn't divorce in Ireland then) much earlier than they did. My sisters and I were all far more affected by the atmosphere and the clear unhappiness of our parents than we were by their seperating. So frankly, I feel that if you feel you have thought it through, you are doing it for the right reasons then you should go with your heart. Your DC will be much happier for it in the long run (IMO).

proudnsad Wed 11-Aug-10 10:35:24

'My husband and I don't row very often, but I still wonder whether our dc picks up that things aren't right' - this is a hell of a lot better for dc than being told you have decided to tear their family apart.

At the very very least you must give the marriage another year, and properly work on it.

If it's dissatisfaction and a yearning for a new life, you need to ask yourself how you would feel a few years down the line, possibly with a new partner, when it's not all new, fresh, liberating and exciting. Back at this point perhaps?

I don't think you're selfish and I understand the turmoil you're going through. I do however think you are naive.

lovely74 Wed 11-Aug-10 10:44:50

I did this many years ago when I was relatively young (less than 30) and had no children, and was not married but we had been together for nearly ten years. I was truly the hardest thing I've ever done and I still feel guilty now even though I'm married with a child and he's been in a relationship for years.

I left for similar reasons, in that we'd been together since I was very young and I had changed a lot. I was really unstable at the beginning of the relationship and we went through a lot. As I got older and gained more confidence I felt I needed a fresh start with someone who hadn't seen this side of me and to whom I'd always think I owed something. we also had different interests and different friends (mainly his choice). That's just an idea of why I left. He was a lovely man and I broke his heart, and being friends after wasn't an option as I just felt too guilty.

But, if we'd been married and there had been a child involved, I'm not sure if I would have gone through with it, instead focussing on whether the relationship could have been saved. Not the you are walking away without a second thought at all, but I magine the guilt I felt would have been amplified beyond beief if it had involved splitting up a family.

On a practical level he bought me out of our house, and again because I felt so bad I didn't come out of it as well as I should have as I didn't feel that I had the right to demand. I regret this now.

AnyFucker Wed 11-Aug-10 10:52:14

I don't think you sound selfish, either

AllThreeWays Wed 11-Aug-10 10:59:31

Definition of selfish:
concerned chiefly or only with yourself and your advantage to the exclusion of others
Holding one’s self-interest as the standard for decision making; Having regard for oneself above others’ well-being

She has made a commitment as a partner and as a child, these people need to be considered also.

Tearing up a family should only be done when entirely necessary.
Just my opinion

Oh and how often do we see the devastation on here when a poster has just had her DP say "I'm not sure I love you anymore"

soundless Wed 11-Aug-10 11:00:00

Thank you for your experiences.

proudnsad - its interesting what you say about yearning for a new life and how I could end up with a new partner and what would happen when things were not so exciting. I understand what you are saying but this is the tricky thing - we have been together 15 years, and, without going into massive detail, have had difficult things going on. For example, after we had dc, I suffered major PND and was very ill for 18 months. Several years ago, my job involved commuting, our dc was obviously younger and we struggled financially. I don't want to go into detail, but, in the past, we have both been involved in caring for relatives (one terminally ill, one who had a major lifesaving operation). The point is, that we have had a lot of difficult stuff in our relationship over the years and came through it. I don't think the 'problem' now is that I want something new and exciting, as I don't for one minute think that becoming a single parent and breaking up a family would involve that. I do however feel that I have changed fundamentally as a person (and so has dh) and whearas months ago I wouldn't have questioned our future, I now do.

AllThreeWays Wed 11-Aug-10 11:00:25

edit " and Has a child" not as

AllThreeWays Wed 11-Aug-10 11:03:44

You are talking about a feeling that has been around for a few months, with someone you have been through thick and thin with and survived for years.
Your feelings have changed, they can change again.
Please don't act on these feeling other than to try to improve your marriage

arfarfa Wed 11-Aug-10 11:09:36

"Definition of selfish:
concerned chiefly or only with yourself and your advantage to the exclusion of others
Holding one’s self-interest as the standard for decision making; Having regard for oneself above others’ well-being."

Pretty much says it all, really.
Morals and principles are uneasy bedfellows with the constant, fatuous pursuit of happiness.

celticfairy101 Wed 11-Aug-10 11:11:13

I have been married twice, the first marriage had no children and we were very young. It was initially a very lustful union but this disappeared very quickly to it becoming a brother/sister relationship. In the end we both realised that it wasn't going to work out. Even though we both made the decision to split, it was very painful and there was a lot of guilt on both sides. Everything was done 50/50.

I often wondered what I'd have done if there were children involved. I think I'd have stayed because we both liked each other a lot. Maybe the passion would have returned. He was (and still is) extremely handsome.

I don't think you're being selfish. You are trying to work it out in a non confrontational way with no blame involved. People do change and I think there's nothing so quite off putting as someone clingy. Perhaps if your husband was more aloof and detached it would help?

Good luck with your decision. It's yours to make.

proudnsad Wed 11-Aug-10 11:16:56

Soundless, you've been through the mill, I'm sorry.
Even more reason not to rush into ending your marriage given that you will not been able to see your relationship clearly through all of this.

BrightLightBrightLight Wed 11-Aug-10 11:18:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

soundless Wed 11-Aug-10 11:29:17

Thats ok proudnsad, I need some tough words to force me into some tough thinking! I am going to continue counselling for the next couple of months at least and go from there. I understand why some posters might think I am pursuing 'happiness'and that is something I need to think so much about. I don't think that the grass is greener, and I don't for one minute want to be in another relationship. If we did split, I know I would absolutely miss dh as a friend, companion etc. However, as I posted above, dh knows things aren't 'quite right'. He loves me and is in love with me and wants absolutely the same back. He is a very calm, kind and understanding person, but has made it clear that he would not settle for less. I think this to some extent is stressing me out, because although I understand he is feeling hurt, lonely and confused, I cannot lie and say everything is hunky dory. I cannot pretend that I would dearly love to have some space without making him feel rejected. To some extent, I therefore feel the decision to split would not be entirely mine, it would come from both of us, albeit initially triggered by my feelings. Its a tricky one, as due to my distance, he becomes more clingy and this 'push and pull' is something I am trying to address in counselling. He wants everything to be right and I can't wave my magic wand and make it so, and, I can't make promises that I can't keep.

Casmama Wed 11-Aug-10 11:47:34

Is it possible that with everything you have been through you thought that life would be great without whatever was going on and now things are more settled it feels a bit dull without the stress?

soundless Wed 11-Aug-10 11:53:16

casmama, thats interesting, ok I am somebody who needs something to focus on - I'm very driven in my work, I need an aim in life etc etc. However, the thoughts that had been crossing my mind (and this sounds awful) is that these feelings have been lurking for a while, but because life is so busy I haven't allowed myself/ haven't had time to explore them if that makes sense.

proudnsad Wed 11-Aug-10 11:56:45

Brightlightbrightlight (oof that's hard to type!)

'I can't believe that they'd have wanted their parents to remain together and miserable'

I do wish my parents had stayed together, even though they were not happy. That sounds awful... I don't mean I want or wanted them to be unhappy. What I mean is if we're talking about children, my life would have been happier than it became after the split with various step parents and different situations.

Splitting was better for them, but not for us. I was a deeply unhappy child as a result of my parents seeking their own happiness.

What I always say to friends thinking of leaving a marriage, is it's not necessarily the split itself that can disrupt and damage children. It's the choices and changes in the years afterwards.

DeathandTaxes Wed 11-Aug-10 13:07:22

Proudnsad - I agree with you to a certain extent, with my parents also having split as a child. But as you said yourself, it is not necessarily the split itself, but what happens after that with step families etc.

Do you not think that if a split is handled with dignity and respect on both sides, then that can minimise the damage to a child?

I do believe that it is the acrimony and emotional manipulation which some parents unwittingly inflict on their children during a split that does the damage...

I also think that children do suffer somewhat living with parents who are not happy for whatever reasons, and this can affect them really badly as they move into adolescence and beyond as they explore relationships with the opposite sex.

soundless Wed 11-Aug-10 14:52:00


that is a very useful thing to do. I imagine that it would be pretty lonely and scary and damn hard work to keep everything together. I also imagine feeling trememdous guilt for my dh and concern that our dc is okay.

But - I wouldn't then be 'pretending' that everything is okay, or walking on eggshells (because that is how things are becoming) or, even worse, beginning to resent my dh (which I have seen happen to others who plod along, because he deserves so much more.

I imagine that I would just be focussing on surviving, and obviously, my dc would be my priority. I know this sounds grim, but surely, if I felt things would be okay, I couldn't even imagine being without dh full stop?

Beethoven Wed 11-Aug-10 15:17:17

I'd say in this thread that this problem does crop up a lot. There are many threads where one person is either abusive or a serial cheater, and it's obvious that the relationship should end. But I think for most of us, relationships go through troughs, we can get bored with our partners, they can get bored with us.

There was a thread the other day about whether we expect too much from our marriages. I suspect the answer for ~80% of marriages (I'm making that number up, but you get the point), we'll be lucky to find someone who we like, who doesn't annoy us too much in the long term, who isn't abusive or an addict (porn/drink), or an adulterer. I know that sounds terribly cynical, but I think it's true.

foxtrottango Wed 11-Aug-10 19:28:04

sorry for this very long post but its so hard to keep things like this brief!

i split with my ex over 2 years ago. i had been with him for 10 years, since i was 19. from the outside he was a good, kind hard working man. after a few years it got to the point where there was no passion and i wasnt in love with him. i kept pushing these feelings aside because i thought the same as beethoven. that i was lucky he wasnt abusive so i should settle for what i had. he was more like a friend or a brother to me. i did not like getting intimate with him and avoided it wherever possible. i changed job about 5 years ago and this gave me more confidence after i spent several years feeling i should be grateful to him for 'rescuing' me from a life of solitude because i was so fat and ugly!

i did feel like this for years, not months and we had no children. we did however have a house and a very comfortable lifestyle. i knew that my life would change and be harder if we split. i also felt that i wouldnt be able to manage without his support as we had been together for so long and i had no local friends or family.

in the end it all came to a head and i ended up just ending it. he came home from work one night and i told him it was over. it was very hard for months, he refused to accept it but he finally moved on. he is now with someone who loves him totally and they are getting married next year. when we split i had no intentions of meeting anyone else, we split because i was unhappy not because i had my eye on someone else. i did meet someone else, someone i fell totally in love with and ive been so happy, i cant believe i put up with my old life for so long.

my parents split up when i was a child and im sure that i had a happier childhood because of it. otoh my dp's parents divorced when he was a child and he had a difficult time with it. every divorce is different and people deal with things differently.

this is a long post and i can only give my side which was simpler than yours due to the lack of children. forever is a long time to settle for something that doesnt make you happy. i used to think that i should stick with what i had and not rock the boat but i didnt understand what a difference moving on would make. me and my ex trundled along quite happily for years and could have done easily for the rest of our lives but it wouldnt have been fair on either of us.
if you are sure that youre feelings are not going to change and you feel you have done all you can to save your relationship then it is not fair on any of you to continue.

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