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I want to leave my (disabled)husband... I think... confused

(67 Posts)
MarySueFTW Thu 30-Jun-11 13:42:15

sorry if this is all over the place, I've already started and deleted it a few times so i'm just going to get it out. I've been married for six years to a great guy. We have two small children. two years ago he fell out of a window at a party while drunk and broke his back. he will never walk again, 99% probably. He's still pretty independent tbh, there's loads he can stilll do and I stuck with him while he was really depressed but he's come to terms with it now. I feel so guilty, because its totally not his fault... but I don't want this life forever now. I want to take the kids and start over. theres someone i've become friendly with but who knows what will happen.. but i'd take the chance if things were different, like my husband had ever been a bad father or husband... but he hasn't. i still love him, but to be frank sex is non-existent now and i like sex! its been tough... oh i feel like shit again, i think you've got the picture, not sure what i want or need to hear, just respond if you like, cheers

emkana Thu 30-Jun-11 13:44:42

Difficult. You and your husband have my deepest sympathies, and I totally understand that this is not the life you had been envisaging. But I can't help thinking of the oath you took to stay together in good days and in bad, in sickness and in health.

Blu Thu 30-Jun-11 13:49:54

Now you are over the immediate shock and aftermath of your DH becomong disabled, I think the two of you need to have a joint look at your relationship.
Can you separate yourself from any caring role you have had to take on?
Can you talk openly about sex - you can find ways to have a sexual relationship with someone which is not reliant on the old fashioned ways , and there are professionals who specialise in supporting / advising yo.

It may be that you would always have grown apart, but it may be that your DH's sense of self has still not recovered.

If you are having thoughts about someone else, you absolutely owe it to your 'great guy' and the children to perhaps work at your relationship first, and then if it can't be prepared, to finish it before you start involvement with someone else.

Really sorry you had this shock - it must have been terrible, for you both.

Rockerchic Thu 30-Jun-11 13:52:24

I think you both need to talk and hopefully get some help with your problems.
If you truly don't love him anymore then you need to be honest with him and yourself and don't stay with him just because he's disabled.

fizzfiend Thu 30-Jun-11 13:55:04

Oh you poor things....that is so very tough. I had a friend with an almost identical story. He was amazing and even took trips to New York in his wheelchair because he refused to be beaten. Will he be able to have sex again? You probably need to have a real discussion about how you are will be tough but he will sense you are feeling that way anyway. If you're not honest with each other now, it will build resentment.

You absolutely need to speak to a therapist because your dilemma is totally understandable. Then maybe get in contact with others in your position. That will really help with your feelings. You sound like a brave couple. And you don't need me to tell you how everyone would be heartbroken (and kids) if you did leave. Plus, I wonder if you could deal with the daily guilt if you did leave....I think it would destroy me, but I would also have the same feelings as you.

I do wish you the very best for the future. Talking to as many people in your situation and a therapist will really help you get your thoughts straight.

UnhappyLizzie Thu 30-Jun-11 14:08:20

God, that's awful, really feel for you. You've obviously been through so much and been really strong helping him go through the initial adjustment and the depression that accompanies it. Whether you love him or not is hardly the point, it must be hard to know. You need to find a way to work through your feelings properly so you can work out how to go forward without all this guilt and confusion.

It might help you to get some proper RL help - not practical help but help dealing with and understanding your emotions. There must be support available for people in your situation. People on here are great, but it's a problem few can identify with from personal experience. It's not just your husband whose life has been shattered, yours has as well. If you could speak to someone in the same situation it would help. Are there support groups you can look into for people who have to adjust to living with someone with a spinal injury?

Don't beat yourself up about your feelings, they are understandable. Most people would feel like running away in your situation. You must feel bereaved about the life you thought you were going to have. Don't feel bad about this.

I sympathise about the sex as well, I live without it because my marriage has gone into meltdown, but I like and miss it as well - it's important.

I remember reading an interview with Christopher Reeve and him saying he absolutely wouldn't tolerate it if his wife had sex with another man and thinking that was dreadfully unfair, she was only about 30 and condemning her to a sexless life forever didn't seem like real love to me.

Be very wary of the OM, he must seem to you like a delicious escape - again understandable. But you could get into a real mess there. He sounds like a complication you don't need right now. You need to work on and understand your own feelings.

This wasn't your husband's fault, but it wasn't yours either. You've been dealt a huge blow by the universe. I am so sorry this happened to you. Your life has been broken as well, and you've had to be the strong one because you're not the one who is physically damaged.

You're brave to post on here and be so honest about how you feel. You can get help with this, but I feel there are other, better sources, though the anonymity of MN must make it easier. You seem worried about being judged, but your feelings sound very human and understandable to me.

Good luck

CroissantNeuf Thu 30-Jun-11 15:40:40

You say that your DH has come to terms with the accident and his disability but it sounds like that maybe you haven't? (and, just to be clear, I don't mean that in a horrible way)

Perhaps, whilst dealing with and adjusting to the changes with your lives you haven't had time to deal with it yourself on a personal level.

Would some counselling help you look at whether your feelings have changed towards your DH or whether they've just been lost underneath whats happened? You say you still love him so maybe its not all over?

Good luck though, whatever you decide

MarySueFTW Thu 30-Jun-11 16:13:04

Thanks for the responses - i can't say much right now, but yes I am seeing a counsellor, but it's not enough to stop the feelings of leaving... thats my decision to make, I am told. but its been good to talk about issues like resntment or being cheated, etc.

I know I made marriage vows, but who takes notice of them anymore? How come other women can divorce because they are bored, and I can't because i have to have a sexless marriage for ever more because MY husband is in a wheelchair. it just doesn't seem fair, and i reckon loads of men would leave their wives if thy became disabled... why do i have to be the angel? why is the only other choice being so selfish?

Yes, maybe we would have divorcced anyway - most people seem to these days, its hard to imagine how things would have been different without the accident. I want to do whats best for the kids... but i'm not sure if thats staying here and being the prime care giver to everyone (and possibly going crazy!) - or taking the kids, I'd give him plenty of access, and he wouldn't be helpless he makes some money from an online business, and maybe he'd be better off with someone who loved him as they found him, if you know what I mean?

We haven't spoken about any of this - i will only do that if I am certain.

thanks for your responses so far, cheered me up a bit today

nomedoit Thu 30-Jun-11 16:17:29

I was just about to post that you sound as if you have a lot of angry feelings (justifiably) but then you posted above about the resentment.

Reading that I get the impression you are furious about the blow life has dealt you and I absolutely do not condemn you for that. I do think you have to express that to your DH in a calm way. Does he know how much you are now the defined "carer" and how much you mourn for your old life.

Also, you said he was drunk when he fell out of the window. Is this a factor in the way you feel. I imagine it would be for me to a certain extent.

cestlavielife Thu 30-Jun-11 16:20:14

go see a RL counselor to talk thru all the options before you decide.

and talk to him too.

maybe he fed up of you too? (not meant in nasty way but you need to ask him how he feels about you too, given the trauma you both gone thru)

maybe the whole dynamics have changed - understandably - and you could agree amicably to be friends but to split -as you say maybe he deserves someone else?

MarySueFTW Thu 30-Jun-11 16:32:59

I don't think he's fed up with me - he is very affectionate and loving (apart from sexually) i just wonder if he would get over me and then find someone so both people in the relationship were happy. if i told him i wanted to leave it would break his heart, but maybe he would say i should go - but i don't think he'd mean it and would hate me for breaking our wedding vows and splitting up the family

UnhappyLizzie Thu 30-Jun-11 17:27:48

I am still (very unhappily) married, but I say bollocks to the marriage vows.

That's not being cynical, nothing wrong with commitment and monogamy, but after a lot of wrestling with the fact of my own situation I have come to the conclusion that marriage is only truly meaningful if you are religious and think you have been 'joined by God' etc. And even vicars throw in the towel if it gets too unbearable! I hate having a contract that binds me to someone now, wish I'd never got married, only did it to please my mother.

It's important to remember that marriage, historically, was a way to share wealth between families (still is in much of the world), also to ensure that children were provided for. Before contraception women would bang out a child every year. This made them powerless, and marriage helped MEN to ensure their daughters were looked after.

I'm not trying to give a history lesson. But the stigma attached to marriage break ups is a hangover from history. It is no longer relevant. The fact that society is different and people don't have to stay living in misery is something to be celebrated, not lamented. More people think now that children are better being raised by happy, separated parents than unhappy married ones. All the Daily Mail statistics etc about children suffering when parents split is usually to do with money, reduced financial circumstances than anything else.

Some people might think you are selfish if you left a disabled man; I don't. It's not selfish to want happiness, or live your life for yourself rather than everyone, or anyone else. It's your precious one and only life, you owe it to yourself to live it for you. A lot of people are sanctimonious about marriage breakdown because they are stuck in unhappy ones and can't or won't leave. They take the moral high ground because it makes them feel better about their own lives and choices. Equally, if they've never known what it's like to be unhappily married they don't understand what torture it is, so aren't qualified to judge those who do.

Long and the short of it is I say forget the contract and focus on whether you want to stay with this man, can you make it work, can it satisfy you, do you feel like this because you still need to come to terms with what has happened. I can't help feeling if you truly loved your husband you would want to care for him, but you may just be worn out and need a break. I think you are right to sit tight and hold fire until you have clarified the answers to these questions.

Is there any chance you could negotiate some freedom/open marriage with your husband? Few people can make this work but some do.

I'm also curious like nomedoit as to whether the fact that your husband was drunk when he had his accident is something that you resent him for, although you say it was 'not his fault'.

Oops, didn't mean post to be so long, get carried away with typing.

DontGoCurly Thu 30-Jun-11 17:40:32

I'm sure I'll get flamed for this; but OP I think the no sex thing is a dealbreaker. It would be for me anyway. Call me shallow, I probably am.

It's not his fault what's happened but it's not your fault either

Anyway it's totally your decision but as for marriage vows. I would never take them for this very reason, I wouldn't bind myself to someone out of pure duty under any circumstances. I think it's pure madness.

I'm sure you love him as a person but if you can't have sex then you're really just housemates co-parenting. I'm sure you're riddled with guilt, frustration and this will grow into resentment. You will eventually break down if the situation is resolved.

You two staying together would require ultimate sacrifice from you. I don't think that's liveable with/realistic. Unless you're a total martyr.

Such a lot to think about but I hand on heart know I wouldn't stay with someone under these circumstances.

schmarn Thu 30-Jun-11 17:45:46

It's a terrible situation that none of us can truly comment on as we don't know what it's like to be in your shoes. However I think you need to spend a little more time thinking about your reasons for wanting to leave. Sex features pretty predominantly in your messages and while I'm quite sure there are other reasons you want to leave, you need to come to terms with and articulate those reasons better.

The other thing you will have to come to terms with is guilt if you do leave. If you turn the situation around and imagine that it was you that had fallen from the window, how would you feel if he had left you and taken the kids and told you that he was missing good sex? I can imagine what certain mumsnetters might have to say about it.

That is not to say that you shouldn't leave him but be prepared for some very tough times coming to terms with the consequences of leaving him, not just for him but for you too.

fizzfiend Thu 30-Jun-11 17:56:10

Unhappy speak total sense. Nobody knows the torture of living in an unhappy marriage until they've been through it. And so many people are sanctimonious about it, but that's because they are happy or prepared to stay in their marriage.

It seems almost saintly for someone to basically sacrifice any future happiness for themselves by sticking with a miserable marriage. Who does that benefit anyway? I can't imagine the partner of an unhappy spouse would be thrilled to know their spouse was just staying out of some misguided duty. And kids are not stupid: they intuit that their parents are not happy together and often blame themselves, while building a warped view of family life.

Everyone has been drunk at least once. OP's DH was just incredibly unlucky...he should not be judged at all for that. But OP does need to speak to DH in a very calm manner, expressing her feelings as gently as possible. As I mentioned before, he is probably acutely aware of how she might be feeling anyway....people aren't stupid.

aliceliddell Thu 30-Jun-11 17:57:01

You might find 'Outsiders' and Dr Tuppy Owens helpful (liberal on sex industry which you may not like but the other stuff might help). There is a lot of stuff now about disability and sex. Having become disabled in a relationship, I can say it does take a long time to renegotiate everything. Sex obviously changes but doesn't end. Have another go, it is difficult to be honest about this stuff, but worth the effort.

WhereTheWildThingsWere Thu 30-Jun-11 18:08:58

I can't but help seeing this from the other side, sorry, the thought that other people would encorage my dp to leave me and take my children away because I had been in an accident and left disabled and so was no longer the partner he wanted, fills me with horror.

Op I really think you owe it to your oh to try every avenue you can to see if you can find a way to make this work before you walk away. You say he is a good husband a good father and you still love him, please don't leave all that just because you feel you fancy someone else, you could be throwing far more away than you think.

UnhappyLizzie Thu 30-Jun-11 18:09:25

fizzfiend, thanks for what you said about my long post, I assume you speak from experience re unhappy marriage; hope you are out of it.

Re your comment about OP's husband being drunk, it's not being judgemental to think that might be an issue. I've been smashed heaps of times, most of us have at some point. I've fallen asleep on the kitchen worktop before, and the floor is marble. Really not judging.

Only reason it might be an issue is that OP obviously resents what has happened. Feeling that husband contributed to the accident by being drunk might be a factor behind this. OP did mention it, which suggests it could be relevant for her?

fizzfiend Thu 30-Jun-11 18:17:03

Unhappy - you guessed correctly and am out of it. Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that anyone here had been judgemental about the drunk bit. Just wanted to say that nobody should..

Lipstickgal Thu 30-Jun-11 18:21:16

I don't understand why you have no sex life unless he has lost the use of his hands/ mouth?
Maybe you just need a fuck buddy to meet your needs. Understandable.
How would you feel if you were the one disabled through an accident? What would you think was a reasonable expectation of your husband if the situation was reversed?
It's a very hard call.

MarySueFTW Thu 30-Jun-11 20:10:07

Thanks for all your kind helpful responses - tbh I am very relieved to just get this off my chest. I have decided to wait, give things another 6 months or a year and see how I feel then. I do take the 'in sickness and in health' oath seriously, and I would hate him if the situation was reversed and he left... and I have to look myself in the mirror everyday. I'll be back if I change my mind but hopefully things will improve somehow, and I will see what can be done about the sex issue. Thanks everyone xx

whomovedmychocolate Thu 30-Jun-11 20:16:08

First of all well done for sticking with him so far - it's a brave thing. Lots of relationships fail when one partner goes through a big change in their health.

There are helplines to give advice on sex with disabled people - a link is here Helpline number is at the bottom.

You can't stay with him because you think you ought to, but you do owe it to him to be very clear about what you want. Have you actually said to him 'I need sex and I'm not getting it'. Men, wheelchair users or no, are pretty dense IME. Make plain your requirements and then get some help to find out how to make that happen. If it doesn't work, you tried and you can move on without feeling you didn't give it your best shot.

My sympathies.

corona4 Thu 30-Jun-11 20:56:25

Hi a friend told me about your post today as I am in a simailar situation. My hsuband had an accident soon after we met 10 years ago which left him in a wheelchair, we went on to get married and have 2 children. We have been happy and he is a great guy and great dad. Since the accident life has been busy and it has been the last 2 years or so that things have become really hard. I feel resentful towards him for how life is, and sometimes just feel really mad when there are things we cant do or i places we cant get into etc. i think i didnt deal with the accident and how it would affect me in the longer term and think i am now greaving for the life i should have had. Our sex life is pretty non existant and that is causing massive problems, it used to be ok as we supplemented and were quite imaginative but that all got more difficult after having the kids, which is pretty standard for most couples. but with no spontanuity it is really hard. As his body has changed over time and sex hasnt been fulfilling i find it hard to be sexually attracted to him. i love him and as i said he is a great dad and loyal and supportive husband so it is a really hard decision.
I think you are doing the right thing to give it time but i think you should let him know how you feel, the spinal injuries association SIA have councellors who specialise in this area. the website has loads of info. we talk alot and have been to relate etc which helped.
Also dont act on the attention you have received elsewhere, this will make you feel good in the short term but will only make things more confusing and cloud your judgement on the decision you need to make. Trust me, I know!
sorry this is so long but thought I could relate to your confusion,
good luck!

thebestisyettocome Thu 30-Jun-11 20:58:34

My DH is disabled.

My take on this is that if you really loved your DH you'd want to be with him, disability or no disability.

Orchidskeepdying Thu 30-Jun-11 21:24:29

Wow, you sound incredibly selfish to be honest.

I can't believe what i'm reading about marriage vows and that they mean nothing! If you thought that - why did you take only regret them now because you don't have the balls to work through your problems and keep them. (and before you all start - i'm not talking about domestic violence situations)

And the last thing you should be thinking about is sex. Is that all that matters in a relationship? You should be helping your husband come to terms with his situation not thinking whinging about not getting your rocks off!!!

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