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Please help me, I am in such a spin. I can't go in on this marriage but I don't want to break up our family

(42 Posts)
moocat Mon 04-Jul-11 10:09:45

I have been wanting to post this for ages and it's taking quite a lot of courage to face up to it, so please be gentle!

I am married to a lovely man who I married a year after I got pregnant by mistake. We have two DCs, 4 and 1.

My H is a great person, he is a fantastic partner, he is supportive to me, never sees the running of the house as my department only. He is a good good guy. BUT I don't love him and I am pretty sure he doesn't love me.

We are increasingly arguing, and not really communicating about anything other than the children who we both adore.

Basically I think we are fundamentally incompatible on a very deep level. When I try to talk about our relationship to DH he clams up, says he never expected hearts and roses and refuses to talk. So I feel utterly trapped, lonely and angry. I am beginning to hate him sad and I don't think he likes me much tbh.

SO we are at crunchtime as we are househunting and every fibre of my body says don't do it. If we move to our forever house with a big mortgage I don't think I will ever be able to split up except by leaving the house as he will never ever admit there is a problem.

But, I don't want to only see my children half the time, I don't want to miss their birthdays/christmasses etc, I want the house and garden and family life that we are building together.

I just feel sick and sad all the time and I could really do with some impartial and some support. Is it possible to stay in a marriage like this? Or am I mad to consider it

MySharona Mon 04-Jul-11 10:11:32

well, first off, i am sorry you are going through this.

Secondly , DO NOT move house yet.

will be back shortly

UnhappyLizzie Mon 04-Jul-11 10:42:04

Hi there
I really feel you and I know what it's like. If you look at my posts on here you will see that I too am in an awful situation that boils down to the same thing - can't stay, can't go.

No one can tell you what to do, all I can do it tell you my own experience, but since we are all different people, it still is only my own experience that I share with you, that's all.

Your children are young and every fibre of your being is telling you not to get stuck with this man. I was happy with dh when children were smaller, but we had some problems and they have got worse and worse. Now children are older, lives are more enmeshed, we do have property together and I am financially dependent because I am doing a demanding and expensive course. You sound much less trapped than I am, you haven't bought that house.

Breaking up a family is massive, but I don't think your feelings will change. Society is more judgemental about people who split when kids are small, but don't let that be an influence. The older children are the harder it is on them when their parents split. If you can see yourself making a success of your family life, then stay. If you think you will still feel like this in two years time (any reason why you won't still feel like this?) it will be harder to leave. In five years time it will be even harder.

I told my husband I wanted to separate last night. I have done this before but always back down because it's not what he wants and I can't face breaking up the family. I may back down again, we are stuck in a cycle, things not getting better, unable to split up. My children are already being affected, I don't know what to do because I know it will only be harder for them if it happens later than now. Now, it will be harder for them than if I had done it three, four, even two years ago. I am now throwing good years after the bad ones, still feeling I can't find the strength to leave (like your partner, he's not a bad man, no cheating, no beating, etc). I don't want to hurt him. I am being destroyed in this situation.

If you feel like this now, I think you know the answer, I really do. I think I do as well, but it is so hard. I urge you to bale out now, because you will still want to later on, but it will be harder. Don't get stuck like me, please.

Good luck and best wishes.

dontlikemondays Mon 04-Jul-11 10:44:04

Trouble is, the house and garden and family life won't be the big dream you're building if you are not happy and you don't love the man you're sharing it with.

However, I agree with MySharona, don't make any big decisions yet. Try to get yourself out of your rut and see if you can improve your relationship first. Get some childcare sorted and do something for yourself to take your mind off your problems for a few hours a week. Plan a night out with DH, even if you don't talk about the big stuff, you might be able to reconnect a bit as a couple.

I'm in a similar position (incompatible and uncommunicative DH)and am trying to find a course/job to stop me feeling so trapped and lonely so that I don't do something I regret. I don't want to be in a loveless marriage either, but I think its worth trying to rekindle whatever you once had rather than throw it all away to be just as miserable, but alone.

Sorry I can't offer you more in the way of advice and wisdom, but I feel for you.

paddypoopants Mon 04-Jul-11 10:45:37

You poor thing. If you feel like this I think you need to stop house hunting now. It's putting far too much pressure on you especially if you are worrying about being trapped by it. You need to see if you can make your relationship work first and then think about a new house. This means talking to your husband and making him listen. Maybe you should try to get some relationship counselling. Go on your own at first if your dh doesn't want to. It's all been building up in your head but talking about it may help clarify what you want. If you are unhappy now this new house will only make things harder to get out of.
Good luck.

eandz Mon 04-Jul-11 10:51:52

Hi MooCat

I'm sorry you are going through this. It's not all bad news though.

I'm a believer in good communication, but communication only works if both people talk.

Your DH may not have expected 'hearts and roses' but in all honesty, did he expect an unhappy wife? Marriage means different things to different people. What did you want from this marriage when you entered it? What do you want from it now?

What are your fundamental incompatibilities in your view?

Refusing to speak to you about your relationship is pretty bad, but you guys are looking for another house right now and in the middle of some very large changes. Do you think he feels the relationship is secure enough to talk about at a later time?

moocat Mon 04-Jul-11 11:09:44

Thank you so much all of you for your kindness. I feel utterly sick and teary sitting here with the baby crawling round my ankles.

UnhappyLizzie I have read your posts and I am sorry that you are in this situation. The thing that I remember most from what you have said is that not only are you miserable but that you know that you are making him miserable too and how demoralizing that is. Snap. It feels horrible doesn't it and I am starting to really dislike myself.

The other thing is that I feel my judgement is off in every other area of my life. I am not surefooted at work at all anymore, and find it difficult to make decisions about anything.

Fundamental incompatibilities.... that's hard to answer. We like doing the same things, have the same attitudes politically, similair friends etc, but DH is not remotely introspective, and he won't ever really make eye contact with me sad. There just isn't any connection there at all, and there never has been really, after the first few months we were together, when I was crazy about him, it just fizzled out.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 04-Jul-11 11:22:41

Hi Moocat

I would also put the househunting on hold and tell him exactly why.

Why is he refusing to talk, what is he so afraid of?. Someone here will have to be the grown up and start addressing these issues properly.

You aren't really building a family life together because its now broken, an emotionally healthy family life is far more than a house (that is after all just bricks and mortoar) and garden. You are emotionally speaking no longer a couple and further on from that perhaps you were never really suited to each other in the first place. Were you expected somehow to marry him (e.g outside pressure from family) after becoming pregnant; who suggested marriage?. Why did you marry each other?.

What are you getting out of this relationship now?.

I would also consider going to Relate asap and talking this through further with a third party. If your H does not want to go then attend such sessions on your own. He cannot bury his head in the sand and pretend this is not happening because it is and this will only fester if left unaddressed.

Its okay to put your hands up and say that you've made a mistake but please do not stay long term in a dying marriage. You stop you from meeting someone else if you stay in such a marriage. It also does the children no favours at all to see their parents ongoing private war. They are perceptive and even if they don't hear the rows or see the silences directly they pick up on the uncomfortable tense atmosphere at home or outside.

eandz Mon 04-Jul-11 11:22:42


Eye contact is hard for some people, I know how frustrating it is. Do you feel like there is no hope whatsoever? If so, I guess you have your answer. sad

No eye contact and lack of introspection can also be signs of guilt, depression, anxiety. Is there something else that is wrong? Does he feel inadequate at home? At work?

If you feel like there is hope, I encourage you to at least identify what his problem is.

buzzsore Mon 04-Jul-11 11:22:54

If you're beginning to hate him, you haven't a chance of making it work.

UnhappyLizzie Mon 04-Jul-11 11:44:14

I have backed down. Just rang dh and suggested counselling. I still think we will split but I want to feel I have done everything possible.

I see it as a win-win going to counselling. If we have anything left to salvage, we will. There is a lot of underlying anger on both sides, there is a (slim) chance we can work through it. On the flipside, I can see things getting ugly very quickly if I insist on a separation he doesn't want. I feel that by involving a third party I might have a greater chance of avoiding this. He has IMO a very skewed version of things and shouts me down. I can't leave mostly because I know how much it will hurt him (and kids) in the shorter term.

In the longer term I can see everyone being happier. I actually think the kids will bounce back quicker than he will.

Not hijacking your thread, just thought I'd share because I am in the same boat and this is happening in real time for me.

I wish above all that I had left when they were younger - it would have affected them less. I am pretty sure we will now, but I hope it will be less ugly with counselling.

I think the people on here who advise this are giving good advice. Dh refused to go to counselling unless I promised we wouldn't split up. I can't give him this assurance but he's willing to go anyway, finally.

I think there are only things to be gained from it, and it will be on my terms - not attaching any conditions or making any assurances as to the future.

If you are making your dh miserable as well, as you say, hopefully he will agree to this. Any which was it will help, because you will at least feel you have exhausted the possibilities and there will be less guilt involved for you if you split.xx

UnhappyLizzie Mon 04-Jul-11 11:44:58

Any which way in last para

moocat Mon 04-Jul-11 12:14:29

Lizzie, don't worry, you aren't hijacking at all, I find it helpful to hear your perspective. Counselling would clearly be a good idea for us, but we have no one to babysit, though I suppose I could find someone if I really had to. Honestly I don't know if there's any point for us other than to effect a healthier separation.

I do feel that there is hatred there, fairly often, on both sides sad

I think DH is terrified to acknowledge that there is anything wrong as he doesn't want to lose the kids, but I would never ever muck about with access etc, I was brought without my dad and would never ever deny my dcs theirs

moocat Mon 04-Jul-11 12:15:49

eandz I don't think he has anything to hide. I don't know if he is like that with other people (no eye contact). He does sometimes try I think and then it becomes apparent that there is zero connection between us and it feels painful - to me at any rate

LieInsAreRarerThanTigers Tue 05-Jul-11 09:54:22

Hi moocat, sorry you are in this situation. I was pretty much where you are about 3 years ago, but for different reasons. At that point I felt our marriage was doomed and had the opportunity to go and leave, move to a new area with a new job and start again. I foolishly hoped for the best and asked dh to come with me, which he did.
Today after 3 more years of ups and downs I have told him I want a divorce and asked him to move out. He also won't open up to me and does not want a split.
I have come to realise that the happiness we could have (had) is or was just a dream, yes it would have been great but it is no more likely to happen than a big win on the lottery. It means the divorce is going to be a lot more complicated property-wise and we stand to lose out financially.

I hate to give advice as everyone's situation is different but hope my story might help you decide.

peppapighastakenovermylife Tue 05-Jul-11 15:02:36

I am in a similar situation although my DH is perfectly happy and can't see a problem. He says I expect too much of marriage and keeps referring to how his parents are.

He shows no affection - no cuddles, kisses or any physical contact that is not sexual.

He shows no emotion - must have been years since he told me he loved me or complimented me.

He doesn't understand my emotions or appear to react emotionally himself and by that I mean he doesn't get excited or angry or sad or anything. He just follows whatever is logical is best if that makes sense.

I can't talk to him if I am upset or stressed as he seems to think if you have emotions you need medication.

I can't remember the last time I looked forward to being with him.

However as I said he doesn't see anything wrong with our marriage...

peppapighastakenovermylife Tue 05-Jul-11 15:02:37

I am in a similar situation although my DH is perfectly happy and can't see a problem. He says I expect too much of marriage and keeps referring to how his parents are.

He shows no affection - no cuddles, kisses or any physical contact that is not sexual.

He shows no emotion - must have been years since he told me he loved me or complimented me.

He doesn't understand my emotions or appear to react emotionally himself and by that I mean he doesn't get excited or angry or sad or anything. He just follows whatever is logical is best if that makes sense.

I can't talk to him if I am upset or stressed as he seems to think if you have emotions you need medication.

I can't remember the last time I looked forward to being with him.

However as I said he doesn't see anything wrong with our marriage...

moocat Wed 06-Jul-11 11:20:59

Hallo again. So sorry Peppa and Tigers to hear you are in similair situations. Tigers how do you feel now that it is ending?

I sooo don't want to deal with this. Anyway, I spoke to DH after a very very sleepless night and told him exactly how I felt, that I didn't want to be married anymore that I didn't feel we communicated, that I didn't want to buy a house at the moment.

He suggested we go to counselling/therapy and I think we probably should.

He also admitted what I thought that he isn't in love with me. I said what would you do if someone came along later that you were madly in love with and he said it would be too late. He thinks that there are more important things at stake, ie preserving the family for our dcs. He also said he is happy.

Anyway, I feel ever so slightly better and we have been talking more. I also know that I am at fault, in that I don't always bother to communicate with him, am mumsnetting in the evening when he would like to be with me etc. However, I think a lot of the feeling better is the relief of having said something to him and putting things down here and I think the momentum will slip.

DH was still talking about property etc last night and I still feel that I am living in limbo

dontlikemondays Wed 06-Jul-11 11:34:26

Hi Moocat,

FWIW I think the fact that your DH wants to try counselling shows he is committed to you and wants to try and make you happy, so you are in a better position than many! I know it doesn't feel like it now, but there is hope that your relationship could improve, especially as you admit that you could do more to try an communicate.

I feel your pain - only 2 weeks ago I was feeling desperate and trapped and DH didn't understand why I was upset and distant. I honestly would have divorced him but I didn't want to explain what I was feeling as he finds emotions hard to deal with, so I have tried to find light at the end of the tunnel by taking control of my situation.

Being a stay at home mum can leave you feeling dependent and vulnerable so I really believe that improving your social life and planning your future could help you to see that its not all about you, him & the DCs, so that your relationship can become just one of many things in your life, rather than the main focus.

Although you feel so far apart from each other at the moment, you can still find something there if you try.

dontlikemondays Wed 06-Jul-11 11:42:46

Peppa, he seems to think if you have emotions you need medication

He sounds very much like my DH, which is why I've stopped trying to engage in emotional conversations with him at all! He has been a lot more attentive since I started meeting up with lots of friends for brew (he knows I talk about him).

I think maybe taking the pressure off him to understand me, because I have other people who are in my situation, has allowed a healthy distance between us.

moocat Wed 06-Jul-11 11:43:26

Yes I know. He is completely committed. And his first reaction was to look really sick and to say that it was his worst nightmare, that someone he really loves doesn't love him.

Also, I am very aware that I am never really happy with what I have. Pre DCs I had a fantastic career in a v prestigious field and I was miserable then too confused.

However, I feel like I am backpeddling and the feelings I wrote about in my OP are still there. I suppose there is no real happy ending here, either big compromise or disappointment in the failure of a dream of family life

CJCregg Wed 06-Jul-11 11:45:25

moocat, I am so sorry that you are going through this and totally understand what you are feeling.

Can I give you some perspective from someone who is now on the other side of this?

I split up with exH three years ago. I was exactly where you are now, except that we had moved into the big house (and I had the same gut feelings about not moving as you do). It was incredibly hard - exH wasn't happy in the marriage but was devastated at the thought of 'losing everything'. Like you, I was brought up with an absent father so I was determined that my DCs wouldn't go through that.

It has taken a long time, and been very, very difficult emotionally for everyone at times, but we are now through it and things are working out pretty well. We both adore our children and that has kept us reasonably civil even when things were at their worst - now we get ok (apart from moments when I want to kill him grin) and we are able to go to school sports days etc together.

What made a huge difference to him was me constantly reassuring him that I wasn't going to take the children away. I have stayed in the area and am in fact about to buy somewhere really near him. His biggest fear was that I would move hundreds of miles away.

My DCs were quite young - 5 and 3 - when we split and they have got used to the changes in time. We both talk to them a lot and encourage them to ask any questions they want to. The hardest one is 'why can't we all live together?' but they know that that is not possible, so the only thing I can do is say that I understand that it makes them sad, and give them the room to talk about it.

I have a new partner now and I cannot stress enough how different life is with the right person instead of the wrong one. Nothing in life is ideal but I wouldn't have wanted my children to grow up in a house with that much tension and bad atmosphere. Hopefully this way they will see how a good relationship works, and realise that although their parents are fallible, at least they have done everything they could to keep them secure.

By all means go to counselling - it can help just having a forum for talking with someone guiding you, and at least you will have given it a go. However, I think your gut instinct is telling you that a split is probably inevitable.

I just want you to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is quite a long, dark tunnel, but you will emerge eventually. You need support though - have you got good friends/family who can help you through this?

Sorry for an extremely long post ...

Saffysmum Wed 06-Jul-11 12:26:41

Moocat - there is no easy way out of this.

If you stay, you will become resentful towards your H, because whether you move or not (please don't) things won't change with him. You say that he's admitted that he doesn't love you. So neither of you love each other enough to be happy.

I lived in a loveless marriage - was married 22 years, 17 of them happy, 3 ok ish, and the final two dire. My STBXH fell out of love with me before I did with him. Actually, I fell out of love with him because of his resentment, coldness and total indifference to me. It bordered on cruelty, especially towards the end.

I thought I was doing the right thing "for the kids". I believed that family meant everything, and staying together was the right thing to do. I tolerated his behaviour because I didn't want to break up the family. But guess what? My kids grew into knowing teenagers, and the eldest one said to me a few months ago, "throw him out mum, he's treating you like shit". The younger two girls then said how unhappy they were with their home life - that they went round their friends houses and saw how happy and together and affectionate their friends parents were by comparison.

Kids know when they're in an unloving environment (I mean between the parents). Teenagers (which they all become) see far, far more than we think they do. It doesn't do kids any good to see their parents lousy relationship and think that's the norm.

I threw him out and am happier than ever.

Just wanted you to see how things worked out for me. Take care x

specialknickers Wed 06-Jul-11 13:06:59

Oh Moocat, I'm so sorry to hear you are going through this. Extra sorry, really because I am in similar situation as you. Nearly every word you have written I could have too - although we only have one DC, who's 1. I haven't admitted this to anyone else before, and I don't want to hi-jack your thread. I'm afraid I don't have any advice to offer, I just wanted to let you know you're not alone.

moocat Wed 06-Jul-11 14:52:25

specialknickers I'm sorry sad. I remember feeling like that when DC1 was that age and it hasn't really changed tbh. I hope you find a way to happiness, I think there are a lot of people in this situation (which doesn't make it right to stay of course)

Thank you for your replies everyone. Can I ask you what it was that finally made you end things? Especially CJ (name envy envy) just because your children are similairish ages to mine. And were you my sort of age? (v late thirties)

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