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Can a leopard change it's spots?

(3 Posts)
aquos Thu 04-Aug-11 11:13:57

will try not to let this get too long. To cut a long story short. Married 13 years, together 18 years, 2 kids age 10 and 11. My first marriage, dh 2nd marriage from which he also has 2 (now adult) kids.

My dh is a workaholic. He is driven by money, it lights him up and makes him alive in a way that me and the kids don't. Over the years there have been many, many arguements about him putting work before me and then the kids as well, when they came along. Dh has always had at least 2 jobs, sometimes as many as 4. Despite my many tears and trying to persuade him differently over all of our lives together, the issue has remained a problem.

When dh is at home, it is like he is half dead. There is no light or spark in him and it is as if he is just marking time until he can go back to work. He sits in front of the tv or the computer and doesn't interact with the rest of the family unless I push him to do so.

We had another BIG talk about all of this about 6 weeks ago, since then he has been making a bit more effort at home, to help me and to interact with the kids. But 2 nights ago I was left speechless when he came home and said he was considering volunteering to work away for 8 weeks next summer, over the school holidays. Work have asked for volunteers to go on this assignment and he wanted to put his name forward.

So last night with a very heavy, sad heart I told him I wanted a separation. He was gutted. He says he'll change, do whatever I want. I don't think he's capable and think that he will just end up miserable and resenting me. He's asked me to give him a chance and I've said I'll try, but ........

We are not rich, but comfortable. Our house is paid for, we have rainy day savings, but his mother is 81 and is still driven to earn and make money despite being very comfortable financially. It's not dhs fault, it's the way he was brought up, but sadly it seems incompatible with family life and I am so tired of playing second fiddle to his work. We would be fine financially if he'd just stick with his 40hour a week main job.

I used to work, but have been a SAHM for the last 4 years. I am starting
College in September to retrain as a beautician which is something I've always been interested in. I'm mid 40s and dh is mid 50s.

fluffyanimal Thu 04-Aug-11 11:24:07

Oh dear it doesn't sound good. So sorry to hear you are in this position. Maybe your ultimatum will be the shock he needs, but as you say, "but...."

Can you try speaking to him in terms that resonate with being a 'provider', e.g. he is not providing you with emotional security, he is not providing the children with an engaged father etc? Have you tried asking him how he imagines life would be that different if you separated, because if he is never there, he might just as well not be there, iyswim.

If you do separate, maybe for a trial period, he would have to have contact with the children on his own, and that might force him to engage with the family more and show him what it is all about. Alternatively, he might just drift away from you altogether.

I hope you find a way forward.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Thu 04-Aug-11 11:24:24

Can a leopard change it's spots?

It doesn't sound like you think it can, or like you want to spend any more time waiting to find out.

There's no certainty, no crystal ball: only your feelings and your decision.

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