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Help me stay strong... or convince me otherwise?

(14 Posts)
RushyBay Fri 19-Aug-11 13:37:03

I've name changed. Been lurking on relationships and occasionally posting for the last year or so. I've wanted to start a thread but been afraid of what I would hear.

DP and I have finally decided to separate. Been together 8 years, DS is 20 months. I'm feeling so, so sad for DS. I can't believe it's really happening.

I feel so stupid. We've always been quite incompatible: he's older than me, divorced, didn't want to be married again, didn't want children. But it always just seemed to work. When we'd been together a short time we did some soul searching about this. I felt we should separate, but he convinced me not to throw away something so good on the basis of what might happen in the future. He was willing to open himself up to the possibility of children, and (after a few more years) agreed to have one child.

Having DS has been the most incredible thing in my life. I love being his mum. I would love to have more children, but DP is adamant he does not want any more. He loves DS and is an active, involved dad, but this hasn't changed his mind. I feel so stupid that I knew he felt this way but because he'd agreed to have DS I fooled myself he would change his mind when DS was here.

When DS was 5 months, there were a couple of incidents where DP and I were both being a bit grumpy and sleep deprived, but DP reacted out of all proportion (from my perspective) and broke belongings by punching or kicking. This really frightened me. He has never hit me, but this felt like violence to me. It was like my perspective completely shifted and I saw him differently and I haven't been able to get back to how I saw him before. Things that I have always just accepted as being how he is suddenly seemed like massive red flags that I was stupid to have ignored.

I could give loads of examples that when I write them down make him sound emotionally abusive. I've spent ages analysing this, and concluded I don't think he is, but it doesn't matter because I just don't like or respect him any more. And he doesn't really like me. He feels like he has given me everything I have ever wanted, why can't I just be happy? Why do I always want something more?

We tried counselling, but weren't able to leave DS with anyone so we only managed one session. Basically we agreed to just try and be nice to each other and hang in there. Looking back I think that was a mistake. I didn't feel able to communicate with him because I didn't trust him not to suddenly 'lose it' if I said something he disagreed with. So we just stopped communicating. I feel like for most of the past year we've just been pretending to be in a relationship. There have been a few times when we have been having a disagreement and he's said 'you need to stop there because you're pushing my buttons'. I just hate him when he says that. I feel absolutely furious with him for being so emotionally incompetent. But I do as he says.

But I also feel guilty that we haven't worked hard enough on things. I don't want DS growing up with us as his blueprint for what a relationship is. But it breaks my heart to think of him having to split his life between us. I keep thinking, perhaps we should give counselling a proper go. But then even if we manage to completely change the way we relate to each other and the way we feel about each other, I can't get past the fact that he will never want to have any more children.

Thank you for reading this far. Please be brutal with me. Are we giving up too soon?

LoopyLoopsTootyFroots Fri 19-Aug-11 13:39:09

No, it sounds like separating is exactly the right thing to do.

EdithWeston Fri 19-Aug-11 13:55:22

Remember what Michelle Obama said when she was over here?

"Good relationships don't hurt".

You're not acting precipitately; you sound thoughtful and concerned. You've tried a lot. But the basic fault lines remain. Do you really think there's any more you can do?

I am normally someone who would urge all attempts to stay together for the sake of the child. But what you have written is worrying - the destructive temper, the fears he would "lose it", other incidents which may be EA, other incidents which may be "red flags". This, combined with a collapse of communication (which you have tried to rectify) and your loss of respect for him, lead me to think that this is not at all likely to be salvageable.

As you do not appear to stand in immediate physical danger, I'd say take the time now to think about what you do want your life to be like, and how you will achieve that. Then - and don't leave it too long - act on it.

RushyBay Fri 19-Aug-11 22:19:09

Thank you both. Have had a bit of a cry reading your words. I just feel so sad to have got it so wrong. I never, ever thought we would be in this position with DS being so young. But looking back it seems obvious. I feel so daunted at the thought of what is in front of us.

EdithWeston Fri 19-Aug-11 22:25:56

You didn't get it wrong at the time. No one has a crystal ball.

But it is in your hands to change it now. You can take the time you need to marshal your thoughts, look at your options and work out what to do for the best. It is daunting. You don't have to do anything in a rush.

But if you don't do anything at all, is it going to get easier or harder to act if you let time just slip past? Focus your energies on what a good life for your DS really looks like.

And if there is another angry outburst, even if he is hitting things other than you, move fast.

lydiamama Fri 19-Aug-11 22:37:44

You have very good reasons for a divorce IMO, you have thought it through properly and make sense of it, but it sounds like you still holding to the last string. I believe that when a couple arrives to this situation, a trial separation can help, take 6 or 12 months appart, live separate lives, you can date each other if you want after a while, and see what time on your owndo to your feelings. You may feel great on your own at the end of it and definitively ready to end it or revive what you felt before.

RushyBay Fri 19-Aug-11 22:41:18

Definitely. I think that is what has made things so difficult this last year. I am adamant that there is no way DS is going to be exposed to outbursts like that.

At the time they happened he was very young, but it still affected him. One of them he was in the room and went completely silent and just watched me, and with the other he was in the next room, which is good, because if he'd been in the same room he could have been hurt by flying bits of broken plastic. Thinking about it makes me feel sick.

The part of me that feels guilty for not being able to make it work says 'but DP realises that was out of order, and he hasn't done anything like that since'.

And the part of me that knows this is our only option says 'yes, but he only realised that once I'd explained it too him in detail in a letter, initially he suggested that's just how he deals with anger and I would have to get used to it. And he hasn't had the opportunity to do anything like that since because we've avoided any confrontation by simply not communicating'.

normaleggy Fri 19-Aug-11 22:41:33

Having a simalar time myself, Rushy, have just seperated from my DH with two young DC in tow. It's so hard not to just go back to what you know, but you need to trust you instincts that this is the right thing to do for all of you, you can't spend your life tip-toeing around him, worried that what you say might trigger him off. Think about when your DS is older, do you want him to feel like that in his own home? Best to do it now while he is young and have a fresh start. That is what I have done and although it is breaking my heart right now I know it is absolutely the right thing to do for all of us. I am also terrified of what lies ahead but take comfort and support from family and friends wherever you can, I'm sure you (we) will be fine

Stay strong, best of luck and lots of hugs. xx

RushyBay Fri 19-Aug-11 22:41:56

Sorry, cross posts, that was to EdithWeston...

RushyBay Fri 19-Aug-11 22:45:53

lydiamama - that makes sense. We've agreed not to 'burn any bridges', and obviously need to try to remain on relatively good terms because of DS. I suppose only time will tell.

normaleggy - thank you for the reassurance. I've just started telling people we know, and it's feeling more real each time I say it out loud.

RushyBay Fri 19-Aug-11 22:47:30

normaleggy - meant to say: best of luck to you too xx

How old are your children, if you don't mind saying? How do you think they've managed with it all?

normaleggy Fri 19-Aug-11 23:12:43

dd is 3.5 ds is nearly 2. It's only been a week and so far they are fine, we are staying at my parents so they kind of see it as a bit of a holiday so far. I'm glad I've done it now while they are young, but of course you can't help feeling concerned for the future.

RushyBay Fri 19-Aug-11 23:23:52

I agree it's better to do it now. My parents divorced when I was at secondary school, and while I never doubted it was the right thing for them to do, it was bloody awful on many different levels. At the same time though, I feel so sad to think that DS will never be able to remember a time when his mummy and daddy were together.

normaleggy Fri 19-Aug-11 23:37:09

I know what you mean, it's things like birthdays and christmases that I'm feeling sad about, but you need to focus on the positive things, a happier life for you both xx

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