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Has anyone stayed with their DP for the sake of the children (and do you regret it)?

(18 Posts)
salsaprincess Mon 22-Aug-11 09:38:29


I'm unhappy with my partner and have been since before the birth of my beautiful 4 month old baby girl but the thought of wrenching her loving daddy away from her breaks my heart.

The problems are:
He's got 2 kids from a previous relationship, a girl aged 14 and a boy aged 10 - they live in Italy so he hardly ever sees them which he feels very bitter about. He also HATES his ex and regularly argues with her down the phone and then uses me as a punchbag (emotionally, not physically) on which to take out his stress.

He has said he'll never love or commit to someone completely ever again because of his previous bad marriage.

He regularly threatens to leave and then doesn't, making me feel like an emotional yoyo. As I said, I don't want to be the one to end it as he makes my little girl soooo happy so I just put up with it sad

Recently, his 14 year old girl has been caught by police in Italy stealing and smoking weed. On hearing this, he told me that she would be coming to live with us or he would move out and live with her. I was shocked by his lack of regard for our baby as this girl is really trouble, and for the lack of consideration for me and our family as a unit so I told him to go. I then took my baby for a walk for a few hours and by the time I'd got back, he'd changed his mind and said he would leave her in Italy!

So I spent the whole day crying for nothing. I'm usually a happy, positive person but he's really putting me through hell. I don't think it's malicious, but he's got some serious regrets about the past relationship and some serious guilt about his other 2 kids which is impacting quite badly on our relationship. I've suggested counselling but he won't go.

The other thing I need to mention is my baby's still waking 3 times a night and we take it in turns to do the 'night shift' which I'm aware makes me a better mum. Once he went away for a week and I was so sleep deprived, I fell down the stairs. We don't have much support as our families live far away and I can't afford childcare.

I was thinking of giving this relationship a deadline of baby's 2nd birthday to improve as hopefully by then I'd be able to cope better on my own if he can't get his act together. What do you think?

Please no sarcastic or judgemental remarks - I'm already on the verge of a breakdown sad

Thanks for reading xxx

MilkandWine Mon 22-Aug-11 10:26:24

Hi Salsaprincess.

So sorry to hear about what you are going through, you sound like you are in a terrible state.

Your partner has already basically told you that he is never going to love you or commit to you totally? Can you really live with that? Do you want to spend the rest of your life as the emotional punching bag to a man who is happy to see you constantly upset by him?

You deserve more and so does your DD. This may be harsh but taking your daughter away from her daddy at 4 months will be a lot less traumatic than doing it when she is 2 years old. Can you REALLY live like you are for that long?

Do you work, have you got any friends you could go and stay with? Where was he for the week when you fell down the stairs?

salsaprincess Mon 22-Aug-11 13:57:21

Thanks for your thoughts milkandwine.

I have to say, I did want to stay until she was 18 as that's what my parents did and I am aware it gave me stability and roots which my partner's oldest daughter obviously isn't getting which is why she's going off the rails so badly.

But I think given the fact that I'm in tears so often and the emotional rollercoaster of it all I'm better off leaving sooner rather than later.

But it can't be immediately because of mine and DP's financial situation. DP has serious debts and if we lived separately, I'm not sure he could afford to pay maintenance to me and to the mother of his other 2 children.

Currently I'm on maternity leave and will not be returning to my job as I'm in the middle of a tribunal having complained about my manager's discrimination and harassment during my pregnancy - aggghh! It's endless...

I have plans to retrain as a secondary school teacher from next September but it means money will be tight.

Also I feel that if I left before baby's sleeping through the night, I'd be looking after my emotional well-being at the expense of my physical well-being because getting a good night sleep every other night at least is really important to me.

So I guess if I could hang on until I qualified as a teacher, that would be a good time??

Does anyone know what benefits I'd be entitled to as a single mum? At the moment we're renting a 1 bed flat but there's no way I'd be able to afford that on my own.

buzzsore Mon 22-Aug-11 15:03:01

It's really early days - your baby is likely to start sleeping through in the next few months. The sleep deprivation won't last forever.

Have a look at the 'entitled to' website - there's a benefits/tax credits calculator that will show what help you could get. You'd likely be entitled to housing benefit/council tax relief etc as a single parent.

piellabakewell Mon 22-Aug-11 16:52:22

I stayed for the children, for a while...but it did my head in. I reached the point where I couldn't face another day like that, let alone months, or years. I left when my girls were 10 and 12. They were old enough to realise that I was unhappy and the eldest was very supportive. When I told her we were separating, she hugged me and said 'I just want you to be happy, Mummy'.

Don't underestimate the damage a dysfunctional relationship can do to your child. I used to wonder why my girls were sometimes so unpleasant to each was months after we'd moved out that I realised that they did not have a role model other than my relationship with them and I was partly to blame for their behaviour. They have now improved a great deal in how they behave towards each other.

It doesn't sound to me like you're getting much out of your relationship. It's a horrible, heart-wrenching decision to make and not one that anybody makes lightly. Good luck in whatever you decide.

IWantWine Mon 22-Aug-11 17:02:08

In a nutshell 'yes'.

And it has done the family as whole a lot of damage, but mostly my daughter!

If I could turn back the clock... I would leave so fast my feet wouldnt touch the ground!

joblot Thu 25-Aug-11 17:48:38

Can I point out that parents splitting up doesn't make a child go off the rails, thats too simplistic. So you dont need to carry that enotional burden

NoWuckingFurries Thu 25-Aug-11 17:58:03

I'm so sorry you're having a tough time of it right now. I have a 4.5 month old also waking 3 times a night and it's a killer!

As a child of divorce (I was 9 when my parents separated), it was tough. But in retrospect I actually think my mum should have left sooner. A lot of damage was done to me and my sisters by that point, which could have been avoided altogether or at least limited. The saying "happy mum, happy baby" is true. Your baby is so small and adaptable and stronger than you realise. I think you already know what you have to do but you aren't quite ready to do it yet. And that's fine. Honestly! And in the meantime you have MN for support and handholding smile

greengirl87 Thu 25-Aug-11 18:13:42

if you spilt up now your dd would never know any differnt as she wouldnt remember you being together. Also, its not just children from divorced families that go off the rails, children who have parents in a good healthy marriage can still go off the rails. Its the parenting that matters not the marital status.
My parents split up when i was 12 and im sorry to say i did go off the rails for a time, but whose to say it would be any different than if they had stayed together.
I am also very glad they split as my dad was suicidal before he left, so if he hadnt left my mum i may have lost him forever.
Also like to add that both my parents are happily remarried now, so there is always hope!
wishing you the best

hardshipuntold Thu 25-Aug-11 18:39:33

yes and yes

Spero Thu 25-Aug-11 18:49:34

I think setting a deadline is definitely a good idea; I have seen people drift along for years and its so sad. If he loves you he will want to make an effort.

I think counsellings sounds a good idea; if he won't go, you go on your own if you can. It always helps to have someone to talk out loud to, I think it makes it much easier to sort your thoughts out.

But your situation is probably unusually tough at the moment because of your baby. Maybe let the dust settle for a while then make serious efforts to get him to join you at Relate or similar.

I think I can say with confidence that very few children would grow up glad that their parents stayed in a relationship where they felt very unhappy. You won't be able to hide that from your child for ever. I wonder if the that could lead to a child feeling very guilty. And I agree, being a single parent does not guarrantee that your child will go off the rails, far from it. Yes, single parents are more likely to be poor and that brings with it a host of problems, but it is not impossible as a single parent to bring your child up to be a healthy, happy, moral person who has aspirations and goals.

cestlavielife Thu 25-Aug-11 23:04:54

Deadline of 2years is far too long you will be even more of a wreck than now think about it.
He won't commit to you
Threatens to leave
Doesn't treat mother of his children with respect neither his ex nor you
Does not have a lot positive and refuses to go to counselling.
I suggest you go to counselling on your own and establish what you want and whether you can really get it from him.

And sleeping thru night -yes it will happen but don't forget when they sick or teething etc it is going to be tough retraining with added emotional stress.

Yesterdays Fri 26-Aug-11 17:19:11

I stayed for the kids and regret it more than anything , those are years i will never get back .

MrsHicks Sat 27-Aug-11 16:49:48

Staying in a bad relationship that isn't going to get fixed 'for the sake of the children' always does the children a disservice. If you want to do something for their sakes, then don't make them live in this relationship.

shabbapinkfrog Sat 27-Aug-11 16:54:19

Yes, been married 33 years and Oooohhhh yes so many regrets.

timetoask Sat 27-Aug-11 17:20:45

How long have you been together and is it the first time he has told you he would never commit? Having a child with you seems enough commitment to me!
I feel so sorry for your partner, clearly he feels guilt about his other two children and now he is going to loose his new baby girl. Poor man.
I you have any love for him, which presumably you do having just produced a baby, then have an open discussion with him telling him exactly how you feel (and that you are even thinking of leaving) and tell him that he need to get help.

HeifferunderConstruction Sat 27-Aug-11 17:37:32

im a product of 'stay together for the kids ' sorta marriage

don't do it!

QueenofWhatever Sun 28-Aug-11 17:16:50

Yes and yes. Wanted to leave when DD was a week old, wasted four and half years of things getting worse and it made it harder on her when I did leave. If it were me, I would leave now.

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