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Thinking about leaving - perspective please

(31 Posts)
MakingMyMindUp Fri 07-Oct-11 18:24:18

God my head is a mess and I just don't seem to be able to figure which way is up.

In short I don't think I love my DH anymore. I don't hate him, or even dislike him. For the most part we rub along OK. Sometimes better than OK, sometimes worse. But I am just not happy. I have been happy in the past and part of my unhappiness stems from feeling like this might be it for the rest of my life.

If we didn't have DC's I would leave. Deep down I know that. But how can I leave and wreck their lives just because mine isn't a bed of roses? Am I being hideously selfish for thinking it? Please tell me if I just need to pull myself together.

I look at couples that love each other and really enjoy their time together and I feel so sad that I no longer have that.

I don't really know what I am looking for. I just feel so bloody sad

KimmySparkle Fri 07-Oct-11 22:18:25

I know exactly how you feel.
Im going through the same thing at the moment myself except ive fallen in love with someone else whom i cant have ,and its hell .
If you are that unhappy i would leave tbh ,how old are the dcs?
Is couples counselling something to consider?
Sorry cant help more just wanted you to know ya not alone

ShowerGel Fri 07-Oct-11 22:29:55

When you see other couples 'that love each other' you are seeing their public face not their private selves so their lives may not be as rosy as they seem.

I wanted out of my first marriage twice before the time was right, by which time the children were in their late teens. However ex-H and I had some good times even though I never felt I loved him. Providing a stable home for my children was the most important thing for me, above all other considerations, as my own childhood was chaotic.

MakingMyMindUp Fri 07-Oct-11 22:44:34

Thanks for the replies.

showergel I do realise that I don't know anyone elses relationship as intimately as I know mine but I am fairly sure there are a lot of poeple out there an awful lot happier than me sad

We had a row today - a stupid argument, following on form a pointless bicker and my 5 yr old DC was there and asked us not not argue. We don't argue all the time but that is not the first time that has happened sad sad

The thing is I don't know, or cannot guage, how unhappy I am. I know I could be happier but I guess a lot of people feel like that. H is a good father and I would feel enormous guilt at splitting us all up. My youngest is not yet a year.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Fri 07-Oct-11 22:50:34

Have you considered the possibility that you might be suffering from pnd? Make an appointment with your GP to discuss your feelings - it could be that counselling will help you work out why you are feeling as you do, or even that ADs will provide the 'lift' you currently need to alleviate your feelings of sadness.

MakingMyMindUp Fri 07-Oct-11 22:55:46

I'm virtually certain I don't have PND. I have had mild PND before (several years ago) and this is very different. I am quite content and positive about other aspects of my life it is just my relationship with H that seems to be dragging me down.

(And I feel awful for saying that because it is nothing he has really done we just don't seem to be getting on)

CaptainNancy Fri 07-Oct-11 23:00:52

How old are your children? Sometimes everything else is overshadowed by the daily slog of making sure the children stay alive... smile

I also think that when they're tiny so much of us is taken up physically, emotionally by our children- there is nothing less for anyone else.

Would counselling be of use do you think? (couples counselling). Does he even notice there is a problem?

MakingMyMindUp Fri 07-Oct-11 23:15:23

Oldest is 8, youngest is barely a year.

CaptainNancy I know what you mean but I have to be honest and say the DC's are pretty easy going. I wont deny it's be nice to have a short break from time to time but I don't find them particularly stressful so not sure I can use that as an excuse smile .

He obviously knows that we are argue and that it bothers me, but on the odd occassion when I have completely snapped and said I cannot take this anymore he has appeared to be bewildered by my reaction. He also refuses to "go over old ground". So we argue, we stew for a few hours until one of us relents and then it is supposed to be forgotten. If I try to talk about it he refuses as he sees no point in dragging everything up again.

He gets annoyed that I wont discuss a problem in isolation. Eg I will say "I don't like the way you spoke to me then" he will deny that he spoke to me badly and so I will counter with several other examples of the same behaviour at which point he will huff and puff and complain that I am raking up all ground.

I don't think couples counselling would work for various reasons (finding time/money, we're both reluctant talkers, neither would be keen to open up to thrid party, haven't had great experience with counselling in the past)

Thanks for the replies smile

CaptainNancy Fri 07-Oct-11 23:27:39

I'm sorry- I have no advice. Reading it as an outsider- if he says 'you're raking up old ground' then it suggests to me he didn't take on board your concerns last time!

Hopefully someone else will come along soon.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Sat 08-Oct-11 02:42:04

It sounds as if your marriage has hit the doldrums and you need strategies to enable the two of you to improve communication with each other.

As you're not willing to consider individual or couples counselling and as you're problem seems to be centred around arguments the following may be of interest to you because if you can change the way you initiate, approach, and respond, to arguments with your dh, it could be that your feelings for him will undergo a change that will be beneficial to you both.

I would suggest you read it yourself and then print it out, show it to dh, and present it as a dealbreaker in that these are the rules you expect both of you to observe for the next six months whenever you are dissatisfied with something the other has done:

Conflict is a natural form of creating boundaries and learning about each other. It is not the arguing/debating itself that can be hurtful to a relationship, but rather the poor techniques involved with its execution. Here are seven simple strategies to ensure your occasional debate with your partner is handled with finesse, sensitivity, and above all — maturity.

Start and Finish Disputes on a Positive Note
One of the biggest reasons arguments end badly is because they start poorly as well. Choose an appropriate time when you and your partner are rested and connected. By connected, I am referring to being in sync with each other, as in after food shopping, gardening, or taking a walk together (“together,” being the qualifying word). Open the conversation with how much you appreciate the good things about the relationship, before discussing anything that might be construed as bad. When you’re finished, thank your partner for their time and attention, and remind them that you love them.

Use “I”, Not “You”
Nobody likes the blame game, and arguments should never be based on what the other partner is doing, but rather how the effected partner is feeling. The worst statements are generalizations, or absolutes like, “You always stay at work late,” or “you never help around the house anymore.” Instead, validate your reason for the discussion with personal observations such as, “I feel like you don’t want to spend time with me,” or “I would appreciate a little more help with chores.”

Listen!
This is one of the more obvious strategies, but you would be surprised at the number of arguments that take place, where nobody is really listening to each other. Instead, partners are too busy rolling their eyes, interrupting, or rehearsing what they’re going to say next. Until you really “get” what it is your partner is saying, you will not reach an acceptable resolution. What’s more, when your partner senses you aren’t listening, it puts them on the defense. One of the best ways to show a partner you’re attentive to the problem is to look them in the eye.

Respect
Respect is one of the fundamental necessities of working through conflict. It allows both sides equal say on the matter. It reduces the occurrence of stonewalling (refusal to talk or listen). It finds an appropriate time and place to talk (don’t start arguments in public or in front of the kids), and it ensures raised voices, sarcasm, and verbal abuse stays in check. If you feel your tolerance level reaching its limit, take a break — and walk away. Just make sure you let your partner know you need time (don’t just leave the room), and then make sure you come back and rejoin the conversation within 24 hours.

Your Goal is Not to Win, It’s Compromise
The immature strategy of an argument is to win. The mature strategy is to work to make sure both partners are victorious. In arguments where there’s a winner, it leaves behind a sticky residue on the relationship, which will guarantee hard feelings the next time conflict arises. A few techniques to ensure a unanimous win-win situation, is to brainstorm solutions, make a pro/con list, or pull a third party (counselor) into the mix if you really find yourselves at a wall.

Stay On Topic
Taking one problem on at a time is a good rule of thumb when dealing with conflict. A lot of partners will bring up various other upsets/past events, in order to shed some of the heat from themselves, but it will only confuse matters worse. It’s difficult to solve a problem when different topics are being introduced. With this said, there’s one caveat. Sometimes an argument about coming home late or not doing chores underlies an even bigger problem, such as fear a partner is cheating, etc. If you sense there’s more to the issue than what appears, take the time to question your partner.

Ask Questions
This strategy is quite simple. If you don’t understand what your partner is trying to say, ask more about it. Use the advice above to help formulate appropriate questions. You never want to insult or insinuate your partner is a poor communicator (“You never make any sense, what are you trying to say?” “Is it that time of the month again?”). Sometimes by asking them to clarify the problem, you are not only helping yourself understand their feelings, but you’re helping discover any hidden instigators of the problem (lack of time spent together, etc.).

I make no apology for pasting the article in full as what may be quickly scanned when clicking on a link, rarely stays in the mind.

MakingMyMindUp Sat 08-Oct-11 06:47:51

Thanks nancy - I am not sure I am even looking for advice - maybe just a way of working this all out in my head?

izzy thanks for that - I think we do have problems communicating and after so long together and it not being a huge issue, we have got used to that just being the way we are. Now that there is an issue it all seems a bit alien and also it is so hard to pinpoint an actual problem: In the main he is a good dad, helps around the house, doesn't stay out late etc etc. He let me down in the past though and I don't seem to be able to get round that. And if I am honest I don't know if I even care.

When I can pin point something, like for example - he has a habit of ridiculing me to get a laugh, he accuses me of attacking his character and saying that I want to completely change him which I suppose is true. And unfair of me.

I suppose I just don't know whether I am being unrealistic about my expectations from marriage. I keep hearing people say marriage is about ups and downs and from the outside I expect most people would think I was lucky and that we had a good relationship.

I feel a bit like a spoilt brat for questioing it at all.

foggybrain Sat 08-Oct-11 09:45:14

Having started a very similar thread myself, I don't think there's much advice I can offer you. I have always thought if you're not sure then do nothing and see, but only you know how miserable you are. A friend of mine was at the point of ending of her relationship twice with her OH over the past few years and they've come through it and she says they are happy together now.

It's so hard with DCs involved because obviously you want to try and do what is best for them.

Izzywhizzy's list is really good.

bumbums Sat 08-Oct-11 11:11:43

I have that same feeling of 'not sure I really care anymore'. I think I might care a more if my dh was more bothered about the state of our relationship. I've pointed out where things are wrong and what makes me unhappy so many times and he doesn't seem bothered enough to want to either change or join me in searching for ways to make things improve.
He doesn't seem to realise how unconnected we are. I feel like walking out just to make a dramatic statement!

RushyBay Sat 08-Oct-11 13:41:37

bumbums - I think that was what finally pushed me to the edge. The feeling that XH didn't really care about how unhappy I was. His own parents have been unhappily married for 45 years, whereas mine separated when I was ten and both met partners they are much happier with. Whenever I tried to talk to XH about our relationship, his attitude was that if I was the one unhappy, I was the one who needed to sort it out - either stop (in his view) picking holes in everything and just be happy, or end the relationship. In fact, his exact words to me one time were 'shit or get off the pot'. Charming. I really think he just believes that that is what long term relationships are like... and I didn't want DS growing up with the same message that he got.

Proudnreallyveryscary Sat 08-Oct-11 14:03:51

All I would say is think very very very hard before you leave (I know you are which is why you are posting) - yes I am saying think of the children. I always say this to your kind of post.
Showergel is right - I bet at least half the couples you envy feel exactly the same as you do. Or at least have many issues and sources of unhappiness.
I feel for you, I do. But life ain't a bowl of cherries. And you brought your children into your marriage and into this world.
I would strongly recommend counselling.

Proudnreallyveryscary Sat 08-Oct-11 14:07:41

Also I'd say take responsibility for your own happiness and fulfillment.
Do you have passions such as writing or painting or sports and/or a satisfying career etc etc etc?
The dissatisfaction you feel may not just be about your marriage. And as we all know, no-one else can 'make' you happy.

Makingmymindup Sat 08-Oct-11 14:44:59

Thank you proud yes i am thinking carefully. I want my DC's to have a stable, happy upbringing and had always believed that the best way to ensure that was to stay together. I am sadened that both my eldest have been upset by witnessing our arguing this past week.

I mostly feel happy outside my marriage although it has undeniably been a tough few years. I was very excited and focussed on having my youngest DC and think perhaps that now that is worn off it means that I am reflecting again on the fact that our marriage is a little troubled.

I am a SAHM and I am trying very hard to return to my former career. A lack of spare money and adequate babysitting means I don't do much outside the house at the moment, but youngest is still very young so doesn't really trouble me.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that although my life isn't perfect I am fairly sure it is my relationship with DH that is the problem confused

peppapighastakenovermylife Sat 08-Oct-11 14:47:34

makingmymindup - I empathise I really do. DH and me are the same although he is perfectly happy.

We get along ok but we have no affection, no passion, no conversation and no intimacy. He never hugs or kisses me. He doesnt seem interested in me at all. Small example from today - last night I went to the cinema. I texted him from work (was working late) with 'do you mind if I go to the cinema'. He texted back 'no problem'. I didnt get in until after midnight. He has not asked who I went with, where I went, what I saw, did I like it...confused

I have tried talking to him about it but he justs insists all relationships end up like this and men dont do emotional conversations hmm. I have also posted over on the aspergers thread.

I long for a cuddle, to share a bottle of wine and talk, to feel loved. To be able to go to him with a problem and discuss it (I get a practical solution and / or why are you stressed or upset there is no point - he walks away if I cry).

I work full time in a job I love, have lots of friends etc. I am happy elsewhere. I just get nothing from DH. But he is a good dad and the DC's love him .

Makingmymindup Sat 08-Oct-11 14:48:10

bushybums rushyray I'm not sure in my case if DH doesn't care (when I challenge him he says he really does) or is just oblivious to the situation.

Makingmymindup Sat 08-Oct-11 14:53:08

peppa there seem to be a lot of us in similar boats.

For me DH can be affectionate, and caring, he suggested last week that we go out together and we did. It was nice. He helps around the house and says he wants me to be happy but when we fight he treats me with utter contempt. he will shout and refuse to back down, even if I apologise. He belittles me in front of people (this is a big issue as he humiliated me badly in the past) and when I object implies that I cannot take a joke.

If he was like it all the time I wouldn't be having the conversation in my head I would leave but most of the time he is fine. I know he works hard and is stressed.

Proudnreallyveryscary Sat 08-Oct-11 15:01:00

If you are looking for a straight answer, I would still say don't end your marriage.

I just don't think it's a good enough reason to disrupt your dc's lives so much - you like him, you do stuff together etc. I realise this is not satisfactory. But as I always say, what next...you meet someone else then after a year, 5 years etc the love peters out again...then what, you leave?

Having said all of that, you sound like a thoughtful, nice person and a loving mum so I am not judging you and I appreciate it must be very hard living with this low level unhappiness. x

ChildofIsis Sat 08-Oct-11 15:09:50

My only advice is that if you find yourself falling for someone new end your marriage first.

bumbums Sat 08-Oct-11 16:05:01

I was talking to dh last weekend about how un happy I was and how unloved he made me feel, and as I spoke I started crying. There was a pause and then I said, "You can't love me because if you did you'd be bothered that I was crying and come and give me a hug." At which point he rushed forward with assurences if love and a big cuddle. It wasn't enough though.
He's not affectionate anymore. He never spontaneously touches, strokes,kisses me. I'm a naturally affectionate person so not being touched is awful.
I've registered with relate and I'm trying to get through to Mark that we have to seek expert help. I'm trying to come off ADs that I was on for bad pmt and that is not making things any easier.
makingmymindup How long have you felt 'out of love' with your dh? Can you remember the good times? Could you fall back in love with him?

peppapighastakenovermylife Sat 08-Oct-11 16:24:44

Bumbums - I long to cuddle up to someone on the sofa and just chill. DH has never been a touchy cuddly person but used to make more of an effort for me. For example he would hate me stroking his arm and doesnt enjoy a massage. I however am the opposite sad

Fancy coming over for a cwtch grin

Makingmymindup Sat 08-Oct-11 17:00:54

Thanks proud I think you are right. Staying makes more sense than going, and I understand exactly what you are saying about the next relationship, and the next...

bumbums this is going to seem like drip feeding (and that is not my intention at all) although it is relevant it is a small part of the issue but whilst I am baring all I might as well be up front. Our relationship has always been such that I always believed I meant more to DH than he did to me. That is not to say I have never loved him. I have very much. And for a while we were very happy, but we have had the normal strains that a young couple who are trying to forge ahead in their careers have had and then throwing DC into the mix.

A couple of years back we moved for DH's work. I have always been shy but sociable and have had a good group of friends around me. I found the move hard but eventually settled into it after a few false starts and we formed a foursome with another couple (bet you can all see where this is going!) anyway DH had an affair. I am sure it was short lived (weeks) and virtually certain it wasn't physical (sexting - lovely!) whilst I was struggling with the aftermath I discovered I was pregnant. In all honesty I probably wouldn't have left permenently even if I hadn't been (although I had kicked him out at this point)

Needles to say regardless of the exact circumstances I was hurt, betrayed and humiliated. Not to mention stunned. I had always been that woman who was 100% sure her DH would be faithful.

After a difficult pregnancy we went on to lose our baby at 6mths. I mention this to illustrate there has always been something more pressing than dealing with the past IYKWIM.

Bollox - will now be totally identifiable.

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