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Do i leave and how?

(18 Posts)
MGIB33 Tue 11-Oct-11 09:43:39

I have two children 5 and 3. My husband is the nicest guy in the world but i feel suffocated by him. He has no interests and very few friends, his life is the family. He has no ambition, no drive and is the complete opposite to me. I have dreams and although he says he supports them he makes it very hard. The passion has gone from our relationship and i try to avoid intimacy with him as much as i can (and he has realised this).

I am the main earner, but we have a lot of debt. Our household income is too high to get any benefits. I can visualise my life without him and believe it would be more rewarding. I left him once before a long long time ago before we were even married but I came back because I felt so guilty. He said all he wanted was me and he really withdrew into himself. I love him like a brother and I do not want to hurt him but I am not sure I can stay with him either as I feel that is not being fair to my dreams.

I have felt like this for a year now and done nothing about it. We don’t argue, we just exist and I want to live not exist. I also don’t know how to leave, I want the girls with me and feel it would be very hard to tell him I want to separate and then ask him to leave the home. He has no where to go and because of the debt I don’t think he could afford to go anywhere. I am stuck just feeling so low and not knowing what to do. I love him but I have not been in love with him for a long long time.

Nippysnippy Tue 11-Oct-11 09:50:29

It sounds like it's over.
He is a grown man and capable of taking care of his own affairs.
It sounds a bit co-dependent and more like a mother/son dynamic.
You need to get some legal advice and move the situation on.
It's hard for everyone but never impossible.
It would be fairer to both of you to find better relationships.

sunshineandbooks Tue 11-Oct-11 09:58:30

Poor you. Please stop feeling guilty. No one has the right to tell you that you should be happy with a relationship that has x, y, z. You are an individual and you have the right to your own thoughts, desires and feelings, regardless of other people's approval. It doesn't matter if you leave him because he's boring or because he's been beating you up every weekend for the last 6 years. The point is that if you are so desperately unhappy in a relationship then it's ok to leave. That is absolutely not the same thing as 'giving up too easily' or 'walking out for no good reason', which is what I'm guessing is going round in your head. Some people can settle for boredom and stability because the stability is what they value most in a relationship. If you're not one of those people, however, it becomes truly soul-destroying in the same way someone else might feel if they discovered their H was having an affair.

If you do still love him, but the spark has just gone, is it worth trying to get marriage guidance counselling? Some organisations offer a sliding scale of fees, and if you're in quite a lot of debt then you might even get it for free. If the truth is that you want out but you're struggling to justify it (to yourself or to others), you may still find that counselling gives you some clarity on things.

It sounds like your H could do with some as well TBH. Either he's mildly depressed or he's seriously lacking in motivation and being overwhelmingly needy (*He has no interests and very few friends, his life is the family. He has no ambition, no drive* and *He said all he wanted was me and he really withdrew into himself.*). That all sounds incredibly burdensome. It's not fair of him to place all responsibility for his personal happiness on your shoulders. That's not the sign of a healthy, well-rounded individual and it could be exactly this sort of behaviour that's responsible for all the problems in your life, not just your marriage. I bet he's a head-in-the-sand type, which probably partly accounts for your debt accrual as well. Counselling may well help him with this (though it could take years to take effect and you are under no obligation to hang around while he does it. He should do it for himself, not for you).

You only get one life. And it's short. We all have dreams and ambitions we cannot fulfil for sensible, valid reasons. But if yours are achievable and the only thing holding you back is an able-bodied, fully functioning adult, then that adult is someone who is a negative influence in your life, not a positive one. You owe it to yourself (and your DC by way of example) to be true to yourself and follow your dreams.

Good luck. smile

perfumedlife Tue 11-Oct-11 10:32:18

Whilst I feel it's not good to stay in a miserable relationship for the sake of children, I can't help but feel you have to take responsibility for this situation too. You went back to him before marriage out of guilt? Guilt for what? Bringing kids into an already unsteady relationship was never the greatest idea (of course you don't regret them). You say you want the dc with you. Well, I'm sure your dh feels pretty similar. Who wins?

Maybe he was always Mr Steady, Mr Family guy, and it's you who's changed. That happens. But I struggle to see why he has to be the one to leave and live without his kids, and I see you are finding that difficult to ask. Maybe you do owe the marriage a shot at therapy before deciding for sure, at least then you will have less guilt and know you have really tried.

Can I ask how he makes it very hard to support you in your dreams? Is he putting you down, or showing no interest in you?

GypsyMoth Tue 11-Oct-11 10:35:21

Is he main carer of the dc?

MGIB33 Tue 11-Oct-11 12:11:32

We are a family so we both look after the children. We both work full time.

Perfumedlife, i felt guilty for causing him so much unhappiness and seeing his pain hurt me too so i felt the best way to fix it was to go back and try again and we both made commitments to change but in the long term we have reverted to who we are.

I have always had dreams, but they have changed over time. 15 years will do that to a person and as you realise one dream you find another?! In terms of not supporting me, he is content, he is happy plodding along, I believe life is too short to plod and if you want something go after it. I also need someone who can stand on their own 2 feet its very hard making every decision, coming up with ever idea. I have tried to engage him try to get him to tell me what he wants to have his own interests to go out and do more on his own too, i am not asking him to be a full time carer for the girls, but to do things he wants to do in life too, so we support each others ambitions, but he says he doesn't want for much and is happy!

CactusRash Tue 11-Oct-11 12:37:42

MGIB33 I think that perfume was harsh tbh.

It's not as if you haven't tried to make it work.
It's not as if you don't care (otherwise it wouldn't hurt as much).
It's not as if you are not allowed to change and that, if you do, then 'it's all your fault' for the simple reason that everybody changes in 15 years.

I think there are different issues here.
1- you would like him to 'do things' as you are, having some ambition and drive. Is it because seeing him so passive is annoying you? Or do you feel unconfortable at seeing him being content with his family whilst you are driven to do lot fo other things? In fairness, you shouldn't ask him to change who he is (as little ambition). but if the issue is that he totally passive in all his interactions so that you always have to take all the decisions, then I think you have grounds to ask to do something about it. No the least because yu should be a team made of 2 adults, not one adult loking after one man child and children.
2- What are your aims in life, the things that are really important to you and what you aspire to? What about him? Are these aspirations compatible?
Do you think the issue is that these aspirations can be compatible but you were expecting your H to have the same ones?
It look slike you are looking for very different things and that you might not be compatible.

perfumedlife Tue 11-Oct-11 15:41:49

Probably was harsher than I meant to be, sorry MGIB33. I'm just trying to respect you by giving you the truth and not platitudes. I think family breakdown is very sad, of course sometimes inevitable. Just thought counselling, which I seldom do reccommend, may have been beneficial, if for no other reason than allowing you to leave without the huge guilt burden.

sunshineandbooks Tue 11-Oct-11 16:15:03

I think this is the crux of the problem:

I also need someone who can stand on their own 2 feet its very hard making every decision, coming up with ever idea.

This isn't a partnership. It's a drain on MGIB33. Having once been married to a similar guy (lovely chap, but a bit of an ostrich and hardly a go-getter), I know first-hand how exhausting this is - always having to be the one coming up with the solutions to problems, paying the bills, etc. What it took me a long time to realise was that this is selfish behaviour. Like my XH I'm sure MG's DH doesn't intend to have this effect on his DW, but unless he changes his behaviour and starts behaving like an equal partner instead of a child, he is being selfish. Ignorance is no excuse, even if it makes it understandable.

If you constantly have to mother your partner, respect soon leaves a relationship. How you can respect a fully functioning grown man who metaphorically needs his bum wiping all the time?

MGIB33 Tue 11-Oct-11 17:25:51

No offense taken Perfumedlife! Its healthy to have different views!

Sunshineandbooks its nice to have someone who relates and i think that is key to the issues, he is wonderful and perfect, never raises his voice, treats me with utter respect and hopes things will mellow in time as opposed to facing them! Sometime i just want to shout and get it all out. I also want him to make decisions, that is the hardest part of all. It is draining having spent years making all the plans, coming up with all the ideas or having to feel the need to sanction his before he will do anything. What did you do sunshineandbooks, (if you don't mind sharing, i would be really interested). It seems everyone loves my DH and wants someone like him but unfortunately and sadly i don't know if i want someone like this anymore! In one way it breaks my heart to think that if i do go how he will be, i know he is an adult but part of me thinks if i go, he may find his spine and develop in a way that he may not see initially but could lead both of us to a happier horizon!

jasper Tue 11-Oct-11 18:10:46

How would you feel if he wanted to separate but he wanted the girls with him?
Why should you get to have the children with you?
Seems very cruel to turf a parent out of their home and family. How would you feel if it was you?

Notquitegrownup Tue 11-Oct-11 18:19:24

Just want to back the suggestion of couples counselling, seeing relate - even if you go along, looking for a way out. You will need to work together afterwards in terms of parenting your children, and it will let your h believe that you are prepared to invest some time in your relationship and to give it a little time before pulling the plug completely.

Your post reminds me strongly of a friend who left her dh. He very sadly killed himself shortly afterwards - not a cry for help, he really didn't want to go it alone. I'm not saying this to frighten you, but if your h is so dependent and content with family life, your departure will be devestating to him. Your children will benefit so much more if you can manage to separate in a way which gives him chance to come to terms with it and to realise that he will still have a valuable role to play as a father afterwards . . .

GypsyMoth Tue 11-Oct-11 18:20:01

Jasper.... I was also thinking along those lines too. As the lower earner, he would have maintenance costs also on top of relocating costs, new place, starting from scratch etc.

But courts are giving more shared residency these days, so you may find a starting point for access will be 50/50

sunshineandbooks Tue 11-Oct-11 18:22:17

MG I don't mind you asking at all, though I'm afraid you might not like the answer, which is I divorced him. He did take it badly initially and I did worry terribly about him and feel awful guilt. But it was without doubt the absolute best thing to do for both of us and if you asked him now I'm sure he'd say the same thing (he is now happily married to someone else).

In my case it was made easier because of our extremely precarious finances. I was the only one with a steady, full-time job, whereas he drifted from one part-time job to another, sometimes with no income at all, occasionally interspersed with self-employed business ideas that always folded and resulted in debts that I had to pay off as I was the only one earning enough to do so. The final straw came when he came up with a 'wonderful business idea' that he wanted to finance with a loan using our house as security.

If I was to describe my XH I'd say he's one of life's dreamers. In another world, with the right set of circumstances, one of his dreams probably could make his fortune. The world needs dreamers - their off-the-wall ideas are sometimes the ones that turn out to be the iphones of the future, etc. The trouble is, it's bloody hard living with these people as they tend to leave the ordinary mundane things (like buying food and earning enough money to pay the mortgage and gas bill) to their partners. It's ok for a while but it is selfish to expect anyone to do this long-term.

I say all this as if my XH was some kind of creative innovator, whereas the truth was that he lacked the ambition and drive to succeed in any conventional field so was trying his luck at one of his own making. He would never come up with anything spontaneous for us to do as a recreational activity, and left to his own devices would spend all weekend reading/watching TV/playing computer games, though would always happily do whatever I wanted him to do if I asked. He wasn't a sponging 'cocklodger' type, just a hapless but highly agreeable man who had spent his whole life surrounded by strong women who had looked after him and so didn't know how to take control himself.

I guess that in the end I just got fed up of being more like his mother than his wife. As I couldn't make him change his behaviour without fundamentally changing his personality, I recognised that the best thing to do was for us to call time on our marriage. I couldn't face the thought that if something happened to me (e.g. a long-term illness), our whole lives would fall apart because he was incapable of handling it all for even the shortest period of time.

Like I say, it was difficult, but after the initial hurt and anger on his part we divorced reasonably amicably and parted on good terms. People who lack the energy to take control of their life are rarely capable of sustaining anger either, which is at least one silver lining to this particular cloud. I'd say your DH will probably react in much the same way.

Sorry for the essay. smile

sunshineandbooks Tue 11-Oct-11 18:50:00

I don't think you can really understand how draining it is to live with a grown man who you have to look after like a child unless you've been in that situation. It is mentally exhausting. I'm a single parent of two now but my life now is easier that when I didn't have children and was married to XH. Not least because I know my DC will grow up and be less dependent on me, whereas my XH's dependency on me would have stretched far into the future...

And no way should the OP have to stay with a man because of a potential suicide risk. While it's horrible, sad and all the rest of it, that's not the OP's responsibility. If her H's psyche is so fragile that's something only he can sort out. To lay responsibility for it at the OP's door is manipulative and emotional blackmail.

What they do with the DC is a completely different matter. The OP hasn't said he's a SAHD though, just that she's the primary earner. I suspect that the OP probably bears the brunt of responsibility for organising everything to do with the DC too, and that she'd be quite happy to establish with a residency arrangement that mirrors the level of care each parent currently provides, whether that's 50/50 or 70/30 one way or the other. She's not talking about kicking him out on his ear to live in a cardboard box and denying him from ever seeing his DC again.

MGIB33 Wed 12-Oct-11 14:33:29

Jasper are you suggesting i stay unhappy like this. It would be him i leave not the girls and i certainly don't want them thinking i left them, that would not be the case!

Longer term i would happily look at shared custody i have no problem with that but i am talking short term not long term!

MGIB33 Wed 12-Oct-11 14:38:17

Sunshineandbooks thanks so much for sharing and for your honesty it really helps, and for your words of support and encouragement. Its trul appreciated. Thank you!

Notquitegrownup Wed 12-Oct-11 14:44:49

Sunshine, no one has suggested that MG should stay with her husband because of a potential vulnerability/suicide risk. I stated that the Op reminded me very much of my friends situation and advised therefore that trelate/counselling might enable her and him to move on without all of the additional pain and hurt my friend and her children suffered.

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