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Being destroyed by guilt(30 Posts)
After years of unhappiness and 13 years married, dh and I are separating. We did Relate years ago. Our relationship is empty, but he would tolerate it. I can't.
The family home is for sale, and we have been living in it together for the past six months since we agreed to separate. I just got the keys to my new house, bought with a loan from family members, which will be paid back when we sell.
It's a lovely house, big and characterful. The pressure is on now to sell fh, and what's left will determine what dh can buy. He will stay in fh until it's sold. It's a flat market and little interest He will only be able to afford a small, modern house (fh is big, Edwardian, in a posh area so it's going to be a real come-down).
I've told him I want him to have our cottage in the sticks - as compensation, if you like. It's always been in my name. This makes us sound really privileged, but we are much less well off than we used to be, in fact things are very uncertain and scary because of the recession. His business is more than struggling and all we will have left is equity and a bit of capital. I was a SAHM for years and am studying now.
I feel so guilty. I want to look to the future and my new home, but I feel racked with guilt about dh. He's not a bad man, and is a great dad, but is a gaslighter and passive aggressive. I can't be myself with him at all and am constantly in a state of low level anxiety because I don't know what he's thinking and he bottles up hostilities. I feel 'disapproved of' in everything I do. I do think he loves me though, he's just crap at showing it. He's 14 years older than me, and been married before (no kids). He's devoted to our children.
I feel he is really angry because I'm trying to move on - he's resisted separating for ages - and I feel I am leaving him middle aged, unloved, living in a little box while things are going terribly wrong at work. There's no-one else involved. Kids seem fine but it's all sad and a big sense of failure.
Then I tell myself he's not doing too badly as these things go. I will let him have as much custody as he likes, we will live close to each other, and I am taking about half what we own.
But then I feel I did nothing to earn any of this and because it's not what he wants I feel I'm taking him to the cleaners. I felt suicidal a lot in my marriage - no way out, couldn't bring myself to break up the family - and just want to be happy and a good mum, to finish my studies and support myself, but I feel like a criminal now.
The new house needs a bit of sorting out and we have a lifetime of shared stuff to sort out in the old one. But I almost feel I can't bring myself to move out and he's dreading the day we do anyway.
Anyone else felt like this/been in this position?
When your a nice person who doesnt deliberatly cause people angst and anxiety it comes as standard to still feel this way about the person who has done nothing but that to you.
You say he isnt a bad man, but to be honest if he was a good man you wouldnt be on this site telling us how wretched you feel, think hard also about whether he is fanning this feeling with his behaviour and you wanting to give him more than he is due? after all you will have the kids to look after, and as youve intemated this isnt of your choosing, youve been left with no other choice.
If you are in a position to pay for it, or even find a local place that offers counselling, I would proceed down that path, while you are feeling like this can leave you open to suggestion and might get you doing things that are not in yours or your kids best insterest, he made his bed he has to live with it.
all the best
It's always sad when relationships end and, if you feel you've been the one taking the initiative to call time, then I'm sure you're bound to have regrets. But it takes two to make a relationship work and it was clearly very unhappy for a very long time. He is now able to make a life for himself and so are you. Neither of you are now responsible for the other's happiness. You are both independently responsible for yourselves. If he chooses to waste time casting around trying to pin blame, that's his problem. If you choose to accept his blame rather than work on a new future and leave the marriage difficulties in the past, that's your's.
Taking half: you have been a SAHM and so your employment/earnings prospects are bound to be be very reduced compared with your DH's and/or where your own prospects would have been had he been the one to stay home with the DC. On that basis, you should be taking more than half of the marital assets for it to be fair in the future and into old age so do not feel guilty. Just because you worked in the home, and he worked out of it, does not mean that all the assets are his or that he worked any harder than you did.
He will have another chance. He is not a child and will no longer be your responsibility. You sound like you tried but you cannot stay in a relationship that makes you feel suicidal at points.
Sorry, I have never been in your position but I can imagine it is gut renching and heart breaking. I believe that the time of splitting up is the hardest but that most people are happier a year after divorce then they were the year before divorce. I hope that proves true for you.
Thanks to those who have responded, it's very helpful. Dh and I had it all at the beginning, but he has always been much harder on me than anyone else in his life (friends, family members). Irony is that I think he does love me but he is crap at relationships - had an awful history when I met him.
I feel he is never 'on my side' and I can't live with the anxiety and erosion of self esteem any more. He made me very unhappy. I haven't been very nice to him for the last few years, but it's been because I've wanted to leave and he's made it very difficult. He has tried to change as well, but it's been too little, too late.
Because I have instigated this I am seen as 'the villain', when God knows, I tried really hard to make it work and have stuck with it for years. I resent being cast as the villain and feel I have to shoulder the guilt though I know it's not all mine iyswim. I don't think he will ever accept responsibility for our marriage ending because he couldn't bear admitting to himself what a cock up he's made of things. He feels like what is happening is the end of the world, much easier to blame me than himself. Guiltypleasures you are right he is fanning this feeling.
But I feel genuinely sorry for him too. He had a toxic dad who screwed him up and though he's damaged me a lot, he is losing everything he holds dear and it's horrible.
Im not sure if you are posting to see if there is anything that can be done about the marriage.
Or probably to discuss with people who are feeling guilty and have been in your position.
Probably the latter.
Havent been there.But in case it is the former at all,I dont suppose if you bought him some self help books about realtionships,that he would actually read any? or change any of his behaviours?or even if you would go back to him even if he did change.
Glad the kids are fine.Hope everything remains peaceful.
Who is casting you as the villain? Only him, presumably?
You must put yourself first and do what you need to to make a new life for yourself and your children.
"Irony is that I think he does love me but he is crap at relationships"
That's something you hear a lot from people in emotionally abusive relationships.. .'He loves me really. He can't help the way he is. He's just crap at showing it'. Very common.
People like your ex can only control rather than love. They have to dominate to feel secure. They obedience train partners like others train dogs, with threats and rewards. Anything other than unthinking loyalty is treated as betrayal.
You're only 'the villain' because you've stood up and said 'no'.
The thing about it is: he has been given a very clear warning that the way he lives his life (PA, gaslighting) is intolerable to live with, and he could have CHOSEN to dig deep, find out where this horrible behaviour came from and learn how to unlearn this deceit and live a more wholesome person.
He didn't. He chose to cling on to his old learned habits, and protecting himself is more important than being happy.
You are not responsible for this. You didn't cause his way of being, and you don't have to lose yourself in his deeply hidden anger.
He has chosen to carry on rather than meeting you half way.
Did you ever go to counselling at all? That is the one thing I do think is important - not that it is any guarantee of success when people such as your H resist looking at themselves.
And, if you spoke to his first wife, you will probably found that your issues are exactly the issues that drove her mad.
'Divorce gets rid of the person. It doesn't get rid of the problem' - Harville Hendrixx
His loss is not of your doing though....you married a man who forgot to bother cherishing you and caring for you and being interested in you and your needs...he belittled you, ignored you, expected this, that and the next thing....whilst you supported him, supported and facilitated the success of his business and income from it, brought up his children, looked after everyone, sacrificed you own self for them all and made the past years even possible for him, whilst you struggled to maintain something that simply wasn't working out for you in any way....leaving you depressed, suicidal and in a very bad place...
It's time you shook out those wings your own parents encouraged you to grow and made the future for yourself a good one.....and let your children see that nobody should ever go through these things and lie down to something they shouldn't be....there is more ....and have the confidence to go forward and be who you are....it's a very powerful message and you can be honest with your children when the time comes too....
You can feel sympathetic for his own position but it isn't your responsibility to make things work for him anymore....it is time for you to do what is right for you....you have nothing to feel guilty about...you did you best for years and it didn't work out....
Stay strong...you have made great steps towards your future...don't let anything stand in the way of what you know you deserve and want for yourself....no more compromise and losing out...you don't have to be that person anymore....
All the very best to you x
a million I don't think he would read any self help books. He has I think convinced himself that he's a good husband and I'm the one with the problem. It's true I have been more detached from him and gave up trying in recent years and lived my own life more but it was a matter of survival for me. He thinks I should just have 'forgiven and forgotten' all his damaging behaviour but I couldn't and I stopped loving him.
Alibaba, well yes, mainly him. 'My' friends know I've been unhappy for years and think I'm doing the right thing. 'His' friends have all sided with him (I've had no contact from any of them and they've been falling over themselves to invite him and the dc on holiday, etc). To put this into context 'my' friends have always been mine rather than 'ours' because he has always kind of disapproved of my friends and not mixed well with them (age gap may be a factor). 'His' friends we used to socialise with a lot together so I am a bit sad that none of them have even so much as dropped me an email. I feel a bit ostracised.
He has seen my family but I'm not sure I will see his again and I feel sad about that because I love my MIL. I think the general perception is that he is a nice, easygoing guy and I am the difficult one. Irony is that in our relationship it was the opposite. The injustice of it really upsets me
It sounds as if you are a decent person who tried their absolute hardest to make things work and put the importance of maintaining a family unit above your own happiness for a long time. That is probably why you can't help but feel guilty, even though there is no need for it. Please try to put yourself first now, as there is not much more you can do to help your husband. You have gone about things in the best and kindest way you could have, and take some comfort from that.
Thanks so much to those who have responded. It really helps to get some outside views.
It's time you shook out those wings your own parents encouraged you to grow
This made me laugh... They never did that. My mum is toxic, and very critical like dh. I sometimes wonder if I chose him because I was so used to not being good enough I felt comfortable with him. She dominated the family, my dad didn't get a look in.
My mum's led a very unfulfilled life and has given me no support since I said dh and I were separating. I'm finally coming to the conclusion that she actually doesn't want me to be happy. It's hard to understand, I love my own girls so much. But it's kind of liberating too.
well...you still have wings...wherever they came from
You're not taking him to the cleaners. You contributed to family life by running the home and caring for the children. You earned half the assets and you need to provide for the dc.
Don't feel guilty. He was perfectly fine with you being so unhappy you considered suicide at times - that's not a man you owe anything to.
dont listen to those who are asking you to leave its evil from them .try to be patient with your husband may be he is having a dificult time may be he is hiding thinks from you that worries him .talk to you husband or at least try maybe in few days he will feel better and things will get better .any one who is advising to leave is an the devil talking through this person protect your familly by talking to him or his familly or someone that he will listen to
loveandkids you are either a troll, stupid or high as a kite. The OP has spent YEARS trying to get her husband to change and to get him talk YEARS, you sound like you are blaming the op for being unable to stay married to him. Her husband has driven her to the brink of suicide and she should stay with him? Dear God, please crawl back under your rock.
Have my very first loveandbabies. If you had read the thread properly you would know that your advice to try harder, to a woman who has tried so hard to make her relationship work like the OP, even though at some times it has been so bad she has felt suicidal, is really not helpful or appropriate.
I feel like i have just stepped into the 1800's, woman is property, woman will stay with man regardless, man can do no wrong, all womans fault.
loveandkids sounds like a religious nutcase of some sort. Ignore and don't feed.
Loveandkids, I don't know what planet and century you hail from with your weird talk of the devil and your misogynistic views, but you obviously haven't read this thread properly, tired, please pay no attention.
I feel I am leaving him middle aged, unloved, living in a little box while things are going terribly wrong at work
OP, I think you are foreseeing a sad and lonely future for him but ime (albeit of elderly widower relatives) they were snapped up by someone else within a year of losing their partner (and happy to move on quickly .
You don't know what the future holds for either of you so it's pointless fretting about it.
I dont ususally post here but just wanted to say there are soo many similarities in your story to me and that all I can say now, 3 years down the line is that this guilt you are feeling does fade. The guilt you feel just shows you are human and a nice person. Like you my ex was not a bad person but very miss guided as to what a partner should be and that you need something out of the relashionship. My ex and i the last 2 year had become like mates living in a house together. It was my Mum who pulled me aside in the end and said to settle for companionship at her age maybe ok but not at mine, you need to have passion and feel loved, ok so the honeymoon period always dies off but there should always be passing moments of it and if that has died so has the marriage. My guilt when on a long time and i became depressed but also resentful to him as like your ex I was the villan and he the innocent party (had the same with firends too) and he excepted no responsibility in the break up of our relashionship and portrayed me as heartless, if only he knew those first 18 months i survived on 4 hours if lucky of sleep and beat myself up that i was ruining his life. He ended up manipulating my DS and I had to deal with that 'bad mummy left us etc' even though he never did a night feed in his life, it was hard.
I think once you move out and you dont have to be faced with it everyday you will start to get stronger about the choices made and start to feel positive.
I have since now met someone new and can appreciate all what my Mum was saying to me, to have passion and love and feel like a princess is something everyone should experience and now i cant imagine to have gone through life and not had that.
My thoughts are with you, it does pass.
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