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did I make a huge mistake in leaving my husband?

(59 Posts)
soontobedivorced Sun 26-Aug-12 18:48:16

I keep thinking did I make a huge mistake in leaving my (almost) ex. We have been separated 2 years now, at my initiation, and are partway through our divorce. There was no-one else involved and it took me a long time to come to that decision. He is a good man and would never have been unfaithful, always provided for me and even though he wasn't tactile he did little things that showed me he cared.

But then I felt so trapped in the relationship, we were very dependent on each other, he tended to be moody, withdrawn and critical, didn't want to spend any time with me, and we didn't do each other a lot of good. I wilted with him and lost myself, although did lose a baby and have other babies so this was more to do with this than with him. And since leaving him I have become stronger and more empowered, lost weight, bought myself make-up and new clothes (always had to argue my case for new clothes as he was the breadwinner, I was SAHM, it was always "his" money). I did not fancy him in the least, perhaps because I was so angry at how he was treating me, even now I have no physical desire for him.

But I miss the friendship and the companionship. Being on my own is lonely and I miss him, and all the things he used to do, like bringing me a cup of tea in the morning, or listening to me and helping me see sense and not doing anything stupid socially (I'm emotional and impulsive and he moderated me). But I felt the negatives could never be fixed, and could not imagine going without intimacy with him (emotional and physical) the rest of my life. But I've thrown away my best friend and my security so I'm not sure it was a good trade-off. I doubt he would take me back now even if I wanted as he feels so hurt that I had other relationships since we separated and I can't ever change that. Just think what if I never have such a loving relationship again and maybe I should have done what many women do and just lived without the sex and put up with his crap for the sake of having a faithful companion and security and respectability (I tried to get him to do counselling but he wasn't interested, he hates counselling). I knew it was a big risk when I left him that I would never find that again but having tried to date for the past two years I didn't realise the odds were stacked that much against me and finding another man I'd be happy with seems an impossible task right now. I guess I need to just focus on things that make me happy like getting my career going and doing things I enjoy but I can't get my need for love and intimacy out of my head, even when I'm asleep I dream about being with someone. I worry that maybe I should have settled with what I had...

BillyBollyBandy Sun 26-Aug-12 18:50:24

Get back with him, give it a couple of months and you'd be ready to kill him.

soontobedivorced Sun 26-Aug-12 19:00:43

lol, you reckon?

DoingItForMyself Sun 26-Aug-12 19:17:35

I agree, you didn't come to that decision lightly, you'd had enough and he wasn't willing to try and help you change things.

You miss the idea of him, but you can have that with someone else in the future. You are a different person now, stronger and more confident. Use that to find new hobbies, meet new people and look forward instead of back.

Love and intimacy will happen when you least expect it I'm sure. And if it doesn't, would it really be better to be back where you were, feeling down-trodden and under-valued with someone you don't want to have sex with?

I can't imagine ever going back and much as I would love to meet someone new, I now realise that I can love myself, which I never really did when I was with XH, because he made me feel unlovable, as Whitney once said

"I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I'll live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can't take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all"

Cheesey but true!

soontobedivorced Sun 26-Aug-12 19:31:14

I hope so. At the time it seemed to be better to be alone than to be with him but the reality of it is tough. But at the same time I now have the opportunity to find someone I can be truly happy with and if I had stayed with him I'd never have had that and also would prob still be a doormat smile Everyone I know has said I am a different woman without him. But being a single mum is def not the easy option!

HildaHotPants Sun 26-Aug-12 19:36:35

How does he feel?

dequoisagitil Sun 26-Aug-12 19:44:57

You sound like you are doing really without him in your life.

I think you're bound to have misgivings - ending a marriage isn't lightly done. And doing everything as an LP is no picnic.

But I think you should carry on the path you're on, not go back - you were unhappy and he dragged you down, made you feel bad, didn't treat you well. That dynamic won't have changed.

dequoisagitil Sun 26-Aug-12 19:45:21

really well without

soontobedivorced Sun 26-Aug-12 19:55:41

And DoingItForMyself thank you for the lyrics smile

How does he feel? I have no idea. He never talks to me about his feelings. Over the first few months after we separated he said he was going to fight for me, but I have no idea what that meant as he didn't do anything. He wrote me a couple of cards - but rather pointedly they talked all about "wanting" me...but no mention of the "love" word whatsoever.

From what I have gathered on rare conversations, he's said, at various different times, that I won't find anyone better than him out there...that us being separated means he can date other people and did I care about that (no)...that it doesn't matter how he feels as I don't love him any more anyway...that divorce was inevitable and if I hadn't initiated it when I did it would have happened at some point...

After we separated, he begged me to do counselling but I was too angry. Three months later I had calmed down a bit and was willing to try, but he said he had "moved on" and no longer wanted to. I repeated the request three more times, the last time before I finally started divorce proceedings, each time he said no.

Mellower Sun 26-Aug-12 20:06:56

Never settle for second best (if it feels that way) alone is not great, making appointments when you can have a bath etc. I miss the intimacy and love but have no place for it right now. I'm unsure where/if it would slide into my life 2 years on. I miss cuddles and foot rubs the most tbh! Oh and a good shoulder rub, I may hire a massuer! Single parenting is never the easy option but can be very fulfilling. smile i am sure

izzyizin Sun 26-Aug-12 20:07:26

And you regard a man like him as being your 'best friend'?

Honey, you need to choose your friends more carefully in future.

As to whether you'll live out your life alone, who knows? It's highly unikely but, if it comes to pass, you'll be infinitely better off alone than stuck in an unfulfilling relationship that does nothing to enhance your life and hinders your personal growth.

You wanna a cuppa made for you in the morning? Buy a Teasmade grin

soontobedivorced Sun 26-Aug-12 20:22:51

He was my best friend from the point of view of 20 years' shared life experience, similar sense of humour, sharing the ups and downs of life. But there was a lot of crap as well. In the end the negatives outweighed the positives and people don't change. I know I'm better, stronger, happier without him, and a better mother, but still...I know so many women in crap marriages that stay in them for the security, respectability, children, etc...and I miss being able to share stuff at the end of the day like something funny one of the kids did...

And having a financial safety net vs next to no savings and pressure put on me by the benefits office to get a job (just switched to jobseekers as my youngest is almost 6) and after being a SAHM for all my kids' life now will have to put them with childminders because I have to work. If I can find a job after not working all these years!! I'm looking forward to earning my own money tbh after having to ask permission to spend "his" money but worry about the effect its going to have on the kids sad

OneMoreChap Sun 26-Aug-12 20:26:30

You didn't want to be with him, for whatever reason.

You separated; had other relationships, rejected the initial offer of counselling.

Why hesitate now, you have what you want, move on; it sounds like he is doing so.

soontobedivorced Sun 26-Aug-12 21:16:37

I am trying to, its just, like dequoisagitil said, we're going through the final stages of our divorce now and its an settling time full of what-ifs and lots of emotions to process (hence I'm grateful to be able to sound off on here).

My gut feel is that if I begged him to come back he would. That he rejected my subsequent offers of counselling out of fear of being hurt again, and quite rightly so. My gut feel, knowing him well, is that if I begged enough now he would give it another go. Because he is insecure and doesn't believe he can find anyone else and was as dependent on me as I was on him, so I don't think he has fully moved on. But I don't think that would be the right decision for any of us.

soontobedivorced Sun 26-Aug-12 21:17:03

unsettling - not settling

OneMoreChap Sun 26-Aug-12 21:23:12

Not to be unkind.

You've had other relationships and you'd miss having a financial safety net.

Doesn't sound really, really fair to ask him back, does it?

soontobedivorced Sun 26-Aug-12 22:08:20

He has had other relationships also. We were separated, nothing unusual there.

And I did say earlier its not so much the safety net (although that is the downside of being a LP) its the friendship and the companionship I miss. And I still love him. Just tried for many many years to make it work and it didn't.

something2say Mon 27-Aug-12 09:37:16

It reads to me as though you 'jumped' and are now afraid of the flight...... I think this is very common. The reality of what we do is sometimes hardcore, but we still have to do it.

I would let the marriage go and then maybe be friends with him in years to come. You will find a job because you have to.

It also came across that the pair of you were a bit insecure and therefore living in each other's shadow worked. But there comes a time when the pain of staying tight in a bid outweighs the pain of blossoming. Live with the pain for a bit, but turn your mind to ways you personally need to blossom, and then get stuck in.

Good luck x

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Mon 27-Aug-12 10:04:50

soon your marriage and your dh sound so much like mine, even the cup of tea in the morning. I'm separating soon and shit scared and suffering agonies of guilt and indecision. Worried about loneliness, managing. I'm worried I will feel as you do in two years. I have oscillated between being adamant I want out and trying to reach out to my husband and offer an olive branch. But I don't think he can change and he would need to do a lot of work on himself to be the kind of partner who makes me happy. He's not up to it, I don't think. Was anti-counselling then suggested it when I wanted a divorce. I'd been not waving but drowning for years.

If he can't, I'd rather be on my own. I know what you mean about the shared history and realising that you still love someone, the horrible mix of emotions. This was 'what I wanted' but I underestimated the pain I would feel and the fear. Your feelings of regret are understandable, but look at all the things you have done for yourself since you separated, your improved self esteem etc. If you met a lovely new bloke tomorrow you wouldn't look back (not that this is the answer).

The poster who said it is the idea of him you miss, not the real person is so right. We are conditioned to forget bad memories, and to remember good ones.

Don't know what the answer is, but it's common to value things the most when you are about to lose them and you are bound to be very emotional when your divorce is on the verge of happening.

Wish you all the best.

DoingItForMyself Mon 27-Aug-12 10:09:29

You're allowed to work part-time/term time if it helps, you don't have to put your DCs with child-minders. I went through a similar thing, worrying that my life would suddenly change and that I would have to move house, get a rubbish job to make ends meet etc.

The reality is that I'm able to work part-time doing a job I really enjoy, with the financial help I get as a LP and H's contribution I should be able to stay in my home (he wants that stability for the DCs) and I have time with the DCs on his days to work extra hours or spend time on hobbies.

It doesn't have to be an awful situation (for me it helps that I felt like a LP even when H lived here as he wasn't very involved, to put it mildly). Yes there will be a few sacrifices financially, but its worth it for my freedom.

WRT meeting someone else, once you are happier in yourself you'll be in a better frame of mind to meet someone new. Work on making yourself happy before you worry about getting involved with someone else's needs and wants.

DoingItForMyself Mon 27-Aug-12 10:17:03

Tired, if you're lucky you will feel like I do instead - this is the best thing for all of us, H is happy with his own space, the DCs spend a lot more time with him than they ever have before and don't have to live in an atmosphere of bickering and oppression, I get me-time, no-one judging and criticising, financial independence (well, some of it is his money, but he can't tell me how to spend it anymore!) and I've even been on a couple of dates!

The worst time was once we had decided to split up but he still lived here, it was agony and I honestly felt like someone had died (and actually they had - it was him, the man I thought I'd married who had disappeared and been replaced by someone I didn't' know anymore). I would drive out in the middle of the night to a layby and just howl so my crying didn't wake the DCs. Once he left it was so much better, like a weight had lifted. The past few months have been difficult, getting everything sorted with bills, benefits, paperwork etc, but I don't regret it one bit.

I wish I'd done it years ago! Separation may be the end of something you once thought was forever, buts its also the beginning of the rest of your life, so embrace the challenge to make the next few years better than the last. x

crazyhead Mon 27-Aug-12 10:34:45

When I split up from my ex, I had feelings like yours for 2 or 3 years. I am now with somebody who is right for me and I know that the feelings were just the doubt you feel when you haven't been with the right person yet.

I didn't have kids with ex which is clearly a far easier scenario, but at the same time, you thought long and hard about this decision and from what you describe, it sounded like a fairly miserable set up despite efforts from you. It isn't as though you just had some precipitous affair - you made your best and most reasoned judgement.

Hard as it is, I think you should have respect for the former you who left even though it was tough and made that judgement. I also think you have to be realistic about time frames - 2 years isn't that long to get over such a long relationship, but at 4 years things may well feel very different.

Of course it is unrealistic to think one can be riotously happy all the time, and of course you'll need to make compromises in any future relationship, but there is a warmth and contentment that is perfectly possible in a relationship and you didn't appear to have with your ex.

Lizzabadger Mon 27-Aug-12 10:44:32

I wonder if you are still having a lot of contact with him and this is stopping you from moving on?

soontobedivorced Mon 27-Aug-12 11:00:21

something2say that is exactly it - we were very dependent on each other and rather than blossoming, we wilted. I've definitely been a stronger happier person for standing on my own two feet even though it has been terrifying at times, and everyone who knows me can see I have changed for the better.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange I was terrified also, we had to share a house for 18 months after separating and the tension was terrible, towards the end I was having headaches every day, neither of us felt relaxed in our own home. Now we have separate homes it has been so much better. But the day he moved out I just crumpled onto the kitchen floor and sobbed my heart out. Had a month or two of fear and sadness but then it settled down, and like DoingItForMyself says, it was like a weight had been lifted, and I gradually became more empowered as I found my inner strength and did more things that I had never done before because he had always done them smile

DoingItForMyself the problem is I need some money coming and and I need it asap, I can't manage on benefits. So I need to keep my options open re job hours, but once in a job I'm guessing it would be easier to look for another one and if full-time is just awful for all of us I can keep looking for part-time. The trouble is, that's what most mums want.

soontobedivorced Mon 27-Aug-12 11:02:39

Lizzabadger I have very little contact with him, he sees the kids every week and so I see him at pick-up and drop-off but conversation is kept to a minimum, we keep all communications to the kids and house. I have no idea how he is feeling or what is happening with his dating life. But at the brink of completing our divorce, when it all seems so final, and when I do still care for him, its bound to arouse strong emotions I guess.

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