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How do you know for sure that you should leave?

(431 Posts)
Apty Sat 01-Sep-12 21:59:21

Relationships are full of good and bad. What do you do when you are confused about the balance and how bad it really is?

My instincts tell me to leave sometimes, and then at other times that seems like the worst thing to do.

Do you reach a point when you know?

akaemmafrost Sun 02-Sep-12 13:50:18

I think for me it was when no matter what I was doing I was thinking about the relationship and how unhappy I was. So I'd be out running and thinking about, talking to my Mum and friends about it, waiting for him to come home from work and dreading it. Even out having dinner and drinks I would be thinking about it or talking about it. It's no way to live.

Apty Sun 02-Sep-12 13:57:18

I can't compare my pros and cons though - maybe because i'm not on my own yet so the unknown is hard to imagine. I know that now, dealing with someone who is depressed is hard, but I worry a lot about how i'll cope financially and with the children and all the practical things.

lost i relate to everything you say - I feel the same. I can't always work out if this hurt and achey feeling is because of the relationship or the ending of it anymore. Are you still in that corner or are you any closer to deciding.

Agree, depression is catching - it's a very convincing state of mind to be around and it isolates you from other people - the world is just a difficult place full of bad things about to happen and it keeps you stuck and not moving on or enjoying life. I would like to believe that leaving will free me from that sense of fear and worry - but what if it doesn't? I'll just feel like that, but on my own.

aka - i guess i have been there for a long time too.

SmallSherryforMedicinal Sun 02-Sep-12 14:12:55

Hi everyone, long-time lurker just wanting to say hello and so much of what many of you are saying resonates so deeply with me...
I'm in nowhere-land, constant ache inside - it's bloody awful. I'm financially completely screwed and my husband is a great dad - he's probably better at parenting than I am, so how can I take the kids. And he won't go, so we're trapped
Long story that I haven't the energy to tell right now - just wanted to empathise with all of you who share this awful in-between place

ladyWordy Sun 02-Sep-12 14:18:48

If I tell you the bad things then it certainly sounds very abusive, but all the everyday stuff in between isn't at all.

Sorry to say, this is completely normal in an abusive relationship, and lies at the heart of the confusion about what to do. 

For onlookers it's clear (because he will almost certainly get worse.... It's a highly predictable behaviour pattern)..... But only you, Apty, can make the decisions. If you aren't in counselling yourself, it's worth seeing if you can have some sessions while you think things through. Take care brew

imonthefone Sun 02-Sep-12 14:26:31

someone said to me once, you leave a marriage when it is more painful to stay than it s to leave

I think its true sad

EdMcDunnough Sun 02-Sep-12 14:27:16

I think I knew when I found that the way we were living, or behaving to each other, wasn't how I wanted my life to be - I knew I could not live with that sort of thing going on.

Thankfully it was very early in the relationship so I got out before it became full scale abusive. He was puzzled - to him, quite a high level of arguing, and abuse, and I later found out actual violence, was normal sad and to me it was not.

So it was pretty clear cut to me. I take a hard line with bullshit/drunkenness/lying, and it was a very easy decision for which I have had no regrets whatsoever - just that I should have done it even sooner.

I was in a relationship once that made me very, very unhappy but equally very, very happy so that was more difficult - it didn't involve the same sort of abuse but it was a real head fuck. I stayed in it for four years - then he left - and I felt like I had been killed, for a while. I missed him so much.

Now I am in touch with him again I know that he is destructive, and I do not miss him. I am a stronger person without him. I just had to stop blaming myself I think. It is very hard to leave when you actually love someone.

Apty Sun 02-Sep-12 15:04:37

Yes love certainly complicates things a lot.

I can't understand how I can love someone who also can make me so sad.
It's hard to come to terms with love not being enough. I don't know what it is or what it means. Mabye it's just sharing my life with him for so long and having children - and sometimes I wonder if it's going through awful times with him - caused by him - that have created a bond, but not a healthy bond that makes me feel good or loved. And feeling responsible for him because he doesn't have anyone else in his life.

I wonder sometimes if I've concentrated too hard on the bad things in order to justify leaving - or if i've ignored the bad things in order to justify staying.

I have been going to counselling - but things are no clearer. Sometimes they are, but then the clarity goes again and I'm left feeling guilty and full of doubt.

Sherry - i've thought that too, about him being the better parent - but do you think that if he wasn't there, and you were free to parent without that awful feeling you have - that you'd be a better parent? I wonder that all my insecurities about being a rubbish mother are because I'm so unhappy, maybe without that I'd be so much better. I hope so anyway.

amillionyears Sun 02-Sep-12 15:13:58

Are you able to have a break alone,perhaps for say 3 days.
It sounds like you need to clear your head,so you can see the wood from the trees.

Apty Sun 02-Sep-12 15:28:58

I have got away without him a lot in the last couple of months - sometimes things are clearer again for a while but when I come home it's confusing again.

SmallSherryforMedicinal Sun 02-Sep-12 15:52:53

It's desperately confusing, esp in a situation where the kids are ok, it's terrifying to think of messing up their lives - for what? So that I can be happy or free. It seems so selfish. It's a total quagmire and I keep losing my resolve and the personal energy needed to claw back some of the children's attention. I find myself hiding away from all of them in my own home. I'm seeing a counsellor but feel so weak and lost and that's just not who I am.

Apty Sun 02-Sep-12 16:02:16

That's so familiar Sherry (hug)
The thing people have said to me, is that it's important for children to have a happy mother, being free IS important, feeling ok and not miserable is important isn't it? We're role models - I don't want to have my children grow up to think that women have to just suck it up for the sake of everyone else and be miserable to keep the status quo. I want girls who grow up to be brave and strong and happy.

(I can say this to you and really mean it - applying this stuff to ourselves is much harder isn't it?)

Athendof Sun 02-Sep-12 16:46:18

"Yes love certainly complicates things a lot. "

Oh yes it does, but please be careful to notice that one thing is "love" and another one "charitable work". So if there is just the later and not the former... well that is staying out of duty remember you are not a saint and neither should you become a martir of some other people's problems.

Respect for yourself and your needs is the way to go, while respecting his of course but keeping an eye on the balance. If that sound too selfish... I recommend you to set a date by which you will take serious steps to leave if things do not improve. (I even got a ring to remind me of that date... I still wear it, I call it my "freedom ring" not that I really needed it though... the date is still printed in my mind)

amillionyears Sun 02-Sep-12 16:49:00

Apty,so what do you think and feel you should do,when you are away?

ThistlePetal Sun 02-Sep-12 16:56:17

Hi, marking my place here as I am also struggling with this decision. Have downloaded the "Too Good to Stay...." book (thanks for the recommend smile ) and it's very interesting reading so far.

I posted here a few weeks ago that I felt I was really looking for permission to leave as there's no abuse as such, merely years of neglect (years from him, more recently from me too), nothing in common, no joy, no intimacy etc.
We're 4 weeks into relationship counselling, and I've been waiting for some sort of epiphany to shift my mindset from "I don't want to do this any more" to "This is worth me investing time and effort". It hasn't happened, but the book tells me that that's not to say I should leave... I'd say counselling has been great for getting us to talk openly about our feelings, but I'm quite horrified at how withdrawn I've become from our relationship and worse still, horrified that I don't even feel I want to fix it.

So I'm currently even more confused! Don't want to look back and have regrets at not having tried hard enough, but at the same time I hate this period of limbo which I think is so damaging for both of us and the children. I feel I know my answer..... But what if I'm wrong? The book says I should know the answer by its end.... I'll report back when I've worked through it.

Good luck to all of you going through the same thing - it is painful, but hopefully each of us will find a way through it and come out the other side, whether that means we stay or we go.

out2lunch Sun 02-Sep-12 17:04:26

well for me it was much more of a mid life crisis type thing

we had been together for twenty odd years - our silver wedding anniversary was approaching and i just couldn't feel true to myself 'celebrating' that event, i also felt that i would feel like that when my dcs got married sometime in the future that our relationship wouldn't be a very good template for marriage

also i looked at the things i didn't like about my dh and though if he really hasn't changed in the last twenty years he really is not likely to in the next twenty

a few events pushed us over the edge but it also felt like the end when i felt that things would be much better if i was out of the relationship

Apty Sun 02-Sep-12 17:22:45

amillionyears - that depends who i'm with and talking to. Lately I've finally admitted to all the hard and unacceptable bits of this relationship - and when i've spoken to friends, i feel clear that i can't live with it anymore.

When I'm with people who know us both and I'm not able to be honest about all the things that have happened, I don't really know what I want to do and I can see him through their eyes and know he's a good person.

When I'm around him and he's being nice and kind and great with the children, I feel guilty for talking to anyone. When I'm around him and he's being introverted and difficult and strange and unpredictable, I know I can't keep going with it all because it won't change.

I think that I have made my decision - and he is going to go, I just have overwhelming fear that I've been too hasty or am jeapardising my children's future or that I won't cope on my own or that I'm wrong about how bad it's been, or i've made this all into something that it isn't, or that i'm throwing things away without trying hard enough.

thistlepetal - permission to leave is exactly what i've thougth i needed - but when people give it to you, you still can't believe them.

out2lunch - was it how you hoped it would be? Are you happier?

out2lunch Sun 02-Sep-12 17:31:38

its different apty - i think it will be better in the long term as i know i have made the right decision and i would def not go back but really you just change one set of problems for a whole load of new ones

i am now free to meet someone else and that is what i wanted so that's good - i have to see my ex quite a lot due to the dcs so it is quite difficult in that respect but i am hoping that will change as time goes on

ThistlePetal Sun 02-Sep-12 18:22:54

I too have been given permission - I know this - but it still doesn't help, does it? I guess it's because no-one can actually say whether things will turn out alright. And we don't want to do it so it'll be just alright anyway, we want things to be better - for everyone.

I think what I'm struggling with most has already been said by another here - if I stay, I feel I'm sacrificing my own long term happiness. If I go, I might be sacrificing 4 people's happiness including my own. It just seems too selfish to go. But then it seems pathetic to stay on that basis too, and are the other 3 currently happy anyway? Clearly not.

Need to carry on reading that book for now.... Hugs to you.

ThistlePetal Sun 02-Sep-12 18:33:30

Out2lunch I totally agree with your point about modelling a template for marriage that you wouldn't want for your DCs. Do you mind me asking, did you try to change things, e.g. through counselling, before you made your decision? Sorry, i don't mean to pry.

It's just that I can see from our counselling sessions that there are changes I could make which might make day to day life in our family better - but I feel too resentful at the moment to make changes, and especially since DH is banging on about all the changes he wants to make, but hasn't actually put in place yet. It feels like backing down, which I think would pave the way to things going back to exactly as they were before.

Apty I feel like I'm hijacking now, if this isn't useful to you I will start my own thread!

Apty Sun 02-Sep-12 18:47:12

Thistle everything everyone is saying is really useful - please feel free to hijack as much as you like!

I've not wanted to do counselling because I feel like i've had years of listening and trying and seeing everything from his point of view - his mindset really gets me down though, I just don't want to do it. I don't feel much hope that he'll be able to grasp the impact of his illness on me either, so I don't really see the point. He has lots of ideas of the things that I need to do to make things work better but after putting up with things I shouldn't have to - why should I keep being the one to change?

I don't even feel hostility towards him, I just want to not consider him in everything I do anymore because the pressure is too much.

Coconutter Sun 02-Sep-12 18:52:18

Can I join? I feel so unhappy. Took my wedding ring off to have a blitz on the garden for a couple of days and I just don't want to put it back on. That's never happened before. sad

Trouble is, I do love him - I think I always will - and we were always, in our and everybody else's eyes, 'meant' to be together. I feel like I'd be such a failure if the 'golden couple' split. And he's not abusive, he's lovely. But I'm just not happy. I think about living on my own, and I feel relief. If I found out he were having an affair I think I'd feel relieved that we could both find someone more suited to each other. He disagrees, says I'm his whole world. But I just don't know what to do, and as we don't have children and I'm not getting any younger I don't want to realise in ten years that I should have left.

Apty Sun 02-Sep-12 19:04:34

That sounds really hard - especially if you feel like you have to make that choice before you miss the chance to find someone you could start a family with. Can you imagine it being ok with him? Are there things he could do to make the relationship good enough - or are you sure of your feelings?

What other people see from the outside messes with your head. I've had such varied reactions - everyone sees something different and in the end, it doesn't matter what any of them think.

out2lunch Sun 02-Sep-12 19:17:00

thistle - no counselling ex refused just said i would talk my way around things as i always did apparently.i was in this frame of mind for a few years before taking the plunge - i needed to know if things were going to get better or if it was how i really felt.i have never even contemplated getting back together for one second although weirdly it is the one question everyone asks.

crystalclear70 Sun 02-Sep-12 19:27:42

I was "seeing"! an on-line counsellor, and at one point she was like...what on earth are you doing with him..why don´t you just leave ..I´m finding it hard to see what you are trying to achieve etc...she was trying to be honest but it just did my head in even more. Everyones´ threads are just showing when you are in that situation its not down to logic. Its not just us to think about any more, its a complicated knot . Partner not taking any of the responsibility ,not acknowledging real issues - we are left with "the decision" and the guilt that will bring. But first get yourself strong..counselling, kick-boxing ! , whatever it feel a bit more like you again, because I think whether its make or break time you´ve got to get your strength back...I think your partner has taken a lot of your energy because of his illness - you sounds like a really caring person and have given a lot. It´s time to concentrate on you for a while, and then make your decision if you can...time out from the worrying about what to do at least..he should also respect that space you need..and if he doesn´t then take it anyway...

SmallSherryforMedicinal Sun 02-Sep-12 19:44:25

Just agreeing with crystals post - it seems to be key to try to get back some proper sense of self, to build yourself up somehow - easier said than done. My dh is ever present, he doesn't go out much except for when I'm out myself, it's suffocating.

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