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Does anyone understand my difficulty?

(32 Posts)
SeemsSOstraighforward Fri 05-Oct-12 19:45:30

Have name changed.

I don't even like my dh, let alone love him. We've effectively been house sharers for years. I haven't had sex with him for 2 years, yet we sleep in the same bed each night. This came about because he betrayed me in a way that I couldn't, and still can't come to terms with (it wasn't an ow but fundamentally showed me that I could never be a priority for him). I also don't like the way he parents our children (6, 8 and 10) and has on a couple of occasions done things I believe to be dangerous and/or damaging mentally.

There as 2 reasons that I don't ask him to leave. 1. Unless I was prepared to go the whole hog and say that I didn't want him to have contact with the children and why, he would see the dc at weekends. I don't trust him with their well being. 2. Financially our lives, and therefore the lives of the children, would change completely.

So for the last two years it has seemed better to stay with him, where I can keep a close eye on him, and give the children the upbringing that they have become used to.

But that's not sustainable long term really, is it? I confided in a friend the other week about how awful my marriage was (I am belittled and put down constantly, and the children are at best tolerated) and he was astonished and angry that I didn't leave, and hadn't left years ago.

But by staying in the marriage I can keep the children safe and give them all the love and attention that they need. I couldn't guarantee that if we divorced.

I've deliberately been non-specific about much of this because, if I were to leave and contest my dh having any contact with the children, the result would be very very public and have long lasting consequences that might damage the dc further. But I'm slowly being eroded as a person, and I believe my middle child who is pretty perceptive, is beginning to realise that her parents have a rather strained relationship.

Whitecherry Fri 05-Oct-12 19:55:28

Your children will not thank you for this when they are older. Money isn't important. So what if their lives change and they can't have stuff and do as much?

You may think you are doing the right thing, but you aren't.

How old ate they? Children are listened to with regards to contact, as they get older. Maybe they would see their dad for what he is and not want to go. And how do you mean, it would be 'public'? Family courts are private

SeemsSOstraighforward Fri 05-Oct-12 20:09:16

Both my job and my husbands job would mean that any separation would be public. I don't know how family courts work, but if I had to say that I didn't want him to have contact because I didn't like the way he parented, then surely they would need examples, then I imagine ss would need to get involved.

pollyblue Fri 05-Oct-12 20:19:27

You say he barely tolerates the children so do you think he would actually want regular contact with them? And as Whitecherry says, (obv deendent on their ages), they can certainly have a say in whether or not they wish to have contact.

Your situation would drive me mad. To stay together, as friends, in order to continue raising your dcs together in a friendly environment is one thing, but your situation sounds almost torturous. You're guessing that a very public separation might be damaging for your dcs, but going on what you describe here i think it might be the lesser of two evils, in the long run.

Teansympathy Fri 05-Oct-12 20:21:15

Honey there is a way out of this woman do have choices these days to leave their husbands with their kids with them, you can contact WOMANS AID they are amazing and reading your situation I think you would find them more than helpful and sympathetic to your life, a friend of mine has recently gone through a break up of marriage after sticking it for 20 years beleiving it was easier for the kids lifestyle, but now realises it was wrong and made the move with the help and support of these wonderful woman, I know it is not everybodys ideal move to make but if you feel you can not go on please think of yourself and take stock as to how you will feel in 5 years time?by not doing anything to help yourself, take care all the best.

PeppermintPasty Fri 05-Oct-12 20:29:29

You sound very careful and considered. I think you need to get to a solicitor asap. Find out the answers to all your questions, all your scenarios. Knowledge is power. Please do it. What you are describing is so unhealthy for your children and you. You are right-it's not sustainable

myroomisatip Fri 05-Oct-12 20:30:05

How old are your children? I would definitely contact Womens Aid! Sometimes, when you are in a situation it is hard to see it clearly, some outside opinions might help you a lot.

I stayed in an abusive relationship because, a) I didnt have Mumsnet, and didnt realise how bad my marriage really was! b) I had low self esteem to start with, c) thought I was doing the right thing as our kids loved their dad! I have two very fucked up kids who are young adults sad They struggle with their own relationships now. Oh how I blame myself sad sad Please seek help for the sake of your children. ((hugs)) You have made a start here!

foolonthehill Fri 05-Oct-12 20:53:48

Staying for your children is slow death for you, and lasting damage for them. How can they grow to be mutually supportive, respectful, loving adults if they don't see the healthy model as children?

The public image is another unwelcome hurdle, but a lie lived in full view is still a lie and will further damage the children as they see the dissonance between the public and private face.

Gird your loins, prepare well and make the right decision for you and yuour children.

you know you have to

lydiamama Fri 05-Oct-12 21:02:23

IF he was being respectful to you and treating you well, so maybe you are good friends parenting and living together, more than lovers, then you can consider to stay in the marriage for the sake of children and finances. BUT as he is not treating you as you deserve, and not even his children, that is damaging, more that not having presents for christmas, or living in a smaller house, your sons and daughters will end up in a similar relationship if you do not cut it now, and you know.
Be strong, and tell him that if he belittles you, that will be over, and that HE will be the one to go.

foolonthehill Fri 05-Oct-12 21:09:59

I am not in the public eye, but I was in an abusive relationship with similar aged children. I year ago he left. You would not believe the difference in them

AbigailAdams Fri 05-Oct-12 21:15:38

Why don't you start a diary of "events" logging his abuse of you and the children (and previous ones if you can remember dates and times). This would serve two purposes to help provide evidence for your solicitor/courts and also show you how often it is happening. Because I bet it is happening more than you think. Preparation is the key.

This is a toxic family environment caused by your husband and your children will be detrimentally affected by it. Their future relationships and how they behave with their partners will be shaped by the messages you and your husband are sending, how you treat each other and how you treat them. If your husband is abusing you and them they could go on to abuse their partners/children or choose partners that abuse them.

SeemsSOstraighforward Fri 05-Oct-12 21:45:44

I think a diary would be a good idea, if only to show myself the extent of what is going on. I guess it's common enough, but I have recently realised that my self esteem is so low that I don't really believe I could go ahead and make a move.

I've just finished a big, public project which has had me working late into the night for weeks and weeks (the hours between 5 and 9 are spent with the dc so my working day ends up v long) and dh has not asked once how it's gone, even though the dc have been talking about seeing mummy being filmed and on tv.

We had a big open and frank discussion last week about his behaviour towards the children. I asked if he really wanted to be a parent, a daddy to his kids. He replied that he did, so I said he needed to look into anger management programmes and as a bare minimum read 'How to Talk...' He hasn't picked up the book once and I'm sure he hasn't made a phone call about anger management. I told them that I only wanted to stay married if he would address his behaviour towards the children. He said he would. But I think he just said it to keep me happy.

The saddest thing is two separate conversations I had with my eldest two dc last week. The elder said that she felt very embarrassed of daddy when he got cross with them in public. The middle child just cried and cried that she didn't want us to get divorced because she wanted a normal family. The word divorce has never ever been mentioned in this house, and none of her friends' parents are divorced so this was a real surprise to me. I had no idea things were getting through to the dc.

But I can't leave him in charge of them. He doesn't make good decisions.

I nearly left 2 years ago but then I was weak and agreed to move house which involved a huge financial commitment. If we divorced we would have to move. Also the dcs school fees are eye watering. I wouldn't move their school. If I were to do something drastic I would have to keep everything as stable in other areas for them as possible.

I've made my own mess by not getting out earlier. I could live with that, as a natural consequence of my weak will. But now I realise that, however hard I have tried, I am not protecting the dc from my sham of a happy family home, I am beginning to question where I go next.

SeemsSOstraighforward Fri 05-Oct-12 21:51:47

To answer some points that you have kindly given me:

He would want the statutory every other weekend and one weekday night with the dc were we to separate. Anything else would have people wondering about why it was different. He wouldn't enjoy the time with them and would resent their presence, and make this known to them. I can't trust him with their physical, let alone their mental well being.

Would woman's aid be interested in me? I certainly wouldn't qualify for any assistance of a practical kind.

A solicitor may well be the way to go. How do you find a good solicitor? The only one I know is the one who does the house stuff for us. That's not the right sort and I need someone just for me.

You're all so right. It can't go on.

God I'm scared.

Admiraltea Fri 05-Oct-12 21:52:06

3 children same age gaps. could have written your post. took my best friend in the whole world who made me face the truth. I grew up in a vile atmosphere and was just teaching my children an equally shit model of a relationship. Though better than my upbringing still very very far from how I would love them to understand relationships. And that is the only true gift you can give them. parents can have and keep all they have. Worth nothing.

Gay40 Fri 05-Oct-12 21:53:16

Let me put to you this way: posh schools do not make kids happy. Parents who hate each other do not make kids happy. Lots of money do not make kids happy. By staying in this utterly shit situation you may be keeping them warm but you are teaching them really piss poor life decisions.
Your children already know that their family stability is shot to hell because they are watching you and your husband destroy each other.
It's time to make the break before your children end up very unhappy and resentful adults.

SeemsSOstraighforward Fri 05-Oct-12 22:00:52

But if I'm going to turn their lives upside down, surely I have to keep as many constants as I can? (Ie. school. This must be the worst time to change school really). I could handle moving house. I hate this house. I didn't choose it and its not what I would want. But moving house takes time.

I just don't have the head space to try and assimilate all the consequences. We live in a real rat race where every minute of every day is accounted for. I don't even know when I would have time to go and see a solicitor. I couldn't leave work during the day (we even all see private doctors if necessary so that our working day isn't disrupted) and I have the dc with me from 5. Dh would need to know wherever I was even if I could get an evening appointment somewhere.

Whitecherry Fri 05-Oct-12 22:04:39

Could a solucitor come to your place of work? For a meeting, or during lunch hour?

No idea if they operate this way!

Admiraltea Fri 05-Oct-12 22:05:09

Also had same nonsense from ex re contact soon lost interest. Maintenance is much avoided but school fees paid. Never underestimate the public value of being seen to pay for school.
Paying for food and bills not really up there. Nobody notices that!
So I have completely minimal contact irregular maintenance kids clothed from second hand uniform sales ,a 10 year old car , leaky house roof and a lodger moving in ... but they still go to the same school.
He can't fail on that as well. Too important for contacts.

PeppermintPasty Fri 05-Oct-12 22:10:55

You have to make time. That's it. Make time to get advice and start getting your children out of this. Gay40 speaks the truth. Your children need you to be strong and guide them through all the crap, they do not need you sticking your head in the sand and carrying on with this.
They might surprise you with their adaptability to different situations. Happiness is the best security of all.

PeppermintPasty Fri 05-Oct-12 22:12:39

Whitecherry, solicitors will always adapt to the needs of their clients. Well, the good ones will.

Teansympathy Fri 05-Oct-12 22:16:49

Womans Aid will listen and offer support forget that you have money we are talking about you and your kids emotional and physical wellbeing here , to take a leap into the unknown is scary I know I have done it, but beleive me there is wonderful support out there , do you have a good friend who could offer to watch the kids while you go seek out the necessary advice?, you need all the support right now just 1 good friend who you can trust totally and confide in, please know you are doing the right thing, money is nothing if you and your kids do not have peace of mind at the end of the day, as the old saying goes money can not buy you love. You sound clear headed and sure now that you want to move forward and make plans be strong remember you are doing this for yourself and children, things have a way of working out even though at the time of crisis it is hard to see light at the end of the tunnel.

Admiraltea Fri 05-Oct-12 22:18:09

Can I say that I personally did not care about them staying at the same school. All references to important for contacts are the garbage XH spouted .. he would still pay no maintenance.
Point being you really will make the right decision ...
You know what your kids need. Houses with no happiness or love are just a pile of bricks.

izzyizin Fri 05-Oct-12 22:18:34

You're a victim of dv and your dc are suffering, at the very least, verbal and emotional abuse. Of course won't discriminate against you.

Source solicitors who specialises in divorce and family law and who offer a free half an hour initial consultation. Make appointments with 3 to establish your legal entitlements and, effectively, 'interview' them as you should only instruct a solicitor you have confidence in.

To find a rottweiler solicitor, give your general location i.e. London, Newcastle, Surrey, Cornwall, etc, and ask for recommendations on the Legal matters board and/or visit

Family Court proceedings are not open to the press or the public and any publicity your case may attract will only contain as much information as you or your h put 'out there'.

Mumsyblouse Fri 05-Oct-12 22:19:35

I think you are boxing yourself into a corner with the house and school fees thing, most children go to non-fee paying schools and whilst it may not be ideal to shift right now, it will be easier while they are in primary school, and it is normal for children to move for their parents work/divorce/moving away, two or three children shift every year in my children's school. What I'm trying to say is that you need to start thinking more flexibly and creatively, and a move to a cheaper/non-fee paying school would not be a disaster.

But you sound boxed in in general, poor you, it sounds like a horrid life even though you do have material things. I really think the children would benefit from you being happy and not being around someone who can barely tolerate them. I am not sure what you are getting at with your fears that your husband can't cope/would harm your children if you weren't there, but as you can't be there 24/7 even now, surely you can't provide this type of protection anyway?

You sound like you could do with a real-life friend to bounce your ideas and feelings off, have you not got a good friend who would understand? I really think it would help you to articulate some of these things out loud, perhaps to a counsellor or good friend.

Good luck with it all.

izzyizin Fri 05-Oct-12 22:23:30

Dh would need to know wherever I was even if I could get an evening appointment somewhere

Do you not have a mobile phone? Why would your dh need to know the number of any establishment you may visit in the course of a day? How would he know if you were consulting a solicitor rather than having lunch with a client, buying essentials in Fortnums, or seeing a doctor?

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