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Should I leave my husband?

(23 Posts)
clickylilly Wed 31-Oct-12 10:02:42

Hi, this is the first time I’ve ever posted on something like this but I have nobody else I can talk to about it and I really don’t know what to do. I think I want to leave my husband but I’m struggling to put things into perspective and think rationally.

I want to try to give an overview of our circumstances to try to put things into perspective. Ok, we’ve been together for 6 years, married for 2. He is 13 years older than me. We have two dc’s together aged 4 and 5. I also have a dd aged 13 who recently returned to live with me after living abroad with her dad. He has a ds aged 13 who started living full time with us in September and a ds aged 16 who only stays with us every other weekend. I have chronic fatigue syndrome and my sister also lives with us to help me out (I work 15 hours a week). Me and my sister don’t get along and she undermines me and is very unsympathetic but that’s another story. My dh has cerebral palsy but is self employed and earns a good wage but we have virtually no disposable income and struggle to make ends meet because he ‘lost out’ during his previous divorce. He has debts of approx £75,000! I have some personal debts of around £2,500 (buying kids clothing, stuff for the home etc over the years). We rent our house privately because we can’t afford to buy and have no way of saving up for a deposit.

We fell head over heels as soon as we met and I moved in very quickly. We decided to have a baby after 5 months together (I know that wasn’t the wisest thing to do) and I got pregnant straight away. Very early in my pregnancy something made me suspect that he was having an affair. (He had an affair during his 1st marriage and something told me it was unfinished business). Anyway I had our baby and we moved up to Shetland. He would stay in Shetland for 1 week then come back to mainland UK for 1 week and I was very lonely and isolated. Despite this we began to try for our second baby but I discovered that my suspicions about the affair had been right and when I confronted him he told me we were over and he left me for her. I moved back to mainland UK and ended up staying at a friends (I discovered I was pregnant with my dd shortly after). We eventually got back together when I was around 7 months pregnant but after the birth he became very distant and unsupportive and I found out he had set up a new business with the other woman so I left him. I was in a right old state and really struggling to cope and after a few months he said he wanted me back and he’d end all contact with her. Looking back I probably should have never got back with him but I wasn’t coping; I told him I would only have him back if we got married as I felt that would prove his commitment to me and our family.

Up until I had our 2nd dd our sex life had been good but it went downhill since then and has never picked up again. I thought getting married would help me to trust him again and that would help our sex life to improve but it hasn’t happened. He’s taken my lack of interest very personally (I think feeling desired is very mixed up with his self esteem because of his cerebral palsy) and despite talking about things a million times things have gone from bad to worse. He thinks that working hard, being supportive of me, providing for our family and being a good dad should make me want sex but can’t understand that despite the fact he does all of that and I do kind of trust him again I don’t want sex. I suppose I’ve never felt he was that interested in me as a person and that the main thing was always sex for him. Since we got married he has said if the sex doesn’t improve he can’t live with it and will end the marriage. Arguments about it have been getting worse and worse and are now affecting the kids. He becomes completely irrational and illogical about sex and I am now so terrified about the arguments that I don’t even want to think about sex (he’s not threatening or abusive). It’s got to the point we have just ordered a Relate book on sex but to be honest my heart has gone out of it. I feel sick just thinking about being intimate with him and think the spark we once had has long gone and we are just two people who rub along ok together and are sharing the parenting of our kids. Don’t get me wrong life isn’t bad with him and we do love each other. He treats me well and I actually think I in quite a fortunate position but that all changes when the arguments start up again (it blows up every few weeks and is awful for a while but then settles down again).

I’ve looked into my financial situation and I feel completely trapped with my dh. I can’t get tax credits as I only work 15 hours. I would struggle to work more hours because of my chronic fatigue syndrome but it might be possible for my dh to employ me 1 hour a week to make my hours up to 16. I don’t want to give up work and be completely reliant and stuck on benefits and I don’t qualify for sickness benefits (I’m an advice worker for a disability charity so understand the world of sickness benefits well). Because of my personal debts, car finance, mobile phone contract that I can’t get out of etc I couldn’t afford to live on benefits (even tax credits) and I don’t think I would get anything if we divorce as there are no assets or disposable income. Private rental prices in the area I live are also very high and it’s almost impossible to get social housing (I’ve secretly been registered since March and never seen a house in my area in all that time). The schools are fantastic and it’s a great place to bring up the kids so moving isn’t an option although I have no friends or family locally (my friends and family live about 40 miles away). If we split my dh would want the kids to live with him half the time so I couldn’t move anyway. I just don’t know what to do.

To complicate matters I’m having an emotional affair with a work colleague. I don’t want to say much about it and it isn’t physical but we have both fallen in love with each other and I know this is clouding my judgement. I can’t tell whether I really do want to leave my dh and be on my own or if I’m imagining a rosier life with this other man. I’m trying very hard to make my decision without thinking about the other man but it’s far easier said than done. I know without my dh I will really struggle financially, physically and emotionally but I can’t stay with him if the only reason I want him is as a prop because I’m scared I’ll fall apart without him. I don’t want to split then realise it was a mistake and it breaks my heart to think of my kids not growing up with both of us together but I don’t know if I’m with him for the right reasons and the kids are already being affected by our arguments.

I’m sorry this is so long but I think the context is important and I’m hoping writing it all down helps me get some perspective. If I’d just said he had an affair but I forgave him but now our sex life is crap and I can’t afford to leave him and I want to be with another man it wouldn’t have painted the whole picture properly.

CogitoEerilySpooky Wed 31-Oct-12 10:13:11

So he's had several affairs, walked out on you a few times, has landed the family with £75k of debt, you can't trust him, threatens to end things if the sex doesn't get better, you don't want to sleep with him (understandably) and the main thing that's keeping you there is that you think you'll be worse off financially & there are good schools? What exactly is he bringing to this party because I can't see anything?

I think the OM is a red herring, frankly. All it means is that you're clearly miserable and in desperate need of affection from someone kind. The way your life is now, anyone would be better.

You should talk to a solicitor and other professionals that can give you the full story on where you'd stand in the event of a divorce. There is a lot more financial help available than just tax credits, plus your exH would also have a financial obligation both to you and the DCs

riamay2011 Wed 31-Oct-12 10:13:31

Your relationship with your DH sounds awful. When I started reading your thread I could relate to how you are feeling about sex with your DH as I have felt that at several times in my relationship with my OH.
But then, I read the bottom of your thread. You say you have formed a emotionally relationship with someone at work. Is this making you re think your relationship or if this other person wasn't involved would you still be feeling the same?
Do you love your husband? Do you want to make it work? If you do I would seriously think about this relationship you are having with your work friend.
Good luck!

CogitoEerilySpooky Wed 31-Oct-12 10:14:28

"Do you love your husband? Do you want to make it work?"

He doesn't love her or want to make it work.... why is this the OP's problem?

riamay2011 Wed 31-Oct-12 10:25:09

Sorry must of mis read post

FML Wed 31-Oct-12 10:43:29

For a start, you should end things for now with the other man. If he does love you, then he will wait to do things the right way.

Then go see a solicitor and get advice on what you are entitled to, then go away and think it all through.

As to whether to leave him? Well, no one can really tell you that answer. It is your decision to make. But, IMO, I would. I couldn't see myself being happy if I stuck around in that relationship.

BUT, please hold off on the OM. It will only make things more messier. Wait until after you have decided, and started the ball rolling, if you do.

dequoisagitil Wed 31-Oct-12 12:29:11

You could move nearer to friends & family - you may not want to, but it is a real option - 40 miles is not such a distance that you would be prohibited from moving.

£2,500 of personal debt is nothing really. You could probably get payments reduced and so on if you look into it. If you're not earning much, they just can't get the money - there are protections in place. There are debt management schemes and such, if it comes down to it.

You're not trapped, however, you have to be prepared to make changes and compromises on things like where you live.

dequoisagitil Wed 31-Oct-12 12:30:37

And just because your dh says he would go for 50/50 custody, doesn't mean he would a. actually go for it and b. get it.

L1zLem0n Wed 31-Oct-12 12:34:40

Wow. What cogito said. 100%!

you are drained and exhausted and you're channelling a lot of energy into keeping a sinking shop afloat. You DO have a lot to contend with, with your 3 children and work and chronic fatigue syndrome, but seriously, all of life's trials and challenges seem less insurmountable when you cut loose the albatross. £75k in debt!? fekk that would depress me. I would have cut him off at 5k debt. Debt terrifies me.

Cherylkerl Wed 31-Oct-12 12:40:14

OP I felt sad and exhausted just reading that, I can't imagine how you must be feeling. I'm not surprised you are considering your exit.

On the debt issue, I would say that is a manageable amount you have. Your DH's is not.

Coconutter Wed 31-Oct-12 12:44:00

What they ^^ said. Good luck.

BethFairbright Wed 31-Oct-12 12:56:12

I sympathise because you've got a lot on your plate and not all of that is going to improve even if you ended your marriage e.g your illness and living with a sister who you don't get on with.

Re. the emotional affair, is the man single?

clickylilly Wed 31-Oct-12 13:12:05

Thanks everyone. It seems so black and white when it's all written down.

He has only had an affair with one woman and I know that doesn't excuse it but I did decide to try to forgive and move on.

He had the 75K debt when we met. It was from his divorce settlement and negative equity on their house sale (too complex to get into here really)

He does say he loves me and wants us to work but to be honest I can't really understand why he hasn't left me already. I don't think either of us are getting much out of it but don't want to admit defeat. I do still love him but the feelings of being in love are a very distant memory.

The thing is though if I leave him I'm frightened that life for me and the kids will be worse and so that's why I end up questioning whether staying with him is so bad. I think deep down I know the answer because I wish he would end it then I wouldn't have to make a choice.

I would be happy for him to have 50/50 custody - fighting over that would be awful and he's a good dad.

I wake up everyday feeling anxious and swing between feeling tearful and depressed to angry and frustrated to pathetic and weak so I know something has to change. It's scary to think about seeing a solicitor but I suppose it would be helpful to have a better idea of where I stand. I just don't want to do anything unless I'm absolutely sure. At the moment it just seems like negatives all round whatever I decide to do and how do you decide which is the worse scenario?

L1zLem0n Wed 31-Oct-12 13:23:26

OK, well, I won't blame him for the debt, but still, he's not makign your life easier is he?! he's not bringing support or affection or joy to your life is he?

but because you're so ground down you know that splitting up is one of the most exhausting and upsetting and traumatic things you'll ever go through, and it IS, even when you want to split up. So much easier to coast on hope and misguided optimism that things will improve.

Once you've got the split behind you though, there'll be less to drag you down. fewer step children, you'll only have your own debts, your own children, your own illness........... you're sharing the burden of all of his /each others problems but not getting any support or love or affection??

I also think that 50/50 custody is not necessarily a bad idea! you can work around it and when you have some free time you can get things done, rebuild your new life so much moer easily. I had my children 24/7

dequoisagitil Wed 31-Oct-12 13:28:10

I think the worse scenario is one where there's no light at the end of the tunnel - and tbh, from here, it looks like staying is the one where there's no relief in sight.

AlexanderS Wed 31-Oct-12 13:47:33

He had an affair whilst you were pregnant. For that reason alone you should run as fast as you can walk away and never look back. Check out the Gingerbread website for ways you could manage your finances as a single parent.

Plus you've already mentally checked out of this relationship - you're having an EA and you've secretly put your name on the register for social housing. By the way, my advice would be to not even think about getting involved with that guy until you've split up with your husband, sorted out the practical stuff like living arrangements, finances etc. and grieved for the relationship - he is, after all, the father of your children and you were deeply in love with him once. Bear in mind that if two people whose relationship started as an affair get married there is an 80% that that marriage won't last.

clickylilly Wed 31-Oct-12 13:47:34

L1zLem0n - I think you've hit the nail on the head and helped give me some of the clarity I need.

Thank you everyone for your advice and thoughts. I know I need to end it so it's really a question of plucking up the courage to do something about it.

AlexanderS Wed 31-Oct-12 13:48:55

Sorry, 80% chance.

LizLem0n Wed 31-Oct-12 13:50:44

good luck. when i left my x, i didnt suddenly have no problems,,, but i had the focus and energy to deal with my new issues a lot better.

clickylilly Wed 31-Oct-12 13:51:34

I've already decided not to get involved with the OM while I'm still with dh. I know I'd be making myself vulnerable to more hurt but it's very difficult to stay away. I really want to make sure that I do the right thing and can live with my decisions.

LizLem0n Wed 31-Oct-12 14:03:38

Good decision. concentrate on reducing the complications for now. Put firm ground beneath you and make that your priority.

BethFairbright Wed 31-Oct-12 14:12:14

But you said that you and the OM are in love with one another and you describe it as an emotional affair, so how can you suddenly decide 'not to get involved'? If you're in love, you're already involved aren't you? confused

Is the OM in a relationship as well?

clickylilly Wed 31-Oct-12 14:54:00

No he's single and yes I am already emotionally involved but for the past couple of months I've stopped all contact with him except for at work. It's difficult because we have really fallen for each other but I know I need to base my decision on whether I want to leave my dh full stop, not whether I want to leave him for the om. (The impulsive part of me just wants to jump into the OM's arms and not look back but my rational side knows its not the best way to start a relationship) I don't want to make any more mistakes.

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