Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Should I end my marriage? Feeling as if it is a foregone conclusion....(20 Posts)
Hi - am posting this in Relationships rather than Divorce/separation as I don't want to end my marriage, and really need some "been there, done that and survived" stories of MNers to help me find my way through. Like so many of these posts, it is long-winded, so I thank you in advance for your patience and would really appreciate any advice you can give!
We have been married 2 years (together 4), our DD will be one at the end of this month, and DH has a 14 year old son from a previous relationship. When I was about 7 months pregnant DH told me he didn't want any more children after this one, despite us always planning to have 2. My main reason for wanting a second is that neither of us have parents, or any other family we talk to, and I don't want my DD to be alone in the world should anything happen to us. DH's argument is that she will have her half-brother, and I disagree based on my own personal experience of having older half-siblings who have always been distant in age and we have all made life choices that have led us in very different directions. While I know a "full" sibling is not a guarantee, at least I wanted to give my DD a decent chance of SOME close/reliable family. But that is no longer an option, and I feel completely wronged by the situation. (Would I have married him if I'd known we were only going to have one? I don't know, and I hate that.)
I am now willing to accept having one child, but on the basis that we do all that we can for her to give her the best start possible in life, but he is now trying to renege on our "compromise" (I use the term loosely to describe the only devil's bargain I could extract from him) that she should go to private schools, and I am now horribly afraid that our marriage is going to end, because resentment is now the most frequent emotion I have for him. He acknowledges that his choices are selfish but (and I quote) he expects me to "deal with it, and be thankful for what [I] have", and I feel that my situation is becoming more untenable with every moved goal-post and broken promise. I know marriage is about compromise and in some cases sacrifice, but I feel that I am the only one making compromises and sacrifices for the sake of our relationship and family. How do I restore balance? Or should I accept that people change, that that is why relationships fail, that his choice to be selfish has consequences, and move forward by ending our relationship now, rather than letting things drag on for years and both of us ending up bitter and twisted? So much of our relationship is good, and I married him believing him to be my soul mate and the man I wanted to spend my life with. Things are a bit tough anyway at the moment, as we have all the normal, new-baby relationship strain - exhaustion, financial strain, our sex life has yet to recover, our social lives probably never will! - but I think we could handle that. I just don't know if I can ever forgive him for breaking such a critical promise, and I know that if I don't forgive him, our marriage will end, one way or the other.
Does your DH have any other history of going back on promises, letting you down or dismissing your opinions out of hand? Do you generally discuss/agree/compromise about big decisions as a family?
Did he give a reason for his change of heart wrt wanting 2 children?
It's a tricky one. For me, it would depend on whether he has had a genuine change of heart, or whether he just says whatever you want to hear, never really intending to keep his promise.
I think it's a situation where counselling might be appropriate to discuss all this. For you to hold on to this festering resentment isn't a good thing for either of you.
Cogito - no, he is generally reliable and trustworthy, a man of his word - one of the reasons I fell in love with him! We are both very strong-minded but we do work through and agree big decisions.
Lollipop - he is 43, I am 38 and he doesn't want to be an "old" father (again, his words), and he doesn't want his son to be "crowded out" by another child, particularly if we had a boy. Also, financially it will mean everything is easier, as my income will return to normal by mid next year, and we can look at semi-retirement by the time he's 50, and full retirement by the time he is 55 - he doesn't want to be working til he's 65, and I support that as he has a very physical and demanding job. I get his reasons, but if given the choice I would still want us to have a second, as my non-financial reasons feel more important to me.
Given that, I do think you would benefit from a mediation discussion in counselling. It's a genuinely tough situation, when you want different things and there isn't really a middle way between having another child and not having one!
'...despite us always planning to have 2'
So once you were committed, and baby no 1 on the way, he backtracked completely? I don't like the sound of that at all.
Every single one of the very valid reasons he now has for only having one child existed, and he would have known about them and realised the impacts on his life, before you married and had a baby. But he told you all along that he wanted two.
As opposed to, say, him being enthusiastic about having two and then finding it horrifically dificult, hating broken nights etc. and changing his mind.
But this sounds like he got you where he wanted you and then moved the goalposts.
I would not be happy about that at all.
I agree with you, I think it is a massive thing to commit to your child being an only, especially if you are older parents without a mass of cousins etc. nearby.
Thanks Nickname. Yes, I agree, counselling would be fantastic. Finding the time and childcare is the challenge, with 2 kids and 2 jobs in the picture.
Doctor - "So once you were committed, and baby no 1 on the way, he backtracked completely? I don't like the sound of that at all." I don't like the sound of it either, but fortunately I don't think that was the case. He did only come to the decision while we were pregnant, perhaps he didn't think ahead properly until it was a reality but I believe him on that point.
How many relations do you have, and how many does he have. Does he have a brother?
So he's getting everything he wants - as many children, his retirement, etc.
Million - Relations that will be part of DD's life are in short supply unfortunately, mine are all in Australia and DH's are all estranged and TBH, mine would be too if we were in the same country, nutty families are something he and I have in common!
Scotland - I'm fully supportive of early retirement, as I said he has a very physical job and I want to enjoy our old age together, which won't be possible if he works himself to death. We plan for him to do his Private Pilot's License over the next couple of years so that his "retirement" will involve running a small tourist-flight business in a yet-to-be-determined location, so that may be a misnomer. We both want a good quality of life for us AND our children, which is why I see his point...but I still have a deep, primal desire for another child, which I can't seem to put behind me.
Why is he backtracking on the "next best" that you negotiated wrt private education etc??
How is he with your DD? has he fully bonded with her, does he see her as "his" as much as his son yet?
Does he realise that his DS may well be flown the nest in 4 years and you will have just one 5 year old daughter at home?
You definitely can't bury this. you have to resolve it or it will affect your whole lives together.
The money /time may be tricky but so worth the investment in your future.
What I am trying to get at, is whether his , or yours, come to that, nutty families are what is stopping him wanting his child to have to endure.
For him it may be a case of, "my child is better off being an only child, she will be happier". I am not saying he is right, just wondering if that is the way he is thinking nowadays.
I don't know, DP is 42 and he also doesn't want another DC. My DP never wanted more than one, but I have to admit I agree with him (being 40 soon) that it's hard at that age and I do worry that sometihng could happen to one of us (we're not the most healthy people) before DS is older and able to take care of himself. We also ahve no family near by.
Adding a sibbling to this equation would make matters even more stressful and difficult for us. Like you we were thinking of private schooling but now are changing our minds as we're not sure DP's job is secure, nor mine for that matter.
DP hates it when I change my mind about issues/ matters we've agreed on but I always quote a favourite french saying:" Only fools don't change their mind". Your DH gave good reasons I find, can you not accept that he's entitled to change his mind? Twisting his arm to have another child would equally put your relationship in danger. And he changed his mind once, nothing says that in 2/3 years time he doesn't concede that a sibbling would be good for your son. With time we see things differently. Does it have to be a make or break issue?
Tricky. Everyone has the right to change their mind over something as big as having another child.
If the tables were turned and it was you who had changed your mind, then what?
I also think it is pretty hurtful to suggest to him that his son is not a "proper" sibling . Lots of people absolutely hate their full siblings.
About private school - do you mean you want to send your child there and he now says no? Does his son go to private school?
Fool - I just think the reality of the fees is bringing into question everything else he hopes for for the family, which I don't agree with because nursery fees are going to be almost just as much when I go back to work fulltime anyway... He has definitely fully bonded with her, is devoted and very hands on, exactly as I thought he would be. No, I don't think he recognises that his DS will be an adult before very long... I am seeing a theme, foresight is definitely an issue for him! But I knew that, I'm the planner and he definitely is not. I see the "investment" aspect of another child too, not just the cost.
Million - yes, his nutty family is definitely a factor why he doesn't see more family as necessarily a benefit, he himself hasn't seen his TWIN sister in 7 years, let alone any other family!
MouMou - thank you, that is amazing insight and exactly what I had hoped for when I posted.
Oops - gotta dash, DD's dinnertime! Will check back after she has gone to bed. THANK YOU everyone for your messages so far, I feel much more hopeful already just talking about this.
" but (and I quote) he expects me to "deal with it, and be thankful for what [I] have","
That alone made me shudder. It just seems to have an unspoken "or I will decide to take that away too" hovering at then of it.
Does his son to to private school? I get the sense you are marginalising the son, as if he is not a proper sibling. That must hurt him. And the son
alikat - sorry, but I think the answer is already in your own hands. (I'm actually astounded as his selfishness !) His son is an only child, well, by him anyway and I wonder if it just suits him to produce another only child. Please don't tell me he only wanted you for your womb ? He's already used the term, 'crowded out' in relation to his son and heir. So he's considering his son's feelings over yours ? Does he feel he's, 'got away' with the gender issue because your child is a girl ? Basically is it to chancy to have another baby in case, shock horror, it's a boy ? Also what's all this nonsense about learning to fly a light aircraft as his retirement job ? That and relocating to start his business is going to cost a phenominal amount of money. No wonder he is economising by not having anymore children !
Join the discussion
Please login first.