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Staying together for the children

(21 Posts)
orangetree99 Sat 10-Nov-12 09:54:29

I have been married 20 years and have two teenagers. My husband told me a year ago he didn't love me any more but couldn't bear to leave our children who he adores. We don't argue and get on well and the children have a nice home, a stable environment. We don't have sex any more and whilst there is no friction there is also very little affection. I don't know what has gone wrong and the only thing he will say is that his life is boring and he finds me boring. I thought perhaps it was a mid life crisis and have tried everything - trying to improve our social life but he doesn't want to do anything, get him to bed with sexy underwear but he doesn't want to know. He said it wouldn't be fair to me to say one thing and do another. With my children at an age where they are getting independant I feel very lonely. I have now given up trying with him and am trying to build a social life of my own outside the family. Whilst he has said nothing I think he thinks that when my youngest goes to uni in 4 years would be a good time to go so I am hoping that if I get on with my life by that time he will stay. But am I doing the right thing or should I force the issue now and upset the family balance. He has a close female friend who would like to be more than friends and whilst he is having an emotional relationship with her I know it isn't physical. They text and talk and he sees her about once a month. I know all this because I read his texts - he doesn't know I know his password. Nobody knows what is going on and I try to be strong but sometimes I just cry. I am dreading him going and also the prospect of having to sell my house and live in a small flat with no room for my children. I know they will be over 18 by then but I would still want to give them a home untill they need it.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 10-Nov-12 10:14:09

Your H is a truly selfish man of the first order.

He seems to be having his cake and eating it, he has you to look after the children at home (am sorry but you cannot fully protect them from your unhappiness and they know that something is amiss between their dad and you. They are truly not living within a stable environment much as you'd like to think, wish or believe so) and on the side a female friend with whom he is conducting an emotional affair with. Pull the rug out now from under his cosy existance!.

If he really did adore his children he would not be acting like such a shit to you his wife. He is not above using the children to get back at you.

Stop handing him over so much power and take some control back. Seek proper legal advice re your position; you are more powerful than you think you are. It does not automatically follow that you will end up living in a one bed flat; I do not think you would want to stay within your current residence anyway after separation. For goodness sake do not let either him or you drag this sorry scenario on for another 4 years; you should clearly not be with such a man who is only now taking your self worth and esteem further down with him.

You need to consider what you want to teach your children about relationships; he is certainly imparting tham damaging lessons as are you currently. They won't later on thank you for staying with him (if you were to tell them that you stayed because of them they will likely call you a silly cow) and wonder of you why on earth you did not leave far earlier. They could also well ask you if you stayed why you put him before them.

ZZZenAgain Sat 10-Nov-12 10:18:35

Find out where you would stand if you divorced now.

maleview70 Sat 10-Nov-12 10:27:12

In one respect at least he was honest rather than leaving you guessing about why he was being so distant.

You have a choice and that either involves putting up with this for 4 years in the knowledge that he is almost certain to leave you then and in this period may well start a physical relationship outside of your marriage or you can take control of matters and say that you want to separate now, you will stay in the house until the children are no longer dependant and he will may maintainance.

The alternative is that you both lead seperate lives going forward but to do this you have to accept that he isn't going to Change his mind. Maybe seeing you getting dressed up and going out without him knowing where may actually make him think about what he is givig up!

aprilrain Sat 10-Nov-12 10:28:33

What he is doing to you is emotional cruelty. The withdrawal of affection, the accusations of being 'boring' (nice guy!), the relationship with OW (whether physical or not) yet the refusal to either work on improving things or to let you get on with your life without him.

Don't let him call the shots any more. Ultimatum time. He needs to decide between working on his marriage whole heartedly or moving out of the family home.

scaevola Sat 10-Nov-12 10:32:59

An emotional affair is just as damaging as a sexual one, arguably more so as it can be easier to forgive sex than intimacy.

It seems to me that he has already checked out of your marriage, but wants to avoid the consequences of an actual break up.

He needs either to end his emotional affair and work to re-establish proper intimacy with you. Or if he will not end his affair, then you need to decide whether to end the marriage. That's a biggie, and you need time and space to decide. Having him move out for a while might be the best way to achieve that for you, and to show him the scale of the crisis.

Your DCs may well have already picked up that there is something wrong.

janesnowdon1 Sat 10-Nov-12 10:33:39

I'm sorry but Attila is spot on Orangetree. In all likelihood in 4 years time your H will leave for someonelse. You are a kind,caring person so you are putting yourself in the position of viewing how you would feel if you had to leave the children and so agreeing he should not have to do this - but he is not you and he is not kind.

You are married so you are entitled to half of your assets - get legal advice now! (you can usually get a half hour for free, find a family lawyer on the resolution website)before he has a chance to plan for his future and perhaps squirrel away funds in unknown accounts and offshore.

Start detaching and make a life for yourself outside of him (I know you probably feel"blocked" atm and it's hard and it will take time) If you have some funds see a counsellor to help you process your feelings and say things out loud.

I know how hard it is to keep everything inside - I am trying to split from my partner of 25 years and feel bereft at the loss of everything and of starting again at 50.

orangetree99 Sat 10-Nov-12 11:34:03

Thank you so much for all your comments. It really helps and gives me something to think about. I think the dilema is whether he is being selfish or kind.

If a man posted on here that he no longer loved this wife but if he left it would upset his children so much and cause financial hardship (even if he supported them just renting a bedsit would put extra financial pressure) that he has decided to stay until the youngest is 18, what would you say? There is another woman (an old friend he has known since childhood) who since her divorce he has developed a relationship with but it is not physical and he has made it clear that all the time he is living with his wife and children it can't be. Is he doing the right thing or should he separate now? What would you advise him.

You see I think he thinks he is being kind putting his own feeling on hold and to be honest I did beg him to stay for the sake of the children so I have got my wish. Now I realise I can't go on like this. He either has to stay for the children but make an effort in the marriage at the same time or separate. Knowing what I need to do and actually doing it are two different things.

I think a legal chat would also be a good idea. I have made an assumption that if we divorce when they are 18 he could force a 50/50 split of the house but perhaps that is not the case.

scaevola Sat 10-Nov-12 11:43:27

I agree, he might think he is being kind. But you know he isn't.

You might have begged him to stay, but if you were in the shock of discovery that is a common and reasonable first reaction. Now you've had some thinking time, you know it's not a helpful measure right now. You can change it.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 10-Nov-12 11:46:44

I don't think anyone's being particularly kind or thinking of the children for that matter. Once someone's said 'it's over' then they're only sticking around under sufferance. They're giving you notice that they will be making no effort, so not to bother asking. They're also very arrogant to think that you'd be happy with that kind of arrangement. Who wants to share their home with a selfish martyr? I'm glad you've realised you can't go on this way because I think four years of living with said martyr, denied affection, full of vain hopes for the future would mean your self-esteem was ground further into the dirt than it already is.

Your kids won't be fooled either. They'll know things are bad between you and that there's an atmosphere at home. It's not a great way to grow up, trust me.

Do go to see the solicitor. I know it's difficult to imagine an independent life once you've been part of a couple for so long but there are far worse fates....

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 10-Nov-12 11:49:02

You call this kind on his part?. No and no again he is not being kind. Kind to whom?. He is only being kind to his own self; he is probably thrilled to the depths of his soul that he has two women on the go, two women who are both fighting for his affections. He is not worth it, such selfish men only love their own self.

Re your question put in your last post, I would still advise exactly the same.
People who stay within unhappy marriages to my mind primarily for the sake of the children teach their children a lie and shows them that neither parent showed enough courage within themselves to leave. It also teaches them damaging lessons about relationships and these often get carried over into their own relationships as adults. Not a legacy you want to leave them particularly as you both profess to love these children so very much.

Seek proper legal advice now for your own self and you may feel more empowered as a result. Currently you are saying to him victim here and letting him walk all over like a doormat. You begged him to stay for the childrens sake - that was not one of your better ideas in hindsight was it?. Who died and made him king?. You cannot and must not use the children as glue to bind you together. Your H emotionally checked out of this marriage years ago and is carrying on an emotional affair under your roof!. Someone has to be the grown up here and not carry on this unhappy charade any longer.

Do you still cook a meal for him and do his laundry?.

MyLittleFireBird Sat 10-Nov-12 12:06:14

should I force the issue now and upset the family balance
What family balance is that?

"Staying together for the children" is an oxymoron.

janesnowdon1 Sat 10-Nov-12 12:09:12

There have been many threads on MN about staying for the children and often people who grew up in these sort homes come on to urge the OP that they really wish their parents would have been honest and split.

Get legal advice so you know where you stand - make sure you collect up any info/documents about the mortgage/value of your house/savings/isa's etc so you can make best use of the time.

Some counsellors will help you with a specific problem in a fixed number of sessions - so that they can be very focused. You could see one to discuss how exactly you plan to talk to your husband about the situation and to clarify your needs. Think about it, come to terms with it. Set yourself free.

scaevola Sat 10-Nov-12 12:14:38

If you want to mend your marriage because you want a secure two-parent home for your DCs, who are not remotely responsible for your H's shitty behaviour, that is a worthy aim. Marriages do not necessarily end because of infidelity, and some even report they emerge stronger for healing.

That is not the same as putting up with the sort of situation you describe.

You need to decide what you want . But also realise there is no magic wand option that seamlessly turns the clock back. Your marriage has irrevocably changed, and right now he seems totally absent from it. Is he prepared to meet you in the aim of healing, which means ending his extra-marital relationship totally and starting the long, hard process of true reconciliation?

dondon33 Sat 10-Nov-12 12:48:32

Staying together for the Dc just doesn't work. I'm sorry you're in this position Orange but it's certainly not kind of your H.

Myself and 3 dsis's are all, to varying degree's, emotionally damaged by our dp's who thought seeing their god awful relationship through until the youngest was 18. My dm managed until youngest dsis was 16 and left, she couldn't take any more and I think by that point she actually opened her eyes to what she'd already put us all through.
We knew as kids that it wasn't normal, there was no love there and most of the time we wished they would just split up. They thought we didn't know as much as we did - basically what I'm saying is no matter what you think your Dc's are aware of within your relationship may be completely different to what they actually know. It also causes a whole host of problems for the Dc in their own adult relationships, myself included.

orangetree99 Sat 10-Nov-12 13:38:26

Thank you again for your comments. I know I need to act now but will get some legal advise first. I do all the finances and know more what we have than he does.

With regard to the question of do I still do his laundry and cooking etc, on the surface we have a very normal family life. I work part time and he is just as likely as I am to cook in the evening, he sometimes rings on the way home to see if we need anything from the shops and whilst I do most of the laundry he will put a load on sometimes when the laundry basket is flowing down the stairs.

Maleview - re your comment about him seeing what he is missing when I go out dressed up, I had hoped that too. When I go out he gives me compliments on how nice I look and tells me to have a good time, he makes a point of making sure he is around to help with kids and pick ups if I have something planned. He is actively encouraging me to get a social life. He is buying me a really expensive jumper for Christmas - said I deserved it for being such a good mother. I would rather have a cuddle than a jumper but when I try he just stands there and it is a very one way cuddle. You can see why I am so confused all the time. Everyone thinks we are the perfect couple not realising it is just a facade.

worsestershiresauce Sat 10-Nov-12 13:52:39

Your children are teenagers and will be very well aware of what is going on. Do yourself, and them, a favour by freeing yourself from this miserable arrangement. Do you want them to grow up thinking it is perfectly normal for a wife to just put up and shut up whilst the husband does as he pleases, and treats her like a housekeeper? I bet you don't. Show them that relationships have to be equal or they don't work, and that you are far too important to be treated like this. And you are far too important to be treated like this. Why wait 4 years to be turfed out when you could walk out now with your head held high and spend those 4 years building a new life for yourself, and meeting someone who will treat you as an equal partner?

maleview70 Sat 10-Nov-12 13:58:50

I actually meant getting dressed up and letting him know that you are meeting up with a male friend and might be late( even if you aren't)

If there is no reaction to that then there is no hope.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 10-Nov-12 14:45:47

Another aspect of 'staying together for the children' is that it can make children feel very responsible for your happiness and therefore guilty that you opted to be miserable & unfulfilled on their behalf. Few kids want to look back at their childhoods and hear that 'I only stayed with him and was unhappy... for you!' It's a big weight on young shoulders.

matthew2002smum Sat 10-Nov-12 17:30:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 10-Nov-12 17:46:22

DO seek legal advice; at least you are planning on doing this now.

Would refuse as of now to do any of his chores (thought you were doing that for him). Make him do his own laundry and dinner. You're doing all that within the home whilst he at the same time talks to his OW and wants rid of you in 4 years!. He treats you as a doormat to wipe his feet on and sadly you have allowed him to do that to you; no wonder your own self respect and worth is through the floor.

And as for Christmas give him a Christmas present he does not want, divorce papers. He needs to stick that jumper where the sun does not shine, do not accept such a pathetic token.

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