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Help! Separation iminent.

(188 Posts)
amelia Thu 10-Jan-02 11:14:04

Dear All, I wonder if you could help me. My husband and I have been going to relate counselling since October. We've had a dismal time for the last 3/4 years, particularly since we moved up north and baby no.2 was born nearly 4 years ago. I have tried to talk to him on numerous occasions during this time about our situation and in August last year, said I wanted to leave. After the initial argument, he said nothing to me about this, even during our 2 week holiday away when we had evenings to ourselves. I said it again in October and he asked me to go to counselling which I agreed to do. I don't feel any different about him tho'. I don't love him. i feel that I have tried to explain how i felt and he has not understood (or I haven't explained it properly?) Last night, I said I still wanted to leave as I don't want to carry on in a loveless (on my part - he says he still loves me)relationship where I feel uncomfortable with him and unable to rekindle the fires. The reason i am writing is that he has asked that I try and think of something, anything, that he/we can do to try again, as he does not believe that we have tried had enough to solve our problems. I have no idea. we are way past the try and spend more time together/have romantic meals together stuff. I'm lost. I have no idea what to say to him. i feel I have tried my hardest and that sometimes, although it's painful, it is best to let things go and move on, and I do not see us being together anymore. has anyone had a similar experience or could you offer any ideas. I know the above falls far short of a complete description of our marital breakdown but I'd be more than grateful for any comments. And he says it tears him apart that we won't be able to provide a family for our girls, which of course upsets me too and makes me feel that I've let them down.

Rhiannon Thu 10-Jan-02 11:46:23

amelia, you start off by saying since you've been unhappy since you moved up north. If you leave your husband where would you live, do you intend on staying put or going back to your roots? Could that be part of the problem?

You unfortunately have to make the decision of what you actually want to do. Do you want to go or try to make it work? If you're not 100% sure, then stay and work on it. What exactly are the problems, please tell us and we'll try to help you. R.

winnie Thu 10-Jan-02 12:11:41

Amelia, I get the sense that this marraige is over for you. You have emotionally walked out of the door already. Despite having children IMHO you must make a decision and move on. Your children will not thankyou in twenty years time when their childhood memories revolve around an extremely bad 'loveless' marriage. My parents spent almost thirty years together trying to make a relationship work 'for the children', it was a living nightmare and as the years went by it just got harder and harder for my mother to leave. You seem to know what you need to do, you seem have taken all the right steps in resolving things and this hasn't worked. 10/10 for trying. From your description you could not have done more. It is hard being on your own with children (been there, done that) but you are still a family and cliche of cliches much better to be a one parent happy household than a two-parent miserable one. Your husband will still have a place in your daughters lives, if he chooses too, life is but a speck and although I may get abuse for saying so, you seem to know what you want, go for it.

If on the otherhand I have completely read your post wrong, of course you can try again, a million times over, if that is what you want. One of the hardest things I remember about leaving a longterm relationship that involved a child was my terrible guilt towards my daughter. But parents (particularly mothers) will always find something to feel guilty about. You may find that if it is what you want for yourself it will be the making of you and your daughters will have a fine life. As for their father yes, he is distraught, and yes, you may feel compassion but will physically staying when you have already emotionally walked out help him?

Good luck, and best wishes, Winnie

amelia Thu 10-Jan-02 12:59:48

Rhiannon, I think if i left i would stay here for a while so the children had some continuity with school/nursery while all the upheaval was going on at home. I would possibly go back to the Midlands as my parents are getting on and it'd be nice to be near them - don't really know long term. As far as what the problem is, I identified with the thread of the men overreacting messages. he was awful for overreacting about money/mess/children getting up in the night/me leaving him out of feeding (I breastfeed till no. 2 was 14 months, and he never said anything about it during that time!) He wore me down with criticism, and although he was having a terrible time at work, didn't talk to me about it, although I maintain that I asked on a regular basis. he says i didn't ask at the right time! he could have said it's awful, can we talk later. Why are men (some men) such hard work sometimes?he just gradually chipped away at my self esteem. Saying we just don't get on, why do we bother. Not responding to my suggestions about going out, or when we did, saying it was a nightmare with the children and spoiling it all. I remember saying so many things to him, that he didn't respond to or didn't seem to understand which now he's saying to me. EG. about 3 years ago (I'm so bad for remembering stuff from ages ago - it must drive him nuts!)I said we didn't seem to have the same goals anymore, or be going down the road together. he completely blanked me and didn't understand any of my explanations. B***** me if he didn't say the same thing a few weeks ago. I nearly exploded! I think Winnie made a lot of good points - thank you. I have emotionally left, and one of the things i do feel guilty about now, re: the children, is that I am not providing them with an example of how a couple should behave towards each other in a relationship . He says he is not so worried about this as his parents never showed much affection, and at least we are not shouting at each other any more but I believe they should see us being affectionate, loving, messing aroung - and sleeping together would be a good place to start too. we haven't done that regularly for months and my 6 year old has asked why. It depresses me to think that I may very well have to go back to him and say I'm sorry, but no, I can't think of anything else he /we can do. Because in all honesty I can't. Despite my sadness at all his tears yesterday, I must confess to seeing for myself a little light on the horizon - which may very well mean, I have answered my own question. Thanks for your thoughts. A.

JacquiKD Thu 10-Jan-02 14:42:11

I posted my problem under "Should I stay or should I go".

It is now about 5 months since I posted my message and we are still together, although for how long I don't know.

We came to blow New Years Eve (good start to the New Year) with him saying basically he wanted to split up. I thought things might have worked out okay but it seems he was going down one road and I was going down another - unfortunately not the same road.

We have three children (baby of 11 weeks) and it upsets me so much to think that their mum and dad might split up.

Sunday night, we had a good old chat and decided that we are both willing to try and make it work, and we are going to go to Relate, although I have told him that he has to change, as I know I do.

keziah Thu 10-Jan-02 14:48:06

Hi Amelia - sounds like you are pretty sure about what you should do but just wanted to mention a book that really helped me - May not be your cup of tea at all, but I thought it was really good. Its called "The Seven Principles for making marriage work" By John Gottman. It's a different approach to relate (I did that too!) and it made a lot of sense to me. He dosn't think much of the romantic meals thing so no such advice there.
Good luck with whatever you decide.

Rhiannon Thu 10-Jan-02 18:23:39

amelia, IMO there is nothing worse than a man that grinds away your self-esteem mentally (unless he does it physically too). I was in a relationship like this and it lasted for 7 years, can you believe I stayed that long!

On another note too my parents married in 1955, they are unhappy and I have known this for 18 years and still they stay together. They don't even talk to each other except for grunts! Perhaps they're waiting for the children to die!

winnie Thu 10-Jan-02 20:27:16

Lol, Rhiannon, you're describing my parents-in-law!

jasper Thu 10-Jan-02 23:58:56

For those who have been to Relate, what was your experience like?
I went several years ago when my first marriage was breaking down. I found it to be useless and possibly even slightl;y harmful.
I hope my experience is not the norm. The counsellor absolutely refused to give any advice. I was not expecting her to tell me what to do, but she did not even offer the level of advice as given by the mumsnet contributors! I had talked over the problems with my husband, my closest friends , and myself a million times and did not need a listening ear. I wanted help!
Amelia and others, please do tell what your experience of Relate was like.

Copper Fri 11-Jan-02 13:01:13

it's really good to have you back again - did you go back to work early? Did you have a boy or girl? Is there another thread that I've missed? Lovely to hear from you again

Joe1 Fri 11-Jan-02 13:30:40

Rhiannon I can believe you stayed I wasted 9 years and thankfully he decided he wanted to leave which gave me the push I needed and havnt looked back.

Rhiannon Fri 11-Jan-02 13:39:24

Joe1, we weren't married, he was my BF but the thing is when you're told that you're fat, ugly and nobody likes you so many times, you start to believe it!! Sad but true. R.

Joe1 Fri 11-Jan-02 13:43:29

You are right and they always do it gradually so you do believe and think your relationship is like everybody elses.

roglyn Fri 11-Jan-02 14:09:35

Amelia, I don't live any more with the father of my children, and although it is always hard when you split up with your partner/husband, sooner or later everyone gets used to it. I left my ex 4 years ago and not only am I in a much better relationship but my ex is too. Our children coped well with the split and seem unscarred!

I think you know when you don't have enough love in a relationship - and if you don't love each other, no counselling in the world will help you be happy together. It sounds as if your dh hasn't had a good role model from his parents for how to be in a relationship - I think that causes a lot of problems. My ex was like that - he just wouldn't deal with the problems between us and in the end I just gave up.

Keziah - I've read 'Why Marriages succeed or fail' by John Gottman which I enjoyed. I particularly liked his theory that most marital upsets are over sex, money or housework...and that if men helped more with the housework they'd get a lot more sex! So true....

JacquiKD Fri 11-Jan-02 16:40:57


I had a baby girl, Sasha, who was born on 24th October 2001 at 08:07 weighing 7 lbs 15 oz. She is absolutely wonderful.

I was due back at work next week but am having difficulty regarding child care (I posted under "Helping my mum" as my mum is having a bit of a breakdown at the moment (not for the first time) and she normally looks after my children for me.

My work has kindly said I can work from home for a short while but they do need to know when I will be back in the office. I have said I will be back mid February as this should give me time to sort out a nursery for the baby, and breakfast and afternoon club for the elder two. I only work two days a week in the office (Wednesday and Friday) and work at home one day a week.

I really appreciate what my work are doing for me in allowing me to work from home, therefore getting paid, while I sort out my home life!!!

I also posted under "Merry Christmas, Happy New Year?!?".

ChanelNo5 Fri 11-Jan-02 18:18:41

Roglyn - that is soooooooooo true! Cleaning the toilet, scrubbing the kitchen floor, picking up toys, washing, ironing, do I need to go on, hardly makes you feel very sexy! Can you tell this is a subject close to my heart!

Loobie Fri 11-Jan-02 19:11:57

Amelia i feel that i am in the same situation as yourself, i have told my partner on a few occasions that i dont feel there is anything left for us but each time he manages to talk me round to trying once more.i too have reached the stage where i simply dont love him anymore and no longer wish us to stay together.he wants to change and do whatever i want him to so that we can save our relationship but i am past the point of saving it,i dont care anymore.It gives me strength to keep going knowing that i am not the only one stuck in this type of situation.i no longer want him to touch me in any manner or do anything with me or for me,after our last row at new year he has been overly nice to the kids etc but i just think stop crawling it's not going to make any difference just please go.I just want to be on my own with my kids but like your hubby mines doesn't seem to be getting the message,im afriad i cant offer any suggestions as if i had any i wouldn't be in the same situation myself but good luck and stay strong.

Lindy Fri 11-Jan-02 21:52:09

Jasper - & others; my experience of Relate is as follows - they (to me) are very non-judgemental and expect you to come up with your own solutions etc (fine... but at £30 a session !!); my husband & I went after 10 years of marriage, he had an affair (of which I knew nothing - & I never believed those 'the wife didn't know stories'!) we are still together, three years on, & have had a baby (the first .. and last) together, but it is not easy. What I couldn't stand was all that 'no one has an affair if the marriage is perfect' business ... fair comment, but no one has to be dishonest, lying & cheating ... do they?

You learn to move on, worse things happen, but the trust has gone for ever. I suppose I would have liked Relate or someone to just say to my husband ' you have behaved badly ' but in these politcally correct days no one ever says that do they? And no, I am not perfect, I already have one broken marriage behind me but I can honestly say I was never unfaithful or left my first husband for someone else. Good luck to anyone in the same situation.

Esme Sat 12-Jan-02 12:59:18

I have been in my relationship for 10 years and have a 20 month old child. My partner and I have always got on really well until our child was born and then gradually our relationship has become really staid. We argue a lot especially at the weekends about petty things. One of the main things that worries me is that my partner never wants sex and since our child has been born we've had sex no more than about 6 times. This has made me feel very unattractive and insecure. We have talked about it and my partner is adament that he finds me attractive but just doesn't feel like sex. My friends tell me that it isn't normal. I feel that he is staying with me because of our child and although may love me doesn't find me interesting or exciting. I'm not happy and can't decide whether there is love left in our relationship or just familarity. I look after my child full time and although I can return to work I don't earn a fortune so living on my own would be very difficult. I don't think I've got the balls to leave. I don't even know if I want to but I do want to feel desired and loved. Perhaps I should have an affair but I havn't even got the confidence to do that. Has anyone else had similar problems after the birth of a child and managed to resolve them?

amelia Sat 12-Jan-02 19:36:29

thanks for all your comments. We are due for a big discussion this evening to try and get something sorted. I can't think of anything to say or do that would make things better. My sister suggested moving back down south to be near my family, but I can't say I feel that'd make any difference to the way I feel, and if we do split and stay here, at least the girls will have some continuity in school for the short term at least. We'll see how it goes. It's so hard to talk sometimes, i feel like running away . Loobie, what happened to you? I know exactly what you mean about the touching thing, I really do not want to have sex at all. Or anything else for that matter. Post something else so we can have a chat - you're right, it is good to know you're not the only one. I feel I must do something now or I'll loose my mind - already had a course of prozac and sessions with spiritual healer! As far as Relate goes, we have a really lovely counsellor. He is non judgemental and makes me feel that what I say is valid and worth something and not just stupidly incomprehensible He pushes us to say things to each other by asking questions but has never made me (I'm talking about me but assume my husband feels the same) feel pushed or threatened or uncomfortable and has made us understand that what ever we decide is our decison and he will help us with it, whatever the result. I'd recommend it if you both feel comfortable in that environment. we tried before but husband didn't like it..
jacquiKD - I have thought about you and wondered if you were Ok. Congrats on the birth of Sasha
Esme, Your husband doesn't seem to have any idea that you are feeling as bad as you do - is it difficult to talk to him, would he go to counselling? I agree with your mate who says it doesn;t seem right for him to have gone of sex . Don't have an affair - that will only muddy the waters for you - and if he finds out, the whole break up or arguments about it will be about the affair, which is not really why you are feeling this way in the first place. Does that make sense? All I can say is - and I speak from bitter experience - don't leave it to long before you do something to make him fully aware of how you are feeling.Lots of luck.

Loobie Sun 13-Jan-02 15:28:38

amelia my partner whom i've been with for 8 years and have two children with has a problem working with our eldest son who is having underlying problems ,he is to go for assessment on 24 jan to determine what exactly if anything is wrong,i feel this will prove to be another really rocky patch for us.Dp is of the opinion that ds is just a brat but i insist that he is having a problem somewhere,if the assessment proves there to be something wrong dp won't be able to accept it and if the assessment shows nothing to be wrong then dp will continue insisting that ds is a brat so as you can see this is going to cause another great hooha.My dp has been off work for a week and at the beginning of the week i told him that i wanted him to leave,this statement seems to have been conveniently forgotten as dp is now going back to work tomorrow and is still here.sometimes i wish he would come home and say he has met someone else and is leaving,it would make things so much easier but the thing is i know he really loves me and would never do this.I had a lot of problems with my mother when i was younger and moved in with dp when i was 17 partly to get away from my mother,i now think that dp thinks i owe him for making me a stronger person and getting me out of this situation,really i think looking back i was just a girl then now i am a grown woman and have simply grown out of dp if only he could realise this and let me go.

amelia Mon 21-Jan-02 10:29:00

Things have gone from bad to worse. He wrote me a letter last weekend saying how ashamed he is of his behaviour and could I find it in my heart to give him another chance. After thinking about it all week, I have said no. As somebody said on this posting, I feel as if I have already emotionally left the marriage and for me there is no way back. Naturally, he is incredibly resentful of this and thinks I should try again/that I have not tried hard enough. He has suggested that I move out, as we need to be apart. I agree we need some space but think it'd be incredibly disruptive for the children for me to move out and then, as he proposes, if we still can't see a way forward, to move back in, sort the house out, and go our separate ways. He wants me to see what it'll be like for him, when he is on his own. He asked me if I would consider giving him custody of the children - I said no. I had envisaged some sort of 2/3, 1/3 arrangement with the children, with me being their primary carer, or even a shared parenting arrangement. I feel awful talking about them as if they were some commodity.
Loobie, I hope things go OK on the 24th. I used to wish my husband 'd just leave us alone too, but of course it's not working out that way.
I'm tired of crying, but I guess this is just the beginning of a pretty rubbish time for us all. How do you ever know if you've tried hard enough? I guess you just have to trust your instincts but it is all really doing me in.

Loobie Mon 21-Jan-02 11:07:31

amelia how old are your kids? i agree with what you say about disturbing them and i think your dh is maybe trying to make you feel guilty by say ing he wants you to move out for a while to let you see how he would feel if he had to leave.I dont think we could ever agree about whether we have tried hard enough as i think he would want to continue trying forever whereas i just dont want to try anymore so we could never agree when enough was enough.I am aware of dh trying harder with the kids but i just look at him and think gawd your so false he seems so awkward round he is only doing it to look good in front of me,not because he wants to.Well as i said Thursday will be another big day.Incidentally all our problems arent only the kids we were to get married in august last year,we told our families and started making arrangements,after discussions i went ahead with booking receptions,registry office and buying my dress,as time went on i realised something was wrong so i confronted him and he said he didnt want to get married after all.Within two days he had told everyone and cancelled everything.I really don't think i have forgiven him and don't think i can ever get over the fact that he made a total fool out of me,though he doesn't think it's a big thing and i shouldn't worry about what others think.Hah he wasn't the one that looked stupid but anyway thats another story.i hope you get on ok and don't let him make you feel guilty, their good at that,i will let you know how we get on after thursday.Bye for now.

Loobie Mon 21-Jan-02 11:10:07

Amelia ive just realised rom another thread that your in Scotland,where about as so am i?

winnie Mon 21-Jan-02 11:22:05

Amelia, this may seem an over reaction but do not leave your home or your children. If you leave and your husband changes his mind you could have all kinds of problems getting back into the house and gaining custody of your children. Many people find that people they thought they knew are capable of all manner of things (particularly when children are involved) on seperation. Whilst it would be nice to think everything can be worked out in a civilised manner (and it could) it very well may not. Go to your local CAB or a solicitor and get some advice before you make any big decisions regarding the children. Cover yourself and your children.

The best thing you can do for your children is remain sane, keep in control and make sure as little changes in their lives as is possible. Be honest with them but don't go into great detail about why things have gone wrong, they don't need to know that. Stability and consistancy are the key for you all.

Thinking of you, good luck & best wishes

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