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DH said he's thinking of leaving me and I don't know if I can change his mind.

(97 Posts)
TickledOnion Fri 03-Jan-14 22:02:00

I've never posted in relationships before as I thought I had a perfectly happy if slightly dull marriage.

DH and I have been together 13 years, married for 5, 2 DDs (age 2 and 4). Recently we've been snapping at each other more than normal, focussing entirely on the DDs and almost ignoring each other once they've gone to bed and hardly having any physical contact. And unbeknown to me he has been incredibly stressed and upset about it and came to the conclusion that the only solution would be to leave me before we ended up resenting each other and being completely miserable.

I am not at all intuitive (which he knows) and he was very good at hiding his feelings but it all came out on new year's eve. I was completely thrown by it and devastated. I cried a lot and begged him to reconsider. We had a very long heart to heart and lots of hugs and more crying. I said that we could work it out and that I would do anything to make him stay but he said he wasn't sure he still loved me. I really think we just need to make time for each other and make an effort to enjoy ourselves without the DDs. We both said we felt much closer after all the talking and hugging.

Unfortunately he had to go away for work the next day for a few days. We've talked lots more than normal on the phone and he seems to be reconsidering. I don't know what I will do if he doesn't. I am holding it together for the DDs but I cannot imagine life without him. I love him so much and am so ashamed it has got so bad.

MyChildDoesntNeedSleep Fri 03-Jan-14 22:11:12

Hmm, I think this is easily done in a relationship of this length with two small children. It's a bit unfair of him to get to the point of considering leaving you before bringing it up.

MizK Fri 03-Jan-14 22:20:33

I think it's commendable that he has said how he feels and has been open with you about what he's feeling. It isn't just your fault things got bad but at least it has given you a kick to see how important the relationship is to you. So many people don't talk to their partners when feeling this way and instead wait til there's either someone else on the scene of things become completely broken.
Don't give up OP, it seems there is hope, but be sure to think about what changes would make you happy. If he agrees to try again I'm sure he will need to look at how he has been towards you as well as the things he wants you to change.
Good luck with everything and keep on holding it together, hope everything goes well for you all.

Fairylea Fri 03-Jan-14 22:24:29

I think it's really unfair of him to suggest splitting up rather than simply suggesting you need to sort it out. Surely that would have been the first step?

I hate to ask the question but are you sure there's no one else? It's quite rare for someone to want to leave a relationship with young children involved without someone else being involved, especially so seemingly out of the blue like this even if you have been a bit distant from each other.

Young children take an awful amount of time and energy. It's unrealistic of him to expect things to stay the same. However all relationships need time to cultivate. So its a bit of a compromise but one which he should have talked about openly rather than suggesting leaving!

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 03-Jan-14 22:25:06

It's not commendable at all, it's very cruel!!! 'I'm not sure I still love you' is a bloody nasty thing to say and is a threat designed to make the other person jump to it, panic and run around desperately trying to please. Which is what you're doing OP and by saying you'll 'do anything' you're taking all the blame.

Very cruel indeed

whitsernam Fri 03-Jan-14 22:26:19

Do you really want to jump through hoops to keep someone who doesn't want to be with you?

MizK Fri 03-Jan-14 22:28:36

But cogito what if he isn't sure he loves her? Why is it cruel to say so? I agree OP shouldn't jump through hoops to keep him but I don't necessarily think he is trying to manipulate her. Maybe he's just really unhappy.

InTheRedCorner Fri 03-Jan-14 22:29:11

I've been with my DH for as long as you have yours and I can honestly say I would ask him to respectively leave to make his decisions whilst I had space to think about what he had said and what I wanted to do moving forward.

Telling a loved partner you are having troubles in the relationship is very different to saying you don't think you are in love with them any more sad

2468Motorway Fri 03-Jan-14 22:29:27

I hardly ever read on relationships but are you sure he isn't seeing someone else? It's a pretty handy coincidence that he had to go away the next day?

I'm sorry it sounds a bit shit.

IrishBloodEnglishHeart Fri 03-Jan-14 22:30:26

I also think going straight to splitting up is too extreme. You say he went away to work for a few days. Does he work away often?

ohtobecleo Fri 03-Jan-14 22:31:17

I agree that this is cruel behaviour. If he was stressed and unhappy why is it your lack of intuition that's to blame rather than his inability to communicate to you about how he was feeling?

FetchezLaVache Fri 03-Jan-14 22:33:59

Oh love, this is totally cruel. I think you'll find his work-related absence is actually nothing of the kind- and he has managed to make you believe it's all your fault for not noticing how stressed and unhappy he was. I would suggest you ask him to step away for a while so you can get your head together.

TickledOnion Fri 03-Jan-14 22:34:40

Fairylea I asked him and I believe him when he says there isn't anyone else.

Cogito I can see your point. He is now very sorry about saying it and about how upset I was. I think he thought I felt the same!

I won't be jumping through hoops. We agree that we both need to make more effort with each other and not just focus on the DDs.

InTheRedCorner Fri 03-Jan-14 22:37:45

Has he told you what he wants to do now he has admitted how he feels?

Are you expected just to carry on and try to put some more effort more sex into the relationship in the hope that he starts to feel better?

How do you feel?

morethanpotatoprints Fri 03-Jan-14 22:37:56

Hello OP.
Mizk is spot on for me too.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 03-Jan-14 22:38:07

@MizK.... if someone's unhappy in a relationship and wants things to improve they are entitled to say 'I'm unhappy and I want us to work on the relationship'. That is quite different to someone shattering their partner's world by saying 'I'm off, but if you bust enough of a gut I might consider coming back'..... which is what is going on here. Issuing threats and conditionalities is very cruel behaviour indeed. Controlling and not at all constructive.

OP .... clinging onto his metaphorical ankles and begging him to stick around is only going to earn you his contempt and reduce your self-respect at the same time.

TickledOnion Fri 03-Jan-14 22:39:09

He really is at work. I actually thought it was a good idea to have a few days apart so didn't take him up on his offer of calling in sick.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 03-Jan-14 22:41:59

Not everybody can manage to communicate their feelings at particular times in their life though.
We don't know the whole story.
The man is at least honest and it sounds like he is positive atm.

TickledOnion Fri 03-Jan-14 22:48:29

He isn't a manipulative or controlling person. We have a very equal relationship and both of us hate any kind of mind games. I don't know why he thinks/thought our relationship is unfixable. Unless he simply doesn't love me anymore. sad

InTheRedCorner Fri 03-Jan-14 22:51:27

D you have time and the possibility of more time together and some one to help with the DC.

I worry you you will end up hysterically bonding sad

MeMySonAndI Fri 03-Jan-14 22:57:27

Ok, I am going to go against the grain here. It is often said that one partner should talk to the other first to try to get things fixed before considering leaving. But in real life things are not that simple, an unhappy partner can be giving clear signs and talking about feelings, which tend to be ignored and minimised until the 'lets split talk' time arrives and often after that.

OP it is natural that you are in shock but I want to re assure you that whatever happens you will be OK. If you both decide to work to save the marriage, you will come out of it a stronger couple.

If you decide to part... Well, there will be a time of adjustments and eventually you will find your feet and life will go on.

The only thing that I can assure you is that one day you will look back at these days when you both were focusing so much in the children, when you were snapping at each other, and above all when you kept your distance from each other after the girls have gone to bed, and you will realise this was not a happy time for either of you. Most of us divorced people come to that realisation sooner or later. So, chin up, as bad as it seems this may be a good wake up call to save that relationship, but if it isn't, there will be a lot of people who will come to your help and hold your hand until you are able to fly on your own. Trust me on that.

TickledOnion Fri 03-Jan-14 22:57:55

What do you mean by "hysterically bonding"?

TickledOnion Fri 03-Jan-14 22:59:28

Thank you MeMySonAndI

Busybusybust Fri 03-Jan-14 22:59:50

It's very easy to lose sight of your marriage when you have little ones. It happened to me. Try to make time for a date every week........ But this will only work if he does half the children stuff.

thecatfromjapan Fri 03-Jan-14 23:02:38

Hello there.

OK, there are many different interpretations of this. I completely agree with the posters who say that this is not the way to do things, as an adult, with children, in a relationship with someone you are supposed to love. The adult, rational way to do this would be to talk about things being difficult, to name and address difficulties, and to organise stuff so that you and your partner can give things a good go at getting better.

Staying quiet and then reaching for the nuclear button is just foolish. Or cruel.

So, it could be him being a bastard, it could be that he has met someone else ( you would be amazed at how many, apparently sane and reasonable people convince themselves of all sorts to justify having become interested/involved in someone else), or it really could just be the sign of someone failing their NVQ in Adult Emotions and Relationships.

The Way Forward:

This only works if you are both committed to trying to make it work. It won't work if your dh is actually using this behaviour/announcement as a way of controlling you whilst simultaneously ensuring he needs do no emotional labour in your family life. it is really, really important to establish what's going on.

You go for counselling.

You really do spend time together. Proper time.

You work on re-building intimacy, love and trust.

There are various "techniques" and activities for the latter, but a good counsellor will lay them out for you.

It souns simple, but it really does require effort, and resources of actual time and money being laid aside for the two of you. Which is quite a commitment in many families. In theory, it can cost nothing - but, to be honest, it will cost you in babysitting if nothing else - and counselling fees.

However, none of this will work unless he is actually hoping to make things work. As well as you.

Agree with all the posters who say that you really should watch out for letting this turn into a case of you jumping through hoops to make hime happy. This can happen, and it is no life - and I would say it is the express highway to an emotionally abusive relationship.

Good luck.

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