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Is this really it for the rest of my life?

(13 Posts)
strawbasketcase Wed 19-Mar-14 15:19:34

My life is in a mess right now, and I can’t seem to see my way out of it. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t unhappy with my marriage, but I seem to go round and round in circles rather than making a decision to end it. I’m terrified of all the upheaval, and fear DH would get really nasty. I worry I haven’t got the fight in me. Feel totally worn down to be honest. In fact, I’m not even sure if actually it’s all me, or if he really is emotionally abusive, as I’ve suspected for some time, and that’s why I’m feeling so awful. I’m writing it down to try and get some perspective and if anybody can be bothered to read it and respond, please do but please go easy.

Briefly, DH and I have been married 14 years this year, we have one lovely DD aged 3.5, we’re in our early forties. We struggled with years of infertility and IVF, we eventually conceived using donor eggs from abroad. I’ve always wanted more children, but a year ago, he dropped the bombshell that he didn’t want any more as he didn’t trust our relationship.

Cue lots of soul searching (me) and a period when he went to counselling. This turned out to mean him returning home and emotionally bashing me about everything that was wrong with our marriage. Felt like he used the counsellor to prop up his position rather than proactively change anything.

We haven’t had sex for 3 years, apart from once when we actually managed to sit down and have a proper talk, and agree we’d move forward and try properly. I felt relaxed for the first time in months, and we had sex. Since then, nothing, as we have basically retreated back into our own corners.

Marriage has always been up and down, mainly due to poor communication skills on both our part I guess, but DH seems to particularly struggle with being straight and being able to talk properly about stuff. He had a tough childhood, dad was an alcoholic (he last saw his father aged 15) and a needy, manipulative mother who he now has a polite but fairly distant relationship with. He doesn’t really have any close friends to open up to, has a rigid fear of being embarrassed and can be very uptight about stuff I see as pretty trivial eg: losing stuff, minor things going wrong. On the other hand, the big things like our debts he’s almost crazily dismissive about, treats me as if I’m an idiot for worrying. It’s weird, I feel as if we’re never on the same plane if you see what I mean.

Cut to the present. Feel like I’ve struggled for years and years to get him to be open with me, and to communicate but he usually (literally) runs away. We’ve been a good team in the past, he supported me fully with IVF, especially the financial side, and we click on work issues (work in similar fields).

But – the downsides. He’s very insecure deep down and has a poor sense of humour. We never sort out our problems. Feel like I go round and round in circles. If he’s cornered, he’ll agree, but never does anything which I find evasive and slippery. The no more children thing has been devastating. I feel as if he’s slowly crushing my spirit.

I’ve stuck with it because I wanted it to work and he’s basically a kind man who’s not very clever at the emotional stuff. I could sort of handle that. But this year, we went back to the country where we did our IVF abroad for another try. It was a very big deal, he'd finally agreed etc etc, it cost us a lot to get there, rent a place and so on, but when we were there, he told me he'd changed his mind. We ended up missing the appointment. I watched the clock tick round knowing there were four embryos down the road and they were going to waste. I felt like I was going mad. We had 2 weeks in a lovely place with DD, and I tried to make the best of it and have a holiday, but I had taken meds etc so wasn't feeling great. Since we've come back, he's told me he wants to stay together but doesn't want more kids, but equally doesn't think he needs to change. I feel totally stuck and powerless, feel like my life is shrinking and can't get out of it. What's wrong with me? Is it really all my fault? he makes me feel as if I'm going mad.

So sorry for rambling. I don't really expect anything, it's just good to write it down.

SawofftheOW Wed 19-Mar-14 15:28:37

Oh OP, the thought of you sitting in that house being denied an opportunity to try for another child is utterly heartbreaking. The cruelty of it is gut-wrenching and my heart aches for you. A simple question, do you still love this man?

Trooperslane Wed 19-Mar-14 15:30:10

Jesus. It's not your fault.

He sounds all over the place.

No real advice but brew and a (((((hug))))

Ivf/infertility does strange things to people. How strange to go all that way and bottle it.

Relate? And the time of your post sounds like you want to move on. Do you think that's the next stage?

Trooperslane Wed 19-Mar-14 15:31:12

Ps are the embryos frozen? Is there an opportunity to go again?

Jan45 Wed 19-Mar-14 15:33:14

It's not you, you're reacting to him, he sounds cold and uninterested in having a normal healthy sexual relationship, if he wants just companionship then fine but you obviously want more and are deserving of that, we all are.

Honestly, life is too short to be wasted, he sounds nothing but hard work and puts no effort it at all, get out, big world out there with men who actually want the same as you.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 19-Mar-14 15:49:05

"he’s basically a kind man who’s not very clever at the emotional stuff."

He's not kind though, is he? It's very clear that he has decided the relationship is not going anywhere, doesn't want more children and has given you the 'take it or leave it' line. I don't call that kind.

I think all the stuff about alcoholic fathers and not being in touch with emotions and so on is the way you've rationalised what is very poor behaviour towards you for a long time. If there is any 'fault' here I think it's that, in your eagerness to have children and as the time has ticked by, you've pinned your hopes on him and maybe overlooked early warnings that things were going downhill.

I think you could have a lovely life with DD solo and, if you really want more children, there's no need to find a new partner to have them with.

Sk002 Wed 19-Mar-14 16:14:14

Get counselling for yourself and as a couple. I have a counsellor who helped me see I was not going mad. And as a couple we had counselling which showed us where our prob are. (And also highlighted that OH didn't want to work on it).
Going for counselling is best thing I ever did and got me off the merry-go-round. The last step is just ahead of me now.

strawbasketcase Wed 19-Mar-14 16:29:46

Thank you all for the replies. Its amazing some of the clarity that comes out from your comments. Yes, yes and yes to so many things, the trip abroad did feel very cruel, he didn't once ask if I was OK but he almost seemed to expect me to spring back into shape, and if I didn't, I'd be spoiling our 'holiday'.
The sex thing I'm totally ashamed about. All feels like such a failure and he's made it feel like my fault for so long, has called me frigid and all the rest of it (I'm really not) but that's probably out of anger as he's admitted he's found it very difficult not to have sex but honestly, I've yelled at him sometimes, what about me, I'd like to have a sex life too, I miss it, I yearn for somebody to be kind to me and make me feel like there's some personal connection. The truth is he's not physically unattractive, he's quite good looking actually but I just can't get that mental connection I need in order to find him sexually appealing. It's been going on for ages, and I have really tried. I've been open about things (this is what I've found the hardest) as this is 'my way' I suppose, earnestly believing you can sort stuff out if you talk about it but this has been spurned for as long as I can remember. God all this sounds awful, I guess I'm picking out the bad stuff but reading it I realise it sounds very bad sad

Phalenopsis Wed 19-Mar-14 16:52:37

First, taking a woman to a foreign country, getting her hopes up concerning having another child and then telling her that he has changed his mind is not an action from a kind man. It's quite stunningly cruel and selfish.

Second, and I'm not having a pop at you by the way - if there's one thing which makes me grind my teeth on here, it's women who write that their partner has had an abusive childhood and that accounts for why they're being treated like shit. I understand why you OP and others do it: it stems from loyalty and the desire to minimise the abuse, make it easier to cope with and sometimes it is useful background. But here's the thing OP, his childhood isn't your fault. Lots of us have had shit childhoods and we don't behave as your OH is behaving. We deal with our problems and try to address stuff so it doesn't impact on our relationships. I hope I don't sound angry at you, I'm angry that you are taking on the emotional responsibilities of a grown man, a father who should have got his shit together by now or is at least trying to.

You also seem to be taking sole or near-as-dammit responsibility for your lack of sex life. I wouldn't want to have sex with a man who called me 'frigid'. Again, he doesn't sound very kind to me.

No wonder you're exhausted! I'd be knackered too trying to keep this relationship afloat.

Have you sought legal advice, because I think you ought to.

Jan45 Wed 19-Mar-14 17:03:26

He could look like George Clooney or Brad Pitt, if he's not stimulating you mentally and respecting you then you still aint going to want to jump on him.

strawbasketcase Wed 19-Mar-14 17:14:30

thanks phalenopsis. I agree with you about the shit childhood line - it's something my DH uses himself as an excuse, and I suppose I've fed that further myself by trying to get him to see the link between that and his behaviour in his adult life, believing stupidly that if he saw the link it would mean he'd want to change it. This hasn't happened though. Yes, I have taken legal advice from 3 different solicitors in the past year, using their free half hour to basically wring out as much info as possible. It's helped me feel as if I'm taking control of my life ( even though I'm not actually doing anything about it at the moment.) Still waiting for him to magically come to his senses I suppose. But he's kept me hanging on by making things on, then off, then on again, classic crap behaviour really. Slowly realising he's playing me like a record. Feel incredibly stupid actually, which doesn't help me see straight either. Just can't believe he actually WANTS our life to be like this. The only power I have is to walk away but he is going to get very nasty over DD, access and money, and I'm a bit of a worrier, anxious he will push me around and don't feel I've got much family on my side apart from a v elderly mum.

angryangryyoungwoman Wed 19-Mar-14 17:15:46

I'm sorry to hear this op, especially regarding the ivf. I don't have any advice in addition to what has already been said but if you want an outsiders viewpoint, he doesn't sound like a kind person and he is not communicating with you. If you want to keep trying, go to counselling. If not, I would find someone else who wants what you want too

strawbasketcase Wed 19-Mar-14 17:16:49

thanks Jan45. Brad Pitt he's not....!

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