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Marriage failing - sad, but wish it would just be over already

(48 Posts)
tanyadm Wed 01-Oct-14 11:39:13

Not quite sure why I'm posting, just need to rant, really.

I've been with my husband for 10 years, married for nearly 6 - we've got two daughters 4.5 and 18 months.

We went from being really close, to being friends who happened to have children, to now - absolutely nothing. Our relationship has fizzled to nothing, and we haven't really even talked for the last year or so.

I told him in early August that I couldn't see a way forward, or back to how we used to be, and he was adamant that he loved me and wanted to make it work and would try harder to talk. But a few weeks passed, and he stopped talking to me altogether. I told him on 13 September that I wanted a separation, and it has been awful since then - so tense, and he doesn't even make eye contact or spend much time in the same room as me.

I am not a believed in 'staying together for the kids'. I grew up with parents who ended up hating each other, and it's more damaging than having separated parents. I know it's going to be hard for my older daughter, as she is very sensitive and doesn't cope well with change, but I really thought that if we could end our relationship like grown ups, accept that we've both changed and grown too far apart, then we could make sensible arrangements for the girls. It doesn't seem to be going that way, however.

My mum is not very supportive, because she adores my husband - it's all hypocrisy, because she hates my brother in law, and it would be a different story if it was my sister going through this. So despite what she went through, we had an argument the other week because she thinks I should try harder to keep us together, even if it means being in an unhappy marriage.

It's all very sad, but I can't live with someone who doesn't respect me, or show any interest in my life. He's a good dad, and he can continue to be that without us flogging the dead horse that our marriage has become.

That's it really, just needed to get it off my chest.

madeofkent Wed 01-Oct-14 11:48:06

I don't suppose you have tried Relate? People do drift apart, and it can be hard work to find things that you enjoy doing together. Do you show interest in his life at all? I didn't like any of DBH's hobbies and resented the time he spent on them, but he always 'suffered' going round gardens with me, although I can't get him swimming.

So I took a long look at myself and his hobbies (athletics, railway modelling, singing in choirs, maths club, butterfly and insect conservation) and decided that if we were to have something to talk about, I would have to at least try one of them. So I joined a choir too and we often end up in concerts together. It made a world of difference. I know you have two young children, and your world probably revolves around them and maybe you resent it, and he feels that and doesn't know what to do about it. Relate might get to the source of the problem.

Cricrichan Wed 01-Oct-14 11:58:37

I know of no couples who had an easy ride when their children were young. The focus of the relationship, the chores, responsibilities, duties etc all change and add in hormones and tiredness then it's obvious that a relationship has to relearn how to be.

I would look into making an effort. Remember what it was about him that made you laugh, kept you up all night thinking about him etc. Start a hobby together - go bowling, take dance classes, play badminton, take a photography class. Ie. Do something together that is fun and interesting and gives you something else to talk about and laugh about.

Get a babysitter a few times a month and go out for dinner, to the pub or with friends.

It can and does come back however unbelievable it may seem to you atm. And it's worth a try because nothing bad has happened just some distancing which is natural.

tanyadm Wed 01-Oct-14 12:01:55

Thanks for the reply, madeofkent. Part of the problem is that he doesn't have any hobbies, and I've tried to get him to go out and do things, even just to go to the football, or go see friends or something, but he never does. His work think highly of him and are supportive of developing him, which I've always encouraged him with and he always say he wants to, but he doesn't do anything proactive.

I think the turning point for me this year was that I started horse-riding and a fitness class, I did some fundraising, and I'm doing a second degree, and I felt like I got a bit of me back. It is tricky because we do have two little ones, and no family locally, so getting some time to ourselves has been nearly impossible. We went out to a gig in July, and he said some awful and crass things to me after a couple of beers too many, and I frankly think I deserve better than that.

He buries his head in the sand and doesn't face up to emotional problems. If ever I've been upset about something, he's not one for giving me a hug if I'm crying, that sort of thing, because he doesn't know how to deal with it. We never argue or fight because we are both non-confrontational - so it took a lot for me to say 'actually, this is not working', and there has just been blanking and the odd passive-aggressive comment since. It's tiresome, and not a good atmosphere for small people.

tanyadm Wed 01-Oct-14 12:09:53

Cricrichan, I looked into Relate, but we don't have the cashflow to fund it, because nearly all my wage goes to nursery fees. If I were honest with myself, I don't think he loves me anymore, and he certainly doesn't respect me. Anything he has said seems to be out of the fear of the change, rather than a genuine desire to hang on to our marriage, and if I'm honest, I'm not sure I want to either - I already feel like I'm on my own, with how he behaves.

kaykayblue Wed 01-Oct-14 12:16:47

It's sad that everyone's response is basically "you need to make more effort".

As if it's the OP's responsibility to carry the marriage. We always say on here that the only reason you need to finish a marriage is that you are unhappy, and yet here people are saying "well it's not like anything BAD has happened, so you should stay". Hypocrisy at its finest.

OP - I agree with you I don't think there's any point staying in a miserable marriage just for the sake of the children. There is no point stringing this out if you know deep down that this can't work. However, whatever you decide to do, I honestly do believe that you need to have a long hard think about whether this is something that you have both contributed to, or whether it genuinely is him who has emotionally checked out.

You have two options:

1) You sit down with your husband and lay your cards on the table. You two are barely speaking. You want to ensure that the separation is as easy as possible for the children. He might hate you, but that's no reason to make this harder for the children. Then you go and see a solicitor and get some advice as to how you can practically move forwards. Let them know that he is unlikely to be co-operative, and what your options are.

2) You sit down alone and do some honest thinking. You say your husband doesn't talk to you - but do you talk to him? Is it that no-one ever starts conversations, or that you start a conversation and get zero response from him? If it's the former, then you do need to take some responsibility for what has happened as well. Do you two get to go out with each other alone at any point? Do you still socialise together - ever? Do you encourage each other to take part in your respective hobbies? Do you have any mutual hobbies? IF he said he was prepared to take concrete steps to improve the situation, and you both worked out what that meant, would you be prepared to see how it went?

Then you sit down with your husband and say that at the moment, you see no other option than separation, because you are so desperately unhappy, but you want to hear his views. He said he wanted stay together, but within a few weeks was back to completely ignoring you. That isn't a marriage you are prepared to stay in, so either you both work together to figure out on how to make actual, long term improvements for each other, and have a time frame for seeing whether it's working, or if he isn't prepared to do that, then you two work out a way to separate that least impacts the children.

You may well find that he isn't particularly happy either. Maybe he doesn't speak much because you don't really speak to him either. It's like a vicious circle. Maybe he will have some home truths to say about your behaviour as well although it will be for you to decide whether he is being unreasonable or not.

eg, REASONABLE: We never do anything outside the home anymore. All we do is work, then look after the kids. I need some time to do things outside as well.

In which case you work out how you can cover for one another to give each other a bit of free time to relax, and whether you can get mum or whoever to babysit once a week so you can do something together.

UNREASONABLE: Expecting to have all the freedom in the world, and expecting you to pick up the slack at home, and not being prepared to cover for you whilst you get some time off as well.

tanyadm Wed 01-Oct-14 12:17:49

Don't get me wrong, he's a good person, and a great dad, and I know women go through awful experiences with awful men, and I'm very fortunate on that front. But living in a completely loveless marriage also sucks. I really think he would be happier moving on, and we would parent better if we weren't together.

tanyadm Wed 01-Oct-14 12:29:28

Thanks kaykayblue,

I've spent the summer making sure we have had loads of days out as a family, but they seem always to have ended up a bit grumpy all round. Not fighting, like I said, that never happens.

If ever I try to start a conversation, it gets shut down, whether it's just a trivial chat, or about the state of our relationship. It's like he just can't bring himself to engage. He's not being obstructive as such, just avoids being in the same room as me once the girls are in bed, looks at me like I'm stupid if I say things, and goes to bed early to avoid talking to me - I go to a fitness class on Tuesdays, and he always makes sure he's in bed by the time I get back (9pm!).

He doesn't have any hobbies or interests at all. I've encouraged him to go out loads, because I thought he would benefit from having his own life outside of the family, just as I did, but he's not especially sociable, and he kept saying "I should go to the football, I should get a hobby" etc, but never did anything about it.

He was off work on the first day I said I felt our relationship was heading towards its end, and he said he would talk to me more, then spent the rest of the week not speaking to me - we were home every day ourselves because I was off work sick.

I raised it again three weeks later, and he said all he had ever wanted was me and the girls, but again, no action to back up the words.

A couple of Saturdays ago, I visited a friend who has a daughter the same age as my eldest, and it turned out she is in the same position, and she and her OH are in separate rooms. I mentioned it to my husband in the evening, hoping to start some discussion about our situation - but no, picked up the PS3 controller. It's beyond frustrating.

I'm not taking this lightly - who would willingly launch themselves into being a single parent of two pre-schoolers, with a job and a degree course?! But I can't help but feel we will all be healthier and happier.

Argh, it's a mess. I will sit him down again and try and get some form of reaction!

Thanks for all your advice, it's really helpful.


kaykayblue Wed 01-Oct-14 12:44:03

OP - one thing that struck me was that you mentioned you ensured you had lots of time out as a family. Have you had any recent time out of the house with just you and your DP?

He is obviously evading any conversation about the separation. It does seem like he is taking the relationship for granted, and thinks he can just not make any effort whatsoever, and keep all the benefits of being a family unit.

I guess the only thing you can do is to sit him down and say that this IS happening, and unless he actually DEMONSTRATES that he wants to remain married to you, rather than just paying lip service, then you are done.

He probably won't believe it until something concrete happens to be honest, like you coming back from a solicitor's appointment, or filing the divorce papers.

Just ignore your mother. You can give her a couple of barbed comments along the lines of:

You might have been happy to have raised your children in a miserable household in a clearly dead marriage, but I've learnt from your mistakes.


Well it's your lucky day - if you like him so much I'll send you his number. Good to know where your priorities lie.

AmazingBouncingFerret Wed 01-Oct-14 12:51:39

tanyadm. I'm going through a very similar situation. my husband is thankfuly on board with the idea of divorce and recognises that our relationship has run its course.

I have told people that it was like we were existing alongside each other rather than for each other.

He did also ask about staying together for the children but I honestly think that children would be more effected in their lives if they reach adulthood and realise everything they grew up with was fake.

tanyadm Wed 01-Oct-14 13:01:14

We have only had one night out this year as a couple - in July - and it ended horribly. We don't have family locally, or much spare money for nights out and babysitters, so it's not something that happens much. He also doesn't like going for meals and things like that (I do!), so it has tended not to happen.

I think my resentment of him started when I was pregnant with my youngest. I had ovarian cysts which had to be removed under general anaesthetic, and he didn't even take the day off work to be with me, and there was nobody to look after our other daughter when I gave birth, and he wasn't willing to ask neighbours or colleagues, so I did that on my own as well.

When we've talked recently, he's said he is resentful that we have had very little to no sex life, but the fact is that I can't bring myself to have sex with someone who may as well be a stranger.

He thinks the main problem lies in how busy we have been with the girls, and he also blames a previous relationship (12 years ago) for his emotional detachment. To my mind, if our relationship was stronger, we would be better able to overcome these things.

Fortunately I have very supportive friends at work, which has kept me sane!

tanyadm Wed 01-Oct-14 13:06:34

Hi AmazingBouncingFerret (fab username!),

I'm sorry you are also going through this. It surprises me how many people are, to be honest. It seems like you reach the stage where either you are going to be together until you're old, or you've just grown too far apart.

My husband does accept there's a problem, but actually moving on from that to changing things either way seems to scare him too much so he's shutting down from me entirely. Other than a barbed comment about the cat forgetting him when he moves out.

I think our girls would be - in the long-term - in a better place if we separate maturely and put good plans in place for them - than with how things are at the moment.


DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 01-Oct-14 13:41:11

Being blanked by your H, after you tried to alert him to the state of your marriage, must have felt confirmation that things have deteriorated.

All very well for your DM to sing the praises of trying to mend a marriage. You know from your childhood what living with two adults at odds with each other is like.

If this has gone past the 'date night' cure please start looking into practicalities and get advice from the Citizens Advice nearest you. Does H have family in the area? Once you start to let it be known outside the four walls of the home he will have to take this seriously.

Cricrichan Wed 01-Oct-14 14:32:07

I've had similar with Dp. We've not been as extreme but we've come back from it. It took effort from both sides and sex was a problem. Like you I had no desire for sex with someone I didn't feel close to and he had no desire to be close to someone who didn't want to have sex with him. So it was a vicious circle.

We came close to splitting up a few times but both realised that actually we did love each other and we were passionate it's just that we had to learn to function as a couple with children. Talk to each other, spend time with each other. Have sex. And sex did make a difference to both of us.

I think you've gotten great advice and wish you well.

kaykayblue Wed 01-Oct-14 14:43:31

He effectively abandoned you when you went in for a pretty serious operation, refused to sort out any childcare for your other daughter at the time (leaving you to do it) and blames a relationship from TWELVE YEARS AGO for him acting like a sullen twat.

Why on earth would you want to have sex with someone who didn't speak to you?

Why would you want to have sex with someone who actively ignores what you say in order to avoid discussing inconvenient things?

Why the hell would you want to have sex with someone who mopes around all day and never actually follows through on anything/never goes out/never partakes fully in family stuff/is generally a moody twat?

Yes. I can see now why you would rather just call things quits.

Cricrichan Wed 01-Oct-14 14:49:17

Kaykay - because they have 2 kids together and at one stage were in love and close so it's worth a try. And it's not uncommon and many people do get their relationship back on track even if one of them is the main cause and being a twat. But if it doesn't work out then split, but at least split knowing that you've really tried.

Because life isn't that easy for a single mum. And once you have a new man then you've got the joys of the man not being your children's father and split parenting etc etc. Of course if the relationship is truly over then it's worth it, but if not then it's a shame to have given up.

BloodontheTracks Wed 01-Oct-14 14:54:48

What is the nature of this twelve year old relationship? Why is it impacting his feelings towards you? This sounds confused and unhealthy.

tanyadm Wed 01-Oct-14 14:57:09

Thanks, I really do appreciate your different views, and it's really helped me to write it all down. I am going to attempt to talk to him again tonight, and will keep you posted.


tanyadm Wed 01-Oct-14 14:59:14

His last girlfriend before me was abusive towards him, she had a fairly troubled life. He doesn't really talk about it, and has never mentioned it as being a factor in his closed emotional state, until recently. I can understand how that would affect a person, but also think that a healthy, functional adult marriage would have helped him past it by now.

kaykayblue Wed 01-Oct-14 15:02:16

Tanyadm - you said at the beginning of your post that everything with fine and dandy at the beginning, and you had a solid relationship.

So basically this past relationship only seems to be affecting him when it's a convenient excuse.

BloodontheTracks Wed 01-Oct-14 15:15:26

The tone of your posts suggests you have already made this decision in your mind and you are more comfortable with separation as a way forward than any other. it sounds as if he has sensed this and has withdrawn more to emotionally protect himself. You also mention his lack of respect for you a lot. What form does that take?

GoatsDoRoam Wed 01-Oct-14 15:18:22

What are the horrible things he said to you after a couple beers during your last date night in July that make you think he has no respect for you?

MoJangled Wed 01-Oct-14 15:19:20

OP, what is his parents relationship like? Some of the things you mention remind me of someone I know who has terribly low self-confidence, which translates into feelings of powerlessness. This isn't someone who appears unconfident, just cold and passive, because he shields himself. Could this be partly what's leading your H into giving up on his role as a partner to you and as a human being with interests and goals? In the case of my friend, working on his self-limiting beliefs had far more of an impact than any amount of ultimatums, because powerless people don't think they have the resources to act and just resign themselves to their fate.

Could you ask him what's stopping him from trying to save your marriage?

tanyadm Wed 01-Oct-14 15:24:29

MoJangled, he isn't a very confident person at all. His parents are elderly and in a good relationship, still quite affectionate, though his mother is very much in charge of things.

GoatsDoRoam, he basically got whiny and petulant because I wouldn't have sex with him up an alleyway, no euphemisms intended. Way to make a wife feel special......

tanyadm Wed 01-Oct-14 15:24:59

Who needs Relate, you people are fabulous. x

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