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Does separation make the heart grow fonder?

(28 Posts)
MidnightMomma Sun 05-Oct-14 20:05:09

As much as I love DH, he is very difficult to live with. Life has become somewhat embattled, because of his impractical and unhelpful ways. Been wondering recently about couples who live apart, from choice more than necessity? With some kind of weekend/ monthly visitation arrangement. Anyone out there like this? How does it work for you? Peaceful and well managed or lonely and miserable?

lavenderhoney Sun 05-Oct-14 21:34:59

Do you mean just to meet up for sex? It sounds confusing tbh. Do you have dc?

Romeyroo Sun 05-Oct-14 21:47:03

Midnight, when I got to the stage of thinking that maybe we could agree to see each other just every fortnight rather than every week, the writing was on the wall. He worked away during the week as it was. Everything between us had become horrible.

Now he sees dc every other week and when he is civil, I think maybe we could have worked it out. I see bit of the old him I used to like. But we would have had to have agreed an 18 month separation, I would have had extensive counselling, he would have had to get a new place, we would see each other now and then, and when I think on it, there is no way. When I left the marriage, I was psychologically running, and once you start doing that, it is very hard to go back.

That said, I think if he is happier with a place of his own and this is mutually agreed rather than an acrimonious separation, it might be worth a try. I would probably try relationship counselling, though.

Romeyroo Sun 05-Oct-14 21:48:08

My last paragraph relates to your situation, sorry that was not clear

Benzalkonium Sun 05-Oct-14 22:16:32

Yes, it can do that. But it can also remove the motivation to improve those aspects of the relationship which are troublesome. And takes all the practicalities out of splitting up, making it much easier, and therefore potentially a lot more likely.

WildBillfemale Mon 06-Oct-14 07:17:20

Isn't what you propose a bit like saying well this relationship isn't working but I'd like to keep the good bits only.

Better off going your separate ways.

MidnightMomma Mon 06-Oct-14 08:16:54

We have been together an age now. Have two beautiful dc. DH adores Dc. It's just that we sort of never recovered after the tremendous upheaval our marriage suffered after ds was born 5 years ago. I have adapted and centred my world firmly around family, he struggles with the lack of freedom somewhat. There's more, but mostly it's just that he needs a lot of alone time and hibernates or detaches himself frequently. I miss him, but find it hard to accept when he's physically here but emotionally absent. Thought physically being separate as well might make it easier to accept. Then, when he does come to us, he will be committed to totally being with us, if that makes sense? Anyway, hard to explain the full dynamics. Don't want full separation or divorce but don't want to constantly feel like I have to pull him along to be with us. We have tried relationship counselling a few years ago and made much progress. But this is where we are I feel we might be here for the long term.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 06-Oct-14 09:14:34

I don't think you resolve emotional absence by adding physical absence. There is no guarantee whatsoever that, when you all spend time together, he'll be fully committed to the family. He has a family & responsibilities and, by choosing not to engage, he's simply being selfish.

How would it work in practice? You'd be running two households rather than one. You'd effectively be a lone parent and shouldering 100% of the responsibility except on the days when DH deigns to visit. And then what would happen? Would he be fully taking over the running of the household... doing all the chores and taking care of the DC while you have a few days of rest and relaxation having your own 'alone time'? Or (more likely) would he slip into old habits and be as lazy and disengaged as ever?

I think the resentment you already feel would only increase.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 06-Oct-14 09:15:38

" tremendous upheaval our marriage suffered after ds was born 5 years ago. "

Does your DS have special needs?

MidnightMomma Mon 06-Oct-14 09:31:27

Ds1 is currently being assessed for adhd/asd. I think DH has been quite depressed after each child. He still is in that state, after ds2. DH also has a chronic health condition - onset soon after ds1 was born. So there's been a lot of adjustments we've needed to make. DH struggles with his health but also struggles with being a frustrated writer. It's a catch 22 situation - with not-great health and young family, he can't find time to write much. But as he can't do this, he withdraws from family in low spirits.

He isn't malicious, just unwell, depressed and sort of unprepared for the reality of parenting. I can't find it in my heart to accuse him. Just thought maybe he could live without us day to day, then indulge in his ambition, and then when he does come to us he'd be in a happier place. I don't know, it's far from ideal, but I'm trying to problem solve. DC very attached to DH, Ds1 especially can have emotional outbursts if he feels DH is not spending enough time with him. that is weighing on my mind too.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 06-Oct-14 09:46:38

You say you 'think' he is depressed. Has he been diagnosed? Is he seeking help for the depression alongside the other health problems? In reality, most of us have dreams that get parked while we get on with real life, earning a living, bringing up families etc. You say he has lots of alone time and hibernates a lot and yet he still can't find time to write.... hmm Has he ever submitted anything to an editor, for example? Have you seen any of his work? Is he serious about being a writer or is it just a pipe-dream providing an excuse to detach and mope about?

For me, this would be a deadline thing. You give him, say, a year to produce some work and have a serious attempt to get it published and, if it doesn't happen, then he has to commit fully and cheerfully to family life. No-one is 'prepared for the reality of parenting' until they are parents and he's had at least 5 years to get his head around it. It's not rocket science.

MidnightMomma Mon 06-Oct-14 10:43:10

True Cogito, I've had to learn how to adjust to life with dc, the total consumption of time, energy, emotions that comes with it. Yes, I know how this all paints DH in a bad light and yes, he absolutely could do more to help himself and us. GP has diagnosed depression a few months ago, but no help provided to follow that up other than anti depressants. Dh feels NHS help is just a futile battle most times (from experience). So in effect, he receives no treatment or help and he doesn't seek much either. Motivation low - all classic signs of depression.

I have read his writing - he is exceptionally good but very, very undisciplined. Nothing has been completed except a few poems and short stories but that was many years ago. All current longer projects (which are fantastic ideas btw) are incomplete. I do agree with him he has a future in writing based on his talent and intellect but I can't see that promise being fulfilled the way things are now. He wastes an awful amount of time being in low spirits and tired. He recently started publishing a few extracts on a blog, which has been the most he has done with his work.

Thing is, I totally understand how soul destroying it can be to never be who you want to be. I really don't want that for DH, can't bear that because of me and DC he couldn't achieve his dream. All he wants is to be a writer, he says. So all the time is sort of poisoned by that frustration. I also completely understand how depression sucks away all joy and motivation from the best of us. So I thought if he has all 'distractions' (sadly, that's us) taken away, he might actually be able to make something of this dream.

Surely, I can't be the only wife out there who's considered this kind of set up? Is it really so insane? Won't it be worthwhile if it does work? Surely, there's virtue in patience and hope?

Romeyroo Mon 06-Oct-14 13:55:54

You'd effectively be a lone parent and shouldering 100% of the responsibility except on the days when DH deigns to visit.

This.

This is what I would have had to accept; plus when he was here he wanted life organised to his plan and timetable.

Whereas now I am a lone parent, and xH has one-on-one time with DC where he can be a great dad every fortnight, organise how he wants and still live his life how he wishes.

There is only so long you can keep coming second. For two days a fortnight, xH at least manages to put DC first.

I am at work, so this is only a quick response. But I am betting your life has changed beyond recognition now that you have DC. He doesn't seem to accept that his also should.

MidnightMomma Mon 06-Oct-14 17:09:31

Romeyroo, Yes, life has changed beyond recognition. I miss the old me. I wish I could have a bit more balance, a bit more time to myself, but I wouldn't change my life with DC for anything. DH - well, he is quixotic. I feel I should accept this, as this is the man I fell in love with and married.

I already feel like a single mum. Just trying to work out a solution with the least complications and heartbreak for everyone involved.

Romeyroo - do you ever regret that you didn't try to stay and work it out? Do you ever resent being a single parent?

MidnightMomma Mon 06-Oct-14 17:18:11

Least upheaval for DC particularly is what I want.

Cricrichan Mon 06-Oct-14 17:43:17

No experience but could he set aside 2 specific evenings when he writes for example? I think it's a bit extreme to move to separate houses without at least trying a formal time for him to follow his dream.

Regardless of him being quixotic etc, he us a father and a husband. Being both should also be a pleasure as well as his duty. We are all very different before we have kids but we all had to change our priorities once we have children. I got up late and was a messy disorganised bugger before kids. I now have kids and I've had to go against my natural inclinations.

Joywillcome Mon 06-Oct-14 18:01:59

My EX and I did this for 9 years. He had to live next to his work and he would be on duty 3 days and nights - then spend 3 days and nights with me and our 2 children in my house.

Had we have lived together properly in the first place we wouldn't have wasted 9 years - we would have realised sooner that we were incompatible. All it meant was the if we had an argument he would go back to his, so nothing really got resolved.

It also meant that we had two houses to run financially. Personally I liked the time when he wasn't there the most - which says it all really!

MidnightMomma Mon 06-Oct-14 18:56:20

Cricrichan - I did suggest a regular writing time but like I said he is unwell and undisciplined. It all slipped.

Joy - that's very interesting. 9yrs is a long time to come to that realisation isn't it.

I'm just trying to keep the good and manage the bad. There is much good, too difficult to describe here and I can't throw that away. Plus, the DC. All relationships are about compromise right? I'm too old to have idealised expectations of love.

Romeyroo Mon 06-Oct-14 19:56:40

midnight, I had to look up quixotic! Now that I have, I would say your DH can only be quixotic because you are doing everything sad. No wonder there is nothing of the old you left, you must be exhausted.

You question about whether I feel sad I did not stay to sort it out is quite hard to answer, because I feel like I gave everything I could trying to sort it out, so leaving was not about not trying to sort it out, it was about ensuring there was enough of me left to be the mum dc needed, because if I had carried on in that situation, it would have driven me to an early grave.

The point about sorting a marriage is that it takes two, if it is one giving and giving at the expense of their own wellbeing, it is not sustainable.

Do I resent being a lone parent? I think I resented not having a partner when I married more. If I am truly honest, I am sad that he was not able to put the time into creating a family that he now gives to dc. But that time is obviously less than what I was asking, and there are no domestic demands on him.

Romeyroo Mon 06-Oct-14 20:11:07

Compromise also takes two.

I don't know that expecting support and to pull together is an idealised expectation of love, either. It is a basic premise of a relationship.

I am not saying you should leave here, you sound like you still have a relationship you value. But living apart whilst being married formalises an arrangement whereby you are effectively a single parent, but you have none of the freedoms being a single parent brings. You have another adult to consider whilst they are not really considering you, iyswim.

Far better, I think, to revisit the counselling, if it worked before. You don't have to accept him, warts and all, just because you are married. You could ask him to work with you to find a way to meet the needs of everyone in the household, with the help of a counsellor.

Cricrichan Mon 06-Oct-14 20:23:31

Midnightmomma - if he can't do what he needs to do at specific set aside times because he is unwell and undisciplined then I'm not sure separation will make any difference.

Maybe suggest that next holiday you take the kids somewhere and he stays at home writing for a couple of weeks? Maybe if has a good go of getting started he'll get his discipline back.

MidnightMomma Tue 07-Oct-14 04:09:21

Thank you everyone. Tired brain, poor decision making faculty right now. Will think on this some more.

Isetan Tue 07-Oct-14 06:07:30

I don't think you and the kids are the obstacle here and his lack of discipline, depression etc won't be cured by moving out. It sounds like he's not taking responsibility for who he is and you can't realise a solution if essentially you aren't the problem.

There's nothing lonelier than being in a relationship where the other person has checked out. The ever present burden of being the one to fix the relationship is exhausting and being a parent is exhausting enough. I had been effectively a single parent from the beginning. Now that I am officially a single parent, I now have more access to support (goto learn to take it) because when I was in a relationship people assumed I had support.

You can not fix him and you can not 'fix' a marriage by yourself. One of the hardest (still learning) lessons of being a mother not just a single one, is finding/ making time for myself and as my daughter's only functioning parent, I do her a disservice by not looking after her mother.

CuttedUpPear Tue 07-Oct-14 06:43:14

I'm listening to the voices on this thread. DP and I have been together 7 years and he won't live with me.
I feel as if I am alone and am always trying to make a decision about it.

RubbishMantra Tue 07-Oct-14 10:51:02

Your quixotic husband sounds a lot like mine, Midnight.

We almost separated recently. I've realised I was taking all of the responsibility for making our relationship work, then neglecting my own needs in the process. You seem to be using a lot of energy trying to make everything good for him, and not getting the same in return. It throws you off kilter, and you forget who you are.

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