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How to stop being so passive - I am wasting my life!

(43 Posts)
textingdisaster Thu 30-Oct-14 12:11:00


Am 45 years old, have 3 dc (1 in secondary school, 2 at primary) and am a SAHM.

Dh and I are probably in what you would describe as a loveless marriage. Yet I do nothing about anything. Almost as if the fact that I get no approval or affection from him (he basically ignores me) means that there is no point to anything. We have been to counselling together but that was short lived as he stopped coming after about 5 sessions.

Really should be getting myself together and sorting out work for myself as well as sorting out the house better but instead seem to spend all my time obsessing about how much my h doesn't like me and on mumsnet blush.

I really need to break out of my cycle and become more productive but instead cannot stop thinking about all the things that are (very) wrong with my marriage and also how scared I am of a potential divorce.

Basically how can I break out of my rut despite the fact that my h has no respect/love for me and does not view me as an equal partner?

textingdisaster Thu 30-Oct-14 12:33:53

Also obsess about the things which I find difficult about h and his siblings (all of a similar ilk). Really want to break out of my addiction to him because do not want to be part of the way they all are and how they view life / other people.

FolkGirl Thu 30-Oct-14 12:43:09

Ok. I'm going to tell you what I did around the time when my exH and I separated. Not because I'm suggesting you do, but because it really helped me to focus on who I am, what I'm about and what I want to achieve.

I made a 'thing' about me. Called, um, About Me.

And I basically made lists about me. My personality, my achievements, my values, my lifestyle.

So things such as: I listed my academic achievements so that I could see them written down. I then also included things that I wanted to achieve, e.g. a Masters and PhD. I also included things like being a vegetarian, my political and social values, my personal qualities, the fact I like walking and camping. Literally, everything that I could think of.

By also including things that didn't already describe me, but that I aspired to, like "I run", I was focused to make those things the truth. e.g. I downloaded the couch to 5k podcasts and started running. And I started new hobbies, made new friends and took on new responsibilities. I'm pretty happy with my life, right now.

It helped to keep me focused and stop being 'passive'.

You may find that your increased confidence means your marriage improves. you might decide that you'd be better of ending it.

You say that your husband does not respect or love you. It's time then, my dear, to start respecting and loving yourself.

After all, learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all (and if you tell anyone I've just quoted Whitney Houston, I shall deny it for ever more!)

DeckSwabber Thu 30-Oct-14 12:44:38

It sounds to me that while you are not happy, you are not quite sure yet what you want. Leaving security and a relationship is a big step.

Could you start with something small like taking a short course at college in something you enjoy just to rekindle your interest in yourself and give you a break from constantly turning things over in your head?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 30-Oct-14 13:40:43

I wonder if you're depressed. You're certainly in a depressing situation and, if that has triggered a clinical depression, you're unlikely to have the energy or motivation to do any of the things that might get you out of it... like taking a job or ending the marriage.

textingdisaster Thu 30-Oct-14 19:33:49

Oh my god. I had typed an epic response and have lost it!! (Though probably better for you as it was very long grin).

Anyway, shall attempt to condense it.

Thank you for your idea folkgirl, it sounds great. My problem is that I am "co-dependent" on h and find the idea of doing anything not seen or validated by him difficult which is strange as it is not as if I am seen or validated by him now confused.

I think I have depressive tendences cogito and yes the situation is depressing. H is on the bad tempered / controlling / rude end of the spectrum, and though he has toned down his behaviour after several crises where I said I thought we had to separate, he is still rude, critical and bad tempered some of the time, but above all we hardly talk to each other, and he never touches me or shows me any affection (while lavishing praise and affection on our dc so it is not as if he is incapable of showing it).

I have done quite a few courses and really should be making the mother of all efforts to find work. I have something in mind which I could do from home in the hours that the dc are at school, but instead of trying to set it up I bury my head in the sand. Then I start thinking that I would rather go out to work (harder to find school hour term time work however) so that I can meet people and get away from the house, but that I don't want to be judged to be "old" in an environment where a lot of people will be younger. It seems that I can talk myself out of anything and that I will end up doing nothing sad.

The other stumbling block in my mind is the house which is in h's name and which in many ways he views as "his". I would love to move somewhere else but I couldn't go through something like that where only the "man in charge" signs the documents. I am not the naive person I was when he bought this house about 17 years ago. I asked him if I can be on the deeds of any future house we live in but he became very defensive and I don't think he would agree to this.

He would not sell this house without my agreement (at least I hope he wouldn't confused), but what annoys me is the fact that I seem to have no agency. He is not mean - I have money in my account every month, and h's business is a kind of hand to mouth one which means that he rarely buys himself anything. He is in charge of the mortgage and the bills while I pay for food and everything and anything dc related. I have also bought some furniture and appliances for the house as well as paid for some holidays (though that was from a small inheritance I got). I have no idea what the mortgage currently is and what I would do or how I would do it if h were to suddenly die for example.

The other day h told me that a house next door but one to his mother's (who lives about 2 hours away) is for sale. He then looked at dd1 and said "shall we move there"? What annoys me is not so much the fact that I think he is necessarily about to do this (he daydreams about lots of places) but the fact that he is in a position to be able to say that kind of thing as he holds all of those strings as it were.

So I daydream about owning my own house and being in charge!! Maybe I should be counting my blessings instead and thinking of how I can contribute to society instead (I did do quite a lot of volunteering at my dcs' school for a long time but don't do that at the moment) confused.

HappyHalloweenMotherFucker Thu 30-Oct-14 19:37:36

You own half of that house if you are married

It doesn't matter whose name is on the deeds

HappyHalloweenMotherFucker Thu 30-Oct-14 19:40:21

I also think you have little chance of blossoming into the person you want to be until you get out from under your husband

This wouldn't be one where I advise growing yourself whilst still under the same roof as him

Get away, and you will find your strength returning

See a solicitor and find put where you stand financially

textingdisaster Thu 30-Oct-14 20:23:09

Get away, and you will find your strength returning. I agree with this halloween but the idea of separating is terrifying!!

H is away a lot at the moment working (2 days this week, 4 days last week) and you'd think I could use that time when he is not around to pull myself together, but it doesn't seem to be happening.

It is somehow difficult to feel good about yourself when your partner does not seem to like you or find you attractive.

textingdisaster Thu 30-Oct-14 20:28:41

I think h would be happier without me too but probably doesn't want to unleash the divorce beast (and is very bitter about his first divorce). Plus it would be very difficult for both of us to be without the dc some of the time sad (let alone how difficult the dc might find it).

The alternative however is a sexless / loveless life together and I don't want that yet!!

I just feel generally a bit pointless. A bit shameful when you think that other people have not been lucky enough to make it to my age (like the daughter of family friends of my parents' who died at 38 sad). What is it I am exactly doing to justify my place here or to help other people??

HappyHalloweenMotherFucker Thu 30-Oct-14 21:00:00

If you are not ready, you are not ready. It pains me to see women living in misery though.

For what ?

textingdisaster Thu 30-Oct-14 21:03:54

But does anyone ever feel ready? Maybe (having planned etc..) I need to bite the bullet despite how awful it might feel. Am worried I will never be strong enough to withstand a divorce which by all accounts is like a bereavement and very traumatic?

I think when you are in the situation you really can't see the wood for the trees. If I was offered a relationship with very little communication and no affection I would say no, but since ours has become like this over time, it is difficult to see the situation for what it is. Or to stop hoping that it might all change one day.

HappyHalloweenMotherFucker Thu 30-Oct-14 21:04:43

What do you want people to say, love ?

textingdisaster Thu 30-Oct-14 21:08:26

How I can feel better about myself despite the fact that my h and I seem to hate each other grin. Also how I can get on and do the things I need to do and being my own source of approval rather than waiting for h's or anybody else's for that matter!

How to stop feeling like a wet rag grin.

HappyHalloweenMotherFucker Thu 30-Oct-14 21:08:35

I can tell you to Kingdom Come you can end this relationship whenever you like, for whatever reason you like

I can say you deserve more a thousand times (you do)

I can give you a million examples of women who wish they divorced the fucker waaaaay before they did

But that won't help you. Only you can decide.

textingdisaster Thu 30-Oct-14 21:09:01

be not being

textingdisaster Thu 30-Oct-14 21:12:32

I suppose it would be a very frightening shot in the dark and I wouldn't know if I had done the right thing until later.

In the meantime I need to learn how to remain positive so that I have the strength to find work etc..., despite feeling down about my marriage. That's what I find difficult. Not sinking into gloomy inaction.

HappyHalloweenMotherFucker Thu 30-Oct-14 21:17:17

Chicken and Egg.

Find strength while you stay in the strength-sapping situation ? How ?

Or end it, and realise you were strong all along while you deal with the aftermath.

textingdisaster Thu 30-Oct-14 21:26:05

Yes I think I am pretty strong to have put up with how difficult h has been at times (think weeks of silence) smile.

Thanks halloween smile.

It's this weird feeling of "who am I" to cause such havoc to my dc as well as the eternal thought that I haven't done enough to try to improve things (which finding work might). Also a feeling of guilt that I might relish independence more than being a full time Mum to my dc (which is not true but the outcome of divorce would be spending less time with my kids which is a gut wrenching thought).

But you are right, a stagnant relationship is a strength sapping situation.

HappyHalloweenMotherFucker Thu 30-Oct-14 21:27:18


textingdisaster Thu 30-Oct-14 21:30:30

So, knowing that it is strength sapping, maybe the way for me to deal with it is to build in as much comfort and support into my life as possible so that I am not knocked for six by things h may or may not say or do. Constantly forearmed.

Maybe I also need to develop a tougher skin.

textingdisaster Thu 30-Oct-14 21:32:11

Thanks for the flowers. Same to you!

HappyHalloweenMotherFucker Thu 30-Oct-14 21:34:06

Whatever works for you. As long as you move forward in not accepting this treatment.

Scarletohello Thu 30-Oct-14 21:48:06

It sounds like you feel defeated and overwhelmed at the moment which is understandable considering what you are going through. You also seem to be very fearful about the future. However nothing will change unless you start to put things in motion. You do deserve better than this. You are entitled to stay in the house till the kids are 18. I think it would be helpful for you to go see a solicitor to see what your legal rights are so you know where you stand. You only have one life, how do you envisage it to be in 5 or 10 years time..?

RaspberryBeret34 Thu 30-Oct-14 21:50:59

I wonder if having counselling alone might help you?

Similar to FolkGirl's suggestion, when my ex and I separated I created a (secret) Pinterest board and pinned pictures of what I wanted in my life - some of which was stuff I already had (eg pinned a pic of a happy smiling woman and toddler) and some was what I wanted for the future (both short and long term). I still sometimes look at it now nearly 2 years on smile. It was really inspirational to help me work out who I was (am), what I wanted etc.

Also, it seems like you've spent a lot of time thinking about all this (which is totally understandable) but now the entire process (plus all potential problems) and emotions of divorce are layed out before you in a huge pile. You end up wondering how on earth you'll deal with the million issues you can think of, all at once! The reality is that some days will feel hideous, there will be problems but you deal with each day as it comes - the good and bad. You deal with problems as they arise. You don't have to worry about the entire journey, just take the first steps.

Having said all that, I'd probably start by getting a free 1/2 hr of legal advice as it sounds like things could be financially complex - it may help to find and photocopy bank statements, mortgage details etc. But as you're married, he can't just say "the house is in my name, you're not entitled to any".

Many people i know who have divorced, including myself, have felt more relief than grief as much of the grieving as already been done in the latter stages of the relationship.

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