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Scared of devastation I'll cause by leaving (after 23yrs together)

(49 Posts)
hibernator Mon 03-Nov-14 14:53:37

Very long story but will try to keep it short!
Been with DH 23 years,married for 19. Have beautiful DDs, 14 and 17.

I have never been attracted to him physically and have stayed so long due to me having very low self-esteem, the fact he is a kind man who loves & adores me, and being scared of what my family would think of me. Marriage and children kind of happened by accident, but we are blessed with our DDs, they are wonderful young adults. I care for him, always have, alway will... but am not in love with him and haven't been for a long time.

When our eldest was 2, DH started up his own business - he loves the field of work he is in, and it drives him in life. It was around that time that things started to change as I was forced to work for the business for financial reasons, but hated it and resented him for it. I still have to work with him, but now it's just occasionally and that did help to resolve some of the tension between us. But deep down I knew that I did not love him anymore. His work is still his life, and he did begin to change when he became his own boss. He does love me and DDs, and they adore him, but he is almost permanently attached to his smartphone, checking emails, putting posts on twitter etc. It's a successful business and we are pretty secure financially, but he is addicted to chasing that next sale. People around us think we have the perfect life, family and marriage. I've become a very good actress. But I'm utterly miserable.

I have told him a few times over the years that I'm not happy in our relationship - first two times he sent me away to a B&B to think it over, both times I was so terrified at the thought of hurting him and the kids that I went back. The last time (about 5 years ago) he booked us into Relate. Again, the thought of leaving was terrifying as I did not want to cause him and DDs hurt and pain - I told myself "I've made my bed, so lie in it". Also, my parents asked me "does he beat you up"? I said no, so they told me I would be idiotic to leave the marriage! So I stayed, but knew deep down I was not in love with him. I convinced myself I would be mad to leave and have plodded on since then.

But I'm at the stage now where I can't stand living with him anymore, and I've become a total bitch: I snap at him and ridicule him. I feel physically sick when he touches me, (I still have sex with him, but generally after a few drinks to make it a little more bearable), and things he does just riles me, like the way he walks, like leaving crockery left on the worktop in spite of the dishwasher being empty etc - very petty stuff - but it drives me insane. I can't stand living a lie anymore.

The thing is, he adores me, and I know he will be broken if I leave. In spite of me being a bitch, he is always telling me how I'm his soulmate and that he worships the ground I walk on. I feel that we're not soulmates in any shape or form. There is no deep emotional connection. I'm also very worried about our 14 year old, she is a very sensitive child and a deep thinker. Also, she has her GCSEs next summer and I'm really worried how it will affect her school life. Our 17 year old is more grounded and although she will be very upset, I am confident she will be able handle it better and cope.

I have decided that I can't faff about anymore. I need to leave. It's not fair on him, plus I feel like I am suffocating and hate my life.

So do I grin and bear it until our youngest leaves school, for damage limitation so to speak.... or do I leave now? I can't speak to anyone about this and all my friends know him, and are always telling me how lucky I am. Please help. I'm in a mess sad

CheersMedea Mon 03-Nov-14 15:02:23

I snap at him and ridicule him. I feel physically sick when he touches me, (I still have sex with him, but generally after a few drinks to make it a little more bearable), and things he does just riles me, like the way he walks, like leaving crockery left on the worktop in spite of the dishwasher being empty etc - very petty stuff - but it drives me insane.

Have you felt like this before and the feeling passed? Or is this totally new?
I don't think it is good for you to be having sex with someone if you really don't want to. You don't have to do that you know!

Generally, I think if you can tough it out until your child has done her GCSEs I think I would - particularly if you think it would be devastating for her. The reason I say that is because it is true emotional disruption can have a massive effect on kids performance. Her GCSE results will be a large plank of her future CV for quite a while and a big co.ck up will dog her forever. Conversely, the situation you describe for yourself while not great is something you've been living with for a while and it doesn't sound like there has been any recent event that would warrant a speedy move out.

itwillgetbettersoon Mon 03-Nov-14 15:08:36

I think you should leave him now. Give him a chance to meet someone who does adore him. It isn't fair to your H or your DD to stay. I'm assuming long term you will have to get a job so it might be useful to start looking now.

You will need to get legal advice regarding the finances as it is complicated. Your DD are Also at the age that they can chose where they live or you might wish to do 50:50.

Good luck.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 03-Nov-14 15:08:53

I'm sorry you're so unhappy and distressed. Quite often, doing the right thing is not the same as doing the easy thing or the popular thing. This is one of those times. You have spent 23 years pleasing everyone else at your own expense and you sound close to a breakdown as a result. If you keep living your life on the basis of pleasing others and putting yourself way down the rankings, nothing will change. (BTW... not being beaten up is not the benchmark for a good marriage but I suspect you know that already).

There is rarely a good time to end a relationship. If it's not GCSEs in the offing there's a bereavement... or Christmas.... or some family party that you don't want to spoil. So would suggest you act reasonably quickly rather than dragging it out and risk changing your mind. Yes, there will be upset and disruption but it can't be helped.

Courage...

twindad76 Mon 03-Nov-14 15:18:41

I don't understand why you married someone you were never attracted to ?? And you now feel sick when he touches you and get drunk so that you can have sex. This sounds awful and you need to leave ASAP for both your sakes.

In the past did you ever tell him why you were unhappy ? i.e. that deep down you never found him attractive and he physically repulses you ?

I'm not sure what the best way to break it to him would be - or how to explain why you're leaving, - however I agree with other posters, there will never be a good time to end this charade and over the next few years your kids will have many other milestones that you might just hang on to see out, A levels, starting college etc etc.

molesbreath Mon 03-Nov-14 15:24:49

Having had teenagers go through GCSEs I would say stay for the duration of that and then leave and let your dh have the opportunity to meet someone who loves him.

Another 6 months in the scheme of things is nothing ...

Diagonally Mon 03-Nov-14 16:51:07

When I was separating from my exH I was given two simple but valuable pieces of advice.

The first was, you can't make yourself feel something (ie love) that you don't.

The second, we owe it to ourselves to lead an authentic life. Pretending to be or do something that does not fit with who you really are, or how you really feel, damages yourself and those around you.

It isn't selfish to want to live an authentic life and to not want to lie and pretend anymore. No one should have to do that.

Twitterqueen Mon 03-Nov-14 16:57:45

No consolation OP, but you are in the same position as so many other women are / have been and will be. As someone who was there some 5 years or so ago I can echo what others have said above.

You know it's over and the kindest and best thing you can do is to start the process. You don't have to rush it, you don't have to be angry and bitter, but you do have to take steps. Your DH and children will survive - and you will be a happier and more contented mother and ex-wife.

You will gain strength from putting things in motion. And this will enable you to deal with all the crap that goes with divorce.

AmserGwin Mon 03-Nov-14 17:11:31

Some of this sounds very familiar. I FINALLY split up with my Ex after 10 years and two DC's almost a year ago now. I wasted years trying to make it work. Please don't waste any more time, it's not fair on you or him. Your life could be very different in a year from now, or it could be just the same - that's up to you

ravenmum Mon 03-Nov-14 17:16:55

My husband and I were together 22 years. For the last 10 months or so before we split up, he was very cold, giving me nasty looks, not talking to me, not wanting to do stuff with me, avoiding me, hiding in a room on his own. (Turned out to be an affair - of course, this is MN.) It wore me down. By the time we split up I couldn't even remember enjoying his company. I didn't appreciate him staying with me longer if that was how it felt. Sure, I would have been devastated if he'd left me a year before, but I feel I would have kept a little more self-respect and respect for him if he'd got it over and done with earlier.

If you wait two years, you'll just be in the same position with a different date.

My son is 14 and he had more problems in school before we split up. Now it feels like the situation is more definite and clear. I don't know if it is just a coincidence, part of puberty, but he seems to have grown up a lot since we broke up and is making more effort in school.

The way you describe it, even though your husband is keeping up the facade it doesn't sound like he's having a good time or even making an effort to have one. Saying that you worship someone is simple; making them feel worshipped takes a bit more work, not sitting playing with your phone. Might it just be a line he trots out to keep you happy? Does he actually love you?

Dowser Mon 03-Nov-14 17:30:03

Just want to say that I'm so sorry that this has not worked out for you.

It's going to hurt all of you . I wish there was some way you could avoid the hurt but there just isn't.

Far better though to leave because of how you are feeling rather than wait for another man to come along to sweep you off your feet.

Good luck . Times I ended it with boyfriends I felt a right heel.

So yes, lots and lots of courage needed.

Relate do help you to separate you know.

Might be worth considering.

Ihavenobrain Mon 03-Nov-14 17:34:02

There's no advise from me I'm afraid but just want to say how brave you are even to type this all out.
You're very considerate and I wish you happiness what ever path you take. ��

VanitasVanitatum Mon 03-Nov-14 17:36:59

Poor guy, you actually sound abusive to him, it's hardly his fault you married him when you weren't even attracted to him.

You need to leave for both your sakes; life is too short to be miserable and he will probably find he doesn't miss you as much as he thought he would, as it must at least subconsciously wear him down being made to feel so shit all the time.

Wackadoodle Mon 03-Nov-14 18:49:34

But won't you miss your daughters if you leave?

hibernator Mon 03-Nov-14 19:22:48

wackadoodle, I wouldn't leave my daughters, it would be 50/50 custody, I'm pretty sure that's what he would want, and it's only fair.

Vanitas, I did spell out that I've become a bitch and am 100% aware of it, it does hurt me that I'm hurting him, as I still care for him. I just wish he'd stand up to me and tell me to stop or leave. But he won't. I HAVE decided to leave... the point of my post is to ask for advice as to when I should leave.

Ihavenobrain, dowser, twitterq, and cogito, thanks for your kind comments. I'm just torn with what to do, I had to vent it somehow and I'm hating myself. My priority right now is thinking about my DDs

Diagonally, that's great advice - I am always telling DDs to do what FEELS right, the most important thing is to be happy etc etc. and here I am doing the exact opposite.... but for their and DH's sake. I'm living a lie to keep everyone else happy.

hibernator Mon 03-Nov-14 19:23:56

I'm a fake bitch and I hate myself.

Timetoask Mon 03-Nov-14 19:29:43

For the sake of your 14 year old daughter in your shoes I would wait.

hibernator Mon 03-Nov-14 19:33:33

Timetoask, that's what I'm leaning towards..... although I've just realised she'll sit them in 2016 (not next summer - my head's a mush). Would you still agree to wait?

Diagonally Mon 03-Nov-14 19:44:36

Personally I wouldn't wait.

The cracks are obviously starting to appear and its not going to be very pleasant for your DDs to witness the difficult dynamic between you and your H for another 18 months.

You could be divorced in half that time.

hibernator Mon 03-Nov-14 19:47:54

Oh god, I just don't know what to do.... I think about it 24/7 sad

Ikeameatballs Mon 03-Nov-14 19:55:06

Get out now.

From what you've said you will not be able to wait over 18months without the whole thing exploding in a very unpleasant manner and your husband does not deserve to be treated as you are and deceived in this way any more than you should stay trapped in misery.

Leaving ASAP is best for everyone.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 03-Nov-14 19:56:19

The self hatred you're expressing isn't going to get any better the more you delay and I don't think it helps to berate you on top. However, any hurt caused by the break up is also going to be made worse if you drag thngs out. You DH is clearly aware that all is not well, I'd be astonished if your DCs haven't picked up on what must be a horrible home atmosphere (and are distressed as a result) and I don't see what is to be gained from anyone carrying on keeping up appearances. My own DS is Y10 and most of the exams are now final paper rather than old style continuous assessment. So plenty of time if you act promptly for things to calm down before she sits the papers.

bitofanoddone Mon 03-Nov-14 20:01:20

Have you tried anti depressants?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 03-Nov-14 20:01:32

If you don't know wha to do for the best, maybe get some information? Talk to a solicitor for example..... they tend to be straightforward people that deal with legalities and logic rather than emotional dilemmas. Could present you with options you haven't thought of

hibernator Mon 03-Nov-14 20:03:30

Thanks cogito smile
bitofanoddone, Yes I've been on & off them for 20 years - needless to say I'm back on them now, to help me get through this. But I do realise they're not the answer.

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