Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Unravel my head please

(37 Posts)
Minervaowl Fri 28-Nov-14 13:04:20

I have lived in a largely sexless marriage for over a decade. We had children via fertility treatment but my husband has always had a much lower sex drive. He also has a lot of issues from his past that make him very controlling and defensive around money - our finances run entirely separately, he has money I don't have access to for example.
After years of my begging for counselling, which he resolutely refused, I had a one night stand. I was appalled with myself and told him. I also said I believed our marriage was over and that I wanted a divorce. I'd already seen a solicitor, which he knew about, but like everything else, he just ignores things he doesn't want to hear.
He was furious about my infidelity but then calmed down a few days later, and said he recognised how far I must have been pushed to behave that way, and begged for us to stay together. For me, the damage is done, I'm so over being rejected and controlled by him. But he's booked psychotherapy and counselling, and been to the docs re sexual problems and some other health issues I'd nagged for years about.
I'm adamant I want us to separate as I simply cannot imagine him/us ever getting to a place where we have anything approaching a normal sex life, even if we fixed everything else. He is devastated and swings between desperate tears and promising me anything I want.

I don't want to hurt him, or rip him off or anything. He's an adoring father, and has no other family beyond us. He said the only way he will leave is if I "make him some promises" along the lines of eventually him moving back, not seeing anyone else etc. I've told him I can't promise him anything.

What do I do? sad

Jan45 Fri 28-Nov-14 13:10:49

Separate, be on your own for a while, enjoy the drama free life, you can see him if you still want to but I'd be planning a home life of my own - you might feel a bit sorry for him but now is the time to be a bit selfish and think of you.

I think you should definitely make this change.

Minervaowl Fri 28-Nov-14 13:15:40

I think you're right. I'm so very sad about it. He's nice. I hate to see him hurting this way - but he knew the therapy would be very tough anyway. He keeps begging me for another chance but I can't see how I can get over all this, and fancy him again. Actually it's not even "fancy", it's have any chemistry, if that makes sense.

Cabrinha Fri 28-Nov-14 13:18:50

If you know it is absolutely over, you cannot make that promise. But you know what? I'd lie and promise initially if it made the early stages easier (shoot me).

If there is a possibility of having another go, then you can promise that - as long as you're clear it's not guaranteed. In that situation, I wouldn't see anyone else for a while. Not because that's what he wanted me to promise, but because it will only muddy the waters for you. One thing at a time.

Cabrinha Fri 28-Nov-14 13:21:39

And I know you say he's hurting, but... If he does the counselling etc and it still isn't enough for you to recover, it is not wasted. The wake up call from you and hard work from him will make him healthier and better able to have a good relationship in the future.
If you are truly over him (and it sounds like the years of frustration have killed it) then one day you will be happy to see him happy with another person.
(and if they makes you think OMG no he's mine!, then fine... But from why you've said, I don't think you will)

Minervaowl Fri 28-Nov-14 13:22:19

But how do you know if it's absolutely over?

Minervaowl Fri 28-Nov-14 13:27:16

Just to add, he's never been unfaithful or violent for example, so I don't feel so black and white about it.
I'm worried about giving him false hope.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 28-Nov-14 13:44:16

You know it's absolutely over when you say it's absolutely over. I think you need to separate yourself geographically from this person before you will be able to do that, however. He sounds like a complete odd-ball, highly manipulative and you have compromised so much to remain with him that you've totally lost sight of what is normal behaviour along the way. You don't have to be beaten or cheated on for it to be a bad marriage. Neither do you need his permission to end a bad marriage.

Six, twelve or eighteen months apart from him and my guess is that your main thought will be .... 'WTF was I thinking?!

Minervaowl Fri 28-Nov-14 13:47:08

"He sounds like a complete odd-ball, highly manipulative and you have compromised so much to remain with him that you've totally lost sight of what is normal behaviour along the way."

^^ yes.

I see a lot of good in him too but yes, I've put up with a LOT of nonsense.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 28-Nov-14 13:54:01

There's a sort of obsessional 'hypnotic' effect of being around someone like this. You're looking into their eyes (not around the eyes, not around the eyes smile ) and you're so focused on them and their bizarre needs and weird behaviour that you become desensitised to it. You know on an intellectual level it's nonsense but when the hypnotist says 'walk around like a chicken'... you do it anyway. Even when you take a bit of a step back as you are currently doing, you can't pull yourself fully away.... they are still monopolising your thoughts.

It will take time and a certain distance to be able to assess the last 10 years fully objectively. That's why you need to separate.... break the spell.

Minervaowl Fri 28-Nov-14 13:58:52

"And back in the room"grin

He's pretty odd and awkward. He says it's like he's totally woken up to what a twat he's been. I've pointed out that however marvellous that is, it doesn't negate the years of twattyness I've already endured.

Minervaowl Fri 28-Nov-14 14:00:29

I think I'm scared of ending it, and then regretting it. I'm scared of the regret.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 28-Nov-14 14:09:24

When it comes to relationships, the definition of 'ending it' is a broad church. Between where you are now and the decree absolute there are a lot of potential stages, including the one I suggest you go for which is 'trial separation'. Often ends up as divorce admittedly, but it's also a chance for everyone involved to think, regroup, live life without the other person, work on correcting their bizarre personality defects and so on. BTW... if he does successfully manage to de-twat himself and you don't want him back, what has he actually lost? hmm

It'll be upsetting and possibly disruptive but that part is short-lived. It could be the best think you ever do or it could be a massive mistake. The biggest regrets are opportunities squandered.

NettleTea Fri 28-Nov-14 14:22:19

well seperate and see how it goes, without any promises.
IF he is serious he will get the counselling and that will do him good
Being apart with give you perspective and time to readjust to 'normal' - probably not a bad idea to have some seperate counselling yourself too.

IF when thats all done, you both feel its worth taking tiny steps, then do it. Set new boundaries, be open about your respective needs.

But dont tie either of yourselves into promises of a future where you really have no idea what could be thrown up

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 28-Nov-14 14:53:50

I agree it's important not to give him false hope or undermine how seriously you view the collapse of your relationship with him.

He said the only way he will leave is if I "make him some promises" along the lines of eventually him moving back, not seeing anyone else etc.

Well that's not on is it; as you say, you can't promise anything along those lines. You have reached the point you only have the DCs in common and zero chemistry and now want to separate. Or should that be, see no reason not to separate.

Booking therapy doesn't mean he will attend, let alone learn from it.

He's neither been unfaithful nor violent, that doesn't mean this marriage has been a roaring success. The trouble is he just ignores things he doesn't want to hear so even at the 11th hour he hopes to cling on.

Bluntly, as you have DCs you won't be fully disentangled until they are grown. Separation and divorce take time. So if at some later date you have a rethink or at least curiosity to know how if at all he has changed, if he is still interested then it might yet be that some spark could reignite. Who knows what will have happened in two, five, ten years' time.

queenoftheknight Fri 28-Nov-14 15:50:53

The thing about therapy is that you have to have the right intent. Winning you back is not the right intent is it? Therapy is deeply personal, and has nothing to do with anyone else.

Going into therapy with such an ill and manipulative intent will probably not achieve what it could, if he were going into it for him, and his own process.


Minervaowl Fri 28-Nov-14 17:55:45

I'm scared of it being a mistake that I'll live to regret and yet know we have to go through something that fundamental changes how we relate, if there's even a glimmer of hope.

"Going into therapy with such an ill and manipulative intent will probably not achieve what it could, if he were going into it for him, and his own process. "

I'm not sure I agree it's "manipulative", but clearly that's his whole motivation.
Tell you what's just really really got up my bloody nose : one of the things we have argued about is the house we own, which I detest. He's always said we can't afford to move, or if we could move it'd be a sideways move so not really worth doing. That's cos he's always prioritised his long term financial plan over everything else. But today, in desperation, he said that he'd rethink all that and if I wanted, I could go and look at other houses as he was prepared to increase the budget. I've suspected he had more savings than I knew about, but today he's happy to increase the house budget by a quarter of a million quid.

I am fucking livid. Hes trying to please me when really all he's doing is revealing more twattery.

Handywoman Fri 28-Nov-14 19:32:50

OP you have to extricate yourself from this man and his twisted thinking. You can end this and you don't owe him any promises. And, it would seem the marital assets are more than you thought...... surely this should spur you on.

Oh and he is manipulative. Highly so.

Minervaowl Thu 04-Dec-14 07:11:04


He's been for a couple of counselling sessions and has a regular appointment every week. So that's good. He comes back looking drained and seems to be hearing from the counsellor that he's a tremendous good egg whom life has shat on and his wife has emasculated. I doubt that's what she actually said but that's what he's hearing.
We haven't slept in the same room for over ten years because he snores. Not just a bit - impossibly screamingly loud. This was a problem before we moved in together but we both worked long hours and travelled a lot and seemed to work around it. It got steadily worse and I decamped to the spare room. His counsellor seems to think I had some hidden agenda and said she thinks there's more to it than just his snoring. I pointed out that's nonsense, I married him because I loved him, and thought the snoring would get better and it didn't, and he did precisely fuck all about it. For years. And that the impact had been my resentment about it - not only could I not sleep with my husband, we couldn't go on holidays without paying two lots of single supplement, we couldn't stay with friends unless they had two lots of spare rooms, etc etc. All that is irrelevant though, as my decamping and my openness and frustration about it, entirely emasculated him and that's where our sex life's problems started. Utter shite. It was crap well before then.

He's refusing to consider separation because everything he's read on the internet says that men should stay put as long as possible or when push comes to shove, he'll be seen as abandoning his kids. angry

I'm pleased he's seeing the therapist but from a personal pint of view I've no idea how the hell this is helping. In between apparently I'm meant to tolerate it all and congratulate him on his long awaited epiphany.

Fed up. angry

inlectorecumbit Thu 04-Dec-14 10:24:43

Just separate, whatever the therapist is saying he is and will only hear what he wants to hear.
If possible l would try to find evidence of this "hidden money" for future reference. you have put up with 10 years of misery. Life is short and you owe it to yourself to be happy.
You do not need his permission to separate, if he refuses to leave tell him you officially consider yourself as separated but living in the same house until the house is sold.
You do not say how old the DC's are -they must be aware of the atmosphere in the house and find it strange their DP's not sharing a bedroom.

Minervaowl Thu 04-Dec-14 10:36:15

They don't find it strange cos they've never seen it. They're v young.

He's trying so so hard, but apart from guilt it's just leaving me cold. I keep thinking maybe I owe it to the kids to try again but I just can't see us as lovers.

tipsytrifle Thu 04-Dec-14 12:49:02

Is it possible that what he's currently avoiding is the sharing of marital assets? I don't believe he's hearing this garbage at his therapy sessions either. I believe he's deliberately making shit up to put you down. That's manipulative at best, abusive when combined with the many many years of non-sharing that's been going on, at every level.

He's exploring his options on the net too. I actually think that "advice" probably applies more to women than men, given how (rightly or wrongly, no judgement involved) things usually work regarding DC.

How is he trying so so hard? He's offered to buy you with a quarter mil. That makes me kind of nauseous.

Wrapdress Thu 04-Dec-14 12:57:28

You want to separate and he says No. He's still controlling you.

Minervaowl Thu 04-Dec-14 13:06:44

He's trying hard with stuff like the kids, running round after me, doing stuff around the house, cooking (which he's NEVER done) and generally being more 'present.'
I think he's genuinely scared and desperate. He won't discuss the practical mechanics of separation because he doesn't want it, I suppose, for whatever reason. He keeps telling me he loves me and he wants it to work both as a couple and a family. I pointed out that as a couple we seem to be pretty destructive, but can be perfectly happy and functional parents. He keeps begging for "one last chance" but I do t think either of us know what that even means for the other.
I think he's going to say it's working between us even when it's not, cos he's engineered a decade of crap and has no idea what normal looks like.
Short of starting proceedings, I don't feel like I've any other options.

StormyBrid Thu 04-Dec-14 13:30:57

OP, I think "one last chance" here means "For God's sake, woman, shut up and stop rocking the boat." Where is his consideration for your thoughts and feelings in all this? He's trying to dictate terms by which you can temporarily separate? Does he understand that he can dictate whatever he likes but you're under no obligation to do as he says? Because if he doesn't understand that then you're definitely better off without him. If he really cared about your happiness he wouldn't want you to stay in a relationship that didn't make you happy, would he? I'm getting quite grumpy at him on your behalf!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: