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.
Afraid to end my marriage (rather long)(76 Posts)
Apologies if this gets long. I don't want to drip feed and there's a lot of back story.
Basically, I want to end my marriage but I am afraid. I've been unhappy for years, when I've said anything to H he's been dismissive and started on about how hard things are for him (busy with work and child's sporting commitments). I find it hard to voice my feelings I know I do and I feel responsible for everyone else's happiness - I am a 'good girl'.
We've been married 16 years, have 3 DC's aged 9-13 I'm 49 and he's mid-50's. It's a second marriage for both of us. No kids from my first, he has two adult children.
I have posted before under a different username and that was the first time anyone had said to me that the only reason I needed to end it was that I was unhappy - sounds silly now but that was a bit of a revelation.
Over the years things he's done and said have eroded away the love I had for him, I know I bear some responsibility for not speaking up more firmly, for letting things go, for thinking 'that's how it is and I have to get on with it'. Partly too it's been a case of being so busy managing day to day life with three kids and working full or part time at various points with the major responsibility for everything to do with our lives except the middle DC's sport, that I've pushed our 'issues' to the bottom of the to do list to tackle later. Trouble is that now it's too late - it's all gone for me.
He is moody, miserable, negative, paranoid, angry with everyone, doesn't like people, always picks fault, is always on at the kids.
Sex is hideous. I haven't wanted it with him in a long time. He has a high sex drive. Didn't listen to what I wanted when I used to bother saying anything. It became another demand on my body and energy when the kids were small but he 'needed' it. I have shown no enthusiasm for sex in years and years and never initiate it - all I got were complaints about never initiating it.
Late in 2013 a few things happened that made me realise I can't go on with this - bereavement, serious illness, realising I was approaching 50 fast. That was the first time it entered my head that I could have a future in which I wasn't married to him.
It took until late summer last year for me to say anything. I told him I was unhappy and why and that I didn't want to have sex with him. He went into a massive irrational rant including how I was lucky he did as much about the house as he did, he would leave the country and I 'wouldn't get a penny' if I divorced him etc. etc. That lasted about 20 minutes then he went into the mode he has been in ever since of self pity, 'please love me', emotional wreck, crying, going round with his head hanging down, putting his arms out for a cuddle wearing a wounded puppy face, buying me unwanted gifts, following me about, offering to do the smallest things for me 'I'll take that', 'let me carry that for you' I could go on and on.
He started doing more about the house and being better with the kids but that is wearing off.
He still 'needs' to touch me and have me touch him sexually. We had had penetrative sex three times since the 'conversation', once against my will - I know how terrible that is.
I have been biding my time till a financial situation resolves which will be in the early summer and I am building up my courage to tell him after that that it is over.
He is completely dependent on me emotionally, he has no real friends, doesn't like his family and is many miles away from them. If (when) I tell him he will be incredibly angry then completely disintegrate. He will also use that I am going to cause the children upset and pain.
I have RL friends who know what is going on but my family has no idea. My mum said the other day that she hope's I appreciate him (he was in full on perfect husband mode) - I don't know whether she picked up on my lack of reaction to that one!
He is away this coming week. I am going to open myself a bank account and take out a credit card. I have been planning and researching the financial situation. I feel like I am moving towards doing what I want to do but I still can't imagine I am actually going to do it.
I am afraid of his reaction, I am afraid of the effect his reaction will have on the kids, I am afraid of what us splitting will do to the kids, I am afraid of my parents' reactions. But most of all I suppose I am afraid that my fear will stop me ending it.
Firstly let me say how strong and determined your post reads. You know what you are doing is the right thing and I also know how fear can overwhelm you. You are in an unhappy marriage that is clear and the right thing to do is leave it.
I left my DH in January and like you the fear got hold of me ( he's a good man we just fell out of love) as I feared what family would say and the affect on the DC. However I realised that I couldn't live an unhappy life just to keep everyone else happy. There comes a point where you have to matter too and you have to put yourself first.
You will need to be strong and most people around you will try and convince you to stay and work at it. Please don't listen to them as they will not be thinking of you they will just be thinking of their own feelings.
You have to be consistent and repeat the same line........mine was " You were not in my marriage, you only saw it from the outside. I deserve to be happy and being married to XXXXX is not making me happy and hasn't for a long time" No matter who it was or what they said I just kept saying the same thing.
Lots of people were angry with me and I felt so guilty it nearly tore me apart but 3 months on I am the happiest I have been in a long while.
My children have adjusted a lot better than some of the adults ( DH is brilliant and unlike yours is understanding but still hurt) and I know I did the right thing.
Your DH is an adult and he has to be in control of his own emotions. It is not your job to manage it for him. He will use emotional and financial tactics to manipulate you but you have to remember those are the reasons you are leaving him they are not a reason to stay....ever!
Plan as much as you can. Remind yourself of why you are leaving him. Remind yourself of how he has treated you. You deserve better and you deserve to be happy.
Good luck OP
Your DH sounds horrible OP - abusive and manipulative. I hope you find the courage to leave him and I think you will, because you've moved on from wishing for it to happen to the next stage, which is actually making concrete plans for leaving and a time scale for it. The more you make your plans and finesse your exit strategy, the easier it will become.
Try not worry what others will think - the poster above is right - you're the only one who really knows what goes on behind your closed front door. No one else sees how you live or what you have to put up with, in particular the constant pestering for sex and forcing himself on you, so prepare an answer to those 'Why are leaving such a great man?' questions and repeat it as many times as you have to. YOU know the truth, they don't.
As for your DC, they will adapt. Just be (age-appropriate) honest with them. I was six when my parents split and the worst bit of it was that they hid the truth behind their split, so I invented an alternative version in my head that was very damaging to me. Given their ages I'm sure they're well aware of the atmosphere in the house and when they see you, their beloved mother, happy without him they will see what his presence in your life did to you, even if they are devastated at the break-up of their family.
Good luck. Be strong. Leave
You do sound strong and determined. Have you had legal advice?
I am so, so sorry about the rape. You sound so brave.
Thank you for your replies - they've brought tears to my eyes.
Flossy your response about why you ended it is so good - I'll definitely use something similar. Just thinking about that is making me feel more confident.
I don't want to have to justify myself and I don't want to alienate him from our circle by telling people what's really gone on. It's private and I am sure he will be very involved in the children's lives even if at first he erupts.
I know I sound silly but at almost 50 years old I feel like I'm finally starting to grow up. I'm glad I come across as strong and determined - that is what I am on the inside, I just have to get it out.
I haven't sought legal advice yet but I plan to though I have a good idea of the situation from my research. I can borrow enough to buy him out of the house and stay here but it will be a challenge. I believe he will be fair financially. I manage everything to do with our finances so know more about it than he does. He has better pension provision than I do but I know that can be shared. I want to treat him fairly too.
I am a planner by nature buy I can suffer from paralysis when it comes to actually acting. Writing it here is almost like making a commitment that I will do it.
* I can borrow enough to buy him out of the house and stay here but it will be a challenge. I believe he will be fair financially.*
You need legal advice
AB If writing here helps then continue to do so.
Seeking legal advice is a must and you will get a free half hour from most and it really is worth doing.
Every time you feel stalled or paralysed just take 10 minutes of quiet time and read your OP back to yourself. It will remind you of why you have to push on. I kept a diary for 4 months. The first page was all the reasons I was leaving and I just put entries in everyday of how I was feeling/things that happened. It really helped give me confidence when I was having a wobble and read it back to myself.
Take care OP.
"You were not in my marriage, you only saw it from the outside. I deserve to be happy and being married to XXXXX is not making me happy and hasn't for a long time"
An answer like this gives nothing personal or private away, nor does it accuse him of anything. People will ask though and they might be baffled or even slightly accusatory, so you should have some kind of answer prepared.
Aubergine just on a practical matter on his pension fund I don't know if that will be shared once the children are gone . My friends divorced , she took out a mortgage to buy him out of the house. Their children are all grown up now and no money exchanges hands at all now. For what it's worth she has a good pension and he has state. However she needs it as is paying a mortgage. Be careful and do get financial and legal advice but well done for getting this far. Keep strong
Flossy Good idea. I've been thinking I must write stuff down. I find it really helps me to do that. It will be in a password protected document on my laptop though, not anywhere it could be found! I was thinking of writing him a letter, not with any intention to send or show it to him but, just to get it all out. Keeping a diary sounds good, that way I can see if I am progressing towards my goal.
I will get legal advice in the next few weeks - another milestone.
On the pension front I understand there is pension splitting and pension sharing. One involves a lump sum being paid from his pension fund into a fund for me (so a 'clean break') the other being part of his pension being earmarked and paid to me when he retires. Both would be agreed as part of the financial settlement and would not be affected by the children becoming independent. Or, he could take less 'cash' e.g. equity from the house in recognition of his larger pension provision. I don't really want to do that as I can envisage that I would get to retirement age and not have afforded to build up a sufficient pot of my own. If it's in a pension fund and can't be touched then it will be there in 15-20 year's time.
I feel strong and determined now. I'm looking forward to a week of calm and I can do things to make progress but what worries me is that none of these things involves actually confronting the situation, it's groundwork, I'm afraid I will 'wimp out' when it comes to the crunch.
I have told a couple of trusted RL friends some of how I feel but not in all the gory detail. Partly that's to make me 'accountable' - I can't ignore it forever.
You will be amazed AB, once you have planned everything and you know what each next step will be, it is a lot easier not to wimp out.
Having a plan kept me focused. Even though my DH was very reasonable and understanding I did have wobbles in confidence and questioned myself endlessly. I just knew I was doing the right thing even though it hurt and I was sad it was still the right way to go.
I feel like I have a plan and that mentally I'm making progress but I know I will wobble.
H left this afternoon for the week away. DS2 cried when he left and then cried again later on - they spend a lot of time together, he's the one with the shared sporting interest. DD also cried a little but got over it quickly.
Makes me sad to think about how what is going to happen might affect DS2. He's a lovely, caring boy. He has suffered with confidence issues in the past but is flying high now both at school and in his sport.
I've spent the afternoon ironing and thinking.
Autumn I left a very similar marriage. You deserve so much more than this. I urge you to keep taking baby steps, prepare bit by bit, seek legal advice, and leave. I would not try to imagine what he'll be like once you leave - anything could happen. My ex just slipped out and never breathed a word on the subject. He has done nothing to show he wants to be a real parent or take joy in seeing his kids EOW. It is like a further kick in the teeth. Please focus only on yourself now, I'll extend a hand to hold, keep posting and keep your eye on the prize. You are doing the right thing.
I take my hat of to you. You have endured a lot in the name of marriage and children but you have to know you're a long time dead.
I can understand your worry at taking the leap and it is something that makes every one of us afraid - it's the unknown, our children, their relationship with their father and so on.
But their relationship with their father is not your responsibility. It's his. He is going to be responsible for maintaining it and acting appropriately towards the children after the split.
You didn't want this, you have tried but there is too much water under the bridge.
Your children will not love you any less.
It is a shame regarding your husband family and friend situation but it's not something you caused or created not is it something you can fix. Those things have to come from him.
I suspect he will continue with his sports hobby and continue to engage your son who also shares the hobby so he won't be totally isolated.
I'm so pleased you have taken steps to gain your financial independence, this issue keeps women trapped for years.
I admire you and please stay courageous.
so he raped you
is there anyone trustworthy you can confide in?
well done on formulating an escape.
could women's aid help you?
Yes champion but I doubt he would see it like that - he just 'loves' me so much, finds me so attractive, needs me, is doing what is natural, I am his wife etc. etc.
That was an extreme example but there's lots of pleading, emotional blackmail and just wearing me down into doing or letting him do other sexual stuff. I know I should stand up to him and that it's damaging me. I said 'no' back last summer but it has crept back almost to how it was before that. I know it has to stop.
I just don't understand why anyone would want to be intimate with someone they know doesn't want them to be. I really don't understand.
It's a sense of entitlement, Autumn but trying to analyse his behaviour is pretty futile, tbh.
When you get out, and are free of this man, your dc will see the difference and benefit greatly from that. They deserve to see their mum happy. Hold on to that, OP
its not about 'love' for him.
its about exerting control and power over you.
he could be a sex addict maybe, but that excuses nothing.
yeah, i do not understand why someone would force themselves sexually on another either, but then you and me are normal and the types who do these things are not and they have no conscience.
be careful about writing any plans etc down in case he finds them.
is there any chance there is an OW?
i wouldn't be surprised if there was actually.
Sense of entitlement - sounds about right.
I'm as confident as I can be that there is no OW - he has very little opportunity for a start.
I appreciate very much having the financial freedom to make this kind of decision. That's partly what's fuelled it in two ways. Firstly, I am earning decent money again after spending time as a SAHM and secondly, I need to do it before I get much older and it becomes more difficult..
Our week without him is almost over. He will be back tomorrow afternoon/evening.
I've opened my own bank account this week. Not got round to the credit card yet. But that is still good - one step.
I'm feeling sad this evening and a bit overwhelmed. It's been such a busy week with more going on than usual, several unusual circumstances came together to make it logistically the week from hell but all my plans ran smoothly. I am soooo tired though. My daughter has a health issue that means she doesn't sleep till the early hours. She sleeps in the morning and is only doing afternoons at school but of course my sleep is disrupted too and I have to work so I have to be up and awake. I am utterly exhausted and I know this is influencing my mood but I still feel down.
DS2 really missed his dad especially at the start of the week. Bedtimes were worst but they have Skyped which has made it better. DD missed him too but not so badly. DS1 seems to have not been bothered. DS2 and DD are excited that he is coming back tomorrow. Seeing them miss him has made it really hard to think about what I need to do. I have even questioned whether I can do it but I do come back to knowing I have to.
This week has been very unusual, he has never been away this long before. It has flown by for me and I am not looking forward to him being back. At the same time I have been so busy I haven't been able to make the most of the break. I tell myself that it wouldn't be like this if we were apart. I would expect him to see them most days, my aspiration is for us to share caring for them reasonably equally.
It does all seem daunting and I know that his return will bring a return to the pressure from him to 'make things better' between us when I know that I can't.
I'm torn between taking some 'me time' this evening and cracking on with the weekend's jobs. Tomorrow is an unusually busy day too.
I think that any kind of emotional 'work' is incredibly tiring. I am going through a similar kind of decision-making process (though not quite so far along the road) and I have been feeling very tired, very worn and under strain. So be easy upon yourself...
How are you doing Aubergine? Any more progress? I am trying to progress along this road too, trying to do one thing each day towards that goal - today perhaps sorting out what to do about a couple of standing orders - but that's not enough! Yes it is all very exhausting, there is no place or time to rest, there is no ease and comfort at home.
Hello indigo - sorry to hear you are in the same difficult position but good that you are trying to move forward.
I am not good today, that's why I came on here really.
I was going to say no more progress but actually I suppose there is in that I've started to visualise what might happen when I tell him and others and to work out when is the least bad time to do it.
Think that's why I'm feeling down today. I'm facing the reality and it scares me to be honest.
Mainly I'm afraid of the pain that will be caused to my children but I'm also afraid of his anger but mostly his pain. I know I cannot be responsible for his happiness. But's just not what I do, hurt people.
Looking back through the posts has reminded me that I need to get legal advice. That's something practical I can do and soon. That can be my next goal.
I have a regular update meeting with our IFA soon so I can get up to date information from that for the legal meeting.
I am trying to decide the least bad time. It will need to be after the start of June. We have something financial happening than which although in absolute terms it makes no difference it will just be simpler to get that out of the way - less opportunity for difficulties to arise. DC's have SAT's and mock GCSE's in May which it will be best not to disrupt.
It's the practicalities of having 'the talk' that I'm trying to work out. I don't want the kids around. Is it better to do it before school breaks up? That's the only time the kids are guaranteed to all be out of the house - but just in the day of course. I could take a day off work, he would be around as he works from home but not fair to spring it on him when he's working. Not sure I could arrange it in advance - 'We need to talk....tomorrow'.
My SiL would have the kids for me in the hols for a day and sleepover (she knows quite a bit about what's going on) but then he might guess she knew. It would have to be a weekend though or he'd be working, then there's the kids' activities to consider.
I'm going round in circles.
He will be such a mess. It scares me.
I meant that before school breaks up is the only time the kids are sure to all be out of the house - at school.
Hey Aubergine, yes - finding the right time is impossible - I am waiting till after Easter and family holidays and mil visit. Waiting it out is horrible. I guess it would be good to use the time to form a plan.
Legal advice is definitely a good idea, as well as setting out what is likely to realistically happen for you, and getting advice from someone who has seen this all before, it helps to get stuff out of your head and stop you going round in circles so much. I got half an hour's free advice and may try out another solicitor too, just to see if they have a different slant on my situation.
Join the discussion
Please login first.