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.

How long have other people stayed together just for the children?

(67 Posts)
Howmuchlonger123 Mon 06-Jul-15 20:05:16

I think we really are just together now for the children, married 14 years, dc 9 and 10. No relationship between us except parenting, no sex, no affection, separate bedrooms, little conversation except the necessary. No conflict. Just doing life for the dc. How long have people kept going like this? 4 years so far. How long do we keep going?

NoraLouca Mon 06-Jul-15 20:09:34

3 years here, in an 8 year marriage that ended a couple of years ago. We were different because there was conflict which made it easier to leave in a way.

Is there no way you can improve things between you? Do you actually dislike each other?

wallaby73 Mon 06-Jul-15 20:09:50

Stop. Just stop. "Staying together for the children" is a fallacy, and a terrible burden to put on their shoulders. Plus they think it is "normal", and will think this is what to expect from marriage.....not good. And i speak from experience x

NoArmaniNoPunani Mon 06-Jul-15 20:11:21

My parents did it for 18 years. Selfish arseholes, I wish they'd just split up.

Howmuchlonger123 Mon 06-Jul-15 20:13:45

I just can't see how we can ever go back to how things once were, we've crossed too many lines.
Yes, unfortunately, there are things we dislike about each other and I don't love him any more. Nothing changes, we just plod on.
We don't talk about it, just keep going on. We go out as a family, have meals as a family.

TheMotherOfAllDilemmas Mon 06-Jul-15 20:14:33

I have always thought that the vast majority of women who say to be "staying for the children" are actually staing out of fear of being poor if they split.

If you are unhappy, take the steps necessary to leave, you are not doing the children any favour by making them believe that a very superficial relationship is the way that marriages should be.

TheMotherOfAllDilemmas Mon 06-Jul-15 20:15:59


The time to leave is when you have given up on making that relationship good. There is no point on staying, honestly, it will only make you bitter with time.

Howmuchlonger123 Mon 06-Jul-15 20:20:49

Yes, if I'm honest, not wanting to upset the dc or mess up their lives, not wanting them to not have two parents together, not wanting to have less money (we have a good standard of living), not wanting to have less time with them, fear of change, not wanting to move, go through a separation and what the future may bring just keeps us going. The dc seem happy. I only have a small income and so we'd not be able to do all that we do with them. Just seems better to keep going for them.

lighteningirl Mon 06-Jul-15 20:21:08

Good grief
1 life is too short you only get one do not waste it
2 your kids are getting an appalling view of marriage
3 waiting til they are older means they will feel guilty/bereft/troubled as teenagers ffs that's hard enough anyway to get thru from both sides

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 06-Jul-15 20:22:33

Make plans to leave now, do not do this to yourself any longer.

What do you want to teach your children about relationships and what do you think they are learning here?. That a loveless marriage is their "norm" too?.

They are not going to thank you for staying together in a loveless marriage and they certainly won't appreciate the resentment and bitterness or being told something like, "if only you knew what I sacrificed for you". They also pick up on all the unspoken hostility (worst still perhaps even blame themselves for their parents marital troubles) and they know you basically live separate lives. They would probably rather you separate now than when they are older and far more aware anyway.

Finola1step Mon 06-Jul-15 20:23:58

Can I state the obvious? You and your husband are teaching your dc that this is an ok way to live within a relationship.

Fast forward 30 years. Is this what you want for your dc and their respective partners? If the answer is no, then its time to start having some tough conversations.

My aunt and uncle stayed together for their 3 dc. They stayed together probably 15 years longer than the should have.

The eldest son married very young, had 2 children very quickly. And followed his own parents and stayed in an unhappy marriage. He finally left about 6 years ago and is now very happy. He is now 47.

The second eldest drifted for many years. He married recently and I doubt very much there will be dc.

The youngest was estranged from the family for a very long time. Still is in many ways.

Nolim Mon 06-Jul-15 20:27:16

My parents split and it was the right decision for them. They were better ppl and parents apart that together.

CrackedNipplesSuchFun Mon 06-Jul-15 20:34:59

My parents where just as you describe youand your husband. Albeit there were aarguments, fuck there were massive arguments. I wished and hoped they would split. I couldnt deal with the falseness and the coldness. I was only young but i could sense it when they were 'odd' with one another.

They finally split when i was 13 and it was the best thing ever. Mum was happy, poor, but happy. We had a great time (compared to the previous 6 years of shit).

Fast forward to now. Im 34 and have a completely screwed up perception of what is the norm in relationships.

TheMotherOfAllDilemmas Mon 06-Jul-15 20:42:10

I know a very religious couple who stayed together in respect to their vows and for the sake of their children.

1) the man is a selfish abusive unfaithful twat
2) the woman has wasted her life babysitting an arse, her face is half paralised since one particularly heavy discussion
3) their first child beats his wife in the same way his father hit his mum
4) their daughter has refused to allow her husband to divorce her, even when he has been living with the OW for the last 10 years. Obviously, she cannot start a relationship herself due to this ridiculous arrangement, but she thinks that is the right thing to do... For the sake of her children (yeah... Right)
5) their youngest son, is not as violent as his father but he certainly expects his wife to have no opinion and do what he says, just as his mother did...

Obviously, they are all screwed up, as well as their children/grandchildren, but if you ask them, they say they are happy.

Howmuchlonger123 Mon 06-Jul-15 20:48:09

I really appreciate such honest responses, I'm really struggling to see past upsetting the dc, being lonely, being poor, the stigma of being a lone parent. I'm being really honest here and possibly not managing my ds alone (he can be quite a handful at times). I'd feel so guilty taking them away from their Dad (he's really good with them).

Pussycatbow Mon 06-Jul-15 21:05:53

What does your Dh say about the situation?

Nevergoingtolearn Mon 06-Jul-15 21:32:34

Dh and I had not shared a room for 7 years sad, at times we were good friends, other times it felt like there was nothing between us other than the dc's. I ended it 3 months ago, the dc's have been fine and I wish I had ended it years ago.

Howmuchlonger123 Mon 06-Jul-15 22:04:17

Dh doesn't say anything, neither of us do, we just don't talk about it. I can't see how we change anything as neither of us want to have any conflict or change even though we're unhappy.

Sickoffrozen Mon 06-Jul-15 22:16:41

Lots of people did years ago including my parents. They both had affairs to keep them going though.

If you don't want to split why not just have it out and agree to some kind of open relationship. At least you would get some good times.

Sitting in silence is just grim.

LittleWren17 Mon 06-Jul-15 22:34:50

Sorry to hear that you are going through this. I left my husband a year ago for very similar reasons and we have two children ; 7 and 11.
Life is too it and make yourself happy. It was my priority to have an amicable split and stay on good terms for the sake of the kids and our many years together. Although there are sad days, it is possible for everyone to be happy after a split. As long as you make sure that your children see their dad often and you both can come together when needed to be good , United parents, then your children will be ok.
You may have lonely times, but do you not find that you feel lonely within your marriage? I'm sure your friends and family will be really supportive and fill your time when your children aren't with you.
Give yourself the chance to find happiness before any more years pass by.

viridus Mon 06-Jul-15 22:50:27

A house without love, is not a home. You are staying like this for your own needs not the childrens.

blueshoes Mon 06-Jul-15 22:53:15

OP, my parents stayed together in a functional marriage much like the one you described. They quarrelled but there wasn't a hostile or toxic atmosphere at home.

I am so grateful to them for putting the family first and not breaking it up , for all the reasons you described. I don't believe that the children will necessarily go on to have a dysfunctional relationships. If anything, it taught me to take the time to choose wisely about my life partner because I knew it is happier to be single than unhappily married. I knew how to spot red flags right away. That has been borne out in me and my brother's marriage.

All you will hear on mn is that you are damaging the children by staying together. I think you need to give children more credit than that. What I did not want was to live in poverty and be pushed aside because my parents decided to remarry and have children with their new other halves.

This is the one of the greatest things my parents did for me and my siblings - a stable home with both my parents in it.

DrElizabethPlimpton Mon 06-Jul-15 22:56:09

There is no stigma being a lone parent hmm

Believe me your children would rather see their parents happy than living in a sham marriage.

Momagain1 Mon 06-Jul-15 23:03:10

Comparisons of OPs marriage to those with abusive partners are not reasonable.

Nevertheless, you are teaching them that to be disconnected and distant from their partner is how marriage works. Maybe they will be like blueshoes and somehow take the lesson of how NOT to do marriage from growing up with your example. But more likely, they will be a mess of a partner to have.

viridus Mon 06-Jul-15 23:10:56

What is a "functional" marriage? Sounds very appealing.

Wording for order of ceremony for a functional marriage as follows:-

Do you promise never to show each other affection? Yes

Do you only talk minimally and rarely for as long as you both live? Yes


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: