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.
In a dark place - marriage breakdown(26 Posts)
Sorry for the long post. This has taken me a long time to put in writing how I feel, please be gentle with me! I don’t know what I want really from posting, just may be a cathartic act in itself.
My husband walked out on me and our two year old 3 months ago after 6 years of marriage. He left suddenly one evening saying that he wanted a divorce and wasn’t prepared to even consider measures to save our marriage (counselling, time out etc). The reasons he cited were that he didn’t love me anymore, felt as if he wasn’t the marrying kind, he wanted more time to himself to do things he enjoys (yet to be clear) and whilst he loves our son, if he could turn the clock back he would choose not to have had children.
I am aware I am only giving my side of the story, but he has never really been content in the time I have known him, changing careers multiple times, prolonged periods of time not earning much money whilst he builds his latest venture or undertakes another degree. We had a whirlwind romance. He can be the life and soul of the party, charismatic and upbeat, but troubled with prolonged dark phases that have just become the norm for him with time. I have always supported him, emotionally and financially, paid for expensive careers guidance counselling and tried to help him find satisfaction. In turn he has been largely unsupportive of my career and critical of my job (long hours, intense training, inflexible rotas – all the normal stuff). It has been exhausting feeling like I have given so much and nothing has ever been good enough for him.
It has taken all my willpower to put my feelings of grief and anger aside and try to be a decent human being, prioritising our son. We have sold our house, come to a financial settlement we are both happy with and a commitment to shared custody (his choice) which is working well for us. I am in the process of buying somewhere new and have tried to pick myself up emotionally and maintain a stable life for our son. I am blessed with amazing family and lots of very supportive friends. I have told my work colleagues who have been really supportive and caring, allowing me time off when required. I have moved on in that I have begun to see that the relationship wasn’t healthy or happy for me and we are better off apart. For such a long time, it feels like everything always had to be about him and I had largely stopped talking to him about my life or problems.
My husband on the other hand hasn’t been to work for three months, tells me he ‘thinks he is going mad’, he hates his job, his business is apparently going bankrupt, he is living in a friend’s spare room and has no friends or support (Most of our mutual friends don’t really understand his behaviour and he is terrible at maintaining long lasting friendships). He finds it difficult that I am buying somewhere alone, finds it difficult that I may meet someone else (I haven’t) and says if it wasn’t for our son he would take his money and go travelling until it ran out. I have listened and comforted and tried to help, including suggesting that he needs to see his GP/get some counselling all of which he has ignored.
Then this week I have been informed (by one of his friends) that he has a girlfriend. Also, a friend of mine has seen them together. Sounds like such a cliché. He is currently on his second holiday in one month with a girl who he maintains is a friend, who he informed me by text he is moving in with in a few weeks. When confronted, he denies it all and says he is single and became nasty (all on the phone). I admit that in our recent exchanges my anger has got the better of me. I don’t know if the girlfriend is this friend or if there is someone new.
I feel angry, humiliated and foolish that I have listened to his endless moaning about how terrible his situation is, which to my mind is self inflicted, when he has a girlfriend who he may have left me for. I would like nothing better than to be rid of him but we have a child together. I can take that he doesn’t want our life/doesn’t love me, but finding the lying and potential cheating very difficult. I feel hopeless, confused, lonely and very sad, and as though I am right back where I was three months ago. Finding it very difficult to be alone or concentrate at work. Trying not to be self pitying and don’t want to feel like I’m boring people by being a misery but just finding it all very difficult. I have always been happy with my life choices, career, family and friends. My dream was for a loving family with loads of kids, which has been ripped away. I want to be in a place where I stop feeling so angry and hurt by all this, when I can face him without dissolving into anger and grief. I just feel in a bit of a dark place at the moment and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for reading
Didn't want to read and run to you OP. Sounds tough and I think you're so doing well to get a new place and stability for your son xx
It sounds like you've done an amazing job despite his fuckwittery. You need to give yourself time to grieve for the 'what might have beens' but stop being his ear to bend/shoulder to cry on in times of need. It does seem like this 'girlfriend' was already in place. Give yourself time and be kind to yourself.
he sounds a bloody nightmare. And yep I think he left due to an affair. But that is by the by. You will be fine. It is early days, and one day you will whoop with joy that you are no longer with him. You can and will be happy again.
You are doing so, so well. It's still really early days and you're moving in the right direction.
I reckon you should try to completely limit all contact because he's expecting you to support him and is lying to you. Keep all cintact to a minimum, only about your child, nothing else.
I remember feeling like you, and thinking the bad would never end, but it does and before you know it you're having more good days than bad. It will get better.
If you'd posted here 3 months ago you'd have been warned that his abrupt departure was most probably due to him having his sights set on another woman and, although you might not have believed it at the time, you would at least have been on notice to the extent that your recent discovery would not have been quite the shock it has been.
The fact is he cynically set out to dupe you and, by succeeding in doing so, he caused you to put the need to conduct matters in a civilised manner for the sake of your dc over your entirely understandable feelings of anger towards him for having turned your life upside down with no prior warning.
Your discovery has not only re-opened still raw wounds, it's also rubbed the salt of humiliation into them as you've realised what a mug you were not only to have been taken in by his lies, but also to have subsequently listened to his alleged problems and no doubt put your mind to helping him alleviate them.
All of this has combined to make you feel as if you've gone back to where you were in those first early days of grief, sadness, confusion, and lonlieness, but please rest assured that this is just a temporary glitch which will pass as soon as you've processed the fact that his underhand, unjust, and unfair, behaviour towards you is no more than you can expect of a
lying twunt man who has no moral compass.
Of course he's now angry because his game is up. Although he's desperately trying to do so, he can no longer pull the wool over your eyes and I suspect it's fair to say that you'll never look at him in the same way again. I also suspect that talk of his business failing/bankruptcy may be a precursor to him claiming that he's unable to pay whatever maintenance/child support he agreed to.
Other than handovers relating to your dc which, hopefully, you may be able to prevail on others to faciliate until you regain your equilibrium, now is the time to go no contact and to hie thee to a solicitor who specialises in divorce and family law to begin divorce proceedings and check that what you have informally agreed is fair to you and your dc.
What you've achieved in such a short time is truly remarkable and you are to be congratulated on your restraint which, unfortunately, has no doubt taken an exacting toll on you. Instead of venting direct to him, draw his face on a cushion you can punch and jump up and down on while swearing and shouting to your heart's content - the simple pleasures are always the most satisfying
Don't give up on your dream - if you can't create a loving family with loads of kids with another man, you can do it alone, foster, adopt, or simply have regular open house weekends for other single parents and their offspring. One way or another, I'm sure that your new home will be full of love and laughter.
for you honey and I'll save the until you can join me in raising a toast to the
unfortunate happy woman who will have the aggravation joy of living with the duplicitous mercurial twunt who was a drain on your emotional, and dare I say financial, resources.
Agree with pp, if you'd posted earlier you'd have had a general consensus of there being an OW.
Listen, you're in a good place, on the other hand, his self-centred navel gazing is dragging you down, don't let him do that to you. So he's not happy, everything in his life has been his choice, let him deal with the consequences. In all likelihood he left you for this woman and in any case he left you, so why are you being his counsellor? Tell him you only want contact about DS, if he tries to drag you into a conversation about himself or his fears of you moving on, just cut him off "I'm not your wife any more this is not my problem so shut up" should do the trick.
The only thing you need to be worried about is if he's not working and apparently his business is bankrupt, he might be lining up to cut off child maintenance. He's been on holiday with his girlfriend, he's not flat broke, so don't accept any excuses.
Sorry you're hurting
what a complete asshole. ( him) you are SO much better of without this pathetic man child in your life. Really. complete waste of space. He will feck up some other woman's life until she sees him for what he is. A loser
You'll be ok. you have your head screwed on and will make a great home for your son, and one day find a great supportive partner ...
This new unfortunate female has unknowingly done you a huge favour, once you get past the current unhappiness, you will flourish without him.
If she stays with him she will have inherited a miserable arse who is never happy, and always thinks the grass is greener. Don't think that that his personality will change because he is with someone else, she won't have seen the real him yet.
I understand totally how you must feel at the moment, BUT, I know and more importantly, you know, that you will be better than OK one day.
You have achieved so much in a very short time. Don't let this news knock you off your new and bright road.
Stop listening to him, stop talking to him. Divorce him.
You really can do this.
As others have said, in due course the new friend/girlfriend will get the same treatment you received, so don't beat yourself up about her. This guy sounds an unstable, unreliable person and, with no disrespect to your judgement, will never make a good long term prospect. One day, probably when you least expect it, somebody will come into your life and a new future will unfold. Meanwhile, you are doing really well in establishing a life for you and your little son so put your energies into that. I wish you every success.
OP: know this:
This man has done you an enormous favour by leaving. Reread your own initial post as if someone else had written it. You should be out dancing in the street sweetheart - how lucky that you've only spent six years of your precious life married to this toxic downer of a human being!!
People either build us up, tear us down, or have no affect on us. Embrace the builders and avoid the toxic tearer-downers like the plague!!!!!!!!!
Limit your contact with your ex to discussion/arrangements for your child. That's it!!! You must NOT continue to be his "agony aunt"! You owe him nothing OP but civility and cooperation where your child is concerned. Give him that and only that. Put your time, focus and mental and emotional energy on forging a new happy life for yourself.
OP in the not too distant future you will look back on this time of your life with a big sigh of relief - oh the bullet you have dodged you lucky lucky girl! Some women waste their entire lives married to schmucks like your ex. Breathe deeply dear one. Smell that freshness in the air? That's freedom from a chain around your joy and the sweet scent of a happy future. Because you are going to have a WONDERFUL life without this toxic dreary self-centred "taker" of a man dragging you down!!! Believe it!! X
What a total fucking twat. Sorry, but he is. Doesn't fancy life with a child, boo hoo, so off he swans like your son is oh so bloody disposable, and then has the bloody gall to cry and wail about you moving on with your life. He is a useless fuckwit and I am surprised he wants shared residence if he can't be bothered with being a father.
It does not sound like this man is capable of putting your sons needs over his own.
Op, you sound strong and pretty amazing. You will look back in a year's time and think he did you a favour. Carry on with what you are doing, creating a stable home-life for your child. Your husband sounds like one of those people who will never be content with what he has got.
You are doing so well and your future will be very bright. It is totally understandable that you feel angry (it's actually a stage on the path to healing). He's seems like the type of person who uses his attractive personality to attach himself to responsible, reliable & steady people and makes them responsible for his happiness. Ultimately his happiness has to come from himself but he doesn't appear willing to learn.
You are grieving the loss of the relationship and the future that should have brought however there is a right path for you.Mindfullness is very useful to help you get through this transition phase.
he sounds like a charming cock-weasel
limit contact to arrangements for your ds
you will be fine when he can't drain your emotional energy
Thank you so much for all your kind comments. I know I am better off without him in the long run but moving on is so hard. Juliascurr - I love the phrase 'cockweasel'!
Your kindness is not a character flaw, the emotional vampire who abuses it, is the problem.
Detach, detach, detach but it is highly probable that his current host won't be able to satisfy his emotional neediness on her own and he will become nice, nasty and pathetic, in an effort to retain your emotional support.
You have done incredibly well but you do need to protect yourself from this man baby.
OP, the behaviour of your ExH looks on the face of it to be similar to what used to be called manic depression and is now called bipolarism.
If it turns out to be the case then doing something about it is entirely up to
him, the important thing, IME, will be to do as you are doing and look after yourself and DC.
I don't think depression excuses someone being unfaithful and trashing a family.
I don't think armchair diagnoses is helpful. I don't see anything that suggests serious MH issues, I see a very self-centred man child. Whatever the cause, the OP can only deal with the situation as presented to her, which is that he's treated her appallingly while expecting her emotional support. I don't think she needs to be making more excuses for him.
Hi OP. Your ex sounds like a total fuck-up. If it's any consolation I think this new girlfriend is a symptom of his inability to stick with anything in life rather than some amazing new love worth giving up his family for. He sounds a lot like my ex really, who is someone that I do not envy and now pity, as he had proven himself unable to sustain long-term relationships, and has suffered greatly as a result.
As hard as it may feel right now, you have the tools to move on and find a better life, whereas he likely does not. Though he does deserve your compassion right now it is best that you cut him from your life almost entirely and focus solely on yourself right now. I wish you the best of luck
Thanks everyone for the kind words and advice.
My son is everything to me, and I have promised myself that I will not use him as a weapon. In this way, I feel my ex has me over a barrel. I would like nothing more than to ban him from our lives but I am forced to interact with him on a regular basis for the rest of my son's childhood. And, on top of this, I have to be civil!
It feels like too much at the moment.
To those of you who have mentioned mental illness/PD, I have thought this since he left. Many of his friends and family (including his parents/sister/ best friends) think he has mental health problems for 'years' and the words 'bipolar' and 'depression' have been banded around. His mother told me that she thinks he has had mental health problems for years, she tells stories of him threatening suicide and hiding the knives so he couldn't self harm as a teenager. His sister, (a forensic psychologist) thinks he has narcissistic PD. His best friend simply says he has gone 'cuckoo' at the moment (his words!). I don't know how I didn't recognise this! Initially I tried to talk to him, suggesting he saw his GP with me if it would help, or get some counselling. I thought that if he was mentally unwell I would obviously stick by him (in sickness and in health etc). But after his behaviour towards me and the latest revelation, I couldn't do it now. Not that he has ever said he wants to come back.
In his defence he has always been a good father (if a little inconsistent) and our son loves him. I guess staying is close contact has made me feel like I can monitor his mental state. But I have spoken to his parents and close friends (in a non judgemental way) and asked them to support him as best they can. I have not been made aware of any thoughts of self harm and I'm not sure there's anything else I can do?
So, you are all right, I need to minimise contact, reserving it for the necessary and cut him off. And I have to move on. But that's the hard bit. I am so far from where I thought I'd be at this stage in my life. I feel like I am grieving for the loss of my future, more kids, happy marriage, nice house etc etc. And I'm lonely. Craving company. The house is a bit quiet at the moment. I have no idea what the future holds for me, all I can see in the future is tough times - divorce, a house move, a thesis to write! Trying not to be overtly self pitying but sometimes it's easier to put it into words to strangers!
I would also say I think narcissistic PD sounds pretty spot-on. I think you have dodged a bullet, although it is of course painful now. Try not to judge him as he sounds unhappy (it sounds as though you get this already though). From now on the best thing you can do is be civil and co-parent as amicably as possible, but let him know that you will need space to move on and that he cannot use you as a shoulder to cry on any longer - it is unfair to expect the perks of a relationship without giving any of the commitment that is usually required. You need the space to grieve for the loss of the relationship and to come to terms with the fact that the future will be different to how you may have hoped, and in order to do this you need to see as little of him as possible. He may protest at this but be firm. Put yourself first and don't slide back into the position of caretaker for this man, as you can't help him and will only be pulled down with him if you try.
Join the discussion
Please login first.