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DP and I are actively discussing separation

(23 Posts)
ToastTheKnowing Tue 13-Oct-15 10:40:46

by email right now. There's no drama, it's all very civilised. Don't know if I feel calm or if I've detached from the situation.

14 years together and two DC. We are imploding under the stress and mundanity of everyday life (with zero help). We haven't had sex in two years (mostly down to me - there's a long story here, don't want to drip feed but also don't want to write War and Peace length OP and/or make myself identifiable). Love each other, get on great most of the time, parent very well together. Not madly in love, maybe not "in love" at all. I used to get jealous occasionally, now I feel apathetic.

We are snapping at each other and DD saw some of it (DP being an arse) at the weekend. I'm not ok with that.

We can (just about) afford two properties. I am torn between pragmatically thinking that we would both be happier and consequently better parents apart and then feeling awful for considering putting my DCs through the trauma of a split when things aren't that bad.

Has anyone been through a drama-free split? If not, some tea and manly pats on the back would also be welcome.

shovetheholly Tue 13-Oct-15 10:56:04

Awwww, flowers for you.

I think there is a bit of a myth about separation that somehow parties should be on the verge of murderous hatred before some action is taken. That there should be Big Drama. It is actually very silly and impractical. Firstly, if one is inclined that way, by the time anger and frustration has built up to that extent the chances of an amicable and civilised split and coparenting relationship are drastically reduced. This is good for nobody. Secondly, not all relationships fail in a violent and passionate way. Many divorces I know have been as much about the apparently small, insignificant stuff as about big lies or cheating. Listening to friends discuss how mad it made them that he never took the bins out, that he never remembered to put the clothes in the clothes basket, that she never cooked dinner, makes you realise how much the small gestures matter.

And here's the thing: it can be exhausting and miserable to be stuck with someone who winds you up in those small ways. Because they are the fabric of daily life, the warp and the weft of lived existence far more than the Big Moments of life are. At the bottom of this situation is the fact that you sound really worn out and unhappy. And that's not OK. It's not good for your mental, physical, or emotional health. And it's not necessarily a good model for the kids either. I realise what a big decision it is to split with children, but honestly, I think the risks of an emotionally unsatisfying marriage are often underplayed in these situations, and the fallout of separation overplayed.

Perhaps this could be an amazing new start - of an amicable, friendly coparenting relationship that also gives you and your partner space and time to fulfil some of your own dreams away from the everyday stresses. I have friends who have a very good relationship post-divorce. Both have new partners, but they are still very much a 'family' (like best friends who don't sleep together). I often think their arrangement offers the best of all worlds - it is pretty much the ideal ratio of adults to children (4:2), and they both get time to do their own creative projects too.

ToastTheKnowing Tue 13-Oct-15 11:25:08

Well I can't be that detached, your lost just made me cry shove. Thank you for replying.

The situation you describe is exactly the best case scenario I envisage. DP and I are best friends and I have faith that we will always have the best interests of our DC as our main priority and will treat each other respectful and kindly in accordance with that.

I am not naive enough to think that DP will never have a new partner. I'm ok with that (in theory at least for now). I, however, am completely not interested in another monogamous relationship. I am doubly not interested in ever living with someone or making my children become part of a blended family. That is obviously fine for some but it's not for me.

I would be happy with my kids and then seeing friends and casually dating in my free time. I am doing a course at the minute which I'm loving and would spend a lot of my free time on.

I have sent DP a vague outline of how our time could be split. I have also sent him the link to a nearby property that would be fine for him for now (two bedrooms - DCs are different sexes but DS is 14 months so would be in a cot in DD's room or in DP's). I don't know. The practicalities are overwhelming me a bit right now.

Alibabsandthe40Musketeers Tue 13-Oct-15 11:31:05

I was reading along thinking 'this all sounds great, how good to decide to split before it all turns nasty', and then I saw how young your DS is.

Have you tried any counselling, either solo or as a couple? I always feel that if a relationship was ticking along nicely before a child, then make decisions to split while that child is still very small could be rash. Possibly some PND involved?

ToastTheKnowing Tue 13-Oct-15 11:38:07

No Ali there's no PND involved. And our issues were already there before DS. We were not far from this point before he was conceived (not planned). We didn't think having a baby would solve our problems (no idea who on earth would), the pregnancy just gave us something positive to focus on and we just went along with it.

I can't help but think that now is easier as DS is unaware. If we try to plod on for another few years he will be aware.of whts happening and DD will be at the pre teen stage when I would be very concerned about how she'd deal with it.

I appreciate your post. It's hard to think straight at the minute.

Alibabsandthe40Musketeers Tue 13-Oct-15 11:39:59

If it was there before you had him then that's a different thing. Best of luck smile

shovetheholly Tue 13-Oct-15 11:41:43

Awww, don't cry toast. You don't have to 'solve' this today, or even to make any final decision immediately. You have time. And whatever you decide, you will handle it. Always remember, you already have everything you need to get through any outcome! (And that practicalities - the decisions about what you 'need' can be surprisingly flexible).

BoboChic Tue 13-Oct-15 11:44:45

It sounds as if you don't want a life partner at all, Toast. So, yes, you should probably split and give your DP the chance of having one.

Jan45 Tue 13-Oct-15 11:48:07

Remember small children don't know the ins and outs of an adult relationship, i.e., that you are usually married or live together.

You should have a trial separation at least, how else will you know if you don't at least try it, the kids won't think too much of it as long as you don't make a big deal out of it, it's pretty common nowadays to be divorced or estranged from a partner, even with children - I say go for it, you might both be a lot happier, happier parents-happy kids.

ToastTheKnowing Tue 13-Oct-15 11:52:38

Jan I forgot to mention it would be a trial separation. We both agree that we are struggling to see the wood for the trees and that being apart would give us the chance to either a) miss each other or b) realise we are batter apart. We were thinking 6 months.

Bobothere's really no need to be rude about a situation you know the absolute bare minimum about. Suffice to say that yes, 14 years ago at naive and romantic 21 I did want a life partner. 14 years later, I don't think I do. We all grow and change. Often our relationships adapt with these changes, sometimes they cannot. That's what DP and I are trying to work out.

BoboChic Tue 13-Oct-15 11:55:06

I'm not being rude. Though I can see why you are being defensive - your attitude is quite hard to empathize with.

TheStoic Tue 13-Oct-15 12:06:57

You've been rude twice now, bobochic. Weird.

I've had an amicable divorce, Toast. Married 10 years, two kids. We are still friends, i spend time with his family on special occasions. He is travelling with the kids to see my family in a few weeks, for eg.

We are very good co-parents and trust each other to always be reasonable and have the kids' best interests at heart.

I believe it's amicable because we ended it while we still 'liked' each other, but knew we would never love each other again as a wife and husband should.

Blodss Tue 13-Oct-15 12:16:31

I think a trial separation is a good idea as you will find out if you miss each other or not. That said, can I ask why no sex for two years? In my opinion sex is the glue that keeps you feeling "in love" and close to each other and able weather most storms. Without it you are just room mates.

ConkersDontScareSpiders Tue 13-Oct-15 13:02:27

Im in the middle of an amicable separation OP.In fact we just told the DD's on Saturday (which was awful but not as awful as it certainly could have been if we were in any way acrimonious) We have been together since we were 19, married for 11 years, 2 DD's 9 and 8. We are best friends but just not attracted to each other really. Life was as you describe-mundane and quite joyless but not awful.But It was really getting me down to the point of making me ill-I struggled for a long time before telling DH how I was feeling.He was very angry and upset at first, but as it transpired,not really about losing the relationship with me, more about losing the life we had and that he thought we'd have going forwards. (i also feel sad about what might have been).Its been a tough two years of living separated but in the same house, but we have both now come to terms with it I think.DH is now house hunting. He resents having to move out as he has done nothing wrong but due to practicalities of work and childcare it makes more sense for the DD's to be slightly more with me in terms of custody.He occasionally still get angry about that and I totally get that.
When we were telling the girls we said we would still be a family but in a different way and across two houses instead of just one.We will still parent them as a team and look out for each other.I believe that we both meant that-I certainly did. The spanner in the works will be if I meet someone else.i would be really pleased for DH if he did, not sure the feeling would be mutual, but again more because DH wouldn't want another man spending time with his kids really...
The practicalities of remortgaging etc are complicated and tiring-but I believe we will both be happier in the end and hopefully we can minimise the effects on the DD's by continuing to be the friends we are.
Other people are confused and upset by the design and my family have not supported it.But after being very upset by this I decided that I can't live my life for them.
Good luck OP with whatever happens with you next.

ConkersDontScareSpiders Tue 13-Oct-15 13:04:18

Also I agree that on balance the younger the kids are when you do this the better-mine are much more aware than they were two years ago and as such I think will find it harder to process than they would have done had we done it sooner.

shovetheholly Tue 13-Oct-15 13:59:53

Just because this guy isn't the right life partner for you doesn't mean you'll never be with anyone again. Though exiting a long term relationship, I think a lot of people have the feeling that they are 'done'!! With time, a bit of a break, and a chance to reboot, it's surprising how many people find new partners who are a better 'fit'.

My friend and I both had long term relationships fail in our early 30s. We both felt we'd had it with partners forever. I'm now happily married, she is now happily single (by which I mean, she has decided that this is the life for her - she has occasional male friends, but likes her new-found independence too much to give it up).

ToastTheKnowing Tue 13-Oct-15 18:51:07

Thanks all for your posts. They're really helpful and reassuring.

I found a reasonably priced property half a mile away and DP is going to view it tomorrow.

We're both feeling very tentative about all this. As DP said in an email, we have got to this point a few times before and always decided not to split. He agrees that a separation would help us decide what it is that we want though. It feels awfully indulgent when we have small children who depend on us.

He isn't happy either. His worst fear is not seeing our DC. He's a fantastic dad. I assured him that it would categorically not be a case of me being the 'main' parent and him being a weekend dad. They're our kids, we love them equally and we'll take equal parts in their lives.

On a practical note, does anyone know if I would be eligible for any financial help?

DP pays the rent (and has vowed to continue doing so). I have a nominal role as a secretary for his company and earn £500 a month which covers good shopping, clothes/shoes for kids, car insurance, things like my contact lenses etc. I am a part time student and haven't gone back to paid work since having DS.

ConkersDontScareSpiders Wed 14-Oct-15 10:44:15

You would be eligible for some tax credits I think and council tax reduction as a single person household.

The time out will be good I think to help you both decide on a long term decision.I know a couple who split up for a year and who then got back together and have recently remarried-so it doesn't always end in people deciding to stay apart.But there is nothing wrong with it if it does-as long as the kids stay central to both parents which it sounds as if they will (as in my own situation).

Best of luck OP-although this is amicable it will still be a very emotional time for you-and you will question yourself and the decision ad finitum...but try to see it as a self caring decision as opposed to a selfish one-if DH and I hadn't separated we would both of been very unhappy and that would ultimately impacted on the dd's very negatively.

Minime85 Wed 14-Oct-15 10:54:44

Hi,
Another one here who has managed to have a mostly amicable split as amicable as these things can be. we told dcs together. It can work. They were heartbroken but now function perfectly well knowing they are loved by us both and they have come at forefront of our decisions. We still do parents evening together etc and liase about clubs. Kids still get to do everything they did before regardless of who has them on those days. It can work but we still have our moments.

Both of us have new partners too and it's all about how kids are introduced to them.

MackerelOfFact Wed 14-Oct-15 11:19:35

Shove's post is spot on. A partner isn't just a lover, they're effectively a co-parent, a housemate, a colleague and a friend... if they don't stack up in any one of these ways, you're going to have problems sustaining a happy and productive relationship.

It's possible to pootle along until something goes catastrophically wrong, but why wait until then if you don't mind splitting up now?

ToastTheKnowing Mon 23-Nov-15 13:44:19

I'm back with a sort of update.

I've been really busy since posting last and I yet again put my head down and tried to ignore the problems. I took my toddler back to my home country for a week to attend a funeral and I didn't miss DP at all. I also realised that I am more than capable of being on my own with my wonderful children.

DP has made it a bit easier for me to make a decision by being a verbally aggressive and violent (not to me but to items) twice in the last two weeks. I'm done. He's moving out.

I'm terrified of the practicalities (money mainly) and of telling my family but whatever difficulties I face I know this is the right step to take. Things are amicable and we're going to sit down tonight and work out our days with the children and the finances.

Thanks for all the advice flowers.

All0vertheplace Mon 23-Nov-15 15:05:39

I started the 'my marriage is a 6/10' thread, and there is a lot here I identify with.

ohdearymeee Mon 23-Nov-15 15:19:35

Hugs toast - it is hard but can be done, I'm a year on from you and its starting to get easier. DH couldn't understand why I wanted to split and was very horrible to me via text for a long time, I'm quite happy in my own house with my kids, I've met someone else but its a slow burner for me. DH wants me back but I cant see why it would be different.
Im now pursuing a career Ive wanted to do for years - I feel liberated really.
Good luck

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