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.
Have other people managed to keep going just for the children?(67 Posts)
I've been reading on here for a while and I know people say it can be better to leave a marriage if it's really not working out but....
If you're marriage has become platonic and okay, there maybe a bit of low level conflict but mainly just getting along is it really harming your dc?
How long has anyone else managed to stay in a 'platonic marriage' for? Do you really think this is healthy for dc? We're just in limbo and have been for 5 years (dc 8 and 9).
Depends whether you are both happy to be in a relationship that is caring and loving yet platonic - that is fine IMHO
I guess were just like a brother and sister. Co-exist. Discuss dc, not muçh else. We have separate rooms now and not in physical contact anymore. It can get stressful sometimes but mainly it's okay and we just do activities with the dc together.
Hmm. I can imagine it's bearable unless and until you fall in love with someone else or until the children leave home. Why have you drifted quite so far apart? Separate bedrooms and no physical contact (eg no hugs or even pecks on the cheek?) seems very lonely.
Can you be particularly loving towards someone if you don't even want to touch them?
It's just like we're house mates apart from the dc together. The question of what if we want to meet other people is also the dilemma.
I think you can for a period but not long-term. I managed two years and it was horrendous.
If I'm honest, we're not loving towards each other.
How did it become horrendous? I think my main concern is the dc and if this is really okay for them?
As someone who has experienced the effect on the children. Not its not good for them, in fact it's a nightmare.
Honestly OP, it's better to grow up living in two separate house than just one house which is full of bitterness, resentment etc and the kids are at that age now where they will pick up on tension and notice their parents aren't loving even though they are supposed to be married.
Living like that for 5 years sounds awful. I really don't understand why you won't divorce and put it out of it's misery and if your amicable (which you are by the sounds of it) it will make it a lot easier on the kids if you are already getting along.
How do you feel doing this for the next 10 years at least? (until your youngest leaves home) and what happens if you met someone else? That could turn real nasty.
Your kids learn their expectations of marriage from you. If you want them to settle for a platonic marriage and separate bedroom then carry on.
My parents stayed together for the kids... I'm single and about to turn 40. The idea of ending up like that has totally broken my ability to form meaningful relationships.
Yes it will emotionally harm your DC if you were to stay together under such circumstances. Do not kid yourself. Children are also perceptive; they likely know far more than you care to realise as well. They see all your reactions both spoken and unspoken to their dad.
What do you want to teach your children about relationships here?. What did you yourself learn about relationships when growing up?.
What are they learning currently from you both?.
This "staying for the children" teaches them that your whole marriage was based on a lie; its a heavy burden to place on a child. It also teaches them that a loveless marriage for them too could be their "norm". They are NOT going to say to you, "thanks mum" for staying; they could well call you daft for doing so and or accuse you of putting him before them. They will not really want to see either of you as adults and particular scorn will be reserved for you as their mother for those reasons as well.
Better to be apart and happier than to be together and miserable as you are now. Your children will thank you.
from the children's point of view it sounds perfectly fine. Rather have parents rubbing along ok than parents living intimately who are always rowing.
I "rub along" in such a relationship, for about 5 years now. I do not believe dd (13) is negatively affected. I do not intend to continue in this manner indefinitely, however.
Everyone's situation is different, but Imo it's the quality of parenting that's most important.
I agree with LEM.
There's no indication that 'the house is filled with bitterness and resentment'. And I think Attila's view that 'particular scorn will be reserved for you' is way off-beam.
'Wanting to meet other people' - there is no justification for messing up your dcs' lives for some imaginary other. Don't underestimate the effect of a divorce on your children, with ramifications far into the future. (Read the step-parents' board.) I think there are probably more people in your situation than you imagine, tho' most do not have the space for separate rooms.
Have you and your dh talked about your relationship? What does he think?
"And I think Attila's view that 'particular scorn will be reserved for you' is way off-beam".
Not off beam at all; this type of scenario can and does happen with adult children if the parents separate at that time. These children are not going to thank you as parents for showing them that yes, our marriage was based on a lie and we stayed purely because of you. Its a terrible burden to place on any child.
Very few people consider the consequences of children growing up in unhappy yet intact homes, as they witness conflicted, unloving and uncooperative parental relations. Children tend to model what they see in their parents' relations. Certainly, as parents we want better for our kids. Yet, the likelihood is that such children will incline toward similar marriages. Worse still, many parents claim their kids really don't know anything is wrong with the marriage. The irony is that they will therefore normalize what may be a mediocre, disappointing or conflicted marriage. At least the kids ought to know that the marriage is indeed falling short of the mark. In that way, they can note the failure and aim higher for themselves when they come of age.
OP - you do not love each other any more let alone be at all loving towards each other.
I have mixed feelings on this one.
I think it is very sweeping to make statements that children are better off living in 2 separate homes than to live with both parents who are not getting on.
My parents stayed together for the kids, until I was 18. I am grateful to them for that. My brother was younger, only 13 and is still raging mad in his mid thirties that he had to go and have contact with my dad and step mother and live in general at home with my mum and step father. He didnt want either of these step-parents, in particular he did not want to live with either of them. You only have to read the step parents board to see how complicated things can become. My brother still hates my step mother as they remained in our family home but completely changed the house itself and also the rules in it. So my brother had to completely modify his behaviour, there was now stuff he was not to touch etc when my stepmother was in charge of it.
So if you want my personal opinion on your particular situation op, I think that in general it is ok. But I do not think the fact that you are in separate rooms is particularly healthy for your dc to see. Is there any possibility that you could sleep in the same room but in different beds?
The other thing people often overlook is that ok, you both feel platonic/business partner/sibling like to eachother and this has come about relatively gradually. Now you are using phrases like stay together for the kids. However - have you both really and truly looked into the abyss of being without the other one? You are taking eachother for granted in a way and it could still be the most monstrous shock if one of you gets with someone else. So therefore, from your own personal perspectives, I would consider whether you and your husband could become a bit closer again. I'm not talking sex at this point, I'm just talking a bit of perhaps sitting closely on the sofa or holding hand when out walking. Just small things. There is nothing "terminally" wrong with your marriage, I would be very careful about writing it off at this stage. I think you are in a big, deep rut. You could if you both really wanted to probably get out of it.
FWIW my parents were married 35 years. They still love eachother in some way. My dad would have my mum back if both their partners died. My mum would consider living with my dad as well. Despite the fact that when we were kids, they were really, really shouting and raging with eachother and living separate lives essentially. Be careful. Raising kids is hard, it takes its toll.
attila I'd be interested to see what evidence you have to back up your views.
When my relationship broke down (irretrievably) back last year not one person irl said that I was "damaging" my dd by staying in said relationship. I'm not earning enough to be entirely self-supporting and I do not wish my dd to live in a potentially impoverished household, which, in my view, would cause far more stress than staying in a miserable, but functional relationship. As parents, we are ok. We have separate lives for the main part (different interests, friends, hobbies) but invest time and effort in dd's life. She knows she is loved and supported by us, regardless of how we feel towards each other. I doubt she cares about it, if she gives the matter any thought at all!
OP you're the only one who knows what your relationship is really like, and the extent to which your tolerance can be stretched. I would, however, in your shoes, take legal advice and consider your potential financial situation very carefully indeed. Make plans certainly, but at your own pace. You don't need to "do" anything for now.
All the research I've seen suggests that children do better after separation if the marriage was acrimonious, with lots of unsettling arguments and anger.
Otherwise, they do better if their parents stay together, even in the circumstances you describe.
I suppose it comes down to whether you can carry on indefinitely - if you spend the rest of your lives living like housemates then your DC may never known that anything was wrong, but if you separate as soon as they leave home then they will suspect that you were living a lie for a long time.
Personally I would look to separate amicably rather than after one of you meets someone else and it all gets messy.
From the perspective of your children, I wouldn't have thought separating is necessarily a huge improvement on staying together. Either way, you haven't set the best example of marriage.Attila is just conveniently ignoring the colossal impact of separation on children, which is also harmful in terms of their future views on relationships and marriage. You sound emotionally numb at the moment, which is preventing you from working out which situation would be most harmful.
If there is absolutely no chance of getting closer to each other again, then looking into the realities of separation would be a good idea. Talking to each other about the long term would be a good idea. Not talking about it could result in nasty surprises for one or the other of you in the future, if you find out your partner actually had already made plans for life post children at home and then surprised you with a fait accompli. Or worse, with the revalation that they had another partner they had been seeing the whole time they stayed in their numb relationship with you that they were now moving in with (I've even known this happen where the other, secret partner had had a child with the person concerned, who had been kept secret for the "sake of the children" of the first family!! Needless to say, that caused a lot of upset!). Basically, you can't keep going along in autopilot, but do need to talk about the future with your dh...
OP, if you both accept that your relationship is platonic, and neither of you wants to separate, can you build a new, more friendly (and perhaps even affectionate) relationship from that point? Platonic doesn't have to mean cold. From the kids' perspective, the only real possible problem with what you describe sounds like the possible coldness in your interaction. Do you like your husband?
Turn it around OP, why are you staying in a loveless marriage?
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.