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My marriage is maybe a 6/10 -- should I end it?

(56 Posts)
All0vertheplace Sat 21-Nov-15 22:09:12

Hi folks. New to this.

Married for 17 years, 2 kids (7 & 12). For the last few years things have felt kind of...empty between us. We've actually discussed divorce, but decided instead to go to Relate. (Mindful of the terrible impact divorce would have on our lives, our children, our finances etc.) The sessions have enabled us to air a lot of stuff that we have a hard time talking about when it's just the two of us. Some weeks I leave the session feeling like the relationship can be saved and is worth saving. Other weeks I feel that the best thing to do is to end it.

We kind of avoid each other at home, we have separate hobbies, different interests, different personalities. If he goes out I am glad to have the house to myself -- not really sure I miss him very much. Something about the way we communicate...our interactions are just very quick and short, a few sentences each. Not arguments exactly...more like tiptoeing. I sometimes hear people say 'Oh my DH is my best friend, I can tell him anything, some nights we talk for hours!' and I just don't feel that way. Or I see people look at each other with such love, such affection, and I feel a pang of wishing I had that. (Our sex life has been pretty sporadic lately). Or I meet new people and there's this refreshing sense of coming alive, of feeling myself open up. (Not sexually, just sort of feeling relaxed, more like myself.)

We've been good together in the past, we've been through a lot together and we are both committed to our kids. He's a great father -- really great. Possible he likes me more than I like him. Feels horrible to say.

I feel like I am in a marriage that is maybe a 6/10 and I worry about the wisdom of chucking it away in the hope of finding a:10 (or even an 8). Is there anyone out there who has done this? Any words of wisdom/advice would be welcome.

mumblebumble Sat 21-Nov-15 22:26:29

I don't think I'd leave a marriage unless it was 3/10 or below, but my DC are younger which probably makes a difference. My parents ended an unsatisfying but ultimately alright marriage, and neither found particular happiness with anyone else so I think that clouds my judgement. sorry, no good advice!

Joysmum Sun 22-Nov-15 09:33:15

I think I'd only call time if I didn't think it could go back to being good again. Once the hope is gone, I'd be gone.

Offred Sun 22-Nov-15 09:37:39

I don't think you should end any relationship with the hope of finding another. If you end a relationship it should be because the relationship itself is something you want to end.

Offred Sun 22-Nov-15 09:38:20

Don't think you should stay because of fear/dislike of being alone either.

weaselwords Sun 22-Nov-15 09:40:34

If it's not an abusive relationship and the main problem is communication between each other I think you may well be able to improve your marriage significantly. It will take a lot of willingness to change on both sides, but is possible.

BottleBeach Sun 22-Nov-15 09:41:27

Have a look at the dating thread...

Joysmum Sun 22-Nov-15 09:46:07

Well said Offred

If you think one or both of you can't be arsed to fix, or it can't be be fixed then it's time to exit.

Many of my friends are far happier for having done so. Find out your options at least.

knaffedoff Sun 22-Nov-15 09:49:36

It sounds as though you are bored, do you have activities and hobbies which you enjoy. If not why not put yourself out there? Go challenge yourself, try something new get the excitement running thru your veins and perhaps your husband may start paying you more attention and your marriage will start to improve.

After 17 yrs, life becomes comfortable and it seems you are buying into how social media portrays life at its very best, but is it real? I wouldn't be walking from a marriage after 17yrs unless it was abusive or made me very unhappy and without hope.

Leviticus Sun 22-Nov-15 09:53:41

No. I'd try to improve things. Love is an action not a feeling (but you can get the feeling back!). Why not try really loving him and trying to be warm and receptive to him, even if you don't feel like it and see what happens. This includes having sex with him to rebuild the intimacy between you. That's not as controversial as it sounds - you can really get out of the habit of sex to the point of it always feeling awkward and unsatisfying. This is for you, not just for him.

None of us can tell you whether it will work out or not but it sounds like it is worth trying.

As an aside - why did you strike through most of your post? It makes it difficult to read.

Leviticus Sun 22-Nov-15 09:54:50

And nobody's marriage is a 10/10 all of the time!

newname99 Sun 22-Nov-15 10:00:48

You say you were good together, what were those times like? How old are you both ? It feels like you don't make an effort and the modern view of marriages is for relationships to be easy but I think the grind of life wears us down and we take each other for granted.Try looking at your husband from an outsiders view, is he attractive, successful, intelligent? What made you fall for him in the first place? If he's a great dad do you tell him?

That said I ended a bad marriage, although the issues were serious and never regretted it.

All0vertheplace Sun 22-Nov-15 10:56:13

Thanks all for the messages. Lots to think about.

Leviticus -- I don't think I did strike through my post. Did I? Anyone else? It shows up ok to me.

vichill Sun 22-Nov-15 12:35:17

Seems salvageable to me. I'm currently in a 5/10. I'm an optimist though and hopeful a peak will come after the latest trough.

I can't see strike throughs.

All0vertheplace Sun 22-Nov-15 15:02:02

I guess I am mindful of turning 40 soon and wanting to figure this out sooner rather than later -- time is marching on.

trackrBird Sun 22-Nov-15 15:37:55

Something has caused you to grow apart. Perhaps something you're not talking about. I don't think you can just hang in there and hope.

If this sense of separateness is short lived you can get through whatever it is, if you mutually want to.

But I have the feeling there is more going on. Sporadic sex life...Feeling relaxed and open with new people, coming alive with them, but not with your spouse. There is a sense of avoidance, of not looking at something, either of you.

Maybe it would help you to talk things through with a friend, or coach, or counsellor, on your own.

Some thoughts: how do you see the next ten years panning out? Do you want to be essentially the same, but 10 years older? Could your marriage withstand a crisis in the family?

Jeeve5 Sun 22-Nov-15 16:16:33

I'm just starting a divorce after a 20+ year marriage with the last 6 years around 3 out of 10. If it were 6 out of 10 I'd not be following this route. Is turning 40 also causing you to reevaluate your life? I understand your anguish. I would ensure that I was doing everything I could to make sure I was happy in my life and not relying on others to make me happy.
I'd also be cautious of how others may build up how great their marriage is. A friend really shocked our group by divorcing mainly because they had always been so positive about their relationship.

BloodontheTracks Sun 22-Nov-15 16:25:44

Hi OP. I would strongly recommend reading 'Too Good To Leave Too Bad to Stay' by Mira Kirshenbaum. On a more casual basis, take a look at this Louis CK interview.
This section really interests me...

"All of that"—the death of the New York club scene in the early ’90s, the Pootie Tang debacle—"has helped me form what I call my 70 Percent Rule for decision-making." C.K. then describes a practical application of a worldview laced into many of his best routines—that "everything is amazing and nobody is happy." If we just wrest our eyes, literally and figuratively, from our digital gizmos and the shitty, spoiling impatience they instill, we’ll see that this life, this planet, is amazing. That it is something just to be in the world, seeing and hearing and smelling. That for trillions of miles in every direction from earth, life really is blood-boilingly, eye-explodingly horrific.

"These situations where I can’t make a choice because I’m too busy trying to envision the perfect one—that false perfectionism traps you in this painful ambivalence: If I do this, then that other thing I could have done becomes attractive. But if I go and choose the other one, the same thing happens again. It’s part of our consumer culture. People do this trying to get a DVD player or a service provider, but it also bleeds into big decisions. So my rule is that if you have someone or something that gets 70 percent approval, you just do it. ’Cause here’s what happens. The fact that other options go away immediately brings your choice to 80. Because the pain of deciding is over.

"And," he continues, "when you get to 80 percent, you work. You apply your knowledge, and that gets you to 85 percent! And the thing itself, especially if it’s a human being, will always reveal itself—100 percent of the time!—to be more than you thought. And that will get you to 90 percent. After that, you’re stuck at 90, but who the fuck do you think you are, a god? You got to 90 percent? It’s incredible!"

You are one out of ten away from the decision state he's recommending. Imagine what you could do to nudge up to 7/10. Then think how things could roll.

Duckdeamon Sun 22-Nov-15 17:39:20

Unless of course the relationship isn't a 7/10 it's a 3/10!

Leviticus Sun 22-Nov-15 17:42:01

Just me then! That's why I asked, the striking through I can see is quite random.

CatThiefKeith Sun 22-Nov-15 18:56:07

I can see the strike through too

MarkRuffaloCrumble Sun 22-Nov-15 19:11:45

Leviticus, you must have used -- before and after the bits that show as struck through, that is how it is done.

I agree, 7/10 isn't bad. You only have to look at the dating and step-parent threads to see that next time around you'll be lucky to do much better than a 7. My DP is lovely, but I regularly feel second best, squeezed out and struggle to see the future working out as I wished, so despite meeting someone I love very much I would still say it's maybe an 8/10. XH and I were more like a 3 but if I'd felt it was above a 5/10 and HE had been intereted enought to work on it, I'd have tried harder to make it work with him rather than look for greener grass.

All0vertheplace Mon 23-Nov-15 08:43:58

This is great food for thought. I like Louis CK a lot, and that quote makes a lot of sense.

I just don't know. There are a lot of tensions involving my family, DH not getting on with them in the early days has led to a split where he has no involvement with them and vice versa. I don't see that changing or improving. So thrse two parts of me are split off and separate.

It happened again yesterday -- I met someone I know casually and spent a couple of hours talking to him; and it was all just so natural and open and joyful, compared to my communication with DH, who has become so terse and snippy and reflexively negative. It has coloured my own experience of the world so much. The way I put it to myself the other day (in a moment of clarity) was 'I am tired of looking at the world through his eyes, tired of thinking about my problems with his brain. It is so draining and exhausting.'

knaffedoff Mon 23-Nov-15 08:58:09

It sounds disastrous sorry, you are involved in a long standing marriage with its imperfections, turning 40, children growing and becoming more independent and you meet someone who makes you relax, you are getting to know them it's exciting and joyful.

It's also looking for trouble..... you may not be seeking an exit route to your marriage but your actions are leading you that way. How would your children accept a marriage breakdown? What would the implications be of single parenting or would they want to stay with dad? This new fella, would be wish to become a step parent raising 2 teenager's. Whilst I am not suggesting parents should stay together whatever, you sound bored and disgruntled and unhappy. Look within and sort yourself out rather than looking at someone else for your happiness, leaving behind a trail of devastation!

All0vertheplace Mon 23-Nov-15 09:05:28

Just to be clear -- I am not viewing any of these other people as an exit, or an alternative, or as someone I might jump to in order to find more happiness.

I am simply noticing how I feel when I am talking to them. It happens with women as well as men -- it simply makes me more immediately aware of what is lacking in my marriage. A curiosity, a kindness, an ease and joy. But maybe I am asking too much of that one central relationship. Maybe I have an idealised impression of what a marriage can/could be.

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