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Putting on a happy family front

(19 Posts)
FieldsofPeace Sat 26-Dec-15 13:52:59

Has anyone else managed to keep a happy family front going? Do you think other people really notice?
Later this afternoon we have quite a lot of family coming round. Our marriage has got to a point where we pretty much do everything separately (including sleeping!). We don't have any big disagreements just keep going (okay, for the sake of the dc). We probably wouldn't still be together if it weren't for the dc so I don't know what will happen in the future.
I've assumed to the rest of the world and our dc (8 and 10) that we seem a happy family but I have been wondering lately whether other people actually know.
I've started to wonder lately though, yesterday we had parents round and I wonder what they think and today, I just wonder whether people see past our happy family front?
Anyone else in this situation?

jelliebelly Sat 26-Dec-15 14:00:54

Not in your situation but I've known others who were and yes others always notice - just too polite to say anything.

12purpleapples Sat 26-Dec-15 16:56:16

I've been in your situation. I always felt like people could tell that it wasn't right. Some people expressed surprise when it all finally fell apart, but I'm not sure how much of that was politeness.

NerrSnerr Sat 26-Dec-15 17:07:15

My parents thought they hid their marriage problems from us. It was obvious and it was shit.

loooopo Sat 26-Dec-15 17:29:58

Why does it matter what extended family or friends think of your marriage - whether they think it is good, bad, strained or meh - is irrelevant.

The reality of the state of your marriage only matters to you and your DC.

DC's are always aware - they absorb the stress, anger, distance, indifference and/or contempt.

Are you getting support through MC?

Varya Sat 26-Dec-15 17:32:07

Fortunately we kept the family feeling going ok.

shandybass Sat 26-Dec-15 23:21:36

I'm in this situation. I think it's better for the dcs than when we were arguing and shouting but I'm not so sure i feel like all the life is being sapped out of me. Perhaps the dcs would be better off if we split but then it's no walk in the park going between two houses and families. It's a hard one. I think at times I can carry on for 2 or so years but then I think really what a life and are they really better off. One of the things that keeps me in this situation is that I can't imagine being with anyone else and it will be at least 2 years of hell before I feel like I can move on from others experiences.

eastwest Sat 26-Dec-15 23:31:11

flowers Sorry you'v got this on your plate.
A friend of mine was in this situation. I did think it odd that I always saw her, very involved with the kids, always doing things with them, but never with him - never as a family together. But I didn't suspect anything because I am a bit dim they looked like perfect people, the sort you'd never imagine getting divorced, the sort you always assume have a better marriage than you do because they seem so serene and argument-free. Also I think me and my husband spend probably more time together than most couples do so I assumed we weren't typical.
Then they did get divorced. She seems less unhappy now.

shandybass Sat 26-Dec-15 23:38:37

I think that's my point. Slighty less unhappy doesn't seem to justify breaking up the family unit with all teg pain that goes with that.

loooopo Sun 27-Dec-15 10:00:36

There is always a tipping point in these situations...maybe everyone gets ground down and if it is staying for the kids there must be an end goal and date in sight....

I suspect most marriages ebb and flow over time - with periods of real unhappiness but pull back now and then to contentment etc.

Goodbetterbest Sun 27-Dec-15 10:30:23

Yeh, we did it for years. So many people were shocked to hear of our split and said 'but you looked like the perfect family'.
I don't believe it is good to teach our DCs that this is how relationships are: sleeping in separate rooms, not engaging with family life, me doing everything on my own, no affection, no help, no love. I wasn't doing them any favours carrying on the charade. Having boys and girls it became really important to me that they learn it's not down to the mother to do everything in the home, socially and work, whilst the father watches sport and picks his nose.

Splitting up has proved the absolute right thing. It has forced XH to engage - he's a better father for it. And we are both happier and more satisfied with our lives.

WaterAngel Sun 27-Dec-15 10:51:33

Posted on a similar thread - this is how it is in my house.

But there's no tension (any more). We get on well, have a laugh, work well together in our parenting, keeping the home ticking over. He brings me coffee in bed every morning without fail. I let him spend hours on his computer game. He pulls his weight domestically- so do I. We hug, sometimes cuddle, watch tv together sometimes.

But we don't sleep together, can't remember when we last had sex.

He doesn't seem bothered in the slightest that that part of our life together was dead in the water, and trying to discuss it did lead to tensions.

The lack of intimacy and passion was slowly driving me crazy - so - I've found a solution that works for me.

buckingfrolicks Sun 27-Dec-15 15:55:41

WaterAngel you describe my life. Other than the 'solution that works for me' which eludes me still. Do tell...

WaterAngel Mon 28-Dec-15 22:54:48

Hi bucking

I met you on that other thread smile

I'm sorry to say my solution did not agree with you - you said it made you sadder, ultimately

I've found someone in the exact same situation, who needs what I need.
We are very happy, relieved and grateful to each other. Early days yet though...

buckingfrolicks Mon 28-Dec-15 23:29:28

Water, yes I spotted that too... I'm very very glad for you smile

loooopo Tue 29-Dec-15 11:26:47

Water - does both your DH and DP W know and approve ? Do they do the same ? ie are all 4 of you in open marriages? What happens if feelings develop further - will it upset the dynamic ? I really am not judging - it seems like a sensible solution if everyone is on board but I wonder how sustainable and potentially volatile it could be.

WaterAngel Tue 29-Dec-15 18:39:13

As far as my own husband is concerned, he doesn't know with certainty. If he suspects, he's not too bothered. He is not interested in where I go, whom I'm with, what time I get home. Never asks. I wouldn't be surprised if he had someone, but I'd rather not know. So I don't ask.
As for the other couple - no i don't think she knows. I don't know if she is close to someone else or not.

No idea how sustainable it will be. I don't want to hurt anyone. Neither does he. I think both of our marriages are ultimately failures, yet succeed in terms of the day-to-day. I don't think it's reasonable to screw up our childrens' lives just because our spouses are no longer interested in being intimate with us. But the fact remains that it makes us utterly miserable.

Jeeve5 Tue 29-Dec-15 20:10:05

Hi Fields, subject to the reasons/extent of marriage breakdown and or your acting skills/putting on a brave public face I feel that it is entirely possible to maintain a 'happy family front' to family & friends but your children will know far more than you acknowledge, increasing as time progresses.
I was in a similar situation to you (including children's ages) around 8 years ago.
I felt that staying was my least worst option.
What I hadn't realised was that the relationship would continue to deteriorate year on year.
My Wife never understands why her parents did not split and I feel her 'warped view' of what a relationship is like has not helped our own situation.
My biggest regret now is showing a 'less than ideal' relationship example for my children.
Please also bear in mind the emotional turmoil that you will put yourself through.
Water-I absolutely understand how your current solution will make your life more bearable but you may be playing with fire.
I now confide in close friends/colleagues and this situation appears not uncommon. They were mostly surprised.
Am starting decree nisi in January, with a hint of light after a very long dark black tunnel.

restlessat50 Thu 31-Dec-15 00:07:00

I have been reading all the posts above as in exact same place myself although v early days only a few of my friends know dh told no one and neither of our families know we live some distance from both our families and they rarely visit we tend to go there. My fsmily would b full of their opinions if we spilt his I would never see or hear from ever again. I, like the rest of you am trying to work out what is the best solution both for myself and our dd the younger who is only 13 there is no easy solution as what is right for me as an adult may not b the solution for the dc. However the one thing I do know is that is it not better to b honest and for our dc to live w one happy parent than 2 misreable ones or to be sneaking around behind their backs w other people's partners not sure what sort of messsge that gives as someone said dc always have an inkling
If anyone has the answer do tell....

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