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.
Staying put, for now!(22 Posts)
I've been married for over 10 years and got 3 dcs. I've been here before wondering should I leave or should I stay with dh. It's been a difficult 10 years, nothing major like some of the posts I see here, but enough heartache, arguments and shouting to think is it worth carrying on with the relationship.
Anyway I've been on threads before and had a lot of Leave the Bastard LTB advice, but for better or worse I've found myself still hanging in there.
I've got to thinking I'm probably not on my own and I thought I'd try and start a support thread for people in a similar situation to me feeling perhaps they should leave, but not quite being able to do, because of the children, guilt, it's not really that bad, type reasons.
I know I've gone on a lot in real life to my close mates and I thought I should try a different avenue, just to give them a break to my rants, bless them.
Please tell me I'm not the only one in relationship limbo and come and be all indecisive and ranty with me about marriage issues but not quite at the leaving point.
Oh dear looks like I'm on my own in the 'stay put' gang then.
Just something for you to consider OP.
My parents have stayed together for the sake of me and my brother. We have grown up in a house full of arguments, petty snide comments and walking on egg shells. It isnt fun.
While your children may be upset while they are young that you and their father have seperated- it is for a short period of time and there is a time that will come when they realise they would of been much happier with parents who were happy with their own lives. If you arent happy- leave.
Our parents dont fool us, but for some reason they think they still need to be together for our sake despite us both being adults and living away from home.
But they arent happy. And it breaks my heart that both of them choose to be unhappy for our sake when it isnt a nice environment for us to be in at all.
It wont be easy, he is your husband and father of your children and will always be part of your life, but if your honestly just doing it for the kids- leave.
Just because you have children doesnt mean you always have to sacrifice your own happiness
My parents stuck it out for far too long too. Watching two desparately unhappy people live a charade was awful.
I actually feel I have lost out; I have no idea how to have a relationship. Their bad example has never left me.
Leave. Leave now. Show your children what it should be like.
I stayed for a long time because I was worried about my children. I thought it was the best thing at the time. Since leaving my perspective on that has changed totally. I now feel that my job as a parent is to help them become the best adults they can be, where I think before I was over influenced by trying to avoid them being exposed to potential upheaval.
I have realised that I was giving them a model of what a relationship was that isn't what I want them to have in their heads.
I am also sure that if they were consistently unhappy in a relationship then I would want them to leave. If I want them to be able to do that then I need to have the courage myself to do that, rather than them thinking that staying is what you do.
Finally, my children are happier since I left. They weren't unhappy before - I would have said they were perfectly happy, but they have definitely become more relaxed and cheerful since the change. I guess there were all kinds of little tensions they were picking up on that I hadn't noticed, and they definitely have a better mum now, I am realising that being in a bad relationship is quite poisonous.
I know how hard it is to leave, and to take a huge step like that, and its easier in the short term to stay and not do that, but once you know that you want to leave and are only staying because of the children, it really is worthwhile thinking through the options of what separating would be like. It took me years of wanting to leave but not leaving, but now that I am out, even though it has been very hard in places, I don't regret it for a second. Good luck in making your decision
shandy first and foremost this is your life. What a bunch of strangers post on an Internet forum shouldn't allow you to make your decision on what to do. That strength can only come from you alone.
Yes, there are many people stuck in situations like this. It's heart breakingly sad. For everyone involved.
My parents did this. I did it for 2-3 years (the last 2-3 years of my own marriage). I can categorically tell you that had I not found out about my STBXH deep and twisted lies, we would still be together and I would be determined to push through head down. Because in my mind nothing 'bad enough' had happened that would justify breaking up a family. Certainly the 'I'm not happy enough' card carried no weight.
Because facing that decision is hard. I get it. If nothing big and tangible has happened (like an affair or DV) we both know that you will get people judging you for breaking it up.
Then there is the emotional impact - how will the children cope? Accompanied by the thought We may not get on but he's a good father.
Financial, how can I afford to be alone? How can I afford a divorce? How can I do all this without him?
The list is long.
The thing you get OP with posting on this board is that there is a lot of us who in the past have been in your shoes. For whatever reasons we are no longer living as that family unit (affairs, separation, spouse just up and leaving etc etc).
I won't speak for everyone here but I can say that I would categorically never have broken up my family. I absolutely thought that by putting my children's happiness first I was doing the right thing.
Now, I look back and recognise that I simply lacked the strength, self worth and proper EQ to stand up and say this isn't good enough. I was copying my parents, because their marriage had shown me this was good enough. Arguments? Fine. Separate beds? Fine. Rude/ stroppy behaviour, fine. Making no effort? Fine. Not Holding me and telling me I'm beautiful? Fine.
The net sum of this (only last 3-4 year especially) is I have built so many protective walls around me (I built them so DH lack of engagement didn't upset me), I am having to work really hard to take them down. I am going to have real intimacy issues moving forward if I don't.
It's been a hard 6 months or so. Emotionally I haven't absorbed the impact as my life is focussed on supporting my DC's. Working. And getting the hell out of this marriage with as much as is needed to protect my children's future.
However, despite all of that. I am happier. I look younger. My home has a lovely peaceful, loving, Atmosphere that it lacked before. My DC's are doing ok, in fact they have turned into less shouty and more openly affectionate children.
And that's why you get the advice you get when you post. I've been there. I know how you feel. However the trigger is pulled and I am coming through the other side intact and happier than I thought I could be. Incredibly grateful that I haven't inflicted my upbringing of witnessing a marriage with no love on my DC's.
So I certainly have written this mammoth post, not to judge. Not to tell you to leave. But to say it's ok to stay, it is your life. But also to give you hope and plant that seed. That one day if it ever does get too much (or a grenade does go off in your marriage) you'll be ok. As will your DC's.
I stayed put for a few years. Every NYE I would berate myself because I'd promised myself I would have left by then. Eventually I did, and it was the right thing to do. It's like standing on a high diving board - you go and look over the edge a thousand times before plucking up courage to just do it.
Another child of a mother who stayed here.
There was nothing particularly wrong, other than it wasn't right.
When I hit my teens I thought ok was good enough for a relationship and was badly hurt on a number of occasions, desperate because I thought it was love each time so very low self esteem because my benchmark was so low and even that wasn't being met. I became a people pleaser who put everyone else's happiness before my own and would rather do what right for others rather than protect myself.
I ended up in a relationship where he was a chest and I was raped but saw that as him loving me so much he couldn't control himself. My boundaries and aims was so ducked up.
We set the blueprint and example for our children to act upon.
You life, your decision, but I too was a happy child at the time and the damage showed itself when trying to function as an adult. A number of my school friends had parents who chose to separate. Their boundaries were better and they aren't fucked up.
shandy, a woman needs to feel strong enough to leave bad relationship
I have tried to end it, and I have hit such resistance from my family, DP and to some extent my DC it has hit me. I am literally the most depressed I have been for a long time as I don't have the strength (right now!) to leave, and staying depresses me
I can even contemplate being a single mum as I feel so battered and depressed
Its a marathon, not a sprint
Its really fucking hard
AND, I am not going to spend my retirement with an angry man
I am staying of MN till I get my strength back, as fuck know I have tried I feel like a boxer than has been beaten up (emotionally)
Oh thank you for all your messages. I'll have more time later and I truly understand where all you fantastic people are coming from when you are encouraging me to have the strength to leave and all the reasons for doing so.
I most likely will leave or perhaps things will change but I was really after some support or chat for right now when I'm in the limbo stage which most of you have been in, it sounds like and sometimes for years.
That time is now for me where I'm thinking how it would be, getting on with life, not really arguing, but more so because I feel I've withdrawn, which for now works.
Please don't take this the wrong way, Im sure I would be saying the same from the other side.
It is a hard stage, and it does take time to get your head around it. Its a big decision with lots of implications, so you wouldn't want to be making it in a flippant way. The other thing for me was that the actual process of splitting up - telling the children, dealing with my H etc has been really really hard. If I hadn't been 100% certain that I was doing the right thing I don't know if I would have managed.
I've seen this book recommended on here before.
Have you read it?
If not it might help.
I'm very similar to Joysmum in that my mum stayed with my dad til I was 15, despite years of unhappiness, sulking, shouting, threats, him walking out for OWs repeatedly (at least 5 times that I remember clearly) then coming back once the OWs dumped him (obviously they were smarter than my mum!)
If he hadn't started molesting me and social services forced him to move out, they would probably still be together now.
It left me with massively unbalanced view of relationships and I spent most of my adult life believing that you just stayed and that was that, and that after the "honeymoon" period your relationship would consist of ocassional periods of closeness in between arguing, regret, bitterness, PA behaviour and grudging sex.
It's really only been in the last 5 years or so (and I'm early forties) that I've learned what relationships should actually be about, and you don't have to subscribe to "you made you bed, now you lie in it".
bb888 thank you. All those comments about divorce and separation being too easy I can't believe how hard it is emotionally as well as the financial and I'm not too badly off financially so I should be ok. Imagining telling the dcs, sharing them, the amount of stuff in the house I'd have to move. I wouldn't want to stay in this house as it's been very much his house with his Mum next door, but all the stuff is mine or bought together. Bikes, tvs his does that work splitting as well as being close enough to live to take the kids to school but far enough away that I'm not constantly seeing him.
I have to say the thought about being more relaxed does resonate with me as I know when it's just me and kids I'm more me. Ta for the book recommendation hellsbells, sounds just me.
But I suppose thid is what I was trying to avoid on here, the constant soul searching and questioning myself and more a light hearted what a state of affairs type rant.
Fod for thought.
Any others out there in my situation?
It is really hard emotionally, but I get a lot of strength from knowing that I am being honest, and behaving in a way that is completely consistent with how I feel. It has helped me to raise the bar in terms of my parenting. When you are staying in a relationship that you don't want to be in it is really wearing, and its only from the other side that I can see just how detrimental it was for me. So its hard, but I look back and am filled with relief that I'm not still there, staying like that for however many more years of my life.
Ah pocket sorry you had that - no words are there
What you say is v wise
I am in a similar situation.
Married 23 years, children now grown up. Marriage always been problematic.
DH had numerous 'friendships' (he termed them) and one 'affair' 10+ years ago and I decided to continue the marriage for the children (I did only find out all the details after I let him return). There have probably been more and maybe more recently.
He is a compulsive liar - the biggest told to me just over a year ago. I don't know if I can believe a word he says.
There is no affection/intimacy between us and really never has been.
BUT I still don't feel 100% ready to leave..... I am stronger now than I have ever been and I am working towards leaving him, I have been seeing a counsellor and that has helped me see things more clearly.
I worry that I will not be able to live on the financial settlement that I get, I worry that I won't know what to do if the boiler breaks down, I worry what people will think. Stupidly I am still waiting for a miracle and hoping that he may decide he wants a marriage rather than me being his housekeeper!
It's hard not being ready.
I am in a similar situation. I have been debating leaving him in my own
head for the past 3 years and it has come up in arguments more recently.
The bottom line is that I just don't fancy him. It is like living with a work colleague. Other people would think that we have a perfect life, this is really the one thing wrong.
I think that overall I would be happier without him, he says he wouldn't, I don't think the children would be (although the comments above from a pp about not thinking that it was impacting the children until they became happier after the split have been making me think)
It's not the right decision financially for us either. So I kind of feel that 4 vs 1 reasons (him., 2 dc and financial vs me) mean that I should stay for now.
The children are also still very young (one early primary, one pre school) and are high maintenance in the day and most of our nights are still broken so I think that neither of us are in the right emotional place to make such a massive decision right now.
Same situation here. Not happy in my marriage for a while now. Repeated cycles of arguments, discussing splitting then neither of us having the courage to say its over, occasionally thinking it's not bad enough to rip family apart. However more it's gone on I've disengaged, last row he walked out and came back couple of hours later. Not a tear shed and carried on dealing with kids homework etc. Seen the phrase a death by a thousand cuts on here - sums it up beautifully. I have written him a dear john letter - just sat in my file for now.
Hi purplepoppies and hellhathnofury I feel for you. Purple my thinking is very much like you and maybe waiting until my dcs are in school is an idea as you say it's a difficult time emotionally and financially toake a split.
Hellhathnofury i never thought of a Dear John. I really wish I didn't keep spending so much time thinking of splitting but not saying anything to save arguments. One day maybe.
It's such a difficult place to be and then I think if we were to split there'd be at least two years of turmoil and upset and then hassle re Christmas , holiday arrangements etc.
While he leaves me alone I can cope day to day like this without arguing and being relatively pleasant to each other.
Just had a massive row. Deep down I know if we didn't have the children I wouldn't stay. The upheaval of splitting is too much to think about right now. I suppose we will continue taking each day at a time for now but
I can't see us being together in 5 years say. Feeling really alone right now. No one in real life knows about the problems we are having., we just both put a brave face on things
Join the discussion
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.