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What happens if H doesn't want to separate, let alone divorce?

(36 Posts)
3sleepingchildren Mon 01-Feb-16 18:54:07

H and I have been together for 17 years, married for 12.

I want to split up. I have done for years, and told him so about 4 years ago. He resisted then, and persuaded me to try counselling. I reluctantly agreed - reluctantly, because I knew what would happen (and did) - he would get there, be all charm and sweetness and light and make me out to be the unreasonable one. (Just to be clear, neither of us are perfect. I am sure I am as difficult to live with as he is).

Anyway, between me telling him I wanted to split and getting to the top of the list for counselling, I fell pregnant. Stupid, I know. But I really did only sleep with him once. Before that, no sex for about 3 years, and none since.

Anyway, counselling came around, I was by then 5ish months pregnant, and he did his charm offensive. We already had 2 disabled children, and I couldn't contemplate leaving at that point.

Dc3 was born, life got complicated, and time moves on. Fast forward 4 years, and I still want out.

He doesn't particularly want to be married to me (I do t think, and he certainly doesn't behave as though he does) but he wants a (second) divorce even less. He will absolutely resist splitting up.

So, what happens? I can't force him to leave the house. I can't leave myself (have been sahm for whole marriage, and trailing expat spouse before that, so no income, and no prospect of any as have 3 disabled dc - work is impossible) and have no intention of doing so as would mean leaving the dc. I am primary carer, and always have been. Situation is further complicated because dh lost his job last year, so is currently at home too (although not doing a whole lot of child related duties, it has to be said).

When he refuses to leave, what happens? I don't want the children dragged through a whole lot of unpleasantness - this will be difficult enough for them as it is.

Anniegetyourgun Mon 01-Feb-16 18:56:33

Wait, so, neither of you are earning at the moment? So why would you be worse off as a single parent rather than one of two unemployed parents? Savings, redundancy...?

littleleftie Mon 01-Feb-16 18:57:45

The only way to force him to leave is as part of a divorce.

Have you seen a solicitor? What did they say?

If you haven't, you need to see one ASAP.

bb888 Mon 01-Feb-16 19:00:17

Could you move out of the marital bed into your own bed, and stop doing things like cooking and washing for him etc? It might help him understand that you aren't in a relationship anymore?

Marchate Mon 01-Feb-16 19:00:46

Well, staying is suiting him very well. He can be lazy and make you feel bad about stressing the family, therefore preserving his easy life

No idea how to facilitate your separation, sorry

AnotherEmma Mon 01-Feb-16 19:03:52

It's very simple. You need legal advice. If you live in the UK (?) you could ask CAB for initial advice and for a list of family law solicitors in your area.

Is he ever controlling or abusive? It's just that a few things in your post suggested that he could be.

3sleepingchildren Mon 01-Feb-16 19:06:36

Neither of us are earning, no. Dh has just finished his period of gardening leave, so has just finished earning (last pay packet this month).

We own our house (mortgaged), plus another flat (mortgaged, and let out). Redundancy is earmarked for finishing the necessary works to our house to make it habitable (I would be preferred to cut our losses and sell up, H disagreed). Once works are done, I can't see him wanting to move or sell. So he is less likely to want to split.

the marriage breakdown has been a long time coming, nothing major (no violence) but this period of both of us being in the house has really brought it home to me. I can't carry on - he has no intention of pulling his weight in the marriage at all. He sees his (admittedly not inconsiderable) financial contribution as more than enough. I would far rather less money and more time spent with us all (and have said this repeatedly over the years).

I couldn't have managed with the dc by myself before now - their SN range from severe to moderate; none has insignificant needs, and school run is complicated due to one dc's school being 20+miles away (SN school). Tbh, it was when dc1 and 2 got to the ages where I could manage their needs alone that I last said to him I wanted a split. Now that dc3 is at a point (and dc1&2 also) where it is again possible, it is once again reaching a head.

3sleepingchildren Mon 01-Feb-16 19:13:28

I haven't seen a solicitor, no. I've no idea where to find a decent one.

Abusive - not really. Controlling and manipulative, yes. Again, nothing particularly major, but lots of little things adding up to a bigger picture, iyswim. Finances - he controls, and transfers money for housekeeping each month. Ostensibly, any other spends are covered (I put on credit card, and he transfers enough each month to cover the hill for extra spends), but it is always queried. Yet he can obviously spend what he wants when he wants to, as he earns the money. Stuff like that.

And yes, stating suits him well. He has said before he couldn't go through another divorce. That's not quite the same as wanting to remain married, though, is it?

Anniegetyourgun Mon 01-Feb-16 19:21:29

XH was never violent either, but living with him was slowly destroying my sanity. He was dead set against divorce and didn't want to sell the house either, but the court ordered both. I was in a better position than you in some ways (being the main earner, older DCs with no SN) although perhaps worse in others (he was technically the main carer, we had only one property). Do try to get some legal advice as every case is different. One thing's for certain, though: if you are determined to split, he can't stop you forever.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 01-Feb-16 19:22:26

"Abusive - not really. Controlling and manipulative, yes. Again, nothing particularly major, but lots of little things adding up to a bigger picture, iyswim. Finances - he controls, and transfers money for housekeeping each month. Ostensibly, any other spends are covered (I put on credit card, and he transfers enough each month to cover the hill for extra spends), but it is always queried".

Actually he is abusive; controlling behaviour is abusive behaviour. All that you write above are examples of him abusing you; abuse is about power and control. He is also being financially abusive towards you here as well by denying you free access to the family money. He controls it all. Abuse like this is insidious and creeps up on their chosen victim gradually and over a period of time. Its also very hard for their victim to spot.

Womens Aid can and will help you here re Solicitors if you do not know where to start. Their number is 0808 2000 247.

The only person this man is interested in is him along with protecting his public image. No man is above the law however, as he will discover.

AnotherEmma Mon 01-Feb-16 19:23:32

That sounds like financial abuse to me. Please could you look at these signs of emotional abuse and let us know if he does anything on the list?

Anyway, whether he is abusive or not, you have every right to end the relationship. He can't stop you don't that. He can make it difficult - which is why I ask about abuse, because if he is abusive, you may be able to access additional, specialist support.

It depends where you are, of course. If you're in the UK you could contact Rights of Women - they have a free legal helpline:

If you're willing to say which country/area you're in, you could get solicitor recommendations from MNers. If you want to protect your anonymity, you could name change and/or post in Chat or 30 days only.

AnotherEmma Mon 01-Feb-16 19:24:53

Correction: he can't stop you doing that.

3sleepingchildren Mon 01-Feb-16 19:25:36

Yes, that's it. Staying is eroding my sanity, as well as my self esteem and confidence (lots of nitpicking over little things, and questioning my decisions once I have made them - despite leaving it completely to me to make those decisions and only taking an interest once I have decided, and then in a negative way).

I just know he won't agree to it. And I don't want it to get ugly. It will be hard enough for the dc as it is. I wish he would just agree to do it all amicably.

AnotherEmma Mon 01-Feb-16 19:28:20

But if he was reasonable, respectful and amicable, you wouldn't be in this situation in the first place, would you?!

I'm afraid you need to accept that he will get nasty, and prepare for it.

It's sounding more and more like he is abusive. Please do call Women's Aid (if you're in the UK) or your local equivalent.

BatshitCrazyWoman Mon 01-Feb-16 19:31:57

No court in the land will make two people stay married to each other if one of them wants out. So your H can not want a divorce all he likes, it will still happen.

It sounds like he wants to stay married because he wants to stay in the renovated house and not go through another divorce - hardly flattering to you or making any effort. Marriage/married is something you do, rather than are.

Do you have any divorced friends you could ask for a solicitor recommendation? Or ask on the MN Divorce board. I think a PP mentioned going to the CAB and asking for a list of family solicitors. You could also look on the Resolution website.

Quite often the marital home is sold and the proceeds divided - again, unless he can buy you out, then he will have to move.

In the meantime, move to the spare room, if you have one, and stop cooking/washing etc for him.

tribpot Mon 01-Feb-16 19:44:13

I wish he would just agree to do it all amicably.

But why would he do that? It's obvious already from his behaviour that what is best for his family is not a priority for him. He only wants what is best for him. And that means having you running his home and raising his children in return for a salary of zero. There's no real upside to him in being single, you're making life too comfortable for him.

He already treats you poorly and that's whilst you're ostensibly obeying his wishes. Breaking free is not going to be easy, but you can already feel what not doing it is doing to you. Your situation will not improve if you stay with him.

3sleepingchildren Mon 01-Feb-16 19:47:09

I am in th UK. It may sound odd, but I can't believe I would need Women's Aid. Yes, he is manipulative and probably emotionally abusive, but it really isn't that bad.

He would get aggressively controlling, but would definitely not shirk his responsibilities to the dc (although he would begrudge the costs, and would think he reasons a right to have a say in how it is spent)

There are a number of things from that list he does - the level of teasing/humiliating/trying to put down in public etc. Financial stuff as above, he definitely controls (although would dispute that he does so; he would claim I am free to spend as I like. And to a degree I am. I am never without the ability to spend, but a spend of eg £2-300 above my 'usual' spend (on food and petrol) is always queried. He is a higher rate tax payer. And has just bought a new car (without consultation), with no intention of selling his old one. So he can spend £40k+ with no qualms, but I can't buy anything without justifying it.

bb888 Mon 01-Feb-16 19:51:08

You might find that you reassess how negative his behaviour is when you have a bit of separation from it. Sometimes these things are harder to see close up. flowers

pocketsaviour Mon 01-Feb-16 20:00:16

It sounds like you have had so many years of normalising his controlling and abusive ways that you can't see the wood for the trees.

Do give Women's Aid a call. They're not just there for physical abuse. What you describe is definitely financially controlling.

Want the good news? You own half of his new car. All assets purchased during the marriage are joint. Happy days!

Block any spending on the house renovations. If he books someone, just ring them up and cancel. If you let work proceed you'll be stuck there for years.

He doesn't get to say "We're not getting divorced." If you want to leave this marriage, you can leave this marriage. He's not the boss of you.

3sleepingchildren Mon 01-Feb-16 20:26:55

I don't want half the car grin

I don't even particularly care he's bought it - it's not going to make us destitute (probably! Although he doesn't have a job...) but it does then bother me when we talk about arranging a trip to the Isle of Wight (lovely place, not exactly Vegas though!) as have been offered a few days at a friend's holiday house, and I mention we could look at renting somewhere to make it a week in th summer holidays, and he says I need to mind what I spend, as we don't know if he'll have a job/what salary by then - erm, cancel the new car, maybe?!

He doesn't get to say 'we're not getting divorced', no. But if he doesn't agree to it, we're looking at 2 years separation before it being possible, and that leads back to my first post - he won't leave, I can't leave. And that makes for very uncomfortable living.

bb888 Mon 01-Feb-16 20:33:10

Can't you use unreasonable behaviour as your grounds?

AnotherEmma Mon 01-Feb-16 20:41:49

Yy to unreasonable behaviour. Plenty of examples of it in what you've told us, OP. This is why you need legal advice.

I think he's been controlling, belittling and conditioning you for so long that you believe it's normal. It's absolutely not.

You might not want half the car, or half the marital assets, but think of the children and what they will need in the future. He's clearly not going to.

3sleepingchildren Mon 01-Feb-16 20:56:10

I can't believe what I've put would count as unreasonable behaviour. Surely the fact I've put up with it all for so long counts as me accepting it?

He would contest it (is that even possible?) and I'm not sure I can face the arguments, even if they are conducted via solicitors.

bb888 Mon 01-Feb-16 21:04:04

The reasons for unreasonable behaviour don't have to be that strong. Though I think you have enough in what you have posted here. It would be very expensive for him to contest the divorce and he would be very unlikely to succeed.

3sleepingchildren Mon 01-Feb-16 21:45:10

Right, thanks.

Thanks to everyone who has replied. It has all given me food for thought.

I'm stuck for a while. We are in the middle of a big building project - as I said before, I'd've happily taken the hit and sold up, but it does make financial sense to do the work. It is a big project, and will last for a few more months (started in October).

I can't do anything about divorce right now - it would all be far too complicated (I know, I know, it always is) as the build needs to be finished (half the house knocked down, at foundation stage of build).

But of course, he will fight all the harder for the house once it is done (or accuse me of waiting it out to gain a better asset). I don't care, I didn't particularly want to buy it in the first place, but at 8 months pregnant with dc3 I couldn't find the energy to protest too much, especially since we were walking on eggshells as I had only a year earlier told him I wanted to split (but couldn't do it once I was pregnant).

Oh god, it's all such a mess.

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