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Once you broach the subject of separating is there going back?

(30 Posts)
Bellyrub1980 Mon 07-Mar-16 22:55:51

To set the scene me and my DP have one 1yr old child. Life has been pretty tough for us ever since she was born. I have PND and anxiety. I'm the first to admit it has 'changed' me. His job changed working a permanent night shift. We moved house in the summer and spent a lot of time and money doing it up, only for it to get flooded and all of our ceilings, flooring and possessions (upstairs and down) have been destroyed. We're still living in temporary accommodation and will be for another few months. DP is also a student and studying hard for exams which he's finding stressful.

We don't get to spend a lot of time together because he works nights. When he's awake he's studying and I have to keep our noisy toddler out of the way.

Things came to a head on Mother's Day and we ended up arguing. He has since revealed he is unhappy and has been thinking about us separating. This has devasted me. He said he really doesn't want us to separate but we can't continue to be unhappy for the rest of our lives and that we need to work on it.

My feeling is that it's our circumstances that have made things hard.

I love him dearly and can't imagine a future without him. But I realise my PND has put a big strain on our relationship.

My question is, once a person mentions 'seperation' is there any going back? Do couples ever think about it, then change their minds and stay together forever?

My parents have been married for nearly 50 years. It's never occurred to me that I might break up with the father of my child.

My anxiety skews my thinking and at the moment I'm feeling a bit hopeless.

Any words of encouragement?

Bellyrub1980 Tue 08-Mar-16 06:29:02


wannabestressfree Tue 08-Mar-16 06:34:01

I didn't want to leave you unanswered but god anyone would be stressed and unhappy with the set of circumstances that you have!
No I Don't think it's the point of no return but you need to decide what happens next and that you both feel 'heard'. Could someone have the baby so you can spend some time together and out together an action plan?

olympicsrock Tue 08-Mar-16 07:03:06

I have a 7 month old and pnd and anxiety. Dh and I had a big argument on Christmas day. I said I didn't love him andx he thought about separation . I was angry with him and he said he missed the old me. We agreed that we still loved each other and wanted our marriage to work and it was the start of things getting better. 3 months on I am on medication and having cbt. Things are much better but dh is still Insecure and hurt by the things I said. I think we will be ok. I hope you can sort things out too.

Thattimeofyearagain Tue 08-Mar-16 07:25:42

I did separate from dh . I asked him to leave while we both figured out what we wanted. Turned out we both wanted our marriage to work. 8. Months and a lot of changes on both sides/ therepy & medication for depression ( both ) and anxiety ( me) and we are solid.

nam207 Tue 08-Mar-16 07:49:57

It's a tough one OP. Im sorry you're going through such a hard time. flowers

You can never predict what might happen when people separate but for what it's worth this is what happened to me.

My DH got severe depression after DS was born, DS was ill and I was suffering from an extreme lack of sleep which made me very anxious. We argued a lot and neither of us was capable of supporting the other.

We decided in the end to do what they call a controlled separation which basically means you set ground rules, what you hope to achieve by it and what you want to work on. It's also time limited so you review how things are at the point agreed.

We ended up moving back in together after 6 months of separation as we seemed back to normal but started arguing again because neither of us had really been ready or fully worked through all the issues that had been raised.

Now we are separated again but co-parenting well, taking things slowly and hopeful for the future. We're actually expecting our second DC in the summer.

I don't know for sure what will happen but we are still very close and make joint decisions on things that will impact on our future together.

Its a bit messy and confusing at times but overall its working OK. We just want to make sure that past problems have been properly put behind us this time before trying again as we don't want to mess DS around.

In hindsight 6 months of separation the first time was not nearly enough but then every couple is different. Even if we don't end up staying together long term separating was definitely the best thing for us. Neither of us could live any longer with the constant arguing and it didn't allow us the space we needed for time and reflection.

Good luck

Bellyrub1980 Tue 08-Mar-16 11:20:18

Thank you for those responses. Im relieved to hear all is not lost (I know you're strangers but needed an independent opinion!).

We don't really argue a lot to be honest, but our reaction to bad- feeling is the same. We both go quiet and ignore it, hoping it will pass over. Resentment then builds up and eventually reaches a point where one of us breaks down. This has happened probably every 3 months since our daughter was born.

I was improving in leaps and bounds. I had weaned off my medication and was feeling almost ready to start considering another child. But then the flood happened and our lives turned upside down. Dealing with the insurance company was pretty stressful and a lot of our 'family' time has been eaten up with making decisions about the house over the last month. And this all happened at a time when DP needed to study for his exam. All the stress brought my anxiety back.

So I'm back on anti depressants now, have increased the dose and on a waiting list for talking therapies. I so desperately want to get better and get back in control of my life.

I think partly my DP is worried that my PND will never properly go away and any major life event will throw me off the rails. I'm worried about that too.

But of course I'm speculating because we haven't had time to talk that much to each other since Mother's Day... Literally about 10 minutes.

Hopefully tonight we can chat.

What do I do? Should I start hiding my PND from him? Maybe act happy and stop leaning on him for support to give him a break? I have friends and family who are great and support me

Can't believe we were contemplating ANOTHER child!!!

nam207 Wed 09-Mar-16 07:24:49

I don't really have any good advice for you on what to do next but I definitely don't think hiding your pnd is the way to go.

At some point some couples therapy might be helpful but you'll probably need to be in a stronger place yourself before you can successfully go through that.

Some people (like my DH) do have repeated bouts of depression but others just have it one time and it doesn't return.

I think the trick here is not just having medicine and counseling for the immediate problems but also making sure you learn how to recognise the symptoms in yourself earlier and strategies for dealing with the negative thoughts.

CBT is good for dealing with negative thinking. There's some more information about that here

Are your friends and family local? Maybe you could ask them to look after your DD for a few hours each weekend while you and DP focus on each other and have a catch up?

I'm sorry I don't have wiser words, hopefully someone else will post some advice for you.

Bellyrub1980 Wed 09-Mar-16 21:46:26

We had a long chat last night and established he's been unhappy for a while. I asked what I could do to make things better to keep us together and he said

1) lose weight (I gained 2 stone after having our daughter)
2) be tidier (I'm messy which has always irritated him)
3) be less negative.

Im already doing slimming world so on track there. Hopefully the negativity will improve with treatment. But being tidy is genuinely going to be a challenge for me. But I will definitely try.

He wanted me to tell him things he could improve on to help strengthen our relationship. But at the time I couldn't think of anything and was just so relieved he was willing to keep going I didn't want to rock the boat.

So I suppose that's a good outcome.

Still feel a bit shitty though.

whatsyouradvice Wed 09-Mar-16 21:57:04

Challenging times. You really need to say what you need tho - relationships are a two way street - I often find myself agreeing to make peace at the end of an argument but then go away and continue to be angry cos I didnt get heard. Men dont think that sometimes we need to be heard - the listen but dont hear. I am in no way anti-men or relationships, but do make sure you share what you feel or it will build up in you and that's no good.

Yes sometimes you've got to walk away and come back to it. I am now emailing my husband in the hope its a non-volatile way to ensure that the row actually not just aired frustrations but moved things on - for both of us. I might be reopening wounds but I am entitled to be heard and understood as much as he is!

Aussiemum78 Thu 10-Mar-16 09:33:45

Why do you hold all the responsibility to fix things?

I think your op and update reads like you are the problem in the relationship, and it's not true, there are many other pressures. Asking you to lose weight, when it's not a central issue and you are already trying sounds like him trying to make you feel worse for no good reason.

Is your dp going to look at changing shifts? Is he considering deferring his study until the house is fixed? Does he do his fair share of helping with your baby (doesn't sound like it)? What is his part in this?

SonjasSister Thu 10-Mar-16 10:51:27

Hmm, agree a bit with aussiemum; I think trying to lose weight to keep your husband hapoy is really setting yourself up for misery. Its primarily his job to keep himself hapoy. Yes, he should tell you what he finds hard if thereare things yoy do that hurt him, but your weight doesn't come into it unless you are dangerously obese and he is worried you will be seriously harmed. But that isn't the case is it?

Flooding is incredibly traumatic. I wonder if he us finding it hard to admit (even to himself) that he needs help and support? Sounds like he might be projecting some of his distress outward as anger/ criticism. If he did a lot of the work on your house (not presuming, it might have been you!) or even just worked hard to finance it, thats a dreadful blow.

You can't make him happy though, you can only support him to make himself happy.

Good luck to both of you.

Summerlovinf Thu 10-Mar-16 10:56:59

Jeez...and what's Mr Perfect going to do to save the marriage?

AnyFucker Thu 10-Mar-16 11:00:56

Where is his list of must-do's to save the marriage ?

You are not seriously going to do what he demands are you ?

I have just one thing for him to do...1) tell your wife the truth about why you have detached from your marriage and why you are finding any reason you can to destroy her self esteem

Lovey, he has his eye elsewhere.

wannabestressfree Thu 10-Mar-16 17:04:10

I would be heartbroken if the man I loved said the body I carried his child in needed to shift the pounds to be worthy of him....
I take it he is physical perfection?
I am with any I think he is deflecting.... nasty twat.

Bellyrub1980 Thu 10-Mar-16 23:39:15

He has asked me to say what things I think he could do to improve our relationship but I've avoided the question. Or, partly, I'm ignoring the subject because I don't want to acknowledge that things have got to the point of trying to salvage our relationship. Really, all I want is for him to be kinder to me and treat me like someone he adores. I see lots of couples together as part of my job (within the NHS) and the husbands seem so feircely protective of their wives. I've never felt this. I would also love it if our lives were more fun and joyful. Even if we watched a comedy every now and then. I miss laughing with him. It would also be great if he took more practical responsibility in caring for our child or at least if we could do some of those activities together. I currently do everything.

The thought of telling him all this just makes me nervous of what the fall-out would be. nothing physically violent (just wanted to make that clear) but the atmosphere would be horrible for days.

There is always a lot of talk about him changing jobs, but he's not applying for any. Just talking about it. And then moaning when his job annoys him. Constant cycle of this.

The last few replies have made me think... Is he hiding something? Is he planning an escape? Another woman? I have absolutely no evidence of any of those things but I've decided to just behave normally and keep monitoring the situation.

He's been pretty nice for the last 24 hours. Plenty of texts checking how I am while he's at college etc. He was lovely to my face earlier. But, I dunno, I just didn't have the energy to pretend I was ok when I'm not. He asked if I was ok so I just smiled and nodded at the right places and told him I needed a bit of time to digest the events since Mother's Day.

Lovehandles Fri 11-Mar-16 00:38:52

I'm not liking the lose weight comment... or the rest

VimFuego101 Fri 11-Mar-16 00:42:59

AnyFucker has nailed it as always. Even if you achieve the things he's asking, I suspect there will be more goalposts set for you soon.

Lovehandles Fri 11-Mar-16 00:48:28

another member of the AF fan club

Katarzyna79 Fri 11-Mar-16 01:00:31

I love anyfucker so blunt and to the point.

Friendlystories Fri 11-Mar-16 01:39:03

Much as I agree with what's been said about his list of demands this is the part which worries me the most out of everything you've posted.
The thought of telling him all this just makes me nervous of what the fall-out would be. nothing physically violent (just wanted to make that clear) but the atmosphere would be horrible for days.

So he's asked you to say what you think he could do to improve the relationship but you still feel unable to do so because he would create an atmosphere? That's not an even playing field and implies that you will end up being the one to make all the effort, probably to no avail because I suspect he will just move the goalposts and you will continually be presented with new lists of what you need to do to fix things. Where is his responsibility to make improvements here OP?

This part worries me too; There is always a lot of talk about him changing jobs, but he's not applying for any. Just talking about it. And then moaning when his job annoys him. Constant cycle of this. And you're the one who needs to 'be less negative'? He's hardly modelling positivity and affirmative action is he. I'm not suggesting that your difficult circumstances with the flood etc and your PND haven't contributed to the problem but he needs to acknowledge the things he's doing wrong and be willing to change them. One person can't fix this alone and certainly not if you're not even able to ask for what you need in return without him creating a bad atmosphere.

Bellyrub1980 Fri 11-Mar-16 07:30:07

Thank you for all the replies. It really helps to hear objective opinions.

Had a long chat with my mum who has pretty much said all the things you all have above. She was in complete disbelief that things had gone this far because this behaviour is so out of character for him. (It really is). She thinks it's unlikely he's having an affair (of course she'd say that) but said I cannot spend the rest of my life walking on eggshells to placate a man. I think she was a bit shocked (disappointed) that I was being such a doormat. It's not within my nature to allow someone to control me .... I'm naturally rebellious! But she thinks that my PND/anxiety making me less confident.

She asked many of the same questions you've all asked.... "What is HE doing to make things better"

My mum is amazing and helped me make an action plan:

1) phone doctor, tell her everything get my medication reviewed and chase up talking therapies.

2) Focus on myself getting mentally better, keep myself busy etc. Life is completely upside down, our house is practically getting re-built at the moment.

3) Get the house exactly as I want it, move back in and get settled.

4) Once 'life' is back to normal then review how I feel about our relationship. Start as I mean to go on, being stronger, voicing my opinion etc ("love me as I am or not at all" type thing). Consider relationship counselling.

She also she thinks he needs to get treatment for depression/anxiety because either he's been hiding this aspect of his personality for years, or he's struggling mentally.

What do you think?

cathpip Fri 11-Mar-16 08:01:25

Lose weight? You are in the process of doing that.......
Be more tidy? You have always been like it so he must have accepted this "fault" once and it not bothered him.....
Be less negative? Apart from the fact that you have PND and are taking steps to help yourself the only other factor that would help is being fully supported by your partner which he is not doing......
From what you have written it sounds like he's already checked out of the relationship.
No one wants to be in a failed relationship/marriage where there are dc involved but many of us are myself included and men must have the same script as this is near on word for word what my stbxh spouted!
One question you need to answer but think carefully on the answer, are you in love with him? Being in love with someone is different to loving someone.

LineyReborn Fri 11-Mar-16 08:22:15

I think your mum sounds very on the ball. You're lucky to have her. flowers

I have to say that when I read your post about the losing weight / being more tidy stuff, it did remind me of the dynamic my ExH tried to set up to justify his cheating at work, even before AF suggested it. I stood up to him but he walked out leaving me with our two small children. But he actually did me a favour, in hindsight. The negativity was just awful with him around.

StickyToffeePuddingAndCustard Fri 11-Mar-16 09:08:32

I don't think the talk of separation necessarily means the end. It can be the low point that makes both of you become honest enough to lay your cards on the table about what you want as there's nothing to lose.

You definitely need to set out your list and think about your own confidence and assertiveness levels that have prevented you doing so.

The set of circumstances you are both under would stretch a lot of people to breaking point, such incredible pressure. I'm so sorry you've been flooded, my husband's friend has just gone through this and he is crying a lot he's so devastated.

It is sad that his list focuses on you rather than the circumstances and himself. Weight and depression are not overnight fixes so is he going to be miserable the entire time? Depression is largely beyond your control. Perhaps you both need to say three things you are unhappy with yourselves and discuss goals to help each other achieve them so you show each other your supportive and loving sides again.

As a person more experienced with chaos than order, I do understand being messy comes easily i but really appreciate the calmness that comes with sitting in a tidy room. Messy people are generally so overwhelmed with what has to be done, they do very little. I find just focusing on one room or one aspect of a room helps with task completion.

Best of luck OP

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