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Fed up, to stay or leave

(39 Posts)
sootysweep Mon 04-Jul-16 13:55:42

My OH is a good man. He is hard working and affectionate. He provides for his family well and he is a good father. The problem is, we have become so disconnected! We don't share a bed anymore as I prefer to sleep with our two little ones (says a lot I know) and I am the one who has become unaffectionate, cold and distant.

I am just fed up. I feel taken for granted. I have been over-worked, under appreciated and generally neglected along the way. My stresses have been ignored to the point where I have had a few meltdowns and very little changes. I am skimming a lot of details here! My OH has two children that live with us, one is lovely but one of them Is very, very difficult. He is very complex and controlling, tells lies and can be quite aggressive too.

I've found myself getting crushes on other men lately! This is bad. I never thought this would happen. I ventured in to marriage full of hope, madly in love and with dreams of being together forever. It's so sad. I do love him and he does try to be a good husband (dinners out/weekends away) but nothing ignites that spark for me. And I can't seem to forgive past issues. But I do love him. I care for his happiness. So I guess our marriage may not be irretrievable. As we still have love! Just feel so, so, so disconnected.

We have enrolled in a marriage counselling course as my husband knows I have had many issues with our marriage and our life together in the past and I am unhappy. Hopefully this will help?

Has anyone else gone through a really rough patch in their marriage, almost to the point of giving up? But then managed to bring back a spark and a renewed energy in to the marriage? Re discovered happiness and re connected? I want to make it work if only for out children's sake. They deserve stability. But fully aware they will want happy, bonded parents growing up!

Feel like shite! Any advice or similar personal experiences? Do people really successfully work through their marriages in most cases, our most people's blips as big as this, and for those that have ended up having to enrol on marriage counselling, is it highly likely to end in separation anyway? Are we just biding time? Sorry if my post is a bit flat. Just feel a bit bleak about married life right now

Keepitreal28 Mon 04-Jul-16 14:03:46

How is he under appreciating and neglecting you exactly?

From your post he actually sounds lovely. Get the kids out of the bed, that's ridiculous.

HandyWoman Mon 04-Jul-16 14:08:37

It sounds like he has entered into the counselling willingly - that's a very good sign. The devil is in the detail, though. In what way are you under appreciated etc?? Is he realising the how difficult his ds' behaviour is? Do you guys have a support network?

loveyoutothemoon Mon 04-Jul-16 14:23:02

Was about to say exactly the same as keepitreal

hellsbellsmelons Mon 04-Jul-16 14:47:36

Do you want to move back into bed with him?
It might be a good start.
Like the others, I want to know what is unappreciated.
Do you do everything?
The house, chores, admin, running around of kids, looking after your step kids, while he does absolutely nothing?

sootysweep Mon 04-Jul-16 15:08:53

Yes he does sound lovely. He is on many levels. I will elaborate.

Also just to iterate, the children are not in our bed. They sleep in their own room. I just prefer to sleep in with them in order to avoid cuddles and the inevitable hanky panky. I know this is bad. Our marriage is in trouble. If I was happily wanting snuggle time with my OH, I wouldn't dream of taking myself off to another bedroom.

Ok so we married about 5 years ago. I came with baggage (my horse that I had owned since a child/also best friend/therapy/my absolute everything) and he came with baggage too...his two children.
We moved in pretty quickly and straight away I was the cleaner, driver, cook, launderer and I feel he had pretty high expectations too. House is spotless as mess annoys him, liked recipe cooked dinners daily...that sort of thing. We were both working full time at the time. I was exhausted and started getting upset that I no longer had any time for my horse any more. It seemed unfair. His answer: to sell her. I couldn't bring myself to do this as loved her so much but ended up putting her out on full loan. I never have time to see her anymore. I have grieved for her badly over the years. But he doesn't get it. She's an animal. His children are people. Therefore I must be the one to compromise and devote my life to them rather than us meeting in the middle. I still hold a grudge I suppose.
He says he feels guilty and he didn't realise how much she meant to me at the time but he did. He used to see me sobbing when I couldn't find the time to see her! He hair chose to prioritise his own needs.

Here I was, thrown in at the deep end, doing all the housework. Looking after his kiddos for half the week (co-parented) and overall remained a very kind and tolerant SM. I like children although his eldest son was a very oppressive character at times. Still wildly in love though so we get married! Had two babies! My Mum became very ill and I then spent four years being her full time carer- showering her daily, sorting out her meals, doing her medications for her, it was full on but worth it. I had become SAHM by this point. I started to wobble a bit...mother to four children (one very difficult) and a full time carer and housekeeper = stressed out!

His ex wife then moves to the next county and changes the SC's school. It was a two hour round trip from ours that my husband expected me to do three days per week. Two wailing babies in the back of the car, breast milk squirting everywhere...I couldn't tend to them because I was, well, driving! I started to wobble a bit more. I told my husband I was doing too much. I felt so over worked but he brushed it all under the carpet. Said how happy I made him etc. It went on like this for four years. (Despite my stress-melt downs along the way.) I cried constantly, telling him I wasn't coping. But he just kind of buried his head in the sand. I also asked him to seek help for his troubled son but he refused because he didn't want to have him labelled in any way. I get that but I felt we were all really struggling with his behaviour without any support. Last year I ended up having a nervous breakdown. All the stress, plus having to deal with his son who was still acting out (He has since been diagnosed with a personality disorder) I know personality disorders can vary so much from person to person and they all manifest in different ways but he can be nice one day/vile and temperamental the next. Daily life is tense, you walk on eggshells. He controls our day to day life in many ways too because he has OCD.

Fast forward a year and I am heading towards another meltdown. I am feeling so detached from my OH. I think I am holding grudges from the past. There has been a recent episode where his son really frightened my young daughter and that kind of served as the straw that broke he camels back. His son then fabricated a story in order to get himself out of trouble and my OH felt torn in who to believe. I can understand in a way but not being fully believed by him really hurt, especially as his son has a history of telling lies. I suddenly felt as though I wanted out. I told my OH I was leaving but he has managed to persuade me to go to marriage counselling. And family therapy. He's working hard to keep us together but I just don't know if I can come back to feeling connected again. It's really sad. I want it to work out but not sure if it will! Has any body else ever had marriage counselling or family therapy? What is it like?

hellsbellsmelons Mon 04-Jul-16 15:16:11

Well, fuck that then.
So he just wanted you as a new 'mum' to his kids and as his little servant.
And you did it!!
Just get out and leave him to his other kids and you do your thing and get your horse back.
He'll have to have the kids some of the time along with his and you will have time to visit your beloved horse!!!
Really.... what are you going to achieve in counselling?
He needs to understand you are not his and his kids slave, chauffeur etc...
Stop doing it all, right now.
Get yourself and plan to get back to work and get away.
This sounds like my idea of pure feckin' hell.

4seasons Mon 04-Jul-16 15:27:55

I feel exhausted just reading about your life. Your DH may be a good father and even a good person but he is not a good husband. I'm not surprised he is keen to go for marriage counselling ... he has so much to lose .... a mother for all of his children , housekeeper , cook and all around general dogsbody and slave. This relationship will wear you out , age you , affect your mental and physical health.... need I say more ? What do you get out of it compared to your partner ? If he has such high standards regarding the state of the house or the quality of meals what is he doing about it ? No wonder you don't want sex with him any more .... neither would I !
If you really think he's a lovely man ( not sure why ?! ) and you love / fancy him why not split up and see each other without all the drudgery you currently have ? You would soon find out if it was you he wanted or just a domestic slave.
I also feel so sorry for you and angry on your behalf regarding your beloved horse. Your "D" H decided basically that your feelings / needs didn't matter because they got in the way of what he needed you to do for him.
I have never said this before but LTB before it is too late. Don't know how old you are but remember life is short. Don't waste it on this selfish bastard.

HandyWoman Mon 04-Jul-16 15:38:23

As I said, the devil is in the detail.

He expects you to be completely be subsumed to family life and his own priorities. You yourself thought it was worth it but now you realise that nothing is worth being treated like a second (actually third) class citizen in your own home. You have become Cinderella. And it has cost you your mental health. Do you really love him? This has gone too far. I am not sure he really loves you in the way you deserve to be loved - as a person.

Have a good think about what it is you both want from couples' counselling. Because if what he wants is a way to get you to stop whinging and keep on serving him then that is a complete waste of time.

I think you'd be much better off in therapy on your own, unpicking what has led to you accepting this over the years.

Love is not enough.

sootysweep Mon 04-Jul-16 17:02:32

Thank you everyone for your replies. I am thinking hard. It makes him come across badly but he is also a sweet, kind sort of man too. He lives and breathes for his family unit. It's just that I think he has spent so much energy on keeping the unit going, by including his sons, that my personal needs have been neglected. He is a wonderful father. But I agree, written down on paper, it looks bad. Just to note that he does all of the admin in the house, which is loads. We have so many policies and things, insurances, bills, sorts holidays etc and he does do all that. He is sort of he brains of the operation. His job is also very full on. He works really long hours and so he does work hard too. He's not a lazy man at all. I just think, neglectful of my needs. He says I hold grudges. I suppose I do but only over major things that have really upset me and I haven't felt heard

scallopsrgreat Mon 04-Jul-16 17:27:19

" He is sort of he brains of the operation." No really he isn't. Please don't do yourself down. He is the controller of the situation. That is very different.

I feel so angry on your behalf. Especially those journeys he was expecting you to do. That is unacceptable. He is taking the piss. No wonder you are feeling resentful. The fact he is refusing to acknowledge or validate your feelings or do anything to change the situation is why you are "holding grudges". If there was some movement from his quarter and he tried to address your unhappiness then you wouldn't need to hold a grudge. I'm not sure I would ever be able to forgive someone who so blatantly ignored my needs and my children's needs (your babies were suffering too).

What are you getting out of this relationship? How long do you want it to continue like this? What needs to change? Even if he did a miracle change could you ever forgive him? I think these are the questions you need to ask yourself.

HandyWoman Mon 04-Jul-16 17:44:06

Your mental health, your feelings, the things you hold dear - these are things he has no regard for.

It doesn't really matter how many hours a week he works or what sort of father he is.

Love in these circumstances seems pretty fruitless.

Pearlman Mon 04-Jul-16 17:48:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thefourgp Mon 04-Jul-16 18:21:29

How did his son really frighten your daughter? Does she feel safe and protected in her home? I find it worrying that he would enable his son's bad behaviour by doubting your daughter's version of events. I agree with others that he's not a good husband. Do you feel there have been any benefits in going to the counselling? Do you prefer it when he's not at home? Do you constantly fantasise about single life? Would you want to repeat the last two years of your life with him over and over until you die?

MatildaTheCat Mon 04-Jul-16 18:23:05

Well, you ending this spells absolute disaster for him so it will be interesting just how much he engages with the counselling and what he does about it.

I suggest you print off that second post and read it out or give it the counsellor to see. It sums up where you are coming from very well.

Does he do things with the DC and do you get any time to yourself? The whole thing sounds utterly exhausting.

Cabrinha Mon 04-Jul-16 19:09:16

He dies not live for your family unit, if you're the one doing all the work.
You need to drop a few scales from your eyes!

SandyY2K Mon 04-Jul-16 19:35:50

*he just wanted you as a new 'mum' to his kids and as his little servant.
And you did it!!*

I fully agree with this. ^

How did he manage his time with his kids before you came along? I wonder if this is part of the reasons he's not with his ex. You came on board like a nanny immediately.

A seperated parent should be able to manage their kids without their new partner or spouse.

inlectorecumbit Mon 04-Jul-16 19:53:08

He is sort of he brains of the operation.
you certainly got that right OP, he is very clever and has got you for a complete mug.
Ditch the DH and regain your horse-l think you would be much happier with that option

sootysweep Mon 04-Jul-16 20:53:41

Oh dear God. I've just told him that I think I've fallen out of love with him. He's got his head in his hands, not talking. I'm not sure how I feel anymore. I care for him at least. I will write much more later tonight, answering some of your questions. But for now I am downstairs making us a cup of tea and then must go upstairs and face the words that have just left my mouth. They just tumbled out. I feel sad

sootysweep Mon 04-Jul-16 22:11:40

Long post alert. Sorry! I feel terrible. I've come in to my children's bedroom to give him some space. He's gutted. I feel bad. I've just told him really calmly, from the beginning, what I feel went wrong. That I bent over backwards to accommodate his needs and make him happy again and again and again, to the detriment of my own happiness and mental health at times. Seriously. And that it has always been one way. In the past I've had explosions where I melt down and sob and ramble on always about the same issues (which is why he says I hold grudges) but this time I was really calm. In the past he has been unable to see my viewpoint. He always said things like well I just went along with it and I should have made it more plain for him to see; that I sent mixed messages. Sorry but that's rubbish and he is in some sort of denial. Because if someone is sobbing their heart out over and over again about something or complaining that they are stressed out beyond belief regularly over a four year period, that should be enough for him to think 'hang on..:my wife is struggling here.' And actually do something about it! He just chose to ignore my needs because it was easier for him. I've called him utterly selfish tonight and negligent and he is repeating those words back to himself. He says he can see it in black and white and keeps saying that he is a bad person. It feels weird to hear him say that. It feels horrible. He isn't a bad person. He has just even selfish for the duration of our relationship.

Even if he was to remedy things, I'm not sure if I can overcome them because of so much. His son drains me totally. I'm exhausted by everything. As much as these things needed saying to him, I feel sad to have upset him so much. However, I feel a bit numb too. I'm not crying. I feel as though I might have turned in to a cold person to him, I'm acting a bit like a stone on the surface. 

Now to answer some of the questions...I stepped in to the role of 'mum' and general maid and chauffeur simply because he made it clear how much he loved his children and wanted to keep them half for half of the week. It's so sad they had to move to a separate county though. His job wouldn't allow for that without support from me. That if I could help facilitate that, it would make him the happiest man alive. That sort of thing. I was blown away by his family orientation. My own father never acknowledged me and left my mother in pregnancy so I thought it could only be a good thing that he was such a devoted father. 

I do get some things out of the relationship. I'm financially provided for. I have enough clothes, bits of make up -enough to buy no.7 face cream! (at £22.50 a pot!) and all four children want for nothing. I did not grow up with this financial security. My Mum was a single parent and although we scrimped and saved for our horse, it left us with little else. Basically, our cupboards were bare. I also get companionship from the marriage...someone to sit next to on the sofa, watch a film with now and again. Someone to say hello to in the evening. Another adult face. It counts doesn't it. Loneliness is hard. I'm scared of growing old alone if this marriage ends.

Can I forgive him? I'm not sure. Possibly in time. He has talked about getting my horse back in the future, when finances settle down a bit and when the youngest starts school in a couple of years. There is potential. However I do feel as though I missed out on being a mummy to my babies (for four years!) because I was always SO busy in the house or else on long haul trips and I'll never get that time back again. In fairness a lot of my time went on caring for my own mother up until her death last year so it wasn't all down to fulfilling his needs. But he didn't help matters or try and alleviate my work load in other areas. In fact, the opposite. It was crazy how much I had to do looking back. I'm only just coming out of the other side. Also, his son is difficult. I'm mentally drained and just not sure if I'm up for the challenge anymore.

Do I prefer it when he's not at home? No. I miss him and don't like being alone overall. He goes away to conferences a few times a year and the first couple of days are a novelty - love slobbing it out by eating beans on toast and watching my soaps when the little ones go to bed but after a couple of days, I start feeling lonely. I'm pathetic aren't I. 

Do I fantasise about single life? Yes , only very recently. And I found myself attracted to someone a few months ago. That served as a red flag to me. Because I've never looked in anyone's direction until recently. I think I just came out of a fog. But I think the single life may be less of a fantasy and more of my brain trying to prepare myself for what may be ahead.

Does he do anything with the children? I would say I give 95% of the care but I am SAHM and I'm ok with that. He reads to them a couple of times a week, does Lego with them sometimes on the weekends. He's a good father. There is no denying that at all.

Do I get time to myself? Umm...not really no. I stay up late in my children's bedroom after he goes to bed, FB, that sort of thing. That's my downtime. His son has OCD and rules the TV for half the week so I take myself off to bed. Certainly no me time in the daytimes or anything. Weekends are variable. I rarely get to meet up with friends 'child-free' because of my OH's long and inflexible working hours. But I think that's probably the same for lots of people out there. Life is busy isn't it. Down time is precious and hard to come by. But it does happen now and again. 

Sorry I've rambled on so much. I just wanted to answer some of people's questions. It also helps to clarify things in my own head. I just don't know what to do for the best. I'm shocked that I told him I've fallen out of love with him. It hasn't sunk in. Maybe I have. Why would I say it otherwise? 

HandyWoman Mon 04-Jul-16 23:09:49

You have fallen out of love. And it isn't hard to see how it happened. I think you feel calm because you reached your limit, emotionally, it's like being in the eye of a storm. I remember being the same when kicked my ExH out (for very similar reasons, fundamentally).

There is only so much you can take. I'm glad you allowed those words to come out. Keep speaking your truth, OP, let it out. your needs are every bit as important as his.

sootysweep Mon 04-Jul-16 23:30:31

Thank you Handy Woman. It's interesting to hear it described in that way. It's really feels like the eye in the storm.

Just out of interest, what do people think? Is it salvageable? Do people fall in and out of love in a marriage? Can you get it back with the help of a marriage counsellor? I'm not really sure what we're going to get out of it. It sort of dredges up emotions and will make me feel resentful but I know these emotions need addressing though. Perhaps she can give me techniques to learn forgiveness and how to move forward. But then is the issue of my SS and that being another hurdle. My brain hurts. My OH is not violent or abusive. He would always be faithful (I think! One never knows!) Family is everything to him. I could do a lot worse. He is the father of my children and I keep remembering my vows "for better or worse." There are some real maniacs out there (my Mum suffered a string of them unfortunately until she embraced the single life in her later years) I'm scared and daunted by the single life, losing our home, not being able to make ends meet financially. I wish my Mum could give me a sign from the heavens to guide me forward

TheSilveryPussycat Tue 05-Jul-16 00:08:17

This sounds unbearable.

"for better, for worse"? Not if the "worse" is caused by him, IMHO

TheSilveryPussycat Tue 05-Jul-16 00:10:18

Btw I did the sobbing thing in my marriage, Ex seemed to think if someone said something while they were crying, it didn't count sad

hellsbellsmelons Tue 05-Jul-16 09:05:28

Well done OP.
You told him how it is and that is exactly what you needed to do.
Is it salvageable?
Who knows right now.
It really depends on his ACTIONS!!
Not his words or promises, his ACTIONS.

You've lost the love and for very very good and very many reasons.
Basically, him taking the piss out of you all these years.
It's hardly surprising.
So what has he said will happen next?
What will HE do to alleviate some of your stress?
You need HIM to come up with a solution.
Don't be feeding him resolutions. He needs to come up with them.

For now, I'd sit back and see what he does about all of this.
He will no doubt just feel sorry for himself.
Cry a bit to get your sympathy.
Manipulate you and the situation so YOU feel guilty when you are the one who needs consoling.

Whilst waiting get some information together.
See how you would manage without him.
What benefits you would be entitled to.
What are his assets?
Savings, pension, houses, etc.....
How much maintenance he would pay.
I think you'll find you would cope very well.

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