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Do you ever want to leave but worry about the things you'd be giving up?

(14 Posts)
SadieDunhill Mon 11-Jul-16 11:28:20

I'm aware this will make me sound shallow. We've been together for 20 years, no children, one dog, one cat.

I'm pretty sure I don't love him anymore. He's so gloomy and negative and fussy and moody and snappy. God, so fussy and gloomy - they're the worse things.

And it's got so much worse the older he gets. His Dad is appalling: moody, childish, never relaxes, never spends time with my MIL, always finding jobs to do on the house. He will go weeks not talking to my MIL and she never has a clue why, he just goes in random moods. My husband isn't that bad, nowhere near, but I can see traces of his Dad in his behaviour. What if we retire and my life ends up like that?

We both currently still work full time, but will retire in about ten years. The thought of almost 24/7 with this gloomy, negative, fussy man, getting worse as he gets older, is making me dread retirement. We have such a good life as well - I just don't understand how he can be so negative and gloomy and so sodding ungrateful for his lovely life.

Obviously he does have a good side and many good points or I wouldn't have stayed with him so long.

I love being with him on holidays, days out, evenings out, dog walks. The nice stuff, away from real life - he's great, I love his company then. He's relaxed, nice, always in a good mood.

I can't see myself being with him for the rest of my life. I'm not the least bit bothered about living on my own or never being in another relationship again.

But what does bother me is having no one to do things with. I don't have many friends. Actually, I only have one very good close friend - she's married with children though, so nights out with her are few and far between - maybe one every few months.

There is no one I could go on holiday with. I love the holidays my husband and I have. But they are very much 'couply' holidays and I can't see me going solo without feeling incredibly self conscious and lonely. And I'm too old for these social-type singles holidays. I like to tour, see sites, or lounge around reading, and have early nights. The thought of making an effort with strangers, making conversation and so on, on these solo-type holidays doesn't appeal to me. By the same token, the thought of sitting on my own in a restaurant on holiday surrounded by couples makes me want to cry with loneliness.

There is no one I could go to the cinema with. Or for meals with. Husband and I go for meals out all the time.

I'd really really miss all these things. And I know it's really shallow of me and they're not reasons to stay with someone I'm not in love with anymore.

Has anyone else managed to replace any of these things? Someone who hasn't necessarily met anyone else, stayed single, hasn't got many friends?

Dickcheese Mon 11-Jul-16 11:34:17

Sorry you're feeling like this. My husband and I came very close to breaking up a few months ago and actually, going travelling on my own was what I thought would be amazing. Places like Thailand are great for solo travellers, so you wouldn't look weird and other people are there on their own so you could make friends or at the very least - you're not the only one alone.

You might also be surprised that your friend would invite you over, spend more time going out with you if you were single. As it stands, you're both busy with your lives and your partners come first - maybe if she knew you were single and in need of company she would be able to prioritise you more.

You have a dog - maybe that's a way to get out and meet people, or a different hobby. I agree, retirement with someone who is miserable would not be great. My dad ignores my mum a lot of the time so she spends a lot of time visiting her children to get away from it.

ravenmum Mon 11-Jul-16 11:40:31

Since splitting up with my ex I have made a whole lot of new friends. Started some hobbies I would never have thought of before. Had treatment for anxiety that had hounded me all my life and found the energy to try out some of these social things after all. Gone to the cinema on my own and discovered that is actually rather good. Started enjoying being me, not half of a couple. Realised I should probably have done that even when together with ex. Had some dinner dates, and now found someone else that I do, after all, want to spend more time with, but with whom I still feel independent and me.

eloelo Mon 11-Jul-16 11:44:54

I read somewhere on a thread the idea of giving each other a notice period. A time where you can maybe try sex therapy instead of swaps or couple counselling.
If it fails cut your losses.
You have already lost the emotional & physical connection. How would going off with someone else help?

eloelo Mon 11-Jul-16 11:48:00

sorry posted in the wrong thread. So now don't want to read and run.
There is still some love it seems, but also a lot of complaints.
How about a list of positive and negative? I know it seems old fashioned but can maybe help you figure out where you really are.

toadgirl Mon 11-Jul-16 11:54:57

It's not at all shallow to say you'd miss things about your partner if you split. Of course you would. Things are rarely that black-and-white and these decisions are always difficult.

It may help if you really try to get to the bottom of why your partner is so different in the day-to-day from how he is on holidays/days out/evenings out. Some men are dreadful on holidays. Yours isn't, but he isn't so good in normal day-to-day life. Could he just find it difficult to relax at home with everyday worries and finds it easier on holidays?

You say you see traits of his father in him. Could it just be a bad habit that he's picked up from a parent? Thinking he needs to fuss and worry and grumble to keep things rolling at home (however mistaken he is in that)?

Can you give some examples of exactly the kind of things that he is gloomy about? What does he say? Is he despairing of the state of the world or is it real trivia that gets him down?

You sound a bit dissatisfied with the rest of your life in terms of lack of friends, etc. Maybe if you beefed that side of your life up a bit, you could better ignore your partner's grumbling and enjoy the good bits you have with him, which you seem very happy to have and keep hold of.

Try increase your friendship circle and a couple of hobbies just for you that you attend without your husband. You will be less dependent on him for your social life.

That way, if you split up, you'll be much more confident about life without him. Or, if you stay, it will minimise the impact he has on you, as you still have a life of your own going on. If he's in the grumps, pop out to see a new friend/pursue your new hobby and tell him to arrange a fun day out for you both while you're out grin

ravenmum Mon 11-Jul-16 12:04:30

Reading toadgirl's comment I realise I should add that in my case I had no choice but to split up - but before that I sometimes felt like you do now. Just fantasising about splitting up, but thinking it would be awful. Now I realise I shouldn't have seen "stay and put up with it" and "leave and suffer" as the only two options. I also had the option to change things about my marriage and about my life. But I didn't want to try out those options as I was too afraid they might lead to us splitting up. Splitting up was a big bogeyman for me, which actually stopped me trying to change things: weirdly, if I had been more open to splitting up, I would also have found the courage to work on my marriage. As it turned out, splitting up has improved things, so I shouldn't have been so afraid of change. Hope that makes sense!

mannose Mon 11-Jul-16 12:06:55

Firstly sorry you are feeling this way its horrible, the uncertainty of your future really hurts. Can you take him out on a nice walk and tell him how u feel as it sounds like that there is lots u have which worth saving. As for meeting new people which you can start doing now things like meet up or book groups etc. Explore for holidays on your own looks good. Not tried the explore yet myself but plan too.

mannose Mon 11-Jul-16 12:10:28

Maybe also your dh needs to get out more on his own too, has he got many male friends who he can have a chat to?

toadgirl Mon 11-Jul-16 12:13:11

Loved your comment, ravenmum!

I know exactly what you mean. In past relationships, I've painted myself into a corner with the stay/go propositions. It's true, when I give myself "permission" to split (even just mentally) I suddenly feel this sense of happiness and freedom about staying and changing stuff. It's like I've reminded myself that I have more control over my life than I was giving myself credit for.

OP, have you read the following book?

Excerpts from “Too Good to leave, Too Bad to stay” by Mira Kirshenbaum

1. Thinking about that time when things between you and your partner were at their best. Looking back, would you now say that things were really very good between you then?

2. Has there been more that one incident of physical violence in your relationship?

3. Have you already made a concrete commitment to pursue a course of action or lifestyle that definitely excludes your partner?

4. If God or some omniscient being said it was okay to leave, would you feel tremendously relieved and have a strong sense that finally you could end your relationship?

5. In spite of your problems, do you and your partner have even one positively pleasurable activity or interest (besides children) that you currently share and look forward to sharing in the future, something you do together that you both like and that gives both of you a feeling of closeness for awhile?

6. Would you say that to you, your partner is basically nice, reasonable intelligent, not too neurotic, okay to look at, and most of the time smells alright?

7. Does you partner bombard you with difficulties when you try to get even the littlest thing you want; and is it your experience that almost any need you have gets obliterated; and if you ever do get what you want, is getting it such and ordeal that you don’t feel it was worth the effort?

8. Does it seem to you that your partner generally and consistently blocks your attempts to bring up topics or raise questions, particularly about things you care about?

9. Have you got to the point, when your partner says something, that you usually feel it’s more likely that he’s lying than that he’s telling the truth?

10. In spite of admirable qualities, and stepping back from any temporary anger or disappointment, do you genuinely like your partner, and does your partner seem to like you?

11. Do you feel willing to give your partner more than you’re giving already, and are you willing to do this the way things are between you now, without any expectation of being paid back?

12. Do both you and your partner want to touch each other and look forward to touching each other and make efforts to touch each other?

13. Do you feel a unique sexual attraction to your partner?

14. Does your partner neither see nor admit things you’ve tried to tell him/her to acknowledge that make your relationship too bad to stay in?

15. Is there something your partner does that makes your relationship too bad to stay in and that s/he acknowledges but that, for all intents and purposes, s/he’s unwilling to do anything about?

16. This problem your partner has that makes you want to leave; have you tried to let it go, ignore it, stop letting it bother you? And were you successful?

17. As you think about your partner’s problem that makes your relationship too bad to stay in, does s/he acknowledge it and is s/he willing to do something about it and is s/he able to change ?

18. Has your partner violated what for you is a bottom line?

* If my partner did……………………………………………………………………………..

…then I’d feel I’d have to leave the relationship

* If my partner didn’t do……………………………………………………………………

…then I’d feel I’d have to leave the relationship

* If these things were true about my partner…………………………………

…then I’d feel I’d have to leave the relationship

20. Is there a clearly formulated, passionately held difference between you that has to do with the shape and texture and quality of your life as you actually experience it?

21. In spite of all the ways you’re different, would you say that deep down or in some respect that’s important to you, your partner is someone just like you in a way you feel good about?


* Things I look forward to in my new life when I think about leaving

* Things I’m afraid of in my new life that make me think about staying.

For each item on the list ask:

* Is this true?

* Is this likely?


* What else is possible?

* What’s most likely?

22. With your new, more complete, more realistic set of information about what it would be like for you if you left, have you discovered new, more probable realities that now make leaving seem impossible, difficult or unpleasant?

23. With your new, more complete, more realistic set of information about what it would be like for you if you left, have you discovered new, more probable realities that now make leaving seem easier, more attractive and make staying no longer desirable?

24. Does your partner do such a good job of conveying the idea that you’re a nut or a jerk or a loser or an idiot about parts of yourself that are important to you that you’ve started to really become demonstrably convinced of it yourself?

25. As you think about your partner’s disrespect, is it clear to you that you do everything possible to limit your contact with your partner, except for times where you absolutely must interact?

26. Do you feel that your partner, overall and more often than not, shows concrete support for and genuine interest in the things you’re trying to do that are important to you?

27. Whatever was done that caused hurt and betrayal, do you have a sense that the pain and damage has lessened with time?

28. Is there a demonstrated capacity and mechanism for genuine forgiveness in your relationship?

29. Is it likely that, if you have a reasonable need, you and your partner will be able to work out a way for you to get it met without too painful a struggle?

30. Is there some particular need that’s so important to you that if you don’t get it met, looking back you’ll say your life wasn’t satisfying, and are you starting to get discouraged about ever having it met?

31. Given the way your partner acts, does it feel as though in getting close to you what he’s most interested in is subjecting you to his anger and criticism?

32. When the subject of intimacy comes up between you and your partner, is there generally a battle over what intimacy is and how to get it?

33. Does your relationship support your having fun together?

34. Do you currently share goals and dreams for your life together?

35. If all the problems in your relationship were magically solved today, would you still feel ambivalent about whether to stay or leave?

SadieDunhill Mon 11-Jul-16 13:30:27

Thank you so much for all your replies, and thank you also for the book recommendation. There is some thought provoking stuff there.

In answer to some questions: yes, definitely, he finds it difficult to relax at home with everyday life and yes he does finds it easier on holidays. However, we don't have a stressful life in any way, shape or form. We both have good, enjoyable jobs. We have lots of time off, work good hours, no overtime or extra hours; we are both healthy; we are financially comfortable, we go for nice meals, go on nice holidays, have a nice house and garden. There is nothing tangible whatsoever for him to be stressed about, but he still manages to worry about the most inconsequential irrelevant things. It is mainly possessions he worries about and fusses over; never people or emotions. It is the end of the world if a T-shirt gets a stain on it, even if it can be washed out, or if God forbid something gets scratched like a piece of furniture. He has ruined meals out by fussing over a spilled bit of food on an item of clothing. He has leapt up like a gazelle in the middle of chatting to me when he thought he saw a scratch on the wallpaper. He couldn't see it up close, so he got a torch to try and see the imagined damage. He inspects a lot of things with a torch.

Gloomy/negative: everything, EVERYTHING, is "dead annoying". People, colleagues, weather, drivers, TV, news, everything. I hear " that's dead annoying " at least once a day, minimum.

He frowns all the time. He tuts so much I'm amazed he doesn't have a hole in his tongue. If he's doing a job round the house and I'm not doing anything, he will sigh louder and louder, and more and more frequently.

I've tried talking to him countless times and we never get anywhere. E.g., he is not negative; he's a realist. He is not fussy; he just likes to keep things nice as we've worked hard for them. He is not gloomy; it's not realistic to exist to be cheerful all the time. Etc. Etc. He always makes me feel like I'm being unreasonable.

Maybe the suggestion of distancing myself from him and making more friends and getting some hobbies is the best approach for now. Maybe if he wasn't such a large part of my life, I wouldn't find him as depressing to be around.

toadgirl Mon 11-Jul-16 13:41:28

This quiz may also help with sorting things through in your mind:-

This test contains many of the same questions lawyers ask clients in order to evaluate a divorce case. Of course, a thorough legal analysis goes well beyond the scope of “Rate Your Mate Divorce Quiz.” This quiz is nothing more than a tool you can use to ask yourself some important questions about your relationship, and take some time to really consider your answers. You may feel completely secure in your marriage, regardless of this quiz, or it may help you identify some areas that need to be addressed.

ellie264 Mon 11-Jul-16 13:47:56

It sounds like you have fallen out of love with him, and it would not be fair to you or him to try and continue the relationship forever. I know it is scary when you have been with someone for so long, but you are lucky that you have the financial means to lead a good lifestyle as a single lady. You will gradually find more friends and hobbies to fill your time. Fitness classes can help you meet new people, and will also give you extra confidence.

ravenmum Mon 11-Jul-16 14:14:41

He inspects a lot of things with a torch.
I feel your pain.

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