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.
Advice on leaving your wife (Mr popular is here!)(529 Posts)
I know this will not make me popular but I have a very odd request, which is for advice on how someone in a relationship would prefer it to end. My DW and I have been on a rocky road for at least 2 years. We have had counselling but that made things worse as we began to realise we wanted different things. But we do have a very strong bond and we're pretty good parents to one DD so we've stuck things out. In between bad times we have had great times too as we've both made an effort to make things work, but now I feel we're at another crossroads. Our DD is leaving school. To be clear, she is my step-D and I have been a good step dad. The problem is my DW is older than me (48) and although this wasn't an issue 10 years ago it sadly is now. She talks about retirement, menopause, and things that I didn't expect to have to deal with for many years. I've come to think that actually I may want kids of my own, I'm not that old, my peers are still getting married and starting families and I seem to have aged prematurely. I feel like I should be thinking about kids and the future (my career is still growing) but my life is with someone who is planning retirement and slowing down at work. On top of that she has been very critical of me of late: too much work, not enough time at home, etc. Once a week (mid week) I go to the pub and stay untill about 10. I think that is reasonable but she is lonely and wishes I took her out more. But when we do go out I really don't think we have that much in common any more (it used to be DD that drew us together) and it pains me, as she is dear to me. Basically I think I love her but not in love with her. We have spoken about splitting up before but we've decided to 1) give it another go and 2) we shouldn't do that while DD is doing gcses. I want to go but I don't know if that is just an escape route instead on knuckling down, or if I just need to put more effort in, as she would probably say. Also, I wonder if I am going through my own kind of mid-life blip as I keep thinking about 30 something women and having kids etc... which was never on my radar 5 years ago. I'm confused. I need a slap in the face and some thought provoking comments.
People do change and that's okay.
You must know someone will say - I'll do it - you knew about the age gap but ultimately if you don't love her let her go.
How old are you?
If the relationship has run its course, then maybe it is time to break up. You are clearly at different points in your life. I'd remind her though that it's likely she won't be able to retire until her mid 60s, so she's got a hell of a wait!
Me and my dh have been together 12 years. 1 non bio young adult and 2 d d between us.
At the beginning of the summer after probably a good 12-18 months of neither of us being really happy and drifting apart my dh moved out of the family home.
I can say it was the hardest time of my life as all the emotions run their path. Anger frustration love resentment etc etc however we chose to have a break as things were at a stalemate and we were both unhappy.
I'm pleased to say we are now back under the same roof and things are way better than they were before but it didn't come easy. We both seperatly evaluated our life's both together and apart and once the initial awkwardness died down we started to talk. That scary thing that we all often in long term relationships stop doing.
We talked and talked and were very honest with each other without the anger and frustration. What worked was that if things got a bit tense during this period we had separate homes to retreat to and think about things. And it really worked !
Both of us agreed we had to take the kids out of the equation whilst we decided what to do as a parental guilt that their life could change forever can really detract from why you are feeling like you are.
The children's lives would change if separation was the only answer yes however it wouldn't be ruined,just different.
Once you strip back to the basics it all becomes much clearer and the decision you make together as it should be will be easier to fathom.
Your wife may well have things she's come to accept but isn't happy about just like you are however you may not know that as you haven't talked.
My dh was quite surprised at some of the things I was deeply unhappy with and had never considered they would have been an issue for me and equally I was the same with some things he was unhappy about.
We both knew that whatever the outcome we would both cope/manage together or apart but we chose the together option.
Not saying it works for everyone but having a break to re evaluate things was the best thing we could have done.
My man always used to say marriage is no walk over and you both have to work at it and at times it will feel doomed but as long as you keep talking and are honest if things can be resolved then that's what you need to do
Good luck op
And to the poster saying you knew the age difference sorry but that's nothing to do with it. My mums in her late 60s and still working full time and loving life. Not everyone feels their age so to me it's not relevant x
No one can tell you a way to end a marriage that doesn't cause pain. I don't think that exists.
Like in any other situation; be honest and be kind. And end your marriage before you start chasing younger women to have babies with.
That being said, however old you happen to be, I'm confused by you not having previously thought through the fact that a woman of 48 will be experiencing menopause symptoms and planning towards retirement. It makes you look either a bit dim, or rather cruel, so I wouldn't tell her those reasons if you want to maintain a good parenting relationship for your step-DD.
So basically you chose to get into a relationship with an older woman, and now she's aged you want to trade her in for a younger model?
How old are you? Unless there's a massive age gap, I suspect you have left it too late to start a family!
Planning for retirement means different things, to different people.
I am 46 and DH is 44. We do talk about retirement, but not in a pipe and slippers sense, more about buying a villa abroad and spending months there, and also exploring the Far East and touring around USA in a camper van etc. It's about doing stuff we couldn't do, when the kids were little.
Mr popular? I don't get it
I think he means he expects to be thoroughly flamed.
You clearly didn't think her being older would be an issue, now it is but I don't think you need to tell her that. You've mentally checked out so I think you need to leave. Just focus on the nothing in common/different paths rhetoric. I would not want to be married to someone thinking about having babies when I'm thinking about retirement.
Look I think you may know you won't get a very welcome reception from some on here for effectively 'trading her in for a younger model' but at the same time you can't stay with someone who doesn't make you happy
It sounds like you have actually attempted to fix this before realising it can't be fixed with counselling, and I think for many couples (and women esp) when children begin to leave home it marks a very different chapter of your life. She could well be feeling very sad about DD leaving and unsure of her place in the world. If you are entirely sure you cannot stay with her and learn to enjoy the new freedom you will have, then leave.
But to start a new family again doesn't mean you won't end up with a whole new host of other problems of different kinds, especially with little children and how this can change the dynamic of even the strongest relationship.
Is the grass really greener? Who knows. You could have those things but then you may not find them. You could stay and enjoy the freedom that happens when kids leave. You could see if support helps your DW, as you pulling away too might be contributing to this. Overall you need to be honest with yourself too
I came back to post that I think you should take out of the equation the whole thing about younger women. This is about not staying in a marriage that isn't working, not trying to find something new to enjoy. That is the biggest mistake you can make is leaving for the idea of someone better. It should be about your lives being overall happier
Dear OP. Be very, very, VERY careful what you wish for.
I feel it's natural to start questioning what you want when you're unhappy with how things are. Don't change it all at once - often people once they are freed from a relationship that has run its course end up remarried again very quickly.
Certainly do become single but take some time once you're there to be single for a while and work out what you want.
Be honest and kind if you are going to end it OP. Answer any questions she may have and accept that the one who leaves the relationship (even if its the best thing to do for both parties) will always be the 'bad guy'.
Blaming the age gap itself won't help, but the factors around it may do. If you want different things and the relationship had died and you have tried all you can then there is not much more to say.
But as others have said OP, beware the grass isn't always greener. Trust me.
You need to tell us how old you are.
Women DO go through the menopause, it's a bit shit of you to say you want out because your DW is going through this - all women go through it at some point, some of them even in their 30s.
However, although we all need to plan for retirement (I began my planning and saving when I was 23) it doesn't mean she'll get to retire before 67 (State Pension age) unless she's got a private pension and has saved a lot. She might just be planning to save a bit more, not intending to actually retire at 50! Talk to her.
Hi Jamie000, can I ask is there someone else in your life?in other words are you seeing anyone else?
Planning retirement at 48 ... that is the dream Good for her.
Hope you're kind to her when you do trade her in for the younger model
If you now want something different then you need to talk to your DW.
It really depends how old you are though?
Have you had your head turned?
You say you love her but not in love with her.
That is the cheaters script so please don't use that on her.
She'll know you are or are at least planning to cheat.
She needs to know you both want different things in life.
You believe the relationship has run it's course and want to separate amicably.
That's all you can really do.
What's the house situation?
What would you want from the assets?
To be fair to OP, I don't think it is just an age gap issue. I am older than his wife and I am not planning my retirement or winding down - I am in my prime! My career has just got going again now the children are older and I have miles to go before I sleep.
The wife sounds 'old at heart'. I have seen this, more often with men - they start to act like an old man in their 40s/50s, but other men their age are running marathons and embracing life.
It sounds like you have grown apart and want different things. I would take the age difference out of the equation, as it is not age itself that is the issue, but attitude and expectations. It is not easy, but far more honourable to end it now than have an exit affair.
Menopause typically happens at about 50, so I don't understand your not foreseeing that, or equating it with retirement, which typically happens at 65+.
Many 30-somethings are not able to conceive, some go through premature menopause by 40. You could find yourself out of the frying pan into the fire, in terms of family aspirations, fulfillment, contentedness.
So, it is essential to focus on this relationship, what it would take to make it work, how it could work, or not, separately from any dreams of another life.
Planning retirement at 48 ... that is the dream
That isn't my dream and it isn't the OPs. They plainly have different dreams, which often becomes apparent when children leave the nest.
Thanks for the thought provoking comments. In answer to a few points:
@ Husklover1 I’m 39
@DoltTooJulia I said ‘Mr Popular’ because I thought I’d get a good castigating from all the female posters for appearing to be callous (and I’m not sure that would be undeserved either, I just wanted some opinions)
@ofudginghell thank you
@Somerville and others : to explain, when we got together I was about 27 and her about 38 and youthful, love blinded any thoughts of ‘but what will happen in 14 years’ time’
@Fruitcider It’s obviously not that simple, but if you want to be crude, then yes
@everyone Yes I do fear the grass is greener thing. But then just the fact that I feel like this and am calculating that the grass my not be greener makes me think that even if its not greener and I am sad, on my own, and regretful, at least I won't be leading a lie.
@a few posters I missed:
yes my head has been turned but I haven't done anything about it, but it 's a constant distraction in my head.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.