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.
My marriage, so confused. Help!(54 Posts)
First post, a bit nervous so please be kind!
Backstory - DH and I married 9 years. Two DDs (6 and 8) and a DSD (14) from his previous.
We have absolutely nothing in common and we got married pretty much because I got pregnant, although we felt pretty excited about it at the time. I've always been very fond of him and he's good to us, supportive, earns a decent wage, very loyal etc. Family, friends etc. think he's great.
To his faults - he can be very lazy, rarely initiates any romance or makes any gestures. I used to do these things often but I gave up when they weren't reciprocated or really appreiated. He doesn't notice when I make an effort with my appearance, rather making judgemental comments about what I'm wearing. He has no social life and I feel guilty every time I go out without him. I've tried to involve him but he either says no or turns up and sits there looking and acting uncomfortable.
Fast forward to about a month ago when it hit me like a bolt from the blue - I desperately want to be free of this marriage. It's a friendship at it's best. We barely have sex, it has always been dull and I've tried to spice it up but he says he's too shy. He's absolutely silent during, which has always upset me as it feels so clinical and so far from passionate.
Another important fact (one of which I'm not at all proud), I cheated on him about a year ago at a party. We didn't DTD but a lot of kissing and touching. Fortunately I came to my senses and went home alone (DH was away). I was very drunk and felt completely disgusted with myself and extremely ashamed, largely because I really, really enjoyed the attention and the phsyical closeness. I haven't touched alcohol since as I know that played a huge part in what happened, and I've blocked all contact from OM (which was easy given that he's moved to America).
So there's the facts. I told DH how I was feeling a couple of weeks ago. DH wants desperatey to 'fix things' but it's been years now and he's never tried. We are going to counselling but I feel dead inside eveyr time the mention of 'working hard' and 'committing to making things better' is mentioned. I don't know if this is just me being stubborn, or if it's my gut screaming at me.
I don't want to turn my childrens' life upside down, but I'm so unhappy. I don't know if counselling will work, it feels a bit too far gone. I'm also scared that I'll cheat again. Please help me figure out what to do! Thank you xxx
Give yourself a time frame to see if you feel any different. During which you should give counselling a good shot.
If after that time you feel the same, then you need to let him know that you aren't happy and want to seperate and proceed with divorce.
Please don't cheat because that just adds more problems to it. Don't get into an emotional affair and kid yourself it's not cheating.
Your aim is to work on a coparent relationship amicably if after trying everything it isn't working.
You could let him know what you need to make it better from him, but if there's a lack of sexual attraction ..... I don't know if he can do anything about it.
Thank you. The cheating thing scares me, first and foremost because I don't want to hurt him (of course no one deserves to be cheated on) but also because if our marriage breaks down, I don't want it to be chalked up to infidelity. There's so much going on here, and cheating will just muddy the waters as you say.
I will give counselling all I have and try to push down the nagging gut voices that tell me it's too late. And get through Christmas and see how I/we emerge in the new year.
There is unfortunately no sexual attraction for me any more. I know he wants more sex, but years of trying to make it work for me and getting no where has left me in a place where I can't bear it any more.
The attraction to another man brought to the forefront the very real and long term problems in your relationship. Affairs are often symptomatic of problems in the relationship, not the cause. You reached out to someone else because of your own unhappiness in this relationship. You are not without fault but there were problems even before then that your H has simply refused to address with you.
I would not be pushing down the voice in you that is saying too late and would also consider going to such sessions as well on your own.
Christmas after all is but two days and I think you will find yourself feeling the exact same in the new year. Many families do struggle on over the Christmas period only to call it quits in January (that is why it is also one of the Solicitors busiest months as well). I would think about seeking legal advice now, you do not have to act on it straight away and after all knowledge is power.
What do you want to teach your children about relationships here?. What is being shown to them here is really no model you want them to be taught.
What do you think your children are learning about relationships here from the two of you; that a loveless marriage is their "norm" too?. Honestly you and he would be better off apart rather than living like you are now.
It sounds over to me.
Exh and I tried counselling as a last resort but it just clarified that I didn't want to be with him any more.
I don't see how you would get the attraction back either if it has died a death.
Could you raise your feelings that's it's over at counselling?
Thank you Atilla, I needed to hear that. I know what I did was so wrong but I've spent the last year beating myself up, when I should have been looking at the root problem and dealing with that.
He's such a good man and I'm so scared of hurting him and leaving him on his own, but at least then he'd be free to find someone who will love him like he deserves to be loved.
I have a solo counselling session coming up which I think will be very helpful. I'm a little concerned though that the counsellor errs on the 'work it out' side. Maybe I need to find another...
I suspect I will feel the same - stronger perhaps - in the new year. It feels good to have a date in place where I can start to make decisions. Maybe things will improve between now and then, but I doubt it.
Good idea to talk to a solicitor. One of the few good things about my situation is that I chose a decent guy and, if it comes to it, our separation/divorce will probably be very amicable, though I know he will be hurting. TBH we live like separated parents already, sharing the childcare 50/50 and hardly ever spending time togeter.
All that said, he's just aranged a 'date night' for us next weekend. I guess in a bid to be more romantic. I'm kind of dreading it.
notagain I have been really honest at counselling. Alas it's coming across that it's only me that feels this way, and he says he just wants me 'to be happy'. I feel like the counsellor is pushing us into saying we will work at this. Maybe she's the wrong counsellor for us, or maybe she's just trying to do her job.
I think it'll all fall to me to sort this out and be the driving force behind whatever happens, as it always has been.
It sounds over to me too.
For counselling to work, you need to want it to work and your comment about the way you feel about working at your marriage is telling.
Either do as Sandy wisely suggests and put a time limit on this. Then go into counselling with an open mind and positive attitude. Or go with your gut now.
And don't cheat, that will just muddy the waters.
At the end of your timeframe, reassess, and call it a day if necessary. You can then tel, yourself that you did all you could.
yes, all laid out it's ooking pretty over to me, too. I just wish he'd support me in this and agree that things aren't working, rather than trying to insist that all we need is for me to be magically happy!
Counselling will only work if both parties are committed to working things out. If you don't want to, that's absolutely fine, you should not feel any obligation.
It shouldn't all fall on you to be the driving force OP.
If he doesn't want this marriage to end, he must stop being passive and make changes. You can't make this work on your own, regardless of your counselling,
Forgive yourself for the kissing another man thing. It's really no wonder you did that, given the lack of passion in your marriage. I left a 20 year relationship (17 yrs married) and it actually took me kissing someone else to kick start my exit. I should clarify that my ExH cheated on me many times, I tried to forgive and then one night I was out with friends and a lovely french man chatted me up and I just remember thinking "fuck it, ExH has broken us anyway" and I kissed this man. It was like opening Pandoras box, to be honest. I moved in to the spare room and planned my exit, and had a few ONS in the process. I forgive myself. I had been faithful for 20 years to someone who had been unfaithful the whole time. So fuck feeling any guilt.
I don't think you can save this. It's not what you want. You deserve passion etc. It's hard to leave, but it's certainly do-able. What would you tell your daughter to do, if she was in a marriage like this?
It takes two to make a relationship work and deal with problems within it. He is probably just now paying lip service to the problems.
I would read up on co-dependency in relationships and see how much of that resonates with your own behaviours. You are not responsible for the actions of another person after all.
He has never given you the same considerations re hurting you emotionally and leaving you on your own; he has left you on your own more than once over the years because of his own unsociability. He is lazy too; he has probably always been those ways inclined. He may well have provided financially but really what else has he brought to the table here?.
Do consider seeing a Solicitor and certainly go to counselling on your own. I would certainly talk about the forthcoming date night he has arranged. Counsellors though are like shoes, you need to find someone who fits. You may want to consider seeing someone else, BACP are good and do not charge the earth.
YEs exactly, counselling feels mega pointless if my heart's not in it. I think you're right about finding another counsellor Atilla. Mine gave it the big meaningful eyes while asking us individually what we want to get out of this counselling.
And it definitely feels like he's had plenty of opportunities to fix this in the past. He has tried but it's always been pretty short lived.
Thanks for your words HUsky, it's important to forgive ourselves. I'm not a cheater, I've never cheated before. And it totally tore me up! I miss having the odd drink but I can't risk losing control. God I feel wound so tight! I thik that's why the idea of living on my own is so massively appealing at the moment.
No more pretending, no more being someone completely different to the person I really am. I'm looking at Rightmove...
Cary he definitely doesn't want the marriage to end and he's now making changes, making lots of effort. And I can sense he feels like he's losing me, and it's clearly really upsetting him. It's just such a shame that it's so late in the day.
Hey lovely. Guilt is such a pointless emotion, we are not perfect just forgive yourself. Clearly the marriage is over, he is fighting for it and you need to tell him that you can't fight for it, you don't believe in the fight anymore. You will be fine, he will be fine. It will be hard for a while sure but this is your life. Live it xxx
Thansk jeaux I was so scared that people would think I was a monster for cheating!
I know I would've given up the fight a loooong time ago if we didn't have kids. And on one hand, people could argue they're a good reason to keep up the fight. Some people (my mother included) are indeed making that argument.
And ont he other hand, people could argue that my DDs shoulnd't grow up in a home with a mum who's indifferent and a dad who's always trying and falling short. I grew up in a home a bit like that...
The fact is that it is late in the day and from your OP it seems you tried to get him to engage before but he didn't. Now your unhappiness is impacting him, he is saying he will listen and change.
If I was you, I would go to counselling on your own with a different counsellor if need be. You need to know exactly what you want. Then you can go back to the couples' counselling with a clear agenda. You can use counselling to address the emotions of splitting rather than trying to fix your relationship.
Is it too late in the day for you OP?
If the answers yes, for you, then that's all you need to know.
You sound as though, understandably, you've had enough. You can't stay with him because it's what he wants. If you do, you will both suffer more in the long run.
You don't need his permission, or anyone's to move on. You know that, but it takes a lot of guts to do it.
You have to be true to yourself.
aplace that is starting to sound like the best route. I don't know where I'll find the money for all this counselling! But if it helps me find peace and happinesss, it'll be more than worth it.
cary Guts is what is missing at the moment, but only for my kids. I've always been really good at identifying when something makes me miserable in the past and I've always been very quick to change it, I'm not a wallower and I've never had any regrets. I only wish I could find that girl now because she'd sort me out. I think she disappeared the day I got pregnant.
You say you've always been fond of him. Im not " fond" of my husband - I often love him so much and intensely it takes my breathe away. I think that's where the problem really is. You're right, this probably isn't a marriage - it sounds like a friendship to me
Blue Exactly. I have a lot of respect for the father and person he is, but as for love... I want what you describe. I want someone who makes me laugh and who I can really talk to. But also what I reeeeally want now is to be single for a good long while and not have to worry about making anything 'work'. It's exhausting.
That strong gutsy girl is still there OP, she's just buried under all the rubble of your desperation and sadness, and misplaced guilt.
Your kids need you to be happy, sounds a bit trite, but being your true self is far better for them than a down trodden sad unhappy mum.
I think if you take the brave step to end this, your old self will emerge. I lost myself in a long unhappy marriage. Once it ended, I became again the person I used to be.
Cary That is so good to hear! I know I'm still me under all this (she comes out at work still!) but she's not there at home.
If you don't mind me asking, what caused you to finally get out of that unhappy marriage? Was it the emotional and financial shitstorm that I fear it might be?
Well in a nutshell ex was having an affair, I couldn't prove it, he denied, denied, denied. He was very cold and distant and emotionally abusive for about three years. We had been married for twenty. Because he lied so well, looked me straight in the eye, swore on the kids lives etc., he made me think I was the one with the problems. I believed this, had MH issues, went on Anti depressants because I thought if I was happy, he'd stop being cold and distant. I almost had a breakdown, but was determined to fix it for the kids.
One day it hit me that nothing I did would fix this, because he had emotionally checked out. He came back after a 'business' trip to find his bags packed. Still denied affair. I couldn't stand sharing the same house as him a minute longer, so he left, but not easily.
He moved in with the non existent OW three weeks later.
I filed for divorce, came off the ADs, and never looked back.
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.