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H wants to stay together "for the kids"

(35 Posts)
nettlefettle Mon 21-Nov-16 13:34:44

Married for 14 years, 2DC, aged 12 and 8. After 2 years of counselling on and off, H will not go any more. I felt vindicated through counselling and I think he felt attacked. He is not abusive (although passive aggressive), and is a good dad. I do not love him any more and I doubt that he loves me.

Without going into all the details the issue is that he thinks we should stay together until our youngest has left home, stating “I’m not leaving and neither are the kids”. I think that we should split up, however we are not in a financial position to do so. We are struggling every month with finances. We are not modelling a good relationship for our children, having said that they are loved very much by us, although I’m sure they are being affected by the lovelessness between h and me.

I feel completely helpless and that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. I’m sad most of the time and often tearful. My frustrations with the usual kid stuff is amplified and it feels like H is just sitting there while I get get wound up, then swoops in being the calm and collected parent, making me look like a lunatic. That may be just how I see it, but I’m scared that he is “giving me enough rope to hang myself” figuratively speaking. I have a tendency to have a few drinks, to blot out the emptiness and sadness, but just about managing to keep a handle on that. He does not really drink. It’s always been an issue between us. I can’t live in this void for another 10 years.

Not sure what I'm asking for - maybe just a handhold, or some backbone sad

AhNurts Mon 21-Nov-16 13:41:00

Sending flowers because I'm in a similar boat. It can very quickly start to feel like there's no way out, but there's always a way out. It just might not feel possible at the moment.

Can you start a slush fund, start stashing some cash so you're at least working towards having some independence?

Arfarfanarf Mon 21-Nov-16 13:41:23

If he won't leave then that leaves you with two choices.
Stay as you are and wait.
Or leave and force a sale of the house etc.

He can't force you to stay together but you can't force him to be the one to leave.
It's a horrible horrible situation without an easy solution.

If he wont act then it's down to you.

Is there a way you can do step by step?

Disentangle your finances for example.

Mentally seperate?

Can you access counselling just for yourself? Someone to talk all this through with? Help you make a plan?

AhNurts Mon 21-Nov-16 13:42:48

Also, without knowing your DH of course, sounds like he's using the kids as a reason not to rock the boat because he fears the Disney Dad/moving out element for himself. Which is a valid worry, but he needs to own that rather than forcing you into a position you're not comfortable with.

DearMrDilkington Mon 21-Nov-16 13:47:14


Try having a calm conversation with him, ask him if he really wants to waste the next 8+yrs of his life living a lie. Tell him everything can be done as civil as possible but your getting divorced from him as it's the best thing for everybody in the house.

Point out to him that your Dc will base their adult relationships on what their parents relationships are like. Does he really want them having a long miserable relationship when their older because 'that's what their parents did and our childhood was ok'.

I know its so difficult but you both deserve happiness and the children, especially the eldest are old enough to understand why marriages don't always work out.


hellsbellsmelons Mon 21-Nov-16 13:48:29

Can you look at tackling the drinking first?
You are unhappy and alcohol is a depressant.
So it's basically exacerbating the situation you are in.
Maybe get this sorted out.
Get yourself an outside hobby if you don't already have one so you are mixing with some new people and doing something you enjoy.
It will help you start to detach from your DH.
Maybe seek some legal advice and find out where you would stand if you were to separate?

ravenmum Mon 21-Nov-16 13:48:33

Work out the finances - see a financial advisor if necessary, find out how much maintenance he would have to pay, what benefits you might be entitled to, how much it would cost to stay somewhere cheaper. Would you sell your home? How much would you get? Go through it slowly, bit by bit. You live in a country where single mothers don't live on the street, right? It should somehow be possible. You don't need to work out your husband's finances for him, he can do that himself.

You want one thing, he wants a different thing. Your wants are equally vaid. What you want is perfectly reasonable. There's no reason for you to go along with him if you don't want to.

Look into counselling for yourself and do something about your alcohol problem. If you are regularly drinking to get through the day you have an alcohol problem. Don't make excuses for why you "need" to drink; sort yourself out. It will make you feel less helpless.

nettlefettle Mon 21-Nov-16 13:51:34

Thanks. Slush fund - fabulous idea but things are soooo tight that it's almost impossible. Disentangle finances? Disentangle would be the right word as we have a complicated business set up but ultimately that would need to happen.

I guess if I'm really honest, I'm very worried about being the instigator of splitting up the family. It will all come down on me, I know it. I will be blamed for ripping the family apart. I'm scared of that. I can't afford any more counselling at the moment - I went on my own a few times to the couples counsellor and it was very helpful.

Mybugslife Mon 21-Nov-16 13:51:59

Please do not stay together for the children.

I was the child and it ruined the last bit of my childhood.
My parents decided it was best to stay together until I had finished my education. (My brothers are all older so had pretty much finished their education and only 1 still lived at home).

To be fair on my parents they hardly ever argued around me and there's maybe two times I can remember crossed words. But it was obvious that the love wasn't there. It became, over time obvious that they didn't even like each other anymore.
I don't remember a time in the period I was at secondary school ever having fun as a family. I don't even really remember anyone being happy. I would see my friends families do things together and laugh and I always wished mine could be like that.

I ended up having an awful relationship with my dad because of it and it wasn't until they finally split and my mum and I moved somewhere else that we started to re-build the relationship.

I have my own family now and I'm a lot older and I still wish that they had split when they needed too not just stuck at it and pretended because of me and my brothers.

It may be hard at the beginning but it will be better in the long run

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 21-Nov-16 13:54:20


You do not have to live in this void for another 10 plus years. You still have a choice re this man.

I would seek legal advice re the finances and other matters asap and before Christmas because knowledge is power.

Your children are currently seeing a passive aggressive father and a deeply unhappy mother; its a relationship disaster for these children. You and your H need to be apart now for your own sakes. I would ask him in particular if this is really the ideal model for his children to bear witness too, after all we learn about relationships first and foremost from our parents.

And he is not a good dad either if he treats you and in turn his children like this. Women in poor relationships often write such denial as well when they can themselves think of nothing positive to write about their man.

He is only thinking of his own self here and he is being selfish in the extreme. He is really not doing his children any favours by thinking that you and he should stay together until your youngest child has left home; the emotional fallout and damage from such a decision will be long established by then. It will also affect you as their mother because they could well ask of you why you put him before them and call you daft for staying with him. Your children as adults will likely not want much if anything to do with either of you.

These children cannot and must not be used as glue to bind the two of you together. They are learning that a loveless marriage is also their norm and to tell them that their parents only stayed together because of them is highly damaging. You only have to search MN to see the effects on the now adult children whose parents only stayed because of them. It teaches them a lie.

nettlefettle Mon 21-Nov-16 13:56:10

Ravensmum and hellsbells - I'm not regularly drinking to get through the day. More like a couple of bottles of wine over the weekend (Fri, Sat Sun evening). Usually nothing Mon - Thurs.

Legal advice is a must. I should go for a free half hour. I have a couple of hobbies and lots of lovely friends who are very supportive. Have a new interest too which will be keeping me very busy after christmas.

nettlefettle Mon 21-Nov-16 14:01:03

I have read thread after thread about the damage of parents staying together for the kids. My own parents should have split years before they did however I had a very very happy childhood, there were no arguments and no discord that I saw, which it now seems that I'm mirroring. Not great.

I understand clearly that we should split, and obv need to be braver and deal with it if he won't.

nettlefettle Mon 21-Nov-16 14:03:53

AhNurts - I'm sorry to hear that you are going through similar flowers

Arfarfanarf Mon 21-Nov-16 14:07:44

Perhaps ask him to consider what a cruel burden to place on a child - to be the reason two people trap themselves together when they don't love each other and dont want to be together. To see them miserable and to know/be told/ feel/ suspect/ fear that if it wasnt for you - they'd try to find happiness.

That's not something i would ever want to do to my child. You dont. And im sure if your husband actually saw it that way he wouldnt either.

AhNurts Mon 21-Nov-16 14:40:33

All of this rings so true to me. I grew up in a house where the atmosphere was a mix of sadness, anxiety and waiting for the next fallout probably about 50% of the time. Yet mostly I would say my childhood was happy! it's only lately that I realise how much damage that odd relationship model has done to me. I might've been relatively unaware of what was really going on, but I'm acting it out now in my own situation. Counselling is helping me to see that.

ravenmum Mon 21-Nov-16 14:44:02

AA meetings are free, aren't they? I presume that the people who go to that kind of meeting talk about their problems and support one another - might be a bit of an alternative to counselling, if you can't afford that. And two entire bottles at the weekend sounds a lot to me. Are you drinking on your own? Getting drunk enough not to feel anything? Sounds a bit grim, I'm afraid, however in control you might feel.

People split up all the time, and no-one does it lightly or thoughtlessly. Would you judge a friend for instigating a divorce, and tell her that she should have stayed in an unhappy marriage, or that breaking up was selfish? If the answer is no, why do that to yourself?

nettlefettle Mon 21-Nov-16 14:48:34

Arfarf - in his eyes the blame and change lies firmly at my door, so any cruel burden on the kids or damage to them will also come to me. In all our years together he has never ever said sorry to me for anything. Despite all the counselling sessions he still does not see how damaging he has been. I accept some responsibility but he would sit there internally seething feeling like all the negativity was being pointed at him.

Sillysusie63 Mon 21-Nov-16 14:52:10

Ravens - in your world that might be a lot but it's not really so don't keep coming back to this issue.

The issue is he is calling the shots and you don't have to allow this.

Lots of people split up all the time, it's never pleasant but sometimes it just has to be done.

AhNurts Mon 21-Nov-16 14:58:18

Nettle he sounds like a bit of an emotional baby to me, everything's everyone else's fault. Your DCs will see that when they are older (if not already) and they'll thank you for not putting up with that just because of them.

In fact, the chances of them having a good relationship with both of you hinge heavily on what you do next. So be brave, be resourceful and most of all, don't be pushed around by this man any more. Be the kind of person you want your DCs to grow into.

nettlefettle Mon 21-Nov-16 15:03:08

I know I need to "brave up" about this and firstly have a conversation about my wants being as valid as his, despite the immediate fallout compared to putting it off by doing it his way. The fallout will still happen. My main concern is finances and that''s what I need to go and get advice about.

AhNurts - emotional baby rings true.

I really appreciate everyone's posts and thank you.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Mon 21-Nov-16 15:09:00

If after two years' worth of counselling, you haven't managed to work through your problems and still want to separate, then separate you should.

Life is too short to carry on being miserable. For any of you.

ravenmum Mon 21-Nov-16 15:59:24

Sillysusie I didn't "keep" coming back to it - just mentioned it again, as yes, in my world - and that of many people - drinking litres of wine a week to drown your sorrows is a worrying development. I'm not saying that nettle is a bad person for drinking, I'm suggesing something she could do to help herself cope better with this situation. I believe it would be hekpful for her to keep a clear head, avoid a depressant, improve her own self-respect (as she said, it gives her husband something to blame her for) and maybe get support from a meeting. Not sure why anyone would disapprove of my mentioning that opinion.

ravenmum Mon 21-Nov-16 16:04:51

Nettle, it has taken me ages to get my head round the idea that my ex's wishes are not cleverer or better than mine. He is so sure of himself he has me thinking that my way is wrong every time... but when you think about it logically, your way really is just as valid. There are arguments for and against both paths, and you can't have it both ways. His way will only work if you are both happy to stay together - and you are not.

Im0gen Mon 21-Nov-16 16:09:10

Passive agressive behaviour is a form of emotional abuse.

Im0gen Mon 21-Nov-16 16:29:36

And he doesn't want you to stay because of the kids. He wants you to stay because it suits him and he knows that saying it's ' for the kids ' will push your buttons and make him look less like a selfish git.

If he cared about his kids he would treat their mother better,

And don't waste your breathe telling him that your needs are important . Because they are not important to him and that's all that matters. He will say whatever he thinks will make you stay, but nothing will change .

There's nothing you can say or do that will make him accept that he's to blame for any part in this. He won't .

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