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Can it ever work co-parenting as friends

(27 Posts)
inmyshoos Wed 11-Jan-17 11:20:55

Dh and I haven't been great for a long time. We have had marriage counselling but it didn't help.
He still very much wants to stay married, be happy together and all that comes with it. But for me I just can't flick that switch. I wish i could but the idea of being intimate with him now makes me feel ill. I could cry saying that because i know how hurtful that must be for him as he still wants me.

I have told him how i feel. Not in those words obviously but that i dont want him in that way. He keeps trying to fix things by bringing me flowers or trying to kiss/hug me but it just makes me feel so under pressure.

I have asked if we can try and be friends and just co parent the dc because neither of us wants to tear our family apart and also we cannot afford to live seperately.
We are in seperate rooms atm but he is struggling with it. Whereas i am feeling at least i can sleep and relax going to bed knowing i don't need to feel on edge wondering if my leg touches him by accident in the night will he try it on etc.

Argh the whole thing is horrible. I don't want to hurt him but he keeps thinking he can 'fix' it and im worried that by trying to limit the damage i am giving him false hope? I have said - i dont want a marital intimate relationship with you anymore. He just says he will try hard to be just friends but he can't do it forever, that he needs to know there is hope and that he is on the right track. I've told him i cant tell him if i will ever want anything more but at the momemt i don't.

sad sometimes i just wish he'd meet someone else that he could be happy with sad

BackInTheRoom Wed 11-Jan-17 11:50:06

My husband ditched me out of the blue in a supermarket cafe just before we were about to do some food shopping!

He said:

'I love you but I'm not in love with you'


'I don't fancy you anymore'

then drove home, packed his bags and left me after 20 years!

I went into shock and tried to find the answers and found John Gottman. Go Google him but here's his book I bought, I just wish I'd bloody read it before he left!

BackInTheRoom Wed 11-Jan-17 11:51:44

Sorry, forgot to say that the kids found his iMessages to the OW 3 weeks after he left!

inmyshoos Wed 11-Jan-17 12:25:27

bibbi that sounds painful. How are you and the dc doing now?

I don't want anyone else. There is no one on either side afaik.

Adora10 Wed 11-Jan-17 12:36:57

Your family would not be torn apart if you separate amicably and I think you are kidding yourself on that you can co parent as friends, you are not friends and the longer you stay with him the more he will think there is a chance of saving things; it sounds like it's dead for you so do the decent thing and let him go off and find someone that doesn't feel ill at having sex with him; you are just prolonging the inevitable.

mrssapphirebright Wed 11-Jan-17 12:57:53

You can only do this if you both want it. And he doesn't.

Separating / divorcing is tough. Make sure you know what you are doing before you go down this route. Exhaust all other options (i.e counselling etc).

If you decide you still don;t want to be with him as his wife, then your only option is to make a clean break and split properly.

inmyshoos Wed 11-Jan-17 13:04:29

This is my second marriage so know only too well how painful divorce is.

We have tried counselling but it made no difference. Dh won't open up. He just goes into work mode and if i am honest I am past the trying stage. There was a time i was desperate for it to work because i wanted things to work between us but now i just want to protect my dc. I already have a child who lives apart from his df. I know the difficulties with this. The heartbreak. I just feel i want to run away. What a mess sad

Adora10 Wed 11-Jan-17 13:18:02

It doesn't have to be so bad OP, sounds like it's your only alternative now.

Hopefully your current partner won't be like your ex and will step up the plate and be a dad properly; it's not a lot to ask really.

Do you want to spend the best part of your years with a man that you don't even fancy and stay celibate until your children are fully grown, I wouldn't but we are all different.

inmyshoos Wed 11-Jan-17 13:52:59

No i don't. I really don't adora but the thought of causing so much pain makes me feel like i want to throw up.

I've made such a fucking mess of things. How could i have got it so wrong sad

LittleOyster Wed 11-Jan-17 14:04:00

So sorry you are going through this, OP. I could have written your post word-for-word: am in what sounds like a very similar situation and have been wondering the same thing.

I think there needs to be clarity that all romantic/sexual relations are over, and this can only be achieved by a separation. It's unlikely you'll be able to coparent as 'friends' straight away, but hopefully after a few years, once things have settled down, you may be able to get there.

Can you really not afford to separate? I can't either, but am trying to work towards being able too.

Good luck, OP.

PineappleExpress Wed 11-Jan-17 14:30:49

Your post sounds like I could have written it myself. Following with interest

DawnFawn Wed 11-Jan-17 14:42:50

I could have written your post too, but in the end we separated. It was my decision. I couldn't keep up with the pressure anymore and the feelings that he deserved so much better than me not being in love with him.
It's been 4 months now, we live separately but co parent quite well. He pays for the child care and have 60/40 contact. I do struggle with money being a low earner, but I am more relaxed now and a happier person all round.

NFiftyTwo Wed 11-Jan-17 17:42:02

I was in your husband's shoes; in fact it's initially why I lurked round here - looking for some insight.

I stuck it out for 6 months of "let's be friends" hoping for something to reignite and then for another 6 months after I genuinely accepted it was dead.

It's tricky because I don't regret the extra time we had as a family (our kids were still small and family time was generally very happy before 'the conversation' anyway) but it came a significant cost to my mental wellbeing. (And hers too, though I think there's a special kind of shit-ness that goes along with being rejected!)

Assuming you can keep the atmosphere non toxic, it may be worth attempting to co-parent (finances may dictate that you have to for a while anyway) but I would suggest being very clear and consistent on what remains of your relationship. Suggesting "possibly someday" might feel kinder than saying absolutely no chance, but he won't start to mentally move on.

I'd also treat any co-parenting as a transition period and have a rough timeline/plan sketched out, even though he'll probably find that very painful to address initially. (re finances, start looking into benefits now, you might be surprised - I was). On a practical level, we still did family stuff together but increasingly moved towards a weekend day each, so that the kids were used to having just one of us about and it got my solo parenting up to scratch.

Oh and if I have one piece of advice for this setup - however short lived it proves to be: don't start something with anyone else until you have separate homes!

Spam2016 Wed 11-Jan-17 17:56:25

Hi all I have been on the other thread about unsatisfying marriage
I am in exact situation am at a cross roads as can't keep going on like this
My dh is an amazing husband father but I have no intimate feelings towards him
About to go to second lot of counselling (tried last year)

I am so up and down one day I am almost sobbing that it's over and I recognise I don't want to be married but today I feel like I am mad and I want the family unit I have
And just maybe I can get those feelings back .... not that they were ever strong
God it's an awful situation to be in when u love them as a best friend
And with dcs

Can I ask *inmyshoes how long you felt like this? What made you say something if you don't mind me asking

LittleOyster Wed 11-Jan-17 19:57:00

Thank you for your post, NFiftyTwo. It's very interesting to hear how you coped with a similar situation.

If I am reading your posts right, OP it sounds as though you are experiencing a lot of guilt? Something that I have found helps with the guilty feelings is encouraging and enabling my DH to spend time with his friends and re-invest in the relationships that were important to him before we married 5 years ago. He's also had some enjoyable holidays alone, or visiting friends overseas. I encourage him to go to the gym, play sport etc so that he can be at his fittest and most attractive when we do separate. I'd genuinely love him to meet a lovely partner. In terms of sex, he knows he's got a free pass - I've told him he can have the time and privacy to play away, but he still says he only wants us. sad

inmyshoos Wed 11-Jan-17 23:31:01

Thanks for all the replies.

littleoyster i sm a sahm and have been for so long now the idea of finding employment is so daunting. Also we live so rurally and with 3 young dc - what job could possibly fit in with this? School holidays? Kids off sick? It scares the hell out of me. But i will be looking.
It is good to know i am not the only one in this situation. Feels less lonely.
We are in seperate bedrooms and i have said in absolute clear terms that any sort of intimacy is not happening.
dawnfawn it is reassuring to hear that you have come out the other side relayively unscathed. How was your dh initially when you said it was over?
nfifty good to hear from the other side. I am trying so hard too limit the damage. I don't want to hurt my dh anymore than i have done. I want him to be happy too. I hate that i am not happy with him. He is a nice guy. Just not the one for me. I really don't wsnt to get into my having to gonover with him ALL the reasons i fell out of love with him, ALL the reasons he isnt the one for me because it is horrible. He cant help how he is. There will be no one else while we are together. Or anytime soon. I am empty. I have nothing left to give anyone at the moment.
spam i have felt unhappy for a few years but it came to a head last march. We went away together for a weekend and i really had to pysche myself up to have sex with him. He then really pissed me off over something really trivial and since then its like a switch has been flicked. I had to say something because he is quite needy and i felt suffocated to the point where my mental health is/was suffering.
littleoyster i do encourage dh to do stuff but he won't. He has one best mate bug he lives 200 miles away! He has some Daddy frirnds but no one special! I have a lot of friends and i like socialising. This means i constantly feel guilty about spending time away from him because he never does it. But i NEED it. I feel so suffocated. I told him last night - take a weekend off, go away buf he wont. Sometimes i feel i can't breathe. sad

inmyshoos Wed 11-Jan-17 23:33:47

Sorry so many typos and a random 'too' that should be 'to". Grr..... so tired

Stripesandsprinkles Thu 12-Jan-17 00:00:30

I have been in your shoes with my ex and father of my daughter I ended it although thr had been a lot of wrongs on his part that drove me to this and I didn't feel anything for him like that anymore I loved and care for him like a brother so we tried to be friends and he wanted to badly to change my mind and us to get back together 3 years later I have now met someone else and it has broke his heart which had broke my heart I think it would have been less cruel to just end it and be civil but not friends knowing how he felt! He was on the phone tonight to me (we had to discuss our daughter) crying saying how he misses me and having me thr. I know how hard it is for you I've had my heart Brocken and I've Brocken someone's heart and I couldn't honestly tell you what ones worse! But you cant be respnasible for someone else's happiness because by saying you don't know about what you might want in the future is giving him some kind of hope and stopping him trying to better his life and find happiness elsewhere you need to be gentle but honest let him know you will always be thr but not want a romantic relationship again he might be scared as well of being on his own

LittleOyster Thu 12-Jan-17 01:27:22

Also a SAHM, so I hear what you're saying about finding employment daunting... Easier for me though because I live in London, so at least there are jobs available and transport to get to them. I'm always plotting how I can manage to make enough money to set me and DD up independently - it's going to take a few years but I am determined to do it. That feeling of suffocation that you describe it's just horrendous - I really can't live with it much longer.

It's good you encourage your DH to get out and see friends (you sound lovely, by the way smile). If he decides not to take up those opportunities, that's not your fault. I'm glad you have a good circle of friends. Can you talk to them about this? It sounds as though your mental health is under a lot of strain. Being trapped is one of the most stressful things a creature can experience - don't underestimate the impact it can have on your health. You absolutely need that time away from the home, with your friends, etc. Don't feel guilty!

inmyshoos Fri 13-Jan-17 15:07:55

stripes did you end it 3 yrs ago and your ex is still crying about it or did i read that wrong? I could not cope with that. Dh getting upset now is hard enough. Like you my dh has done lots of things that have got us to this point. Problem is they are not 'obvious' things, more just how he is (lazy, clumsy, forgetful, makes bad decisions) and he always feels he has tried 'his best'. Unfortunately i have come to the conclusion that his best will never cut it for me. I just cant live with being the one to sort everything. It makes me feel like the man in the relationship - fixing the car etc and it has made him less and less attractive to me. It's like having an extra child. sad
How are things with you oyster? What sort of job are you doing/looking for? Do you have friends that you can talk to? I do but i know dh doesnt. So he goes through life pretending which helps with his 'bury the head in the sand' approach to difficulties. Does your dh know how you are feeling? Are you still in the same bed? We aren't. I just don't want ANY kind of physical contact with him. He is trying really hard just now and whilst it's easier to live with, it's a bit grating because maybe if he was this helpful and attentive for the past 10 yrs perhaps things wouldnt have gotten so bad. As it is, i don't see the switch flicking.
You sound like you have a clear plan oyster. How do you cope at the moment? Are you and your dh good friends?

TreeTop7 Fri 13-Jan-17 16:18:57

I could have writtten your post in November and very nearly did.

My husband eventually couldn't deal with my lack of interest any more (we are basically wrong for each other and I've never really, really fancied him if I'm honest) and was brave enough to have the conversation with me last month having been miserable for a few months. Divorcing is right for us. We'll both be happier. It's amicable so far and the children seem OK.

The difference is though, that I'm not a rural SAHM - I'm a town-dwelling part-time accountant - and we very luckily can afford to be apart. Could your parents help you to buy him out?

LittleOyster Fri 13-Jan-17 19:47:02

I have good days and bad days, *OP. Thanks for asking smile. I have a couple of very close friends who I can talk openly to, but they are childless so struggle to understand why I don't 'just leave'. DH and I sleep apart, and have done for about a year. It means I have to sleep every night on the sofa bed in our living room, but for me that is preferable to the marital bed for exactly the reasons you outlined in your post. We were in counselling earlier this year and reached an impasse. Since that time I have been clear with him that there will never be a resumption of sexual/romantic relations - like you, I don't believe the switch will ever flip back. I have told him that I don't believe our marriage can endure, but he would like to keep trying which, ostensibly at least, is what we're doing now.

My plan is to get a place on a graduate training scheme as a mature entrant. I'm 34 and way, way behind in career terms, but absolutely have to earn good money as housing is ££££ in my area. I have had to completely readjust my attitude to money, and what kinds of jobs I would consider. However, first I must finish off my PhD which I started before I became pregnant (have about a year to go).

In the meantime, we rub along ok on a day-to-day basis. We're good friends, although I am not sure this will last through a separation as under pressure he can become extremely nasty. But he's fundamentally a decent man; pitches in with the childcare and is generally pretty cheerful. It could be much worse.

inmyshoos Sun 15-Jan-17 18:25:29

Hi oyster I have good days and bad too. Today is bad. Dh had a meltdown on Sat because we had words. I have asked him for space. To stop with the constant trying to touch me, hug me, kiss me etc but he just can't do it. I feel angry, sick, frustrated. It's like being stalked. He moved the dinner plates at the table Fri night so he could sit beside me. I told him Sat morning that things like that are not him giving me space but infact the complete opposite and he flipped out. I just can't take anymore. If i wasn't so worried abput his reaction i would ask him to go. I feel sick. I can't eat and feel like i cant get a deep breath. He keeps asking what is wrong? Why we can't be happy together? That he is not a bad guy. That he is not some monster. I have never told him he is any of these things but he is controlling and difficult in many ways. I wish i could wave a magic wand and be out of this. He is off work Tuesday. I need to find the words and just be brave. sad

LittleOyster Mon 16-Jan-17 10:39:39

Oh, I am so sorry to hear that you are struggling at the moment, OP. flowers

So what is stopping you pulling the trigger on a separation? Is it the fear of how on earth you'd manage as a single mum, or is it a fear of upsetting your DH, and how he'd react?

It sounds to me as though you are a very fair-minded and compassionate person. You've spoken very well of your husband, but if he has continued to touch you after you've made it clear that you don't want that, then that is really not on. You don't owe him your body, and you don't owe him your life, health and happiness. You made vows in good faith, tried your best, but unfortunately it has not worked out. He'll have to come to terms with that, as lots of other people in similar situations have had to, and start taking responsibility for his own happiness.

Could counselling (joint and/or individual) help you to assert yourself, come to terms with where you are, and find a way forward?

What you are saying about your DH being a good guy, but at the same time you finding him controlling and difficult resonates with me in many ways. My DH is a lovely, lovely bloke in the eyes of the world, but at the same time I find it almost impossible to ask him for help with domestic tasks, talk to him about money, raise relationship problems, etc. It makes me feel confused. Sometimes I feel as though I am going crazy!

Stripesandsprinkles Mon 16-Jan-17 10:58:41

Yeah we split up 3 years ago and he still crys about it and says how much he misses me and things and how hard a time he's having its hard because I'm now in a new relationship and love my partner so much but still feel a sence of responsibility to look after my ex (no romantic feelings at all I just feel so sorry for him I even feel guilty writing that I feel sorry for him because I know that would embarrass and upset him) and always do some sort of damage control to his feelings when talking to him so it's hard but you only get one shot at life don't waste it being unhappy but help your husband through this his worlds shattering and he's just trying to hold on for dear life let him know you will help him meet new friends ect if he doesn't get out much (look in to what clubs ect he could maybe go to join a football team whatever he's into) I get you feel suffocated so did I my life described at that point in one word would be costraphobic but I had to remember I was breaking his heart and changing his full life(even though I was pushed to it and really didn't have a choice for my own sanity) and he felt powerless and as if he was helpless it's hard for him to be strong and stick to your guns you need to do this for you but also be kind and gentle thrs a lot to be said for someone just knowing they won't be totally left totally alone with no support

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