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Wife wants to separate but I have no idea where to start

(43 Posts)
DuckShoes Tue 17-Jan-17 11:03:55

Not sure I've ever used a forum before but feel a bit lost, so here goes. My wife of 12 years is very keen to separate and says our marriage is over, she's probably right but I want to keep trying. I have made lots of mistakes in our marriage (No infideltity) but not nearly enough attention or closeness. I know if there is any chance to fix things it will mean a massive change to my behaviour and everything else but not sure how to start. We have 3 youngish children and I really don't want them to be too affected by this but I feel they are already affected by our bad relationship. Not sure what my question is and maybe I should be on a career/counselling/personal development website but hey.

therealpippi Tue 17-Jan-17 11:07:50

What are her reasons for wanting to separate? Do you recognise those as something she has been telling you for a while?
Discussing thise points with her and what she has been missing snd wants (and viceversa) would be my way forward, if she is still bothered interested in having this conversation.

StiffenedPleat Tue 17-Jan-17 11:07:54

If your wife says your marriage is over then it's over. You can't unilaterally decide to keep it going. Sorry.

Gertrudeisgerman Tue 17-Jan-17 11:07:54

I separated from my husband of 10 years (DV) and these early days are very very hard.

Two questions: what is your wife's response to wanting to try fix the marriage?

Also, have you thought through if you actually want to change (setting aside the marriage breaking down) how will you sustain that change and have you thought about the impact that change will have on your marriage & sense of self?

therealpippi Tue 17-Jan-17 11:09:35

The above on the assumption that there isn't alreadysomeone else on the scene.

Offred Tue 17-Jan-17 11:22:09

Honestly, if she has put up with not enough attention or closeness for 12 years it is not likely she will believe your promises to change or want to give you a chance to change.

I left my husband for similar reasons and he said he would go to counselling to change but it was too late. I had suggested counselling years before and he wouldn't go so my heart had hardened and the love had gone.

I had wanted him to be concerned for my happiness in our marriage not desperate to keep me in the marriage once I'd had enough.

DuckShoes Tue 17-Jan-17 11:22:28

@therealpippi , she has been telling me for a long time that things need to change. I think I have missed the boat.

I was defensive about changing (i.e. trying to change but being resentful that she wasn't, being immature in effect). Also the pressures of 3 young kids, changing from non gender roles (i.e. both equal) to becoming the traditional roles of me breadwinner and her looking after children and house has broken things. She is now so angry that there doesn't seem a way in.

DuckShoes Tue 17-Jan-17 11:27:47

That sounds familiar, I wish I had put her needs closer to the top.

therealpippi Tue 17-Jan-17 11:38:14

my heart had hardened and the love had gone.

I had wanted him to be concerned for my happiness in our marriage not desperate to keep me in the marriage once I'd had enough.

I can relate to this.

From what you say OP your best move would be to give her the respect she deserves and accept her decision and like you said seek counselling for yourself/take time to reflect.
If it doesn't bring you back together it will help having a more amicable separation and long term rel (beneficial for you and the children) and for you in your future relationship.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I gained from my therapy (I also asked xh to come but he wouldn't).

Offred Tue 17-Jan-17 11:42:49

I think you should aim now for an amicable split.

My xh is still bitter and angry with me more than 3 years on and it badly affects the DC.

DuckShoes Tue 17-Jan-17 11:54:17

Is there anything your husband's could have done to bring back your love at the late stage?

Offred Tue 17-Jan-17 11:54:35

The advantage of my heart hardening re xh was that it really was gone for me. There was no anger or frustration or heartache I just felt nothing for him anymore and did not want to continue in a marriage where the feelings were gone (from my side).

I was more than willing to split in an amicable way but his frustrations, anger and bitterness with me for leaving him are still at the forefront of his mind such that he tells the dc that he hates me etc and is still doing lots of little passive aggressive things to get at me, he won't move on, he won't have therapy to help him move on (the only time he would consider it was as a way to make me stay which means to me he wouldn't have engaged with it anyway) and he indulges himself in feeling as though I have ruined his life.

I find it tiresome and immature.

I loved him deeply but his selfishness, making me into his mother/responsible for his feelings, PA and just not listening to/respecting me killed it and he has not even remotely taken any steps to change now.

I would say if you acknowledge you have not listened to your wife or been present in your marriage you will gain a lot from therapy for yourself no matter whether you end up split up or back together but you have to do it for yourself and not to get her back.

Offred Tue 17-Jan-17 11:55:54

I think that if he had handled the split better there is a very slim chance it might have come back and I might have gone back eventually.

Unfortunately he has just completely alienated me through his post split behaviour.

Offred Tue 17-Jan-17 12:02:35

I periodically have therapy for my own issues btw I find it really valuable to me as a person.

I was not expecting anything from him I wasn't prepared to do myself.

Offred Tue 17-Jan-17 12:07:36

Even with the split I ended up taking responsibility for the whole thing dividing up the money, arranging the contact patterns, finding him somewhere to live.

I agree with pippi that you would benefit from being respectful and playing an active role in the split. Consider therapy if you feel there is a point to what she says about not being heard/respected to find out more about yourself and hopefully learn better tools for a relationship. Also to give yourself a chance to unload the emotional burden of the split so that it doesn't all get thrown back at her.

I think if my husband had really listened to what I was saying about why I felt we had to split and taken some action rather than just continuing doing all the things that made me lose the love it could have been different. I did marry him after all.

DuckShoes Tue 17-Jan-17 12:14:14

@Offred Thank you for you honesty and advice. It gives me some hope, though I think I need to focus on what's best for her, the kids and to ensure that I come out of all this a better person. I have started counselling and its positive, though the amount of stuff I want to change about myself feels overwhelming sometimes.
It will be a massive challenge for me as I am immature and gaining an adult head won't be easy.

Offred Tue 17-Jan-17 12:20:25

It's all a very worthwhile investment whether you get back together or not I would say!

I wish my xh had done similar!

therealpippi Tue 17-Jan-17 12:31:29

Offred, gosh, you are me! I second all you say.

My xh is behaving a bit different atm, in that although he does not want to talk about us nor apply any changes, he has not become awfully bitter and awful to me.
He has agreed to this separation and he is living his life. I am sure he is resentful but choses not to focus on that, as I do.
I cannot tell you how great this is for the dc who have asjusted very well and love seeing their parents being civil, working as a team and sharing a laugh.

It is early days and it could all go pearshaped but I do feel grateful. And I cannot help but feeling proud of him (and me) and happy that I do not have to regret all my past choices, after all, as you say, I married him.

Not sure about another chance. I'd need a lot more for that, somwthing that I feel he is not able to do.
But at least I can have respect for him, more than I did in the past few years.

Offred Tue 17-Jan-17 12:44:22

My main gripe really is ironically that his bitterness and resentment makes him an unhappy person and that has a knock on effect on the DC.

All along I have been mainly concerned with his happiness, it is an unhappy thing having an unhappy wife, it is unhappy having to split up because your wife is unhappy, it is unhappy having to co-parent rather than be married just because you want to indulge in self-pity rather than look at yourself in therapy.

He says he hates me but all I really and desperately want is for him to be happy, because then the DC will be happier. I would absolutely cry with happiness if the dc came home and told me he had a GF! Watching him being bitter and sad and pathetic is quite difficult.

DuckShoes Tue 17-Jan-17 12:45:20

@therealpippi, I hope whatever happens I can learn from the mistakes of the past and become more supportive. I guess what you are both calling out is pretty common. If things go the way I want them to I never repeat the mistakes and if we separate I need to be much better for me and whoever I meet in the future.

Offred Tue 17-Jan-17 12:45:55

He I think wants me to feel responsible for his bitterness and sadness but I don't. Not at all. I just feel sad for him that he is choosing wasting his life this way.

Offred Tue 17-Jan-17 12:46:49

(And everyday it reminds me I was right to leave him)

Gallavich Tue 17-Jan-17 12:54:40

If she's got to the point of splitting because she's asked you to change for years and you have ignored her, it's too late. Listen better next time.

therealpippi Tue 17-Jan-17 13:11:50

Offred my dad has spent the last 30 years of his life like this. What a waste.

My I add OP, that at this point I am not sure I want xh to change. I just wish him well in his life, maybe with someone that is more suited to him. Maybe that was our mistake.
Maybe I am hardened or tired or trying or have moved on.

cerealandtoast Tue 17-Jan-17 13:14:58

12 years is a long time.

3 children, over 12 years, with what sounds like little to no support is hard work.

You say you think the children are already affected by your bad relationship - why would you want to keep trying and stay in this failed relationship, affecting your children?

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