Advanced search

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.

Marriage on last legs

(110 Posts)
Dothehokeykokey Tue 24-Jan-17 13:54:49

So. Together 20 years, living together for 18, married for 16. Both still under 45.

The relationship between the two adults (there are two kids under 12) is dead. Nothing in common, no effort made to spend time together, and no sex life, to the point that one party (me) would happily leave if it were financially viable.

The oh would blame me for all sorts and I am not stupid enough to think that I am blameless in ending up where we are, but I do genuinely feel that where we are now at a point where the kids are more grown up and independent and where I would like to make an effort to refresh our own relatioship, what's the point with a partner who seems happy for us both to exist rather than live and focus their entire life on the kids.

Clearly I love my kids very much and would do anything for them, but how do people cope with a partner who is SO focussed on the children they are happy to see the adult relationship in the family wither to nothing. It makes me feel completely worthless and as if my only role in life was to provide two children and then spend the rest of my life providing for them (which I don't object to, but don't see why it should be at the cost of ANY money to spend on myself, or time for myself or as a couple)

I genuinely believe there are deep seated emotional issues at play relating back to childhood and my partner coming from a family where everything is done for the kids and all the adults just exist to serve the children with no time to themselves or any actual meaningful relationships.

Apparently, I am unreasonable for wanting to get a babysitter every now and then so we could go for a walk, meal etc.

Apparently I am unreasonable for suggesting that in the evening when the kids go to bed (9pm) isn't the only time that ironing etc can be done (it's not fair on the kids to do it when they are up?), and apparently I am totally unreasonable for suggesting that three hour baths with a book every night when it's the only time we get together as a couple might be better spent doing something together?

Any suggestion of putting time aside for sex is seen as "being selfish" any suggestion of trying anything other than missionary position with the lights of is apparently "sad" and for people who can't be fulfilled by "normal sex with a person they love". Incidentally this is also off the cards at the moment until I take responsibility for contraception, which can't include condoms.

I know I am wasting my time and am ashamed to admit I am for the first time ever considering looking for some time for myself, new hobbies,new excitement and ultimately a new relationship outside of the marriage.

HardToDeal Tue 24-Jan-17 14:00:05

Well, it sounds shit to me. I left a similar marriage - not as outright bad as yours sounds, but we were very much parents first and any sort of relationship between us came far down the line - H didn't seem to actually want to spend time with me but he wasn't all that helpful as a father either! All I can say is, lone parenting is tough but evenings on your own are so much better than evenings being ignored - less money is fine when you know it's yours to spend as you choose - stupidly if you want to! And I don't get to go out or anything much but I do see friends more than I did when I was married (as his grumpy, resentful presence in the house was offputting to visitors) and go on the odd date - and have even managed a semblance of a sex life, which snatched and fleeting as it is is still much more exciting and fun than what I had before!

Adora10 Tue 24-Jan-17 14:12:03

Just separate, what is the point in wasting more years on a dead relationship, it sounds utterly soul destroying; you both sound completely on different pages, just do it, live your life.

Ilovecaindingle Tue 24-Jan-17 14:21:41

You need to open a separate bank account with online statements only. Filter a bit of money away each week. Even a little bit will add up. Every pound saved is a step towards your new life. . You will be a better parent when it's more on your terms than a glorified housekeeper /nanny. . And your kids will gain a realistic view of the world not being up on a pedestal at the expense of your happiness /mh. You are entitled to be your one person and be part of a loving relationship. . Your dh has fucked up his vows big time. . You owe him no loyalty - and certainly not the rest of your life either. .

Angrybird123 Tue 24-Jan-17 14:54:34

I'm reading this as the OP being the man here who has been working etc. I hate the idea of secretly stashing away money for an escape. It sounds crap but not abusive - you aren't in danger or anything like that. Sit your spouse down, tell them in no uncertain terms where your feelings are at and what will be the outcome if things don't change. Give the opportunity to change. If that doesn't work then yes,leave, but please dont have an affair and then blame it on your spouse for not being what you want which is where the end of your post seems to be leading.
If you do leave then also consider how the finances will work, will you have to sell the house etc? (It's not a given that the kids stay put - if the mortgage can't be covered plus a second rent / mortgage then downsizing has to happen). How will residency be shared?
As someone who was blindsided and left for an OW and then blamed for it I do have a fairly specific view of this type of thing and the thing that pisses me off the most is that IF what ex says is true that he was unhappy for ages then he 100% should have told me and tried to give us both the chance to save it. He bought HIS total blissful loved up happiness at the expense of utter devastation and desolation of his wife and kids who still howl and scream with the pain of wanting their parents together. I'm not saying you 'stay for the kids' but there is a LOT at stake here..the fallout of you wanting money for hobbies and so on will be permanent for you and your spouse and kids - who won't be young forever by the way.

Adora10 Tue 24-Jan-17 14:58:27

I am reading this as a man writing and no having an affair, no matter the situation is not right, in fact, it's really low.

TwitterQueen1 Tue 24-Jan-17 15:00:43

IloveCaindingle I think you might want to read the OP's post again. You've jumped straight into so many incorrect and biased assumptions.....

OP. I suspect you are male, and your post is interesting as I had this from the other way round - ie it was my exH who refused to engage or talk to me. Every night he would go into another room because he "needed his own space."

It's a very lonely existence. And not sustainable. I do think you need to talk to your DW. The ironing thing is just silly. The bath is a form of escape. It does sound very much as if she doesn't want a relationship any more.

OverlyYappy Tue 24-Jan-17 15:02:18

Don't go else where until you separate, don't worry about the DC they would be better with 2 happy parents whether or not you were together

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 24-Jan-17 15:07:20

I would seek legal advice asap with a view to divorcing him. How do you know its not financially viable; is this merely your own supposition?.

I would make a clean break from this sham relationship and rebuild your life with your children before any thoughts of having another relationship.

Do not continue to show your children this terrible example of a loveless marriage. Staying for the children in such circumstances is rarely if ever a good idea, it teaches them that their parents marriage was based on a lie and that a loveless marriage is their norm too. Look at what your H learnt about relationships, his parents showed him a dreadful example which he has gone onto simply replicate with you. Like his parents, he remains selfish by putting his own self interest above anyone else's.

You do not owe this man a relationship.

dimots Tue 24-Jan-17 15:13:47

This is a man, I think. If he leaves, it will probably have to be without his children.

dimots Tue 24-Jan-17 15:15:19

Oh and divorce does not necessarly equal '2 happy parents' not by a long shot.

Dothehokeykokey Tue 24-Jan-17 15:17:18

Hi all.

Yes I am the man. My wife is in no doubt that I am unhappy and want things to change but doesn't seem arsed, and just keeps calling me selfish.

To be honest I wonder about the wellbeing of someone who refuses to engage in any conversation about anything other than the kids such as repairing our own relationship, and who seems to be happy to just trudge through life.

Having said that she works part time in a much more sociable environment than I do (the only people I talk to are clients and suppliers, self employed) and also has plenty of friends from the school and other activities in the week.

It is me, the selfish one, who has given up all hobbies and socialising in order to accommodate the rest of the family.

user1479305498 Tue 24-Jan-17 15:18:03

OP, are you male or female? really unusual to get a guy who is obsessed by his kids to the detriment of an adult relationship

PaterPower Tue 24-Jan-17 15:19:33

Interesting how different the responses are, based on whether the person assumes the OP is a man or woman.

My assumption is that OP is the husband / man in this situation (although maybe I'm stereotyping). Not many blokes take 3 hour baths to "escape."

Whichever sex you are, please don't have an affair. If the situation becomes intolerable (and it does sound pretty dire) then separate if she won't entertain counselling or make any sort of changes. But tell her what needs to change and why, and give her the opportunity to do something about it.

Bear in mind that if you do split, it means you won't see the kids every day, and might even mean you don't see them more than eow with the odd weekday night. I can tell you, from ongoing bitter experience, that the "Family" courts don't think much of Dads, no matter how hands on they've been and you should be prepared for the worst (at least then anything better comes as a bonus).

TwitterQueen1 Tue 24-Jan-17 15:20:30

You have my sympathy OP (though apparently not anyone else's!)

You are not wrong to want / need to change things.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 24-Jan-17 15:23:16

One day your children will leave home, and sooner rather than later if this is what its like at home. They are not daft and they notice more than either of you have perhaps given them credit for. They notice that their parent's own relationship is not quite like the relationship their friends parents have. I sincerely hope they do not blame their own selves.

What do you want to teach your children about relationships, surely not this example of one?. The other party brought their own set of damaging lessons into this and what that person saw in their childhood is simply being replayed in this marriage now.

You do not owe anyone a relationship.

fallenempires Tue 24-Jan-17 15:33:19

It sounds a thoroughly miserable existence.She has definitely checked out of the marriage.You have a right to be happy but please don't go down the route of seeking another relationship until you have properly ended your marriage.
Staying in a marriage because children are involved is very destructive to everybody concerned,the dcs are more perceptive than you give them credit for and thrive best in a home where the adults have a loving relationship.

Catherinebee85 Tue 24-Jan-17 15:34:36

If she's not willing to change and calls you 'sad' for wanting more excitement, more time with her and a better quality relationship etc then it's clear this relationship is over. If she really doesn't 'get it' then she probably is very narrow minded and short sighted partly because of her experiences growing up.

In terms of money...people cope and you would cope. It can't be a reason to stay in a position so sad and so harmful to you, your partner and your children. You could be a better and happier dad with less money.

You just need to be open with her and straightforward. You're in your 40s, you're sad, feel unloved, feel unwanted, love your children immensely but want an adult life in your own right too with balance and hobbies. You're not asking for anything unreasonable. Just be prepared for this to be massively twisted against you.

Maybe get some legal advice first and look into accommodation etc?

dimots Tue 24-Jan-17 15:35:39

If he leaves he will be teaching his children that it is ok to walk out without seriously trying to save the marriage. He should sit his wife down and tell her how badly he feels. Give her a chance to address it.

fallenempires Tue 24-Jan-17 15:37:49

Yes everything that Attilla posted.
I am divorced btw,yes I did worry endlessly about the effect it would have on my dcs but I knew that the effect of a loveless marriage was far more damaging.

fallenempires Tue 24-Jan-17 15:40:07

dimots it sounds as though OP has tried repeatedly sadly.

Every1lovesPatsy Tue 24-Jan-17 15:45:30

Would you consider an au sort out washing and allow for evenings off and maybe an occasional weekend away?

What's going on at the moment is completely unsustainable. You might even get someone else's au pair just to do a Saturday night for you both and see if that allows for any fun to re-ignite in your relationship.

It sounds like your wide has checked out of the romantic relationship....but I m wondering can anything be done to help her check back in?

If she wont make the effort then you need to think if it is possible to move on with love and respect. Caring for the children evenly and allowing for some time off each.

I've never had so much time off since I separated from my ex-husband, one week on and one week off. It works out fine. We spend time together too.

TheNaze73 Tue 24-Jan-17 15:46:36

You're only mid 40's, you'll have 30 years+ of tedium with her if you stay.

Get out, that isn't healthy

Dothehokeykokey Tue 24-Jan-17 15:50:40

"If he leaves he will be teaching his children that it is ok to walk out without seriously trying to save the marriage. He should sit his wife down and tell her how badly he feels. Give her a chance to address it."

Who says I haven't seriously tried to save the marriage or give her a chance to address it?

I regularly ask if we can both meet somewhere in the day for a talk but she is always busy with friends.

I ask if we can sit down when the kids are in bed but she vanishes to the bath, then slopes off to bed without telling me because it's gone midnight and she is tired.

She cancelled three sessions I arranged with a councillor because more important things came up.

The one time we did go she stormed out as soon as there was the slightest suggestion there maybe things she could do to help the situation (clearly there were things that came up that I could do to help as well, some expected and some which I hadn't really seen myself, which I guess is the point of the sessions)

Last night she said if I was so selfish I want things in my own life beyond the kids, and let's be clear I see more of my kids and do more with them than most others I know, and so am talking maybe three hours a week, that I should "go and find this perfect woman who is so much fun, and she couldn't give a shit.

I was hoping that by posting people may have some ideas how I communicate with someone like this, who I still love, but who I am genuinely beginning to think will expose our kids to negative views of life, what is and isn't selfish, the importance of having your own life as well as a family life, and a total inability to communicate.

Every1lovesPatsy Tue 24-Jan-17 15:51:59

Or you could have 10 years of tedium and then leave and the children will still be disrupted. If she has become like a sibling, then you can continue to love her and co-parent with her, but it's more platonic than romantic.

It might wake her up and re-ignite her interest in the opposite sex as well.

The downside of separating is you become a lot poorer and its harder to save.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: