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has anyone decided to KOKO with a not-great-but-not-abusive relationship?

(39 Posts)
stealtheatingtunnocks Mon 13-Mar-17 17:02:01

Been married for 15 years. The last 5 have been poor, just little time spent together and drifting along, like many couples. Prior to that, it wasn't great as one of our kids was chronically sick. And, before that, it wasn't great because I had storming PND.

So, we kind of avoid each other and are exasperated with each other. But, he's polite, he works hard, he's a good dad (or, as good as he can be) and he says he wants the marriage to work and that he loves me. Just not, it seems, enough to actually want to spend time with me, plan anything together, share a bed, have a laugh or touch me.

I can't decide whether it's best to limp on, keeping our vows, and being borderline fed up, or, finish it because life is too fucking short.

The kids are happy and secure, we'd be reasonable parents if apart.

I did make vows. I meant them. But...

So, has anyone just made the best of a slightly-less-than-average marriage?

PlymouthMaid1 Mon 13-Mar-17 17:08:10

not sure what KOKO means?

Keepithidden Mon 13-Mar-17 17:15:53

Keep on keeping on - KOKO

Keepithidden Mon 13-Mar-17 17:17:39

But yes, I have. Its the only way to keep access to DCs. Not sure what will happen when they reach adulthood though. I don't know how it's affecting them either. Its a big worry to me.

stealtheatingtunnocks Mon 13-Mar-17 17:27:01

That's what I'm wrestling with, Keep.

Kids are great, really lovely people. They are happy...<deep breath>


we are not a good model of a healthy relationship. We are more like flatmates than a loving couple, facing life together. My DH would not piss on me if I was on fire, I really do not want them having a relationship like mine.


romantic love is perhaps oversold. He's loyal, works hard for us, has a lot of responsibility and is doing his best.

he's cold, distant and entitled.


I don't know what sort of Pandora's box I'll be opening by leaving. I could be misjudging everything.

If I'm going to go then before the summer is the best time to do it. Biggest Tunnocks will be doing exam courses after that - which means the next decade as they unfold for three kids. I'd not disrupt that. I'd rather keep plodding on.

Only, it's fucking lonely.

PlymouthMaid1 Mon 13-Mar-17 17:44:39

Ah KOKO ty

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 13-Mar-17 17:52:34

Kids are great, really lovely people. They are happy...<deep breath>
we are not a good model of a healthy relationship

Precisely, but you are being honest here and have actually written that.

However, by being with this man you are doing your bit here to show your children that currently at least, this is acceptable to you.

This is not just a slightly less than an average marriage though is it?.
Women in poor relationships often write the "good dad" comment when they themselves can write nothing at all positive about their man. You describe him as cold, entitled and distant. How does the good dad image fit in with that?. It does not; you cannot square the circle. He is NOT a good dad if he treats you, his wife and the mother of his children, like this. How is he showing you that he wants the marriage to work; words are cheap after all. Its actions that count.

Children are perceptive, they know all too well when things are not good at home and have not been for a long time. Also they likely know and have heard (sound travels) far more than either of you care to realise; you're both staying together really for your own selfish reasons (your H is particular is guilty of that charge). That's currently the long and short of it. They pick up on all the vibes both spoken and unspoken; they see all too clearly that you avoid each other, not share a bed and are exasperated with each other.

What do you want to teach them about relationships?.

What do you think your children are learning about relationships here?
You are both showing your children that a loveless marriage is their "norm" too; do not do that to them by showing them that yes this is how people do treat others in a relationship.

One of you will have to be the grown up here and it won't ever be him. So you need to start planning to leave and sooner rather than later. Some posters on this site have openly stated that their parents should have separated far earlier than they did when they were children; staying for them really did place a huge unwelcome burden upon them.

One day your children will leave home and sooner rather than later if things carry on as they are. They won't want to visit either of you very often. They won't thank either of you for staying together and they're certainly not going to say to you, "thanks mum" for staying with him. They will call you daft for doing so and wonder why you put him before them.

BitchQueen90 Mon 13-Mar-17 20:03:27

I left mine. No cheating, no abuse, nothing going on like that. We were just like strangers in our own home. He got back from work, I made dinner, we would eat in silence. I bathed DS and put him to bed while exH played Xbox. I then got into bed and watched TV all evening, while he played Xbox. We barely spoke, never did anything together. It was shit.

My view is that life is too short, and I don't believe in "staying together for the children." Luckily though mine was a straightforward situation - we both felt the same way and agreed we did not want to be together. We rented and had never shared a bank account so no complicated financial situation and he was happy for me to be the RP and he to have regular access to DS. It was all very amicable and I know it's not that easy for everyone.

stealtheatingtunnocks Mon 13-Mar-17 20:11:01

I totally agree, Atilla. I've also got a nagging niggle that maybe my expectations are too high - I've read "relationships" for years, what am I moaning about?

He is doing his best. He is doing a good job of looking after us, just, not a great one, and only on his terms.

And, to be fair to him, our marriage has been a series of dramas. He could be forgiven for having abandoned me when I was mad with PND, distant and absorbed with the kid's illness and now, fairly pissed off with him.

I don't think I'm putting DH before the kids. The opposite, really. They need their dad, and, I'm not sure what he'd do if I left him. If he collapsed in a heap, and I broke their dad because he bored me - well, that's a bit shit too.

stealtheatingtunnocks Mon 13-Mar-17 20:12:18

Bitch, I'm really quite jealous!

Glad it went smoothly for you. Your ex was in complete agreement? Mine is not. Doesn't want us to split up, but, nor does he want to do anything to pull us together - well, he talks about it, but, doesn't do it.

stealtheatingtunnocks Mon 13-Mar-17 20:12:51

Thanks guys.

I'm mulling.

BitchQueen90 Mon 13-Mar-17 21:02:37

stealth yeah, it was a big relief for us both in the end. DS was only 10 months so it was quite an easy transition. DS and I moved out (exH was a much higher earner than me and I couldn't afford the rent for that place on my own) and the year I left was the best year of my life. I felt free.

If your DH made a real effort to change do you think you would feel any different?

Keepithidden Mon 13-Mar-17 21:30:29

I tend to think like Attila described, I'm doing a disservice to DCs, but what if the partner thinks it is totally normal for a relationship, is quite happy and is indeed the product of such a relationship? I can see us replicating PILs marriage.

Surely if they're happy and the DCs appear to be, the doom and gloom DCs disowning their parents may not come to fruition?

The alternative in my case is being a non resident parent with little prospect of a suitable home for me and for DCs for years to come.

Kuverty Mon 13-Mar-17 22:10:51

I'm sorry but you can't expect to forever live in the infatuation phrase where you both shag constantly, look longingly in each others eyes and just live of "love". Back in the day people understood that marriage was a partnership and sometimes in quite a business like sense - after the initial phase, it was understood things become more about raising children together, taking on responsibilities and fulfilling them. I feel like people these days believe the media hype too much and try too hard to chase infatuation and a constant state of arousal.

If he is good to you and the children what more do you want? Please realise these ideal Prince Charming characters just don't exist, everyone has faults.

BackInTheRoom Mon 13-Mar-17 22:35:30

I'd try and work on your marriage first. In the meantime have a look on Amazon for books by John Gottman, why some marriages fail or succeed. He explains the problems in marriages.

BoringUsername17 Mon 13-Mar-17 23:36:35

Would you consider couples counselling OP? It sounds like you and your DH have been through a lot of difficult times due to illness. Might it be worth a shot to try and spend some time really thinking it through properly with a good counsellor.

OFGSIsItTheWeekendYet Tue 14-Mar-17 07:41:57

If there's no real animosity, screaming arguments or danger involved I'd suggest couple counselling to your dh. Infact I wouldn't be suggesting it I'd be making it a stipulation if the marriage was to continue.
Yes you made vows but that doesn't mean you have to stay in an unhappy, damaging half marriage.
I accept that your vows are important and agree that you must try, for yourself as well as your dc, everything to make it work first but then if nothing has changed you must end it to be happy.
If you carry on like you are nothing will change, so try the counselling, you both need to commit to it 100% and then if things don't improve you can walk away knowing you gave it your best shot.
You may be two people who shouldn't be married to eachother, who are blaming the tough times for how things are when in reality you're just not what the other needs or wants, may be two people who are capable of creating a loving and fulfilling partnership but have lost their way because of some very tough years. Only you two can establish which one it is, but before you throw the towel in I think you should try with some professional help. It will take effort and time and changes from both of you but if you determine it's the first one then leave, we all deserve to be happy and if children have two happy parents, whether together or apart, they will be OK.

stealtheatingtunnocks Tue 14-Mar-17 07:49:14

This is really helpful, thanks, folks.

We are in marriage counselling. He is making time in his week to come, and speaks during the sessions. He does not action anything, though - which frustrates me It's as if he is paying lip service to it, that if he humours me through this 12 week process I'll shut up.

He has a similar background to that which you describe, Atilla. Loyalty matters (he'd be livid if he knew I was sharing this stuff), and life is not meant to be fun, what matters is a good work ethic.

I do think, quite honestly, that I am being spoiled. I have a lovely house, a man who provides far more income than I could, three kids who are secure and bright, one of whom had a rough few years but who got free, excellent treatment on our doorstep and is absolutely fine. I have a lot to be grateful for and millions of women across the world would swap with me.

I said for better and for worse. I didn't expect the for worse to have quite so much longevity...

Properjob Tue 14-Mar-17 07:53:01

Hi Hidden my DH or STBXH and I have been living like this for a while although we actually did a lot of social things together. We tried Relate in the past. Now he wants a divorce just before our 60th birthdays. I would crack on with counselling and don't leave it too long before you make a decision. Our DD is at Uni and burying herself in work, which some kids will. Our son was badly affected when we had many rows during our stressful time in the past. Follow your instincts and don't settle for loneliness. Good luck.

stealtheatingtunnocks Tue 14-Mar-17 08:01:57

Thanks, Proper.

See, my happiness is my responsibility. I can provide the things he can't - like a social life. I'm quite comfortable going out without him, I have a wide circle of friends, my work is fulfilling, my own family is close and the ONLY thing missing is a sense of being a team.

But, that is quite a big thing to live without.

I'm hoping that counselling will help us find each other as a support again. That would solve a lot of problems!

Cosmicglitterpug Tue 14-Mar-17 08:16:06

No personal experience here, I've only been married a few years, but you're describing my parents' marriage. They tolerated each other for 39 years until last year my dad at 69 decided to leave my mother. She barely flinched. The thing is. As a child and a teenager I knew they didn't like each other and although they didn't row there was this atmosphere in the house that was really depressing and I used to wish they'd get divorced. I know that's easier said than done but I know they stayed together for the three of us and I wish they hadn't and made a new life for themselves.

PenelopeChipShop Tue 14-Mar-17 09:48:30

Oh my word. I came on to start a thread but I think this is it. I'm in the same boat Stealth. I'm well aware that my life looks great from the outside. Kids are almost 5 and almost 1, both healthy, both (mostly!) lovely. Would help if the baby would sleep but we all have those trials! DH is a high earner - think six figures. Works in the city, high powered, successful, fit (works out every week) handsome, charming. I even live near my mum so have help on hand if kids are ill or something.

BUT... DH had an emotional affair which I found out about when I was newly pregnant with our daughter. Turned out it had been going on the whole time we were actively 'trying' for her when, as far as I was concerned, we were totally happy.

Since then he just seems to have gone off me entirely. I have caught him watching porn in the home office while I thought he was working and I was loooking after the kids. I have found a secret stash of that pill you take to get a hard-on - too tired to remember the name! Some were used. He claimed he just took it to see what it was like, but certainly didn't use them with me.

After our DD was born he was impatient to get our sex life back, to the point of pressuring me and guilt tripping me (I'm talking at like 2/3 months after traumatic labour and c section). But then around the time I finally got my Mojo back a bit (maybe six months ago?) he totally lost interest and NEVER wants sex.

I don't think he loves me anymore. But the only thing I've done 'wrong' is discover the messages between him and this girl, which started so many problems between us. I don't trust him anymore. He never lets his phone out of his sight and I don't know the password anyway.

Four days a week he is out of the house 6am to 9, 10 or even later at night. He is around at weekends but is so tired he doesn't want to do much or play with the kids. Just watches tv and does random 'jobs' like jet washing the path that don't really need doing snyway! I feel like he's a different person to the man I fell in love with, but he would probably say the same.

Crikey sorry I couldn't stop typing. I just keep thinking as I go about everything on my own, that I might as well actually be alone and stop pretending theres someone by my side, because it doesn't feel like there is.

Properjob Tue 14-Mar-17 14:21:08

That sounds grim Penelope however I understand the worry of letting go of that financial security. But the kids are so young you have a brilliant chance of making it on your own.
My experience post partum (lucky straightforward but long labour) was persuaded to have sex after two weeks. It was too soon and it hurt, but we do these things for our men don't we?? flowers to you

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 14-Mar-17 14:40:01


re your comment:-
"He is doing a good job of looking after us, just, not a great one, and only on his terms".

So he really is not doing a good job at all then is he particularly if it is only on his terms (i.e. there is benefit to him). There is no I in team after all. I also think his participation in marriage counselling is one of lip service designed to keep you quiet.

its not the legacy you want to leave your children Tunnocks, it really isn't. And I do not think you've been spoiled either. Your expectations are reasonable and he is not keeping his end of the deal mainly and purely because he is a selfish and distant individual. Look at his parents too Tunnocks, how similar is he to they?. What did he learn about relationships from them?.

stealtheatingtunnocks Tue 14-Mar-17 14:55:03

Penelope, that's rough. If you're having to juggle trust issues as well as young kids, that's really tough going.

Mine's got a jet wash too...

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