To stay or go?(12 Posts)
Long post for background.
DH and I have been together 15 years. The last 5 have been really tough due to his stressful job and his addictive behaviours (resolved in the last 12 months) which made me emotionally disengage from him to get through it. During that time we also had our DC and I've had 2 miscarriages. He's mostly been unable/unwilling to give me practical and emotional support due to his addiction issues and depression. He also changed from the happy person I knew, into someone very negative.
I feel like I've been in survival mode to get through these last few years, just keeping going looking after our DC and going to work and letting a sense of grievance build up rather than addressing it. Since he's resolved his addiction issues (although still has depression) things have got better and we have a workable partnership. We get on well enough, have common goals, can sit and chat etc, but there's very little physical intimacy or affection and a lack of emotional closeness.
Over the last 2 months I've built up an emotional attachment (although no more than that) to another man. This was the wake up call I needed about how emotionally unsatisfied I am and how far our marriage has drifted. It shocked me into telling DH that I wasn't happy. I've explained how it got to this point (as described above) which he accepts, but obviously the attachment that I've developed with the OM has really upset and hurt him. We've moved earlier this year and he's changed job and keeps saying how this was supposed to be our 'fresh start' and I've ruined it.
The issue now is whether I try to rebuild our marriage. My DH wants to and says the decision rests with me.
On the plus side, he is fundamentally a good person, we get on well and have a good, comfortable life. The practical side of me says to stay and make it work, that I could be happy enough with that, he won't sink into depression and our DC will be happy. The thought of starting over again scares me and the thought of walking away from our shared past (the good parts of it) devastates me. On the other hand, my attachment to the OM (although not a viable relationship) has shown me what it's like to have that emotional closeness to someone. I struggle with the idea and the effort of trying to develop that with my DH - I'm not sure if we ever really had it, but I know we could have a 'good enough' workable marriage.
I feel that I need time and space to think about what I really want, but my DH is pushing for me to make a decision. How do I do this? I keep telling myself that I'm being silly, that lots of people have 'good enough' marriages and that I should make do with what I have.
Nah, good enough wouldn't want me to spend my life with that person, you are talking the best years of your life with someone who just isn't doing it for you anymore; sometimes relationships just come to a natural end, be honest, would you be with him if you were not tied with children; if you don't love him unconditionally then it's not really fair and it's definitely not fair to invest emotionally with OM when you are married!
Maybe you need a trial separation to see how you feel.
My honest opinion is that you will never be happy if you put up with good enough. In years to come, when your dc are all gown up what will you have left?
Your happiness is in your own hands and should not be dependant on how he is feeling.
Pp has a great idea, try a trial separation and see how you feel at the end of that
"He won't sink into depression"
He already has hasn't he?
Sometimes it's better to be brave and take a step into the unknown than plod along in the hope something willl suddenly become what it never has been.
"I'm not sure we ever really had it"
That bit is very important. How can you rebuild something that you never had?
Lots of people do plod on. My mum was one of them. Hated her life for much of it with a lack of intimacy that got worse as she got older and has led to the most unbelievable level of bitterness on her part. I feel like telling her that she has no one to blame but herself.
Only you can decide. It's not easy splitting up but what you have sounds difficult too.
I stopped reading at "addictive behaviours". These are always a work in progress, never truly resolved without active management.
Don't let the OM become a complication, your "closeness" is a fantasy.
Thanks @redgreenred for your message.
I can totally understand the dilemma that you're in and I know how hard it can be. There are a couple of things at play here which are really important for you to be aware of - if you aren't already.
As far as men are concerned, their primary objective in a relationship is to make his woman happy (contrary to public opinion). Nothing makes him feel better. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when he can't do that, he feels like a complete failure. In fact, it's even worse than that. It's as if he's not worthy or good enough. Most guys aren't sure how to make their woman happy, which is why they end up finding ways to distract themselves ie absorb themselves in work etc
Now from your perspective - correct me if i'm wrong, but I suspect part of your intention of telling your DH about the other guy was to get him to 'step up' and make more of an effort and create more passion and closeness in the marriage?
Unfortunately most guys fail to 'pass' this test. Why? Because rejection plays such a massive part in a mans ego and when you built a connection with the other guy, this would make him feel like he failed at the deepest level.
The truth is that, if you were to stay in the marriage as it is now - in the 'workable marriage' that you described it as - it will never make you fulfilled and in the long run, you will both suffer.
The main question I have for you is this - have you truly given everything you possibly can to create a passionate, loving marriage? If you genuinely feel you have, then ending the marriage might have to be an option.
However, most individuals fail to truly make a commitment to meet their partners needs - not how you think they want it but how they actually need it. Yes, this requires the other person to play ball as well but if you are meeting their needs, it's only natural that they will reciprocate or make a commitment to do so.
So before making any big decisions, you need to answer this question. Then and only then can you potentially explore leaving the relationship.
Hope that all makes sense.
Do you have a DD?
Would you wish this life on her?
What would you tell her if she had the same dilemma you are having?
I would imagine you'd tell her to live her life to her fullest.
Enjoy every minute of it.
You didn't bring your DC into the world to 'settle'
Neither did your parents!
Thanks for your comments. I think a trial separation would be a good idea to let things settle a bit and work out what I really want. I keep telling him I need time and space to think but he keeps pushing me to make a yes/no decision.
Hellsbells that's s great point. I don't have the closest relationship with my mum, but I want to talk to her about this and get her take on it. One of my fears is how upset my parents will be - if my mum would come out fighting for my right to be happy I'd feel so much more supported if I do decide to move on.
You know that your OP is scared of a trial separation because you will function perfectly well without him.
I sympathise, I'm unhappy having discovered a medium term liaison from 11 years ago only a few months ago and yet my husband is pushing us to leave the UK. I'm thinking separation too just to be able to think clearly without the 'pushing' hugs to you
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