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Could I have made it work? Did it have to end?

(25 Posts)
Forwardsforwards Thu 30-Mar-17 19:29:11

Hi all. Occasional poster, frequent lurker here, struggling with the fact I ended my marriage.
I'm troubled by my decision, but not sure why, or where the feelings have come from.

Married 11 years, together 14 at time of split 18 months ago. 3 DCs.
Ex was self-centred, a stone-waller, virtually asexual, grumpy, resentful. He never took me out, pursued time-consuming hobbies.

Me, well, I am too much of an open book, very loyal and supportive, former people pleaser. But, argumentative at times, and fairly emotional.

Could I have tried harder I wonder? Did I do enough counselling and therapy (several years worth) Have I let my kids down?

No chance of reconciliation. I'm not sure I even like him. To be fair, a lot of his behaviour is identical to his family's. I wonder was he capable of change and didn't want to, or couldn't change, in case I've been unfair on him?

Sorry for meandering post. I'm desperately trying to rationalize the situation.

ImperialBlether Thu 30-Mar-17 19:31:37

It sounds like you were living with someone who wasn't nice at all. Why are you wondering whether you could have tried harder? Do you think you could have changed his personality if you'd tried harder? He is who he is and it sounds as though you've now got a chance of freedom. I'd grab it and wouldn't look back.

Heirhelp Thu 30-Mar-17 19:32:31

Ex was self-centred, a stone-waller, virtually asexual, grumpy, resentful. He never took me out, pursued time-consuming hobbies.

No because of above. You can change anyone's behaviour. It is interesting that you know that you are a people pleaser as this post suggests you want to please others not yourself in regards to your decision to end the relationship.

GreenPeppers Thu 30-Mar-17 19:36:00

Nope you couldn't.
Because when a relationship is breaking and you want to save it BOTH partners need to make an effort and change whateverbit is that is not working.
So it could be that you needed to not be such a people pleaser but it looks like your ex had a hell of a lot of work to do. That he didn't do so even if you had more tons more work on yourSelf, gone to counselling everyday etc... it would never have been enough. You making a lot of efforts cannot compensate for him making none.

Whether your ex didn't want to do the work or couldn't do it doesn't matter. The bottom line is that his behaviour was making your life impossible and there was no reason for you to swallow that up or try to make it better or just accept it 'because he couldn't help it'.

GreenPeppers Thu 30-Mar-17 19:37:37

Btw you haven't let your dcs down by not trying harder.
Actually you have done the opposite. You have taught them that it's OK to stand up for yourself and that you don't have to accept crappy behaviour just because.

You've done your dcs a favour there.

QuiteLikely5 Thu 30-Mar-17 19:39:51


You have absolutely done the right thing!

Life is too short to put up with the above on a consistent basis.

Dont doubt yourself

angelicjen Thu 30-Mar-17 19:50:33

I'd understand if he was wondering what he should have done differently but no, sounds like you did the right thing. Embrace your new life and be happy.

Forwardsforwards Thu 30-Mar-17 19:58:35

Thanks just quickly scanned your replies.
Interesting to read that I could have done all the work in.the world and it probably wouldn't have been enough...

heir spot on. I don't think I know how to please myself. I think I need to learn about boundaries. I tried to reinforce them during our marriage, but he'd invariably end up suiting himself anyway.
Im hoping to start some counselling soon.will help me move forward....

I spent so long wondering if I could dare end it. We'd had problems from the start, I was in despair for so long.

highinthesky Thu 30-Mar-17 20:07:02

Ex was self-centred, a stone-waller, virtually asexual, grumpy, resentful. He never took me out, pursued time-consuming hobbies.

Google "four horsemen of the apocalypse" and the try to convince yourself that you were wrong to finish it. You'll only be respected by first respecting yourself, and ending it send out exactly the right message.

He ain't gonna change and God help the next woman he ends up with.

Shayelle Thu 30-Mar-17 20:09:44

Fuck no!! Start living your life. Be happy x

Hermonie2016 Thu 30-Mar-17 21:12:07

Do you think he has questioned his behaviour? I bet the answer is no! It definitely takes 2 to work on issues, a successful relationship is where each partner reaches out to the other.

You did the right thing.
Has your ex moved on to someone else?

Forwardsforwards Thu 30-Mar-17 21:36:47

Not as far as I know. Nor have I. Tried OLD for a bit however I don't think its for me.

I firmly believe it takes two to make a relationship but only one to ruin it.
Thanks all for your thoughtful posts. Maybe this is all part of the healing process.

As for what's next? No flaming idea. Don't know how to flirt, don't know how to tell if someone is flirting with me. Kids have already said that I can have a boyfriend, that I deserve to be happy possibly influenced by pop culture I think

Forwardsforwards Thu 30-Mar-17 21:38:00

Hermione how are things with you? I read your thread about your relationship issues...

pudding21 Thu 30-Mar-17 22:26:52

highinthesky: thanks for the tip about the four horsemen and relationships. Its really interesting to see it in that way.

I left 8 weeks ago a 21 year relationship which was increasingly emotionally abusive. Despite this I still doubt myself everyday and can't quite tell ex that its over for good. It makes interesting reading. Thanks.

Hermonie2016 Thu 30-Mar-17 23:11:24

I'm glad you have posted as I think it's common for reasonable, emotional intelligent people to look at their behaviour and take responsibility for a relationship breakdown.

I very much doubt your ex is doing any soul searching..more likely blaming you.

Stbxh is still behaving as he did in the marriage, nice when it's easy for him (and suits his agenda) but on the important issues such as fairness on finances and communicating for the benefit of children he is hostile.This shows the real man and from a distance its easier to see - no consideration for anyone unless it has an advantage for him.

Forwardsforwards Thu 30-Mar-17 23:13:58

Ill read when my brain isn't so addled!

Green . "You making a lot of efforts cannot compensate for him making none."

Finally realising that that's my life.....

Forwardsforwards Thu 30-Mar-17 23:17:56

Sounds familiar Hermione He didn't like me disagreeing. Didn't like me playing devil's advocate.
I was on a hiding to nothing there. it was a lose|lose relationship for me.

HumpMeBogart Thu 30-Mar-17 23:18:06

My parents had a terrible marriage - emotional abuse on both sides, daily screaming arguments, sporadic violence. I grew up with zero self-esteem and believing that's what 'real' relationships were like. It really messed me up and despite a lot of counselling, I'll probably never have a serious relationship. It's too late for me to have kids.

What I'm trying to say is that you've done something good by giving your DCs a different model. You've shown them that you're worth more. I wish my parents had spilt years ago and gone on to find new partners. Two happy homes - or even just content ones - is way way better than one unhappy one.

Forwardsforwards Fri 31-Mar-17 07:54:44


I'm interested in people's perspectives who did make it work and if they've done something different to make it work?

BadRespawn Fri 31-Mar-17 08:07:03

In the nicest possible way, why are you torturing yourself over this? The general consensus is that no amount of effort or change in approach would have worked with someone who was/is fundamentally unwilling to make changes or compromises for the sake of their relationship and family. You can lead a horse to water, as the saying goes, but you can't make it drink. It sounds like you exhausted all options available to you before sensibly calling time on a non-functioning relationship dynamic.

blackteasplease Fri 31-Mar-17 08:19:39


This is exactly like my relationship wity stbxh - it almost feels like you are someone posting on my behalf!

I am exactly the same personality type as you - open book, tries hard to please others and do the right thing, but can be emptional and argumentative especially when pushed.

Ex exactly like yours. Im so grateful for the fourhorsemen link - thats him in a nutshell.

Im still trying to get mine out of the house/ get an agreed settlement but it looks like Im going to have to go through the courts to sort it out....

WeAreNotInKansasAnymore Fri 31-Mar-17 08:21:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Forwardsforwards Sat 01-Apr-17 19:36:35

Thanks, that's true... the emotional battering has been pretty severe.

I am torturing myself. Getting perspectives is helping massively.

I'm often plagued with self-doubt. Constantly reviewing my decisions, questioning my motives. But; that's a hangover from a critical and anxious mother...

Trying to untie it all. On a waiting list for counselling. Ironically, my professional life couldn't be better. Earning a very healthy salary, great autonomy. Lovely colleagues.

Grateful for that and three healthy, thriving children.

Forwardsforwards Sat 01-Apr-17 19:39:34

Ps, ex didnt move out for 6 months after we separated. Wouldn't sleep on sofa unless I did too. (Alternating)
So, we shared a bed shock. Not pleasant.
Much further on now. Lives much more separate.

Forwardsforwards Sat 01-Apr-17 20:25:22

Interesting link about authenticity in relationships and being able to be your best self.

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