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What to do about relationship(12 Posts)
Have posted before about elements of this but never in one go for anonymity (hence the name change!).
I left my DH a few years ago as I fell in love with someone else. There was nothing wrong with my DH (good man, solid relationship, mostly supportive and understanding) and we had DD (then 4) together. I just couldn't see myself with him forever with these strong feelings for someone else so I left and in due course began a relationship with now DP. There was no overlap or affair, just had amazing chemistry with him and I had a feeling like nothing else I'd experienced.
XH obviously took this badly but we muddle along now sharing custody of DD and are good friends, so much so we occasionally get mistaken for H&W still as we attend mutual social events and keep each other company. He disapproves of my relationship with DP but is supportive of me as his DD's mother.
I still feel incredibly guilty about leaving. He's doing fine though and DD has adjusted well to us being apart - in fact, she gets the best of us both now due to the new setup - so it's a heart rather than a head thing, my feelings about it.
So new DP and I have had a rocky relationship due to many reasons - we both have pasts with traumatic events, both have young DDs, both have issues with MH at times and have had very little support from friends and family (together and individually) as people don't 'approve' of me leaving XH for him and assume we'd been having a LT affair.
We split last autumn but have been working on getting back together for about 5 months now as I found out I was pregnant. I love him so much and he makes me very happy when it's just us but the difficulty is, due to our current separate lives as parents, both in high pressure jobs and with his family disapproving of our relationship and his DD very uncertain of me as she's used to it just being the two of them, it's just so hard to be together and not be in state of anxiety or worry about something. It's one thing after another being thrown at us.
I just want it to be easier for us both. When we get the odd day or evening just us, we're both so happy with each other. The rest of the time it just feels like no one wants us to be happy. Everything is a struggle and it makes me feel more guilty for leaving a comfortable relationship for one that's tumultuous due to external pressures.
Any advice for me? It's not meaning to sound like a sob story and I realise in some ways I am very lucky but it's such a tiring relationship. Not because of DP but getting our relationship to fit into the wider world!
Are you pregnant now? When are you due? Are you actually together now?
its a new relationship and I think it needs more time for other people to get used to it.
Maybe you allow others to define you? You sound invested in how others view you.
I found Meditation & Mindfulness extremely useful. One focus is on 'responding not reacting' to others.
Or therapy, or couples therapy?
Yes I'm pregnant and due next month. We are planning to move in together later in the summer. We have couples therapy together every fortnight at the moment. For the most part, it's really helped us but 95% of the issues are all external - helping us to deal with blending a family (his DD is very difficult, mine enjoys spending time with them and is very excited about the new baby).
I'm so torn and it's causing me a lot of anxiety - I swing between being glad that we are together as our relationship is very special and feeling guilty for leaving my XH who I lived a comfortable and mostly straightforward life with.
bluebell I think we would have muddled along quite happily at times but I would have been frustrated with a 'is this it?' feeling
You say there was no affair with dp while with DH - but did you know what dp thought of you or was it a giant leap of faith? No judgement, just curious.
I knew he had feelings for me, yes. It was hard not to know to be honest as we saw each other occasionally in a work capacity and were both almost paralysed by them!
That said, we split briefly due to various reasons (broadly a huge amount of stress on us both) and in that time I was 'single', aside from missing him and the feelings I was happy. So I think I would have always stayed with XH had DP not come on the scene but actually a leap of faith and subsequent singledom wouldn't have been the end of the world.
You loved your ex H. Your marriage had settled into a bit of a rut, as marriages do, especially when the children are young.
You had your head turned by the prospect of sex with someone new and exciting.
But life with the new exciting guy turned out to be complicated by family and children and friends and social judgement etc.
Here's what I think you should do:
Give your ex H more space to find a new partner. All this attending social events together and people think you're married is stopping him from finding someone new. Turn that guilt into action and let him go and be happy with someone not you. You've burned your boats, stop clinging on out of guilt. It's not fair to you, him or your new partner.
Find a way to accept his daughter's feelings and stop comparing her unfavourably to yours. They have had different experiences. Their different behaviours are not because of inherent character virtues or flaws but because of their different experiences.
Develop new friends who are not related to your past. Your old friends and family are judging your past behaviour and may not ever get past that. You, individually and as a couple, need a new social circle who will like you for you without preconceptions.
The new baby and moving in together are major events in an already rocky situation. Keep up the couple's therapy.
If it all goes tits up, you know you can be happy alone. Don't expect your exH to welcome you back with open arms. Be prepared to be on your own, at least for a while.
Oh dear, the new baby is going to be very hard on his daughter, isn't it? You haven't resolved her sharing him with you, yet, let alone another sibling.
Honestly, I would not be going ahead with the plan to move in with a man (despite the baby) that I had to be in counselling with. For both your existing children's sakes, why not wait until you're actually sure as you can be that your relationship will be successful?
I don't believe that it's almost entirely external factors that are causing the problems. The problem will be how you both react to those external factors - and that makes it internal factors. Which is good, because you can work on those. Like his family disapproving. So what? Choose how you react to that.
I really don't think you sound like you should be living together though - far too much unresolved stuff.
Thanks both that's really useful.
When I say 'social events' I mean a very limited scope of things such as school events. We no longer both attend functions etc. of mutual friends or family. I'd be really happy if he met someone and was happy. He's a good man and deserves it. I certainly don't want to go back to him but I cherish his friendship and co-parenting.
I've told DP we need a new circle of friends but it's proving very difficult to find time to explore this with the demands of work and a complex family situation so has taken a back seat but would help us both a lot I think.
The struggles with his DD - by his own admission she's very difficult and he's at a loss what to do with her sometimes. The biggest challenge is that she wants it just to be the two of them but that's very intense and she also wants a 'normal family' - I can see she's very conflicted with that. It precipitates as pushing him/behaving badly for attention (which she gets, they spend a lot of time together and I give plenty of space for as I understand and do the same with my DD) even when it's just the two of them.
On the flip side, she looks to me as a mother figure and I pick up a lot of 'mum things' with her that I do with my own DD to make sure she's not left out. She knows I make her Daddy happy too and sometimes she's absolutely fine with me. Just very unpredictable.
It's all very helpful though so thanks. I think I will talk to him about the moving in but I also think actually being together would really help as currently spending 2-3 nights a week together (I go when my DD is with XH) is not really enough.
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