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My marriage is over isn't it?(26 Posts)
Name changed for this, hoping for help to think clearly and stop second guessing myself.
Married 12 years, 5 years infertility during which our relationship became very strained, then two children now aged 6 and 3.
No physical affection for years - no hugs, no kisses, some very awkward hugs when we have to e.g. Christmas day in front of the kids. No sex since dd was conceived, and only about 3-4 times per year before that.
interaction is mainly around the kids or transactional. When we're alone together after kids in bed dh doesn't want to talk, just looks at phone. We still do have good conversations about the kids though and enjoy parenting together.
The most difficult thing for me is that dh gives all his energy to his job, which he took just after dd was born. He works approx 50-60 hours per week including late evenings and weekends but only gets paid a lowish salary based on 45 hours. I am the main wage earner but am knackered from working full time, doing the housework and childcare, and only seeing him one day a week where we also have to cram in house work, taking kids out etc. I feel that our married and family life is being sacrificed for his work which only just pays for itself after childcare. We've argued about this for 3 years now and he says he sees it is difficult but doesn't plan to change because he likes his job and doesn't see any better ones in his industry.
I set up couples counselling last year but he didn't bother to go through with his part of the registration.
So I've been thinking and reading for ages and at the weekend finally had the conversation with dh and said I think we should now separate. He agreed. And immediately have been hit by waves of sadness and grief and am now thinking we should try again. I've lived with him all my adult life and I still love him and I'm so worried about the kids.
Then this week he told me he'd been sleeping with someone else occasionally for the past 18 months. Of course I'm gutted but it just seems another example of not being committed to me and our family. Then the day later broke down and said he was so sorry and 'is there any way back for us?' He's suggested just giving up his job. he says he's realised what he stands to lose.
I'm so tempted to say yes and try again. It's so good to hear he actually cares about the situation and we actually had a real conversation for the first time in ages. But there would now be trust issues and I could just see us in a year's time being in exactly the same place.
Why can't I just stay strong and stick with the decision to split? We've been unhappy in this marriage for years. It's not realistic to think it might suddenly get better is it?
Sorry for the long one. My head is a mess.
Blimey. Yes. Over.
See this as a good thing. Honesty. Permission for you to move on. He is admitting infidelity so perhaps (?) that helps with no blame divorce?
Would marriage counselling be an option now?
Would you both want to give it a go if you both want to give your marriage a chance?
I don't see why you couldn't try one more time if that's what you both really want.
If you feel you want it to be over then of course go through with it, but if you want to give it one more try attempt counselling. See if your DH will put the effort in this time?
You can't stay strong because you have kids involved and that's ok! You also can't stick to your word because you've been with this same parter for many years! It's ok to feel like that! But do you want to get back together in worry or I things go straight back to the way they were because it's comfortable. Try hard to stick to it , it will be hard but it gets easier I promise you!
At the start I was going to say he's emotionally disconnected from you and then you mention the affair.
He is down playing it..18 months is a very long time.
He sounds very selfish and don't expect that to change.His promises now are likely to be empty gestures as he realises the impact but changing who he is, selfish & very deceptive is pretty tricky.
You could have chosen to have an affair but didn't..focus on what you want and can you really accept him as he is now?
Your children are young and this is actually easier to deal with.If he doesn't change its likely you be here in 3 years time..only less confident.
If you separate he will have to step up with parenting and household chores..suspect he realises that.
What's he worried about losing? You or your income? Sorry, but if he's had the libido to shag someone else his lack of physical affection is just that he isn't remotely interssted in you. You can't fix something that was never working to begin with.
Thank you everyone, I needed to hear it from other people. He only told me about the affair because someone threatened to tell me themselves. At that moment I'm more angry about that than the affair itself as he'd have let me carry the responsibility for deciding to split.
If you both really want to make it work who are we to say you can't? But ask yourself what exactly it is that you want from the relationship? Are you chasing something that you haven't had for years? Have you got realistic expectation for the future? Are you both willing to go through counselling and deal with resentment and jealousy in light of what he's confessed to? Is he willing to change? Are you? These are all things you need to ask yourselves.
So actually you weren't even second to his job. .
Third after the ow.
What a twat.
I suspect it was job first, kids second, ow third and me nowhere. Thanks Flapjacks you have just given me a laugh, what a brilliant summary of my great long post.
And it seems that over years - life issues and problems made you both give up on trying - tiredness, infertility, small children.
However. You said you still love him. And I think that means something, still.
And it sounds like he may love you too.
The affair, yes, there isn't a good adjective to describe it. And, at the same time, given the state of your relationship - it is understandable.
I guess what i am trying to say - who cares what everybody else thinks. MN is always, always quick to recoent LTB....
Maybe it's what you feel you want to do. Or, maybe, this is a wake up call that you both ended.
If he really loved you, his chance to show it was when you wanted couples counselling, NOT when hes been forced to tell you about his affair and youve finally finished with him.
Maybe explains him "working" 50-60 hours but only getting paid for 45.
Wow - a crappy empty marriage with no affection or intimacy.
Then you find out he's been a lying cheating scumbag for at least 18 months and you want to say 'yes try again'!?
You need some counselling on your own.
Understand why you've stayed in this lovely joyless marriage for so long.
You know you need to end it.
It won't get better.
You must be young.
Do not 'settle' on this half life.
You get one shot at it.
Live Love and be Happy.
Do you want it to be over?
Do you think its worth giving it another chance?
You are the only one who can make these decisions. Its hard to get over the cheating and neglect but its your call.
I sincerely do feel for you and wish you happiness.
I wouldn't be looking g at trying one last time.
An affair for 18 months???
What an asshole. If he felt detached from you before the affair it's still no excuse to do that.
The right and respectful thing to do would have been to talk to you and be honest not carry on a secret life lying to you for 18 months.
Good reason to divorce if you ask me.
The only reason he's suddenly got upset and asked to try again is because he stands to lose a good women over a shoddy affair that probably doesn't want him permanently hence why it's been going on for that long without her pushing to commit?
OP you actually sound like you are thinking very clearly.
You don't have to decide either way yet. Taking time to consider what's going on, and what YOU really want, before you move forward is the right approach.
Divorce is a big deal. Working through your marriage issues including an affair is a big deal. You don't know yet which is right for you.
What you DO know is that things are going to change. Either you and your H face up to what brought you here and make major and lasting changes to improve things for both of you, or you agree it's run it's course and you end the marriage.
Working through all the issues will get you to the right decision.
If I were you I'd start individual counselling ASAP to work out my own place in it, and what your needs / boundaries are.
AND I would be saying to H now that if he wants a road back starting and committing fully to counselling for himself, and also together is the only hope.
I don't hold with the MN wisdom that Affair must equal divorce. I think they happened for one of two reasons:
1) serial cheater. selfish, insecure people. Was always going to happen, will happen again, not the person they presented to you (or, sometimes were, as serial cheaters are often charmers that are good at the opening romance)
2) the affair is a symptom of things wrong in the relationship.
I think the latter can be worked through but both parties have to walk that walk.
You don't know yet whether your H is really prepared to do the work. But if I were you I'd be finding out, while I also explored what I wanted.
I'd be setting some new goals and parameters for my life, then articulating them to H with an set time frame for my decision of whether he can live up to them.
When I first started reading your post and you mention not having sex in ages, and then the bit about him working all those hours with low pay, I knew he was having an affair. I'm so sorry. I fear he has downplayed just how much of an affair he was having. I also think he was just waiting for you to end it because he's too much of a coward. Can you come back from this? I just don't know. It seems he checked out a long time ago.
fear of the unknown is a powerful paralyser.
but do you really want to be stuck in this sham of a marriage with someone who simply tolerates you but directs all his affection elsewhere?
its hard but you deserve more than this.
Working through all the issues will get you to the right decision.
^this. When my first marriage was struggling I had a sudden moment of clarity 20 minutes into our first counselling session (that he refused to attend) and never looked back. It was £20 well spent.
I read your post and thought no, no no no no no ooooooo to reconciliation. No point flogging a dead horse. It's not a failure to admit there's no life left in a relationship. It's a strength. The job issue I think is completely secondary, almost a non-issue. I hope you find someone to make you happy xx
Thanks everyone, it's really helpful to read your range of views. I've recently started individual counselling and it's already helped me to be clear that what we have wasn't good enough, even before knowing about the affair. I think the reason I'm now hesitating is because seperating seems scary now it's real and because my husband is suddenly paying me a lot of attention and although the reason is negative the attention is nice. But of course this intensity won't last.
I think he changed his mind about separating because the OW is not in a position to take him on permanently.
There's nothing wrong with you wanting to save your marriage, but you need 100% of the information to make that decision.
I suspect you have about 10% right now.
You co-parent nicely already. In fact that's the only part of your marriage that is functional. That will still exist when you split.
Surely the biggest difference of splitting up is that he will have to do his own housework and wifework and manage sole care of the children one night in the week and every other weekend, no matter how many hours he works, you won't be buying the milk and washing his pants any more. Splitting up will inconvenience him, especially if OW isn't prepared to take on the housewifery. No wonder he's putting a bit more effort in.
You know it's the right choice. Scary but right.
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