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Walk away from a good life but unhappy marriage?

(20 Posts)
Misty9 Thu 06-Jul-17 11:28:59

I'm feeling so torn about what to do. Dh and I have been together 9 years, married 7 and have two dc aged 3 and 5. Dh works for himself from home part time and I've just ended a job but am starting another soon. He's an amazing dad and does tons with and for the kids. He does lots of the cooking- in fact his way of nourishing his loved ones is just that, very literally by feeding them. He doesn't do much cleaning but always clears up after cooking. He has a great relationship especially with eldest child whilst mine is less brilliant with that dc.

We have a nice house, enough money and live a comfortable life. But I feel less and less that there is a connection between us. Sex is rare and has always been sporadic. He rejected me a lot sexually in the early months and I now no longer really want it. We don't have a lot in common and I really have to cajole enthusiasm for things like holidays and activities. He's happy in his life and therefore sees no reason to change anything. We cuddle but I feel less like it recently. I'm a deep thinker and he dislikes meaningful conversations. By his own admission he cannot empathise or put himself in other people's shoes - he has questioned aspergers before.

I don't feel special in the relationship and things like birthdays and anniversaries are always stressful as he feels unable to meet my expectations sad

Of course we pretty much knew all these aspects of each other's personalities when we got married. So neither of us is likely to change and he's a perfectly decent man and amazing father.

So would you accept the above and stay together but build separate lives, or split? I know I need emotional nourishment and he knows he struggles to provide it. But is that reason enough to tear everyone's lives apart? sad

Joysmum Thu 06-Jul-17 12:20:48

Have you talked to him about how you are feeling and to find out his feelings?

Misty9 Thu 06-Jul-17 12:43:57

Thank you for replying. We have talked about this as it's been an on going issue, but in his head there's nothing wrong so he just feels frustrated.

IntheBESTpossibleTASTE Thu 06-Jul-17 12:51:10

Million dollar question, do you love him? How do you feel about him?

Wormulonian Thu 06-Jul-17 13:12:18

What changes would he need to make so that you would feel happier and consider staying? He may need a list, he may also not realise that he seriously needs to step up - some people only react to ultimatums or when they know the stakes are high. Would counselling wither singly or jointly help?

WillRikersExtraNipple Thu 06-Jul-17 13:19:24

This may be an unpopular opinion but personally I couldn't take my children away from an amazing caring dad simply because he was exactly the same as I knew him to be before I had the children.
It's not like he's become something else, you chose to have children with him knowing all of this about him.

Not advising you at all, just stating what my own position would be.

0ccamsRazor Thu 06-Jul-17 13:24:45

Decent man and a good father he may be, but there does not sound as though there is love between you.

What would he say if you say right then I wish to call it a day on our relationship, I can not be with someone who does not love me?

Maria1982 Thu 06-Jul-17 13:27:53

Can you try couples counselling? I can relate to some of what you describe, and my OH and I have found Relate really really helpful - we have improved our communication and feel closer than before.
For us, we both knew something was wrong but didn't know how to address it ourselves.

SheldonsSpot Thu 06-Jul-17 13:31:16

I'm with WillRikers on this, I'd have to try talking to him and counselling, both separately and together, before I'd consider leaving someone who is exactly still the man I chose to have children with (excluding all the usual disclaimers about DV, abuse, I'll-treatment, etc).

Misty9 Thu 06-Jul-17 17:27:26

He never wanted kids in the beginning but we had counselling and that led to marriage and children. He is a bit different to when we first met in that, for him, being a father completely fulfils him and so he sees less of a need to nourish the 'couple' aspect of our marriage. I feel we've lost the partnership and we used to have things in common but he's just not interested in those anymore. He eclipses me in parental terms and I've often thought I could leave and no one would particularly notice!

But yes, I did marry him and have kids with full knowledge of his aspergers tendencies. But I thought I would be able to cope sad

I just want the partnership back. Or I can accept that we're different people and build a life for myself separately within the marriage. But I want to share those things with someone sad

JustARose Thu 06-Jul-17 17:48:50

Misty your experience sounds similar to mine, we should compare notes.

I've also got a strong suspicion there are some Aspergers tendencies. My DP is very preoccupied with the children, and activities and less so with my needs which are pretty basic right now as I've become so beaten down with it all. Obviously it's great that he is such a hands on parent, but like you I can't shake this feeling of neglect and yearning for a connection. I have no answers right now, but following this thread with interest.

JustARose Thu 06-Jul-17 17:49:50

Oh and I totally hear you about the food thing. I bet you feel like the only time you are spoken to is about food?

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 06-Jul-17 18:20:49

What do you get out of this relationship now?. Why are you still there?.

Would you want your children as adults to have a relationship just like yours is now?. No would probably be your answer here. But what you are showing them is that currently at least this is acceptable to you. They are learning from the two of you about relationships and they are seeing that yes, this is how people do behave within them. Its not a role model they should be seeing. You really do not want them to learn that a loveless marriage is their norm too. Is he the sort that associates food with love too?. He showing the children affection whilst showing you none can be confusing to them also and certainly sends them mixed messages. I would also think your relationship with these children is not too bad at all but he may well go all Disney Dad on them which could also undermine you as well.

What is your own understanding of AS?. How much reading have you yourself done around AS?. There are also some books written about marriages and AS, have you read those. Does this tally with your experiences of him in terms of your relationship with each other?.

He may be on the ASD spectrum but equally he may not be and that has to be considered also. Whether he is or is not this is no justification or free pass to treat you as he does and has done. It is more than ok to walk away from this if you are this unhappy. You've also had counselling before which seemed to help but did not provide a permanent solution.

Women in poor relationships as well write the "he's a good dad" comment when they themselves can think of nothing positive to write about him. As yet again is the case here; you yourself have written nothing positive about him from your own perspective. This is basically a sexless and loveless marriage that your children are also seeing.

He gets what he wants out of this but you clearly do not. Its not a relationship of equals at all is it?.

One day your children will grow up and leave home and far sooner if you two carry on the ways you are doing as well. They will look at you as their mother if you stay and wonder of you why you are so weak and why you put him before them. They will call you daft for staying and certainly won't say thanks mum. They will see your misery all too clearly, you cannot fully hide that from them.

Misty9 Thu 06-Jul-17 19:26:10

attila ouch, but some home truths there I acknowledge. Wrt his aspergers, I did lots of reading on it when we first got together as it was a question we both had and I read hendrickxx etc. But I wasn't 100% sure he'd meet criteria for a diagnosis and I certainly didn't recognise the angry and hurtful aspects of as partners that i read about. Theoretically I'm qualified to diagnose it, so I know a fair amount ;) not that it helps in one's own personal life!

As for what I get out of it? Well, he grounds me. Always has. I've had a less than ideal upbringing and have lots of emotional baggage from that (mostly rooted in bad relationships with my mother) and he accepts me, warts and all. At least I used to feel this. He was the first person I felt who did and didn't shy or run away from the less positive aspects of my personality (including family). So I clung to that. Now I feel stronger and less emotionally vulnerable and am questioning the cost of this 'grounding' aspect I suppose.

As for what the kids see; hopefully a loving attentive mummy and daddy. We are still affectionate and cuddle etc, but I'm suffering from the lack of intimacy and feeling less inclined to be cuddly iyswim. We've both got body confidence issues and it really hampers sex. Always has.

But I think you hit the nail on the head with the observation that dh gets all he needs from this relationship whilst I don't. But then I worry that my needs are unrealistic and can't be met by I don't want to ruin everything just for that. I'm not sure I'm making sense.

justarose sorry to hear you're feeling similarly. Yes he's obsessed with making me snacks in the evenings but I've tried to curtail it and it's making me lazy! And yes, it's the yearning for a connection which i can completely identify with. I wonder if it would hurt less to be in a position where it's just not a possibility (ie alone) rather than needing it and not getting it. Does that make sense? Which unfortunately rather replicates my relationship with my mother...

0ccamsRazor Fri 07-Jul-17 10:08:17

Op ask your gp to refer you for counselling, this will help you explore what it is that you want for your life, it well help you to look at different paths so that you can make a choices. Looking at relationship aspects in your life in a safe and containing space.

Counselling will help you to feel in control of the situation that you are in.

Misty9 Fri 07-Jul-17 16:10:24

I had some counselling not long ago And, whilst it was nice to talk, I didn't find it that helpful... We had a chat today and he will try harder, but we've been here many times before. Me starting work will help I think as I'll have less time to think! I might suggest couples counselling again.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 07-Jul-17 16:40:25

How many more times are you going to take the I will try harder line from him?. Such men do not change; he is as happy as a clam here at home also feeding (does he associate food with love?) and playing Disney Dad to his children. I can see why he does not want out.

I would continue counselling on your own and shelve the idea of couples counselling for now at least.

You do realise that he may not be anywhere on the spectrum at all and ASD does not give him carte blanche in any case to act poorly towards you. What if anything has he done re going about getting any sort of diagnosis? (and you cannot diagnose him, not even theoretically). Probably nothing. Also you are not certain either if he would meet the criteria for a diagnosis. Not being able to empathise or put himself in other people's shoes could be examples of his own selfishness from his own personality. Look at his parents; what are they like?. What sort of upbringing did he have?.

He was your escape I think from a less than ideal upbringing; you probably feel more stifled now or even trapped instead and his behaviours are the root causes of that. Is he on some levels very similar to your own mother or father?.

Your children do not likely see an attentive mummy and daddy towards each other. They will pick up on all the unspoken vibes you both give off and you cannot fully protect them from this. They in all likelihood know that something is not quite right here and cannot express it or put their finger on it. He showing them tons of affection whilst you as their mother receives none is confusing for them as well as emotionally damaging.

Would you want them to have this sort of relationship as adults?. If not then do not continue to do your bit here to show them that this is acceptable to you.
Where do you see yourself in a year's time; still with this man?.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 07-Jul-17 16:46:01

Counsellors as well are like shoes; you need to find someone who fits in with your approach. Therefore the first person you see may not be the right one.

Re this comment:-
Me starting work will help I think as I'll have less time to think!

That is really sad, do not become an ostrich here. You are unhappy and rightfully so because he does not treat you as an equal here. There is little sex and hardly any affection from him to you. He saying he feels unable to meet your expectations (and I bet your expectations are not beyond normal at all, you just want to be valued) re your birthday etc is an excuse for doing little to nothing and a poor one at that.

BACP are good and do not charge the earth. I would further examine your own relationship with your mother as well as the man you are now with. There are likely to be many similarities here between the two of them.

Misty9 Fri 07-Jul-17 19:35:47

Of course I know I can't diagnose him; I meant I can diagnose ASD in a professional capacity. He has looked into diagnostic services but the provision for adults in our area is pretty poor. I have also already said that we are affectionate towards each other in that we cuddle and are physically tactile, so the kids are not receiving a drastically different behaviour from that shown towards me. The birthday stuff I agree is shit. But mn is littered with menfolk who are a bit pants at birthdays. He really does try but struggles to think of anything beyond practical things.

His parents are divorced as are mine. His dad is likely ASD and admits as much. Our son also shows significant traits. There are definite similarities between dh and my mother, which i have raised as an issue with him. But also huge differences. He doesn't do nothing when I cry for starters, or minimise all my feelings. And I've worked on my side of that relationship (mother) all I can I think.

I don't think he is maliciously treating me as unequal or being in any way abusive. It's his personality to be practical, single minded and very focused. It's why he's so successful in his career. But there are obviously downsides to that approach when dealing with people. Hence my confusion about what to do. And I definitely think too much - it's why I'm good at my career!

bemusedbewildered Fri 07-Jul-17 19:47:58

I read a few comments here that make me think you feel like your relationship with your dc isn't what you'd like it to be. Why not think about whether you should carve out special time with each dc and try and improve that, whatever you do with DH?

There's no right answer is there? You could leave your DH, have a lot of disruption and end up on your own ultimately - would you be happier than not being understood? Of course you may meet a person that meets all your needs. I've always thought really that a partner has a right to emotional honesty - I wouldn't want someone to stay with me for any other reason than that they loved me.

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