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Parenting marriages

(44 Posts)
passthecremeeggs Wed 10-Jan-18 17:53:34

Anyone in one? For those that don't know the term - it's where the couple stay together for the children but all the relationship expectations are put aside permanently and the parents live together, but essentially separately. It's supposedly best suited for couples who have grown apart but are still friends so can maintain a peaceful co-parenting existence from the same house with separate bedrooms etc.

I ask because it's something that's being suggested to me by DH. Our marriage has suffered massively but we do co-parent our children well and we are basically still good friends. Interested to know if anyone else is in a situation like this, whether by design or even by accident!

OP’s posts: |
JeReviens Wed 10-Jan-18 18:42:19

I'm not and I don't know anyone who is - or who admits to it anyway! But the idea doesn't make me recoil in horror. How do you feel about it OP?

KateGrey Wed 10-Jan-18 18:42:57

I feel like I’m doing this with my dh except neither of us have talked about it.

NotTheFordType Wed 10-Jan-18 18:45:07

Is the understanding that you are both free to seek sex with other people as long as it's kept out of the family home, and perhaps on a "don't ask don't tell" basis? (EG if you have a date you just tell the other half that "I'm meeting up with a friend next Wednesday, you okay to do bedtime?")

If so, I'd be up for it.

If not, I don't think it's realistic.

category12 Wed 10-Jan-18 18:54:04

Is it supposed to be a life of celibacy for you both from then on, or seeing other people?

If the former, it's too much of a sacrifice. If the latter, what happens if either of you falls in love and wants to progress the relationship? (Although difficulty in finding decent partners when you're apparently married).

sirlee66 Wed 10-Jan-18 18:57:43

Dear god just please separate! My parents did this and it seriously messed me and my siblings up!

They stayed 'together' for the sake of us whilst in a clearly very unloving relationship (They hated each other. Slept in separate rooms. Went out separately) it was just not healthy and that relationship was what me and my siblings thought was normal.

It's messed us up in knowing what to expect in our own adult relationships. Children need to be exposed to healthy relationships in order to learn how to have a healthy relationship themselves.

Once my parents finally got divorced and separated (when I was 17) life got so much better because they got happier. They both found new partners and it's lovely to see them happy and in love.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 10-Jan-18 19:08:09

I would also suggest separation rather than this arrangement; your DH has suggested this for his own reasons which may not actually be in your best interests either. What if either of you meet someone else?. It tells me as well that your DH is being very selfish and is really only thinking of his own self interest and does not want to share. Also you do not seem to be buying into this idea either.

What do you want to teach your DC about relationships?.
Is this really what you want to teach your DC about relationships; that a loveless marriage is their norm too?. Its no legacy to leave them. They know things between you and their dad are not great and have not been for some considerable time. You cannot fully protect them from your antipathy towards their dad, they see and hear far more than either of you perhaps care to realise.

passthecremeeggs Wed 10-Jan-18 19:09:09

Sirlee - so this is the point. My parents were the same and by the time they divorced my siblings and I were all cheering them on. But our marriage isn't like that. We've morphed into an uncomfortable best friends relationship. Uncomfortable because we "should" be having a good sex life etc but the reality is I think we're more friends than lovers. This type of set up is really designed for people like DH and me rather than the warring couple.

OP’s posts: |
passthecremeeggs Wed 10-Jan-18 19:11:13

On the sex issue I think the idea is both a free to seek other relationships outside - as long as they're kept out of the family home. Obviously if one half of the couple gets serious with someone then things have to be revisited. But on the basis it's a "parenting" marriage and children become adults I suppose the assumption is it only lasts as long as the children are at home

OP’s posts: |
Smellyoulateralligater Wed 10-Jan-18 19:13:59

You can still co-parent and be great friends from separate homes.

Is there a financial reason why you can’t separate? Or is it because you want to maintain stability at home?

I have to agree with pps that it’s important to model healthy loving relationships to children.

How do you feel about it? If you were totally on board I think you wouldn’t be asking

passthecremeeggs Wed 10-Jan-18 19:15:07

I'm not sure how I feel about it. DH is a genuinely decent man, and morally one of the most upright people I know. I know he's not suggesting this because he wants to have it all - it's entirely because of the children. Our DC are young and a formal separation would be incredibly distressing and disruptive for them. The idea with this is that we don't disrupt them (on the basis we are actually very warm and friendly with each other and get on well it's possible this could work.)

My only reservation is I still think the marriage can be "fixed". DH doesn't. The mismatch there could be the undoing of this arrangement.

OP’s posts: |
ferriswheel Wed 10-Jan-18 19:16:05

Sirlee66 im so happy it worked out for your parents.

TeeBee Wed 10-Jan-18 19:17:56

I did this for a number of years...although it was unspoken. It slowly killed us as people and destroyed our self esteem. I divorced him and we now co-parent very happily as friends in different houses with different partners. The children are fine (more settled than when they had to live with a stiff atmosphere).

passthecremeeggs Wed 10-Jan-18 19:18:48

It's not so much a financial issue (although obviously family finances would be stretched with two households) it's more that neither of want the children being shuttled backwards and forwards every week or whatever the arrangement ended up being. I'm not saying that the plenty of people that have to do this are wrong, it just seems a bit crazy when DH and I actually get on really well!

OP’s posts: |
category12 Wed 10-Jan-18 19:21:31

If you're hopeful of sorting things outs and he's not interested, then this arrangement would be far worse for you than him.

passthecremeeggs Wed 10-Jan-18 19:23:03

Yes that's my concern about it - I think both partners have to have a similar belief the marriage can't be worked out for the set up to work

OP’s posts: |
dlnex Wed 10-Jan-18 19:26:06

Hi, you both sound like you want the best for your DCs which most parents facing separation/living as friends want.
It sounds like a great idea to stay together, but to be 'free' to have a relationship outside the marriage where another partner 'is kept out of the family home' - it's a bit like having your cake and eating it.
How would this really work? What if DH or you develops feelings for a single person? Or do you both stick to other married people?
You can separate in a dignified adult way, and demonstrate to your children that this can be done respectfully without everyone falling out, stuff just happens and we move on.

SugarMiceInTheRain Wed 10-Jan-18 19:29:02

I know a couple who divorced years ago, live in separate houses, but do loads for each other and together with the children, including holidays. They seem to have come to a really amicable co-parenting arrangement and if I were ever to divorce (not that I'm contemplating it) I'd like to be able to come to that sort of arrangement.

You have to both be on exactly the same page, otherwise it'll eventually eat you up inside if you're the one who thinks the relationship could still be worked on.

misscph1973 Wed 10-Jan-18 19:29:51

I would like to think it can work. But I think if you did try it, you might want to consider some couples counselling to help you.

My STBXH suggested a similar arrangement when I said I wanted a divorce, but it would have not have been a mutually beneficial arrangement, he gets far more out of our relationship, that's how the dynamic between us has been for many years, and I didn't see that changing so he's moving out this week. We are on friendly terms, btw, and the DC have taken it very well so far (they are 10 and 13).

So essentially you have to make sure that both of you can benefit and that none of you are suffering as a consequence. Staying together " for the children's sake" never works, as what people really mean is "staying together because we are afraid of change"

laceyspace Wed 10-Jan-18 19:36:22

There will be loads of opinions on here about what you 'should' do. Moving house with young DCs, shipping them back and forth etc can be a huge strain for anyone to cope with. If you think you can do this just until they're a bit older to avoid the upheaval, then do it. Maybe have a goal of when you and DH are actually going to go your seperate ways though?
I don't see me and DH lasting, but with young children, the chaos and upheaval would make me quite vulnerable and anxious whilst they're young-they don't need that. I do however think about and plan when/how I would do it.

another20 Wed 10-Jan-18 19:43:33

I think that you, OP, will be really hurt in this situation.

You want to fix it - he doesnt - will you be trying/hoping etc all the way thru - this will hurt you.

Then he will meet someone - even if not conducted in the home - it will be right under your nose - you will hear and see every movement - like having an affair right in your face - as you must still have feelings for him if you want to fix it.

This will destroy you from the inside out. Dont do this to yourself or put this on your children to see you erode.

Your DH has said its over. He doesnt want to try to work it out, does he want to have his cake (family, home, money, you) and a relationship/sex with someone else?

AgathaF Wed 10-Jan-18 19:46:49

But on the basis it's a "parenting" marriage and children become adults I suppose the assumption is it only lasts as long as the children are at home - this really means giving up your rights to a decent, loving, equal relationship with your H or anyone else until your dc are, what, 16, 18, 20? I think that is seriously going to mess with their heads as they grow up, and for what? You'll end up separating anyway. And then they could think that you've lived half lives just for them.

So much better to separate now, co-parent effectively, be free to explore new relationships (if that's what you want), and give your dc a decent blueprint of what adult relationships should be, rather than what you are proposing.

Offred Wed 10-Jan-18 21:02:53

When the relationship has ended then the pain of that is unavoidable I’m afraid.

You could choose to give your children a foundation for adult life based on lies and gift them pain about that in addition to your inevitable separation when they have grown up.

Or you could choose to live honest lives and support them through the change now when they are young and more resilient.

Offred Wed 10-Jan-18 21:06:00

And calling it a ‘parenting marriage’ is really just dressing it up in a fancy name in order to make it more appealing...

It’s not and IMO it is extremely selfish and your children will not thank you for it.

Offred Wed 10-Jan-18 21:20:00

Oh, I’ve just AS you....

So your h, who ‘works long hours’ and doesn’t share the mental load or housework because it is your ‘job’ now you are a SAHM is now suggesting that you do this ‘parenting marriage’?!


So he gets to have a girlfriend and a domestic slave?

And you still want it to work out with him?

This has utter disaster written all over it and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he already had an OW waiting in the wings but that may just be me reading too much MN...

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