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Pregnant with two small children and broken marriage..(17 Posts)
I've been reading for a while, thinking and reading, trying to find stories of people in a similar situation, trying to find answers.. I've started therapy, started talking to my friends openly about how bad things are. And I'm stuck. Because I feel desperately unhappy and desperately lonely.
I've been married for 6 1/2 years. We have a nearly 6 year old and a nearly 4 year old. And I'm 16 weeks pregnant after a fairly late miscarriage last year which knocked me sideways. I thought being pregnant again would help. I thought it was the right thing to do. Or maybe I didn't.. maybe I just became so focused on having a third baby that I didn't stop to think clearly and rationally.
My husband and I have always had a difficult, tempestuous relationship but for the 2+ years before we had our first child, we managed a lot better.. there was a lot more time to talk about and work through any difficulties, to nurture the relationship..
I keep reading posts where people have said 'my husband's not a bad man but...' I struggle to know what to write, whether it's really an issue of him being good or bad (or me being good or bad..) He's very intelligent, subtly manipulative and not forthcoming with his emotions. I thought it was alright.. never brilliant but alright, manageable, good enough to stay together and raise the children together. He's a good dad, he works hard, he's "hands on" according to my mum...
But I'm miserable. I'm lonely, I feel isolated and I feel like it's impossible to communicate with him. He tells me I'm cold and abusive and neglectful.. which is something I've never been told by other people. I am volatile, I do get angry and say things I don't mean at times. And the thing I'm struggling with is that I feel everything gets deflected back. He's mean or punishing and he defects it back. He can say something incredibly nasty and then if and when I react, he can punish and withhold, sometimes with silent treatment for days on end.
It feels like being pregnant has woken me up to how things really are. Like beforehand I was deceiving myself, convincing myself it was ok, could be ok.
But the reality is that I feel like the relationship has broken. I've spent time building up other parts of my life and put him and my feelings towards him in a compartment. I've shut down to him. And every so often, I break. I shout and scream, I cry. And then the whole problem with the relationship is because of my anger, my seemingly unreasonable behaviour.
I thought it would always be best to stay "for the sake of the children." But my daughter (nearly 6) has become incredibly anxious about how things are between us. She's talking about having tummy aches and feeling worried that we're arguing (even when there's no communication between us, but she obviously picks up on the silence).
I told him I was desperately unhappy, that I couldn't go on, that I wanted us to go for therapy. No response. Total shut down. I told him I wanted a temporary separation, that I felt so anxious and on edge that I didn't think it was good for the baby (or the children) but he won't agree to it. Won't agree to counselling. Won't sit down and have a proper, adult conversation with me.
So I stopped asking, stopped trying, stopped asking for help. Stopped fighting, engaging, giving him anything to undermine me with.. And it results in nothing. Almost total neglect and silence. He's great with the children but it's like I don't exist. And I feel utterly miserable and desperate about what to do. The baby is due in January (how foolish am I?)
Any words of wisdom would be much appreciated.
Thank you x
I think you should be making plans to leave.
Is the house in both names? This is no life, for you or your children x
Bless you, the silent treatment is horrible and leaves you walking on eggshells not knowing where you stand which can be very unsettling.. that is classic emotional abuse as is the way he winds you up until you explode like a normal human would and then he will accuse you of being the cause of the problems... ‘see look how angry you are’ ‘see look how crazy you are’ but what that distracts from is the tense ‘silent treatment’ he’s been giving you.
I am a counsellor and I have seen so many women go through the ‘he’s a good man though’ but in my opinion this is all part of the manipulation.... of course he’s great on the surface, great in front of friends and ‘good with the kids’ (ignoring his kids mum for days on end isn’t good for the kids)
Do you feel strong enough to make your plan to leave. You don’t have to tell him anything right now, just figure out what you need. There is support out there for you, benefits you can apply for and charities that support women to get out of domestic abuse which is exactly what the silent treatment is. It’s very damaging x
My advice is to get to couples counselling
See it anything can be salvaged
If not make a good separation
You have to work out 1 money 2 child arrangements when you separate so might as well do with help of a neutral third party. Things like does he want to be at the birth (or more importantly do you want him there) Will he help (ie do you want him to) when baby is here? It’s hard work with a newborn.
Thank you for taking the time to read and respond.
BifsWif - Yes, the house is in both of our names with a joint mortgage.
SquidgyBanana - yes, you're totally right. The outbursts I have distracts from the silent treatment, the withholding and pretty much any other aspects of his behaviour that I've been struggling with.
It's tough because I am very emotional and I do have a temper but I've battled to keep calm and to manage it, which can be a massive challenge with a job and two small children. I feel like he will keep going until I explode and then step back and point the finger, claiming he's the one being "abused". It's utterly exhausting. An exasperating that he can't see it.
I am starting to feel strong enough to leave but I'm questioning the timing, especially with a new baby on the way. I will manage financially (I am not and never have been dependent on him - I think I made sure of that) but I can't decide if it's better to wait until the baby has been born and is old enough for childcare of some sort. I'm going to struggle otherwise. But it's how to cope in the meantime..
Stripeyzigzag, I have suggested counselling repeatedly and he just won't agree to it, except in writing (e.g. in response to me sending him an application form for relate). In writing, he writes like it's a legal document that at some point will be reviewed by the courts..
In person, I don't see how I can force him to go to counselling, especially as he doesn't see that there's anything he needs to change. Happy for me to go as he believes I'm the one with the problem (or that's the delusion at least).
Are you definitely going to go ahead with this third pregnancy? It is an option not to if you feel you have enough on your plate.
Whatever you choose to do, you must leave this man x
As PP says this is abuse and emotional abuse is still abuse. It is awful being gaslighted, being manipulated, being made to feel that you are the unreasonable/abusive one. This will be causing distress to your children, they will pick up on your husbands abuse of you and worse will start to think this is normal. You sound incredibly strong, you would be better off getting away from him and sooner rather than later. You could have your new baby away from this toxic man and his actions. Try and find out what you would be entitled to if you leave him, get legal advice re splitting the martial assets. Make a plan.
My parents were in a very similar relationship for over 30 years. My mum stayed with him for us kids. It's no good for the kids, we had to deal with constant tension and it doesn't make for a great childhood honestly. We would've rather they split up and my mum says in hindsight, she would've. Hope this helps in some way
If you think you can manage financially, it would be better to get out now before the new DC arrives. Better for you, better for the children
Solicitor so you have basic information
Harder to go once baby here
What a lonely place to be. Go to counselling on your own if you have to. It might help give you the tools to leave
Credit for writing what comes across as a genuinely honest OP. This sounds like it would be very hard to fix, especially if he won't engage in therapy.
Did you get on well before you had kids? Or was it always a volitile relationship.
Have you spoken about splitting up at all? Might he be relieved if you suggest it? Is there any change you could split up civilly?
It might end up being a really good thing and that everyone ends up happier.
Are you in separate bedrooms? Can you talk about a 'soft' split up? Or ar
e you both not talking.
What happens if you communicate by email? Does that help?
Might it be useful for you to go to counciling On your own. You temper sounds very bad (Sorry). I'd worry how you might react to you kids when they are older and being extremely annoying.
Good luck, it must be very difficult. Having little kids and being pregnant can test any relationship.
I plan to make an appointment with a solicitor to get some advice and an idea of what my options are. I’m struggling to decide whether it’s better to leave before the baby is born. My gut says yes but I’m worried about the extreme stress it will involve. Makes me wonder whether it would be better to wait. But it’s not a happy place at home..
CaptainCucumber, I’m 16 weeks, due in January.
Cawfree, I’ve started going to counselling. She’s very good. I thought she might help me with strategies to manage but she’s encouraging me to leave..
PitchBlackNight, we got on a lot better before we had children but it’s always been volatile. He did a lot of “testing” at the beginning and it was rarely easy. Looking back, I should have realised. But we used to talk and he used to be kinder than this..
Yes I’ve spoken about splitting up and although he agrees that things aren’t good, he won’t engage with an actual conversation about how it will work. Says to me that if I’m not happy, I should just move out, which isn’t helpful.
He spends some of the time in the spare room and is encouraging me to move into it, which I’ve not yet done.
Email used to be better but now he’s sending emails which sound like they’re constructed for the court. I showed one to my therapist who said it was “nasty and manipulative” and to be careful.
I wouldn’t say my temper is very bad. And no need to apologise.. I appreciate the honesty. It used to be bad when I was younger but I’ve had a lot of therapy and worked very hard at controlling it. I rarely get angry with the children. But it’s very challenging to hold it together when living with someone who alternates between verbal abuse and silence. I feel like he pushes me to my limit.
And no idea how I’ll cope with teenagers. One thing at a time
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